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Bride Wonders If She's Wrong For Uninviting Her Chronically Ill Sister — 'I'm Sick Of Her Stealing The Spotlight'

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Nothing brings out family drama like planning a wedding, but for one bride on Reddit, it's led her to want to exclude her sister entirely.

And surprisingly, not everyone disagrees with her.

The bride is uninviting her chronically ill sister who steals the spotlight because she's afraid she'll ruin the wedding.

Sibling rivalry and family conflict are a common part of chronic illness that makes things even more difficult to navigate for both parties. And when it comes to siblings, therapists say jealousy frequently arises towards the chronically ill siblings because of the extra attention he or she gets.

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That seems to at least in part be the situation this bride finds herself in with Anna, her chronically ill sister who steals the spotlight constantly in their family. 

Anna is in and out of the hospital after having had cancer as a teen, and at first blush, the bride's resentment of Anna seems unforgivably petty, childish, and even ableist. But as she revealed in her Reddit post, she actually has plenty of reason to think Anna will in fact steal the spotlight, and it's left many wondering if there's more at play than just Anna's health struggles. 

Her sister has repeatedly had medical scares that directly coincide with the bride's life milestones.

"Ever since [her cancer] she has been having growths," the bride wrote, "and anytime one appears we are worried about the cancer coming back."

While that is of course worrisome for the whole family, the timing of these growths has become suspicious. 

   

   

"At the beginning, I thought it was just bad timing but it has happened so many times when I hit a milestone," she confessed. "My graduations, my birthdays," and even her recent engagement party were eclipsed by Anna announcing she needed to go back to the hospital. 

Her sister once again announced she needed medical attention just two weeks before the bride's wedding.

"Anytime she makes an announcement she needs to go back to the hospital my whole family will flock to her," the bride wrote. And sure enough, just in time for her wedding, it happened again. "I learned today she is … on and off in a wheelchair from my mom and Anna. She will need to take it just in case for the wedding."

   

   

Hoping to avoid what happened so many times before, she asked her parents to alert the family of Anna's condition. But they refused, saying they didn't want to worry people. So the bride told them she had enough and Anna was no longer invited.

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Many wondered if Anna might suffer from factitious disorder, also known as Munchausen Syndrome. 

Anna's health struggles are of course very real, and the anxiety that came with having had cancer so young is too. 

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teenage cancer survivors were a staggering 57% more likely to develop depression, 29% more likely to develop anxiety, and 56% more likely to develop a psychotic disorder. 

But it's hard not to notice Anna's pattern. As one commenter put it, "Her situation is sad, but it’s obvious that she’s leveraged it and continues to manipulate everyone."

   

   

This sort of manipulation is part of what characterizes the mental health condition factitious disorder, more commonly known as Munchausen Syndrome, in which someone exaggerates or outright fakes a medical or mental health condition. 

You may recognize Munchausen Syndrome from its "by proxy" form, in which a loved one inflicts such medical fabrications on another person, as in the infamous true-crime story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (or the accusations leveled by Lisa Rinna towards Yolanda Foster on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," depending on your sensibilities).

While factitious disorder is often comorbid with personality disorders, it's frequently based on a simple compulsion toward attention-seeking. 

Still, factitious disorder is rare. Given that Anna's life-threatening illness occurred during such a formative time in her childhood, it's easy to understand why she might have such a deeply held need for her family's attention. Her situation may be as simple as that. 

In the end, while the bride's vitriol toward her sister is perhaps a bit jarring — Anna presumably is in legitimate medical danger, after all — her exasperation with this dynamic is understandable, especially given her parents' unwillingness to simply alert the family of Anna's condition.

After reading her fellow Redditors' advice, the bride decided to let her family know about Anna's condition and to ask them to keep her in their thoughts as the wedding approached. "I'm getting ahead of this," she wrote.

Hopefully, that will allow her to have a wedding focused on her and her husband-to-be. Everyone, no matter what family situation they come from, deserves that.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.