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Family relationships(3 Posts)
Wasn't sure if this was the best place to post this but I didn't fancy AIBU!
I'm looking for opinions on what is increasingly becoming a difficult family situation, and it's been going on so long that I'm not sure what to do, if I can do anything!
I have a younger sister who has been troubled since her teenage years. We are now early 40's.
My mum and dad admit these days that they gave in to her a lot while she was younger for an easy life and she grew up quite spoilt.
She had a child very young and lived at home until he was 5. Mum and dad tried to help her stand on her own feet but she used the situation to enable her to live her teenage life, complete with a couple of unpleasant boyfriends while mum and dad raised her child.
There were frequent huge arguments, both mum and dad were at the end of their tether worrying about the future and I used to sit and listen to both sides of the argument for hours. I used to fight my sisters corner - she's young, she'll grow up, she does love her, etc.
When my niece was 6 she had another child with her then boyfriend (not a stable relationship, he had lots of problems including drugs). By now a pattern had emerged: sister would go to parents in tears with boyfriend/financial/child issues. They would help. As soon as she didn't like their advice she would lash out and I would have mum on the phone in tears worrying about her, and then sister on the phone raging that they are interfering.
For my part, I felt that my parents enabled her by stepping in every time, and my sister should stop asking for their help if she didn't want it. I tried to say all this but always diplomatically.
Over the years, she has become increasingly difficult to deal with. Everything is somebody else's fault. Her relationships failed because they are awful people, she is in constant financial trouble (mum and dad bail her out time and again) because the two days a week she works aren't topped up enough by working tax credits, there are constant posts on Facebook about all the people who have wronged her. We have a close extended family who have all lost the will with her over the years, she's fallen out with every single last friend she had. She doesn't seem to be able to do anything for herself and still relies on mum and dad heavily. Although they've said many times over the years that they can't be so involved anymore, they have always been drawn back because of the children.
I have really tried over the years, because she is my sister and I love her, but I realise these days that I actually don't like her. When I see her I always end up angry having listened to her talk. She just can't see that in all her troubles, she is the common denominator.
Mum rang a few weeks back upset that my sister had gone missing, and all I felt was angry. Not worried about her - I knew she'd turn up full of self pitying tears having made her big scene. Then I felt dreadful for feeling that way as she does have a diagnosis of depression and has been on medication for 6 years or so. I have tried for years to understand her behaviour because of this but it can't be an excuse to behave exactly as she pleases without consequence forever, surely?
Me and my husband went through years of infertility and eventually adopted our son and I think this has clarified a lot for me. DH dislikes my sister which makes it hard. He makes an effort for my sake - but every time we visit mum and dad we see her car in the drive and we both have to take a deep breath ready for a few hours of forced jollity, and I know I'll spend an hour after we leave listening to him get off his chest all the things that she had done/said to annoy him! I never look forward to seeing her anymore, it's an obligation as I know it would break mum and dads hearts if we fell out.
These days I also feel angry that in all of this, it's me, my husband and our daughter who are ending up on the edges. I think it's obvious that we have stepped back a bit and I worry we are losing our relationship with mum and dad. We do try and invite them over but they always feel guilty about leaving my sister out, and if we go there they are ALWAYS there.
I feel I've been in the inside of the situation so long that I've lost perspective on it really. Am I being a massive bitch? Should I just get on with it? Move as far away as possible?! (This would be my husbands choice ) Tell them all what I think? Just continue to step away and get on with my own life?
Any opinions are welcome.
Could you have an honest chat with your Mum and Dad and tell them that you really would like them to visit without your sister sometimes as you feel that you are loosing closeness with them and it would be a rest for them anyway.
Remind your Mum that its quite normal for people to see their adult children separately sometimes and there is no need for her to feel guilty about it.
Would you be able to tell her that you and your husband don't want to fall out with your sister but that you find her hard work at times?
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