Jealousy, anxiety, neglect


New Member
My sister was professionally diagnosed with ODD when she was 4 years old, even though I have doubts considering the purpose and nature of this diagnosis. I question doctors a lot; but that's not the point of this thread, the point is, when my mother had her last boyfriend, she was EXTREMELY jealous of the attention her then-boyfriend got from our mother, to the point of causing some strain in the relationship. She would argue with and sabotage my mother and gaslight her at every opportunity about the relationship between her and her ex at only 12 years old because of perhaps her internalized scapegoat status in the family. Note that we were a very dysfunctional family unit at that point and that was only 2-3 years ago. It lasted quite a while, because they were together for 2 to 3 years. However, my sister has always acted like this, argumentative, stubborn, vindictive, and easily angered. Mom and I were her punching bags, she always fought with her twin sister (who is mildly developmentally delayed and has her own separate sorts of problems), and she perhaps copied some of my then difficult behaviors.

That's not to say she has a terrible personality, just some underlying trauma and failure to learn how to adequately manage her emotions. Otherwise she is a strong-minded, sociable 14 year old with tons of creative outlets. Her emotional management seems to have matured in the last year or so, since ex left. Oh, and she's now in middle school and takes medication, which may be a factor.

Now this isn't an issue anymore because the boyfriend was dysfunctional himself, had possible signs of Borderline (BPD) and they broke up, so she has no reason to pester mom around about the ex.

My younger sister was also neglected from ages 4 to 7 in a foster home with her twin sister which possibly played into her separation anxiety because she worries a lot about mom leaving and not coming back.

I am not a jealous person usually so I can't relate to her feelings.

Even though the problem is solved, I'm concerned about the intensity of this jealousy, and wonder what you people would do if in such a scenario, your child were to grow jealous of your partner getting the attention? Has this happened to you yet? I may only be a sibling but I want to know.

I feel like I halfway answered my own questions but I want to know your input, because I couldn't have helped her.


Well-Known Member
I can imagine what it must have felt like for your sister having been in a foster home, longing for her mother. And then to have to share her mother with somebody she experienced as not even in the family. Of course she would be fearful that this circumstance was always at risk of happening again. These kinds of traumas are likely "hard wired" which is to say that this pattern of fearing loss of an attachment figure is the default thought pattern that she experiences when she feels strong feelings of yearning and wanting.

Although it may look like jealousy it's not quite the same thing, I think. The need for stable and loving parenting is basic to development--it is a universal need. Your sister is triggered because she is always seeking what she needed, and lost. This is an attachment wound that she is trying to work out. It is not jealousy.


Well-Known Member
Hi there. You asked for advice. It sounds as if there was a lot of dysfunction and lack of stability in your home. Lots and lots. Sisters in foster that's big. Mom and ex not loving kids enough. Mom paying too much attention to ex...

in my opinion we are not knowledgeable enough here on this forum to help you help your sister. We are just mothers with opinions, some of us with baggage of our own.

I suggest you not do self help here but get this girl, and maybe the entire family, into therapy. I know you don't trust doctors but they are by far the most capable of helping in this complicated situation. Attachment problems are a big and serious peoblem when any child is separated from a major caregiver at a young age. Where is Dad in this? Did you all lose him too?Do you see him?

Adopted/foster kids tend to have extra issues due to separation and loss from the primary parents. They can get serious

Mom in my opinion should go for therapy too. She maybe put this boyfriend above her young kids. And the twins had to go to foster care for some reason. Abuse? Mom may have to learn to parent better. Nobody is born knowing how and some have a better knack for it than others. Some need teaching. I'm surprised Child Protective Services is not involved, mandating therapy.

Are the kids getting help in school maybe? are a child too with no training in psychology. You can not diagnose your family's issues. Don't try. It us best that you go to a trained professional.

This is complicated. It's not a do-it-yourself situation. Talk to Mom and see if she is open to professional therapy.

Sending hugs and love.
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
“My younger sister was also neglected from ages 4 to 7 in a foster home with her twin sister which possibly played into her separation anxiety because she worries a lot about mom leaving and not coming back.”

Just curious…is your sister adopted? If not, what caused this placement in foster care? We’re you ever in foster care? How old are you?

It makes sense, given this background info that she would be jealous or wary of the boyfriend and attention he got from the mother. And if he had personality issues too…no doubt he wasn’t caring or understanding.

Do you say that her jealousy was intense snd she could be vindictive? Easily angered? This would concern me a bit. But, at the same time good to hear she is showing signs of managing her emotions in a healthier way and has many creative outlets.

Our adopted daughter was always very jealous of our bio child; her brother. Even into adulthood. Even when I convinced him to never tease her like some siblings do. He simply couldn’t. He understood. And he was trying to be kind and patient with her…even when she was frustrating. But that only made her more jealous because now he was the “perfect brother” and made her look bad. She was and is triggered by a lot of things.

I personally would be a bit concerned about her. Tine will tell. Therapy very well might be needed. Hopefully she has enough positive things going on that she is happy and building ego strength. Definitely some positives here. A wonderful thing. Sending good vibes.


New Member
Thank you for your kind comments.
We are all bio children, none adopted.
Our father left when I was 5 years old and we would ocasionally see him.
There was not really much abuse in the family other than psychological.
Our mother loved us very much, but she acted codependent with her ex, and she was very exhausted.
And yes, CPS did get heavily involved in our lives for years, but I ended up really disliking them even though we had no other choice.
Due to several events that have happened in the family, both my sisters had therapy.
I'm 19 and away from the family.
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