The Atlantic

Dear Therapist: My Sister Is a Mess and I Don’t Know How to Help Her

My younger sister is constantly anxious whenever she comes to visit, and I want to help without completely draining myself.
Source: Bianca Bagnarelli

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com.

Dear Therapist,

My younger sister and I are very close. We had a rough childhood, we’re only 13 months apart, and she’s always been my favorite person to be around—when things are going well. But she also has some anxiety issues that drive me crazy. She just left after visiting my city, and I’m still trying to unclench. “Lost” earphones (that are always in her bag) mean being drawn into a frantic search that involves me calling my husband at work to make sure he didn’t “do something” with them. A change in plans while she’s out doing tourist things means

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readTech
The T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Will Only Hurt Consumers
When market concentration increased after past mergers, prices surged and jobs were lost. There’s no reason to think this time will be different.
The Atlantic5 min read
The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive
As WeWork crashes and Uber bleeds cash, the consumer-tech gold rush may be coming to an end.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
Trump’s Middle East Policy Is a Fraud
Until days ago, a small number of United States troops were stationed in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish forces who helped defeat ISIS and guard its jailed fighters. Now the troops are gone on President Donald Trump’s orders; Turkey is invading;