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Jealousy: not sure how to deal with it

(57 Posts)
TheUglyDuckling Fri 22-Feb-13 19:42:44

I'm 10 weeks pregnant with dc3. In the past ten years I've been through an horrific marriage, a difficult divorce, basically haven't had an easy time of it. But now I have a lovely dp, we're getting married in a couple of months and we are incredibly happy.

So. My sister, got married last year, is late 30s and finally got pregnant back in November. I am so happy for her, she has no dcs and desperately wanted them, and I really hoped this was something that we'd be able to bond over.

Dp and I had already decided to try for a baby (I'm early 30s) and fell pregnant straight away. I've had previous mc, and already had bleeds and been rushed to epu this time round, but all is ok so far.

We told close family early on because I needed dm to look after the dcs when I went to hospital. My db happened to be there so called dsis to tell her so that she didn't feel she found out later. All seemed fine. Everyone happy, all good.

At ds1's birthday tea I tried to talk to her about baby stuff, tests etc, and she just told me a friend of hers recommends certain ones. End of discussion. Just cut off the conversation. I thought nothing of it. Hormones or something.

But since then it's continued. She called dm whilst I was sat next to her to discuss a pregnancy related issue. Dm asked me, I gave the answer (had it myself), dm asks if she wants to talk to me. She refuses and ignores my answer.

Dm and sil then casually tells me that Dsis has finally sorted her smp problem at work. I ask what it was about, they tell me. I say I could have explained that (I pay maternity to her profession), but she never called me.

In fact she never calls me, ignores my messages, cuts me short.

I know it's her prerogative. She doesn't have to want me involved or hear about my experiences. But she's happy to listen to sil or anyone but me.

But here's the thing; it was completely different before I told her I was pregnant. We chatted about her pregnancy she said she wanted to pick my brains etc.

It just feels like when we were kids and it's more of "ugly is always copying me! I'm pregnant and now she is!"

There's no competition, this isn't my first, I've done it all before smile

I really wanted this to bring us closer. But that's clearly not going to happen. It could be hormones, but I'm just so sad.

She never called to see how the epu went. I don't think she cares.

She was very unsympathetic when I had the mc. Told me she wouldn't have overreacted like I did.

Sorry for all the irrelevant info, didn't want to dripfeed. Have name changed.

Thanks if you got through that.

Is there anything I can do to fix this?

PuggyMum Sun 10-Mar-13 16:59:16

Hi Duckling, I'd written a response on Friday but it obviously didn't post. Grrr.

Sorry to hear things are no better with your sister.

My own sister is 6 years older than me and I am 9 weeks pg. in choosing my moment carefully to tell her as it can go one way or the other. We are close but every now and again she turns into the green eyed monster (freely admits it though!) and she has got violent with me before!

She's away this weekend so I took my mum out for lunch and told her with scan photo in her card... I even said I'm glad sister couldn't make it and mum agreed!

This is a happy time for you and I really hope things improve. Keep posting here if you need to and I hope your early worries are behind you.

TheUglyDuckling Thu 07-Mar-13 07:25:17

Philbee, think you're right about the grieving thing

Puggymum, thanks for thinking of me smile no it's not gotten better. Was invited around to my parents' last week. Didn't know dsis would be there too, but got there and it was the same again. Anytime I spoke she spoke over me and rubbished what I'd said. So I just shut up.

Unfortunately I am seen as a 'coper' whilst she is seen as more delicate, so for me to say anything or point out the rudeness would be seen as me attacking her.

I haven't mentioned babies at all, just in case that was the trigger, but it hasn't made a difference.

She didn't speak directly to me at all.

DB and SIL were lovely though. And DM and DF seemed to be making a special effort to see I was ok. So I do wonder if it's been noted or not.

I can't avoid seeing her at family things, but I'm just going to distance myself and rise above it. It's not worth the stress

But it does make me sad.

PuggyMum Wed 06-Mar-13 20:26:01

Hi Duckling,

Just wondering if you were ok and if things are any better?

philbee Tue 26-Feb-13 11:49:39

Sounds a bit like my sis, although she's not pg. She hasn't mentioned my being pg since I told her via email (she was away) and got a lovely response back. Same for last pg, although she was very kind when I miscarried. I have no idea why she's like that, but I don't feel like saying anything, although it does hurt. She is top dog in terms of parental attention so when I've mentioned it to them they've dismissed it. Tbh she doesn't ask me about anything else in my life either. I hoped with DD she'd get more interested after she was born but it hasn't really happened. Her loss.

I think you are grieving for a relationship you imagined but doesn't match reality. Your sis obviously doesn't want that relationship for whatever reason. I'd leave it tbh, there doesn't seem much point confronting her. If others realise she is being off with you you have their support already and that's what's important. I hope you can do more once the babies are born.

TheUglyDuckling Mon 25-Feb-13 18:40:57

Oh and I'm fully aware my feelings are OTT at the moment grin

I really appreciate all the feedback.

WantAnOrange Mon 25-Feb-13 18:37:06

Fair enough, I think everyone feels like that sometimes.

TheUglyDuckling Mon 25-Feb-13 17:24:14

Wantanorange, I know it sounds like that, but I'm giving you my internal thoughts. Outwardly I smiled and engaged, and I didn't mention it to them.

I accepted years ago that dsis is much closer to db than me. It was always like that (db is as close to both of us IYSWIM). But that said dsis and I have our own relationship. Which I value.

WantAnOrange Mon 25-Feb-13 16:53:09

Can I be a little bit blunt? You and your sister sound rather similiar. Comments like "discussing things that didn't include me", make you sound a little bit high maintainence. If you are in a group of people, they will discuss some things that arent relevent to you. It doesnt mean they dont like you.

I'm not meaning to be too critical, but I have a friend (a lovely person dont get me wrong) who is so sensitive and so easiliy hurt if she is not made to feel 'included' that it's actually quite wearing and sometimes I distance myself a bit because I dont have the emotional energy to keep worrying about her feelings. You may be worrying about people deliberately leaving you out when that is not their intention at all, so give yourself a break!

That said, I don't think you are being unkind to her at all and I don't think you should tiptoe around her or make petty descisions based on her behaviour. If you both go to the same baby group, smile and carry on! You are not responsible for her reactions, she is, so let her deal with it!

TheUglyDuckling Mon 25-Feb-13 16:27:52

Thanks brave, sounds like good advice. I'll give it a go.

Hopefully all will be well given time. smile

BraveLilBear Mon 25-Feb-13 16:21:38

I really honestly think that pregnancy/impending motherhood is a huge reality check for mums. Many women who are used to having money or a certain lifestyle suddenly feel they would rather stay at home than go back to work but know they cannot. Again I'm projecting here, but it breaks my heart that I will have to go back to work full-time 6-7 months after having mine. But such is life.

It takes a period of adjustment - some adjustments are easier than others but we all get there eventually. But pregnancy as a whole can trigger all sorts of conflicting emotions as I'm sure you'll know yourself!

I think keeping some distance is probably a good thing for a few weeks, then seeing how it goes. If it were me, I'd be inclined to do something nice as a peace offering, like buy a special mother's day card for her to mark her becoming a mum or something, but only you will know if that will work.

If things don't pick up soon, I'd advocate getting BIL involved - seems he's aware that DSis is acting unusually and that he's keen to smooth things out. But again, your call.

Spend time with 'easy' friends and relatives for a while and look after yourself. Fingers crossed for you!

TheUglyDuckling Mon 25-Feb-13 14:51:40

Thanks Brave, I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. I know how crazy being pregnant can make you, and I have felt terribly jealous of friends who just fell pregnant whilst I failed time and time again after my mc.

She's had all her scans and tests and all is well, (found that out on Facebook, she'd called everyone else to tell them a week earlier).

I think I'm coming to terms with it. Perhaps in some ways I'm almost grieving for a relationship that I imagined we might have. I had kids young, whilst she maintained the party lifestyle until now, so we didn't have a lot of common ground. I know I bonded a lot more with sil and db when they had dcs.

I do feel sad. I do feel pushed out. But I'm aware I'm drenched in hormones too. So in just going to play it by ear for now.

I have decided categorically that I'm not going to change my choices of classes etc based on treading on her toes (that's assuming it doesn't improve).

I am wondering if SIL picked up on something on Saturday. I'd completely forgotten about it but when it was just the three of us, about five minutes before we left, we somehow got onto the subject of me having cut my pay and hours to move back. Dsis was really snappy and started grilling me on my hours and hourly rate, I was a bit taken aback, but answered adding, it's a struggle to break even at the end of the month, but I get to see my dcs now, and I'm so much happier. Dsis started going on about how when I marry I'll have no money at all. I said no, it'll be the same (somehow seems to think I'm on benefits or something, I'm not). Lovely sil who earns a huge amount in a high powered job interjected with how much better it was to be happy than to have the money, and how she often thinks about simplifying and getting by on just enough. It was really nice and very at odds with the interrogation.

Sorry, I'm going in to way too much detail.

I need to disengage and ignore. I think that's all I can do.

BraveLilBear Mon 25-Feb-13 12:19:58

Hey Ugly so sorry you're going through this. It's the last thing anyone wants, especially at a time when you want your family around you.

There's no doubt she's acting unnecessarily coldly and frankly, if what you say is true, being incredibly immature and bitchy.

But I thought I'd weigh in with a big sister's viewpoint. I am a big sister. Last summer my younger sister got married aged 30, the first of the three of us to do so. She and I have always clashed throughout our lives - sibling rivalry could have been named after us - but underneath it we still care about each other and love each other.

When I got pregnant, and before we could tell anyone, I got a text out of the blue from my married sister whingeing about the fact she was off to her works Christmas do but she was dreading it because she couldn't drink. My heart leapt into my mouth and, I'm ashamed to say, I panicked that she might be pregnant too. I'd had an early miscarriage just before falling pregnant so was still emotionally raw, but the thought of her 'stealing my thunder' <possibly 'again' although I wasn't upset about her getting married> made me really really upset. She wasn't, and has been really supportive despite wanting to TTC but not being able to at the moment for various reasons.

But the thought of her being pregnant was literally my worst nightmare.

At around the same time, when I was about 6 weeks gone, I got home and my DP said 'have you seen the news on Facebook?' and told me that one of the newest couples in his friendship group had posted a scan picture onlline. My reaction? Again, horrifyingly, I actually said 'oh no' out loud. That was pure jealousythat they'd got to 12 weeks safely and before us, though partly due to the fact that I thought they were due on my miscarried due date. I honestly thought I would be 'next' in the group to have a baby and the fact that they had only been together a short while and were younger than us really bothered me.

We have since met up with them several times, and I'm now really pleased to have a pg friend in real life. But in the midst of early pg hormones and panic, I was annoyed and upset about it - especially when DP broke our 'no tell' agreement and told them before we told anyone else.

I am not a bad person. Most people say I'm incredibly laid back, kind and supportive. Yet I reacted really badly to even the thought of my lovely sister having a child before me.

Another thing that sprang to mind reading back over the thread is the comparisons she was making with the 'perfect best friend's pregnancy'. Maybe she's finding it tougher than she thought. Maybe she's ashamed to admit to you that, actually, pregnancy is tough and feels bad about the way she treated you before. Maybe she's scared out of her mind at becoming a mum or is having problems with her DH.

Maybe she wants your help more than anything, but would rather cut off her own arm than go to her younger sister - nothing personal, but society tells you you're supposed to know how this pregnancy stuff works. Asking your little sister is tough - especially if there's any notion of stubbornness (I would find this hard for that reason).

I'd suggest giving it a couple of weeks til you're both through first scans then suggest going out just the two of you, get your nails done or something. Maybe get a fun picture from when you were little and get it printed. Tell her you understand the timing sucks, but it's going to be amazing at the end, and tell her you can't wait to be an auntie and to learn some of her awesome auntie tricks off her (if she's been good to your other DCs to now).

Take it slow, and good luck. thanks

TheUglyDuckling Sun 24-Feb-13 19:28:14

Lady as I tried to say before, one week everything was fine, then I told her I was pregnant (quick phonecall, all very friendly) the next week cold and distant and has now been for just over a month.

If I said something offensive, and the only thing that wasn't "I'm pregnant" was "we have had a few problems already but I want you to know if things do go wrong for us that I don't want you to feel you need to avoid me or anything like that" should she not talk to me about it?

Today I am feeling very hormonal and oversensitive, and had last night been the first time she'd been distant I wouldn't have thought twice about it. She certainly wasn't as openly cold towards me as before, just avoiding me and discussing things that didn't include me.

I don't think I'm irrational to be worrying about hypothetical future problems at 10 weeks. We all think and worry about different things. I am very worried about getting to 12 weeks, so avoid thinking about current more relevant problems. But that's just me.

ladymia Sun 24-Feb-13 16:52:44

This is why I responded like I did earlier. None of us know your family history and what your relationships is like with your sister. You might have said something to her that irritated her which has absolutely NOTHING to do with pregnancy.

I believe you are being a little over sensitive and over thinking a lot of this. I am referring to the comments about already worrying about bumping into her at antenatal classes, it seems a silly thing to be worrying about right now to me if i think of all the things I was worried about at 10 weeks.

You need to ask your sister why she is acting like this it might not have anything to do with the pregnancy. All of us can just guess.

I hope my response is not harsh.

TheUglyDuckling Sun 24-Feb-13 16:30:52

Ignore the hormonal outburst. Even I can see it's all really petty.

TheUglyDuckling Sun 24-Feb-13 09:01:50

Actually, no. Having just dissolved into tears for half an hour (very unlike me, so it must be the hormones) I'm feeling rubbish.

Two topics of conversation last night led by dsis: the trip she took the other couple there on (and yes it was all family) a few years ago and how amazing it was etc etc. Followed by the hen do that I've not been invited to (I know the groom well, but don't know the bride as well as dsis and sil). As a very nice gesture my db had arranged for dp (who doesn't know the couple at all) to be invited to the stag do.

I don't mind that I was the only one at the table not invited. But wasn't it a little bit mean for dsis to bring it up when I'm not involved.

I'm probably being oversensitive. But I've only been back here 6 months, I don't have any friends still in the area, everyone at work is a good deal older than me (although lovely), and I'm really bloody lonely.

Sorry. Whinge over. Promise.

TheUglyDuckling Sun 24-Feb-13 07:30:44

Dammit, phiney, not philway! Sorry!

TheUglyDuckling Sun 24-Feb-13 07:29:44

Galway, sorry, I wasn't taking offence, just wanted to explain a bit more smile

Philway let's hope it does all pass once babies are here.

Foof, I think you're right that without everyone backing it up as bad behaviour you're on to a losing battle.

So, last night. 6 of us were there. Both times we moved to sit down I sat first, and dsis next, and she both times she was sat as far away from me as physically possible. Could be nothing. But she didn't say two words to me all night other than a quick "really well" when I asked how she was.

I had a really nice evening talking to everyone else, and no one let slip about me being pregnant, which was great. But I think it's clear that she doesn't want to engage with me at all. So I'm just going to leave it I think.

I've decided not to base my choices on her being there or not. I'm going to assume she's not, and then if she is, how was I to know?

I did say to dp, what if at hypothetical baby class she's there? Where should I sit? If I sat next to her would she huff? If I sat away would she think I was snubbing her? Dp pointed out that since I'm always early and she's always late, that would more than likely be her decision and not mine. So that's a daft relief for a non-existent problem!

Phineyj Sat 23-Feb-13 21:25:43

My DSis was rather strange about my pregnancy too, OP. She has two children, born soon in her marriage (had always been v. keen to have them) while I dithered much longer, then ended up having lots of difficulties and IVF. She seemed almost completely uninterested in my pregnancy and I wondered if I had stolen her thunder because having babies had been 'her thing' and she'd been quite openly jealous of my life/house/work and a bit chippy about being the younger one.

However, since the baby has arrived she has been brilliant.

Fingers crossed your sister will have an attitude adjustment once the babies arrive, and in the meantime hang out with friends who are happy for you and positive and try not to worry too much about what's going on in her head.

galwaygirl Sat 23-Feb-13 19:01:13

Hey, sorry I didn't mean to sound harsh!
I know what you mean that we are all adults now and being older/younger shouldn't matter but it's a huge part of the dynamic growing up and can be hard to lose the feeling of being the older one and thinking you should experience things first etc. At least I think it can for the older sibling wink
I really think you won't get anywhere by saying anything to her and might even add fuel to the fire. It might be better for you mentally to work on not caring so much (way way easier said than done). And change your own behaviour to reduce the opportunities she has to make you feel shit - if you can...

FoofFighter Sat 23-Feb-13 17:32:57

Maybe it's time to break the mould then ugly and be the one to question. Brushing it under the carpet isn't working is it? I hope to be able to get this across to OH's folks. OH now understands this and is no longer willing to put up and shut up but we really need his parents onside too for it to make any difference.

TheUglyDuckling Sat 23-Feb-13 15:39:02

Hi Galway, that sounds bloody awful.

I'd like to say I don't think I've in anyway projected a "done it all before" attitude, but she is someone who always has to know the most about everything, so she would feel threatened I suppose. To me that seems daft.

I do find it odd now we're all adults with our own specialisms and experiences, that my being a little younger means I should make sure I don't appear to know more about something. But as I said, when I first told her I was pregnant I said I was really looking forward to being able to discuss things etc as I was sure so much must have changed since I was last pregnant.

My only aim for tonight is to not get upset.

I've just asked dp if I've done anything perceivably wrong, and if I'm imagining her reaction (hangover from XH always convincing me it was my fault if anyone was less than nice), and he's said firmly that he's been there for every meeting, I said nothing bad, was interested in her, didn't talk about me at all, and that she's been cold and distant.

But I'm still blaming myself. And given history (all family problems must always be brushed under the carpet and not dealt with), if I do try to talk to her I'll be seen to be the one with the problem. It's fine to be covertly snide, it's not fine to question said snideness. Sorry. Another long one.

galwaygirl Sat 23-Feb-13 14:05:45

I think it's a stealing her thunder thing too but I wouldn't say anything. I'd hope that she will realise how she is behaving and maybe as the hormones stabilise will start backtracking?
I'd be careful of the whole 'done it all before' attitude too, as an older sister who has to listen to this from a younger sister it an be extremely trying - all babies are different so you won't know more than her about how to do things with her baby.
It is really shit when people aren't happy for you - especially when you're worried about the pregnancy progressing. My BIL's wife didn't speak to me for a while, and never congratulated me, when I told her I was pregnant after an IVF cycle after 3 years TTC. She is a very jealous person and although it felt like she wanted me to lose the baby so she could have the first grandchild - which was so hard to understand as she knew what we had been through and had been TTC for under a year herself - I'm glad now that I didn't say anything as things are ok again.
Try not to give her too much headspace and remember its her problem and not something you can control xx

FoofFighter Sat 23-Feb-13 13:47:30

Good luck for tonight Ugly

50shadesofmeh Sat 23-Feb-13 13:47:15

Ah well I guess most decent people don't act like her , do t let it ruin your pregnancy

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