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New question- post #21 sister issues - got long, sorry

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've posted a bit here and there about my one sister, S. Usually when commiserating with someone else on their thread, never really my own.

Without going into details, last month we had a huge blow out in which I told her I was DONE. Sick and tired of dealing with the BS. There are 5 siblings, I'm the oldest, she's 4th. We (her and everyone else) go around and around every few months about how she feels left out, she's not loved, no one understands her, etc. We tell her she's not left out, we all love her, she never tells anyone anything about her life and if we ask, we get yelled at that it's not our business. So, you may see the catch-22 here.

Anyway, the fight escalated quickly (verbal, not physical- but I can say I've never been more mad in my ENTIRE life).

She emailed me wanting to know how to fix it. I told her she needs to seek counseling before I can consider rebuilding, as she truly, honestly sees things VERY differently (and incorrectly) than the rest of us. I can't continue like this. I also told her that I would not stand in the way of her rebuilding a relationship with anyone else in the family (the whole family was there when the fight happened and she was upset that no one stopped me from *attacking* her- she started the whole thing, I just blew up WAY too much, WAY too fast- I apologized to everyone, including her- not for what I said, but how I said it).

I feel like crap, but I've got too much going on to continue this dysfunctional relationship. She does need counseling- there is something wrong with her that I can't help. I have to cut her out until/unless she fixes her own issues. We've (my other 2 sisters and I) have even considered the outside possibility of a drug problem (most likely rx drugs, pills, if anything).

So, I don't know that I'm asking for advice, but if anyone has any to offer, I'm open to ideas. I truly can't do it anymore. My whole life we sort of tiptoe around her b/c she IS more sensitive to certain things and we dont' want to upset her. We always thought she'd grow out of it, but she's now 28 and the thing that started the fight with me is she got into it with my 9 year old over the way dd was playing (and sort of fighting- but working it out) with her cousins (my neice and nephew). Seriously, she was on the same behavior level as my 9yo.

Arrrggghhh. Any btdt- or suggestions, or support, or anything. I feel like an ass b/c this is causing a rift in my entire family. I can be the bitch and take the blame and let everyone else move on, but I can't pretend everything is normal. SO, that is the short story- can you imagine the long one????
post #2 of 24
My problem is I have sisters who are best of friends and want to forget I am their older sister. If there is a way to fix it, I don't have the answer but I will tell you that being left out all the time hurts me beyond measure. In my case the reat of the family isn't bothered but as a sister who has lost for most intensts and purposes , her siblings, I ahve to suggest a good talk with limits put in place. Talk to her but maybe do not let her too close for the time being. Please don't ostracize her becasue nothing is worse than feeling like you've lost the love of your sisters
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
See, that's the thing. She thinks my other sisters and I have this *sisterhood* that we're somehow excluding her from. We're not. I talk to one sister about once a week, the other about once a month. This sister seems to think we're all getting together all the time and talking about her and we're NOT. Never have. She gets upset we don't call her- but she works full time and is a full time student and if you call her when she's doign something, she gets pissed. My sisters I do talk to, I know their general work schedule- which is normal schedule. I don't talk to my brother hardly ever b/c he works screwy shifts and I'm always afraid I'll wake him up if I call. I've explained this to my sister.

Thank you for your input- I'm sorry you've been left out. that must be horrible. But, in the case of my sister, any exclusion has been in perception only. I've explained and had the heart to hearts to explain this, probably every 3-6 months or so. It cycles through every so often.

I told her I can't keep going through that cycle. I never wanted to exclude her, but I can't keep reassuring her- it's like a jealous girlfriend who thinks her boyfriend is cheating, even though he's never shown signs of cheating and that insecurity eventually drives them apart.

I love my sister. I can't help her. That's what hurts most, I guess- I'm frustrated that the only way I can protect myself is to get this distance. Example- she *fought* with my daughter, then was mad I didn't take her *side* as the adult. I told her if she wanted to be treated like an adult, she needed to act like one, not like a 9 year old. I told her my dd thought she was too bossy and mean (which she is- she doesn't talk very nice to the kids - things like 'if you don't stop that, I'm leaving) and I told her that. She *heard* that my dd hated her. I never said that, but that's what she heard. She doesn't remember screaming at me and my dd, she only remembers me *attacking* her.

Anyway, sorry to start venting. I'm sure your situation is different and if I was excluded as you are, for no reason, I'd be very, very sad. But, until this blow out, she's never been excluded- we'd see each other about once or twice a month. My other sisters live in the midwest, so I see them once a year, maybe.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zonapellucida View Post
My problem is I have sisters who are best of friends and want to forget I am their older sister. If there is a way to fix it, I don't have the answer but I will tell you that being left out all the time hurts me beyond measure. In my case the reat of the family isn't bothered but as a sister who has lost for most intensts and purposes , her siblings, I ahve to suggest a good talk with limits put in place. Talk to her but maybe do not let her too close for the time being. Please don't ostracize her becasue nothing is worse than feeling like you've lost the love of your sisters
Thank you for the reminder to be gentle in this aftermath- I need that reminder.
post #5 of 24


My issues with my sister aren't like this, but these sister problems stink, nonetheless. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

Questions... You are the oldest. Do your other sisters ever deal with your sister in this way? Are you the one "attacked" (sorry if that is not the right word) most often? Are you the one that feels the need most to set things right?

I'm the older sibling, and sometimes I feel that birth order plays into our scuffles a lot. Not saying that this is what is going on with you, but I think that the oldest often feel the burden of responsibility more.

Take care.
post #6 of 24
So sorry for the friction . . . Be gentle with yourself, too, OK?

I have a really needy family member who often (couple/more times a month) brings up how neglected she feels. This after I've run errands for her and made myself available for the venting she needs. (Daily phone calls, picking up groceries sometimes, etc.) The sense of being blindsided is what really throws me, and it sounds like some of your S's misinterpretations are hitting you the same way.

Is email a comfortable option for you and your sister? It might give you a little more control over the pace and access between you, but still give you a chance to maintain a connection with her. It sounds like she's just not getting the way your family does include her. What about memories of when she did act as though she felt included? Are there factors in common, and is there any way for the rest of you to re-create or evoke them so she'll see that you ARE including her?

If she reacts badly to being asked about things in her life, maybe she'll be more responsive to statements of support and concern -- "I hope (something she said she was working on) is going well, you do such a great job with blank" "I ran across so-and-so and it reminded me of the great time we had doing such-and-such."

Umm . . . gentle observation: threatening to leave to elicit a certain behavior is abusive. Feeling lost and vulnerable does not make it OK for her to hurt others. Your work to treat the entire family kindly (espec. sticking up for your DD) will help everyone involved.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbean91 View Post
. She doesn't remember screaming at me and my dd, she only remembers me *attacking* her.
Your children need to be protected from her. There is no way anyone would be allowed to speak to my children disrespectfully, never mind being screamed at, that is abuse.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquitane View Post


Questions... You are the oldest. Do your other sisters ever deal with your sister in this way? Are you the one "attacked" (sorry if that is not the right word) most often? Are you the one that feels the need most to set things right?

Take care.
Yes and no. This sister has had go rounds with my mom and my sister, C who's number 3 in the order. Sister J is 5th and keeps her own mouth shut whenever S gets going. (But, she doesnt' have kids to protect) Generally, I hear about how everyone else is wrong form this sister, S, but in hearing the other side from others involved (or not, just observers) S has things twisted weird in her head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post
So sorry for the friction . . . Be gentle with yourself, too, OK?

I have a really needy family member who often (couple/more times a month) brings up how neglected she feels. This after I've run errands for her and made myself available for the venting she needs. (Daily phone calls, picking up groceries sometimes, etc.) The sense of being blindsided is what really throws me, and it sounds like some of your S's misinterpretations are hitting you the same way.

Is email a comfortable option for you and your sister? It might give you a little more control over the pace and access between you, but still give you a chance to maintain a connection with her. It sounds like she's just not getting the way your family does include her. What about memories of when she did act as though she felt included? Are there factors in common, and is there any way for the rest of you to re-create or evoke them so she'll see that you ARE including her?

If she reacts badly to being asked about things in her life, maybe she'll be more responsive to statements of support and concern -- "I hope (something she said she was working on) is going well, you do such a great job with blank" "I ran across so-and-so and it reminded me of the great time we had doing such-and-such."

Umm . . . gentle observation: threatening to leave to elicit a certain behavior is abusive. Feeling lost and vulnerable does not make it OK for her to hurt others. Your work to treat the entire family kindly (espec. sticking up for your DD) will help everyone involved.
THIS IS IT EXACTLY! She doesn't understand how telling my kids 'if you don't do this, I will leave' is mean. I've tried to explain it to her, but she doesn't get it. She doesn't have kids, never babysat or anything. Any time you try to correct her, no matter gently, it's taken as a personal attack.

She wants to be included, but gets upset if we do/say things to include her. I mean, I don't know every single aspect of my other sister's lives. But, I know the basics- C, sister 3rd in birth order- doesn't like to talk about who she's dating until it's serious. J, 5th in the family- doesn't like to talk about when she'll get married and have kids, even though she's in a serious relationship. We respect each other's boundaries.

Email is a possible option, BUT in addition to the blow out I had with her, there was an incident with my sister J a few nights before- that is partly what caused me to react so violently. It was a mean, hurtful beyond all comprehension act and it was done intentionally. Nothing physical to harm her, but it was a HUGE emotional harm done to sister J.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebandg'smama View Post
Your children need to be protected from her. There is no way anyone would be allowed to speak to my children disrespectfully, never mind being screamed at, that is abuse.
The disrespect out of ignorance, I've been able to deal with by limiting time and gently correcting her. The screaming at me (and dd), in addition to what S did to J the couple of nights before is what caused me to cut ties until she seeks help of some sort.

I do love her, but I can't subject my kids to this. Yet, this is what SHE'S most hurt over is 'losing' my kids.

So, cutting ties until she gets help isn't out of line, right? I can email her, but in our family, it's sort of keep things buried until they fester enough they come up again and again. Never really deal with the issues, but always keep them in the back of your mind. I'm trying to change this cycle.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Also, her friends all think she's the bees knees. She's kind, considerate, giving, and loving to her friends. It's those she's supposed to be closest to that she dumps on. Sort of like kids unloading in their 'safe' zone to their parents after a particularly rough day. When my dd starts a new school year, I know we'll have all sorts of petty fights picked b/c she keeps things together all day in a stressful situation and unloads @ night.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Another thing that sucks about this- Sister S (the problem) has always been overdramatic (in our opinion) so when she gets all worked up, I'd call sister C or J to sort of decompress and a 'can you believe she said that' and they'd do the same. We do the same with our mom, whom we love dearly, but is a little wacky sometimes. We'd do this so we could process through the conversations without hurting any feelings.

Now that this has happened, I don't wnat to put my other 2 sisters in the middle. I dont' want them to feel as though they have to choose sides, so I'm isolating myself from them. It stinks to have so much on my mind and nowhere to really talk about it- dh has heard it lots and is patient, but not much help, kwim? and he's got all brothers.

I guess that must be how my sister S feels, but as far as I know, she's felt like this for YEARS, not just after this fight.

Thank you all for listening and the input!
post #11 of 24
I can totally sympathyze. My sister and I are not speaking right now from a fight we had July 3rd. It has really been a big bummer, but the worst part is how it has affected the other people in my family. My mom and Dad are devasted and my sister has stopped attending things because my husband and I were there.

I want nothing to do with her right now, but I feel bad that my parents and brother are being affected too. I don't feel I can talk to them about what happened as they feel pressured to take sides. (Although they have all admitted that my sister was WAY in the wrong) My sister often feels left out and unsupported. She is also the youngest, so I think that plays into her need to feel included and "loved". Right now is really hard for me though, as I am due next week and it has become a "when do I deal with this?" issue. As it will have to be dealt with in some way. I have decided to wait until after the baby is about a month old before I even try to discuss what happened with her. (I know the stress of hashing this out would be bad for me, I get contractions everytime I think about it. I also know the first month of having a new baby will also be tough enough without adding this. All around bad timing)

I also think my sister needs counseling. She has feelings that are there, whether they are rising to the surface at a given time or not, they are still there and she needs to deal with them and stop venting them on me.

I wish you the best of luck! It is such a sad and tough thing to deal with.
post #12 of 24
I have a brother who is as impossible as your sister in many of the same ways. He has been coddled his whole life and there is always a catch-22 in some fashion with him.
He screwed up BIG one time and called my 15 yo (then only 2) a brat-for no reason- at easter dinner at my mom's. I quietly told him I would not tolerate that, he needed help for his issues and packed up my daughter and promptly left. I cut him out of my life until he came back months later to apologize and tell me he understood where he was wrong, that he had some emotional problems. We have had a much better relationship since then, and he has never been anything but wonderful to my children since.
I'm not saying your sister will react the same way, but I am saying that there is nothing wrong with boundaries and distance for you and your family's emotional safety. Good luck.
post #13 of 24
OP: I have no advice, but I know the feeling. I've been backing off a bit from my sister for years...not very successfully. I still get sucked into the older-sister-who-has-to-help-the-younger-one every so often, but I'm doing a lot better than I used to. I have that same feeling of "what just happened there?" when I talk to her. She just doesn't remember/process things the way the other people around her do. She's also got the insecurity inspired feeling that she isn't getting...something...that everyone else gets (from me, from mom, from her friends, etc.). It's almost as though she's being shafted if anything takes priority over her, yk? It hurts. I love her so much, but...we just can't spend time together much. (Oddly, it's been better since my son was stillborn. Something seemed to click in her head.)

Hang in there.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the empathy and stories. Strange enough, S isn't the youngest, she's next to youngest. I've never (I don't think) felt the need to *fix* things or protect all that much, mostly live and let live, and we'll all get along. Yes, I'm opinionated and stubborn, but if I think someone is making a mistake, I generally don't give my opinion (to them) unless it's requested. The protector in me came out when S did something absolutely horrible to J (who IS the youngest, but is most similar in traits to me) and then 2 days later screamed at my dd and me. B/c I was already dealing internally with what she had done to J, I didn't react to her yelling @ me in the best way I could/should have.
post #15 of 24
Just to be clear, I don't mean that I try to get involved with her life or fix things for her. It's just that I have a really hard time saying "no" when she needs/wants help...whether it's a $25 loan or watching her kids or whatever. That doesn't sound so bad, but when the "need" for help is really a desire and/or poor planning and there's almost no reciprocation (ie. I've watched her kids quite a few times, and she's watched mine once and acted like it was a huge imposition that I even asked)...really unhealthy dynamic.
post #16 of 24
I could have written your post...almost word for word. I am sorry for what you are going through, but want to let you know that you are not alone. My final blow-up with my sister was months ago and my reaction was the same as yours...I am done. After a lifetime of tiptoeing around her and her bipolar, passive-aggressive BS, I am done. I was actually the last one standing-the rest of the family had reached their limits some time ago. I have to say that it was a huge relief to finally just say "No more, I am done" and mean it. She has been such a source of drama and stress my whole life and it felt good to let that go. Months have gone by, and though I will always love her, I do not miss her. A toxic person is harmful, even if they are family. Hugs to you.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Storm bride- I'm actually able to say no to her relatively easily. She does have lots of money problems due to poor planning and has called to 'borrow' money a few times and pay it back 'when she can'. I said no, as I knew she'd never be 'able to'.

3boysmom- Thank you for sharing. I love her, but don't miss her hits the nail on the head. I just think there is *too* much work to be done to repair this and not enough that she's willing to work on. It's nice to know i"m not alone.
post #18 of 24
You know, your sister sounds like my mother, who I might add, is the youngest out of 8.

My mother totally over dramatizes everything that happens. I see a kid walking down the street, she sees a kid about to be run over by a car and killed. WTH where is this car?? I have spent my whole life trying to defend myself from accusations of crap I never did. Then I got to the point where I figured if I was going to get yelled at for it, I might as well be doing it. (cause you know.. teenagers are known for their wonderful reasoning skills.)

It has just recently come to light how really crazy my mother is. 4 out 5 people will see the situation one way and she will see it completly different, where she is the victim and everyone is against her. I have no advise.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Again, nice to know i'm not alone.

I need to respond to my sister's email, but as I told her in my last one- anything I tell her will be seen as an attack and hurt her more. I don't want to hurt her and if I thought she'd *get it* I'd lay it all out there. Maybe I should anyway. I mean, how much worse could it possibly get, right?
post #20 of 24
I have a brother kind of like this. He wasn't able to have kids (and frankly I'm not sure it would have been good if he could have, but it sure would have rocked his world). He always sees things in black and white and can be insufferably self-righteous. We do talk, but only about care for our parents.

My sister and I get along fine, but we're not close. We talk about our parents and our brother, but we don't chat or hang.

I had some bad arguments with my brother during the worst of it and had some heated emails, but I think what finally worked for me was just to take the high road so to speak. It worked best if I just sort of distanced myself emotionally and approached it as if he were an acquaintance instead of my brother and tried to respond in a polite and civil way, but to stay above the fray. I never really "cut him out" because I can't—my dad is in a nursing home and my mom is 83 and the three of us kids have to work together to coordinate helping them—but I don't talk to him more than I need to.

I did do some "laying it all out there" in emails with him, but I don't think any of it really resonated with him. He just thinks what he wants to. The best I could do was respond in a way that helped me come to a calm place about it. I tried to do a little NVC though I'm no expert there and just tried not to "take the bait" so to speak and avoid getting dragged down into the muck with him.

Oh, and I never even suggested therapy for him as I know what he thinks of that. He had some real marriage issues and they went to a counselor and he thought it was all a big waste of money. (He's got a lot of money control issues.)

Good luck!
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