My non-smoking sister was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer three weeks after we arrived in France. Lung cancer is common in people who are type "C" personalities who want to please abusive people. My mother was an abusive person who dominated my sister's life in her last year. I gently tried to get her to go to get counselling, but she was not interested. She had so much bitterness toward my mother that I did not think it was good for her, but she seemed unable to protect herself or to stop trying harder to please. Even before she found out about her lung cancer, she began to be abusive toward me even as she kept calling and insisting I was her best friend. She told me that our friendship was over if we came to France, that she "didn't want a husband in Thailand." She was furious with me for ignoring her when she said she was too busy to see me over Mother's Day, even after I told her I was coming to see our mother and didn't even care if I saw her. She told me she doesn't trust me to honour her wishes relative to the the disposal of our mother's ashes and to contacting her friends. She wanted more than two emails or calls a week then she complained when we did not call or write.

Now, she has invited us back to her house for Christmas, paid our way from her frequent flyer points and started asking me about lodging, getting bikes and car arrangements. She mentioned she would like help with the gardening. She asked us to stay for a month, a week in her town at the beginning and three days at the end, hoping that it was clear that she doesn't want us in town the rest of the time. I wrote back with some ideas on how we might spend those days together and she wrote a cold note that how we spent our time was our business. We should make our own plans and if she felt like it she would join us.

She is terrified of dying. In addition, I believe that she really loves/hates me because we came to France. I think that the terrific anger she has toward my mother is now aimed at me. She is inconsistent and abusive. One time, when I told her I had to get off the phone, that I couldn't take any more abuse about her paranoia that I was hiding our will from her, she asked me what was really bothering me that I was so sensitive. My back went out this week due to this stress. I want to support her. I have compassion for her terror of dying. I have been spending three hours a day helping her choose treatments. But I am at the end of my ability to cope with my own grief, her neediness and her abuse. It would be easier if her abuse were consistent, but it feels as if my very existence sparks it.

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