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Dear Carolyn: In February, my little sister was very unexpectedly dumped by her boyfriend of three years, just three months prior to their wedding. Breakup was done in cold, cowardly fashion. She's over him, but understandably having a whole host of emotional/trust issues that are giving her a very hard time dealing with men in a romantic way.
This has also led to behavioral changes (drinking, random encounters with men) that, while not unusual among women her age, are extremely out of ordinary for her. Prior to this, she had been an extremely "together" person--definitely the golden child.
At what point do we (friends, family and I) sit her down and gently tell her it might be time to snap out of it? In other words, how long do we give her to figure things out before starting to worry there's been long-term emotional damage? I know there's no bright line on this, but just wondering at what point somebody should step in. Things she's doing aren't a huge deal in a vacuum, just in stark contrast to how she usually behaves. --Broken Engagement
You seem unaccustomed to having people wander off the sanctioned path in your family--at least, doing so in plain view. You also seem to be testing the idea that your sister is overreacting to the breakup, bad as it was. I believe, though, that this was much more than a breakup for her--that you're under-reacting to her crisis--one she's having because this is all so new to friends and family.
"Golden" children tend to live by a do-what-I'm-supposed-to model of behavior, gradually forming an expectation that this will result in the life they're supposed to have. When instead these exemplary choices send them into a publicly humiliating ditch, often the next place they find themselves is in the middle of a major existential crisis. That's especially true if her sense of self derived from golden status.
Getting dumped challenged the validity of that definition, and if she's not golden, what is she?
Worldview-crash is usually comprehensive.