To find this behaviour annoying and martyr like.

(217 Posts)
stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:42:06

My sister and I have been under a lot of strain recently.

She has mild learning difficulties and much of her behaviour I find very selfish, which I think is a combination of both the learning difficulties and her personality (I have an uncle who is very similar)

She always puts herself first, and will never go out of her way to do anything else for somebody unless it benefits her. Recently I have told her how upset I am by her selfish behaviour.

Her response to this has been acting so selfless, it actually comes across in my (probably unreasonable) opinion as acting like a martyr.

e.g. When she was sitting with the paper, I asked how long she would be. I would consider a typical answer "Don't worry, I'll only be 5 minutes" or something similar. Her response is "I haven't finished, but here, you can have it."

e.g. She was standing next to the bath in her towel (with the door open, don't ask me why!) It wasn't clear if she was about to get in, or had just gotten out, so I asked her. I would consider a typical answer "Sorry, I'm just about to get in, I'll be as quick as I can" or something similar. Her response is "I haven't had a bath yet, but you can go first."

I find this behaviour really annoying and martyr like.

When she says these things, it actually makes me feel bad and guilty, when I didn't intentionally do anything wrong. I am trying my best to get on with her, but she just makes me feel bad, as if I was taking advantage of her.

I don't think she is trying to upset me on purpose, actually I think she is trying to take on board what I said about her being selfish, and actually trying to make me happier. She is just going about it in a way that inadvertently upsets me.

Oh dear, so forced to share space because of money. No wonder you are both finding it so difficult. It's rotten having to be around family if you like your own space. I feel for you. YAstillBU but you know that.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:46:34

Yes, I know I am BU, I have admitted this.

But I just wish I could (nicely) make her understand that the thing she is doing to try and make me happy, is actually keeping me up half the night upset!

MorrisZapp Fri 23-Aug-13 23:48:19

If somebody asked me how long I was going to be with the paper, I'd hand it over too. Any enjoyment or relaxation would be gone from the experience.

What sort of answer, really, were you expecting? Do you know in advance how much time you will spend completing leisure activities such as reading the paper?

Why did you need to know how long she would be with the paper? Depends how many interesting articles there are surely.

I used to work with people with LDs. Someone in a meeting said, "why won't he learn from this?" Very frustrated. Someone else said, "he's got learning disabilities". It is harder for your DSis to understand, assimilate, learn from stuff. You know that. Be gentle with her.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:52:03

What sort of answer, really, were you expecting? Do you know in advance how much time you will spend completing leisure activities such as reading the paper?

Honestly, I would like an approximate time, or a number of pages left.

Something like "I'm on page 10, or I'm about halfway through, or, I'll be 10 minutes, or "I just want to complete this crossword"

Anything but "I haven't finished, but you can have it anyway."

Because her saying that makes me feel like a piece of shit.

DanicaJones Fri 23-Aug-13 23:54:44

I have a suspicion that it is far more about her trying to force me to go first so she does't appear selfish, rather than a misunderstanding.

Yes this is what she is doing because you said how upset you were about her selfish behaviour. She is trying to rectify it.

But I just wish I could (nicely) make her understand that the thing she is doing to try and make me happy, is actually keeping me up half the night upset!

I think there must be deeper issues that are upsetting you re your sister as what your sister is doing doesn't merit this.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:55:26

I used to work with people with LDs. Someone in a meeting said, "why won't he learn from this?" Very frustrated. Someone else said, "he's got learning disabilities". It is harder for your DSis to understand, assimilate, learn from stuff. You know that. Be gentle with her.

I do realise this, but my sister can give a very false impression of her abilities, which is very confusing to me.

She behaves much better in public than at home, suggesting she has some control over her behaviour. She never has meltdowns in public, only at home.

She took in what I was saying about her being selfish, and changed her behaviour within a few days. If she managed that, I can't understand why she can't change it again when she saw how much it upset me.

DanicaJones Sat 24-Aug-13 00:01:06

Maybe what is really upsetting you is that her changing her behaviour so much is a reminder you that you got cross with her which you feel bad about. Try and go easy on both of you as families do get on each others' nerves, especially when forced to live together.

DanicaJones Sat 24-Aug-13 00:02:50

Sounds like you are under a lot of strain

Weller Sat 24-Aug-13 00:05:15

Is this the tip of an iceberg? Sometimes it is all the trivial stuff that other people can not understand when really there is so much more. I dread to think that my other dc's feel resentment for the amount of times I have (rightfully) excused DS2 behaviours, built our lives around his needs and the guilt this has caused for me as his siblings never asked for this life.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:06:35

Maybe what is really upsetting you is that her changing her behaviour so much is a reminder you that you got cross with her which you feel bad about. Try and go easy on both of you as families do get on each others' nerves, especially when forced to live together.

Not really. I don't feel bad that I got cross with her. She was being selfish and I told her so.

It just frustrates me that she wants to change, but only succeeded in upsetting me further.

MorrisZapp Sat 24-Aug-13 00:11:02

There must be much more to this. Surely you can't be genuinely upset over being handed a newspaper. Presumably she read it later, when you no longer wanted it.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:14:11

There must be much more to this. Surely you can't be genuinely upset over being handed a newspaper. Presumably she read it later, when you no longer wanted it.

It made me feel guilty. That I took something away from someone when they had it first, which I had no right to do. (Even though I didn't take it, it was forced upon me!)

I guess it just stems from basic morals you are taught when young.

The first (and probably second and third) time I took something from someone else whilst they were using it (probably a toy), I was told that I had to wait my turn.

So to have something when I know I shouldn't makes me feel incredibly guilty.

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 00:16:04

It's probable that you have upset her too, and she wishes you would react differently.

Holding it together in public and only melting at home is very common and doesn't imply higher levels of control.

DanicaJones Sat 24-Aug-13 00:17:24

Is it possible you are a bit depressed if this is keeping you up half the night upset or is it just the strain you are under.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:19:07

Holding it together in public and only melting at home is very common and doesn't imply higher levels of control.

But being able to hold it together in public is control. I know people with more severe LDs are not always able to do that, sometimes they do have meltdowns in public. They don't have the control that my sister does.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:20:58

Is it possible you are a bit depressed if this is keeping you up half the night upset or is it just the strain you are under.

My sister puts me under a massive amount of strain. I posted this a few days ago. It explains some of the behaviour I have had to put up with over the past few years.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1831117-To-not-want-my-sister-to-be-friends-with-him

ouryve Sat 24-Aug-13 00:22:41

YABU. It sounds like she is a little intimidated by you and unsure exactly how she should do things to please you because she struggles with social cues. Instead of asking open ended questions that she struggles to interpret appropriately, you need to make yourself clearer. And stop rolling your eyes at her so much.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:25:39

Instead of asking open ended questions that she struggles to interpret appropriately, you need to make yourself clearer.

Erm, what is open ended about "Have you had your bath/shower yet or are you about to get in?"

That is a very closed question!

An open question would be something like: "What do you think the best way to decide the order in which we should take baths, and why?"

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 00:31:45

Nobody makes anyone else feel guilty. Their words or actions might trigger feelings of guilt within you, but it is you who is generating the guilt. The responsibility for your feeling guilty, or any other feeling, lies 100% with you.

You sound like you have some issues of your own. You make it sound like she tricked you into thieving from her, or taking advantage of her, when she merely offered to let you have the paper. You wanted her to be less selfish and now she is being, you are upset with her because you feel guilty. That's not about her, the problem lies squarely with you in that respect.

Change is incredibly hard for anyone, LDs or not. She sounds like she's really trying and you seem to both resent her for doing it, yet feel she should be doing more and doing it better, and also perhaps feel annoyed that if she can do it now, why has she not done so in the past. You can't frame things like that, it's not correct, it's certainly not productive or positive and it does nothing to help or solve anything right now.

Imagine you were told tomorrow you had to go on a strict Vegan diet. You tried your best, and then someone you loved, loved with and relied on, kept telling you that you were making them feel guilty for having scrambled eggs, and then told you that you were doing it wrong because you still ate honey and had some silk undies. You are creating a lose situation for her.

If her trying to be more thoughtful triggers off these feelings for you, then you really need to examine your own thinking and reactions, not nitpick at her valiant attempts.

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 00:31:47

But being able to hold it together in public is control. I know people with more severe LDs are not always able to do that

No this is a common misconception. Home and "out" present very different challenges. For example you might be a great public speaker but reserved one to one.

I agree you are intimidating her and possibly should listen to your gut response of "feeling upset" and modify your approach.

Try "can you tell me when you're out/finished?"

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:35:20

what you have described has nothing to do with her...learning difficulties or not....expecting an approximate time or number of pages left, when you asked how long she would be with the paper is NUTS! Its YOU

It would piss me right off if someone asked 'how long I would be with the paper'...my reply would have been '3 weeks'!!

as for the bath fiasco....ask the bloody question that you want the answer to! How is she supposed to know whether you were trying to determine whether to put the immersion heater on?!?!

WilsonFrickett Sat 24-Aug-13 00:35:23

I think if Any two sisters are forced to live together for financial reasons there will be an element of strain. It's important for you to be able to separate your sister's LDs from how it is to be two sisters in close proximity.

Because it sounds like you are at the end of your tether with her and she's doing everything she can to stop you being angry with her. She is taking the path of least resistance and you have to work out why.

And as zzzzzz says, it is entirely situation normal for someone to hold it together outwith the home and then to meltdown at home. That's just a fact of life for non-NT people.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:35:23

Try "can you tell me when you're out/finished?"

You are the third person who has suggested this or a variation

e.g. I'll go next when you're done.

And I have said I will try. But as I have said before, it isn't a misunderstanding, the question was straightforward, direct and closed. She just wanted me to go first so she wouldn't be selfish, because she incorrectly thought that would make me happy.

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