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I don't understand my sister

(6 Posts)
Bingopurple Thu 29-Aug-19 21:58:40

I am late thirties, my sister is less than two years younger. We were close growing up and had lots of fun but the last ten years or so we've drifted apart. While we have both struggled at times to get ahead I've managed to look at myself and change what needed changed to get a career, house and undergone ivf to have two amazing little boys. When I was expecting my second my sister announced she was pregnant too. I thought it would be a chance for us to bond again but she is so airy fairy and lackadaisical she never returns a text message or phones me but she'll phone our mum and ask her to babysit. I get asked on outings through my mum she never asks me direct and to speak to her I have to phone her and try to pin her down. I have offered to babysit for her but she always refuses and has never offered to watch my boys. Recently I offered her stones for her garden for free and she said yes but when I asked for help to move them she backtracked then got angry and hung up on me. This was also because I offered to get her help to move job, (she's min wage despite a degree) she says she hates the job she has. I don't see things the way she does. I like to be organised and planned. I guess the problem is that I want us to be friends able to watch each others children and help each other out but she seems determined to ignore me and everything I say seems to put her in ostrich mode where she shuts down, tells me to forget it and hangs up the phone or walks away. Can anyone help me understand how to work with her or have a similar story?

milliefiori Thu 29-Aug-19 22:44:42

Hi,
You're just very different. The sooner you realise and accept that and stop wanting or expecting her to fall in line with the way you live, the better you'll get on.
I adore my sister. She's one of the few people in the world I really love outside of my immediate family. But we are so different that I will never ever understand her or be able to work out how she'll behave. She'll call to say she'd like to come and stay but refuse to give an exact date or time. She'll say 'next weekend'. Then she'll turn up at three in the morning on the Friday with her dog who we hadn't expected (we have a cat) and wonder why we're all fast asleep and shocked to see them all piling into the house. I liked to be organised and plan everything. She likes to be spontaneous and never tied down. She also seems to think people will know what she's thinking because she thought it, forgetting the imo essential bit of actually saying it to them!

We raise our children very very differently. Her house is very noisy, ours is quiet. Her lot are more independent. I am a bit too helicopter.

But I love her, she's funny, we have all that shared history. Once we sit down with a coffee or glass of wine and get chatting we can't stop.

Instead of trying to change her, look for common ground. Instead of expecting her to be just like you, try, just once to be more like her and see if this gets you closer as that's clearly important to you, and as you say, it would be lovely to raise your DC to be close to their cousins, and to have that shared experience with her.

Bingopurple Fri 30-Aug-19 06:55:13

Thanks. That's helpful. I have tried to talk to her about this and it doesn't work because she shuts down which makes me feel it's always her way or the highway. Growing up it was always up to me to fix the problems. But maybe now I need to find some common ground and see it her way like you said. When you say your sister thinks of something and forgets to actually tell someone I think my sister does this too. thanks for the advice I'll give it a go. (If she'll ever talk to me again.) X

Fucket Fri 30-Aug-19 07:02:57

Maybe she has grown up in yiur shadow and doesn’t want you to be this helpful, successful big sister always trying to help her. She sounds jealous and maybe too proud to accept your help.

I would say back-off and stop trying to dictate how things should be.

I have a younger sister and we live miles apart. We have very different lives and our relationship only survives because we communicate rarely and only really about our father and perhaps arranging to meet up for birthdays and Xmas. Anything more than thAt and it just wouldn’t work.

Bingopurple Fri 30-Aug-19 09:58:51

I hadn't considered that. You could be right. As for not speaking much I feel we've been at that stage for some time now and Even in the Same room I don't say anything to her directly except exchange pleasantries as I'm scared I will say the wrong thing and she will take offence which she does regularly.

BrittleJoys Fri 30-Aug-19 10:13:01

I think you need to accept that while you want a certain kind of relationship, she doesn't. You simply have different ideas about what your sibling tie means -- you want to the two of you to babysit one another's children and see each other often, but she clearly wants even less contact than you currently have, if she uses your mother as an intermediary about outings etc.

And as a pp has suggested there are definite suggestions in your posts that you do see yourself as better than her (perhaps you're not even conscious of it, but it's there -- you talk about how you changed yourself to get a career, house and two children via IVF, but describe her as 'airyfairy', 'lackadaisical' and in a MW job) and it's possible that this comes across as condescension or bossiness in your approach to her. Maybe you also have very different ideas about parenting?

I think you need to respect her wish not to have a closer relationship, and not try to force it.

(Also, this is in 'Family history' -- you will get far more replies if you have it moved to 'Chat' or 'Relationships'.)

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