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Thread: Issues with my sister - advice welcome

  1. #11
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    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    Truth be told milly, yes, I'm being stubborn! And yes, it's blinding me from what I really want, which is a nice relationship with my sister. I miss her!

    But unfortunately, she's not the "let's sit down and talk about this" type. She's a historical revisionist, and she'll twist things around so that it was always my fault. I've told her she's the most selfish human being on the planet, and she smiles and says, "yes I am". She simply doesn't care. She found a husband who thinks she walks on water.

    Here's an extreme example: She's a shopaholic. As in, she literally cannot pass a store without shopping. Once, when her daughter was about 3, we were at the mall. My sister saw pretty things, and literally (literally!) ran in. Her daughter got lost in the clothing racks. I became frantic. My sister could have cared less. I ran over to her, telling her that I couldn't find her little girl, and she said, "She'll be fine. You need to relax". Of course, I couldn't relax, and I was by now, screaming my niece's name. I looked everywhere, and I finally spotted her, out in the mall. Yes, she wandered out to the mall, about 3 stores away, and this man & woman had her, sitting down in these chairs. I ran like a maniac, and they said, "No worries, we were going to hold onto her, as we knew someone would come looking". My sister? She tried on another blouse.
    Thanks, LHGirl. I have a clearer picture now.

    I completely agree with what nutbrownhare suggests here: "...if the positive aspects of interacting with someone, anyone, get outweighed by the negative ones, then keeping away from them is self-preservation". The bad outweighs the good, then what's the point?

    It sounds like the relationship with your sister has become intolerable. If you feel like the relationship with your sister has become toxic, and the things she says and does do nothing but drive you bonkers, I can't blame you for cutting contact. We can all only tolerate so much. I mean, I think it's expected that siblings will butt heads every now and then and not always agree with what the other says and does, but I do not think there is any point in investing in a relationship when it adds practically no value to your life and well-being. You may have reached your breaking point, LH. Although it sounds like you've tried with your sister, your tolerance level may now be at a zero. You may not have anything left to give to this relationship.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Really sorry to hear about this.

    I don't have siblings, but I have a father with an encyclopedia of issues, so I can somewhat relate to the inner strife that comes from having a borderline irreconcilable relationship with a family member.

    I agree with the above poster that your sister is jealousóof you, for sure, and maybe even a more general, vaguely pathological jealously toward others. The sense, in other words, that everyone else has it easy and she has it hard. Where that mentality comes from, who knows, but it's in some people. A kind of quiet victim complex that rears its head in corrosive ways: catty remarks, grandstanding, self-delusion. She sounds more comfortable inhabiting half-truths (or outright lies) than inhabiting her true self.

    That's her world, herself, not knot for you to untangle. Doesn't mean cut off all ties, forever, just to protect yourself and only extend as far as you can, when you can. That's how I handle my father. He's my dad, the only one I have, so I'm hardwired to want to have a relationship with him. And I try, and sometimes there's something there. (We've seen each other maybe 10 times in 25 years, so that something isn't much.) And sometimes I try and end up really hurt and disappointed, which is when I opt to detach, heal, and accept him for who he isóa man with real limitations, limitations that can hurt me. More negative than positive, in short, more often than not.

    Reading your posts, I get the feeling that this second is not the moment for reconciliation. Your emotions are still volatile; let them run their course. The advise you've been given about how to handle it with your father is spot on, so I won't run it through a thesaurus and call it my own. Take it, stay strong.

    Feeling for you.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Don't do it. Do what's right for you. But do not "stand any ground". There is nothing to prove or disprove here. The family dynamic will not change. Just be cordial and keep your boundaries to keep sane. Tell your father and/or her that you are 'very busy', then change the subject. Just don't get into it with either of them. You shouldn't be forced to interact just to ease a parent's woes and make them feel less guilty for creating a divisive family dynamic. There is no need to explain who the players are and what their game plans are, just don't get into it.
    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    our dad is begging me, urging me, to talk to her again.To appease my dad, should I call her, and just call a truce?

  4. #14
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Don't do it. Do what's right for you. But do not "stand any ground". There is nothing to prove or disprove here. The family dynamic will not change. Just be cordial and keep your boundaries to keep sane. Tell your father and/or her that you are 'very busy', then change the subject. Just don't get into it with either of them. You shouldn't be forced to interact just to ease a parent's woes and make them feel less guilty for creating a divisive family dynamic. There is no need to explain who the players are and what their game plans are, just don't get into it.
    Excellent advice, thank you.

    I've been doing the "I've been so busy dad, but how are you & mom feeling?" thing, which diverts the discussion.

    Decades ago, I distanced myself from my mother by simply slowly backing away. I put more space in between calls, and I got off the phone much sooner. I simply created more of a "professional courtesy" type of relationship, which allowed me to stay close to all the other family members that I get along with, and enjoy family holidays, without ever having a blowout. Think I'll do the same with my sister.

    By "standing my ground", I believe what the poster meant by that comment was to do what's best for me, rather than to appease someone else, simply to make others happy. I do believe we are all saying the same thing here, so I appreciate all the comments that everyone has made.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    I've been doing the "I've been so busy dad, but how are you & mom feeling?" thing, which diverts the discussion.

    Decades ago, I distanced myself from my mother by simply slowly backing away. I put more space in between calls, and I got off the phone much sooner. I simply created more of a "professional courtesy" type of relationship, which allowed me to stay close to all the other family members that I get along with, and enjoy family holidays, without ever having a blowout. Think I'll do the same with my sister.
    This is smart and discreet. It's not about burning bridges, it's just about creating the kind of boundaries that feel right for you.

    I agree that sister is jealous, and that's why the 'favorite' storyline might appease her, but it's not a story you need to buy into. You're not the only one who's dealt with sis's fragile ego over the years, and so what you've sensed as favoritism is likely the same kind of appeasement.

    What, exactly, was the triggering event that has caused the withdrawal of contact with sister? I'm not referring to the whole body of historic events, but rather, what specifically is the current driver of your lack of contact today?

  7. #16
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    Originally Posted by catfeeder
    What, exactly, was the triggering event that has caused the withdrawal of contact with sister? I'm not referring to the whole body of historic events, but rather, what specifically is the current driver of your lack of contact today?
    The triggering event was this baby shower.

    We have a very small family, and this will be probably the only great-grand baby my parents ever get to meet. The niece who is pregnant is an awesome girl, with a super great husband. We are thrilled beyond belief. Plus, sheís having the only boy in our family.

    My sister not only said No to helping with the shower, she also sent our niece a string of awful texts:

    Sister: Why arenít your friends throwing you a shower?
    Niece: Aunt LHGirl is the only one who has offered so far
    S: Awww, poor you, no friends
    N: No, I have friends, but no one has offered
    S: Well I donít know why youíre so concerned with having a shower. You barely just had sex and conceived, could you give it a minute?
    N: I didnít ask for a shower. Aunt LHGirl offered
    S: Well tell AuntLHGirl to stop playing Hitler
    N: (.....silence, did not respond further)

    Niece called her mom (my brotherís wife, so my SIL), crying. SIL called me, extremely upset at my sister. SIL told my niece to block her, as this is the last thing she needs right now, stress during pregnancy.

    Our mom is pitching in, as are family friends and others. We have since had to turn people away, as we have received so many offers of help. I asked my sister again, and she said nope, not gonna help.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Wow. Good advice from the SIL. Don't bother with the sister.
    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    SIL told my niece to block her, as this is the last thing she needs right now, stress during pregnancy.

  9. #18
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    Our niece is pregnant, and she won't help one iota with the shower. Her exact words, after all the time, money, and energy I'm putting into it: "So glad I just get to show up, eat, drink, and enjoy myself". Yes, I've asked her to help, and her answer is simply "No".


    I would stop worrying about what she is doing for the shower and stop expecting anything. If you are the one throwing the shower instead of her, do not expect her to help. If you, out of your love for your niece, decided to do this alone or with your mom or niece's husband's mom or something, then that's a beautiful gesture.

    I agree that she is terribly jealous and she lies to make herself equal to you. Could it be that she wasn't really the favorite - she was just the one that required more attention and took longer to "get" things? My one brother thinks i am the favorite -- when in fact, he was more self sufficient, was fast to make friends and i required more medical attention at one point and my parents were always worried that i didn't have friends like my brother. I certainly did not feel favored - i just took up more of my parents time in a certain point of our childhoods.

  10. #19
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    I would stop worrying about what she is doing for the shower and stop expecting anything. If you are the one throwing the shower instead of her, do not expect her to help. If you, out of your love for your niece, decided to do this alone or with your mom or niece's husband's mom or something, then that's a beautiful gesture.

    I agree that she is terribly jealous and she lies to make herself equal to you. Could it be that she wasn't really the favorite - she was just the one that required more attention and took longer to "get" things? My one brother thinks i am the favorite -- when in fact, he was more self sufficient, was fast to make friends and i required more medical attention at one point and my parents were always worried that i didn't have friends like my brother. I certainly did not feel favored - i just took up more of my parents time in a certain point of our childhoods.
    Thank you, yes I have given up on her helping. It's almost all done now, as those of us who are doing it, have already met, agreed on everything, and bought most everything.

    The shower was the tipping point. The lies, the behavior leading up to it for decades, was the boiling over.

    Re: The favorite....it's a well-known "fact" in my family. When my brother married his wife 30+ years ago, one of the first things she said to us was that it was so apparent that our sister was mom's favorite. It's since become something we all just "know", and the niece who is having the baby "knows" it too. It's a very obvious thing that our mother does. I could give a million examples, but suffice it to say, it's not in anyone's head.

  11. #20
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LHGirl
    The triggering event was this baby shower.

    We have a very small family, and this will be probably the only great-grand baby my parents ever get to meet. The niece who is pregnant is an awesome girl, with a super great husband. We are thrilled beyond belief. Plus, sheís having the only boy in our family.

    My sister not only said No to helping with the shower, she also sent our niece a string of awful texts:

    Sister: Why arenít your friends throwing you a shower?
    Niece: Aunt LHGirl is the only one who has offered so far
    S: Awww, poor you, no friends
    N: No, I have friends, but no one has offered
    S: Well I donít know why youíre so concerned with having a shower. You barely just had sex and conceived, could you give it a minute?
    N: I didnít ask for a shower. Aunt LHGirl offered
    S: Well tell AuntLHGirl to stop playing Hitler
    N: (.....silence, did not respond further)

    Niece called her mom (my brotherís wife, so my SIL), crying. SIL called me, extremely upset at my sister. SIL told my niece to block her, as this is the last thing she needs right now, stress during pregnancy.

    Our mom is pitching in, as are family friends and others. We have since had to turn people away, as we have received so many offers of help. I asked my sister again, and she said nope, not gonna help.
    So sis's help wasn't exactly 'needed' for the shower. You set expectations for her participation, and she didn't live up to those. I'd leave that alone, because the only people we can rightfully volunteer for anything is ourselves.

    While the messaging with niece comes off as snide, that's between niece and your sister. If the niece is adult enough to be pregnant, she's adult enough to handle her own dealings between herself and her aunt.

    For the sake of my own head and my own family relationships, I'd disengage from a mob mentality in retaliation against sister. Everyone involved is fully capable of estimating their own position with her. You did a lovely thing by arranging a shower for your niece. I'd guard the purity of that effort by not turning it into bludgeon for sibling rivalry.

    If niece wants to invite sister to her shower, then so be it, and if not, then that's the outcome of sister's inappropriate convo with niece. I'd stay out of that, and I'd keep my eyes on my own paper. I'd be kind to sister whenever our paths cross, but beyond that, I wouldn't appoint myself as the arbiter of punitive discussion, because that's a shaky pedestal to stand on, and there are no benefits to be found on it.

    Head high, and congrats on the coming baby to your family.

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