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Estranged Sister will not take olive branch

(29 Posts)
Beren1 Mon 11-Jan-16 15:26:00

My sister and I fell out 5 years ago over an email she sent about my wife that mistakenly found its way to me. Lots of pent up gripes were aired and we just fell out and didn't speak.
It really upset my mum and whilst I felt she was in the wrong, for mum's sake I have held out the olive branch 2 or 3 times since, only to be ignored.
Mum has a big birthday coming up so I decided again to contact and reach out. I called her and she answered and asked if anything wrong. I said no all good, just wanted to catch up about Mum's birthday and look to see what we could do for her. She cut me off as she was busy so said she'd call me back. She didn't but texted me a couple of days later saying for me to just sort stuff out with my family and they'd work around it. I texted back and said I though mum would want to see us both so maybe we should look at discussing that. She cut me off completely and said no, she will do something separately. I looked back on my messages and they were nothing but conciliatory, polite, nice and reaching out.
For me, I can take or leave her, but I am not doing this for me but my mum who is getting on in years and would love nothing more than her 2 children to get on and at least speak and her not to be caught in the middle.
I won't be able to tell my Mum, although I feel she should now that yet again I have had the olive branch thrown back at me, because she shuts me down as soon as I try to explain anything about the situation - I think deep down she doesn't want to hear that her daughter has acted wrongly in any way.
Any ideas as to what to do, or should I just leave it?

Andthentherewasmum Mon 11-Jan-16 15:42:19

I'd be interested in hearing your sisters side of the story.

I think deep down she doesn't want to hear that her daughter has acted wrongly in any way.

Wrong in your eyes. Maybe not in hers.

She obviously doesn't want to reconcile and you don't sound very sincere in your motives for doing so.

Why don't you respect her choices and back off. What your mum thinks is upto her. If she wants to understand why then I guess she'll talk to her daughter about it.

You can't force her just because she is family.

2rebecca Mon 11-Jan-16 15:57:59

Leave her. She has made her position clear. You've asked her about doing something together she's said no. Your mum will have to accept that at the moment her children don't get on and happy families is off the menu.
Keeping contacting her to try and get your way will come across as bullying.

Mebathiscold Mon 11-Jan-16 16:00:15

Being polite and nice now doesn't undo whatever happened in the past between you and your sister may not be ready now (or ever) to speak to you again. I would leave her alone.

OurBlanche Mon 11-Jan-16 16:05:17

So stop beating her round the head with the olive branch.

Whatever the minutia the two of you have had a parting of the ways and your sister, for whatever reason, is cleaving unto that grudge.

Take her at her word. Sort something out that you and your mum want to do, invite your sister, leave her to make up her own mind.

If your mum ever asks, tell her simply that you asked and were rebuffed, let her think what she will.

You will not, can not, ever win this game. I doubt anyone can, not and have an amicable outcome.

You have my sympathy. But my best advice is to stop trying, stay polite and just suck it up. Sorry.

Beren1 Mon 11-Jan-16 16:09:32

Well my motives are purely to ease the pain for my mum, not sure why you think otherwise?
It is pretty clear cut to be honest as to what caused it, I am comfortable that I have been nothing but conciliatory for my mum.
But yes, I agree that she has made her position clear, and there's little I could do, but always good to hear another view.
Thanks

NewLife4Me Mon 11-Jan-16 16:11:55

It is sad but there's nothing you can do.
I would just ask if there was any way you could just both be civil or the sake of your mum. I don't think this is unusual tbh and have seen it in lots of families.
They can't stand each other but do it out of a kind of duty to the parents.
Maybe ask if she is prepared to do this and that you won't continue to contact her otherwise unless strictly necessary.

Greydog Mon 11-Jan-16 16:12:52

If your sister is determined to ignore you, then don't bother wasting any more of your time on her. I understand it would be nice for Mum to have her children together, but it's not going to happen. Not all families get on. Just do something nice for you and your Mum

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Mon 11-Jan-16 16:19:30

Well my motives are purely to ease the pain for my mum
Then this is not an olive branch
this is asking her to superficially look like you have a functional relationship when you don’t - or as we call this in the trade "lie"

Beren1 Mon 11-Jan-16 16:24:01

Not really. I want to reconcile in whatever way we can so that my Mum is happier.

OurBlanche Mon 11-Jan-16 16:25:55

Ignore it all, Beren1.

Whatever happened is done. Having been through similar I know that PoisonousSIL has her version of events, just as I have mine, and nothing can reconcile us.

It is how it is.

Greydog Mon 11-Jan-16 16:27:42

I think that's a bit of an overreaction, 665 - he doesn't want a relationship as such - he just wants his sister to act in a civilised manner for a short period of time whilst they have a bit of a do for mum. That's my reading of it, and I apologise if I'm wrong

HortonWho Mon 11-Jan-16 16:31:10

If she said horrible things about his wife, never apologised and he's offered to put it behind him for sake of their mother... How on earth is that not an olive branch? So often we hear you don't have a SIL problem, you have a DH problem because he should be standing up for you to his family.

So this poster did back up his wife, and years later he wants to move forward for sake of his mum... I think you have to tell your mum how you have tried, and how the ball is in your sister's court. If your mum still chooses not to believe that and excuse your sister's behaviour, then I think she is not as neutral as you hoped.

2rebecca Mon 11-Jan-16 16:31:44

I think your mum should be encouraged to be happy with the situation as it is rather than pining for an idealised sibling relationship.
She can choose to be happy with the fact that she has 2 children and has good relationships with those children even though they don't get on or she can choose to focus on the negative stuff.
I think big birthdays and anniversaries often create unrealistic expectations with people having an idea of how "normal" families celebrate these events ignoring the fact that many families don't get on brilliantly with each other.
You seem to feel responsible for making your mother happy. She has to take responsibility for this.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 11-Jan-16 16:31:51

Your sister is not interested so you need to respect her wishes for you to not make further contact.

Its being done for the wrong reason i.e. for your mother and not you. You are not responsible for your Mum's happiness so why do you still seek her approval?.

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Mon 11-Jan-16 16:32:12

Sounds like your sister should be the one offering the olive branch if she was the one who caused the split? Clearly there is some underlying reason why she doesn't want to have contact.

I think you have to just leave it, unfortunately.

summerainbow Mon 11-Jan-16 16:37:08

I think were you are going wrong is that you doing it for your mum . Not for yourself. You don't want your sister back in your life so would she want you on hers.
This won't work. If you want her back in your life you have apologise for what you did wrong . This then leave it up to her to apologise and make up.

starry0ne Mon 11-Jan-16 16:37:42

Although you haven't mentioned what previous olive branches it read to me I wan to make up for mum not because we are adults.

I would send her a message saying you there were issues but you would like to sort things out... If you would like to contact me and then leave it ... you can do no more

alltouchedout Mon 11-Jan-16 16:37:51

She doesn't want a relationship with you, which is her right, and she doesn't want to pretend and put on a show for your mother, which is understandable. I grew up in an extended family who did the whole feuding, battling, allies and enemies, "let's be civil for mum/nana/whoever's sake" (which general ended appallingly badly with a massive public scene) emotional drama thing. I don't have contact with most of them now because it is exhausting and ridiculous.

Arfarfanarf Mon 11-Jan-16 17:23:52

She isn't obliged to accept your olive branch and I think if she doesn't want you, you have no choice but to respect her decision.

Anything you say along the lines of we should do this for mum, she is getting on and we don't know how much time she has... will only sound manipulative.

Sadly you will just have to reassure your mum as best you can that it's ok, it is what it is and she must not worry.

Bubbletree4 Mon 11-Jan-16 17:29:10

I wonder what your sister's gripes were. If they were serious then she is correct to continue the estrangement, regardless of your mum's feelings.

springydaffs Mon 11-Jan-16 20:33:59

It doesn't sound to me your mother is siding with your sister but that doesn't want to be involved.

Well op, you've had the party line trotted out on here. But not everything is about 'rights' or society wouldn't function if everyone was insisting on their individual rights; there comes a time when the collective trumps the individual. But you wouldn't know that and I think it probably hasnt occurred to those who insist on personal 'rights' that there is such a thing as a collective.

Which is what you are dealing with here - the 'collective' in this case is the family. I'm with you that she could at least attempt to service the needs of the family, even if it's show, by putting her own rights aside for the sake of your mum. I genuinely wonder if those who insist on their rights in situations like this can have any idea of the pain their decisions can cause.

Incidentally, I am nc with my siblings, so I do know what I'm saying here, not pontificating from on high. I have stood at hospital bedsides along with the toxic brood for the sake of my mum. With not an olive branch in sight.

Perhaps be clear with her - you want to do this for both your mum's sake. Talking to your sister isn't necessarily an olive branch btw.

MsMims Mon 11-Jan-16 20:48:23

Leave it.

You say you're doing it for your Mum, not yourself, so it would merely be a front which neither of you will be able to maintain. Your messages pressuring your sister when she'd already said to make your own plans won't help either.

I agree with PP, although I can understand your Mum feeling sad that her children don't get along, it isn't your moral duty to fix things for her sake. Lots of families don't get on, it's a fact of life.

Canyouforgiveher Mon 11-Jan-16 20:57:15

*Well my motives are purely to ease the pain for my mum
Then this is not an olive branch
this is asking her to superficially look like you have a functional relationship when you don’t - or as we call this in the trade "lie"*

Seriously! Your definition of olive branch is more like a fully functioning, fruit-bearing olive grove in sicily.

My sister fell out with me. I offered her an olive branch several times-purely for my mother's sake. I didn't LIE. I said can we let bygones be bygones for our mother's sake-like the OP. I didn't give a shit about a functional relationship with my sister for her own sake because she had behaved so horribly to me but was prepared to suck it up for the sake of my mother. But somehow I felt saying "let bygones be bygones' might upset my sister less (I actually did care about upsetting her).

In fact I find this commentary really really offensive-if you are prepared to have a functional relationship for the sake of other important family members you are deemed to be lying! Not in my "trade"

And my sister and I did eventually do that, purely for the sake of my mother (she became ill- I can't imagine how horrible her illness and death and funeral would have been with us not talking). It worked out. We were actually able to maintain it. It helped us keep a relationship (although not as close as it could have been) after my mum died too.

Springydaffs has it right.

Imbroglio Mon 11-Jan-16 21:42:42

What strikes me about your OP is that you are placing the blame squarely with her, and making her responsible for your mother's supposed unhappiness, which is no basis for a reconciliation. I would lay money on her not seeing things the way you do, so from her point of view it would be like being told that everything will be ok if she apologises for something she feels she hasn't done.

If she doesn't want contact then I think the best thing you can do is to respect that and show her you accept her decision, even if you don't understand it.

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