Sister dilemma

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    Hi all,

    I am feeling really sad about a recent incident with my sister and I found these forums.  I thought I’d share my story just to tell it to someone.   I am the eldest of three sisters and we are all  very close.  2022  was a big milestone birthday for my middle sister.  For the year prior she said all she wanted for her birthday was for our very small family to be together.  We said we’d do anything she wanted,  she was leaning more toward a sunny destination trip and so we were all saving for that.   As time comes closer to the birthday-  it was 4 months away,  no decisions had been made.   I asked the direct question,  when are you going to decide?  because  we all need to book off time ect.   She had decided to go to Paris with just her husband and children.  It was a bit of a shock as she had never mentioned that previously.  I was surprised, we talked about it and I fully supported and was invested in this dream trip for her.  She did mention that she might want to go on another separate trip with just us three sisters later in the year- which would fall about this time now.     I myself have a big dream trip planned for Italy later this year, and I so I said that I didn’t know if I could afford two trips in the same year.   But I did say that if we talked about it and planned something not expensive I could do both.  No specifics regarding location,  dates,  ANYTHING was ever mentioned again to myself or my other sister.  Over the next few months we talked about alot about her upcoming trip to  Paris,  what to pack,  itineraries, she called a few times from Paris and we were thrilled for her.     Fast forward to now.   Our friends asked us to join them on a last min trip  destination trip.  And our budget allows for this.  So we said yes,  and are leaving soon.   I told my sister and she is absolutely furious with me.  She says she feels hurt that I “ruined her birthday” because she “wanted to do both trips”  and because I said that  about our budget she didn’t go further.   She feels that ” I didn’t choose her”.    She said “I refuse to carry this burden that I messed up my birthday”  and that it was directly my responsibility that we didn’t go away together.   I feel that I was expressing my own needs by saying I didn’t know if we could do both trips when I said that last summer.     I guess where I went wrong is in not revisiting this mythical trip idea with her when we discovered we could budget for it.     I made a genuine and heartfelt apology that my actions hurt her.  I just feel like her anger is out of proportion. I can’t really explain in words here how angry she is at me.  She wont speak to me now.     I feel so lost,  she is my best friend and I am sick that I hurt her this badly.  I also am hurt that she seems to want to fight to break us apart rather than fight to keep our relationship.  I am hurt that she won’t accept any part of responsibility for what happened.  How do I move forward?


    Hi brynro,

    By not revisiting the sister trip before committing to the friends’ trip, you unintentionally hurt your sister’s feelings, but the sister trip hadn’t yet materialized into anything at all,  and because the invitation for the friends’ trip was last-minute, you needed to quickly accept or decline it, so I see why you did what you did. We can’t always anticipate how our decisions will affect others. You made a genuine, heartfelt apology which was the right thing to do, and yes, her anger is out of proportion.



    …oops, how to move forward:

    Let her cool off. She’ll get over it.



    Hi Brynro

    I am guessing your sister lashed out because she was feeling guilty about messing you around in the first place about her birthday wants.  Like Brandy said give her chance to cool down and if her general nature is kind and forgiving hopefully then things may blow over quickly. If she has a habit of cutting her nose to despite her face then things may need to be handled in a different way.


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>This text may sound hard, as I got swept away in empathy for your sister. I’m sorry if my words are hurtful that’s not my intention. I want to show you another perspective on the narrative so you can be able to fix the relationship with your sister. I really think you are not taking enough responsibility in this topic.
    As a middle sister myself, I would feel deeply hurt and rejected, betrayed in that situation. If my sister would talk about probably not being able to go on two trips in the same year, I would not make sistertrip-plans until she said okay, she has a budget available. I wouldn’t want to push my sister into debt for a trip with me. And then she books a second trip without me and without even asking me? Ugh!

    How to proceed? You made a sister-trip in 2023 impossible by booking the last min. Period. Fix that.
    Cancel the last min or make new plans for a big trip with your sisters for next year and make a booking so there’s no room for doubt.
    Yeah, she should have communicated better, same counts for you. You booked the second trip while she was still thinking you couldn’t afford it. Choose her first, then she will be able to show that kind of vulnerability you want from her and take part of the blame for not talking to you about this topic. And yes, what she did last year was not nice either, but you talked it out and you made up, so you can’t pull that back into the discussion, that’s not fair, that’s making her the bad guy and again avoiding your own responsibility.
    Talk to her, check if she was indeed waiting for you to say you can afford the trip, ask how she wants you to fix this and choose her first. After all, she is your best friend.</p>
    Invest time in your sisters (counts for all three of you) and plan more smaller things together, it’ll make future mistakes like these less heavy.


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi Brynro,</p>
    thank you for sharing this complicated and sensitive situation. I am sad to hear she is no longer speaking with you, but perhaps she is doing so in order to cool off and avoid yelling more at you.

    I agree that her anger seems disproportionate. In my opinion, since you all are sisters and supposedly know each other practically since birth, these relationships are loaded with histories and memories. It feels to me like this fight really may be about more than the trip. Perhaps this reminds her of a different time she felt hurt, left behind, or excluded? I feel like this event may have triggered an emotional response of an unresolved conflict that happened years ago.

    Nevertheless, I believe it is great to communicate as openly as possible, and it seems like you tried to do this over the past few months (although some resentment may have remained due to the mentions that she was not able to understand what you wanted for your birthday). However since she is not responding, no communication can be had. I believe a well-written apology is a step in the right direction, but a long and honest conversation (when she’s ready) can mean a lot too. I don’t think this is really about the last-minute trip, I think the last-minute trip is a metaphor for something else – an overall feeling that you don’t prioritize her, or some other narrative/belief that she holds and is looking to affirm.

    I agree that seeing them more often outside of birthdays would help heal the relationship. In my experience, my family’s and ex-lovers’ biggest spats always happened around vulnerable expectation-fueled and regression-fueled events such as birthdays and holidays. It’s always tough! i find it’s easier to resolve feelings and candidly describe expectations when everyone’s sober  and not in “special event mode.”

    I hope my bystander observations are helpful. Thanks again and wish the best for you and your family. Please remember your life decisions are yours to make, and we on this forum don’t know your life as well as you do!

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