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To think my sister needs to get a grip and grow the fuck up?

(326 Posts)
BigtimeLittlesis Tue 14-Jul-20 15:04:42

NC because this is definitely outing:

She's 36 and my only sibling.

For as far back as I can remember, she was the Golden Child in our family: sweet, pretty, popular, straight As at school, responsible kid, good school followed by good uni ...

... and then, she sort of developed late-onset puberty and hasn't really snapped out of it since.

Changed subjects / universities several times before graduating. Eventually qualified as a teacher. Got a job, hated it, resigned. Worked as a short-term supply on and off again for a while.

Then found her dream job working for a charity abroad. Did it for some years, was super happy because "people are just so much [insert any number of positives here] around here".

Mandate ended, came back, started teaching again, more of the same.

Ran off to developing country again.

So far so "maybe not a top performer at adulting, but so what?"

But, in the meantime, our parents got older. Mum suffered a hypertensive crisis and spent a week in ICU. Dad lost his job and struggled to find work again at age 60.

Sister would call me from her "escape from reality" paradise and demand I look after them. Which I do, to the best of my abilities. Sister berated me for not going to see mum often enough as she was recovering. Easy for her to say, being a long-haul flight away!

Here's where things come to a head:

Sister took off again in February. Yes, February. Now, granted, things developed fast around that time - but it's hardly as though the looming global crisis wasn't obvious. The situation developed and things got bad. Sister refused to return home. Mum and dad started to worry. Then I started to worry - not so much about her health but about the possibility of an economic crash with her being stuck in a developing country with no access to money that didn't depend entirely upon local cash machines continuing to work.

I ended up emotionally blackmailing her into getting a re-patriation flight for the sake of everyone's ease of mind. She's been silently judging me for "making her do this" ever since.

Now dad's brother has died. Now, I had pretty much no relationship with this man. But when dad asked would I come to the funeral I naturally said yes - not for my uncle but for my father. We've had a difficult relationship at times - but I feel terrible for dad losing his second sibling aged only 61.

Sister is, again, refusing to turn up and blatantly lying, saying she has "work obligations". She doesn't. Schools local to her are on summer break. Then she says she doesn't know the guy. True. But she knows our dad. Then she says dad was not always there for us either and she hates "family shit". Again, true as far as our less than stellar father is concerned - but also: do you really need to play at puberty at this precise moment? Kick people when they're down already?

I've had my fair share of rows with our father - and I was the black sheep child, the one who got all the criticism, not her. But it's just not the moment!

Long story short: I feel that I'm being forced into the role of the dependable, supportive, sensible daughter here because my sister somehow decided to enter puberty at age 21 and to keep it up for a decade and a half. They're her parents, too! She's missed mum's 60th, dad's 60th, mum almost dying, dad losing his job and needing to be financially rescued by me in order to keep the roof over his head, our grandfather dying and now our uncle dying ... and then she dares to berate me for not being there often enough???

WIBU to tell her she's being selfish and pubescent and needs to grow the fuck up - and that I'm not "default daughter" here just because I managed to get over adolescence some time in my early to mid twenties?

And, yes, I love her. Dearly so. But I'm also really hurt and feel I'm being taken advantage of.

OP’s posts: |
VeryQuaintIrene Tue 14-Jul-20 15:13:04

It feels like you are so angry with her that she's just got inside your head and is doing significant harm to your mental health. I can totally see why you feel burdened because she's away so much, and maybe a bit jealous that you've been stuck being the sensible one. That said, f I were her, I would be pretty pissed off about being emotionally blackmailed to come home from doing something I found meaningful. And who's to say that her life choices are "adolescent"? One only gets one attempt at happiness and maybe she's taking hers as she can. What do your parents think? Would talking to a counsellor to help you detach a bit from her help?

katy1213 Tue 14-Jul-20 15:13:17

You sound very meddlesome, even if she is a pain. And your parents are 60 - you make it sound like they're in their 80s.

Titsywoo Tue 14-Jul-20 15:13:33

YANBU. And you're a better woman than me. My brother is a lazy, useless, selfish, arrogant, horrendous excuse for a human being. We were close as kids but as an adult I have nothing to do with him. He takes advantage of my parents all the time financially and they give in as he is their son (and he has kids who they adore). I don't get involved in his shit and to be honest, as much as I love my parents, they raised him and have enabled him so on their head be it. If he dared have a go at me over anything I would tell him in no certain terms where to go. Once my parents are gone I will never see him again. Your sister sounds not quite as bad but honestly I would just have a go at her then cut her out. Blood isn't always thicker than water!

Crazycrazylady Tue 14-Jul-20 15:15:24

Honestly it sounds like you resent her massively. She has no right to pressure you re your parents care but you had no right to emotionally blackmail her into coming home because it made your life easier.
Sometimes siblings move away and while it's harder on those remaining with elderly parents care, it's just one of those things.
Honestly i don't see the need for her to attend your uncles funeral as she wasn't close to him and you're already attending wit him for support. Bring brutally honest it sounds a little like you love playing the martyr.

Itsjustabitofbanter Tue 14-Jul-20 15:15:50

You sound like hard work. Your sister has no obligations to your family who from the sounds of things haven’t experienced army supported her choices. Let her live her life ffs!

SecretSpAD Tue 14-Jul-20 15:15:58

Frankly if my sister dismissed my career as an "escape from reality", dismissed me as childish and emotionally blackmailed me into coming from from said job - I'd act the same way as your sister. In fact I'd get on the next flight out to wherever she was and stay there.

Oh and as someone who has worked in developing countries it certainly is not a wasted life and career.

You get a grip.

Itsjustabitofbanter Tue 14-Jul-20 15:16:27

Exactly, not experienced army🙄

MereDintofPandiculation Tue 14-Jul-20 15:16:42

You can't "emotionally blackmail her into getting a re-patriation flight" and then then tell her she needs to grow up.

AriettyHomily Tue 14-Jul-20 15:19:10

Hmm I kind of see where you're coming from, my sibling emigrated very very far away after emotionally draining my mum for years and giving nothing in return. She was / is very much the favourite but does absolutely fuck all. I do it, and I will do it because I am here.

BUT, going on about adolsence and puberty kind of brings you down to her level and just makes you sound a bit jealous. If she doesn't want to go she doesn't have to.

topoftheshops Tue 14-Jul-20 15:21:26

I can hear your frustration coming through and this must be difficult for you, but I think you need to take a big step back. She's an adult and she can manage her own relationships with her parents.

She's wrong to 'berate' you if that's what she did, but it's reasonable to ask you to do whatever errands need doing for your parents if she lives in a different country - she can't be expected to do it.

You seem weirdly preoccupied with puberty - why is she pubescent just because she's chosen a different/unusual life path? She might have had a harder time with your father than you realise, and she's now decided she doesn't want contact. That's not up to you to decide or manage.

You were wrong to emotionally blackmail her to come back - she had a life somewhere else and it's up to her to decide how she lives it, and manage her own risks etc.

I'm really sorry about your mum's health problems and the deaths in your family, and it sounds like you're being a lovely daughter by helping as much as you are. But I do think you ought to detach a bit from what your sister's doing or not doing. If she berates you for not doing enough, a firm rebuff at that point would be reasonable!

Rumbletumbleinmytummy Tue 14-Jul-20 15:22:15

I dislike that you are referring to her personality as puberty. Puberty this puberty that. It's actually quite childish of you.

Maybe this is her personality? Maybe she wants little to do with her family? Maybe she sees things very differently.

Continue doing as you wish. Continue with your sense of responsibility and morality, whilst she continues with what is right for her.

What is obvious is that she is quite independent and doesnt seem to have any desire to be tied down by family connections.

You cannot force her to be like you.

Do tell her that if she thinks your mother needs more visits, she can chip in.

Therollockingrogue Tue 14-Jul-20 15:22:48

It’s tricky this . I could be this sister.
It feels hard to be the one who has been away...
have your parents participated actively in your sisters life as much as in yours?

7yo7yo Tue 14-Jul-20 15:23:46

It’s not her fault you’ve chosen to be martyr daughter.
Perhaps focus on yourself and your need to be the Do gooder in the family. Take a step back.

Leaannb Tue 14-Jul-20 15:26:07

What do you mean not great at adult g? She is living her life in a developing country what part of that makes her not great at adulting? Frankly you sound jealous and childish.

Blondieg Tue 14-Jul-20 15:26:59

Sorry, but you sound jealous that she is truly enjoying a job in another country.
Your parents are in their 60s, they dont need to be treated like children and chaperone through lifes obstacles, your sister cannot come flying back for every event, even if she wanted to

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Tue 14-Jul-20 15:27:16

You're martyring yourself and blaming her for it.

You really sound like you hate her, and resent her life choices massively.

Stop emotionally blackmailing her to dance to your tune and just tell her to bugger off if she says you dont do enough.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Tue 14-Jul-20 15:28:47

I think you would be unreasonable sorry. She is entitled to not want to help your dad especially as he sounds like he has been 'difficult' in the past.

You cant control what she does and how much you want to help your parents is up to you. Also you sound quite judgey of her lifestyle, it's not adolescent or going through puberty to not like your career and want to help others and travel.

On the other hand it is totally ok to tell her how hypocritical and ridiculous she is being when she demands that you help your parents more or visit them more etc. She is comfortable with her lifestyle and if you don't tell her what to do then she can't tell you what to do. Tell her you wouldn't accept her demanding you give more even if she did an equal share of caring.

BilboBercow Tue 14-Jul-20 15:28:56

I think you are far more wrong than she is here.
She's an adult. You clearly judge her choices, even though there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. You don't want her working away, you're pissed off that she won't go to the funeral of a man she didn't know to support a father who by your own admission wasn't great.
You do understand that she doesn't owe you or your parents anything and there are really no WRONG choices in terms of her career?

Gazelda Tue 14-Jul-20 15:29:47

You're belittling of her career
You emotionally blackmailed her to repatriate from a role she clearly loves
You're pressuring her into attending a funeral she doesn't want to.
I'm afraid it's you that are in the wrong.

My BIL is an expat and has left my DH and me to hold the fort with his elderly mum. I get how unfair and wearing it feels. I honestly have empathy for you.

But you're coming across like a petulant sibling child.

Josette77 Tue 14-Jul-20 15:31:16

Your sister sounds pretty amazing and like she's done some incredible things. I don't get why you think she behaves like a teenager?

Also she seems to be able to put up boundaries where as you don't, which is very mature of her.

CuppaZa Tue 14-Jul-20 15:31:52


Gatehouse77 Tue 14-Jul-20 15:32:22

I think I'd deflect all 'demands' of how I help out my parents with "You're more than welcome to do that if you see fit." and nothing more.

We had similar between me and my siblings, at times, with my mum's care but it had nothing to do with lifestyle choices. It was our personalities that clashed.

Hereward1332 Tue 14-Jul-20 15:32:35

Not your job to sort everything out. You are not responsible for everyone else's well being.

She doesn't come to the funeral - her choice, but you don't need to justify her choice to anyone. Let them think worse of her.

If she needs a flight home, that's up to her to sort out. You don't need your parents' approval.

ExchangedCat Tue 14-Jul-20 15:32:46

You've got no respect for your sister or her choices. You emotionally blackmail her. You agree that her complaint about your father is legitimate.

I can see why she stays abroad - she sounds bullied and put down by her family. I'd love to know her take on this.

She's wrong to say you don't visit enough, though. That's between you and your parents and no business of hers. I'm also sorry for all your family have been through, it sounds difficult and stressful.

If you don't want to be the default caring daughter, then don't. Find a way to disentangle yourself, as your sister has done, or find a way to admit that you actually doing mind this role you've adopted. But stop being angry with her for choosing a different path. It's destructive for you and isn't likely to improve your relationship.

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