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sister appears to have gone no contact with me- any ideas or advice appreciated(17 Posts)
My problem is my fraught and difficult to navigate relationship with my sister - who is a strong, direct and can be very hurtful. My sister is five years younger than me, we are all in our
fifties and our parents died relatively very young so tough times but it threw us apart not together. Sadly I wasn't aroundat all for my sister in around then I was away at school and then
very swiftly ill in hostpital, It's a perid of time my younger brother and sister (who do get on very well) and myself found very hard a traumtic for a few years at a time we needed to start out in life. I can't help wonder if all those years ago when I was not there for them as the eldest (I was on a m/h ward) has coloured our relationships as adults relationships- which are about as distant as you can get.
For example, we don't meet up as all three siblings as families - my brother and sister do and have done many many times. But not all three of us except for one year out of 30 . We don't speak then on Christmas day to wish each other Christmas greetings, or do presents, or New year day calls,/parties (or that might be being left out of the loop) and brthdays get a cursary text (if I'm lucky). We email each other maybe once a year if the need arises.
My brother and sister are very successful people and far removed from their aspiring working class roots - skii-ing holidays, cruises, private schools for the children. But I don't get a single phone call to see how I am doing - my partner has retired and I lost my job due to redunancy earlier this year. So we live life in a different level.
I was schocked to get a call from my sister at the beginning of lockdown - she hasn't called me for five years. I had thought this might be the start of a new leaf. Now I'm begining to feel it was the final farewell call before going NC
On the odd rare ocasion we meet at family functions she does go all grey rock on me. One word answers or moves to the other side of the room.And there are no invites to stay in her large town house for family gatherings. I have no idea what I have done to deserve being cut off -like this and find it really hurtful and personal. My sister has a great career, marraige to a lovely partner, a huge circle of friends and is materially successful. I have a serious disability which limits my earnings potential and moved around the country for work a lot. - should I keep reaching out to her because I would like so much for us to be friends or should I just bury the hurt and anger at being ignored and accept that it appears to be she has cut me off. No answers to my friendly messages anymore - I sent her a upbeat hello how's it going on the phone a couple of weeks ago no response, and a whatsapp message about birthday money for their youngest, no reply.
Should I call her up and be direct and ask her what her problem is? Or will that feed into the situation? Or shall I just write off the (large) birthday cheque I sent my nephew as a final goodbye and turn it into a mutal no contact arrangment?
I'm so tired of it - I only have two siblings as family, it would be so lovely to have friendly regular "normal" relationships -
Sorry if this is a moan, I can't sleep for the worry
Well you could reach out and explain how you feel and what she sees the relationship like. Depending on what she says then you can consider the best way forward and it may be accepting how she feels.
I have a younger sister..it may be the age gap similar to yours but she is totally different to me and just hard work. Seen (in my view) as the golden girl even though she behaves like an idiot at times. We are pretty much no contact and it upsets my parents but finally after yet another argument they have started to accept it although they hate it, as otherwise it means we won't have any contact either, and that is pretty low anyway as we don't live near.
Sometimes it isn't meant to be
If you've been "low contact" for about 30 years and now no contact, I'd say that there is little / nothing you can do about it.
I'd cut out the large cheques which you are sending her children - I know the kids haven't done anything to contribute to this situation but it's a bit over the top to send money when you get nothing in return.
Sometimes you have to accept that something is gone and it isn't coming back. I have some experience in this sort of thing - my sister cut off our older sister when she was about 20 and never spoke to her again in their lives. No real reason, she just told me that she wanted nothing to do with sis, and that was that. Older sister got terminally ill in her 50's and younger sister still didn't contact her. And that was that.
Like PP said, sometimes it isn't meant to be.
Following this with interest as I’m in a similar boat with my sister
You just sound like very different people. Just because you are siblings does not mean you should get along.
I'm sorry you have had such a rough ride so far but when I read through your post I just got the feeling (and I'm also in danger of being called blunt but I think it's more honesty) that you are possibly quite jealous of your siblings lives and come across as 'why don't you pity me more'This would potentially make someone run the other direction.
I’m concerned that this has only become a issue in your mid fifties. What has happened in the last forty years to prevent this wedge getting bigger and bigger. Why are you so concerned over your relationship with your sister and it your brother, are you in contact with him? If not why not?
Another one here with no contact with a sister, instigated and sustained by her. There was never any falling out as such and I am at a loss to know why it all happened.
But I have learned over many painful years that you cannot force someone to want to be in contact with you and so I have now given up and moved on. The hurt will never fully go away but in the end it is what it is.
So she got in touch with you at beginning of lockdown and has retreated since ?
I’d say she doesn’t want much contact but did want to touch base.
Why in earth are you sending a ‘big cheque’ for your nephew in these circs - when they are well off and you aren’t and there is limite contact.
Your ds may be worried that her perfectly reasonable contact has lead to you thinking it’s all normal - I’d be worried if the ‘big cheque’ came just as or after I had initiated contact - would feel you may see more to it than I meant ?
Don’t contact her to see ‘what’s up’. Take it slow. No more ‘big cheques’. See how it goes.
Families eh ? Good luck op.
Have there ever been any arguments? You are low contact with your brother, but don't mention him much. Why is it that you want to reach out to your sister more? You mentioned MH. Do you have a condition such as bipolar disorder, which might have made it difficult for them 'to get' you? Do you have DC? Did your siblings send them big cheques? Definitely stop sending money and gifts. I wouldn't contact her, no. She has made her feelings clear. I think it's time for you to put your life with your DH first. Best of luck in the job hunt.
It sounds like there’s lots of things gone unsaid between you all, probably assumptions made and expectations that have turned into resentments. I think your pattern was set a long time ago.
Your life sounds challenging, losing your parents, having a mental illness, an ongoing health issue and now losing your job. It would be nice to have family support no doubt, or do you think of these things as reasons why you couldn’t/can’t fulfil a matriarchal role for your brother and sister?
Do you feel guilt for not filling the role of parent and keeping the family together? You say you away at school so I’m thinking there’s no way you could have done much, you were a bereaved child yourself. It was never your responsibility.
Your sister has chosen her path, perhaps she does feel resentful towards you, she no doubt sees your challenges but has decided to be self-contained. She has done well in her life despite her difficult start. I think you should leave her to it, concentrate on getting your own health and wellbeing in a good place. Send greetings at the appropriate times. Respond if she contacts you.
Good luck with the job hunt.
So your sister hadn't called you for 5 years, so it was you always making contact?
I'm not sure why you sent your nephew a large cheque . You don't sound close to him, or that you see him often and it spulend like he doesn't need your money if his parents are so much better off financially than you (you've mentioned your siblings wealth, but it shouldn't be relevant to your relationship).
You want a relationship with your sister even though she is frosty with you? I think you should stick to sending Christmas and birthday cards and leave it at that. It may be worth speaking with your brother about the situation. Do you see him separately?
There is obviously some reason your sister is distant towards you. I suspect, reading between the lines, she finds you difficult for some reason. Some people just don't get on with each other and that's unfortunate and sad when it's siblings.
I hope very much your nephew thanked you for the cheque. You ask if you should just write it off. Did you expect something in return for your gift, other than thanks? It sounds like you hoped it buy you some contact with your sister.
How do you think your sister would describe this situation?
Might she say something like "My older sister and I have different lifestyles - she's older, her partner is retired - so I find it hard to make conversation. I feel uncomfortable talking about where I've been on holiday or the children's schools, as we are better off and she seems very aware of it; it's awkward when she visits my more expensive home. I avoid talking to her for too long at family gatherings in case I accidentally hurt her feelings due to my more direct communication style. We have been low contact for years and now she has suddenly sent my son a big cheque, even though I don't think she has much money. I feel really awkward and don't know how to respond."
My problem is my fraught and difficult to navigate relationship with my sister - who is a strong, direct and can be very hurtful.
What has she said that hurt you?
Thanks everyone for all the advice and feedback. I think I am going to have to accept that my sister for whatever reason has decided to cut off contact with me. I had thought that the call in March was reaching out after all these years. I don't want to go into too many specifics on how she has hurt me in the past because I have no idea if she reads this forum or not but I really value other people's perspectives and insights, and I think, reluctantly, after all these years of trying to establish a cordial/active sibling relationship (with both my brother and my sister) and getting nowhere, i have to accept it's my problem and not push it anymore. The cheque is for a signifcant birthday which I wanted to mark. I suppose I could write an email to her but I wouldn't know what to say - why are you cutting me off? Not answering my landline or whatsapp messages? We are not in each other's lives and I suppose that's the way she wants it. Maybe I am just full of sadness for the sibling relationships that could have been.
Maybe write that you have had a chance to sit and reflect Over lockdown and you are saddened by the distance between you three.
Explain that you would like more connection and ask if she would be open to making a joint effort with you to reconnect and get to know each other a bit more.
Ask if there is an issue that needs to be addressed and what does she think would be good going forward.
Maybe write an email saying that you haven't heard back from her in a while and hope that she is OK?
If she has hurt you in the past with her words and continues to hurt you now with her silence and indifference then you should really be looking to emotionally protect yourself from her.
If anyone hurts us we should look to assert ourselves by stating we are hurt and this behaviour has to stop or if this is not possible or is ignored then we need to physically and emotionally withdraw.
That seems simple and logical and maybe you need to explore why you are still seeking approval, acceptance, inclusion from someone who not only has never given it to you, never will but also actively hurts you.
Just because she is your sister there is no need to tolerate such bad behaviour.
If you continue to allow yourself to be drawn into and hurt by this dynamic it will continue to consume and disappoint you.
Can you try to emotionally disconnect and seek love and healing, kindness and respect with other nice people in your life?
Have you sent the cheque? If not don’t. Such a huge gesture might look like a desperate, needy, manipulative attempt to buy attention - it is not needed by your nephew - spend it on something healing and restorative for yourself.
Have you had therapy for all of the traumas you endured as a child and still carry?
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