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To break ties with my sister or not?

(16 Posts)
jellyrolly Wed 06-Nov-13 17:42:48

Hi and thank you for reading. I am having a real dilemma whether to break ties with my sister or not and would really appreciate some objective advice.

She is not an easy person, we had a difficult upbringing living in an isolated place with both parents having mental health problems and not offering love or support, we were not really close either as our parents played a lot of divisive games. Anyway, fast forward to now and we are in our 40s, I am younger by 2 years.

I chose to marry and have my own family, I guess try to 'do it right', don't we all? She chose to be sterilised at a young age (mid 20s) and has never married although she did have a long relationship which was like marriage.

The bottom line is, she really doesn't like my kids. She doesn't like kids full stop and will tell anyone who listens. There have been many times when I've felt like just not having anything to do with her but I always try and resolve things. I don't think she's a bad person but wonder is there enough in common to keep up what feels like a pretend relationship? Maybe this is what sisters are like with each other?

The last few weeks have brought up a few incidents which make me feel like not having her in my or my children's lives. She smacked my eldest son, for example. It's like what people say with bad partnerships - should it be this hard?! I would appreciate anyone else's viewpoint. Thank you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Nov-13 17:50:52

Definitely drop someone nasty enough to hit your children. Parents IMHO deserve a second chance but siblings are entirely optional. No-brainer.

jellyrolly Wed 06-Nov-13 17:56:14

It is nasty isn't it? She blames my DS for everything but he's only 7.

Tommy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:05:09

do you have to "break ties" with her? Can you just not contact her for a bit and let things drift away. I only say this because at some point you may well have to see her - eg at family funerals etc

Tommy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:05:56

although I think she should be told about not hitting

CailinDana Wed 06-Nov-13 18:12:44

Why would you keep seeing someone who hit your son and feels no remorse? Genuine question.

jellyrolly Wed 06-Nov-13 18:12:45

Yes, that's what my DH says. Perhaps I'll feel like that when some times has passed but right now I feel like it's all or nothing. He said why don't I just continue to meet her on my own but if she doesn't want my kids in her life then I don't want to be in hers to be honest.

I wouldn't do it in a nasty way, I would just talk to her and explain it feels like as far as we can go. I don't know if we can talk about the hitting, she just cries if you try and really talk to her. She doesn't understand about kids, that's not her fault I suppose, but she will never ever see my point of view where they are concerned.

tribpot Wed 06-Nov-13 18:16:30

She doesn't understand that hitting children is wrong? Er, I think she does, OP. She cries because then inevitably you let her get away with whatever appalling behaviour she's just exhibited.

Your children need to know that you will keep them safe from people who might hit them.

jellyrolly Wed 06-Nov-13 18:20:36

Yes they do need to know that, I would never leave them with her again.

I suppose the question is whether she is in my life, not theirs but I think I know the answer to that too.

Do you have other family? Is family important to you? I always feel you only have one family (mine is tiny), so it seems like something precious to me.

Could you not talk to her when you are both calm and maybe without the kids?

jellyrolly Thu 07-Nov-13 08:04:41

No, we don't have any other family. I'm not sure how important it is any more which is sad. I honestly can't think of a time when any of my birth family have been supportive so they don't feel precious. I have always forced a relationship with my sister but when I don't try there isn't any love there.

I will see if an opportunity arises to talk but she can't talk without crying so it's hard to have an adult conversation with her.

Trumpton Thu 07-Nov-13 08:12:46

I went nc with my sister. Both our parents are dead and although they both knew knew she was a tricky character to handle I kept the relationship going whilst they were still alive.
And then I thought NO enough is enough and gently tailed off contact. She never got in touch so now I don't feel as if I have a sister at all.
We are both in our 60s now.

I think that deep down she regrets the sterilisation and now in her 40s realises that this is it, forever, no family of her own. I know of one woman who was really weird around children and talked all the time about how much she disliked them. Turned out she had been undergoing IVF for 5 years.

Being childless and around children is a bit difficult. I had my dd at 39. Prior to that I was convinced kids weren't for me, and found them intensely irritating. I remember going to a friend's house for dinner and being stressed the constant high pitched screaming her her two young children. It went straight through me. I imagine it went straight through her as well, but she was used to it. I also used to find babies upsetting, because I was never going to have one (or so I thought). I didn't want one, but I kind of did.... Am I making sense here?

Please don't cut her off. She is your sister. Sisters often have difficult relationships, but deep down you are family and at some level you must love each other.

The one thing you must insist upon is that she never physically or verbally abuses your dcs again. Tell her that as the adult in the situation she must act like an adult.

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Nov-13 08:35:55

Does she have anyone in her life now?

Sterlisation at an early age is rather dramatic, did she have counselling at the time? If you are both in your 40s and your DS is only 7, then you were well in your 30s when you had DCs, it could well be that at the time she decided she didn't want DCs it seemed like the right thing for her, but a decade or 2 later, that might not still be the right choice. That she'll tell anyone who listens that she doesn't like them is telling, i know several people who've taken the decision not to have DCs, they haven't made a thing of it though, they've just decided that wasn't for them and got on with their lives. feeling the need to tell people unprompted that she doesn't want them is unusual. (Most people would be too polite to ask a 40-something single woman if she wanted DCs, they might think she couldn't or wanted DCs but couldn't find someone to have them with, it's too late to hear "maybe one day", so the answer is going to be "no" or "I'd love to but I can't/never found someone to have them with")

If you don't want to go NC, you might try seeing her without the DCs or make it clear that you won't tolerate your DCs being hit/shouted at. Otherwise, don't burn bridges, you could just stop being available, things can drift easily if you don't live close and aren't regular parts of each other's lives.

olgaga Thu 07-Nov-13 09:06:42

Your sister sounds deeply damaged by her upbringing. We're all different, plus a couple of years older than you isn't a lot now - but I know my siblings were all affected to a different extent by our diffiult childhood experiences.

I think your DH is right. If you want to see her, see her on your own. Wait for her to contact you. If you dont feel you can cut her out completely, make it clear to her that the only way you can have a relationship with her is if you meet on your own because you won't subject your DS to her hostility and aggression.

I think you've been loyal and tolerant, but she isn't your responsibility, and she isn't going to change.

jellyrolly Thu 07-Nov-13 21:55:25

Some very interesting observations here, thank you.

It really has never occurred to me that she regrets not having children, she is so hostile to them. Her current partner has two children with his ex-wife, they lived together for a while but eventually she moved out as she resented looking after them. It could well be she regrets it, perhaps on a much deeper level than I would have thought of.

I think I will have to find a way to speak to her about it which she understands, whether or not we continue to have contact.

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