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Hi everyone.  I hope this finds you well.  This post is about a situation that bothers me.  I am open to general advice.  I am also looking to vent. 

My sister married and moved out of our home state over 30 years ago.  She rarely comes to visit and her hubs is kinda difficult to deal with. Growing up, she never really wanted me around (big age difference) and I guess that's just kids being kids.  But even as adults, she never showed much interest in any kind of relationship.  Which maybe isn't odd because she was not a popular kid and once she met her future husband, he was her only friend.  

I really don't know her very well at all.  She has children.  They are adults.  They visited maybe every other year at best.  She does call our parents, but she never really took any interest in family things here, me included.  Prior to the pandemic it was probably 8 years since she saw our parents.

I always had some resentment towards her and her hubs.  For two main reasons-- not doing more to foster a relationship with her children and our parents.  And the lame excuses they always gave for not coming to visit.  We tried to visit them, but they really didn't roll out the welcome mat and I always felt unwelcome.    

Fast forward 30 plus years, the kids are adults, life is what it is.  They are there and we are here.  Then one of my parents experienced a medical emergency.  Because both our parents are still alive, it was me & our other parent dealing with situation.  It was really hard on my other parent.  They are both elderly and not mentally or physically as with it.  Understandably of course.  So a lot fell on me to keep my sister in the loop.  after a stint in the ICU and the hospital that lasted 2 weeks.  She still hadn't come to town.  

Then she started texting about did I think she should come? But work is so busy etc.  And it took everything I had to NOT say what I really wanted to say.  But I did tell her, you know, "this might be it.  You haven't seen them in a decade."  Well... then she went all in on me, about how she has a family, being a mother and a wife blah blah blah and she can't be a crutch for our parents (what??)

I did a really good job of not taking the bait and not letting it escalate into a full on let me tell you what I really think.  Instead, I told her, I love her, and I trust it to her, to decide, but she asked me. Sorry she didn't like the answer and to not ask me anymore.  Whatever she decides I will still provide updates as I had been.  It really hurt my feelings, but I put them aside.  I knew a visit would help my parents, especially the sick one.  

So she came and it was fine.  We worked together to get the house set up for them.  Of course, I was her taxi and I still had to work.  As I was off that whole time my parent was in the hospital.  Which I am glad I was able to do and I don't blame her for that... but come on, I am doing best.  Not for her but for my folks.  Anyway, on the way back to the airport, she apologized.  I was stunned and just said "that's ok".

Now here we are, in surprises of all surprises, she is coming to visit with her family.  But of course there is more to the story.  The hubs hates me because of a fight she and I had about 10 years.  Which is so petty on his part, but par for the course with him.  His go to emotion is anger.  But from my perspective, when I argue with my sister, that is between us. But it also feeds into his narrative of excuses to stay away... So whatever, douche.  

After the fight, I was in their town multiple times and I always let my sister know I was in town and I could get together anytime that worked for her.  That I would drive to her.  Whatever it took.  Multiple times she declined and I was never invited to their house. 

Eventually, one visit, my sister met me for dinner- alone.  Her hubs dropped her off and picked her up.  he did not get out of the car, even though I invited him to join us.  Like ok.. we had a fight.  Let's be awkward for a few minutes and move on... but again, no.  He is mad I guess.  He didn't wave, he didn't beep.  Fortunately, he did not try to hit me.  LOL.

After that meeting I texted both of them directly, that I was happy we got to connect.  That I would be back in their town and I hoped we could all meet then.  Crickets.  The next invite I sent was ignored.

Sometimes we'll group text with our parents.  And things seem normal.  But can always count on it getting weird again.

This week they are coming to visit.  And I am actually glad.  My parents miss my sister and love her very much.  It breaks my heart.  They always support her.  They'll say things like-- these are her choices.  This is her life.  She married a guy from a bad family, what can we do?  

So over the years, I have worked on my resentment.  It still hurts my feelings that her go to response to me, is that she is a mother and I don't understand.  But I think this is a cruel thing to say to someone without children, especially your own sister.  

So here we are... they are coming to visit and I was thinking, shoot.  This might get weird.  Then I found out today, they don't plan to see me anyway.  LOL.

I guess part of me is relieved but dang... that's pretty harsh.  I guess when one of our parents dies, she'll be around for the other parent.  But what about the surviving parent?  I guess when they pass, I'll just have send her a check for her share of the estate.  Oh yeah.  There's that, too.

(I imagine that seems pretty morbid.  But I will admit since the medical emergency, it is more real than ever that everyone dies. ) 

I think financially, they are not poor, but not well off either.  But our parents are wealthy and I know I make a lot more than she and her husband do.   So I find myself thinking-- where does this all end-- when my parents are gone, do I leave it to my attorney to deal with her and her half.  I feel like she wants nothing from me and the writing is really on the wall.  So I guess I just accept that.

Ugh.   

Thanks for reading.  

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Families are so complicated. Is there a vast age  difference between you and your sister ?
 

I know my husband’s sister resents that we can’t look after his mom a lot and takes it out on us. But really, it is so hard when you live away and have kids . My husband’s sister has ruined her relationship with me and just makes her brother sad. We go once a month now but before when we lived further it was every few months . 
 

They had a good relationship until their parents became elderly . 

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It's not that big, 6 years.  I was a kid when she left home and honestly, we never really had a relationship.  

I don't think I resent so much.  I feel like the way she treats me, is not the way one treats someone they actually care about. LOL.  

And as much as it hurt my feelings, that she isn't going to see me this visit and has made no effort to even explain that to me, I am thankful that at least it's out in the open.  Like -- I owe her nothing either.  Because I am also the one that is closer to my parents, so they pressure me to be the bigger person, to keep the peace.  I understand, they have unconditional love for their children.  But I don't for my siblings.  

O well. thanks for reading and sharing.  Families are complicated.  And sometimes the smaller your family is, the harder it is.  Not as many buffers.  haha.

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I would ask your parents to leave her share in a trust that is ONLY accessible to her and that she cannot use or gift or benefit the hubby.

Reason I say that is because your parents are probably right that she chose what she did, buuuut if she needs an out......it's the best they can do for her. Whether she takes it or not, whether she is happy with her choices or not, that's on her. However, at the very least, she would have options. It would also take you out of the equation.

 

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

... I understand, they have unconditional love for their children.  But I don't for my siblings.  

I'm so sorry about this, Lambert, and I'm extra sorry that she has hurt your feelings.

You mention siblings plural. How many brother and/or sisters, and how is your relationship with them beyond this sister?

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

It's not that big, 6 years.  I was a kid when she left home and honestly, we never really had a relationship.  

I don't think I resent so much.  I feel like the way she treats me, is not the way one treats someone they actually care about. LOL.  

And as much as it hurt my feelings, that she isn't going to see me this visit and has made no effort to even explain that to me, I am thankful that at least it's out in the open.  Like -- I owe her nothing either.  Because I am also the one that is closer to my parents, so they pressure me to be the bigger person, to keep the peace.  I understand, they have unconditional love for their children.  But I don't for my siblings.  

O well. thanks for reading and sharing.  Families are complicated.  And sometimes the smaller your family is, the harder it is.  Not as many buffers.  haha.

For sure. I have only 1 biological sibling and so does my husband. We are a tiny family . 

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14 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

I'm so sorry about this, Lambert, and I'm extra sorry that she has hurt your feelings.

You mention siblings plural. How many brother and/or sisters, and how is your relationship with them beyond this sister?

thank u CF.

that's a mistake. she's my own one. 

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I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle and he talks a lot about our egos and what they thrive on and how strong identification with the desires of the ego can bring us elation when they get validated but mostly it brings suffering. 
 

In this instance the identification with the ego would be how much you’ve internalised that you’re are blood relatives and you ought to have some kind of relationship. Relationship is missing, not for lack of effort on your part, and cue disappointment, frustration, resentment.

 

Imagine she was a total stranger you were trying to make friends with? How many times would you extend the invitation before you assessed that connection as having no potential? As for the relationship she doesn’t have with your parents, try and let that be between them, it isn’t your responsibility to bring them closer together I don’t think.

 

I really like the idea of encouraging your parents to make some kind of arrangement so you don’t have to do the leg work of getting her her inheritance. Although none of it matters in the end that is still a needless bumping of the wound that is still healing. (If there was a person you could delegate to give her health updates too that would be even better). 
 

Philosophy aside, getting out of situations where you have to interact with this person who makes it so well known they don’t want to interact with you would be exceptionally good!

 

Wishing you patience and sight to see the actions of your sister and her husband have everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. 

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I can understand where you’re coming from. My half brother and half sister have had no relationship with myself or their mother for decades. When my mother fell ill for a year before she passed away, I was her sole caretaker. My brother and sister wanted to have nothing to do with it.
 

There’s no need for me to go back and rehash the way they acted (more accurately didn’t act), but suffice to say their behavior was thoughtless, apathetic and abysmal. After my mother passed, I decided I would divorce myself from them. No loss, because there was nothing to miss in the first place.

 

Sometimes family can be worse than strangers. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes that’s just the way it is. And when it is that way, the best thing one can do is to accept it and completely move on, imo. 

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2 hours ago, Lambert said:

thank u CF.

that's a mistake. she's my own one. 

Awww, I understand she's been disappointing, and my heart goes out to you, Lambert.

It sounds as though she's afraid to mix her husband and you--he sounds like a real creep.

If you can manage no expectations, you could maybe float a message to her saying that you're happy to hear that she's visiting your folks. If she sees an opening for you to swing by for a quick hello, you'd love to see her, but otherwise, you hope she enjoys her visit.

This leaves your door open with some encouragement, even while it backs off and lets her reconsider whatever she might fear from her husband.

Unfortunately it sounds like sister has taken the whole 'choosing the wrong crowd' thing to an extreme, and whether she's ashamed of herself or not, most people would be. 

Her actions and attitudes are not a reflection on you--she sounds damaged.

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6 hours ago, Lambert said:

I feel like she wants nothing from me and the writing is really on the wall.

That is where you are wrong. She wants nothing in terms of a sister relationship with you. She would very much want her financial half after your parent are no longer there. Even though she didnt participate and helped when they were needed in their old age. People like that, they would have no scrouples when it comes to it. So, prepare for big  legal battle if and when it happens. 

As for the human part, yes, you did plenty to try to mend the relationship and make it more "sister-like". However I think its time for you to accept that she just doesnt wants that. And to leave it at that. Sorry that the situation is like that. 

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Thank you! @1a1a you make an excellent point about ego, expectations etc. I find value in these concepts as well and I try to practice them.  Because after all what is the point of having a faith or practice, if we don't lean into it when hard times come? 

Thank you @jul-els I agree- family can be the worst. And divorcing them once my parents are gone, is my plan. So much of the problem is wanting to make my parents happy. Which really isn't my responsibility so there's that. But it's hard to just do that. I don't want to cause them discomfort or even the pain that comes from their children not having a relationship. That's how we got into all this passive bs. She acts clueless and then I'm difficult because I won't act fake. She knows what she does.

 

@catfeeder Thank you.  I think you highlight the need for compassion and if I can find a way to have some for her, then I certainly can find some for myself, too. I've decided to do nothing. To be strong and not let this get to me. If she to reaches out to me, I will engage back. because you're right, she has to manage a difficult hubs.

If she does not, ok. I'm not going to be mad anymore or judge her for it.  My peace is mine to protect.  I will still be in contact and see my parents. so whatever... 

 

Thank you@Kwothe28 Fortunately for me, I don't care about the money. When my parents are gone, I'll probably just hire someone to deal with all of it and limit contact. As of now, I am the executor, so there is going to be some involvement.  I actively encourage my parents to spend their money on their own comfort and to do the things they enjoy- even to the extent of gifts and things they want others to have. I know I am the best person they have to ensure things are handled.  And as much as I don't care about the money, I still want it to be handled right and not just thrown away.  Always that fine line. 

Sharing this and all the comments have been so helpful. I've come to realize in a week or so, she'll be back in her town and it's not worth making myself crazy. it's not like anyone is hounding me or even asking me to do anything.  lol.

I think my folks want to influence us to get along and that becomes a source of guilt for me.  I just get really sick of always trying with her, being the bigger person and going along with her justifications on her actions.  It makes me feel like it makes everything OK, when it's not.  And that is hard. 

So maybe this is all for good... because I'm finally going to do what's best for me. which is nothing.  I don't have to fight or push or prove anyone wrong... its ok to do what is best for me.  

Thank you again. 

 

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17 hours ago, Lambert said:

Growing up, she never really wanted me around...she was not a popular kid and once she met her future husband, he was her only friend...

...Eventually, one visit, my sister met me for dinner- alone.  Her hubs dropped her off and picked her up.  he did not get out of the car...

...her go to response to me, is that she is a mother and I don't understand...

Sounds like forever social anxiety.  Coupled with insecure husband who probably makes her do absolutely all the childcare, which she probably resents that you are free.

I think you just have to accept, this is it, and who she is.  You aren't tight sisters.  Sucks, but it happens.  

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1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

Sounds like forever social anxiety.  Coupled with insecure husband who probably makes her do absolutely all the childcare, which she probably resents that you are free.

I think you just have to accept, this is it, and who she is.  You aren't tight sisters.  Sucks, but it happens.  

Thanks, Bun!

You're right. It sucks but I've made this far without a sister what's the rest of my life?  lol

 

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19 hours ago, Lambert said:

I guess when one of our parents dies, she'll be around for the other parent.  But what about the surviving parent?  I guess when they pass, I'll just have send her a check for her share of the estate.  But our parents are wealthy and I know I make a lot more than she and her husband do.

Sorry this is going on. Understand your concerns. Hopefully each of your parents have a bulletproof will and attorneys assigned to execute them.

It can be quite a nightmare when there are sibling issues and a will is not crystal clear precise and worst of all, one of the family is appointed executor rather than an attorney. 

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Hey Lambert!

 

I often read your posts on here! 
 

I’m sorry you have such a distant relationship with your sister. If it brings you any comfort, this may be more common than we think! And, it’s not always “your fault” or even “totally her fault”. Sometimes, blood or not, you simply don’t get on, and it feels very bad because we are told we should have great relationships that are right and special and full of endless love simply because we are blood relatives. Family! Often, our parents and siblings and anyone else in our family, have personalities that clash with our own.

 

I am the same with my sister and we are only exactly 2 years apart (I am the eldest). The age gap can contribute to distance, I do see this sometimes, but if you get on you get on, gap or not. Sometimes our relationships with siblings aren’t good at all. 
 

I had a horrible realisation a few years ago that if my sister wasn’t my sister, I wouldn’t want anything to do with her and would never speak or want to see her ever again! And that felt very bleak! I sometimes think she probably feels the same way about me.

 

It’s tough. You have your elderly parents in the mix as well adding another layer. 
 

I say use your good judgement when it comes to wills - you could get your legal ducks in order and talk to your parents about it as well, if you think conflict might crop up should anything happen.

 

Your story tugged at my heartstrings. I feel like I am in a similar boat and have been all my life. 
 

I so deeply wanted my family relationships to be like those you see in little Country Western movies. All close knit and shouting good night to everyone at lights out and sneaking a torch under the bedcovers to read together till dawn and all of that. I think it was hard on my parents that we never got on and fought most of the time. Your parents might feel a similar pang. As a parent now myself, I hope and try to foster fairness so that my three can (fingers crossed) grow up close and hopefully have the relationship I always wanted with my sister! (I always wanted a brother too) 😎

 

All the best Lambert!

 

You never know. Life throws up some pretty wild circumstances. One day, you two might pull together! You never know! I think, it’s good it is civil and cordial at least. Kudos for keeping it clean and not letting yourself stoop to arguments and resentment. You are a better person and sister than me!

 

x

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Thank you @mylolita.  I'm sorry you struggle with yours, too. I have also had these thoughts:

2 hours ago, mylolita said:

had a horrible realisation a few years ago that if my sister wasn’t my sister, I wouldn’t want anything to do with her and would never speak or want to see her ever again! And that felt very bleak! I sometimes think she probably feels the same way about me.

It's a shame and I would fix it if I could.  But like every relationship, we can't do it alone. 

thank you. ❤️ 

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Sorry to hear your going through this, Lambert.

Well, I'm generally a big believer in keeping family harmony and being a peacemaker of sorts (there are always exceptions); yet keeping a distance when necessary. It's best to get rid of negative energy, rather than dwell in it.

I'm glad to hear that you're keeping the peace as much as you can. It says a lot about your great character! Wishing you well. xx

 

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8 hours ago, greendots said:

Sorry to hear your going through this, Lambert.

Well, I'm generally a big believer in keeping family harmony and being a peacemaker of sorts (there are always exceptions); yet keeping a distance when necessary. It's best to get rid of negative energy, rather than dwell in it.

I'm glad to hear that you're keeping the peace as much as you can. It says a lot about your great character! Wishing you well. xx

 

thank you @greendots

I agree with you about family.  I actually am very loyal to my family and I think left own our own, sister and I get on just fine. I think she is in a tough spot with her hubs. I don't think he is an easy man to be married to... 

I'm feeling better about this situation.  I've come to the conclusion of 'let it be.'  Do nothing, say nothing, focus on my own interests.

Which not surprisingly, is my go to advice to most people posting on this forum. practicing what I preach I guess 🤷 

 

 

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I am sorry Lambert.  Family dynamics are so complex.

My older brother distanced himself from the family for close to 15 years?  During this time my father had Alzheimer's and while having preteens at home, I drove an hour each way every weekend to help.  When things escalated and neither my mother, along with my help couldnt handle it, I merely mentioned my frustration regarding my brother's absence.  My mother passionately defended him saying "this scares him!!"  I lost it. How convenient.  Did he think this was easy for anyone?

Fast fwd my brother remarries and his now wife provided hospice in her home for both her parents, twice within the span of one year.  I can't say for sure, but that seemed to create a shift in my brother.  For the first time he was more present in our mother's life.  Inconsistently at that, but it made her happy. While my mother was in convalescent care, nearing the end of her life and he sat by her bedside every day for 5 weeks.

All in all, the business of the decision making, moves, finances, being an advocate for their care for years and ultimately end of life decisions was on me. Not to mention being a constant presence in both my parent's life.  His new presence eased my resentment some, but I would have preferred to share the responsibility at times.  His absence was always on my parent's mind, and I had to hear about it my entire adult life.

All in all, I had to practice looking at our relationships separately.  My brother's relationship with our mom was separate and not up to me to try to manage.  He could make her day or disappoint her and I had to take a hands off approach.  It hurt at times to see her disappointment.  I have two adult sons, so I can relate to how hurtful it must have been.

What you are feeling is normal.  What helped me to manage it is to compartmentalize it.  You all are not a team.  At times you aren't acting like a united family.  I would choose to put blinders on about their choices and actions.  Afterall, you can't control or change it, no matter how hard you try.  This is a challenging time and it will tax you. I would minimize interactions with them and continue to take the high road, with updates.  That's about it.  Acceptance and letting go is probably what is called for at this time.  What they do is on them.  Period.

As the executor it took a little over 2 grueling years to settle their estate.   I can't say I wasn't grumbling at times that the estate was evenly split.  Honest, raw human moments where I questioned my own pettiness, and it wasn't about the money.  It was the principle.  Those moments were few but what I couldn't put a price tag on, was for as much as my parents longed for a closer relationship to their son, there is no doubt they knew who which of us they could trust and count on.  I am honored they saw that in me and that I could do it.  In the end, it was all about honoring their wishes.   

Again, pushing myself to remember that his relationship with his parents was entirely different than mine.  That's on him to deal with.

Give yourself the gift of letting go.  We can't pick our families.  Hang in there and be kind to yourself.

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@reinventmyself

Thank you so much for the insight and advice. You sum it up perfectly.

I'm sorry for what you went through as well.  And ugh to see his new wife be the adult child you wish he could have been.  ugh.  I can relate. but you're completely right, in the end I can't control anything.  Honor thy mother and father.  That's it. 

They're coming tonight and I'm ok.  I've decided. I do love my sister. I am not offended that she's not interested in making time for me or even explaining her choices to me.  She doesn't need to.  I'm so far down the high road now,  I'm not turning back. lol. 

thank you for sharing your story. It helps ❤️

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I am so sorry too. My sister is 5 years older and we’re very close and she got married young and all- had 4 kids - but she didn’t pull the mother card to that extent at all. I can’t stand that and I’m sorry your sister is doing this.  I’m glad others gave such good advice and input. Unfortunately I have three female friends whose siblings behaved like jerks when it came to taking care of aging parents. Awful. I hope posting helped. 

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