Older sibling bullying us

Dr Rebecca Chisamba
I come from a family of two sisters and two brothers. There is a big gap between my eldest sister and the three of us.
My mother had a medical problem that kept her from conceiving and this sister was an only child for many years.
We are all adults and married but she bosses everyone around.

Our parents stay at our rural home in Chihota. Paangofungira anobata phone barking instructions like a football coach. She does not care if you have the time or resources. I am the last born and most affected by this. She does not even ask, let alone acknowledge that I have a spouse.

Last week she brought maize seed and fertiliser and left the stuff at my house during my absence with a note that read, “These things should be taken home before weekend”. I am a working mother with two kids and have my own programmes. She even phoned our parents to convey the message that I have their loot and they want to know when I can get it delivered. I cannot take this pressure anymore.

She is also very unpopular with our two sisters in-law because she is a very poor communicator. She started working when we were still at school and she used to give us pocket money and some goodies. My word! We are always reminded of this.
Every now and then it is like “had it not been for me mungadai muchidzinga makudo kumusha”.

This has reached a point where when she comes to our place my husband drives out. When she wants something she nags you to the bone. My brother, who comes after her threatened to beat her up if she continued like this. You cannot open her fridge or do anything at her house without her approval but it is the opposite when she visits; anogwedebudza.

She is my only sister but I think I have had enough. My other siblings feel the same. What do we do to correct this? We never asked for her money, we were kids. Should we pay it back? Please assist.

Response
There are so many things we can change, move on and forget about. It is unfortunate we cannot do that all at once or collectively within our families. The best thing to do to is try and correct any situation that affects you as a family briskly or you will be stuck with it through life.

I remember someone once wrote that if it were possible for people to sell their family members very few families would remain intact. You are four, so this is three against one. Maybe she is not even aware she is a problem. Her behaviour is now affecting marriages.

I can tell she is not in good books with your hubby. From my point of view your family lacks general etiquette; driving out when someone comes to your house is very untoward. Opening other people’s fridges without their permission is out, and worse kugwedebudza!

Marriages are to be respected and couples plan their things together. For you to go to Chihota your husband needs to approve or at least know there is nothing wrong. Adult siblings threatening to have a physical fight – that is for animals, not humans. What do your parents think about all this drama?

Your sister should stop talking about what she did for her siblings because she did it voluntarily. When you do something from the heart you never talk about it. I do not think you are serious when you talk about paying back the money, that is not possible.
This matter can be solved as a family.

Don’t brew storms in teacups, relax and reason with each other. Sit down as a family, with your spouses, and map a way forward. You need each other. You are also role models for your children. Big sister should accept that you are now adults. Choice of words is very important because it makes a difference.

Give each other the elbow space you need but do not forget that mukuru mukuru hanga haigare pfunde. Pray for your family and take it one step at a time. Enjoy the blessing that your parents are still alive and the four of you are still here. I wish you all the best.

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