How do I get over the unfairness of being treated so differently to my siblings whilst growing up?(79 Posts)
To try and cut a long story short, I grew up with a verbally and emotionally abusive dad and a mother who 'abandoned' me, not literally but in the sense she knew my dad was abusing me but she did nothing to stop him and protect me.
I have 2 younger sisters who my parents treated very, very differently. My dad didn't abuse them and my mother was very protective and close to them.
There have been huge consequences for me as a result of the abuse I suffered during childhood and as an adult until I stopped contact with my parents. I have come a long way in sorting myself out and becoming a healthy and whole person again after the mess my parents left me in.
But all the time I am confronted with the fact that my sisters weren't abused or abandoned like me and as a result every aspect of their life has been so much smoother for them. I have had to work so hard on myself and have struggled with so many problems, including severe health issues, all as a result of my childhood.
I am finding it so hard to accept that due to sheer bad luck and for no other reason, I was the only one singled out by my dad to be abused and the only one my mother effectively abandoned.
My sisters have no understanding of what i went through as a child (there is a big age gap between us so they were too young to remember or even notice how my dad was treating me nor the the fact that our mother was not interested in me) and we are not at all close. But my 2 sisters are very close to each other and constantly leave me out of things and treat me as an afterthought, like an outsider, not an equally valued sibling.
I don't know how to handle this situation. It hurts me everytime i have any sort of contact with my sisters as i am always reminded in some way of how different our childhood's were and as a consequence how different our lives as adults now are.
I have considered cutting ties with both my sisters as sometimes i feel that is the only way i can avoid the constant pain i feel whenever i speak to them or see them. But they are just having their own DC's and cutting ties with them would mean my DC's are deprived of a relationship with their 2 aunties/uncles/cousins.
I would really appreciate any advice/experiences from anybody who has gone through anything like this. I really don't know what to do.
Oh you poor poor thing!!
I had this too, but to a much lesser extent. No abuse. Just favouritism and old fashioned ideas about boys and girls.
Mum has died but it's still going on with my dad!! My brother gets so much more.
If you could somehow find a way to know, not just logically, but to feel it in your heart, that the fact that they treated you as unimportant/less important than other people, does not mean it is true. If you could find a way of explaining this to yourself, in words which really make sense to you - I often think 'enlightenments' come from people putting things in certain words which really make you understand, even though people have said the same things in different words at other times, some ways of explaining just really make things click into place.
I don't get the impression it is your sisters' faults half as much as it is your parents' fault as they have been influenced/taught by your parents how to treat you. And they made you feel so crap about yourself that you are now sensitive to anything which looks like someone treating you as unimportant and you may be interpreting everything that people do as being 'against' you, even some things that won't have crossed your sisters' minds as being potentially hurtful to you. I'm not saying they never do anything that anyone would find hurtful, but that you may be getting hurt by more things than just those things.
If they are much closer in age to what you are to them, then it may be quite natural that they would be more 'together' than you are with them as they will identify with each other more and be more at the same 'life stage'. They may not be doing it on purpose to make you feel left out. I can see how it would make you feel isolated and left out and less valued though.
From things you've said before I feel that if your parents hadn't encouraged this by their behaviour when you were growing up then it wouldn't be such a big problem now. If they hadn't made you feel inferior to your sisters at that time in your life then you wouldn't have the fixation with making your sisters treat you as equal now. It's like you've realised your parents are never going to make you feel equal and have given up on them but now you are still trying with your sisters.
You may be thinking that if your sisters started treating you equally to the way they treat each other that this would 'cure' your feelings of not being important enough or good enough. You may still be hoping for this to happen and that is why it is so upsetting every time you see them and it doesn't happen. It seems like it is never going to happen and you need to find alternative ways to feel more important and f* them!
I'm not sure all my waffle is of any help as it doesn't address the problem of how to cope with seeing your sisters if any little thing they do triggers how crap they all made you feel during childhood. I've just been writing as my thoughts come to me about trying to understand/imagine your situation. I hope I haven't confused you even more!
My mother was one of a family of several brothers and sisters. Some of her siblings received considerably more affection than others.
It has been very hard for her (now in her seventies)to come to terms with what she felt was her mother's disinterest and dislike of her. She has been wary ever since of favouring one over the other in obvious displays of affection.
Despite this what is frightening is that she has modelled a relationship with one of her children (not me) which is very similar to her "abandoned" relationship with her mother. I think the almost compulsive urge to replay the past is a very powerful negative force in us all lying dormant.
The only thing that saved her, and saves her still is the fact that she loves and cherishes all her siblings - they became her parents in a way especially her sisters.
I suppose all you can do is try and break out of feeling "jealous" of them and just build whatever relationship you can with them - not "you need to be nice to me because you got what I didn't" but "I value your company - family means a lot to me".
The saddest thing of all is that I think my grandmother, who my mother perceived did not like her, DID love her, just could not show it. Maybe if you can hang onto the notion that your mother did love you and had the capacity to love you as she loved your sisters, BUT treated you very badly for reasons we cannot fathom, you might find a way to come to terms with the idea that you are loved and loving too.
Please ignore if I am way off, out of line.
IloveTiffany, thank you for your post. Your sympathy has really touched me, I feel I have had so little sympathy throughout everything I have been through. Instead I have been judged endlessly (and criticised) by people (including my sisters) who have no understanding of what I went through as a child and how it affected me in every way imaginable as an adult.
I sometimes think about how things would have been if it had just been a case of favouritism as opposed to abuse/abandonment. I am sure even feeling your parents favour your siblings over you would still hurt a lot and make you feel confused about why it should be like this. In my case the abuse has created such a big divide between me and my sisters, it has made us into such fundamentally different people, and add to that the age gap.....no wonder I feel like an outsider, not a part of the sibling group.
savoycabbage, thank you too for your sympathy, i think I need lots of it right now .
Newpenname, thanks for that tip, I am on there already!
OSAHM, hello and thank you so much for your post. You make a lot of sense. I did hope that once our parents were out of the equation that my sisters would suddenly start seeing me and treating me differently. I thought that my parents' influence would no longer be affecting them and they would see me for what I really was, instead of seeing only the negative horrible picture my parents had painted of me all my life. But I can see now how unrealistic and naive i was to hope for that. It was never going to happen. My sisters are not even aware of their subconscious thoughts and feelings about me, but their feelings manifest themselves all the time in things they say and do.
I think I am slowly coming to the realisation that I am as important as them or anybody else really, but it's a very new way of thinking for me, will take some getting used to.
I have also realised that it is no good keeping up a relationship with my sisters that is unhealthy and hurtful to me, purely for the benefit of my DC's. I think my DC's will benefit far more from a mother who is healthy and whole and not living in continual fear of being hurt by her sisters and who has the space to recover and heal from the damage done by her sisters, than from any relationship with their aunts/uncles/cousins. It seems obvious to me now that I have realised this, but i couldn't see it until last night. I am going to see my sisters one more time, and then after that I am definately going to say that I need a break from them. I am going to say I would like a 2 year break as i think that will give me sufficient time and space to recover and heal from all the hurt they have caused me. I simply cannot do it whilst I am still in contact with them as it is as if old wounds are continually being reopened every time i have contact as well as new wounds being inflicted as well.
As I am sure my sisters' behaviour is subconscious, i know there is no point in talking to them about it, they will have no idea what I am talking about and no doubt repeat the old lines about me being oversensetive etc.
swanriver, hello and thank you for talking about your own family's experiences. In a strange way, i think you are right. I do think that my parents did actually love me, but because they were so badly damaged themselves, they could not feel or act on the love they felt for me.
I feel better today than i did yesterday. I think just talking and writing about this whole issue and getting it off my chest has helped in itself.
What an absolutely heartbreaking situation. I'm so sorry for you. It doesn't make sense to me how parents can be so unequal in their treatment of their children. This is just a thought but are you sure your Dad is your real father? I know it's a strange thing to say - I'm just trying to think of an explanation for his behaviour.
I was in a similar situation in that I was the result of an extra marital affair and consequently treated differently (altho not abusively) than my older syblings. My parents weren't abusive but both deeply unhappy which made one turn to the bottle.. the rest is history!
I've worked my way through by telling myself that at the end of the day I am now an adult and have to be responsible for myself and my own behaviour/emotions - that I can't keep leaning on my upbringing for all my own shortcomings. It may sound harsh to you, but its because I hate seeing how messed up my older brother is as a result of all that went on and I refuse to throw my life away or mess up because of something my parents did 30 odd years ago. My brothers and I aren't really that close but I'd hate to think of life without them - it wasn't their fault any more than it has been your sisters faults....
Have you had any counselling? I know its not for everyone, but there is a specific type of counselling called "phsycho-dynamic" which particularly looks at your past to help you come to terms with current issues. Your GP might be able to refer you - I found it very helpful.
Don't let what has happened destroy you - life is so precious and with new neices/nephews - an extended close family will be the best gift you can give them..
My situation is very similar - I was the unwanted 5th child - my dad resented the hell out of me - was emotionally abusive. My mom couldn't cope and just ignored it.
None of us really had an ideal - but my brothers got the best treatment.
My sisters still resent our brothers - and I have seen it eat away at the family. Small cracks have turned into giant craters.
Thing is - my brothers have had issues too. They felt guilty, and never felt secure. I have seen this manifest in their own families.
I say this as gently as possible - perhaps there is more work to do on yourself if you resent your sisters this much. It is not their fault, and I wouldn't bet that they have gotten away scot free.
It took me a long time to finally get past it all - but I have. I think I was able to let go of everything because both my parents had appalling childhoods. Sometimes I still feel the loss of what so many people take for granted...what kind of person would I have been if I were loved and looked after as a child?
This has made me be more aware of my parenting, and having compassion for others.
Good luck - I know its hard
purpleduck, thank you for your post. What you said here strikes such a chord with me "Sometimes I still feel the loss of what so many people take for granted...what kind of person would I have been if I were loved and looked after as a child?" My sisters were loved and looked after and so every time I see them, I see what could have been mine, but was taken away from me by my parents. That is why it hurts so much to see them. I don't resent my sisters as i know it's not their fault that our parents treated us all so differently, it just hurts to know that it is only me who has suffered so much. And unfortunately they have turned out to be completely lacking in sympathy, compassion and understanding for me, and instead have been judgemental and thoughtless in the way they have treated me.
I am sure my sisters both have their own issues too. They are both only just starting their own families, whereas my DC's are 6 and 3 so I have had much longer than them to reflect upon my own childhood, as most people seem to do once they have their own DC's.
violet101, thank you for your post and i appreciate your advice. But the one thing this whole thing has taught me is that family means nothing as those supposedly closest to me and who were supposed to love me unconditionally were the very people who treated me so badly ie my parents. And my sisters have treated me very badly too, and they are both adults now in their 30's so should know better. I actually think the best gift i can give my DC's is a mother who is truly happy and emotionally healthy and being around my sisters or even just knowing they are in my life causes more distress to me than anything else. I think i would be far happier and healthier and have more energy for my real family ie DH and DC's if my sisters were not part of my life as they cause a negative drain of energy from me as i spend so much time and energy worrying about our relationship, being upset by their careless, thoughtless and inconsiderate comments and actions. And if i ever point something out to them which has hurt me i get told it's all in my mind, that i am being oversensetive, that i am just a negative person and see the worst all the time. But I know I am not being oversensetive or negative, they are just so used to treating me badly and getting away with it as i would say nothing, that now when i am beginning to speak out, they are so used to feeling superior to me and feeling they are always right and i am always in the wrong (as taught to them by my parents) that they would never dream of even contemplating for one moment that it might actually be their behaviour that is hurtful and thoughtless and insensetive rather than it simply being me who is oversensetive.
I also have a very similar background. I was emotionally and physically abused by both of my parents. But it was mainly me as I was the eldest.
I was never hugged or embraced as I was growing up but my siblings were! I still remember the pain from being 16 years old and walking into the living room, my Mum was hugging my siblings and just gave me a filfthy look as I walked in. I felt like an outsider in my own family.
I could go on more, but in trying to answer your question, this is how I dealt with it.
When my children were born, I strongly believed that my kids have a right to know their extended family. So I made all the effort. I also had the naive thought that maybe they would change, becoming a parent changed me and I hoped that maybe they would too.
I was wrong. I went through a really bad time a few years ago and wasn't able to call or visit them. They done nothing at all. I wasn't bothered for me, but they didn't do anything at all for my kids who had also been through a really tough time.
So I wondered why I bothered. Family should be there for you, or at least try, if you have a difficiult time.
So now I don't make any effort. I haven't spoken to my siblings or Dad for years now. I see my Mum maybe twice a year for coffee which I find really stressful
But I am still invited to weddings and funerals (it's a small family so hardly happens!) as they are good at the "show" of being family.
The last gathering we had, I found to be really stressful.
The good news though, is that I'm dertermined that my kids don't have the same childhood that I had. I hug my kids daily (to their annoyance!)
when I look at my kids age and how I was at their age, I've broken the cycle
OPO Right, I thought long and hard last night before deciding to reply to this post. On the Stately Homes post, I've recommended several books to you, in particular "Healing the Child Within" - please read this one in particular. Please take what I say in this thread as sincere and not critical, but in sympathy.
I think that the time has now come to lift your head up from gazing at the pavement and to take stock of what you have now. You have a lovely family unit (I know that you have your probs with H, but that's "normal"). I also think that there has been a knock-on effect with your H from your situation. (I'm referring to the private room in the house post.)
You can go through life with a crick in the neck from looking back over your shoulder all the time at how things "should have been". Well, they weren't how they should have been and no amount of hand wringing and saying "it's unfair" is going to make the past change. All the time that you're looking back saying how unfair it is, you're missing what's going on in front of you and ahead of you.... and you have the potential with your lovely family unit, to have a great life.
The thing that you CAN do is to change how you think about it all. I've posted on the Stately Homes thread about how I was treated as a child and still got treated when my OH died and my daughter born some time after. I have been very badly let down by the people I thought I could rely on. So who can I rely on? Me, that's who. Who can my children rely on? Me, that's who.
Your sisters are never going to have empathy with you, you will never get them to see how dreadful life was for you, because they didn't have the same experience as you - they obviously don't have the emotional self-knowledge, either. You don't have to make a big announcement or be dramatic about cutting contact with them, just let it drop, metaphorically turn your back and concentrate on your little family unit and don't waste emotional energy on people who don't matter in the scheme of things. Really, they don't. They're adults, they've made their choices, they're walking their paths.
You have every right to feel sorry for yourself about your childhood, but you're in great danger of this overriding everything else that your life is about.
In a way you're dealing with what happened and in another way, you're not. You seem to have got stuck in a vicious circle. From reading the Stately Home thread, I see someone who's desperately trying to move forward, but has one foot nailed to the floor. I understand that you need to make people realise how awful for you it was - I feel the same about my OH dying - but it just ain't going to happen and when you accept that, you can start to move on out of this.
Your posts on the Stately Home thread are erudite, lucid and full of pain, which I understand. You seem to try to intellectualise what has happened - there is no intellectualising. It has to be dealt with emotionally (hence my recommending that particular book).
I often feel that there is no justice in this world - if there were, my OH wouldn't have died and my daughter would have her Dad and I would have my lovely man. If there were justice in this world, my ex wouldn't have died and my son would have his Dad. If there were justice in this world, really evil stuff wouldn't happen. But it does. And it's random. And because it's random, that's why there's no justice in this world.
I appreciate that this post may appear harsh - it really isn't intended to be.
Oh what a dreadful time you've had
Agree with lemonylemon that you can't intellectualise it though. You need to empower yourslf to move on so that it doesn't ruin the rest of your life.
AMAZINWOMAN, thank you so much for your post. I can tell from what you have said that you and I did have a very similar childhood experience and I think only somebody else who has been through what I went through could possibly understand how I feel.
So much of your post has struck a chord with me. What you said here "...it was mainly me as I was the eldest." Same here. It was definately mainly me who got the absolute worst of my dad's vicious, nasty and cruel emotional and psychological abuse. My middle sister, who is 5 years younger than me got abused a little bit and my youngest sister who is 8 years younger than did not really get abused by him at all, in fact he seemed to genuinely love and care about her. Also, whatever little abuse by my dad that my middle sister did suffer was hugely 'counteracted' by the closeness she had with my mother. My mother clearly loved and had bonded closely with both my sisters, so even if they felt like our dad did not love them, as I did, they at least were secure in the knowledge that our mother loved them unconditionally. But I did not have that security, I had the opposite if anything. I did not feel as if my mother loved me at all. I felt like i was an irritation and annoyance to her, i could sense even as a child that she didn't understand me, didn't feel any bond or connection with me, but at the same time i could see that she did have a close bond and connection with both my sisters.
So, i can completely relate to what you said here "I was never hugged or embraced as I was growing up but my siblings were! I still remember the pain from being 16 years old and walking into the living room, my Mum was hugging my siblings and just gave me a filfthy look as I walked in. I felt like an outsider in my own family." I have always felt like an outsider in my own family, they made me feel like that. I didn't feel like a wanted and valued member of the family, i felt like i was an annoyance, a nuisance, the odd one out, the black sheep. And yet i was no different to my sisters, i hadn't done anything to deserve to be treated so badly, no child ever deserves to be abused.
Again, what you wrote here is so true for me too "When my children were born, I strongly believed that my kids have a right to know their extended family. So I made all the effort. I also had the naive thought that maybe they would change, becoming a parent changed me and I hoped that maybe they would too." That is EXACTLY what I have been going through. When my youngest sister had her first DC last year I naively thought that she would go through the same huge changes that i went through after having my DC's. But i gradually came to the realisation that she was not going to change. My middle sister has only just had her first DC, so only time will tell if she changes in any way as a result. But like you I made lots of effort to try and maintain a close relationship with my sisters after my DC's were born, but my sisters simply were not interested and I got hurt over and over again.
I think this is where I am right now "I went through a really bad time a few years ago and wasn't able to call or visit them." I don't want to call or visit them, i want to stay away from them and i want them to stay away from me. I don't even want to go and see my middle sister who has just had her first DC only a week ago. They have both hurt me too much and i know they will keep on hurting me every time i have any sort of contact with them. Staying away from them and keeping them away from me is a survival/protective mechanism to stop myself from being hurt over and over again.
Again i totally agree with you here "Family should be there for you, or at least try, if you have a difficiult time." My family have NEVER once been there for me through any difficulties i have encountered. My sisters as i have already said, instead of having some sympathy and compassion and understanding for me after finding out how much i have been hurt by our parents, have been hugely judgmental, critical and shown a complete lack of understanding towards me. They didn't even bother reading a letter i sent them a couple of years ago in which i talked about the abuse for the first time ever, until then i had not spoken about it to anybody, not a soul since it first started when i was 10 years old. I had kept completely quiet about it for 26 years.
I think I am going in the same direction that you did. You said "So now I don't make any effort". This is where I am now, or at least where I am heading. Whereas before i would make so much effort to call/visit etc etc, now i have simply stopped. I remember after my youngest sister had her baby, i invited her to come over to my place and she made loads of excuses about it being a long way etc (I am around 1.5 hours drive away from her) and kept putting off coming over. And yet she managed to go on holiday abroad for a week with her baby months before she made it to my house. And I have 2 young DC's and yet we always made the effort to go to her place if we had to.
"I am still invited to weddings and funerals (it's a small family so hardly happens!) as they are good at the "show" of being family." I am also invited to family events, but the difference is that i have a huge family, lots of aunts and uncles and cousins etc. But i have stayed away from all these events as i don't want to see my parents. Given time i think perhaps i might attend more of these events as i want my DC's to get to know their extended family, but i feel there is no rush, it will happen when i am ready.
You say that at your last family gathering, you found it really stressful. I can imagine it being the same for me. Do you feel it is worth enduring the stress for the sake of your DC's? Is that why you continue to go to family gatherings?
For my part, i feel that i would rather try and 'create' a 'new' extended family for my DC's, made up of friends who treat me well and care about me and respect me instead of feeling that the only family my DC's have got are my old family. I have yet to actually 'create' this new family, but i am working on it; I am making new friends and building relationships with people who i consider to be healthy, kind, caring, reliable ie all the things my old family were not and probably will never be.
And last but not least, I wholeheartedly agree with you here "The good news though, is that I'm dertermined that my kids don't have the same childhood that I had. I hug my kids daily (to their annoyance!)
when I look at my kids age and how I was at their age, I've broken the cycle" Me too.
Lemonylemon, thank you for your post and I really appreciate the time and effort you have taken to respond.
I agree with you when you say "I see someone who's desperately trying to move forward, but has one foot nailed to the floor." That is EXACTLY how I feel. I feel kind of 'stuck' where I am right now, unable to move forward. Because i just do not know how to deal with the situation wrt my sisters.
And i know you're right here "You don't have to make a big announcement or be dramatic about cutting contact with them, just let it drop, metaphorically turn your back and concentrate on your little family unit" and that is what I am trying to do but finding it so hard. I feel the only way i can 'let it drop' and stop thinking about them and wasting my energy on them is to tell them i need a break and tell them i will not contact them for a while and ask them not to contact me. Only then will i be able to relax and concentrate on my own family and our future as i will feel safe in the knowledge that i will not thrown off balance at any given moment by a phone call/text from them. That is the only way i will have the space to get over the hurt they have caused me and i feel confident that having had some space from them for a while, i will then be able to let them back into my life in a very limited way. Or i might feel that i don't want them back in my life at all, especially if i am lucky enough to have made some good friends who will essentially take the place of my old family.
The more I read, the more I'm understanding your reasoning behind wanting to have a break from your sisters and wanting to actually tell them this so that you don't risk getting phone calls, texts etc with things said that trigger your feelings from the past.
I can see that if you have a break to work on your self esteem without the 'wound being reopened' all the time, you might feel better enough to be able to allow them back into your life.
BUT, by telling them you are cutting off from them for 2 years, you risk upsetting them enough that they won't want to get back in contact when you are ready. I don't get the impression they will understand your reasons, they will just take offence. I just want to make sure that you have realised that this is what might happen before you do anything you might regret later on. This thought might not have occurred to you if you are in a mixed up state at the moment.
I haven't got much time to post, but I found some excellent websites just by typing in "dysfunctional families".
They exaplined that each person in the family had a role to play, ie the youngest was a clown who everybody loves. The middle child is ignored and criticised etc. So you may relate some of that to your sisters.
As for my siblings. My sister has followed my Mums path and I can see the pattern. Her kids are messed up already. My brother is still the special one, who can do no wrong.
At his wedding, my "sister in law" was having a laugh with my Dad. Whereas he didn't even acknowldge me.!!
I don't miss them at all. Even if they died, I would mourn the fact I didn't have
parents, but never them as people.
I'm not 100% sure why I go to family gatherings. (next year now, I'm never invited to Xmas!) I think it's because I want my kids to see for themselves what they are like. I don't badmouth them, not bitter or angry, I just focus on what I can do.
I don't care about not seeing them at Christmas. Just sad that I can't get my kids everything, but then there are lots of kids like that
OSAHM, thank you for your post and also for pointing out the risk I am possibly taking. I have realised that like you said, my sisters probably will not be at all understanding about my need for a break and take offence and not want to be back in my life once I feel ready for them. I know that is a risk i am taking. I guess I am prepared to take the risk and live with the possibility of being cut off from my sisters for ever. But that would not actually be a bad thing from my pov, if i do get back in touch with them, unless they have changed, will not be for my benefit but so my DC's can have a relationship with them and their cousins.
AMAZINWOMAN, once again, you have hit the nail on the head for me "I don't miss them at all. Even if they died, I would mourn the fact I didn't have
parents, but never them as people." Exactly how I feel.
I feel so touched that people have taken the time and trouble out of their busy lives to read my posts and respond in the way you all have. It may not seem like much to you, but i can tell you that it is more consideration for me and my feelings and what i have been through than has ever been shown by the 4 other members of my so called 'family' in all my 39 years. It gives me the faith to keep trying to create a new family for myself with friends in RL as it shows that not everbody out there will treat me like my family has done. Incredibly, to me anyway, as it is such a new feeling, there are people in this world who seem to genuinely care about me, my feelings, if i am hurt, sad, worried about something and I just need to find those people. Even if i only found one such person, i would still be better off than i was with my old family and I am realistic enough to realise that i will probably only find one such person as the more people i meet and talk to, the more i realise just how many needy and damaged people there are in this world.
Hi oneplusone. Although I'm over the unfairness of my "family" and have used my bad experience in a positive way, obviously I have scars. I think they will always be there.
I don't really want to go into too much personal details online though. Is there a way we can send emails to each other privately?
I'm just touched that there is someone out there who knows what it's like. to understand the pain.
AMAZINWOMAN, i know what you mean about scars, I think I will always have some scars too.
I think we can send private emails via CAT but i think we both have to be signed up for CAT which I am not and nor are you by the sounds of it.
I did send a private email to another poster a while ago, not via CAT. I will look into how I did it and then get back to you, have a terrible memory, can't remember offhand how we did it!
Finding it enormously upsettting to hear you talking of cutting off contact with your sisters, when you know that they will have little idea of why.
I have a sister who has effectively cut nearly all contact with me and our other siblings and our parents. I still don't really know why, no-one does, but we think she feels that she was treated differently to us other children, and it is obvious that she feels very angry and bitter about this.
And it often seems that a lot of her anger about this is directed at me and this has been hugely hurtful to me on numerous occasions over the years. But I have never stopped talking to her, phoning her, visiting her and her dc.
And it wasn't my fault as I wasn't the parent, I was the younger child too. And it wasn't your sisters' fault either, so please stop punishing them for it.
It is something that makes me really sad, and its always there at the back of my mind even when everything else might be going Ok, this thing thats not right. That I don't have a big sister, never have had because she has resented me so much for something that is actually our paretns fault not mine. That my dcs have never met their auntie, that I dont see my nephews anymore and don't even know what they look like now, that I don't know whether they get their cards and presents because I never get a reply, that my dcs have never met their cousins.
Planejane Reading a post on here giving a point of view from the "opposite side of the fence" is interesting..... I will watch this space.
I think that the punishing everyone else in adulthood (not including parents - who deserve what they get) is a case of being caught emotionally in the time that these events actually happened, and lashing out emotionally "as that child".
To move on from being kept in the grip of it, serious work on oneself needs to be done - that is, if the person concerned is self-aware. To move outside the comfort zone of that hurt and disappointment and going over and over what happened takes a certain amount of courage - not everyone has that courage.
Will your sister have a direct conversation with you about it?
AMAZINWOMAN, I can't work out how I emailed another poster privately before, but if you would like to mail me, please do so at izzyandnemo @ gmail dot com.
planejane, ou might want to take a look at my posts on the Stately Homes thread in Relationships. It's a huge thread, we are now onto part 6, it has been going iirc,since 2006, although i have not been posting on it from the very beginning. But reading through that you might get an idea as to why i am considering cutting ties with my sisters. It is not because I am holding them responsible for things my parents did. My sisters have hurt me enormously themselves as well, completely independently of our parents and that is why i am considering taking such a drastic step. Over the past couple of years I have tried to talk to them about how they have hurt me, but they are not interested and refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, each and every time i have tried to talk to them about something they have told me that I am being oversensetive, overly negative in the way i am interpreting their words/behaviour. ie it's always all my fault, never theirs. They will never accept that they have been on many occasions, inconsiderate and careless about my feelings, deliberately cruel, treated me as an outsider or an afterthought when making plans amongst themselves or even just completely excluded me many times, i could go on forever about them really.
But the point I am making is that I doubt very much that your sister has taken the drastic and painful step she has indeed taken, lightly and without very good cause. And the same goes for me. The issue of whether to cut ties with my sisters has been playing on my mind for months, I am not doing it on a whim or as a result of a tiff or sqabble, it is after years and years of cruel and shabby treatment by my sisters and because they obviously have no respect for me, my feelings, my integrity. And I certainly don't think my sisters will be devastated by my decision. They have made it more than clear to me over the years that they don't care about me at all, they have got each other and simply don't need me around or want me around. Unlike you, I doubt very much they will feel any loss as a result of my walking away. The only loss they might feel is that of losing their punching bag or rubbish container as that is what they used me for, i was where they took out all their nasty unwanted feelings, i was the person they used when they needed me and cast me aside and ignored me when they didn't because they had each other.
They have done so many things that have hurt me, I don't know where to start. Here are just a few examples. I was the first to get married out of the 3 of us. Neither of them bought me a wedding present or got me a card, which didn't particularly bother me at the time. Then my youngest sister got married and then a few years later my middle sister. I found out afterwards, by accident, that middle sister had bought youngest sister a wedding present costing £500 and i know youngest sister bought middle sister a nice wedding present although i don't know what it was. When I found this out, i was so hurt. I have no idea why they did this. As far as I am aware, i have done nothing to deserve such treatment. In fact over the years i have been so generous with both of them. I have bought them both lovely birthday presents. I took my youngest sister on a long weekend break to New York once. I paid for both of them and myself to go on a holiday to Cyprus one christmas. I have paid for countless meals and days out, cinema etc for both of them. I never did this with the expectation of receiving anything in return. I just did it because they were my little sister and I loved them and wanted them to be happy and as i was the eldest and had started working when they were 18 and 14 and still studying and had little money themselves. But my generosity was never appreciated i realise now and certainly never returned, not even in a small way.
Then there is all the time i spent being supportive and a shoulder to cry on for my middle sister when she broke up with her boyfriend years ago. I was always there for her, willing to listen whenever she wanted. She also came to me, instead of my youngest sister when she had some issues with her next boyfriend. She specifically told me she would rather talk to me as our youngest sister was so wrapped up in her husband and his family that she had no time for middle sister and she was also very judgemental and not a very sympathetic person to talk to. So once again i was there for middle sister when she needed somebody to talk to. But then when middle sister got pregnant, earlier this year, she told youngest sister weeks before she told me. She didn't tell me her news until after she had had her 12 week scan and even then i think she only told me because i happened to call her, she didn't call me.
Years ago middle sister and her then boyfriend had a party at their place and invited youngest sister and her boyfriend and not me. I only found out about the party afterwards and felt so hurt that she hadn't even asked me.
Middle sister would also many times, when all 3 of us were there, start a conversation with younger sister, about people and things i knew nothing about, deliberately making me feel excluded and left out.
My youngest sister has also told me she doesn't think i was abused and she has made it clear she thinks i am exaggerating or lying about what i went through. I don't think i even need to explain how that makes me feel.
So, those are just a few examples about why i am considering cutting ties with my sisters.
Plainjane, now that you know some of the 'backstory', do you still feel sorry for my sisters?
Lemonylemon - glad that you're interested to hear from the "opposite side of the fence" - I was unsure about posting and did so only impulsively as I felt upset.
However, am I on the opposite side? Are there sides even? I don't see it as being that polarised, and I wonder whether seeing as being that clear cut, them and us, can be part of the problem?/get in the way of sorting out problems with relationships. I have looked in the past at some of the Stately Home threads, (tho I dont particularly recall details of your posts, OnePlusOne, sorry). I got there because I was googling NPD, because whilst I don't think she would meet a clinical diagnossis, my sister has some of those traits. So, what side of the fence does that make me?
Oneplusone - It's not really that I feel sorry for anyone. I just hear a lot of distress. Yours, but because some of what you have said resonates with my own situation, I also imagine how the other people in your story might feel. And I wanted to say something about that, hence my previous post. I hope I haven't spoken out of turn, and I hope I'm not about to. But your last post also reminds me of my own situation, because I too have been accused of numerous wrongdoings/perceived slights, particularly around the issue of presents, of not having given/bought a nice enough present, of not having appreciated her generosity...in fact she's quite obsessive about the present thing. But, and I have to keep rewriting this to try to not to offend anyone, this is her perception of a situation and other people have their perceptions of it. And each think what they think becasue of a whole host of things from the past probably, and who knows what the actual truth of it is and does it matter?, other than that everyone ends up feeling very unhappy and angry with each other. So, what to do? I dont know.
Lemonylemon - Yes I have tried talking. I find it very difficult to get her to talk on a 'real' level about feelings and things that aren't right eg that she's effectively ignoring half the family. And the last time I pushed her to do this, some years ago, she "raged" at me, only way I can describe it, and I mean real rage, shouting, screaming rage, and it scared me to the extent I left the house sharpish as I really think she would have got physical with me (and she's bigger than me!).
Join the discussion
Please login first.