To pull away from my Sister(23 Posts)
Backstory - my sister has various mental Heath issues, manic depressive and anxiety.
We hadn't spoken since we were teenagers apart from at big family events where we were always civil.
She is so the most negative and judgemental person I have ever come across. She acts like we are in competition so anything I do in my life that I'm proud of she instantly knocks down or finds fault in, it's exhausting.
Every time I tried to confront her I was apparently being insensitive to her MH problems (this coming from our mother).
E.g When we were at school and I achieved reliably good A level results and came home to be told not to 'rub it in her face'.
She has always had a terrible relationship with our Dad and Step mother (step mother has her own set of MH issue by more OCD related that depression).
When we were teenagers I lived with Dad and half siblings, whilst she stayed with Mum. I couldn't bear to be around her at that point.
Roll forwards now both on our 30s and I had my first DC last year.
She reached out an olive branch wanting to be an auntie and I welcomed her.
Every time my mum comes to see us she comes too (she can't drive or get public transport alone because of the anxiety)
At first (with a lot of tongue biting on my part) all was well, we were getting on, she is great with the baby. Happy families.
The last couple of times I have seen her she has just started to wind me up again.
Unsolicited parenting advice (she has no children, but because all her friends have she seems to know an awful lot about it)
She told me I was selfish for not wanting to move to a cheaper area so that I didn't have to go back to work etc etc just little digs nothing major.
Also it's really starting to get to me that I havent actually seen my mum alone since I've had the baby. Sister is always there. They come over or we meet up about once a week.
Me and mum never had the best relationship anyway because of the time I spent away from her since being a teenager but still would be nice for my DC to spend time with grandmother.
The real thing that gets to me most though is the way she lays into my Dad.
They clearly have a bad relationship but I have a great one with him and his family. (Step mother and 2 half siblings) we meet up for family meals often and is always fun and everyone gets on.
My sister now has decided that because we meet up without her she is being ostracised and throws a massive hissy fit (via Facebook) the past couple of times we have all met up.
The problem is when she is there the atmosphere is awful and she makes everyone uncomfortable.
It's got to the point where I don't want to meet up with my family for fear she will find out again. I never outright tell her but my mum always asks if I've seen dad (annoyingly in front of sister) and I can't lie.
I guess I know I am BU because she is a family member and it's not her fault she has MH problems and I know they are ultimately the route of her behaviour but I just don't want to spend time with her but I don't want her to feel pushed out either.
Also to add I can't stand her conversation. She has zero culture and has hardly ever left the town we grew up in. We have nothing in common and she just talks and talks about the most mundane stuff at me and I just sit there and listen wondering what else I could be doing with my afternoons whenever I see her.
The question is.. AIBU to ask my mum to come alone without her and to try and phase out the amount of time to have to spend with her?
Disclaimer: I know IABU but just need to vent and wouldn't mind some advice if anyone has any.^
Im not sure that this will address the root cause but could you say that youre feeling a bit overwhelmed and are limiting visits to one person at a time?
Wow, just wow OP. I get you. I have a brother like this. It's eggshells all the way. Even when he phones he just droans on about the same stuff. It's energy sapping.
I have a friend of 30yrs. She's taken to conducting this "friendship" via phone. For up to 1hr. I'm like ffs! I told her "I'm not enjoying conducting the friendship in this manner" I timed her recently. She spent 31 minutes rattling on about 2 people she works with.
Just speak up about how you feel. If they care they'll get it. Life is too short to continue to massage other people's continual peculiarities.
redexpat - I don't think she will buy it if I say I'm overwhelmed. DC Isn't exactly newborn anymore and she knows I'm sociable and got to lots of groups etc.
We actually did use this excuse when the baby was days old and she still got the hump a bit!
Yoksha- eggshells is totally right! Glad I'm not alone..
I know I need to just speak up but I know she will be upset and it will make it hard for my Mum, it's either that or suffer in silence really!
You are not being unreasonable to want to have relationships with the people you want to.
I have learned that it more important for your own child to see you having healthy happy relationships than it is to continue with relationships that undermine you. You need to decide if you want to confront her behaviour or step away. Think about what boundaries you want to put in place for your relationship. If you feel that she is unlikely to change there is no shame in stepping away.
Outofthefog is a fantastic website and has really helped me to work through my dysfunctional relationships with family members. It might be worth you looking at?
Effectively your family split in two, you and Dad, your sister and Mum.
So much of what you write has obviously gone on for years, not just in the recent past since you had your baby. It is throwing a cloud over what should be a happy time.
I think you did a brave thing, trying for rapprochement but I am afraid biting your tongue early on was putting off trouble.
I know I need to just speak up but I know she will be upset you were brought up alongside her MH issues, your mother has always urged you to take those into account, but now you are wishing you'd never tried patching things up and for your own peace of mind you really have to speak up. You have your limits.
(I don't mean, expect your sister to apologise for having MH issues. Though it would help if she could acknowledge the effect they have had on the people around her).
and it will make it hard for my Mum
You are considerate of your mother when she doesn't seem quite as thoughtful! Your Mum apparently chooses to see you and DD only when your sister comes along as a passenger, that's her choice. Not necessarily your sister's doing. If you decide to keep up contact, meeting somewhere neutral is a good way to feel like there's an escape. Perhaps shorter visits?
If you feel awkward when Mum asks you if you've been over to Dad and stepmum's, which she always does, don't wait for Mum to ask, say so upfront. Even better, ask Mum privately why she asks in front of your sister, if it winds sister up?
They seem to come as a package. I am guessing your Mum prompted your sister to reach out?
This is really difficult for you because we still have this feeling that we want our loved ones to be reasonable and nice to be around, thus making people with mh issues sometimes hard to deal with. You need endless patience. My sil has v bad mh problems and is nearly impossible to be around, I keep telling myself that it's her illness, not her that's saying awful things. When my sil gives out about my husband, her brother I say, oh I'm sorry he makes you feel that way, that must be troublesome for you. Seems to calm her, she is clearly suffering and it breaks my heart. There's no harm in a white lie if you want to see your dad, you shouldn't have to let your mum and sister know. By all means take your sis along with you to your dad's on occasions, keep the visit short. Sounds like you need to nurture the healthy relationship with your dad and that part of the family. But keeping your sister and mum at a polite arm's length, loyal and loving but in the knowledge that they will kick off. Good luck op, it isn't easy.
Lots of good advice OP.
Just to add, why don't you ask your mother to encourage your DSis to build bridges with your Ddad and half-siblings. It's not your place to fix that set of dynamics. Turn it round on your mum. Tell her she's always been the go to parent for your DSis. Keep shovelling their shit right back at them. They'll possibly get fed up. When your mum asks if you've seen your dad, just answer " yeah. When things change and I don't, I'll let you know ". Practice stock responses in front of the mirror. It works.
Wow thank you all for such good advice.
I do think I need to have (another) conversation with my mother about it.
She is always a bit of a catalyst in causing my sister to feel restent moment towards my dad. They both end up slagging him and my step mother of the conversation ever goes in that direction. (I do always shut them down and tell them I don't like it.)
I'll try and arrange a meet up with my mum without my sister and take it from there.
I must admit I am relived that you think I'm not BU. Sometimes I really feel like the bad guy in the situation because I'm not sympathetic enough regarding her MH issues.
"She has zero culture" - Are you implying that she isn't as well read and worldly as you OP? It does sound like you look down your nose at her somewhat.
OK so she has mental health problems, lots of people do but the vast majority are functioning and can conduct themselves in a "normal" fashion without the need for faux sympathy from anyone.
To be honest it sounds like you don't like her, you're embarrassed of her and you don't want her in your life - Don't dress it up when it's clear you feel superior to her and she doesn't fit into your little world of picture perfect stability.
Say it as it is, you don't want her around, say it to her face instead of crying about it behind her back - I'd be prepared for your mum to cut you dead though.
You have your dad, his wife and your half siblings which you sound frilled about, your sister has your mum - You say that your sister hates your dad, that's her prerogative, just as it's your prerogative to say that your relationship with your mum hasn't always been great; You're judging your sister on her disdain towards one parent whilst you also have a level of disdain towards the other parent, it all sounds very hypocritical on your part.
If I had a sibling who didn't give a fuck about me I'd want to know, I wouldn't want them forcing themselves to tolerate my presence; Do everyone a favour and tell her you don't wish to spend time with her, end of story!
Emerald-What a shocking post! Really unfair on the OP. Also did you mean to write "frilled"?
OP i COMPLETELY understand. It's a horrible situation to be in and to have gone on for so many years too! When you mentioned the sly digs/comments and competition (by herself though) i thought you were talking about my sister!
I've tried telling her how i feel, getting angry at her etc and last week decided to cut contact after once again helping her but being given pure hell from her! I wouldn't blame you for cutting contact, only we know just how damaging it is to have such a sibling (we are in our 30s too) and the profound effect it has on us. Sometimes you reach a point where enough is enough and you have to put yourself first because what I've learned is that the other person won't change -unless they really want to. Also some people enjoy causing others misery (i call them energy vampires) my sister included I've seen the happiness on her face one time when she stressed me out soo much. I then distanced myself and kept any conversations short but she would seek me out and as i said last week i had enough as at one time i considered suicide due to her treatment of me but u refuse to end my life for her!
Do what is best for you and your family!
Thanks for being frank I guess
I was going to reply to all your points but I don't think I actually need to justify anything to you that I haven't in my original post.
One thing I will say is that my mum would never 'cut me dead' as you so nicely put it.
She dosent need to pick one child over the other? We don't have a close relationship, but that dosent mean we don't have one at all and she certainly will have a relationship with her grandchild.
80s that's awful
Sorry to hear you have a similar sibling problem
I hope you have someone to talk to, especially when considering suicide.
Please don't let it come to that.
Look after yourself and as you say, do what's best your family.
Thank you hiimmumma. Its a shame as we come from a big family and i in all honesty would love to be close with her (4 years apart) but unfortunately things will never be that way. She's horrible to our mum, dad and all siblings but I'm the main target.
I hope whatever you decide on works for you, its not easy to walk away from a family member but not impossible. If you ever want to talk pm
PM if you ever need to talk or rant
I am sorry to say that I feel this is not going to end well.
I also think that your mum has a massive part to play in all this, including your sister's behaviour and talking to her would probably not help.
My advice would be that you distance yourself a little bit, very very subtlely so no one can accuse you of anything. Your mum and your sister see you as 'the one who has it all' and they'll make you pay for it one way or another.
You won't get the family you want out of them so focus your energies on your dad and half siblings a little more.
OP it sounds like you have a lot to deal with.
Agree reading up on family dynamics, labelling siblings could help you understand better the deep roots of this. Would you consider therapy for yourself? Might help you understand the roots, as well as working out the changes you want to make, and give you support for the fall out of making changes.
As an outsider, I have sympathy for both you and your sister. You sound like you've had a hard time for a long time, and so does she.
But that doesn't excuse her treating you badly, and you don't have to accept it.
Consider this: it might be better for both of you to have some space (not that she's likely to thank you for it, at least in the short term. Or maybe ever).
No, you're not being unreasonable in wanting to make changes that make things better for you. If that means seeing less or non of her, so be it.
Ignore Emerald. That post is all about their own issues.
I don't think you are being hypocritical, OP, unless you take every opportunity to slag off your mother to your sister? I'm guessing you don't.
YANBU This all sounds very exhausting, to be honest. Your mother sounds very manipulative. Is she worried that if your sister and dad start to get on that she'll be left out? If so, that's a pretty selfish and self centred attitude she has.
You have every right to want to just see your mother on her own. Sis is allowed to get upset, but that's HER problem. It's not your responsibility to have to tiptoe around or manage her feelings. She can either get over it or die mad.
Re the Facebook tantrums when you see your dad - is she seeing your (or your dad's) pictures on Facebook? That's easy to deal with - adjust your settings so she can't see those particular posts, and suggest to dad/SM that they do the same. If she rants, delete her comments. If things get really extreme, you might have to block her. But don't stop seeing your dad's side, as that is really not fair to you. Your dad and sister's relationship is just that - THEIRS. They can work towards reconciliation or not, but neither side should be dragging you into their fight. That's simply not fair to you.
I don't think mental health problems are relevant here as your sisters behaviour sounds more like her underlying personality as it is fairly fixed not an illness.
I would phone your mum and ask her to come alone sometimes and also to stop asking about your dad particularly in your sisters presence as you don't intend to stop seeing him and the same arguments ensue each time you raise it.
I'd stop putting extended family info on Facebook.
*I don't think mental health problems are relevant here as your sisters behaviour sounds more like her underlying personality as it is fairly fixed not an illness.
I would phone your mum and ask her to come alone sometimes and also to stop asking about your dad particularly in your sisters presence as you don't intend to stop seeing him and the same arguments ensue each time you raise it*
The majority of people with MH issues don't behave remotely like this. The one person I personally know who does act this way doesn't have any MH issues - she's just a nasty person, full stop.
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