Since I was in high school, I have had a difficult time developing a strong relationship with my sister. She is 3 years younger than me, and was also raised very differently. After my parents divorced, I moved in with my dad, she stayed with my mom. My mom is what one would refer to as an enabler. She has been giving in to my sisters needs and desires ever since she was little. That obviously got worse once my dad left. So sis is used to being told that her feelings are always right, and she acts on them, not caring how she may or may not affect others. She is used to getting her way, and if she doesn't, she gets mad, and will stop talking to you.
Regarding our relationship, it does not take much for her to get mad at me, and stop talking to me. I do not understand this because I have been trying hard to be there for her, and build a relationship with her. She explodes over literally nothing at all. Some key examples:
- Three holidays ago, I asked her to help with the dishes at my dad's. I was doing all of the work. She pretty much always needs to be asked to do anything. She never offers. She exploded, and said I was being demanding. She wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the trip.
- My husband and I taught overseas for a year and a half. My mom offered to babysit our dog for us. Sis became really attached, and wanted to keep the dog. She was living at her own place, finishing grad school; she wasn't a child. She actually went so far as to take the dog from my mom and hide her at a friend's house. She wouldn't talk to me for 3 + months after my husband and I got the dog back. To this day, she still talks about how she is going to kidnap our dog.
- A couple of years ago, sis developed a crush on one of my husband's friends. It did not go well, and she expected hubs and I to stop talking to said friend. He wasn't even really in the wrong, she was. She stopped talking to us for like 6 months over that one.
- Most recently, she came up for xmas, stayed with us for 4 nights, and honestly we had a good time for once. I tiptoed on egg shells to make SURE nothing went wrong. Well there was a winter storm, and she's obsessed with work, so very unfortunately her flight got cancelled. She freaked out because she NEEDED to get home to get back to work. She expected me to drive her 3 hours to another airport, so that she could fly out sooner. I of course told her no, I would not drive her in a snow storm. SHe hung up on me, and I haven't heard from her since. Who knows how long it will take for her to start talking to me again.
I am sure there are plenty of other examples, but the ones above stand out the most. I am just so tired of her anger and entitlement. I give and give and give, and there's never much in return. She's not a child. She's in her mid twenties. I feel like she acts very childish. I just feel so hurt by her, and I have to ask myself, when is enough enough?? Should I give up on this one-sided relationship?
I have a sister very much like yours, and very similar exprience (I moved out to live with Dad at 15), my only advice is that she is an adult, she is not a child. Treat her like one, dont' give in.
Espeically if the relationship is hurting you. People outside tell me this, therapists tell me this, but it's hard.
My sister is in her 30s and I have to talk to myself that she is not a child, she is an adult who makes her own decisions and I can't forgive her becuase in my mind she's always that 8 year old little sister to me.
Do what is best for you, dont' give and give and give anymore. GIve what you are willing to, and let her take the rest. IF she doesn't. That's not your fault.
@Khalessi3: Do you feel like you were raised differently from your sister? Do you think living with your dad was a better situation for you? I was 14 when I moved to my dad's. Thanks for the advice.
@Khalessi3: Also, does your sis stop talking to you for long periods of time? How do you deal with that?
My sister happens to be bipolar. So Yes we have gone, weeks, years, months....of not talking...she has alot of issues and my parents enable her. I was always the older sister, the "good one",
Their excuse has always been,You dont' need as much help as her....SHe has been financially supported, and bailed out by them more times than I can count.
It hurts when I think of us as little kids, she's 4 years younger, and I was always her big sister. I love her and I crave a normal sisterly relationship with her, but she is unable to give me one, as she can't even handle her own self. So I reflect on who she was, and take small moments of good memories and hold on to those. IT's REAAAAAAAAAAllly hard. I am getting a knot in my throat typing it to you now.
In terms of growing up in different households.
My father and mother are worlds apart, finanacially, and enviroment wise. I moved from a small town to a large city to be with my Dad, I had oppurtunites she may not of had, with my Dad but all in all, we were raised in the same enviroment for most of our lives. Our lives were not great as young kids, and I always felt like I abanonded her...still do...she plays that card sometimes. but It's not right.
My therapist told me that it's who you are as a person, regardless of your upbrining that makes you who you are, and your ability to learn and what you take from each of your experiences.
Which makes sense as seeing why some people who have had wonderful parents/lives grow up to be serial killers...and some people with crackhead parents, who grew up in poverty grow up to be sucessfull.. Enviroment is a small part of the equation.
There is really no excuse (even in the case of my sister with a mental illness) for your parents or anyone else to cater to them. They are adults.
If you can some how let go of her, in a healthy way, love her, in a way a sister can but dont' make it your problem to "save her" or "fix it" then you will be much happier. It's a work in progess for me. My fiance, and other people have to stop me alot of times and put me in check and say back off, you can't help her. You can't fix it. Let go.
@Khalessi3: Thanks for sharing. That helps a lot. It is hard for me to think of her as an adult because of how she behaves, and because she is my little sister. It is also hard to let her go because she is the only sister I have, and I can't help but hope that she will realize the error of her ways, and want to make things better too. However, you are right in the fact that I should let her go for the sake of my own happiness.
Of course I can not tell you how to handle your relationship with your sister. If it was me, I would definitely give her LOTS of space.
I can you that I have two sisters and two brothers who have not spoken to me since my mother died in 1989. I STILL have no clue as to why. At first I tried hard to re-establish contact, tried to call, sent letters and cards, nothing. Very confusing as they at least sent holiday cards when my Mother was still alive then no communication at all after she died. They are also WAY older than me.
After years of trying, I gave up. I have my own family - a brother who still talks to me, nieces and nephews, and friends who are more family than my blood-relatives have ever been.
It's sad, but sometimes it's just that way. Thank goodness we can pick our friends!
My relationship with my brother was very tense from about the time I was 8 until about a year ago (22). He would constantly pick fights and be mean/hurtful. I stopped talking to him pretty much at all from 18-22 years old because I was no longer required to interact with him.
I think that was the best thing for our relationship. He realized how hurtful he had been and started trying to put things right. I missed him, but I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. I would just let he be and when she is ready to act like and adult, you two can have a relationship again that doesn't include manipulation.
@nantes14: Your sister sounds very immature or either she has a mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction? Is she depressed or lonely? Did she had a rough life at your moms? How old was she when your parents split?
I was 15-16 when my parents split. After months of living in a very bad situation; I ended up being picked up at my after school job one day by my older sisters saying I owuld never see my father again and that I had to move and live with them. I felt abandoned and scared and I also had a severe drug problem (yes already at that age) which made the situation much worse. It took me until about age 20 to grow up, clean up and get my act together. Now I am a 27 year old very successful in my career and financially with a graduate degree. I guess my point is that I didnt act like your sister above but that I did other immature things and acted immature because of my parents splitting so awful on me. so I am wondering how she took your parents split and moving?
now my sister who took care of me until I finished HS,since I moved away and our friendship because distant, she has become immature and has a serious depression and alcohol problem. She often calls me begging for money or to do other things for her. I refuse to because she is in her mid 30s and I refuse to send an alcoholic and chain smoker my hard earned money so that she can blow it on booze and ruining her life. She is an adult and needs to seriously grow up. I have tried to help her clean up and grow up but there is nothing I can do. We have had many fights cause I wont send her money, etc. we dont talk for months at a time. but I just know now to call her after 6pm (because she is crazy drunk at that point) and made myself clear that I am here for her when she decides to get help. but that I refuse to feed her addictions.
Have you ever just asked your sister what is wrong? why she is so angry?
@bestbuddies: My sister is a perfectionist with severe anxiety. I don't think she is happy at all, and I don't even know if she knows how to make herself happy. She doesn't do anything besides work. She's never had a boyfriend or a hobby that she's been passionate about. It's like she doesn't even want to be happy.
She did not have it bad at all at my mom's because my my mom had to walk on egg shells to keep her happy. I understand why my mom felt the need to give in to her, yet that did not help her mature or learn to deal well with life as an adult. I used to ask my sister why I made her angry, and she could never answer me. She doesn't treat her friends like this. I also don't really know how she took my parents splitting up. She's never really opened up about it. From the outside, it seemed like she was content living with my mom. She never wanted to visit my dad or I.
I am sorry to hear about your sister. That sounds terrible. It is good that you stand up for yourself, and not give into her.
@nantes14: interesting. maybe she has a sense of entitlement with your mom and you? Like you guys owe her something. I only say that sense you said she doesnt act like this with friends. I am sorry that you are dealing with this. Its very difficult to not have a good connection with someone you realy feel you should (family). but you cannot continue to walk on egg shells around her. this will only make it worse. If I were you, I would be completely honest with her and tell her how you feel and how she is acting. be supportive and ask what you can do to help, that you love her etc. so when she acts 'her way' you can tell her this is the actions you were talking about and stand up for yourself. one day she will grow up and i think that will happen faster if you are honest and up front with her and stop walking on egg shells around her.
She was a spoiled kid and now she is an unpleasant adult. This is your mom's fault but now your sister's responsibility to correct. I think you should keep a tepid, more distant relationship with her, until she grows up. It's ironic that she tries to to stop talking with you, when you are the one being too kind with her already. This is just a bratty move on her part, if she does that, don't reach out, wait for her to.
I don't know how long it will take for her to grow up. But it's not for you to fix nor tolerate. Keep a bridge there, so once she's ready to be an adult mentally, you two can bond again, but meanwhile, don't be so close that it stresses you out. You don't need that drama, and it isn't fair to you. If you want kids I'm sure you'll have your own, not deal with the ramifications of your mom's poor parenting of her kid.
@bestbuddies: Thanks for the advice. You hit the bulls eye about her being entitled. That is exactly how she acted when she wanted me to drive her 3 hours to another airport. I don't get where that entitlement comes from. It makes her come off as very selfish and greedy. She's all about taking, not giving.
@joya_aspera: Thank you!
@nantes14: I would say just give it up for a while. I have a similiar situation with my older sister. She is horribly self centered and probably has some sort of mental disorder. I have tried and tried and tried to have a relationship with her. Her true colors have really come out during my wedding planning and I've come to the conclusion that she doesn't care to be in my life.
And you know what - I don't care. I am marrying into a wonderful family. And when our mother passes away (our father passed away 10 years ago) she will have NO ONE and I will have still have my FI's family.
@coolbride125: True colors always come out during wedding planning. You just reminded me of another example of her selfishness. I had asked her to be in my wedding, as the maid of honor, and she told me 6 months in advance that she didn't know if she'd even be able to make the wedding because she'd most likely busy with work. My parents told her she had to come. Sorry to hear about your sister too. It sucks. However, I am happy you like your fiancé's family!
@nantes14: OMG - is your sister the younger version of my sister? My sister also said she couldn't come to rehearsal dinner because she said had to work. OH and she can't come to the dinner and reception because she couldn't leave her cat overnight. Yep - cat.
@coolbride125: WOW!!!! My younger sister sounds exactly like yours. Her cat?? Wow. What did you say to her? You mentioned she might have some sort of mental disorder. Do you think it's depression, or is she just a plain narcissist? My sister deals with anxiety and perfectionism, but that is no excuse for her crazy, selfish behavior.
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