My sister and I have always been incredibly close – we are just two years apart in age and up until a few years ago, we were basically the best of friends.
Things changed a bit when my sister, who is the younger out of the two of us, got a new boyfriend. She stopped spending as much time with me and definitely prioritized her new relationship, which hurt, but I tried to understand.
Then, out of the blue, she suddenly announced she was pregnant, less than a year after she and her now-fiancé got together. I was totally shocked – I was the one who wanted a family and children, while my sister had never even expressed an interest in kids until she discovered she was expecting one.
Although I was surprised about her news, I did my best to be supportive and started to get really excited about the prospect of having a niece who would one day be friends with my future kids.
I shared all of the pregnancy tips, tricks, and advice that I’ve built up over the years with her, and I was by her side for anything and everything that she needed me for – including my niece’s birth a few months ago.
Dear Jane, my younger sister stole my dream baby name and gave it to her daughter – and I’m so angry with her, I’m filled with rage every time I look at my niece
Then came the moment that completely obliterated our relationship. When my sister revealed the name she has given her daughter: Guinevere. Also known as the baby name that I chose for my first-born daughter when I was 12 years old and obsessed with the Robin Hood movies.
It’s always been the name that I’d planned to give my baby girl one day – and my sister knew this.
When I confronted her about it, she claimed that she’d forgotten entirely – and even tried to insist that it’s a name that runs in her boyfriend’s family, which I know is total garbage. I mean, who on earth do you know who is actually named Guinevere in real life? But that’s why I loved the name so much. And now she’s stolen it from me.
When I pointed this out, she accused me of being jealous that she found her soulmate and had kids before I did.
Her denial of the whole thing made me even more furious with her… had she just confessed the truth, I might have been inclined to forgive her, but her gaslighting me and trying to make out like I was the lunatic has just made everything all the more hurtful.
Every time I look at my niece I’m filled with rage, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to forgive my sister for what she’s done. At least not until she realizes how much she’s hurt me.
Please tell me how I can get over this nightmare.
Dear Name Shame,
I have re-read your letter many times to make sure I’m understanding it correctly, and what strikes me above all else is that your hurt and anger about your sister’s use of the name Guinevere is actually masking something far deeper.
International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column
Namely, that your younger sister has leap-frogged over you when it comes to relationships, marriage and family.
In many ways, it is entirely natural for you to feel a tremendous loss, not least because you have also lost the role that you have held your entire life – that of the older sister, happy to lead the way.
It can feel very good to be in a position where you are a teacher or a guide; it can feed the ego, and make us feel useful. You’ve done this all your life, and again, you were able to step back into the role of knowing more when your sister got pregnant, but now you’re back to square one, left behind as your sister carried on with her life.
Your sister has unwittingly upended the balance by finding a partner before you, having a baby before you, and of course then using a name that you have always wanted.
But this isn’t about the name. This is about the dynamic between you changing, and how hard it is to step into a new role, which is what now has to be done.
The fact that you are filled with rage whenever you look at your niece, is unutterably sad. The problem with jealousy and resentment is that it is held within a poisoned chalice, and should you choose to drink from it, the only person who will get hurt, is you.
You’re missing out on a close relationship with your sister and your niece, which is heartbreaking. The impact of your jealousy is that you stand to lose the people who are closest to you, which is not their loss as much as it is yours.
A mental health professional, therapist or counsellor, can help you identify the root cause of this jealousy, which is not uncommon with female siblings, but more importantly, can help you overcome it.
Naming it, identifying where it comes from, what the triggers are, talking to a professional, and looking at therapeutic techniques can help alleviate it. As can talking honestly and openly with your sister.
Owning your part in this, how you feel left behind, or dismissed, or irrelevant, is frightening as it leave you vulnerable, but honesty is always the road to a deeper connection and healing… In some way, at least.
I appreciate that this is going to sound like the rantings of a whiney, miserable woman, but I’d love some advice if you have the time to spare.
I’m 38, single, and have been fortunate enough to hold down a steady marketing job for the past 16 years. I wouldn’t say I’m a shining star at work, but I do what I need to in order to keep my bosses happy and my paycheck coming in.
But the thing is, I just don’t care about any of it.
For years now I’ve struggled to find any motivation to get out of bed and go to the office – and really the only reason I continue to do so is because I know I won’t have any means of living if I don’t.
When I first started having these feelings, I just assumed I was having a bad day. But then a bad day became a bad week, which turned into a bad month… and now three years later, I feel like I’m going to go insane if I don’t find some way of shaking up my life.
I feel totally stuck and so frustrated by what feels like a set of invisible bars trapping me in this life.
I keep seeing all of these posts on social media from people who appear to be living the most blissful life, traveling around the world – seemingly without a single care in the world – and I’m filled with the most incredible jealousy.
All I want to do is give up everything and run away to live a calm, stress-free life far away from this boring drudgery that has consumed my life for so many years now.
It sounds ridiculous but the more I think about it, the more I hate the life that I’ve built for myself and I just don’t know how to break out of this vicious cycle.
Is it insane to just quit everything at this point in my life?
Dear Caged In,
Interestingly, the first letter today doesn’t think it’s about jealousy but is, whereas your letter speaks to you thinking you are jealous, when in fact I would argue that this isn’t about jealousy at all, but rather about figuring out how to feel alive again, how to feel that you have a purpose in life. Your job sounds like drudgery, doing what you have to do to pay the bills.
I can imagine the sadness and frustration you are experiencing, feeling caught as you do on this hamster wheel of life.
And it’s understandable given the monotony of the routine you’ve described living. 16 years is a long time to be at a job, and can feel like eternal hell if it isn’t filled with fresh and exciting new experiences for growth, learning, and earning.
Dear Jane’s Sunday service
What did we ever do before Instagram, why do we waste so many hours scrolling when it makes us feel so awful, and how on earth do we break the cycle?
Nobody, and I repeat, nobody, feels good looking at how other people are living, particularly when their lives appear far more exciting and glamorous than ours.
I would love to see Instagram disappear in a puff of smoke, but given how unlikely that is, and how difficult (and probably unreasonable) it is to quit cold turkey, I would suggest muting anyone and everyone that makes you feel bad.
This isn’t about them, but about you. It is far easier to quell that lurking jealousy by not looking at things that are likely to elicit it. And what do you do with all that free time now you are no longer scrolling pointlessly for hours?
Volunteer! Take a class! Try something new! Find the things that make you happy, rather than comparing
Planning, scheduling and then taking vacations can be enormously powerful for ‘vacating’ from the well-worn paths of our daily lives, and for experiencing new people, places and things.
Often, the perspective one gains for stepping away from one’s ‘regularly scheduled programing’ can itself be invigorating.
Also, I encourage you to explore finding something outside of your job that actually does bring you joy.
I have no idea what that is, whether it might be acts of service, volunteering to help at local charities, or whether it’s taking up a class or a hobby that you have always thought about, but the more we step out of our comfort zone, the more we step into the unknown, the richer our lives become.
And finally, perhaps it’s time to begin exploring a new path for what you do for a living. There may well be exciting opportunities to transfer your considerable skills, talents and experiences to other income-producing pursuits.
Instagram can be a dangerous drug. The scrolling is addictive and like anything done to excess, focusing on other people’s lives on Instagram is risky business because a) it’s bad for one’s mental health, and b) little of what you see is real, especially from ‘influencers’.
Take it from me – as someone who regularly moves piles of crap around my house to hide them from Instagram photos – one cannot trust or believe anything you see.
I have lost count of the number of times I have watched picture-perfect Instagram couples fall apart, none of us following their accounts having any idea of the hardships they may be going through.
Therein lies the danger of Instagram. The pressure to portray perfect lives, filled with sunshine, beauty, riches, is real, but the lives being portrayed are not, as anyone who has ever – ahem – used a filter, will tell you.
Finally, the intensity of your despair and frustration may also be an indication that something else is going on, and you could be suffering from depression.
If you first try shaking life up a bit with some of what I have suggested above but continue to feel the same, the next port of call is to talk to a therapist or doctor. In addition to therapy, there are anti-depressants that may help, and, although unconventional, there is plenty of evidence today suggesting that the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is enormously beneficial for anxiety and depression when all else fails.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-12577141/DEAR-JANE-younger-sister-STOLE-baby-mad.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 DEAR JANE: My younger sister STOLE my unique baby name – and I’m so mad I can’t even stand to look at her child