Post # 1
I have a boatload of family issues, but I’ll try to stay on topic with this best i can.
My sister and I grew up in an absolutely volatile household. There were big, serious fights quite literally every day. I honestly do not have a memory of a peaceful day that went by while the four of us (ourselves and our parents) were living together, even on vacations. My parents finally divorced about six years ago and Ive cut my mother out of my life since because of all the abuse she put me through.
Ive tried to have a relationship with my sister but its beendifficult, to say the least. She obviously hasnt faced her demons borne from our childhood the same way I have and she lashes out at me constantly. Sometimes in downright nasty ways (makes fun of me for my past with my depression, calls me fat, calls me a loser for getting a GED instead of graduating high school) but mostly in immature, passive aggressive ways. Some examples:
-While at a family wedding last summer, there was a three hour gap between the ceremony and reception, so me and my boyfriend hung out at a local brewery/restaurant in the meantime. I texted her and asked if she would like to join us instead of just hanging out at the hotel. Her first reply was ‘so youre going to drink and drive? I’ll pass’
-My bf and I were heading to Boston and driving through her state, CT. We were on a really beautiful scenic highway so I texted her and told her how pretty it was. Her first reply was ‘youre on a trip? Its Thursday, dont you ever work?’
Etc etc. The list could go on and on.
As a result Ive started cutting her out as well. I just dont want people in my life that go out of their way to be nasty/toxic. Now my dads been pushing me to talk to her again and telling me how much it would mean to him for us to make up. I keep telling him Ive given her so many chances at this point and Ive had enough, but he wont stop pulling the ‘disappointed dad’ act, and wont stop bringing it up.
Can anyone help me out with some advice to get him to drop it, or understand where Im coming from? Or if youve gone through something similiar, use this thread to share your story/vent as well.
Post # 3
ChicoryCreek: she sounds toxic. Do not let your father guilt you into forcing a relationship with her. You can be polite, but keep your distance or she will poison your life. For what it’s worth, based on what you’ve said in your post, I think your dad lost his right to “pull the disappointed dad act” when he failed to protect you during your childhood. If he is going to be disappointed in anyone, it should be himself and your mother. It sounds like your sister is a product of the environment she grew up in.
Post # 4
Didn’t your father play a role in making her the way she is? If so, he should probably acknowledge that and work through it rather than using your willingness to make up with your toxic, abusive sister as a barometer of his parenting.
Post # 5
Yeah, my first thought is that your dad needs to be talking to her about getting some counseling and making an effort to stop her abuse. If you’d left a physically abusive relationship, would your dad be pushing you to get back in it? It’s the equivalent in my mind.
Post # 6
Can you just tell him that your relationship or lack of between you and your sister is just that, between you and your sister… and that his pushing it is only going to push you away from HIM also.
Post # 7
Just like you’ve got a right to have your feelings about not having your sister in your life, your dad has a right to his feelings too. Your feelings are no less important than his, but they’re also no MORE important than his. Tell him that you respect his feelings but that since your desires are in direct opposition to his, you both need to hold your peace (read: be quiet) on the subject of your sister. But at least respect the fact that he is absolutely allowed to want his kids to get along.
Post # 8
ChicoryCreek: Is there a reason that she treats you so badly? Is she possibly jealous of the life you now have? I don’t see why you should have to be trying- it seems like you’ve made several attempts, and she is the one creating the issue. Maybe let your dad know that if he wants you two to mend fences, she’s the one he needs to be talking to. In my opinion, you’ve done your part. Why continue to try, just to be let down and treated nasty. Also, have you asked her why she is so bitter towards you?
I went through something similar with my sister, not quite to the same extent. She was making bad choices, giving up family for her boyfriend, etc. Anytime something good happened for me, she had to one up me, or make me feel bad about it. I told her I was done with her, and I told my parents I was done with her. They later had a talk with her and told her I was hurt and no longer considered her a sister because of her actions. Things did turn around, and we’re getting closer again. She’s happy for me, excited to help planning my wedding, and has so far, acted like a kick ass Maid/Matron of Honor. It sucks “losing” a sister- hopefully things can get turned around and you two can have a healthy relationship.
Post # 9
I think until SHE is the one to come to you and make the effort to repair things, you shouldn’t make contacting her a priority.
Unless she becomes aware, in her own way, of how rotten she has been, and then decides to make amends with you, she will continue to be the abusive, awful person that she has been to you in the past.
As much as it would make your dad happy, I don’t think his request is realistic. You deserve to be happy, and keeping her at a distance is what you need to do to protect yourself.
I also have a lot of volitile people in my family, and have had to make similar choices for my own sanity. You’ll go insane trying to get through to people who are like that…it’s not worth the hurt.
Post # 10
WestCoastV: youre 100% right, and he hates hearing that. Everytime I bring up anything to that effect, he completely shuts down and pretends he doesnt hear me and keeps going about his business, or stays totally silent until Im lime “DAD?!??” And then he just explodes and says “i hear you, okay, youre hurt, im a shit father, i get it!”
And thats where the conversation ends. Super unproductive.
Post # 11
shesheb: he’s one of “those men” who doesnt believe in counseling of any kind…
I.e.–“I dont need some stranger telling me what Im doing wrong and how to live my life” , etc
Post # 12
Just because you’re blood doesn’t mean you have to put up with her crap. Nor do you have to put up with the guilt trips. Every time he brings it up, simply say “I’m sorry, but I will not be discussing this with you. So how’s work going?” Refuse to engage, redirect. If he continues to push, leave. Or hang up the phone. Repeat.
If you continue to engage in conversation about the issue, all you are doing is encouraging the behavior. Stop, do not engage, redirect. It’s like training a dog, the instant you give in, you have undone all the work you’ve done. Leave as many times as necessary. Eventually, he’ll figure it out.
Post # 13
Thanks for the advice everyone. Im seeing my dad Sunday and I have a plan if he brings it up. This whole time Ive been attempting toexplain myself to him and make him understand, but you guys are right…he should be able to understand all on his own, and if he doesnt, I cant waste my energy. I have to just tell him my sisters and I relationship is between us and us only, and then drop it.
Post # 14
ChicoryCreek: I’m sorry you’re going through this.
I think it’s fine for you to tell your Dad very firmly that he needs to drop this. Tell him you understand how much it would mean to him for you and your sister to be close but that her behavior makes that impossible and that you are not going to subject yourself to her abuse in order to pretend to be close. Tell him that for now, he is asking too much and that if your sister ever demonstrates that she has moved beyond the need to lash out at and insult you, then you would be open to having a closer relationship but for now, it’s just not possible and he needs to stop pushing you.
Post # 15
Zhabeego: very well thought out reply, thank you.