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My impossible sister

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 5 days, 16 hours ago.

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  • #180721

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    Hello 🙂

    So I’ve never wrote on here about my sister, although I have wrote about my Mum – although they are cut from the same cloth!
    I’ve struggled with my Mum for a year or so & seem to have that under control – I realised I cannot change other people, only my reactions & connections with them. I need to take this approach with my sister, but feel I am struggling to do so.

    A bit of background on my sister to give you a slight idea of her mindset. She fell pregnant at 19, my Mum said she’d have to stand on her own two feet & get her own place, so she did. When her little boy was 2 (ish) she got cancer, this was a hard time for her & everyone around her. My Mum looked after her boy a lot during this time & eventually the cancer passed & things resumed a little more normal, I think during this time she split up with the father of her child as well. She had a few rocky relationships & met the man she is with now. She got told she couldn’t have kids but unexpectedly (& happily) fell pregnant with twins. The man she is with now has had a few problems, his parents died when he was young. When the twins were born he went off the rails & disappeared for a few weeks with minimal contact. I stepped in at around age 18 & moved in with her for a few weeks, but had to return to work & helped as much as I could. She tried to overdose, & he came back.. They got back on track & have been together since. They have been through a few house moves & she then had a car crash & broke her back.. They got engaged but he doesn’t want to get married. This may seem unnecessary me telling you this, but as you can see she has been involved in a lot of trauma since the age of 19, none of which she has sought help for, she says she wants help but never gets it, she says she “feels fine now”.

    We always got on quite well, more so when I was in a not so great relationship, I remember telling her my problems & her telling me hers, & rather than coming to solutions we would just moan over a few glasses of wine. Since then, say around 2 years ago, I have gone on a self development path within myself, I’ve been to lots of counselling due to failed relationships & have done 2 levels of Counselling Training, so I’ve turned my life around for the better & tend to come to solutions when moaning about things. I don’t think she likes this because when I give her advice to something she may be moaning about she says “stop trying to Counsel me”, I feel that she is my sister & if she has problems why wouldn’t I want to help her, but I see that she doesn’t find this helpful, so I try to keep my “opinions” to myself, which I find hard because that is a part of me.
    My problem is that we just seem to massively clash, I’m not going to her house for Christmas this year & I didn’t directly tell her, but I told her other half.. to which she then spoke to my Mum & said she was hurt by me not coming & not telling her, but regardless of how I told her, whether I text her direct, phoned her or met up with her, she would still have the same response, nothing I do ever seems good enough & I feel she is always trying to pick an argument with me. She cannot take my jokes, so I stop joking around with her, she always reads my text messages wrong, I’m stopping all these things that make me me, & I feel that I am not me around her, so I tend to distance myself from her but this is also wrong of me to do so, I’m unsure of how to approach this situation? She has three kids & I would like to see them as much as I can & she also uses this against me alot, but I constantly struggle.
    Thanks

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Poppyxo.
    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Poppyxo.
    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Poppyxo.
    #180733

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    Your sister got pregnant at nineteen, told to move out of the house, moved out and lived on her own, got cancer, recovered, had a few rocky relationships, got pregnant again, had twins, has had a rocky relationship since with the father of her twins,had a car crash and broke her back.

    Maybe you can change your mind set regarding your sister: instead of seeing her as inferior-to-you, one less aware, less resourceful, less educated, less… see her as a fellow human being, equal in value. A fellow human being who is suffering. A fellow human being who had the misfortune of having the same mother that you have.

    Don’t give her advice because she asked you not to.

    We humans tend to point to others as dysfunctional in areas we are relatively functional. She got pregnant twice in the context of relationships that were not congruent with having  children; you didn’t. On the other hand there are areas where you are dysfunctional and where she is functional.

    So again, it is not that you are superior, perfectly functional and she is inferior and dysfunctional. You are both functional and dysfunctional in different areas.

    Giving her advice, that very inclination  (as in giving advice to students and being frustrated they don’t take your advice, in your previous thread) is your dysfunction.

    When you deal with your sister, if you do, do so from Empathy, not from Superiority.

    anita

    #180735

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for your response.

    I understand & agree with your response.
    Her attitude towards me though is always very negative. I feel she can have & take a joke from others, but not me. For example, she will put a post on Facebook about something that is funny, if I comment on it having a joke & clearly putting “haha” or “lol” or an emoji to insinuate it is a joke, for example “you’re silly haha” she’ll lash out at me saying I’m being unfair, but on those same posts, her best friend will put exactly the same, but she’ll laugh at that & not take offence. I feel like I’m being singled out, so I have stopped commenting on things. She will speak to me like crap, rather than having an adult conversation she’ll start calling me names & being really negative towards me, going into assumptions about what I meant by something I text or said, when that’s not what I meant at all. I feel like I’ve got in such a rut with her, I’m finding it hard to fix.

    #180741

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    Well, if you agree with my response, then this is my understanding:

    You messaged  her “you’re silly haha” and someone  else messaged the same to her, she lashed out at you but not at the other. Reason: there are messages you communicated to her before that Facebook message that the  other person did not. You communicated to her before that message that  she is less than you, that she is indeed silly or stupid in very basic, fundamental ways, that you are wiser and  superior to her.

    When she read the Facebook message, she doesn’t  only see that message, she sees, in her mind’s eye, all the previous messages you communicated to her.

    She calls you names, what names? And how is she “being really negative towards (you)”?

    anita

     

    #180743

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    Hi Anita,
    Ok, I can see where this is going, & I understand what you mean – I guess I didn’t look at it in that way.

    The way I see it is that myself & my partner, along with my Dad & all my best friends constantly banter each other on a daily basis, we wind each other up & say things that maybe others probably wouldn’t find funny. This is our main way of communicating & I would say we interact in this type of conversations 90% of the time, so for me this is ‘normal’, I guess for my sister it isn’t & maybe finds it hard to separate having a laugh/banter with me, to me being offensive & rude to her, because previously she may have, in her eyes, experienced me doing so? I think I’m on the right tracks.

    I can’t really pinpoint the name calling for an example but she just seems to explode rather than have a adult conversation with me (shes 32) which consists of name calling and is always assuming that everything I say, even positive, is negative. If I were to cancel plans on her for example because I’ve been asked to work or I am poorly, rather than accepting it & rescheduling she would take it personally & come across as if I’ve cancelled plans on purpose, or for another reason – basically think’s I’m lying.

    #180747

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    So no name calling, I am thinking. If she called you names, you would have remembered.

    The bantering you mentioned, teasing (definition of to tease, to make  fun of or try to provoke; definition of provoke: to stimulate anger in someone)- well, it doesn’t work with her and  wouldn’t with me, not at all. I view it as mistreatment.

    Yes, better stop bantering, teasing and provoking her. Definitely.

    anita

    #180751

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    That’s cool, I find banter light hearted & it seems to work well with everyone, bar her & Mum. So will take the same approach with her as I do my Mum. It’s just strange cos we never had this type of relationship before.

    The name calling would be calling me stupid for saying something she doesn’t agree with, then the next day she would apologise to me for name calling etc & explain she was having a bad day because of X Y or Z & that she took it out on me when she shouldn’t have done. So I guess a trigger that she had that we all come across sometimes.

    #180757

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    Your comment to her on Facebook had the word “silly” in it. She used The word “stupid”. These two words are very similar in meaning.

    There are many forms of aggression, and teasing (“silly”) is considered light or non aggressive by some, but aggressive by others. At the least, teasing is controversial in terms of being aggressive.

    But what is most important is what the person you are teasing believes or feels about your teasing. If she believes it is aggressive, well, it is your responsibility to stop  it.

    Isn’t it  interesting… I wonder who the “impossible sister” is, what  do you think?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  anita.
    #180759

    Inky
    Participant

    They ate my post!! Argh! It was amazing!!!!

    TV Guide Version:

    1. Instead of giving her advice, ask leading questions over the glasses of wine. “Do you see yourself with him forever?” “Have you seen a chiropractor for your back?” etc. rather than “Leave him!” “See a doctor!” etc.

    2. You are the younger sister and have never had kids too early, gotten kicked out, had bad relationships, got cancer and broke your back. So of course now that her life is somewhat “together” she is NOT going to hear it from you, her little sister who gives advice and jokes with her as if you were her equal, or, as anita said, a superior. She is so sensitive to that that she is seeing it everywhere.

    3. Stop communicating with her through FB, text, etc. If you talk to her, keep it short. If you visit her, arrive late and leave early.

    Best,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Inky.
    #180769

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    I do ask open leading questions, I don’t say do this do that. But I’m just going to stop all together & no I haven’t experienced exactly what she has, but I’ve had struggles too. In regards to the communication yeah I think I will keep it short & sweet.

    Anita – would you say I’m the impossible sister then? Could you explain why you feel this way? Open to suggestions & improvements

    #180775

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    For me, a teasing sister would be an impossible sister. I dislike teasing very much. Because your sister doesn’t like being teased, then of course, I suggest you no longer tease her. Other suggestions: stop doing what didn’t and doesn’t work and do what did and does work. Teasing her didn’t work, so stop. Giving her advice: same, so stop. Sitting with her and hearing her moan (your word), didn’t work for you, so do not avail yourself to more of that, or severely limit that (since you want to spend time with her children and she may be present). Do what works for you and for her, make it a win-win relationship.

    All relationships, if they are to be  had, need to be win-win, no exceptions.

    anita

    #180813

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    I guess my intentions behind such comments are never to hurt, upset or annoy her, as are they with anyone. But they seem to be taken that way from her end, I guess that’s what I struggled too see, now I see it I’ll lessen the banter I have with her & keep it factual. Which I will find hard as you’d expect to be able to be yourself around your own sister, because we’re level as opposed to parents being superior, if that makes sense

    #180911

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Poppyxo:

    Many people who clearly abuse others are just-being-themselves. We  have to evaluate what about  us being-ourselves is to be continued and what  is to be changed.

    When you bantered your sister, you didn’t intend “to hurt, upset or annoy her”- but if she was hurt, upset and annoyed, it  doesn’t  matter what you intended.

    Bantering, or teasing  is aggressive. It is like… hurting another person just a little and having fun doing so. There is no merit in hurting another person just a little. And when you have fun doing so, well, that is a Win for you but a Lose  for the recipient.

    Regarding your last line, parents being superior… you wrote earlier that your father and  you banter each other. How is that working for the two of you? If you would like to give me an example, please do.

    anita

    #180987

    Amy
    Participant

    Poppyxo,

    The teasing and banter that you describe do come across as abusive and I can absolutely see why your sister does not appreciate you treating her that way and that she gets hurt by it.  The mere fact that this is how you communicate with many other family members does not make it normal in any sense– it might just mean that you are also so engrossed in the behavior and so used to being on the receiving end of it, that even you don’t realize when you are in the midst of abusive language or abusive situations.  Teasing and tormenting your sister (or anyone for that matter) is not kind thing to do, nor would it imply that you care about them and want to help.

    I would question yourself about what your goal of having a relationship with her is.  Do you want to support her and show her that you care about her and her life and her children?  Instead of focusing so much on “what is wrong with her and why could she possibly hurt by my behavior” try to focus more on how you CAN show that you care.  Be nice to her, ask her questions about her life, ask how you can support her, take her out for a coffee just because, etc.

    There are many, many things you can do in a situation and to improve a relationship that don’t simply involve cutting conversations down to merely facts and “not acting like yourself.”  This seems to be very extreme language and very black and white.

    I hope you can try to take a more positive approach to develop the kind of relationship that you are trying to get with your sister!

    #181485

    Poppyxo
    Participant

    Hi Both,

    Thanks for your advice.

    I feel like your understanding of my banter/teasing is abusive – I wouldn’t class it that high in regards to being abusive. I have experienced abuse in my life myself. She hasn’t always had this ‘reaction’ to our communications, & to be completely honest, she can match this behaviour sometimes too. I really do not think a little bit of a laugh & teasing is being abusive or receiving abuse. Maybe I worded it wrong in which you have picked it up – the way I see it in regards to myself, my partner, my dad & others is that we feel secure in ourselves & find it funny when we tease each other. It is light hearted, none of us mean any harm by it & its not things really horrible like “you are a f**king stupid person” if one of us do something silly it’s like “ahh Poppy’s at it again haha” & I’ll laugh. I see it that I am secure in myself that I do not need to take offence or trigger to something someone says. Even if somebody in the street shouted abuse at me, I wouldn’t retaliate or shout abuse back, because I am not who they say I am. They don’t know me, so how can I take something offensively or seriously?

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