Boundaries HELP!


Crazy Cat Lady
To make a long story short. My sister, also BiPolar (BP), is finally leaving her husband of thirty years. It should have happened years ago.

Mean while, she's found an old flame from High School on facebook and has been seeing him.

Personally, she'd do better to hold off until the divorce is final, but that's my opinion and not one that counts.

The problem is that I was treated to an hour of gushing about how wonderful this guy is. That was fine, what wasn't fine is that I got a litany of things that were wrong with H. some of them sexual.

Then, when she realized I was playing verbal bobblehead, launched into a VERY graphic retelling of her and "flame's" "make out sessions".

Definite overshare and too much information. I realize that sex is normal and healthy and all of that, but it's also something that should be private, Know what I mean??

I told her that the convo was making me very uncomfortable and she apologized, "but" and went right back to her wonderful new relationship.

Then? She wanted advise on the divorce and dealing with old flame. Now, sister has a helluva lot more experience in the dating world than I do, and yes, I had a good marriage, but given that, why would I know anything about divorce and how to go about it.

I am certainly NOT qualified to advise on "how to make old flame "happy"".

Beyond the fact that she had an affair years ago, when she should've split up with H at that time, now, she is doing it again.

I know what it's like to be lonely. I know that it takes a LOT of work to make a relationship and to keep it going.

She also informed me that she's been sharing all of this with her adult children and I have a real problem with that. She's badmouthed H to them for years and the kids are totally in favour of the divorce.

Here's the kicker. My brother in law is considerably older and is ill. To assuage guilt, sister plans on continuing to help him out while going ahead with the new relationship.

I have no idea WHAT to think of that. I guess I am glad she "feels like a woman again", just wish she'd handled it differently.

I hate to think I'm going to have to start terminating phone calls over this. As it sits right now, she seems to ignore me in favour of whatever she is telling me. She also talks about this to mum, which has to be excruciating for her.

AFAIC, I am proof that one can be happy in a sexless marriage. My husband was incapable for the last few years of our marriage due to illness. I suspect brother in law's issues in that realm are also due to illness.

What bothers me is how enmeshed she is with her kids. I'm all in favour of "openness", but there are some things, in my opinion, that are private.

I've always gotten along as well with her H as can be expected given our totally different ways of looking at the world. Boundaries worked with him. There are certain things we just don't discuss.

Another concern is that sister seems to be cycling again and sounds manic. She gets hypersexual when manic.

Can anyone point me in the direction of a good book/video on boundaries with adult siblings? I don't want to cut her off, but I don't want to be dragged into these conversations, either

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I don't know about books for sibling boundaries.

I'd just tell her you don't want to discuss her sex life. If she persists, it's time to end the conversation.

I'm far from being a prude and talking about sex openly doesn't make me blink. But there was an issue when my kids became adults with boundaries such as this. too much information I set up the boundary. I was firm. Unless it was a specific question or whatever.......there are just some things a mother really doesn't need to know. The same way I wouldn't discuss bedroom activity between their dad and I with them.


Well-Known Member
I feel your pain. Though I dont have any sibs who wish to over share with me, my kids dont seem to have that problem. What I have started doing is to share just as much with them. That grosses them

I have no idea about books but if I were in your shoes in the same situation I think I might have a few standard responses when she starts up. Maybe some of the canned answers we use with adult difficult child's.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I would think that boundaries are boundaries no matter who you set them with. Decide what you feel uncomfortable with and tell your sister that you don't want to hear about those things. If she still goes there, do what Hound said . . . end the conversation. You can always "remember" something you have to do or somewhere you have to go.



one day at a time
The best book I have ever read about boundaries is: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Very practical and gives lots of examples.

Boundaries are necessary for all of us in all of our relationships in order to live healthier lives. Spouse, children, friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors---anybody and everybody.

The techniques and actions are the same regardless. As I began working on myself about 8 years ago, this is the first book I got and I reread it often. I have given it to many people. One friend is using it right now as she comes to grips with her alcoholic husband and her marriage of 26 years.

Great book.

It helps us see that minding our own business is the pathway to peace.


Crazy Cat Lady
Good. I'll see if I can find that book in Kindle format on Amazon. I think some of the overshare is intentional.

A few years back, my sister took great delight in telling me that mum had had an affair and my parentage was in doubt. This is something I've never discussed with mum.

I was a bit freaked out initially, but then realized that there was nothing to b done. Mum is 79 years old. She shares more with sister than with me, which is fine.

No matter who my sire is, "dad" is the man who put his name on my birth certificate and raised me.

Another concern is that I am pretty sure she was drunk when she called me. She's an intermittent alcoholic...goes from drinking heavily to teetotal, periodically.

I might pick up some literature from Al-anon, as I have a REAL problem with dealing with drinkers.


My sis is also having marriage issues but no kids. I hear it ALL as well and while I want to help her, no matter what I say doesn't help. She never takes our advice and I just end up just listening.

I agree to just be honest and keep telling her there's some things you don't want to hear. I was very emotional when I drank too so I know that doesn't help the situation.( sorry if she is saying it intentionally) The other suggestions were great and as much as I wish I could add, I'm not sure what it would be. I wish you the best and am giving you my support.


Well-Known Member
I would listen to her if she promises to only share with you and not the kids. If you can spare the kids ear to all of this, do it. You can handle this, at least she plans on helping him out.

I knew people who had husbands leave them when they were dying or fighting cancer. My oncologist also told me many stories of families who just basically abandon their sick relative, it's sad. If she decided to leave, and you said she should have earlier, then good for her!

I know you were happy in a sexless marriage but she isn't. Personally, I would not be either, but I would deal with it because my relationship with husband is more than that and if he were sick, I wouldn't cheat.

Who cares about that, anyway? We're all human, don't judge her so harshly, he maybe deserves it. She put up with enough and she made her choice, just love her and don't judge. I really think she shouldn't talk to her kids about this, yuck. Tell her you don't want details, but good for her that she found happiness.


Crazy Cat Lady
UAN, without going into too much information,husband and I had a fully intimate andfulfilling relationship.

One can be very intimate and take pleasure in that intimacy...IF, and it's a big IF:Both members of the relationship are otherwise healthy and very happy.

Sis and brother in law should never have gotten together. He was 32 to her sixteen when they got together. Sis was very thrilled to have an older man so interested.

For me? There's definitely an "eeewww" factor there. husband put it best, in my opinion:"I'm sure many guys fantasize about the "sweet young thing, but would never think of acting on that fantasy.

That's too big an age difference for me. Many 16 year olds see guys in the late teens, early twenties. They fit together nicely because females mature faster than males.

With the drinking, if I start getting "drunk dialing" calls from my sister, I'll have to terminate contact by phone unless she again dries out. She's very functional even when she's been drinking.
I many have a half dozen drinks in a year, and that's pushing it. Sister has an addictive personality and if she gives up one thing, she picks up a different addiction.

She turned to pills when she quit doing cocaine,and then to alcohol when she quit with the pills.

I saw first hand what legally prescribed painkillers can do as side effects as husband's caretaker. He had intractable pain for last several years of his life.

He had to take dexamphetamine to counter the SE from the medication.

He was under the mgmt. of a pain clinic. He didn't enjoy taking the pain medications.

But, taken properly, the narcotics gave him his life back as much as was possible.

I have an addictive personality to some degree, but with me it's more AS obsessions.

Nature took care of any addiction issues in my case. I can have one drink. If I have two, I guarantee myself a migraine later that night or the next day.

I can't take opiates without the strongest anti-nausea medications.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I think you are way too smart for this. You might be conflicted. Wanting to lend your sister an ear, but not wanting to hear inappropriate info./too much information/and info that crosses a boundary. Like Kathy mentioned, if it crosses a boundary, it doesn't matter who it is with. And you have every right to state that you don't wish to hear this info and if she doesn't respect this, that is very inappropriate. Although therapists can be costly, it might be time for your sister to have some sessions with a therapist to get some of this stuff "processed" in a safe environment. It is a complicated and confusing time for her and other's involved and people's feelings could easily be hurt. Good of you to consider the sensitivities here.
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Crazy Cat Lady
I'm more thinking of my own sensitivities here. Be it my AS=ness, or my flavour of bipolar, I have a hard time with confrontation. I do love sis and I feel that she loves me.

I wonder if her lack of a "filter" isn't due to her medications being out of whack or substance abuse.

I go hypomanic and don't enjoy it in the least Sis seems to revel in it.

I wonder if she's even taking her medications


Crazy Cat Lady
I'm more thinking of my own sensitivities here. Be it my AS=ness, or my flavour of bipolar, I have a hard time with confrontation. I do love sis and I feel that she loves me.

I wonder if her lack of a "filter" isn't due to her medications being out of whack or substance abuse.

I go hypomanic and don't enjoy it in the least Sis seems to revel in it.

I wonder if she's even taking her medications