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Went to visit dying sister and she was a bitch

(48 Posts)
imaginethat Sat 24-Nov-12 19:52:04

History is toxic family with narcissistic mother at helm. Sick sister firmly aligned with mother in her game of favourites and outcasts.

I have low level contact with both, bit more with mother, occasional emails with sister. We live in different cities. She travels to city where I live regularly but makes a point of not visiting ie emailing to say she will be in town but will be too busy with friends/work/other family etc to see me.

I travel to her city less frequently, always try for a (brief) catch up. Right or wrong, it's just how we are.

Since sister's diagnosis I have tried to be supportive by sending cards/little gifts/money (she had to quit work)/emails and the occasional phone call. Phone calls are difficult as she is v awkward/always says she is busy/going out even if I arrange a time to phone.

Asked if I could visit, she said yes, she wasn't going anywhere. Travelled with another sib, each of us with DC and staying in hotel.

When we arrived she sneered at me saying,"What are you wearing that for?"
I said, "I thought it was nice" and she said, "hmm"
Next I said "hi, good to see you (lie)" and handed her a gift. She threw it on the floor.
She flung some more insults after which I decided to busy myself with housework etc as she can no longer walk.
She was perfectly nice to my brother and sister who were there too, and quite lovely to the children. Kids played together.
After several hours we left. My brother wanted to see her next day and I said I'd look after dc so he could have a good catch up. I did not mention sister being horrible to me and quite honestly doubt he noticed as it is a normal carry on in the family.

I feel as though I have seen her for the last time and almost looking forward to her death so this complex stuff can pass.

half wondering if my feelings will change or if when she has died i will regret not trying harder.

When Dad died I felt sad for the father-daughter relationship I'd never had. i don't miss him at all. I miss my therapist, who died suddenly, way more.

Can anyone tell me what to expect? Thank you reading as is v long

ShamyFarrahCooper Thu 06-Dec-12 11:06:02

OP I'm sorry you had another bad experience, but sadly terminal illness does not make a nasty person nice. It's not the done thing to say these things but it doesn't make them any less true.

Screaminabdabaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 10:23:40

Think your ds did that to bring this thread to my attention, blackeyedsusan. wink Please give him a little kiss from me! smile

What a brilliant thread. These taboo issues need to be brought out into the sunlight so we can all feel better. Thank you OP and others who have posted. thanks

blackeyedsusan Thu 06-Dec-12 09:52:43

oh dear. it seems that ds has learnt how to post. sorry!

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Rindercella Wed 05-Dec-12 16:26:51

I have just come across your thread and I am really pleased to read your update.

If anything, I think being terminally ill can make some people be unpleasant. I would think that would be especially true where there was an uneasy relationship. I know when DH was dying he could be really horrible. Not always to me, but sometimes he was. Sometimes he was nasty to his sisters or his mother. Sometimes he was lovely. I guess being forced to accept your own mortality and having lots of time to think about stuff can make you angry, pissed off and wanting to lash out at those closest to you.

I think you have done the right thing all the way through here. By not engaging with her when she was attempting to be unkind. By removing yourself from her and busying yourself with something else. You were right too not to write to her. I think it would have been the wrong thing to do in these circumstances and could have given your sister an excuse to attack you further.

Grief is a complex emotion and I would think that is especially true when there has been a toxic relationship. As well as the loss of a family member, you will also be grieving for the relationship you wish you'd been able to have.

Be kind to yourself and be glad that you know your children will have a loving, nurturing relationship - I understand exactly where you are coming from here after having an awful relationship with my own sister for all of our lives. I see my two children hugging, holding hands and looking after each other (when they're not squabbling), and it makes my heart warm.

CarnivorousPanda Wed 05-Dec-12 16:08:04

You tried your best and you did what you could. I don't see what more you could have done. I hope in the times ahead,that's of some comfort to you.

At the end of the day, I believe people have to own and take responsibility for their behaviour. Your sister was unable for whatever reason to be pleasant. What a pity that your last meeting with her has ended on this note.

I would write a letter to her, but keep it in a safe place for yourself. And I hope you get support for dealing with this in RL.

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 09:12:30

I think all "relationships" can be disfunctional. The difference is at work: we can change jobs, if you can't it then becomes bullying. In friendships: you can just drop them in a way that is hard for family. In flat shares: you move (I've done this one). With driving instructors: you ditch them and get a new one. etc.

Unfortunately with families it is hard to dich them, they have bonds to you which are hard to break, and they have you attached for the first 18 or so years. So they mould who you are, and you world view. Also there is a lot of pressure for you to love them, and for you to see their treatment of you as "love".

I also remember your posts.

If i may suggest some lateral thinking in such a difficult situation.....
You have tried and am afraid she is not in the right place to step off her high horse. This is maybe the one issue she has control over and it may confort her.
Maybe you just need to be charitable and let it be.
Give unconditional love if you feel capable of it. Stay away if you can't and concentrate on making peace with yourself.

X

imaginethat Wed 05-Dec-12 08:58:24

jingle I thought same thing about the children, they were only in the room briefly then went outside to play, but I made a mental note never to repeat it.

Gee it's so nice to talk to people who understand!

I'm sorry for what you've been through and are still going through with your family.

Without wanting to wash over all the hurt, the session today helped me remember some happy times I'd had with my sister when I was little and I am going to make these (photos and memories) into a little book. I am resigned to the fact I am unlikely to see her again, and that we will never have the relationship I would have liked, and am going to try to bring the better stuff to the surface (for want of better phrasing)

Yes I did see another therapist after mine died. She was a cool lady, quite a different approach which was weird at first, but really helped.

God why are families such hothouses of dysfunction...

jingleallthespringy Wed 05-Dec-12 08:40:49

Gosh, this thread has got me thinking. My family treat me the same way yours treat you, imagine. If any one of my toxic, narcissistic, bullying sisters were on their deathbed, I'm quite sure she'd treat me the way your dying sister has treated you. I have decided to not see my family any more and I doubt that would change if one of them were on their deathbed - it would only be yet another special event that I couldn't 'spoil' by responding to the public abuse dealt out to me. I speak as one whose frightening ex, like you cashmere, also died suddenly and brutally. I only felt immense relief that he couldn't hurt me any more. having faced this kind of death I am not in awe of it iyswim.

One thing I would say: it is very damaging for your children to be present when you are being treated in this way. If you still want to see your sister, then please don't take your children.

You also say your therapist died suddenly - have you had a therapist since?

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Wed 05-Dec-12 07:09:22

smile

imaginethat Wed 05-Dec-12 07:01:10

Me again, I wanted to thank you all for your v kind posts which I have read and re-read, the kindness of strangers can mean so much.

Did the sensible thing and saw a bereavement counsellor which was incredibly helpful. I feel much more peaceful already and will go back in a couple of weeks. X

IllageVidiot Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:10

Standing up to your mother to protect yourself, to make a stand for your siblings and make a point was right. You have been surrounded by wrong - to say you haven't always done the right thing would be expected (after all what role models are there for good behaviour?) but standing up for yourself is no crime.

I had to accept the fact that my toxic family were exactly that, my parents didn't do what they should have done - I grieved for the lack of parental love and the relationships I should have had but once I accepted that it was their issues not me, and if we had chased each other a thousand years it would never have changed then I could accept the feeling of blissful relief when he died was actually fine and did not make me a bad person. It made me a sad person but then it was incredibly freeing. Don't feel guilty for being glad a hurtful presence is gone from your life and you can grieve the relationship you wanted but not from the point of view that had you tried harder you would have got it - that's not true and the road to madness.
Wonderful if you can support your DN.

forgetmenots Sat 24-Nov-12 22:34:45

Can't say it better than AF as usual. I'm so sorry OP. I think that focusing on her son is a positive idea, well done. You have not wronged anyone here.

cashmere Sat 24-Nov-12 21:53:25

Well as you sat you're doing the right thing now- and there are no rules about not confronting your Mum.
I'm fine and think it's quite telling that I thought about Gran 1st. You might well find out that you are okay with your sister passing (not sure how to phrase that). However, I do think you need to offload onto an outsider.....or as AF says here.

AnyFucker Sat 24-Nov-12 21:48:50

all the best, Op

and remember Mn is always here

imaginethat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:43:16

Oh and I meant to say sorry for your heartache with your ex, thank you for sharing.

I am slow at typing

imaginethat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:41:43

AF meant to say, your post made me cry too. Dear god, now I'm a wreck and I have to go do stuff (not in UK). Thank you for caring.

cashmere I haven't always done the right thing at all. The reason I'm an outcast is because I stood up to my mother in the past and my sister has never forgiven me.

But I view all that as past. What matters to me is the quality of relationships I have now. I just have to accept the way it is with my sister which I do in a logical sense but emotionally still a little confused.

Conversely I think other family relationships are beginning to improve, the crisis has in some ways been a catalyst for positive change.

cashmere Sat 24-Nov-12 21:15:58

Bit of a can of worms I don't open.... but you might find you do feel at peace about the situation. It does sound like you've always done the 'right thing' and whilst this isn't always a healthy trait to have it may leave you with a clear conscience.

...my ex was abusive, def some kind of personality disorder and damaged me a great deal. I ended it and had many opportunities to stick the knife in/get my own back. I didn't though, I kept doing what was 'right'.
I knew his life would end badly and predicted it. He was murdered less than a year ago in the most brutal way. Whilst I do have mixed feelings (relief for myself and any other women he may have hurt/ and sadness for him and his family/anger at his stupidity/ horror at what happened to the body I was so familiar with) I don't feel any regret or guilt. I think not stooping to his level has allowed me to accept what happened more.

AnyFucker Sat 24-Nov-12 21:15:13

this is a great thread

not the subject matter, obvs

but that there is validation here...for OP, and for others in similar situations

Cahooots Sat 24-Nov-12 21:13:00

Oh, posted to soon.

I forgot to say that you sound like a lovely sensible person. smile

Cahooots Sat 24-Nov-12 21:10:34

What an awful situation. She sounds like a horrible women and the fact that she singles you out for. Her special treatment makes it so much more hurtful. Wouldn't it be easy if you just didn't care? It is so hard to emotionally detach yourself but that is what you need to try and do. Do the right thing, behave appropriately, keep you feelings to yourself and think whatever you like. Try not to over think things and don't beat yourself up for being angry and dissapointed with her.

Hope everything goes ok.

imaginethat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:06:14

Families, life, death.... It's complex isn't it

I have 2 primary age children. I love them more than you could imagine. And they love each other. They play together for hours. I want them to never know the pain of not being allowed to love each other (the way my siblings and I were brought up). I think that's come firmly into focus.

imaginethat Sat 24-Nov-12 20:56:02

Oh, more posts while I was trying to put together the last one.
chipping I have mentioned my therapist dying on a thread, I still miss her so much but quite peacefully.

She has a son and I had a lovely evening with him. Looking back that was the gold in the visit. We have had v little to do with each other for obvious reasons but he emailed to invite me round, round I went and we had a long chat and a couple of wines. We were ale to laugh about my sister's prickliness, and to formulate a plan to have her kitchen & bathroom remodelled by electing an "approved" of family member to arrange. She wants to stay in her home but needs wheelchair access to do that.

At this point I feel my energies are shifting to her son and supporting him somehow. He texted me afterwards to say he'd loved chatting.

AnyFucker I think that's it, I need to know I tried. I have.

SoleSource Sat 24-Nov-12 20:51:49

(((AnyFucker)))

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