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Relationship with sister - please help!

(11 Posts)
pinkbabygrow Fri 12-Aug-11 15:29:28

I really need some perspective/different viewpoints on how to handle my relationship with my sister which is now at breaking point....I hope some wise MNers can help me!
My younger sister and I haven't spoken for a couple of months, there are no signs of any thawing of relations and my family are getting upset. It is on the verge of turning into a serious problem. It all kicked-off when my sister visited us when I was 37 weeks pregnant and we had a row (we were both in the wrong, I apologised but she went home anyway). We haven't spoken since even though I have since given birth. She did send a present to us but apparently I was too slow in thanking her (2 days...um was a bit distracted by the newborn baby) so she is 'never sending anything again'. I send photos of the baby but she doesn't reply to the emails.
She thinks it is my fault and I need to apologise (even though I have, she denies it). She doesn't think she needs to apologise to me. Meanwhile she is missing out on seeing her niece and I am furious that she is putting a downer on such a happy time for the whole family.
This all follows years of the whole family pandering to my sister because she is single, has no friends and is always ill with something. She is probably annoyed that I'm not ringing every few days to enquire about the progress of her latest period of being poorly. I am constantly torn between feeling desperately sorry for her (and giving in whenever there is an argument/issue) but also being at the end of my tether with her. I have never met someone who expects so much from other people without giving anything in return.
Has anyone else experienced a situation like this? What should I do? Do I forgive her bad attitude - probably caused by jealousy? Or accept that a more distanced relationship will mean I am less wound up and happier? All advice gratefully received!

HuntForGalaxyHazelnut Fri 12-Aug-11 22:41:14

Hello Pinkbabygrow

I'm sure someone much more eloquent and wise than me will be along to help you soon but i didn't want your thread to go unanswered!

Your sister sounds very self involved. I would bet money that the only reason she is continuing this ridiculous and childish argument is because you are getting more attention than her from the family due to having a new baby and this is her way of diverting attention back to her. Her hissy fit about you not thanking her for the baby's present is an example of this, she thinks everything she does should be greeted with applause, because you didn't thank her for two whole days she has convinced herself that you are ungrateful.

I would try to just be civil to her in future, include her on emailed pictures of the baby, say hello and ask how she is if you see her, but don't engage with her properly or allow her to guilt trip you for non existent things, and try not to let her drag you into her drama. Cooling your relationship with her doesn't have to make things awkward for everybody else in the family, just try to rise above it. (easier said than done I know!)

I hope you're enjoying your time with your new baby smile

nakedandangry Fri 12-Aug-11 23:03:59

What is your relationship with your sister like - aside from this blip? Do you love each other, have fun together?

She is quite likely very jealous and dislikes the attention given by your parents (and everybody else) because you have done this enormous thing - bringing a new member of the family into this world!

If you are able to be tolerant of her because she has personal difficulties then try and be so, and let her enjoy your new family member too.

If she is a fecking pain in the arse and generally unpleasant anyway then I agree that you could perhaps keep her at arms length, include her in emails and pics etc.

Congratulations anyway on your little babe.

thenightsky Fri 12-Aug-11 23:15:18

As someone who hasn't spoken to her only sister for 8 years now I can only say.. you can choose your friends but not your family. The last 8 years have been the calmest of my life really. No more waiting for the next attack of bitching.

TeachMySelfBalance Sat 13-Aug-11 02:46:51

Would you accept this emotionally abusive behavior from someone who was not your sister?
No
Why then does a blood relation have carte blanch to emotionally abuse you?
ummm....? Tough one, isn't it?
So think about setting boundaries, and 'enough is enough' becomes an operational motto with no shame attached for you to anguish through.

If she needs to have her panties in a twist and have a pity party, then let her-you certainly can not control her or stop her from doing that; but you do not have to participate in it: that you can control.

Family anguishing over it? That is 100 percent their problem. They could just as easily not anguish over it, iyswim.

sunnyweather Sat 13-Aug-11 12:06:00

after years(a lifetime!) of feeling bad about certain situations with my sister it took her being exceptionally unreasonable (not just very very unreasonable) for me to get a new perspective. it may seem obvious but i started asking myself if the behaviour which i had displayed went against my moral code - if it didn't i tried not to feel bad about what i had done. basically not letting her always dictate the appropriateness of what i did. it was a revelation to me and made me realise that what was expected of me had always been ridiculous and quite different to what she expected of herself. the guilt i used to feel was often overwhelming about even minor situations- our relationship is now more distant, as i find the way she communicates with me makes it difficult not to restart the old cycle, but much less toxic for me. the rest of my family have probably noticed a change but there have been no major confrontations or arguments and we are still in contact so noone is upset about that. i still love my sister and im sure she loves me but i think it is better for us both like this. i hope that helps.

pinkbabygrow Sat 13-Aug-11 18:18:30

Thank you to you all. I was worried I'd get responses telling me I was being unfair!
Our relationship has it's ups and downs - we are very different people and don't really have any shared interests. If we weren't related we wouldn't be friends. The more I think about it the more I realise that our relationship changed forever a few years ago.....I couldn't fall pregnant (several years of TTC) and DH and I were having tests. She got pregnant accidently and had a termination. Quite why I was told I'll never know....well actually I was told so that I could support her (which I did). I think that I still resent it and it was the beginning of a growing list of things I can't forgive her for (not the termination itself, more the expectation that I was expected to support her through it given my own circumstances). She has never supported me through anything.
Your replies have given me much to think about and I think I know what I have to do....I don't want to have no contact as I want my baby to know her aunty (she's not all bad and manageable in small doses). A cooler relationship might be best for all. Thank you.

wheelshavefallenoffthebus Sat 13-Aug-11 18:32:41

I think it will be her loss if she doesn't get to low her niece. Whatever the tow with you she should have the maturity to put that to one side at this special time. Enjoy your new baby. You need your time and energy for being a mum!

wheelshavefallenoffthebus Sat 13-Aug-11 18:32:59

Know not low!

wheelshavefallenoffthebus Sat 13-Aug-11 18:33:25

And row not tow! Bloomin phone!

HattiFattner Sat 13-Aug-11 18:49:38

I dont have much to do with my sister - similar situation, she is "jackanory" person - constantly rehashing and rewriting history to cast herself as victim. I had enough about 4 years ago. Just stopped contact - spoke with her pleasantly when she calls but dont bother calling her or emailing. My life is so much simpler when Im not lurching from one crisis to another!

Ive also recently recognised her as a NARC - just like her mother - and so that self absorbtion and holier than thou attitude just gets ignored now. I get on with my life, with my kids,my husband - all of whom she likes to alternatively put down or become best friends with.....its all about her, no matter what she does, she likes to turn it to her advantage.

I dont stop my DD for example, having her as a friend on facebook, but I know that she will be discussing private conversations between her and my DD with everyone who will listen, casting herself as wonderful aunty counsellor and me as cold fish whose child will not talk to them.

sigh

I let her get on with it.

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