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.

Leverette Fri 23-Aug-13 22:44:10

She can't do right for trying can she.

acer12 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:45:14

hmm

SpanishLady Fri 23-Aug-13 22:46:16

Does she say it sarcastically? If not Yabu and should get off her case - you can see she has the papers/ is in the bathroom so why the need to ask her? Just wait your turn!

HarryTheHungryHippo Fri 23-Aug-13 22:46:29

I think she's trying and maybe you could just reply. No it's ok ill wait till your done, I just wasn't sure if you had finished.
Not really sure why this is annoying you if you don't think it's malicious

mynameisslimshady Fri 23-Aug-13 22:46:51

So she listened to you listing her faults, made a huge effort to change and you still aren't happy.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:54:02

Does she say it sarcastically? If not Yabu and should get off her case - you can see she has the papers/ is in the bathroom so why the need to ask her? Just wait your turn!

I didn't ask her to give me the paper. I asked her to give me a time e.g. 5 minutes. I didn't want the paper before she was finished. I didn't want to go in the bath before her.

So she listened to you listing her faults, made a huge effort to change and you still aren't happy.

Exactly, which is why I feel I'm unreasonable.

I just want her to treat me like a sister, her equal.

Nothing above, which is why her acting like this frustrates me.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:55:13

I think she's trying and maybe you could just reply. No it's ok ill wait till your done, I just wasn't sure if you had finished.

I did, to which she kept refusing, telling me I should go first (despite the fact that she was already in a towel) It was frustrating.

HarryTheHungryHippo Fri 23-Aug-13 22:57:33

I did, to which she kept refusing, telling me I should go first (despite the fact that she was already in a towel) It was frustrating.

Run away shouting no it's fine? Lol helpful grin

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:59:28

Run away shouting no it's fine? Lol helpful

She then herself decided to run away out of the bathroom, into her room saying I was "sour grapes", making me feel more horrible.

I didn't want her to do any of that.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:12:42

Maybe I am just "sour grapes"?

Weller Fri 23-Aug-13 23:20:57

Could it be that you may need to change how you ask things to clarify what you want so instead of how long will you be? Ask, when you have finished, can I have the paper after you? Small things can make all the difference when asking someone who may not quite understand the hidden meanings that we take for granted.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:23:54

Could it be that you may need to change how you ask things to clarify what you want so instead of how long will you be? Ask, when you have finished, can I have the paper after you? Small things can make all the difference when asking someone who may not quite understand the hidden meanings that we take for granted.

I will try that next time, it is possible that will make the difference.

DanicaJones Fri 23-Aug-13 23:27:13

It sounds like she is trying really hard after what you said and being quite kind. She isn't to know the exact response you are after.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:31:44

It sounds like she is trying really hard after what you said and being quite kind. She isn't to know the exact response you are after.

I know, but its frustrating. She makes me feel guilty when I did nothing wrong.

gobbin Fri 23-Aug-13 23:32:14

If I was your sister, being asked about the paper while still reading it would make me feel pressured into finishing it quickly or handing it over, which is a small, insignificant pressure point, but pressure nonetheless.

If you then asked me if I was getting in / out of the bath, that would be another small pressure point. These pressure points would soon build up and I would start to resent you and feel protective of myself (i.e. selfish).

Maybe YOU have made her that way?

You could have waited ten minutes, half an hour, an hour even in the examples above and you would know if the paper/bath was free without hassling the poor woman.

DanicaJones Fri 23-Aug-13 23:32:17

But having said that, are you living with your sister? I think I'd find it hard to now live with my parents or sister and they'd probably get on my nerves, even though i get on fine living with my husband and children.

Weller Fri 23-Aug-13 23:35:41

I would also say that as a parent of a child with LD it is hard for the whole family be easy on yourself and everyday is a learning curve.

DanicaJones Fri 23-Aug-13 23:36:31

The way I would approach the paper/bath examples are. "I'll read that when you've finished." Or if it is her paper "Can I read that when you've finished." For the bath I'd say "I'll go in after you." That way they know you only want to go in once they have finished rather than wanting to go right now

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:39:16

If I was your sister, being asked about the paper while still reading it would make me feel pressured into finishing it quickly or handing it over, which is a small, insignificant pressure point, but pressure nonetheless.

If you then asked me if I was getting in / out of the bath, that would be another small pressure point. These pressure points would soon build up and I would start to resent you and feel protective of myself (i.e. selfish).

Maybe YOU have made her that way?

You could have waited ten minutes, half an hour, an hour even in the examples above and you would know if the paper/bath was free without hassling the poor woman.

Not really, especially not with the bath. It was 10:00 at night, and I needed to know if she was running a bath so I knew whether or not to put the hot water immersion heater on. It takes a good half hour to heat up, and just knowing whether I needed to turn it on or not would make a big difference.

I knew that there was enough hot water left for two showers, or one bath, so knowing what she was planning on doing made a big difference. I needed to know if she had already had her bath/ shower, so I could have a bath/ shower without turning on the immersion heater. As she had not, I needed to turn it on. It would have been helpful if she could have just answered the question rather than being obtuse.

hettienne Fri 23-Aug-13 23:40:23

Why are you hassling her about the paper when she's reading it? Does it matter if she is going to be finished in 5 minutes or an hour? Just leave her to it.

Same with the bathroom - did you really need to ask? Either she would get in the bath or come out within a few minutes - back off a bit!

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:41:04

The way I would approach the paper/bath examples are. "I'll read that when you've finished." Or if it is her paper "Can I read that when you've finished." For the bath I'd say "I'll go in after you." That way they know you only want to go in once they have finished rather than wanting to go right now

Like I've said, I will definitely try this. But 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. I will try it though.

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:41:59

Same with the bathroom - did you really need to ask? Either she would get in the bath or come out within a few minutes - back off a bit!

I just explained this in the post above. I needed to know whether or not to turn on the hot water immersion heater.

Are you boths adults and do you live together? If so, why?

stressedsister1 Fri 23-Aug-13 23:43:19

Yes. Financial reasons.

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.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:37:32

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.

I don't think she tricked me. I don't think she wanted to upset me.

But she did.

Because it isn't nice being made to feel guilty when you've done nothing wrong

WilsonFrickett Sat 24-Aug-13 00:38:09

Feck me, she really can't win, can she?

Oxford excellent post.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:40:07

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

Maybe it's nuts for you. It's a normal question in my family. The remainder of my family, who are NT, ask each other all the time. It's normal for us.

When you only have one bathroom between a whole family, and it doesn't make enough hot water to let everyone have a bath or shower without turning on an additional heater, it helps to ask these questions.

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:41:38

She just wanted me to go first so she wouldn't be selfish, because she incorrectly thought that would make me happy

she 'incorrectly' thought that would make you happy, because that is what YOU told her you wanted

what you really want is for her to be someone else. You are taking the stance that you are correct in your expectations and she is wrong. She is just getting on your nerves, and you have to find a way to deal with it or stop living together

DanicaJones Sat 24-Aug-13 00:41:56

She can't win then.

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 00:42:53

But if you ask her to tell you when she's finished her focus may well be doing that to her best ability?

Perhaps three people suggesting it should give more weight to the suggestion?

Look the bottom line is you are behaving unreasonably. You've acknowledged that. The easiest thing to do in any relationship is to change your own behaviour to encourage the behaviour you require in the other person.

If you want to have a winge about how bugging your sister is, fine, but if you want things to improve listen and action some of these suggestions.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:43:28

Of course she is getting on my nerves!

Have you even read my other post?

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

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:44:28

well..it doesnt work for your sister does it..she isnt 'the rest of your family'...NT or not. So you can carry on asking her annoying questions about ETA of free paper and receive irritating responses. Or alter your behaviour. You cant alter her behaviour, for your pleasure. She is not being in the slightest bit unreasonable

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:45:18

No

why would I have 'even read your other threads'? confused

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:45:42

well..it doesnt work for your sister does it..she isnt 'the rest of your family'...NT or not. So you can carry on asking her annoying questions about ETA of free paper and receive irritating responses. Or alter your behaviour. You cant alter her behaviour, for your pleasure. She is not being in the slightest bit unreasonable

Yes, because people with LDs are never ever unreasonable. They are always perfect and whatever they do, no matter who they hurt its never their fault, they can't help it, they have a LD.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:46:53

No

why would I have 'even read your other threads'?

Well I only posted a link to it on this thread 20 minutes ago., to explain why my sister puts me under so much strain.

Have you even read my other post? You do know this site has a million plus members and lots of posts every day.

You need to work on moving out, getting your own space and reworking your relationship with your sister.

No one can make you guilty. They have behaviour. You react to it. Your guilt is not her fault.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 00:47:45

How old are you both?

What is the household set up?

Do you have learning difficulties too?

Ironically, you are reacting quite badly on here. Are we making you guilty or are you normally a bit hostile or are you having AIBU rage, I've had it?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 00:49:27

Yes, because people with LDs are never ever unreasonable. They are always perfect and whatever they do, no matter who they hurt its never their fault, they can't help it, they have a LD

OUCH

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 00:49:34

Yes, because people with LDs are never ever unreasonable. They are always perfect and whatever they do, no matter who they hurt its never their fault, they can't help it, they have a LD

This is the problem. You need to deal with this and leave your sister alone.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:49:36

No one can make you guilty. They have behaviour. You react to it. Your guilt is not her fault.

I disagree. People can definitely guilt-trip others. In my sisters case it was unintentional.

But it was still a guilt trip

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:50:30

Ironically, you are reacting quite badly on here. Are we making you guilty or are you normally a bit hostile or are you having AIBU rage, I've had it?

Yes, I am, youre right

It's late, I'm tired and I'm angry.

And what I really need right now is a bit of support, even if I am being unreasonable.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:51:28

How old are you both?
24 and 22
What is the household set up?
2 parents, 3 grown up children
Do you have learning difficulties too?
No

As usual with AIBU, there is support in there, but if you are feeling rotten, you can't see it. Advice and support are available, it's just mixed in with a big dose of "suck it up and behave yourself". If you really want some support, post in Relationships and be really honest with yourself and listen.

I do feel for you. My DB is on the AS and I find him, and my family's reaction to him, frustrating at times.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 00:53:24

Look, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? Jesus Christ, the most NT of people wouldn't stand a hope in hell against your martyr-tastic passive aggression. Just because something works for you or makes sense for you, doesn't mean it will for her, and you just can't make be how she operates. It wouldn't matter if she was the onlyperson for whom it doesn't work that way, if it doesn't, it doesn't. You need to find a better way, not keep pushing this arbitrary notionof how she should do and say things onto someone probably struggling to understand a lot of stuff you take for granted in the first place. You are remarkably unperceptive if you can't see any of this.

And again, I reiterate, she is NOT making you feel guilty. No-one has the power to make anyone else feel anything. If you feel guilty, YOU have made yourself feel that way, so ask yourself why, don't blame her. Have you felt guilty for being NT most of your life? Do you think that might unconsciously have something to do with it?

I feel sorry for your poor sister. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. Why don't write her a bloody script of how she must talk to you, without deviation, right down to her facial expressions and body language? Because whilst you're stuck in this loop of lying to yourself that she is responsible for your feelings and being down on whatever she does and says, nothing a out her is ever going to be good enough for you, or right for you.

And you do realise that trying to control and dictate her behaviour can't miraculously 'cure' her, don't you? Because you certainly wouldn't be the first person close to someone with SN who thought that way, consciously or not.

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:54:21

Yes, because people with LDs are never ever unreasonable. They are always perfect and whatever they do, no matter who they hurt its never their fault, they can't help it, they have a LD

this doesnt really make sense as a reply to what i wrote.

I am not saying that your sister has never acted in an unreasonable way. But the things you have posted about on this thread, do not show her to be unreasonable. The interactions that you have described show you to be acting unreasonably towards her

It sounds like you are using your sisters LDs to blame her and to try to control her behaviour/life.....I imagine there is a massive back story that may explain why you eel this way?

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 00:56:17

PS Even if someone is very deliberately trying to guilt trip you, you choose to feel guilty or not. You can choose to not feel guilty. Again, the responsibility is yours.

You sound incredibly bitter, btw. Were you never allowed to feel angry at her,or pissed off with her behaviour when you were kids because of her SN? Because, if you were, that's not her fault, that's your parents' fault. You can't punish her for having SN, or difficulties in your childhood caused by her problems.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:56:56

Have you felt guilty for being NT most of your life? Do you think that might unconsciously have something to do with it?

Absolutely not. I've seen the problems my sister has, why would I want them too?

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 00:57:25

And what I really need right now is a bit of support, even if I am being unreasonable

you need to tell us the real problem, I think

I dont think you'll get support over newspapers and baths. But, clearly this runs deeper

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:59:47

You sound incredibly bitter, btw. Were you never allowed to feel angry at her,or pissed off with her behaviour when you were kids because of her SN? Because, if you were, that's not her fault, that's your parents' fault. You can't punish her for having SN, or difficulties in your childhood caused by her problems.

No of course we weren't allowed to be angry or annoyed at her behaviour, because it wasn't her fault. Even when she embarrasses us in public, which she still does sometimes.

Anytime I tell my parents I find her behaviour annoying they tell me that nobody else in the family finds it annoying, and that it is my problem.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 01:00:30

Feeling guilty for being NT has got nothing to do with wishing you had similar problems. Your answers reveal a lack of self-awareness, and insight into how others think and feel too. Your bitterness towards her just oozes out of your comments.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:01:22

Boomba, if you read the post I linked to, you would maybe have a small insight into why her behaviour is so selfish and upsets me so much.

I don't want to post the entire thing again, so I will post the link again.

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

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:02:13

Why should I feel guilty for being NT Oxford?

Whats wrong with it?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:02:53

It's late, I'm tired and I'm angry. And what I really need right now is a bit of support, even if I am being unreasonable

<<HUG>>

It isn't easy living with someone with learning difficulties.
It isn't easy living with adult siblings.
It isn't easy living with your parents (when you are an adult).

... all three things together... very hard at times.

I expect you are fed up to your back teeth of making allowances for your sister & feel annoyed/hard done by.

It's understandable.

Sadly, the fact of the matter is that she does have LD and what seems obvious to you (and the rest of your family) does not seem obvious to her (or even many of us). You told her she was acting selfishly so she is doing her best not to, it really isn't her fault that the way she is going about it is annoying you too.

I would have done/said the same things as her, especially if you had told me I had been acting selfishly - and I don't have LD.

Can you get a flat with some friends? Uni halls or live-in job?

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 01:05:25

Ah, x-post!

BINGO! So I hit the nail on the head - you were, and remain, resentful that whatever she does or says, she 'gets away with' (my quotemarks, not yours), and your feelings and needs didn't matter if she hurt them. You were made to feel... Say it with me now!... guilty if you were annoyed, upset, whatever. Guilty if you expected normal, decent treatment from her. And now she is trying to treat you in a normal, decent way and you feel guilty. Can you really not see all this? This is not about her, this is about you. Because things have never been allowed to be about you, and that is not fair. But again, that was your parents fault. They failed you. You can't hold her responsible for your parents not allowing or respecting understandable child's reactions to her behaviour.

PS In the above, I am not using the word normal to indicate non-SN.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:07:14

I don't know.

I just want to explain to her in a way that she will understand but won't get upset, that her behaviour made me feel uncomfortable and guilty, even though she didn't intend it to.

And I would prefer her not to do it again.

Honestly it made me feel horrible. Maybe it shouldn't have, but whilst I can control my behaviour, I cannot control my emotions.

Sometimes I want to shout and scream at her, when her behaviour upsets me. Instead I go to my room and cry so I don't upset her. I can control my behaviour, but I can't control my emotions.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 01:07:16

Oh, and I was not saying you should feel guilty. Asking if you feel guilty does not infer that you should. You are inferring negative meaning from an innocent question, just the way you did with your sister.

I actually want you to see that you shouldn't feel any negative things.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:08:06

It sounds like your parents haven't handled the sibling dynamics very well over the years and it has made you very resentful of your sister.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 01:08:56

Sweetheart, if you can't control your emotions, and you're NT, why are you expecting her to be able to control herself?

Perhaps her finally trying to be selfless triggered off some buried pain around always being expected to take shit off her?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:14:01

But am I unreasonable to ask her not to do that because it upsets me?

If I don't I will just get upset every time she does it.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:14:11

It is hard for us, because we don't know your sister or what her LD are exactly, but none of the people I know with LD would 'get it'. They would all see it much more black/white. 'You said I was being selfish - so I let you go first' - no guilt trip, no malice just trying their best to do what you have asked of them - even if it's not what you meant or thought you'd asked.

As much as it must be very very hard to be a sibiling of a child with special needs, it has to be harder to be that sibling - don't you think?

Your parents have created this shitty dynamic where you feel guilty for trying to get your own needs met if it upsets your sister. It's not healthy.

It is your parents you need to stand up to, not your sister.

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 01:15:21

I have read your other thread now OP...i understand your worry for her, but she is an adult. You cant control her life/relationships

your relationship with your sister sounds very much like a codependent relationship such as you would have with an addict/alcoholic

Lweji Sat 24-Aug-13 01:16:50

We can't control other people, only our reactions to them.

It seems like you have some work to do.

Your sister must be confused.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:17:09

As much as it must be very very hard to be a sibiling of a child with special needs, it has to be harder to be that sibling - don't you think?

Hmm, yes and no.

Yes because she has problems especially socially, which I know upset her (nobody showed up to her most recent birthday party)

No because at home, she gets all the attention she needs and can do no wrong. Whereas I don't feel I get enough attention, and am made to feel guilty for being upset by the way she behaves.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:19:47

There are two points there.

Only you know if she is actually able to understand that. It is only reasonable to ask if you think she will get it or else you just have to learn to re-phrase your questions/requests. So 'Can you please give me the paper when you have finshed with it' & 'Shall I put the immersion heater on as I would like to have a bath after you'.

Secondly - perhaphs look at why you are getting upset about it. I think it's because you feel you have said she is selfish, so now she is going out of her way to not be selfish and you feel responsible for her not getting what she wants - her getting what she wants is the norm in your family and it's uncomfortable for you to have created a sitution where that isn't the case.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:21:19

your relationship with your sister sounds very much like a codependent relationship such as you would have with an addict/alcoholic

Yes, sometimes it feels like that. The problem is that people have a lot more empathy for someone who cares for an addict/alcoholic. Their problems are more obvious.

Whereas my sister hides some of her problems e.g. meltdowns from the outside, so people do not realise how difficult it is to live with her sometimes.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:21:28

But don't you think she knows that she gets her own way at home and is 'she who must not be upset' because she has SN. That has to feel pretty shit doesn't it?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:23:58

But don't you think she knows that she gets her own way at home and is 'she who must not be upset' because she has SN. That has to feel pretty shit doesn't it?

I don't know.

Sometimes I'm up half the night crying because I'm so upset by her behaviour but I'm not allowed to express my upset/disappointment/anger, because it will upset her, and she will have a meltdown.

She has no idea.

She would feel pretty shit if she found out.

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 01:28:37

I really think you need to not live with her for a while. You need to look after yourself. It sounds like your mental health is suffering and your relationship with your sister is unhealthy.

can you go to GP and get some support?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:29:45

I really do feel for you.

You seem to be bearing the brunt of all of it and taking an awful lot of responsibility for your sister which your parents, if anyone, should be taking.

Maybe you should make your parents aware of the situation then stand back a bit?

Your parents really have failed all of you - they have fostered a very unhealthy dynamic in your house sad

Could you look at flatting with friends?

Do you have anyone outside the family who is 'on your side'. To bitch to, moan to, who doesn't judge?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:32:57

Do you have anyone outside the family who is 'on your side'. To bitch to, moan to, who doesn't judge?

No, but I talk to the Samaritans sometimes, and I'm thinking about counselling.

I'm not really in a position financially to rent right now, even in a shared flat.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:33:09

I'm really sorry, but I have to go to bed. I've had no sleep for night after night this week, it will take me a good hour to get to sleep when I go to bed and I will wake up at 5.30 irrespective of when I get to sleep!

<<HUG>>

Try to get some sleep OK.

Maybe talk to you tomorrow?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 01:33:48

What about a live-in job?

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 01:40:02

I think moving out needs to be a priority. In the mean time, can you distance yourself as much as possible and really concentrate on yourself?

are you working?

StuntGirl Sat 24-Aug-13 01:40:19

Gosh OP, she can't do right for doing wrong can she?

You asked her to change her behaviour and she has. I think it would be very unfair to ask her to change her behaviour again. As my step mum says, it ain't the rest of the army that's out of line.

I appreciate that things sound difficult but perhaps the issue is not with your sister, but with how you approach and deal with your sister. Expecting certain rigid responses from her seems a little odd to me, and a sure fire way for her to be 'wrong' because she can't second guess the precise response you're after.

kmc1111 Sat 24-Aug-13 02:46:45

I understand what you mean re. the paper and bath. My mother is always doing things like that, and while it's not designed to make others feel bad (more to make herself feel like a saint), it has that effect.

For example when I was still living with her if I suggested we got takeaway or said I'd make something, not realizing she'd already started dinner, she'd immediately say something like "oh I've already started cooking but if that's what you want of course we'll have that instead". I'd of course say no, don't be silly, but she wouldn't let it go, would force the issue, make it a big thing and almost get into a fight about it if I didn't relent. Or one time I said in passing that I hated the light from streetlights outside my room at night. She made me switch rooms with her, wouldn't take no for an answer. I felt so terrible, that hadn't been my intention at all. That's obviously an extreme example, but everyday there were little things like that, and it made me so careful about what I said around her. Even something as simple as looking in the fridge and asking if she needed all the eggs for something or if I could use some would result in a big back and forth.

'well I was going to make meringues, but you should use them'
'no that's fine, I found some cereal anyway'
'no really, you use them'
'it's ok, i'm happy with cereal'
'i'll make them for you'
'don't worry about it, cereal's fine, really'
'but you want eggs so you should have them'
'I really don't even want them now'
...
'here's your eggs'

Drove me nuts. Not so much the initial offer, but the way she would become fixated on it and not take no for an answer. It's nice to offer someone something, but if they say they're happy to wait, or not to worry about it, that isn't a cue to try and force them to take it. It makes the other person feel bad, and often the little 'argument' turns them right off whatever it was anyway, so it's not even doing them a favour. I'm sure you didn't enjoy the paper or the bath!

I think YANBU for finding this frustrating. I do think your sister is trying, although I think she's trying to seem nice and generous, rather than be nice and generous iyswim, which isn't ideal, but it's still better than being selfish. If she was selfish before chances are she won't be able to keep this up for long anyway, so I'd just let it run it's course.

superstarheartbreaker Sat 24-Aug-13 04:28:14

Tbh op..I think you are a martyr for living with someone you dont like just because of money. She has been trying and your still not gappy. Give ger a break.

superstarheartbreaker Sat 24-Aug-13 04:28:31

Happy

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 07:25:19

Drove me nuts. Not so much the initial offer, but the way she would become fixated on it and not take no for an answer. It's nice to offer someone something, but if they say they're happy to wait, or not to worry about it, that isn't a cue to try and force them to take it. It makes the other person feel bad, and often the little 'argument' turns them right off whatever it was anyway, so it's not even doing them a favour. I'm sure you didn't enjoy the paper or the bath!

This is exactly why I felt frustrated! It's not that I didn't recognise that it was kind of her to offer, but that when I said, "No, you are already in your towel and in the bathroom, you go first" she became fixated on her offer and refused to take no for an answer, even to the extent of running out of the bathroom to try and force me into going first when she knew I didn't want to.

And yes you are right, the argument made me feel bad and I didn't feel much like a bath afterwards anyway, but felt like I should take one after all the fuss.

I think YANBU for finding this frustrating. I do think your sister is trying, although I think she's trying to seem nice and generous, rather than be nice and generous iyswim, which isn't ideal, but it's still better than being selfish. If she was selfish before chances are she won't be able to keep this up for long anyway, so I'd just let it run it's course.

The problem is, because of my sisters learning difficulties
1. She becomes fixated on things frequently, so thats fairly normal for her
2. I'm not always sure she understands the difference between seeming nice and generous and being nice and generous.

She takes a lot of what she does from the world around her, especially TV. She will often quote phrases said on TV, because she thinks that is how people actually talk to each other. So if she has e.g. seen a person letting someone else go first, she will assume that that is appropriate for every situation, because she is unable to make the distinction between when it is appropriate for the situation, and when it isn't.

I wish I could make her understand that I know she was genuinely try to be nice, whilst explaining why it made me feel bad and I don't want her to do it again.

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 08:00:58

You wish she was less obsessive and had a better and deeper understanding of why people do what they do? FFS! Basically you just wish she didn't have a LD. Has it ever crossed your mind she too might wish hat? That it might be pretty awful to be inside it too?

You are being rigid, controlling, lacking in empathy, and seem to have little understanding of what is reasonable social interaction. I think the problem lies firmly with you.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 24-Aug-13 08:06:15

You don't ask someone how long they're going to be with the paper! that's very rude...you leave them to it!

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 08:11:34

Honesty? You sound like a nightmare to be honest!! I wouldn't want someone asking me when I would be finished with a paper i was reading or whether i had got in the bath or not.

Your DS is probably just responding the way she does for a quiet life.

Are you like this with her about a lot of things? You sound quite oppressive actually. I feel a bit stressed just thinking about what it might be like for your DS!!

Sorry but perhaps just leave her alone a bit?

zzzzz Sat 24-Aug-13 08:13:02

Or barge into the bathroom when someone is already be-towelled and start saying "are you getting in or out".

kungfupannda Sat 24-Aug-13 08:17:29

You're in a difficult situation, OP. You're stuck living with someone who makes you resentful and unhappy.

BUT, you are being very unreasonable. You've told your sister what you want and she is clearly bending over backwards to give it to you. And now you don't like it because it makes you feel guilty.

You seem to be expecting her to be able to fine tune her changes of behaviour, in order to find a balance between not being selfish and not making you feel selfish. Many less socially aware NT adults would struggle with being made responsible for the minutiae of someone else's feelings like that.

You say you just want support, but you also say you want to find a way of dealing with this. People have made suggestions. If the way you're going about things isn't working, then you need to try something else, not wait for her to "get it". In the campaign about children with SN, one early suggestion was "You change because you can." You are NT and in a better position to try to make changes on this issue. She has tried and it apparently hasn't worked out as you would like.

I don't see why you needed to ask her about the paper. It seems fairly clear that someone who is trying, very specifically, to be unselfish, would then feel pressured to hand it over. If someone asked me how long I was going to be, I would feel the need to hand it over or hurry. The only purpose behind that question is to make the other person aware that you are waiting.

In terms of the bath, maybe you need to be very clear about the purpose of your question. "Are you having a bath or a shower? If it's a bath I'll put the immersion heater on for a bit."

Making a big, fundamental personality change is difficult. She's trying. Now you need to try as well.

musicismylife Sat 24-Aug-13 08:19:55

Learning difficulties also cover social difficulties and finding it difficult to express one's self in an effective way. If you have told her to not be selfish, her natural reaction will be to SHOW you that she is trying not to be selfish.

You then say you want her to treat you as an equal, as a sister, blah blah blah...well, if that was the case, why did you pick holes in her personality in the first place hmm

And please stop treating your sister like she is stupid. And please stop asking her questions which will DELIBERATELY make you upset. And please stop being g a bitch.

PoppyAmex Sat 24-Aug-13 08:20:09

OP I read your other thread and I think you are coming across as a bit controlling.

The language you use is also very telling:

"Am I unreasonable to not want my sister to be "friends" with him"

"Whilst I obviously want her to be happy, part of me doesn't want her to be in a relationship"

I understand you care and worry about your sister, but I think you need to stop focusing on what you "want" for her.

musicismylife Sat 24-Aug-13 08:21:18

And what poppy said.

Methe Sat 24-Aug-13 08:25:27

You sound harder work than she does op!

How rude to pester someone about how long they are going to take reading the paper! Just quietly wait your turn. Have some manners.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:25:52

And please stop treating your sister like she is stupid. And please stop asking her questions which will DELIBERATELY make you upset. And please stop being g a bitch.

I could totally say the same for you. You know absolutely nothing about my situation, you have never met either me or my sister, and yet you fee the need to make nasty comments.

Get over yourself already.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:26:47

How rude to pester someone about how long they are going to take reading the paper! Just quietly wait your turn. Have some manners.

Like, I've said, normal for my family. Just because you don't do it in your family doesn't make it wrong for mine.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:28:04

OP I read your other thread and I think you are coming across as a bit controlling.

The language you use is also very telling:

"Am I unreasonable to not want my sister to be "friends" with him"

"Whilst I obviously want her to be happy, part of me doesn't want her to be in a relationship"

I understand you care and worry about your sister, but I think you need to stop focusing on what you "want" for her.

I want her to be happy, is that so terrible really? Who wouldn't want their sister to be happy?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:31:51

Rather than write nasty comments, it would be good if someone could come up with a practical way I could explain to my sister that I do know she was trying, but what she did did make me unhappy, so I would rather she didn't keep doing that so I wouldn't be unhappy.

Either that or I will continue to hide my unhappiness and go to my room and cry whilst she sits in the living room completely oblivious to the fact that I am upset.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 08:32:12

Have you considered OP that your sister's desperation to please you might be rooted in the fact that she feels really guilty about your joint living situation?

Perhaps she feels terrible that she needs to be living with you? Do you meet some of her support needs perhaps?

Anyway, however it is for you both, it really doesn't sound like a healthy dynamic for either of you. There is an obvious power imbalance and you are both unhappy.

If you are in the UK you could contact your local Adult Social Services and ask for her to be assessed. Explain that neither of you are coping well. They will have a statutory duty to assess you both, you are carer and your DS a person in need of services.

If you don't meet criteria for social care services they might be able to point you in the direction of other kinds of support. Emotional, practical etc.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 08:35:02

Have just read your recent post stressedsister it really sounds like you could do with some additional support. Both of you. Are you in the UK? Does your sister have a specific diagnosis?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:37:55

We live with our parents.

I am not (yet) her carer.

But it feels like it sometimes.

I feel (perhaps unreasonably) that I constantly have to be looking out for her, especially in public, to try and prevent her from being inappropriate.

And one solution would be just for me to let go, and let her be inappropriate. But that is harder than it sounds.

A few weeks ago she was making homophobic comments to friends (some of whom are LGBT), and I felt I had to diffuse the situation. I could have continued letting her make those comments, but as her sister I feel both the need to try and help her behave appropriately in public, and to avoid those friends getting upset.

Maybe I am wrong and should have just ignored the inappropriate comments?

Floatsyourboat Sat 24-Aug-13 08:38:42

You say she has learning difficulties well maybe if you explained why you wanted to know times and when she would be finished she would have given you the answers you wanted.
So basically she couldn't do right for doing wrong even after she had modified her behaviour to suit you and your still moaning about her!
Glad your not my sister! I think your the martyr!

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:41:34

You need to step back from your sister. It's not your place to decide if she is or isn't allowed a relationship.

If you asked me bout the paper I'd hand it over because I'd feel like you were waiting for it and I'd feel uncomfortable. Same with the bath.

You sound pissed off over the relationship and you're taking that out on the bath and paper. Haven't read the thread, but learning difficulties or not she has a right to a relationship and she has a right to negotiate the difficulties and problems around a relationship in any way she sees fit.

You need to step back and disengage.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:42:13

I feel not just us, but the whole family could do with support, because the whole family dynamic is unpleasant. However my parents are very stoic, and therefore would never accept help.

My sister has been led to believe by my family that because she cannot help her behaviour, and therefore cannot change, it is me as the NT sibling who should be the only one seeking help, that I need to change.

And whilst I can accept that I need the support, I think she and the rest of the family would benefit just as much. Telling me that it is my problem and that I am the only one who needs to change just makes me more unhappy.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:43:13

X- post. There's a difference between wanting your sister to be happy in the abstract, as I do for my brother, and feeling that you are responsible for her happiness. You're in the latter mindset and that's where your problems are coming from I think.

I read your other thread. You sound very over involved with your sister & quite controlling. You're at home with your parents, she's not your responsibility. Let her make her own mistakes. If you don't want to be irritated by other people find a way to get the money you need to live independently.

Maybe she wasn't that bothered about reading the bloody paper. Sometimes I flick through while I'm putting off doing something else, if someone wanted it they could have it.

It sounds as is every little thing she does irritates. Fine, that happens but find some space.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:44:28

If you asked me bout the paper I'd hand it over because I'd feel like you were waiting for it and I'd feel uncomfortable. Same with the bath.

But why would you do that? If you were reading a paper and 5 minutes from the end, why not just say so? Why hand it over whilst making a fuss and saying you actually wanted to read it but your needs are less important.

You know it will only make me feel bad and you feel good, like a martyr.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:45:14

A wise friend tells me often when I'm in a rankle - you can't change other people, you can only change your reaction to them. That's why it's up to you to change - not because I'm being horrible, but because the only thing you have the power to change is that which is within you.

PoppyAmex Sat 24-Aug-13 08:45:55

"My sister has been led to believe by my family that because she cannot help her behaviour, and therefore cannot change, it is me as the NT sibling who should be the only one seeking help, that I need to change."

But clearly she doesn't believe that, because according to your posts she did change her behaviour when you asked her to.

kungfupannda Sat 24-Aug-13 08:46:11

People are making practical suggestions.

I think you can't see the wood for the trees here. This is a very specific issue which quite clearly requires very clear and specific input from you. From her point of view, she's probably done what you asked and you're still not happy.

Even if her LDs are very mild, they will be hampering her social interactions to some extent, and you're asking something of her that's quite complex and nuanced.

You're asking her to correctly interpret the intent behind your questions (eg I want to read that paper at some point), figure out the appropriate balance between her own wants/needs and yours, and come up with a correctly presented response, all against a backdrop of you having told her that she was getting it very wrong before.

Why can't you say to her "Look, I'm delighted that you've made such an effort in response to what we talked about. It's great that we can air these things and make changes. But I feel that you're going a bit too far to try and make me happy. There's a balance here - let's see if we can both make some changes and find it." And then discuss some specific examples.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:46:57

Because I'd feel like you were clock watching. What if I was 10 minutes? I just would feel uncomfortable. I'd let you have it. If I was wanting a ling soak in the bath I might be 29 mins I might be an hour - I'd offer to let you go first so I could take my time. As long as I wanted. Same with the paper. Can you see that?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:47:54

But its not just me who needs to change. I accept that I do, but if I were to change, she would still be just as inappropriate in public.

She would still get upset when nobody shows up to her birthday party.

And because I want her to be happy, that makes me upset too.

No amount of changing I do will stop that happening.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 24-Aug-13 08:49:19

I think if there is any choice in the matter you should not become her carer. It will make both of you miserable.

I agree with the others who say the problem is with you. You want to be "equal" sisters but you also want to tell her what to do and point out her character flaws. I would be horrified if someone told me I was selfish - who gave you the right to judge her. No wonder she is acting the way she is. It sounds like you need to grow up and start taking responsibility for your actions and feelings and stop getting so involved in your sisters.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 08:49:39

stressedsister It sounds really frustrating for all of you. Are there any organisations in your area that you can approach ?

How old are you and do you work? Is there a way you could move out and get some distance for a while?

I'm guessing your DS is on the Autistic Spectrum somewhere perhaps?

It sounds like you are taking a lot of responsibility for her behaviour and trying to change her behaviour. Sadly, for anyone living with anyone who behaves in a way that is frustrating, inappropriate etc in order to stay sane ourselves we have to come to terms with the fact that we cant change that person.

There is Caring and there is Codependency and a big big blurry grey area in the middle.

Perhaps try and have a read about what Co-~Dependency is. There is a really good book called 'Codependent no More' by Melodie Beattie i think.

Lots of people in complicated family situations find themselves in enmeshed codependent relationships with family members, it's really common. It is possible to get healthy and be able to separate your emotions and feelings from those of your family member.

I hope you can get some clarity. Sorry if I was a bit harsh earlier. I know it's not easy having people say things we don't like hearing and being harsh. I have been flamed on here before but actually, it's helped me think through things and perhaps recognise where i have been wrong.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:49:46

But none of those things are your problem.

tabulahrasa Sat 24-Aug-13 08:51:36

I think you need to talk to someone... I think you've grown up being unable to have any outlet for the quite natural frustration of having a sibling who isn't NT and you've now got to the point where you're now experiencing that frustration with things that wouldn't be an issue if you felt listened to.

I think the counselling you mentioned earlier might be a good idea, or try looking into support for carers in your area.

YABU though - you asked her to do something, she's trying to do it and in the specific examples you gave, you were the one being unreasonable. Asking someone how long they'll be with the paper is when you strip it down a slightly less rude way of saying I want that paper, so she gave you it.

I also think you asked the wrong question about the bath, because again what you did was make it clear that you wanted a bath, so she tried to accommodate that - when really you wanted to know about the immersion heater, that's what you should have asked about.

If you've told her to be less selfish, of course she's going to do big over the top gestures, how else does she show you that she's trying?

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:51:46

Did you read my post where I said - the not thing you can change is what lies within you?

You can't change her. And sniping at her and moaning and being passive aggressive about baths and newspapers and engaging in character assassination about her behaviour won't make her change. It will make you bitter and resentful and make the situation worse

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:52:28

"My sister has been led to believe by my family that because she cannot help her behaviour, and therefore cannot change, it is me as the NT sibling who should be the only one seeking help, that I need to change."

But clearly she doesn't believe that, because according to your posts she did change her behaviour when you asked her to.

Yes, she is turning into an adult and realising that she does actually have more ability to change than she was led to believe.

She has always been, and still is, sheltered by my parents. They don't always give her the opportunity to be independent, and as a result she has become very dependent and needy, which is partly her LD, but more a result of my parents response to it.

They have a habit of doing things for her rather than let her try things out, make mistakes and learn.

As she is getting older she is beginning to assert her independence and realise she can make changes, but it will take time.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 08:52:57

the whole family fynamic is unpleasant

THIS is your problem, OP, not your sister. Her behaviour is the most obvious and immediate issue, so of course it feels like that's the one to tackle. Butit's also easy to rage about her behaviour and how she should change, how she not make you feel certain ways, how she should conduct her romantic life, etc., etc., instead of tackling the real,big problem of the family dynamic.

And you might need to accept that it might never change. You need to accept your sister will probably never do, be, say, things the way you want or need or think she should. You are not rrsponsible for her, and she is not a child. Start thinking about yourself. Take responsibility for your own needs and feelings - and that might well mean distancing yourself. In fact, it does mean that. You will only make yourself more unhappy and keep failing if you insist on believing she can become who you want her to be - or that it is your responsibility to help her achieve that. She is who she is. You can't want her to be happy, you can secretly rail against her having SNs, being socially awkward, etc., but in the end, it's tough luck on you. Try accepting her.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:53:57

Then that problem is between your sister and your parents. Really it is.

You sound put upon and martyr-ish yourself. And desperately unhappy. Is there no way you could move out?

Im guessing she has AS. She's 22 and attending university. She is not your responsibility and you will not be able to force her to behave appropriately in public. That's part of her condition. Stop obsessing over her. Let her (and your parents) get on with it. If you are treated unfairly at home, then work out a way to find the money and move out.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 08:55:29

You can't stop her feeling upset, OP. everyone has to feel upset sometimes. By trying to manage her emotionally, you are trying to do everything for her in just the same way as your parents do everything for her practically. You have to allow her to feel her way to adulthood. Your family set up has clearly made you feel like she has to be managed and controlled and helped and told what to do, even her feelings. Time for you both to grow up and find a new dynamic.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:55:40

I agree with the others who say the problem is with you. You want to be "equal" sisters but you also want to tell her what to do and point out her character flaws. I would be horrified if someone told me I was selfish - who gave you the right to judge her. No wonder she is acting the way she is. It sounds like you need to grow up and start taking responsibility for your actions and feelings and stop getting so involved in your sisters.

Not really, I'm just a very straight talking person. She was being selfish, so rather than hide it and pretend that she wasn't, I told her.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:56:59

She is what she is. You can't change her. I don't know wht else to say to you than that. You can't accept the person she is and you want her to be different. She isn't. She is what she is.

I wouldn't like a friend if they didn't accept me as I was and wanted me to change to be what they thought I should be. Or a partner. Why should you get to decide that for your sister, if you see my drift. She is what she is and her way of being is just her way of being. If you don't like it, then step away. But to try to make her change is a foolish quest because it won't happen. And shouldn't happen

TarkaTheOtter Sat 24-Aug-13 08:57:25

Well as someone who is rude "straight-talking" maybe you should be pointing out other people's personality failings.

And if you don't like the way your parents are dealing with her (but you're erm not doing that much better yourself) then MOVE OUT. Or at least butt out. Leave them to it.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 08:57:41

You sound far too invested in her. Butt out. Leave her to it.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 24-Aug-13 08:57:56

*shouldn't

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 08:58:08

You can't stop her feeling upset, OP. everyone has to feel upset sometimes. By trying to manage her emotionally, you are trying to do everything for her in just the same way as your parents do everything for her practically. You have to allow her to feel her way to adulthood. Your family set up has clearly made you feel like she has to be managed and controlled and helped and told what to do, even her feelings. Time for you both to grow up and find a new dynamic.

No but I just wish she would stopped doing the behaviours that made her and others upset. I know I can't stop them. But I wish I could as it would make up both happier.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 08:59:00

stressedsister you sound like you are a real cheerleader for you Dsis and you love her very much. I do honestly think you need to get some perspective for yourself
first.

At this point there is not going to be any strategy or technique you can employ, there is not going to be a solution and no amount of examining what other people do/dont do etc is going to change the situation.

Step back, take some time for yourself and perhaps recognise your own part in the drama...then stop playing it. THEN go back to your sister, and support her in healthier clearer more productive way.

Don't feel bad, you are entitled to your own life too.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:00:05

Her behaviours are her behaviours. Why on earth is it her responsibility to make you happy with her behaviour? Are you in charge?

And yes to OxfordBags. I count that as the best bit of advice I was given concerning my then very young severely autistic child. 'It's okay for him to feel upset, everyone feels upset at some stage, there is nothing wrong with that'. It means he has learned that the world doesn't revolve around him all the time, severe autism or not.

However, he's still severely autistic and still behave inappropriately in public some times. That's who he is, and anyone who can't accept that isn't particularly welcome around him.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:01:54

stressedsister you sound like you are a real cheerleader for you Dsis and you love her very much. I do honestly think you need to get some perspective for yourself first.

I do love her very much.

I think people here find that hard to understand I'm not sure why.

If I didn't love her, I wouldn't care if she was upset.

But I care so much, so I obviously love her a lot.

tabulahrasa Sat 24-Aug-13 09:03:00

Why would you expect her not to be upset if no-one cane to her birthday party? I'd be upset.

Oh and while you might not be her main carer, that doesn't mean you aren't one...siblings almost by default end up in a caring role, that's why there are groups for children who have siblings with disabilities and groups for young carers.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:03:01

Also yes to what saintly and Oxford said. In my experience children need to learn to be upset. That's what tantrums are about. But eventually they learn to handle their emotions and behaviours. Let your sister learn.

ccsays Sat 24-Aug-13 09:03:30

I work with people with learning disabilities and I think people in this thread are being very, very hard on you confused

I enjoy working with my service users on the whole, but they can also be selfish, unreasonable and frustrating to the point where you could scream. People outside this field often seem to view people with LD's as a) people to be bodyswerved and to avoid eye contact with lest, heaven forbid, they try and talk to you or b) special snowflakes who can do no wrong and certainly aren't capable of being manipulative. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground where people see them as actual human beings.

I believe you when you say your sister displays martyr like behaviour and I don't really get why people on here expect you to have an infinite amount of patience and not to voice your feelings of frustration hmm Are you being a bit unreasonable? Yeah, probably. But the drip, drip effect of little niggly behaviours can do that to you. Try not to be to hard on yourself and at the same times think of ways you could handle things that can make you both happier. Maybe stay at a friends house for a few nights for some respite?

I think that people in this thread should lay off you though, unless you spend large periods of time around someone with a learning disability, you really don't know how frustrating it can be.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:04:14

Just because you care for and love your sister doesn't make your way right and hers wrong.

My mother loves me. Doesn't mean I do as I'm told by her. I'm an adult and I make my own mind up. Let your sister do the same.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:04:53

Her behaviours are her behaviours. Why on earth is it her responsibility to make you happy with her behaviour? Are you in charge?

No, but it hurts horribly to see her unhappy, and as her sister I see how her actions and behaviour affect her happiness.

Even if I know I can't change her, am I really that horrible for wanting her to act in a way that would make her, me and our whole family happier.

maddening Sat 24-Aug-13 09:05:12

Do you live together?

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:05:37

Ccsays - sorry if I didn't make it clear. My youngest brother has additional needs.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:06:11

Why does she have to make you happy?

ccsays - I spend 24/7 with someone with a learning disability. The OP is being unreasonable, needs to lay off her sister, recognise she's not in charge of her, or responsible for her and get on with living her own life.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:07:26

What saintlyjimjams said.

I don't live with my brother now, but I do care for him from time to time. And I did grow up with him. And I was the older sister.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:08:04

Why does she have to make you happy?

Spotty, you don't want anyone you love to be happy?

I want her to be happy. I hope that she wants me to be happy.

ccsays Sat 24-Aug-13 09:08:18

I don't think it's about making her happy spotty, it's about wanting her sister to act more considerately, which isn't an unreasonable way to feel and certainly doesn't make you a horrible person OP.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 09:09:37

I am also picking up that youu feel invalidated and unacknowledged. Perhaps the feeling that she is 'selfish' is rooted in the deeper issue that her LD has been a focus for the family and you feel pushed to one side? You are clearly very disproportionately angry with her.

That is fine but as long as you choose to stay angry and push her to change you will stay unhappy.

don't know how old you are but am assuming you are an adult. All those childish emotions need to be put where they belong (in the fossil pile) so you can get on with your life.

Being happy and finding adult ways to deal with things is not a sign that you have lost this complicated battle you appear to be fighting.

If you break out from it it doesn't mean that you won't have a role in your family any more.

It just means you will have a different role to play, and i'd hazard a very good guess that your friendships and relationships outside your family would have more rroom to develop. Which is exactly what ought to be happening for you as a young adult.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:12:05

You want her to be what you want her to be so that you are happy.

Can't you see how unfair that is? You want her to be NT and "normal" and this is the way of the years of frustration coming out, is my bet. She isn't. She is what she is. Like it or lump it. And if you can't lump it enough to coexist relatively happily then your best option is to move.

You can't change her. She can't and won't be what someone else wants her to be. Why should she? I wouldn't. And she has to learn how to behave and feel for herself. It's not down to the OP - my brother would tell me "you're not the boss of me"

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:12:12

Oh and while you might not be her main carer, that doesn't mean you aren't one...siblings almost by default end up in a caring role, that's why there are groups for children who have siblings with disabilities and groups for young carers.

I know about these groups now, but didn't as a child, when they would probably have helped alot, and helped me to manage the way I feel and accept her behaviour. Unfortunately my parents are very stoic and very much of the "we'll cope with it together as a family, we don't need support from a group" variety.

ccsays Sat 24-Aug-13 09:14:08

I don't think it's unreasonable to feel frustrated, angry, annoyed or fed up with your sister simply because she has a LD. I don't think bottling up your feelings helps either. Have you thought about seeking out some sort of counselling where you could vent your frustrations without feeling judged?

I really disagree with saying that the OP is 'disproportionately' angry or talking about her sister being 'selfish' as if it's it's not possible. It invalidates her feelings and infantilises her sister.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:14:28

Can I recommend you go and find a group and talk to someone about how you feel? Because at some point your parents won't be here anymore and if you haven't sorted out in your head what your role is wrt your sister, and if you're not happy in your own head with that role, then things will be dreadful for both of you.

So seek out some support now, there must be online groups. This looks a good place to start. www.sibs.org.uk/

You need to stop focussing on changing your sister and start working on why you are unhappy - changing the one thing you can change - yourself.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:15:34

I mean - whatever that role is. Not that you will by default be her carer. But you need to determine what your role will be.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:15:38

Spotty, does your brother do things that emotionally hurt you?

It is really really tough trying to accept the behaviour which in anyone else would be unacceptable.

It is a bit like what someone was saying before about so-dependency and addicts. Carers of addicts are constantly emotionally hurt when their loved ones will do things like steal their money to take drugs, and then get very ill as a result. In a similar way, when my sister behaves in a way that affects her well-being, that hurts me too.

tabulahrasa Sat 24-Aug-13 09:18:07

I wouldn't expect you to know about groups for children while you were a child smile

What they do though is to create a safe space to be able to go - I love my sibling, but they're also hard to live with and give children time to just be themselves without having to consider other people's needs.

That's what I think you need, which is why I think it would be a good idea to look for someone you can talk to about it.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:18:25

Do you mean things like telling my friend he didn't like her dress and she looked fat? Do you mean things like not being supportive when I would like him to be? Yes he does that. But. It's not up to me to change him. He is what he is. I shrug. I don't take it personally. Maybe that makes me hard hearted. But I don't think so. I accept him as he is, flaws and all. You aren't there yet with your sister.

RooRooTaToot Sat 24-Aug-13 09:18:58

Maybe the next time she starts insisting on you reading her paper or taking her bathroom time, you could gently say "It's very kind of you to offer and shows that you are thinking of others, but please don't insist as I would rather wait for you to finish first. It's your turn for X at the moment, I just wanted a rough idea of when my turn would be."

Something like that maybe? If she keeps insisting, maybe say that it would make you feel bad to take her turn. She sounds as if she desperately wants to please you and doesn't understand how she keeps getting it "wrong".

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:19:54

You are too emotionally invested in your sister. Your last post shows that, in my opinion. Your life shouldn't be about her so much. Go out and make a life of your own with more in it than her and all of a sudden you'll find her less annoying. Because she won't be so central in your life.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 09:20:37

It's lovely and very normal for you to want her to be happy. But you want her happiness to be YOUR definition of what happy means, what YOU think will make her happy. If you keep making yourself responsible for her feelings and actions, and trying to micromanage her, paradoxically you are preventing her from finding her own unique route to happiness.

A group, or counselling, would be a very good idea. You don't need your parents's permission, knowledge or indeed, approval to seek these out. Your happiness matters too, and you cannot make yourself happy by trying to make your sister happy. In a way, it's very dysfunctional, as you are making her responsible for your happiness - like you canonly be happy if she is - instead of looking out for your own needs and feelings.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:21:13

I don't think it's unreasonable to feel frustrated, angry, annoyed or fed up with your sister simply because she has a LD. I don't think bottling up your feelings helps either. Have you thought about seeking out some sort of counselling where you could vent your frustrations without feeling judged?

You have to understand that within my family, saying I feel upset and frustrated by her behaviour is not acceptable. I am told that I am intolerant and nasty by the rest of my family, and as a result, I normally bottle up my feeling to avoid them saying this. I don't know if the rest of my family are genuinely more accepting, but when they tell me I just need to "get over it" it makes me feel unreasonable for having normal feelings.

I really disagree with saying that the OP is 'disproportionately' angry or talking about her sister being 'selfish' as if it's it's not possible. It invalidates her feelings and infantilises her sister.

The same way that my family have invalidated my feelings and infantilised my sister.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:22:06

What I mean is. I have DD and DP and a job and my friends and hobbies like my beading and my knitting and so much else in my life that if he behaves like a prat then it's a minor annoyance on the fringes of my life. He's not my be all and end all. So I don't get disproportionately upset.

I can't explain it very well, but my advice to you is to step away. Do things separately. Don't be with her so much. That will give you a sense of perspective.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 09:23:44

All of the above arethe fault of your parents, not your sister. THEY have created that dynamic, not her SNs. They have failed you all. Her changing overnight and being really happy woul pd not be able to cure you of your own resentment, worry and feeling banned and bad for having certain emotions.

I think therapy would really help you. You obviously want to explore emotions and so on, and the family dynamic sounds dynamic and not fair on you. Such a childhood does not heal within you as an adult on its own.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:24:02

Stressed sister - dont tell your family. Find somewhere else to vent. Because she is their daughter too. And they have guilt and all the FOG going on - you're criticising them if you vent to them, because they reared her and feel responsible for her.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:24:29

I agree with oxfordbags.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 09:24:50

Btw, it's easier to be angry with her and want her to change, than to be angry with the real people who upset you and need to change - your parents -isn't it... ?

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:25:15

Spotty, I assume you no longer live with your brother.

Did you find moving out made a big difference?

I think part of the reason I am upset is because I constantly have to put up with the behaviour all the time, because we live together.

Yes a group, or counselling. You're an adult and don't need permission from your family to attend one. That link I gave above looks very good. Use it as a starting place to find your own support and to start disentangling yourself from your sister.

As she's at university she is clearly going to be expected to live an independent adult life (by social services I mean). It is quite possible that she will continue to make bad choices throughout her life - you have to start to realise now that is NOT your responsibility.

Go and find yourself some support.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 09:26:04

You have to pu up with it because of your parents and the family dynamic, not her.

Mia4 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:28:08

OP, I don't think you'll be able to actually get passed this until you get some distance between you both and your family and get you some breathing room.

I understand you want to help your sister, you don't want to see her self-destruct over that bloke but that's completely contradictory to you wanting her to be an adult. As adults you ave to take responsibility for yourself and mistakes you make. By protecting her from them you don't le her do that. You need to to let her make these mistakes, tell her how you feel and if things go up you need to be honest with her and not say 'i told you so' but explain that you saw it coming and why-i.e. her repeated behaviour.

You've told her about her behaviour now and she's trying to amend that. You could try sitting down with her, being completely honest and letting her be honest back- you might find from her perspective she highlights issues about you that you also need to work on. If she throws tantrums then suggest that you both write things down and exchange letters.

As for your family, it sounds like counselling may help here. LD or not, she can't grow as a person if she's not encouraged to take responsibility. Your parents likely don't want to think on that because they should have done it long ago and fucked up there- much like the 'baby of the family' syndrome, allowing the baby to get away with anything and everything and excusing.

You really need to get distance though OP, for yourself and for her. Can you think of moving into your own place?

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 09:28:50

You are still thinking of her as a child. There was a long thread on here about people who had parties where no one turned up! Lots of peoples friends and family members get into relationships which are damaging for them.

And look around you, lots of people have bigoted and prejudice views

you are not responsible for her behaviour or happiness. You have no rights to criticise her personality, juust because she issnt NT.

dontt sociise with her. Concentrate on getting happy. Are you happy with other aspects of your life? Job? Friends? Relationship?

Yes agree with OxfordBags.

I would find a group, but tbh I would seek out individual counselling as well. It sounds as if you have grown up with an unhealthy family dynamic (I say that as a parent who is juggling a disabled child and siblings & trying to meet all their needs- so I know it's not easy) & will need help working out an appropriate relationship with your sister. You sound far too responsible for her. You are not responsible for her happiness or wellbeing - despite her disability she is responsible to some degree for that, along with your parents. You cannot magic her happy however much your parents have expected you to (by keeping quiet and not doing what you have wanted if it might upset her). Counselling will help you unpick all this and get on with living your life.

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:30:41

I am definitely going to look into the counselling.

As for the sibling group, I'm not sure. I almost feel because my sister's needs are nowhere near as severe as many people's, nobody would take me seriously. Also because although she has an official diagnosis with traits of various conditions, she doesn't actually meet the criteria for a specific condition. Which makes it harder to explain.

I can't just say, "Hi I'm stressedsister1 and I have a younger sister with X" Because what she has doesn't really have a name.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 09:32:54

Morning - I mean to say last night, I think you should get this moved to the Special Needs topic, AIBU really isn't the place for it. If you click on 'report this post' next to your opening bit and ask MN to move it for you, they will.

I really wish I knew you IRL. You need a hug, you need someone to care about you, you need someone you can offload to without being made to feel guilty. If you don't have a friend who you you can do this with, then I think you need to find a counsellor who you can talk to.

As I have said from the beginning, the problem is your parents & the way they have built up this family dynamic (and wont accept help or advice).

You are very young yourself, your parents are still around (& hopefully will be for a very long time) - so whilst you clearly love your sister and want the best for her, you need to think of yourself as well (clearly they aren't). I think you need to find a way to move out - irrespective of what you are doing - studying/working you should be able to afford somewhere - even if it's just a room in a 'lodgings' place for now. Not ideal, not every young girls dream admittedly - but freedom from this dynamic. There is nothing to then stop you spending as much time with your sister as you want, but if you aren't 'under your parents roof' you can be more yourself with her and you have somewhere else to escape to. Stop saying you can't - and work out how to.

What is your relationship like with your other sister? How does she cope?

Well I don't suppose groups particularly care about that.

Not all groups are helpful - ime you need to really seek out people in a similar situation to you, & group make-up can be a bit random but this page www.sibs.org.uk/adult-siblings has good general advice, and there's nothing to stop you seeking online forums as a first step (perhaps even try starting a thread on here for siblings).

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:34:43

Stressed sister - I don't live with him now. I did until I went to Uni and for 3-4 years after Uni.

Look. So she said some stuff in front of LBGT friends that wasn't appropriate. Loads of people do that. Not just because of additional needs. So she was a prat. That is her being a prat. It doesn't reflect badly on you. If she's a prat either because she's a prat or because her difficulties make her seem like a prat - she's a prat. It's not a reflection on you.

I've out that really badly and I'm not suggesting all people with additional needs are parts at all.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 09:35:20

I really disagree with saying that the OP is 'disproportionately' angry or talking about her sister being 'selfish' as if it's it's not possible. It invalidates her feelings and infantilises her sister.

Actually, i'd disagree. Being really angry and hurt about her DS being martyrish over the newspaper and bath is a bit disproportionate. I'm not invalidating her feelings. I am pointing out that they a rooted in much bigger issues. OP herself says that:

The same way that my family have invalidated my feelings and infantilised my sister

And recognises that the infantalisation of her sister by her family has been detrimental to her well being.

OP it's a massive shame that your didn't get the change to go to any sibs groups when you were younger. Stoic families often think they are doing the right thing but it hasn't given you the acknowledgement you have needed.

I visited a sibs group once and there was a big display on the wall. The young people had written things like ' i like this group because it gives me a change to get away from my brother for a while' and 'I like this group because the other people understand what it is like to have an autistic sister etc'

So these ^^ children have had a chance to be socialised to feel that it is 'o.k' to be able to have a rant, be fed up, get away from it all for a bit. You haven't had that and you are kind of stuck with it in your own hands now in a toxic family dynamic.

And yes, you are right, it is like the addict/alcoholic thing. It doesn't really matter what the family members presenting issue is, if for whatever reason we have beome locked into becoming the problem solver and rescuer, it is the same pattern of behaviours we have to un pick and work out.

Ah..i feel loads more compassion for you than i did when i first read this thread OP. I really hope you can work things through and start feeling better. will you let us know how you are getting on?

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 09:37:10

These are for you OP flowers wine

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:37:28

What I'm trying to illustrate is. If my NT brother goes out and gets plastered and vomits on someone. That's not my problem. If he goes out and acts in appropriately commenting or acting like a prat - that's not my problem either.

Just because its my brother with additional needs doing inappropriate things, doesn't make it any more my problem.

Do you see what I mean?

And tbh I'm not sure severity of the condition is an issue as such for siblings. My son's autism is very severe & I would be bonkers to think it hasn't affected his siblings at all, but we have always worked very hard to ensure a) that ds1's wish to control doesn't extend to siblings - he's simply not allowed to control them and never has been and b) that siblings have their own space to develop their own interests & their own time away & their own moments when their needs are prioritised. So it may be that despite my son being more severely affected by his condition than your sister, his siblings may have been less affected. How a condition affects siblings will depend a lot on family dynamics rather than the actual condition.

catinabox Sat 24-Aug-13 09:39:04

As for the sibling group, I'm not sure. I almost feel because my sister's needs are nowhere near as severe as many people's, nobody would take me seriously. Also because although she has an official diagnosis with traits of various conditions, she doesn't actually meet the criteria for a specific condition. Which makes it harder to explain

To be honest? At this point i'd give that a miss and focus on yourself for a bit.

have another wine

stressedsister1 Sat 24-Aug-13 09:39:11

Look. So she said some stuff in front of LBGT friends that wasn't appropriate. Loads of people do that. Not just because of additional needs. So she was a prat. That is her being a prat. It doesn't reflect badly on you. If she's a prat either because she's a prat or because her difficulties make her seem like a prat - she's a prat. It's not a reflection on you.

But, I don't want her to act like that. It upsets me and it upsets other people. When I intervene, it upsets her too.

But her behaviour isn't because she's a prat, it's because she repeats what she hears. She didn't realise it was offensive. She probably heard someone else say something similar, so thought it was normal to say.

To be a prat I think you have to intentionally want to hurt people. She didn't want to hurt anyone, she just didn't realise why what she was saying was offensive.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:41:41

But you have to let her own her own behaviour. It is simply not your job to fix her. Hugs. I know it's hard. But it's not for you to fix.

You don't want her to act like that. But she is and she does. You can't change that. And life is a lot easier once you accept that about all sorts of things.

I was using prat as an illustration of a word. Sorry I have upset you.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:43:56

You just aren't getting it. I'm trying to give my perspective and experience but you aren't getting it. You want me to tell you she needs to change? I can't do that because she won't. She is what she is.

Good luck.

Boomba Sat 24-Aug-13 09:46:06

Also, you are holding your sister and her behaviours responsible for your happiness. She isn't. You are an adult. You need to get out of this dynamic

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Aug-13 09:52:18

Living with someone with LD is hard work.
LDs do not simply mean someone is not very bright.

IME the most difficult thing about living/working with and loving someone with LD is the lack of emotional maturity. Particularly as they get older and their actions and words seem that much more inappropriate because they are adults.

People with LDs can appear to be very high functioning, with good speech, vocabulary and a wide range of interests. But this can mask huge processing problems.

The language goes in but it gets scrambled and it the person with LD never really 'gets it'

Hence the inappropriate comments, apparent passive aggressiveness, sulking and tantrums.

I am sure you know all this already stressed but it might be that other people on thread don't.

Point is, you shouldn't feel guilty about getting irritated with your sister. I understand why your family are so protective of her but it doesn't help her to be given a free pass every time she does something she shouldn't.

Equally its not helpful for people to say that having LDs is not an excuse for being a prat.

Its not as black and white as that. If it was it would be a hell of a lot easier than it is.

Just from your OP is sounds like your sister has responded to your conversation in a literal way. It may be that she just doesn't get the subtleties involved in social interaction. You told her some things she did upset her so she is now doing the opposite?

I think it is pretty rough for the siblings in general. There is not much understanding of what it is like for them and very little support available.

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Aug-13 09:53:23

spotty I used your word but I wasn't really referring to your post IySWIM.

It was a general comment.

tabulahrasa Sat 24-Aug-13 09:55:41

"As for the sibling group, I'm not sure. I almost feel because my sister's needs are nowhere near as severe as many people's, nobody would take me seriously. Also because although she has an official diagnosis with traits of various conditions, she doesn't actually meet the criteria for a specific condition. Which makes it harder to explain."

That's not an issue - it's way more common than you'd think, they should understand that completely.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 09:58:23

I know I sound like a heard hearted cow but I do love my brother. But he behaves as he does and it isn't a reflection on me. I think the OP is too close and it's just all going to be irritating at this point.

We use prat with my brother as a short hand for behaving in a way that isn't generally socially acceptable. I never thought it meant deliberately doing it, I just thought it meant doing something unthinkingly.

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Aug-13 10:01:03

Blimey, just realised that I might have come across as dismissive of people's experiences.

When I said that people on the thread might not know I was referring to the fact this is in AIBU.

I'll shut up now because I can't seem to say what I need to say without saying it all wrong blush

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 24-Aug-13 10:02:17

Darling girl - what you want and what is are two different things sad That is one shitty lesson in life that takes most of us a long long time to accept and you aren't there yet. Lots of us still 'wish xyz were different' (and I wont bore you with all of mine), but eventually you get to a point where you simply have to accept that you have to settle for something other than what you really 'want' sad

You are not going to find any peace until you can accept that. Of course you want her not to do those things, but her SN means that she will say & do those things... it's her. She copies, she tries, she listens and tries to adapt her behaviour - she can't do any more than that...

Move out. Get your own life. Be her sister - not her keeper or her carer - she can and will make her own way in life, making her own mistakes and you can be there for her, but it is your parents job to keep her 'safe' if she needs that, not yours. Your job is to sort YOUR life out & be responsible for YOUR happiness in life and only 'give' your sister what you can (emotionally) afford to give her without sacrificing your own sanity/happiness.

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Aug-13 10:02:56

Spotty I know what you mean and I have no doubt you love your brother.

My DS has LDs. He is one of 5 DCs. His siblings have to cope with a lot.
I worry what it will be like for them as they all get older.

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 10:07:27

Stressed sister - if I'm wrong here shoot me down. It is AIBU after all.

I don't think your family have really accepted that your sister has additional needs. And I think your parents have minimised her additional needs and there's an undercurrent of wanting her to be normal and minimising the difficulties she experiences and causes because, well, if you ignore it it'll go away and if you just TELL her enough then someday, she'll get it and be normal.

That's the problem.

Mumsyblouse Sat 24-Aug-13 10:18:07

I think it's extremely important you leave home (aged 24) and get out there and make your own life. In some ways, you living at home and constantly helping out with your sister is covering up for your parents her real needs as being more profound than they like to think they are, plus it is creating a very unpleasant and over-dependent sibling relationship which is likely to end in you resenting her very deeply, whereas actually what she needs is a lovely fun sister who can help her on occasions but isn't worn down by the whole situation and has her own life.

Financially, I don't know what work you do or why you are all still living at home in your twenties, but I would strongly encourage you to move out, even just to a shared house where you have one room in a not great location, it's better to forge your own path in life at this stage than save a small amount of money but live in a very dysfunctional situation in which you are being labelled as the 'bad' or 'intolerant' one.

One of my siblings has MH problems, of course they have impacted on me over the years, but they impact less because I have my own life, family and job which are nothing to do with that, and I am fresh and not resentful if there's a real crisis and we all need to jump to that.

Move out and live your own life, it's the only way, you are too enmeshed here and need the distance to be a more sympathetic and helpful carer.

MrsDeVere Sat 24-Aug-13 11:28:36

I hope that his brothers will support my DS but I would never expect them to put their lives on hold for him.
He is our responsibility, not theirs.

Do you think you can move out OP? Do you want to?

cory Sat 24-Aug-13 12:39:26

I really think you need to find a way to move out and get some distance between yourself and your family even if it means poverty and inconvenience and hardship for you. Because this setup is really not good for you.

What is happening at the moment is a situation where you are all being infantilised by your parents' inability to handle your sister's LD. As long as you are in this situation you will be

a) exhausted

b) unable to get used to grown-up relationships

Atm you are still desperately unhappy because you are not getting your parents' recognition; in other words, you are thinking like a child; it's about what "the grown-ups" do to do to you rather than about you taking your destiny in your own hands.

This is why some posters are reacting quite negatively to you: you really don't speak as a 24yo adult, but are still stuck in this child-mode. Not surprising, it is something many of us revert to when we go back to see our parents.

You need to get away somewhere where you are able to breathe and be an adult. Start making plans now. Don't wait until your parents are old and frail and you feel bad about leaving them with your dsis. Make a plan for the next year: how can you earn more, what cheap accommodation is there etc.

In the meantime, you may have to recognise that while you can only have limited control over your sister's reactions, you can control your own. If you are staying up half the night crying because you felt awkward over a paper, then you need to recognise

a) that this behaviour is not normal

b) that you can get control over your emotions through using CBT techniques and distracting yourself

This is not denying that you have a genuine problem- but people with genuine problem can sometimes use tricks to make sure they are not totally bogged down.

OxfordBags Sat 24-Aug-13 14:57:56

OP, what Spotty said here was so perceptive:

*I don't think your family have really accepted that your sister has additional needs. And I think your parents have minimised her additional needs and there's an undercurrent of wanting her to be normal and minimising the difficulties she experiences and causes because, well, if you ignore it it'll go away and if you just TELL her enough then someday, she'll get it and be normal.

That's the problem.*

What she wrote is exactly how it's coming across to me too. I would bet good money on there having been, when you were growing up, an implied or actually verbalised belief that she would 'get better' or 'grow out of' her issues when she became an adult, went to college and so on. Or perhaps deep down inside yourself, you believed that. I think that her becoming an adult, going to Uni, having relationships, etc., all those things you thought would improve or cure her, and you discovering that they are having no effect on her problems (or, rather, the aspects of her that you find embarassing, wish she didn't have, believe make her unhappy, etc.), has reated a sort of crisis point for you. I say this because crying for hours over being offered a paper points to some really deep problems you're desperately pushing down and refusing to look at. I think you're realising that she is going to be like this, probably forever, and your way of coping with everything to do with her behaviour, being her sister, and so on, has been to tell yourself that she is going to change and improve (in ways you've idealised in your mind). Now you're starting to realise that this isn't going to happen, you're struggling to cope. And understandably so. You need some support - from outside the family. It's not weakness, it's strength to ask for help. Who knows, you might learn new ways to accept and approach your sister that have the knock-on effect of her improving because someone is finally getting her and giving her what she truly needs.

Wat you're currently trying to do is akin to believing that if you shout at a deaf person enough, then they will start to be able to hear (and because they are only deafbecause they're not trying hard enough to hear). If it ain't working, change. You can change much more easily than she can.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 24-Aug-13 17:29:17

Have you got a advocay centre near you? Something like swan advocacy?

They will have details of any services I. Your area that can offer you support as will mind.

Most support services aimed at adult family members are free and they don't have to asses anyone all they need is for you to make enquires,you may be lucky and find that your area has a informal support group they can be great for talking things out with others in the same situation.

Rather than write nasty comments, it would be good if someone could come up with a practical way I could explain to my sister that I do know she was trying, but what she did did make me unhappy, so I would rather she didn't keep doing that so I wouldn't be unhappy

This is what makes me think you may benefit from something you focused.

Its also hard not to read it and get the rage,because your sister is not responsible for your emotions nor are you for hers,however you told her to not behave how she was she did a total swap around that shows she's trying as the others have surgested direct questions are the way to go,questioning like that in your family may be usual but its obviously (with the addition of your previous instruction to dsis) become either confusing for her or giving her opportunity to wind you up so break it down keep it simple and make it clear exactly what you require, no naffing about if its the bath heater then say "let me know of your having a bath then I can put the water heater on" that way there is no opening for either you or her to feel obliged to act in any way anything about how long she's going to be will result in a response you are unhappy with you know this so don't do it,
This may sound harsh but continuing in that way is manipulative and very nasty.

However its also very apparent from your posts that your trying your best in a very differcult situation and that's why I think something like a support group or even just chatting with others in the same situation will help you lots,it will also give you a chance to concentrate on your feelings in a safe enviroment and often the people who run these things can signpost you to further places to offer you support,and the support they offer will be personal to you and not your sister and you may find that attention really reduces the negativity your feeling.

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