Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
WWBU not to go?(32 Posts)
Last year my sister asked us to go with her to a concert. We have no interest whatsoever in the band or in going to this scale of concert (it's in a stadium so huge) and would have to travel an hour each way to get to it, plus we'd have to leave the kids in a relative's house overnight, which they wouldn't like at all (they're very little and would still be very nervous of staying somewhere without us). We agreed to go because she has no-one else to go with and wouldn't have gone alone. My father paid for the tickets for us as our christmas present.
Since we agreed to go, we invited her on holidays with us. We changed the dates from nice quiet dates to busy ones so that she'd be able to come with us, and invited her over every week to plan it with us and watch related movies with the kids. We made her dinner every week, gave her a key in case she got there before we got home from work, and bought her slippers so she'd feel comfy and at home (and explained that it wasn't that we didn't want her wearing shoes, that she could wear whatever she felt comfiest in, in case anyone's thinking we were being the footwear police!). She came for a few months but then stopped and we didn't know why.
We have since found out that she's been complaining to my parents that we made her feel terribly unwelcome, and that was why she stopped coming. She didn't want to see DH and I, but made arrangements to go to my parents' house when they had the kids so that she could see them without us. My parents have told me I'm a horrible person over it all, she thinks we're horrible and the atmosphere in the family is generally excruciating.
She still wants us to go to the concert. WWBU to not do her this favour? I know we said we would, but it's become obvious that we really don't have the relationship I thought we had and I can't face the awkwardness of it all, or the upset to the kids for the sake of someone who'll just end up bitching about us behind our backs.
Before you write off your relationship forever what specifically did she say you and do we're doing to make her uncomfortable?
Surely she has pointers or examples of things you had done to upset her?
Is your sister an adult? Does she have SN or some MH problems?
There are a lot to 'we's in your post. Do you not have a relationship with your sister that is separate from your dh? Perhaps she feels she is in a 'us' and 'her' situation.
Obviously I'm just speculating.
I don't know what she said. In all honesty I'm afraid to ask. When it was discussed, it was part of a vicious row during which an awful lot of things were said by my parents that I haven't gotten over yet. I don't want to open the floodgates again. DH, who witnessed it all, said he'd never seen anything like it and wouldn't be in favour of going through it again.
She is an adult and no SN.
No, I don't really have a separate relationship with her. My mother has always strongly discouraged it; she does the narc thing of isolating people and being the go-between. I thought things were improving and was trying hard to work on it but it doesn't seem to have worked.
I'd go personally, as you did agree to go. But I'd certainly not oblige her in future.
Maybe she's a bit jealous of you?
I had a mother like this. I'd take anything she's said with a MASSIVE pinch of salt.
I don't understand why you can't go with her by yourself with all the hoohah with childcare.
There are some strange and unpleasant family dynamics at play here. Perhaps if you go but alone, you might be able to clear up where all the hurt is coming from.
It sounds very difficult.
TBH I strongly suggest your mother has been lying and stirring the shit. Speak to you sister in a non-confrontational way. Ask her what your mother has said about you and dh because you think she may have told some lies.
OK, I asked her age and if she had any SN because it's coming across in your post that you are acting like a parent to a needy child with her. Especially since you said you changed your holiday to busier dates which I assumed was connected to her being at school/uni. But also, going to a concert with her because she doesn't have anyone else to go with, giving her a key, buying her a pair of slippers?!
There are definitely some very dysfunctional dynamics going on here, and from what you've said about your mum, I would assume that she is trying to poison the well. I would get your sister round or on the phone and have a frank chat with her. And yes you agreed to go to the concert so you should still go, however I see no reason for your H to go, so that would solve the childcare thing.
I think there is a jealousy issue, to be honest. My parents have forbade me to discuss my wedding in front of her, or my pregnancies, because it bothered her.
DH wanted to go to try and ease the tension a bit. The two of us spending a number of hours together would be quite uncomfortable - we have very little common ground at this stage. DH is better at small talk than either of us so would keep the conversation going!
It wasn't my mother who said this, it was my father, and there's no way he would have made it up. If he says she said it, then she said it. Plus there's the fact that she stopped coming!
You have to talk to her about it. There's no other way to get to the bottom of it.
First thing I was going to ask was whether your mother has a history of causing problems between you and your DSis, but you've already answered that.
I would take anything your mother has said with an enormous pinch of salt. Your DSis might have complained, or she might have made a throwaway comment, which your mother has exaggerated. Talk to your DSis and ask her what's going on. Make your decision based on that conversation, not the argument you had with your mother.
I have to say, you do talk about your sister as if she does have some sort of special needs, like you're the adult and she's a child, it's quite condescending. With a DM as you describe I wonder if the dynamic with your sister is based in reality or a situation contrived by your DM to divide you and stop you forming a proper relationship. Did your DSis ask you not to talk about your wedding or pregnancies, or was this also relayed by your DM?
How am I condescending? I don't see it? Maybe that's what's wrong. I'm not at all aware of doing it though; she's older than me and I certainly don't think of her as being younger.
It was my mother who asked us not to talk about the various things.
I would leave your husband at home and go on your own with your sister. Take the opportunity to start to build a sister to sister relationship. You won't have to talk much because it will be noisy so no need to worry about small talk. Go for a drink or a bite to eat first and enjoy the night!
If it were me, I'd need to speak to her one to one and sort it out. It might not be pleasant but as a PP said, it's the only way to get to the bottom of it.
I think you need to speak to your sister directly. At this point you really don't know what's been said or why she stopped coming.
You sound condescending because, like pocketsaviour also noticed, you talk about her almost as if she has SN. I don't mean to criticise you, it seems you don't even notice and it's not really the issue here. It sounds as though your parents are trying to stop you from having an equal, sibling relationship. I'd put money on the jealousy issues re your wedding and pregnancies being entirely fabricated.
You posted about this before I think? The advice then was mainly to go NC with your family.
The answer to the concert thing us for your DH to go with her and not you. Just ask if she still wants to go on holiday or not.
Yes, I've posted about this before. I can't bring myself to go NC to be honest, I'm not ready for that (yet!).
I still don't get the condescending thing? I'm not offended, just curious. It's interesting to get an outsider's view of this. I don't see myself treating her as if she has SN; the changing the holiday dates was for work reasons (she could only go at a weekend), going to the concert is because she literally doesn't have anyone else in her life she could ask, and giving her a key was because she used to end up sitting in the car waiting for us to get home from work and I thought it would be nicer for her to be able to get into the house out of the cold (our arrival time could be unpredictable because we had a 70km drive home and if the traffic was bad she could be there for a while, and she feels the cold really badly). None of that seems condescending to me?
The holiday isn't an issue any more, that's where the argument happened.
The jealousy thing isn't altogether a fabrication, she's said it herself.
I don't think you sound condescending exactly, but there's something that comes across in your posts that you are running around trying to do things to make her feel better and "comfy and at home"; it's as if she can't cope with the world as a normal adult. Why would she need to feel "at home" at your place? She doesn't live there. It's kind of the thing I'd expect someone who's split up and remarried to say about their DC coming to visit.
Also some things you said in the first post about "invited her over every week to plan it with us and watch related movies with the kids" - it kind of feels like you've put her in a group with the kids, again it kind of feels like a step-parenting situation. And you have her over to dinner every week, but no mention of going to hers?
Maybe there is actually an unhealthy dynamic going on (with what you've said about your mum actually that is a definite) and you feel you have to keep your sister happy? That her needs come first?
I also struggle to see why a woman who is older than you doesn't have a single person she could go to a concert with. And if all her friends hate her taste in music (Michael Buble anyone?) why not just go alone, I would?
Maybe condescending was the wrong word to use pocketsaviour has explained it better. Sorry
I wanted her to feel at home in our house because I wanted her to want to keep coming. We've always had a shit relationship and as we get older I'm realising what a waste that is, and that we should try to get past all the years of shit and establish some sort of positive relationship before it's too late. We get on well enough occasionally for me to know that it doesn't have to be like this.
It's not that I've lumped her in with the kids, it's that I wanted to give her the chance to spend time with them. She's mad about them and thinks that it's too late to have any of her own.
We don't get invited to her house. I couldn't tell you why, I haven't a clue. We've been invited there twice in the last 6 years.
For the last decade there has been a general 'poor DSis, be nice to her, she has a crapper life than yours' vibe going on with my parents. So there's definitely pressure to keep her happy. My mother actually told me she was glad we were going to the concert because otherwise she and my father would have had to go and they're really, really not up to that.
She doesn't have any friends at all to invite. That's been another campaign of my mother's, she always liked to slag off our friends and tell us they were two faced and nasty so we both thought everyone secretly hated us. DSis, I think, is too thoroughly brain-washed and wouldn't believe a word of that if I said it to her; I daren't criticise our parents to her.
I think you need to build a relationship with your sister that does not involve your mum. And I think you should say that to your sister very explicitly.
Join the discussion
Please login first.