Post # 17
One thing to ask yourself is this: What is your elder daughter "getting" from all this fighting, particularly, from you (which is what you have control over)? When you’re reasoning with her, are you also listing her wonderful qualities, her accomplishments, trying to shore up your relationship with her and show her how much you love her?
If so, to her she might see this: she complains about how you love younger sister more/coddle her = she gets attention and love from you. You are positively reinforcing her behavior (saying good things in response to her behavior). You (and your younger daughter) need to take away this reinforcement. Don’t respond when she tries to fight about this.
I agree with all that ustwiggie said, especially about how you should handle the wedding situation. Go to the wedding regardless of whether younger daughter is there, focus on loving each daughter, and stay out their fight. I don’t think there’s anything else you can say that you haven’t already said. If your older daughter brings up the situation, you can say, "You know my feelings on the matter. I love you both, and I don’t have anything more to say than I’ve already told you." Refuse to argue with her about it. Still show your daughters you love them, of course, but find a way to do it that is aligned with positive experiences and not in response to negative ones.
I would also suggest seeing a counselor about how you can deal with your daughters’ bad relationship in the longer term. Your fears of her manipulating access to future grandchildren etc are very real. I have a master’s in counseling myself and I think you would benefit a lot from it. So just my two cents, I hope it helps. Good luck!
Post # 18
Weddings cannot solve problems that already exist, if this is a lifelong problem did you really think that some pretty dresses and flowers would mask it? In some cases it would but apparently not here. One of the things I have learned is to put on a cocktail dress and behave for 4 hours no matter what. This has proven helpful for me because I can always work out the difficulties at another time. I think it is possible the bride to be has something she wants known, so why dont you ask her to write it down for you with the promise that you wont ask her to discuss it. In the end it is her wedding and she makes the decision. Forget about how it looks or seems or anything else because it took many years to create this situation or imbalance. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that she really wants you to prove some allegiance to her by still showing up at her wedding and supporting her. There is absolutely no reason you cannot. All of the "buts" dont matter. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE RESOLVED BY WEDDING TIME, if she chooses, she will sort through it some other time in her life. It is possible the bride has work to do but it is also possible that this is the only way she can get you to see something. Or demonstrate something.
On the flip side, my little sister whom I love more than anyone in the world might not attend my wedding due to a multiples pregnancy. As I have told everyone who gasped at the possibility— will I be sad if she is not there? Yes, Will it annoy me for the rest of my life that she is not there for me on my special day? Yes, Will it frustrate me in future years that she is not in any of the pictures? Yes. Will it compromise the entire day for me? Yes, Will it change our relationship? No.
Post # 19
Here’s my take:
BS is manipulative (as you said) and you are right to worry about when she’ll cut you out. However, you can’t fix her, she needs to push people away before she realizes that she needs and misses them.
I recommend you do as was mentioned, tell both of your girls that you love them unconditionally and you would love to support them on their wedding day, and go to the wedding AND reception. If you have family attending, it’ll be important for you to be present. If people ask about LS, simply say that BS’s budget was tight, or that LS had prior engagements but would love to be there.
Do the same for LS if/when she marries.
Let BS hold her grudge and freak out and whatever… weddings are stressful, that doesn’t mean she can be a B, but if that’s how she deals, just let her.
And… please, stop letting her know when you help LS, or… if you help LS with something, make sure you give BS the same amount, even if she doesn’t need it. It sounds like your willingness to bail LS out in order to help BS is angering BS even more.
Good luck! Remember — just because they’re related doesn’t mean they have to get along!
Post # 20
GREAT advice from chelseamorning. Regardless of past issues, there is something that your older daughter is getting out of this RIGHT NOW. And that something, for unhappy people who create drama, is usually attention.
Issues between sisters are usually about envy. Honestly, if your older daughter was really happy with her own life, then she would have no reason to hate or envy her younger sister.
However, as to what you can do about this: The best thing you can do is refuse to play the game. Refuse to hear either daughter talk badly about the other – if you can’t stop it by stating firmly that you don’t want to hear it, just leave. Refuse to put yourself in the middle – they are both adults, and are going to have to solve their own problems. And refuse to be manipulated.
DH and I have a bit of a situation like this with his sister. She always has to be the center of attention, she has grudges against her two brothers that seem to go back years, and she also has serious issues with me. She spends a lot of time and effort trying to manipulate their mom into taking her side. And frankly, like your younger daughter, we don’t care. We don’t care if she comes when we invite her for Thanksgiving, we didn’t care whether she came to the wedding – in fact, we would often prefer that she didn’t show up, as her behavior is at best tiresome. The big problem for us is the way she manipulates his mom! Mother-In-Law feels guilty if she spends holidays with us rather than with SIL. She feels guilty when they both come if SIL isn’t made much over at every opportunity. And she spends way too much time and effort trying very hard to keep SIL happy, and trying to talk her into participating in "family" events that we have happened to plan. And honestly, what we would really like Mother-In-Law to do is whatever SHE wants. If she would rather spend Thanksgiving with us, that’s great! If she would rather spend it with SIL, that’s fine too! But watching her tear herself apart trying to make SIL happy (which is a hopeless task) just makes us resent SIL that much more.
I would guess that your younger daughter feels much the same way. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like any great loss to her if she never sees her older sister again – and why would she want to? Trying to talk both girls into a relationship they don’t want in order to make you happy isn’t going to work – it will just make all of you unhappy, and in the end will make them both resent each other more.
Post # 21
I wonder if Gwinky is still here and what happened in this situation? I read it with a lot of interest and am wondering what happened.
I am in a similar situation with one of my younger brothers. He has always been the spoiled child, getting everything he wants and being held to a much easier standard by my parents than I ever was growing up, and even now that I’m an adult and he’s in college. While I’ve tried to be mature about it, I still hold a lot of resentment about certain issues from when we were younger and from things that are still happening. While I wanted him to be involved in my wedding, during a fight he told me he didn’t even want to go, and it was not convenient to his schedule anyway – no one had asked him if the date worked for him. I have continued to say he doesn’t have to come and is not invited. I’m sure he will come; my mother will make him, but the truth is if he didn’t, in 30 years, I wouldn’t feel bad about that at all. He might, though. It’s not always enough to say "oh, it’s resentment from when they were younger"…those are still real feelings even though to parents they may seem silly.
Post # 22
Maybe she needs to grow up just a little … I get the whole sister clash I have two older ones and we are all diff. I clash all the time with them but my sister is my maid of honor because she is my sister and I would kill for her.. I know the wedding day is all about the bride but she could be there alone because she keeps pisssing everyone off? or she could suck it up and deal with it
Post # 23
I think you should write OD a letter expressing your equal love for both of them. Sometimes letters are better and the recipient feels less defensive. Try to focus more on her though saying how important she is to you and how proud you are to see her marry and that she is now a mother, as well. In the letter fully express how much you do care for her but her decision is regrettable because as a mom you only wish to see your 2 girls happy and wish they could count on each other as they grow up. If I were you I would still attend and let her know in the letter that even though you wish to have YS there sharing in the moment you will not push it further. And just leave it at that, maybe reading your heart felt letter would sway her decision. But if it doesn’t I would not push it further because ultimately it is her decision who to invite.