Wedding Etiquette: Candice and Brandy

Sister Stress
Candice, Amy and Brandy are single sisters. They have a close relationship and are very much involved in each other's lives. Candice, the youngest, has always been the more organized and dependable sister. She has lived with Brandy for the past five years, which has proved to be a tremendous help for Brandy in raising her 11-year-old daughter, Cassidy.

These single sisters were getting along just fine until Candice's boyfriend asked her to marry him. Now Candice feels guilty about leaving Brandy.
Dr. Phil's first question is to Brandy: "Do you support Candice getting married?"

"Oh, absolutely," replies Brandy.

"Even though you said you're going to be really upset about this?" asks Dr. Phil. "Are you guilt inducing her with your position here?"

"No, I haven't really said anything to her that I'm upset that she's leaving," answers Brandy. "I've only tried to help and am trying to help with the wedding and all that, but inside, I'm just panicking."
Turning to Candice, Dr. Phil asks, "And you sense that, right? Is that why you're upset?"

"Yes, I don't want Brandy or Cassidy to feel guilty that I'm leaving," admits Candice. "Because I do help out a lot and I don't want it to mess up their relationship or my relationship with Cassidy."

Dr. Phil asks, "I don't understand why you're feeling guilty about moving on in your life?"

"Because I do play a big part in Cassidy's life," replies Candice.

Dr. Phil points out, "But it's not your child."
Turning to Candice, Dr. Phil asks, "And you sense that, right? Is that why you're upset?"

"Yes, I don't want Brandy or Cassidy to feel guilty that I'm leaving," admits Candice. "Because I do help out a lot and I don't want it to mess up their relationship or my relationship with Cassidy."

Dr. Phil asks, "I don't understand why you're feeling guilty about moving on in your life?"

"Because I do play a big part in Cassidy's life," replies Candice.

Dr. Phil points out, "But it's not your child."
Dr. Phil continues, "This is your child [pointing to Brandy] and I get the sneaking suspicion that you're sending a message to your sister that she's doing something wrong here by leaving."

"That's not the truth," says Brandy. "I think that's their own guilt coming through. Cassidy is my child and I love her. I used to take care of Candice like she helps me with my daughter. I'm not trying to make her feel guilty at all. I'm just panicking because I can't afford to live in the same place without her. I'm wondering if I have to change my career now."
Turning to Candice, Dr. Phil says, "You are choosing the guilt. She's making it real easy to choose the guilt by using words such as 'panic' and 'desperation' and 'I'm not sure what I'm going to do, I'm going to lose my place to live.'"

"And I know these are real issues in your life," Dr. Phil acknowledges to Brandy. "I don't mean to trivialize that in anyway. And I think that sisters should support one another, but you [Candice] have to take care of you and your life. And I'll promise you if your leaving them causes them to collapse and dissolve, then you're being there is a bad thing anyway because they need to stand on their own."

Dr. Phil concludes, "It's your turn. You have found someone that you want to share your life with and you need to get excited about that, you need to get happy about that, you need to give yourself permission to do that."