My sister is being controlled by a possessive friend

Published: October 3, 2011 | Last Updated: October 3, 2011 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

It’s frustrating to watch when a friend
or family member is involved in an overly possessive relationship.



Dear Irene,

I have three sisters and we are all close. We’ve never had problems with
each other’s friends. My younger sister, who is 25, has a possessive, controlling friend who is also her business partner.

Since my sister became a "follower" of her possessive friend, she no longer
hangs out with her other friends and is no longer close to me. Her friend has a
strong personality and always wants things her way. My sister seems afraid to
displease her.

The first time I met the friend, I knew
something was off. She made demeaning comments to me and tried to make me feel
badly about myself. While this was happening, my sister ignored it.


My sister and I no longer talk or spend
quality time together. If I do hang out with her, the friend gets upset and
tags along. The friend constantly calls to see where my sister is and clings to
her all the time; she excludes me from everything and only invites my sister. I
think she feels threatened by how close my sister and I once were.

The possessive friend recently got into an altercation with my sister’s best
friend from childhood — over nothing. The childhood friend spoke with me
afterwards because she is concerned and scared for my sister’s safety. My older
sister recently warned my little sister about her friend and my mom also agrees
she is too controlling and jealous.

My sister isn’t taking our advice seriously although this friend is having a
negative influence on her and our family. Anyone who was once close to my
little sister isn’t any more. I don’t know what to do about this situation.

Worried Sister



Dear Worried Sister,

It sounds like your sister may have
gotten involved in a codependent or emotionally abusive friendship that is
complicated by her work relationship with her friend. By cutting your sister off
from her family and friends, her possessive friend has been able to draw her even
more tightly into her web.


Given everyone’s concerns about your
sister’s safety and emotional well-being–coupled with her lack of insight–it
may be useful to stage an intervention. Tell your sister that your mother, her
other sisters, her childhood friend, and you want to get together with her for
a family meeting. Express your concerns and find out if she has any concerns or discomfort
about the relationship.


If she wants to keep things as they
are, you may not be able to do much beyond telling her what everyone else observes
and feels—and continue to be there for her. But if she wants to change
things, you can help her make a plan to move away from her friend, both
professionally and personally.

I hope this helps and appreciate
your concerns.

My best,



Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog
about possessive friends:




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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Worried sister I found a good wikiarticle on controlling people so perhaps you could forward it to her.

    I hope your sister can get out of this “friendship” as being in relationships like this for a long time can really damage a persons self esteem and the controllers take up a lot of time and energy from the persons life. They are modern days vampires.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Whether male or female, they are dangerous. Dr. Levine’s advice on an intervention is spot on. The sister needs to sever all ties — including the business.

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