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Sister relationship

(8 Posts)
OfGurls Sun 13-Nov-16 21:13:12

I have a strained relationship with my sister. I would describe it as strained but I don't really know why. We are perfectly polite but there is an atmosphere.
I get the feeling she thinks I'm jealous of her life but I'm not.
We are very different. I'm younger than her and had a different route through life and now I work full time in an enjoyable career, travel a lot, but live quite modestly and plan carefully for the future. I'm more self aware and confident, I would say, than her. I'm not really into having things and seem to raise my children very differently to her.
Image is quite important to her and her husband, she enjoys shopping and shopping centres, kitting out her house, and making things for her house. They have had issues with paying their mortgage and had to freeze payments while her husband's business failed. But they still try to give off a rich image by leasing flashy cars and not comprising much on lifestyle.
She gives the impression that I am jealous of their life which is far from reality. I could have a flashy house too, if I wanted (but I really dont) but no way would I like the huge mortgage that goes with it.
She worked soon after leaving school but gave it up when she had children.
She looks for validation from our parents alot and trysto impress them.

Anyway, a while back we had a family event which meant me driving us all (including a younger sister who also acts weird around me but is herself perfectly nice and I like her) about 3 hours in my car. We stopped halfway for a snack and neither sister offered to pay for food or even a coffee. I spent about 50 on fuel and found it galling that there was no offer to chip in or even pay for my coffee.
I also was pissed off at myself that I couldn't ask. She's my older sister and I find it hard to stand up to her.
She's rude to me in other ways, not saying thank you, or sorry (when they were late, she acted quite insolent) and I've no idea why she treats me like that. Am I asking for it by taking it and is there a way I can be more assertive while also working on improving our relationship. Ideally, I'd love to say "What's your problem with me? Why can't you treat me with the same respect you treat your friends/our parents/younger sister?"
Id love to know but I know her answer would be an airy "I don't know what you mean".
We have invited them to our house a few times in the last year for different things, parties with the children and such and they come but we never get invited to their house.
I really would like to improve our relationship but is it salvageable at all?
I feel shes influencing my younger sister too lately who seems to be copying her behavior.

KramerVSKramer Sun 13-Nov-16 21:22:49

If you really think any sort of discussion would alter her behaviour towards you then it's worth a go. But you know that it'll just cause an argument, resentment and further family discussion behind your back.

From what you've offered, I'd say it (she) isn't worth the effort and anxiety.

Trifleorbust Sun 13-Nov-16 21:25:30

Honestly, this seems to be a list of petty gripes and stealth boasts. Has your sister actually done anything to upset you, other than not buying you a coffee and not saying thank you?

hopscotchegg Sun 13-Nov-16 21:31:06

There's a lot of mind reading going on here, OP.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 13-Nov-16 21:39:23

Look at your parents. They have played a huge role in shaping this dynamic between your eldest sister, youngest sister and you. They have caused this to happen, this goes back years.

What role/s did your sisters and you play (and still do) within your family of origin?. Who was more favoured overall?. Who is still looking for parental approval even now, was such approval always conditional?. You seem to be a giver and they are all takers. I am not surprised at all that neither sister pitched in for the cost of a coffee or any fuel; such selfish people do really act like this and only take, take, take. They feel entitled to act like this because you in their eyes are the family scapegoat.

It is not your fault your sisters are like this, you did not make them this way. Her parents did that.

When siblings are raised in environments where there's conflict, chaos, rejection or a lack of protection, it has an enormous impact on how they end up relating to each-other in adult life.

Psychologically, it all makes sense. Children who share a chaotic, abusive or neglectful home environment may form close attachments to one-another or more often, they can develop an "every man for himself" coping strategy.

Experiencing or witnessing trauma can cause a child to shut down emotionally, and this can distance them from the other children in the family. Instead of feeling connected to their siblings, they can become alienated from one-another.

Parents are supposed to model loving, caring relationships to their children, so if they're mean to each other or hurtful or neglectful toward their kids, the children can adopt these ways of interacting.
There are many reasons for children growing up to become disconnected from their siblings. Dysfunctional parents often overtly favour one child over another, and the siblings are then set up to compete for parental attention. Equally, when parents are withholding of nurturing, siblings often become rivals for the few crumbs of affection they're hoping that their parents might dole out.

Children who grow up in dysfunctional families often feel hurt, rage and frustration toward their parents but most of the time, they're too afraid to express these feelings directly toward Mum or Dad. It's a lot easier to take out their feelings on their siblings, because the stakes are a lot less high, so instead of bonding together out of a painful shared experience, they often end up venting their hurt and anger at each-other.
Sometimes, one sibling wants to be close to the other, but their sister or brother rejects them. It can be out of jealousy - siblings from troubled homes often mistakenly perceive that the other child got "more" of the love, attention and care than they themselves did.

You cannot improve a relationship if the other person is not interested and your eldest sister does not seem at all interested in mending fences.
I would raise your boundaries a lot higher than they currently are and start becoming more unavailable to them all. There is no reason to keep on inviting them to your house if it is not reciprocated.

OfGurls Sun 13-Nov-16 21:47:26

Not try to be to boast and not sure I have anything to boast about, just giving background as I think it plays a part in how our relationship has reached this point. Are the differences in our lives so diverged that we will never relate to each other?
She was never as materialistic as she is now and I think that's down to her husband.
He won't eat own branded food, and has other similar quirks and expensive habits. He has made my husband feel uncomfortable about comments about "low earners" who earn under 100k. (that was before his business failed) He is a bit of a knob.
I also wonder if she's lonely. He's out of the house most nights at different work or social things so she is on her own with the children. If that is the case then all the more reason I would like to be there for her. It's sad to think she might have too much pride or be afraid to look for company.
Yes, she has said or done snidey things over the years to put me down. During a family bereavement, she took over issues and denied me a say on a few things. I couldn't stand up for myself then either.

OfGurls Sun 13-Nov-16 22:06:24

Thanks Attila "equally, when parents are withholding of nurturing, siblings often become rivals for the few crumbs of affection they're hoping that their parents might dole out."

That really helps to see what's happening here. It's true that our childhood wasn't allovely. Competition was encouraged amongst us.
I was a nerd. And my sister was a mini version of my mother. And still is and they do get along OK but my sister still looks for approval or encouragement in her choices for herself or her children. She tries to emulate my parents lifestyle too, which I don't understand.

Andro Sun 13-Nov-16 22:07:29

Id love to know but I know her answer would be an airy "I don't know what you mean".

"Do you honestly expect me to believe that? The differences in how you us is plain to see!"

Calm and frosty in the delivery, the ball is firmly in her court again.

Other than that, stop driving them. No is a complete sentence and any attempt to shut you down/assume your compliance/bully you needs to be met with 'that doesn't work for me'.

You cannot change anyone, you can only change your reactions to them.

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