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Accepting the breakdown of a family relationship

(9 Posts)
shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 08:24:37

For quite some time now things haven’t been good between me and my sister.

We weren’t close or friendly as children particularly, but were good friends for several years in our 20s. Over the last 7-8 years things had drifted quite a bit but I think I was hanging on to the hope that we might be better friends again.

We don’t have other siblings and we’re not close to our parents. So this felt like the most meaningful family relationship in the past.

During a conversation yesterday I asked her if she thought we’d ever be close again. In a round about way she said it doesn’t look likely, we’re too different- not on the same wavelength.

Talking to DH yesterday evening he helped me to see that it boils down to the fact she just doesn’t particularly like me. The reasons are probably quite complex and not anything I can influence. I think it was useful to have realised this as it’ll help me move forwards and stop flogging the dead horse (that was shot in a field a good number of years ago).

I need to keep things friendly/transactional as we both have kids who enjoy spending time together.

This morning I’m feeling more positive about just getting on with life without hoping for a better/stronger/closer relationship with my sister.

But I feel like I want to talk about how upsetting and confusing the relationship has been over the last while. My DH says he can’t believe it’s taken so long for the penny to drop as it’s been ages since she’s treated me with genuine kindness, so it’s obviously been a huge blind spot in my brain.

Has anyone had any experience of something like this? DH suggested private therapy to have someone to help sort out the muddle in my mind. I wondered if there are any books/podcasts about the breakdown of family relationships that other people have found helpful?
Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
TitianaTitsling Fri 19-Jun-20 08:25:44

How different is your differences?

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Jun-20 08:39:34

Have a look at the “well we took you to stately homes” thread on these pages.

I would think that the fact that you, and for that matter your sister, are not close to your parents has some bearing. They created this dynamic and this all started in childhood. What was it like for you growing up in that house?

Your H’s suggestions re therapy is an excellent idea. BACP are good but you need to find a therapist who has no familial bias and one who fits in with your approach.

Your children and hers will likely see less of each other over time too.

shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 08:52:05

Titsling Its a good question and I’m not sure as this was spoken from her point of view.

I would say we perhaps value different things- close friendships are important to me, perhaps not her quite so much. She said fairly recently that she cares a lot about what other people think- she’s always had perfectionist tendencies- whereas I’m not that way inclined.

I’m possibly a bit more socially outgoing but we both also have introvert tendencies. She probably worries about things a bit more than I do. She’s better at creating a gorgeous looking home- I try but it’s not something I care about so much.

I think we have similarities too. We get each other’s sense of humour and we parent in similar ways. Previously we’ve had a lot of fun being together.

Growing up she was the older, cleverer, more attractive child and she was the focus of our parents attention and pressure- which I think was hard for her as she felt a lot of pressure to do well in exams and things. I didn’t always have a great time for other reasons. I think our experience growing up was quite different and we don’t have a bond from a shared childhood- we really only became really good and close friends in our 20s.

OP’s posts: |
shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 08:55:51

Atilla I think you’re right. Being genuinely close isn’t something our family has ever done except for the years I was close to my sister so I think that has a bearing on things too.

I’ve seen other people talking about the stately homes thread and I suppose considered it irrelevant as our parents weren’t intentionally abusive but I think we did live in quite a dysfunctional environment (I was never skinny enough to be approved of and my sister couldn’t get a B in a exam without it being Big News) so I think I’ll take a look- thank you.

OP’s posts: |
PicsInRed Fri 19-Jun-20 09:04:44

OP Atilla likely has it right.

It does sound like your sister was the golden child and you were the scapegoat, on whom little expectation was placed ... and in fact they would not welcome your success, which subconsciously you would have known.

Do you think your parents - or one in particular - actually wanted you and your sister to be close? Google triangulation.

shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 09:08:02

pics I think my parents wanted me to be successful and ‘look good’ to other people but there was much less concern about whether we were actually happy.

OP’s posts: |
shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 09:08:20

I will google triangulation- thank you.

OP’s posts: |
shenanigans5 Fri 19-Jun-20 09:10:34

As it turns out I think we probably have both been quite successful in their eyes. I was also academic (but not to the same level) and got a good degree and masters, professional career in a job that other people consider challenging.

OP’s posts: |

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