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What can I do about my relationship with my sister?

(6 Posts)
siblingproblemsaplenty Tue 19-May-15 15:44:54

I have NC for this as it might out me.

Sorry for long post but don't want to drip feed and the background is relevant.

I have a half-sister from my father's first marriage. She is 18 years older than I am (I am 26). My Dad has had three marriages. My mum was his third and they have since divorced as my Dad left her for another woman. He is not a particularly nice person and has not really been around for any of his children. I was twelve when they split up and my younger siblings were eight and four. My sister was three when her parents split up. My mum had always made a big effort with her and continued to after she split up from my father - eg had her round for christmas, cooked for her on her birthdays, included her in family events with my siblings and I etc etc.

I had a fairly good relationship with her up until a few years ago. I say fairly good because she is quite a difficult person to get on with. She had quite a difficult childhood (her mum was not very nice to her as well as my Dad not being great) which I respect and try to understand.

I adore my mum, she has done a great job of bringing up three kids on her own, with not much money and with MH issues of her own (she suffers from severe depression and anxiety). My sister has never been particularly nice to her but generally speaking she is quite prickly - very easily offended and prone to making passive aggressive comments. She is also pretty tactless, ie thought it was appropriate to say to one of our other sisters that she should eat a few pies when sister in question was suffering from an eating disorder, etc etc.

She had a baby a few years ago who has now turned two. I love my niece to bits and really want to spend time with her, think it's important she has a family around her. My sister split up from niece's father but he is still in the picture and appears to be fairly supportive.

Sister moved far away (about 1.5 hours' drive from us) in order to be in a rural area. She doesn't drive so finds it very difficult to get anywhere. This is fine, but inevitably it is harder for us to go and visit her. She has been very bitter about this and frequently makes snide comments about us not caring/not being there for her. I text and phone her frequently and so do my mum and my other sisters. We go to see her when we can but we all work full-time (mum in particular works really hard, works night shifts 6 days a week).

Last christmas, she came to us. My mum made a massive effort as always, gave up her bed so she could co-sleep with my niece, did all the cooking, pressies etc. Sister was rude to our other guests, didn't help, didn't join in despite massive effort to include her. I felt really quite upset by it, particularly given I was suffering from quite a serious illness at the time and had lost my job due to it, and when I told her this her first reaction was 'oh great, you can come and look after neice for me then as I have childcare issues'. I thought this was a tactless thing to say. I was really ill at the time.

Our relationship was souring a bit before that but since then it has really gone downhill to the point where she didn't invite me to my niece's 2nd birthday party next week when the rest of my family were invited. I don't actually know why, from my perspective I have tried hard and every attempt at contact I make has either been ignored or met with a sarcastic comment. But yet then she tells all her friends that her family aren't supportive and don't make any effort!

I don't know what to do. I feel very upset by this. Sorry for the long rambling post but can anyone advise? Realise this is a bit rambling and confusing so happy to answer questions.

Jenoftheweek Tue 19-May-15 19:38:16

This sounds vaguely familiar. Have you posted about this before?
Could you write to her? Express your worries and hopes without her sarcastic feedback ? I have difficulty expressing myself verbally when I'm upset.

DeckSwabber Wed 20-May-15 02:17:06

She doesn't sound well and she also sounds quite angry. Maybe having a child of her own has brought up a lots of stuff for her.

Is there any chance someone in your family could mediate and try to gently find out whether something in particular is upsetting her?

Quitelikely Wed 20-May-15 08:42:24

Wow! She is acting rather entitled imo.

Your mother has no obligation towards her yet she has persistently welcomed her and this is the thanks she gets.

I would say that this sister is feeling jealous of your family set up. Jealous of the nice mother you all have and really wishing she was her mother too.

Personally if I was you I would ask her directly why you have had no invite to the party.

If she wants support then she needs to go the right way about it.

Also do try to challenge her behaviour. Don't let her remarks slide. She will soon start to show you respect once she realises she can't make verbal attacks without there being consequences.

siblingproblemsaplenty Wed 20-May-15 08:59:51

No not posted before!

Maybe having a child of her own has brought up a lots of stuff for her.

I don't doubt this is the case since she is much worse since my niece was born and I sympathise however the problem is the way she is makes it extremely difficult for anyone to try and help. I once tried to say to her that because she is so prickly with me it makes it hard for me to reach out as I am afraid she will snap at me and she basically said that I had had a perfect life and it was ok for me to say that because I didn't know anything. I haven't had a perfect life by any stretch, I had the exact same experience with our Dad that she has, obviously the difference is my mum is supportive, and I recognise that.

She doesn't sound well and she also sounds quite angry

I agree. She has had years of therapy but it doesn't seem to have really helped her.

I think my main problem is she just seems to be being quite spiteful for the sake of it and I don't know why she has to be that way. I know she has had a hard time growing up but so have lots of people (including me). My mum, for example, was sexually abused as a young child and then grew up with an abusive stepfather and was kicked out of home at fifteen, so her early life has been no picnic and yet she is not like this. Obviously it affects people in different ways but when I speak to her I feel like I am trying to reason with a teenager. I don't say this to be horrible but just to work out why that is. Perhaps it is something I am doing wrong.

siblingproblemsaplenty Wed 20-May-15 09:00:28

I admit I am a bit crap with confrontation (I have anxiety problems and find it really hard) so that's probably an issue I need to work on myself.

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