My sister & her struggle (TW: Suicide)

The background behind my previous post.

I had a long text conversation with my sister last night where she opened up to me and said that the reason she doesn’t drink more than one or two drinks is because she gets very suicidal when she does.

She said that in Spain a year or so ago and again in Thailand in November, she was very, very close to ending her life. She said that when she is drunk, it gives her confidence that stops her from being scared about doing it and so because of that, she doesn’t drink anymore.

We had a very long conversation about it all and I tried to tell her (as gently as possible) that it is because she needs to deal with the unconscious/repressed feelings and until she does that, this will continue to haunt her. She said she has just accepted it now and that she doesn’t drink to avoid it.

I think I got through to her a bit, I did say things I probably shouldn’t have (in that she may now tell my mum one day) but I don’t really care if there is any chance whatsoever that it might help her somehow. I can’t bare her feeing that desperate.

She admitted that she blocks out feelings from her childhood and she said she also didn’t feel loved growing up (no surprise there!) and that at least I got a few years of “getting on well with our mother when I used to drink with her”. I told her that may be how it looks, but it isn’t as simple as that. I explained very simply that she was trying to clone me into a mini-her and that I had to kill off my real self to please her.

I told her that getting help from T is the best thing I have ever done in my life, although very tough and that sometimes you have to face truths you would rather avoid to get better. I told her it may literally save her life if she does the same and told her that if she decides to do that, in a week, year or ten years that I am here for her to talk to and she has to do it in her own time.

Later she told me some more issues and worries that she has, one involved how men repulsed her for quite some time and how our mother used to tease her and call her a lesbian and that in all honesty, she wished she was for a while because men made her feel sick. She said she was physically sick once after sex with a man. I asked her what she thought this was about and she said she is worried something happened to her when she was younger and that she’s forgotten or blocked it out. [for background I was sexually abused by one of our mothers boyfriends and she lived in the same house]. The idea this could have happened makes me so fucking angry and feel so sick. Sadly it IS possible.

Today I text her and said I love you so much but I have to ask, why are you so against getting help? What are you scared of? She said she was scared of what she would come to understand or remember or find out. She said she is scared dealing with it all will “fuck her up” and that she could break up with her boyfriend and be alone. (I had the exact same thoughts once). I told her I understand her worries but that she would never be alone because she will always have me (and my fiancé who she likes).

I spoke to her a little about our mother and she said that when strangers call her boring for not drinking, she doesn’t care, but when our mother does it, knowing what she does about her close calls with suicide, it hurts her so much. Understandably. To make matters worse just the other night on our group chat our mother sent a message about how stupid the coronation street (uk soap) was where a character killed himself due to depression. She said it was “far fetched”.

That comment is fucking senseless from anyone but she sent that to me and my (depressed and suicidal) sister. WHY?? Naturally my sister took the bait and said that’s exactly the point, depression isn’t just someone crying in public! – she didn’t reply after that.

I have so much sympathy and empathy for her knowing what I’ve learnt in my own therapy. I can see the dysfunction playing out. I can genuinely understand her pain. It all starts with my mother’s inability to love us how we should have been loved. We both grew up feeling unseen and unloved. We both grew up feeling like burdens and like a chore to her. We both felt second best. Neither of us were protected or made safe from her. She was unable to connect with either of us on any real level. There was no attunement. We didn’t get the experience of a “good enough” mother. We had a controlling narcissistic mother who didn’t want children – she wanted supply. She wanted mini-me’s (at age 17/18 and above).

The weird thing is I’ve realised today how much jealousy surrounds my family. My mum was hugely threatened by my relationship with my Nan when I was a child. She used to send me there every weekend so she could go out, and yet when I came home she would say “you’ll never come between me and my mother!”. She would have me crying in literally minutes for some reason or another.

She used to make up lies about me to my Nan, tell her I was this terrible child who was messy and a slag and who smoked. My Nan would be visibly disappointed and upset and I would get angry, defend myself and then play into this image of nasty child. I guess I still do that now when she pushes me. Silly me.

She ruined any relationship between my father and I. She planted continual seeds of doubt in my head about any boyfriend and told me friends were terrible. She was so jealous.

She then pitted me and my sister against one another by making me the golden child when I reached an age where I could drink and smoke – and made my sister the scapegoat who was boring and “not like us”. Naturally when I got help and met my now fiancé, our roles switched but because of my sister not wanting to get drunk (so she doesn’t kill herself!!) my mother has had to find alternative sources of supply – that’s where people like our cousin and sister in law come in – young, pretty girls, in their 20s who like to dress up and get drunk. They tell her how pretty she is and how they wish she was their mother…. if only they knew. Idiots.

She dangled men and girls our age in front of us and only now do I really see why. The constant jealousy making is to cause a reaction – she WANTS us to get angry and upset and show her that we care. It’s why she does it. It’s all insecurity really I suppose, but it’s her own fault that she’s pushed me away and my sister is feeling as terribly as she is.

She still genuinely thinks she is the wronged party. She believes she has been the loving and dutiful mother and what has she done to raise two such nasty and ungrateful girls.

She’s hurt and she’s angry for sure – she’s angry she lost her little mini me that I was and she’s angry that my sister is “selfish” enough to have depression because 1) she has no empathy and can’t understand it, 2) she doesn’t have time for that “nonsense” and 3) (and this one is questionable) it doesn’t make her look good does it?

One daughter who went no contact and told her she felt unloved growing up and one daughter suicidal and depressed. Poor her.

I’ve never thought of myself as being a strong person but I do admit that going through therapy takes some doing. You do have to be strong, very strong. The process of therapy isn’t one you can explain to someone or prepare them for is it? It’s also not a quick-fix and you have to let it all unfold naturally and let the defences come down gradually as you feel safe. I understand her worries about it making her “fucked up”, there have been many days I’ve not been able to go to work or leave the house. Days where I genuinely debated taking a knife to my legs as I was fighting against my inner critic.

I know it’s not as simple as this, but it’s like fighting an addiction to seeking her approval. That’s what it’s felt like. Once I decided I didn’t need her approval anymore, I let go enough to start healing properly. That’s where I want her to get to. I want her to see that she’s a truly wonderful and beautiful woman. I want her to understand how she’s the only person in this entire universe who shares my upbringing and understands some of the things I feel. I need her to fight for herself.

If anything happens to her, if this all gets too much and she gets drunk and ends her life, I just don’t think I could cope. I love her so much.

She doesn’t deserve anything she’s ever had to feel or experience. I wish I could make her see things and herself through my eyes. I wish she would get help. I wish she could get herself a T like mine who can become her good enough mother, her witness and her confidant.

I hate myself for the days that I was enmeshed and under our mother’s control. The days where I wasn’t protecting her. The days where I probably joined in on excluding her and pushing her away. I didn’t realise what I was doing or why. Somehow despite that we’ve kept a bond, she is still my baby sister even now that she’s an adult in her own right. I just want her to see her worth. Truly.

I’m going to stop now as I’m feeling rather emotional.

Thanks for reading x

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13 thoughts on “My sister & her struggle (TW: Suicide)

  1. Oh love this is awful I’m so sorry she’s feeling this way. But its amazing that she’s opened up to you, she clearly trusts you with this information, that’s huge. Even just talking about it will hopefully have relieved some of the pressure that comes with keeping such a thing secret.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, letting her know she’s loved and that there is hope. She will hopefully also see your example and want what you have.

    Have you considered calling one of the helplines for advice?

    Xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks darling. She said she’s called the helplines and she has the apps. I suggested we made a care plan for those times and she said she’s already got one…

      I pray she will get help, I’m trying so so so hard to encourage her but she’s admitted she’s scared. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Simply being there for your sister – as someone to confide in but also as a role model – is probably the single biggest thing you can do for her right now, and it sounds like you’re doing that just fine. I’ve found it really helpful talking to my sister (and also to my mum’s younger sister) in the last few years about our experiences of childhood and my mother and validating that I’m not crazy to feel hurt by the things she did or didn’t do, that people outside the family dismiss as unimportant or misunderstandings.

    One thing that I do think is important is balancing your the different kinds of safety your sister needs. On the one hand it would be a mistake to try and deal with this entirely on your own or to promise to keep secrets if you think there is an immediate risk, on the the other hand you don’t want your sister to feel betrayed if you need to involve other people and then have her stop confiding in you at all – I think you need to be very careful about involving anyone in your family who might report back to your mother or use the information themselves to shame her or create drama. You have reflected on your own strengths – your sister has also shown a lot of insight and strength herself in recognising the risk of drinking and taking action on that, and in understanding her own reasons for being wary of therapy. Those strengths might be something to point out to her.

    I think you are a great sister.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey DV.

      Thank you. I know how important validation was to me when I first started seeing T so I guess that’s true – hopefully she will take comfort in that I also felt so affected and pained in my childhood.

      Yep, understood. The real sad thing here is that apparently my mother knows all of this. Apparently she phoned our mother on both occasions saying she was going to end her life. My mother is completely unable to deal with it. She says she “can’t understand it”. Clearly when my sister is in those places and phoning her to tell her it’s a HUUUGGGGEEEE scream for help! She’s basically begging my mother to make her feel like she loves her! In the moments apparently my mother cries and tells her how much she loves her but then a day or two later, it’s all forgotten. She won’t ever tell her to get help (obviously).

      I agree thank goodness she’s stopped drinking. And I will point that out actually, thank you xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I echo what DV and Lauren have said. I hope your sister can find the courage to go for therapy some day. I’m sorry you both have had such awful experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are doing more for her than you will ever know. By separating from your mother and facing your pain in therapy yourself you are showing her healing and another way of being is possible. I think you are AMAZING and the fact your sister has just opened up to you about all this is HUGE. I understand how terrifying it must be to hear how much she is struggling, but her choice not to drink shows she is strong and wants to live. I think she’s just taken her first real step in healing and a lot of that is down to you xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you my love, I really, really hope you’re right. T says the same about showing her there’s another way, and leading by example.

      It is terrifying. Just hearing the words makes me cry! I’ve done nothing but think about her since, I constantly worry she will do something now and I know I can’t live that way but I’m scared for her.

      I want her to get help so badly but she’s scared. I guess the fact she’s choosing not to drink is a good sign though. Xx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It sounds so unbelievably tough and I’m so sorry you’re both going through this. Would something like you writing all that you’ve gained from therapy help her, so she can see it’s not all pain? Clutching at straws really, as I just wish there was something I could do or say to help. Sending a huge hug xxx

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s actually a fantastic idea…. my only slight reservation is that we’ve had many, many, many convos in the past about her getting therapy and how much it’s helped me, I even managed to get her to text my T once (like 3 years ago) but due to conflict, my T couldn’t see her and gave her alternative numbers of suitable therapists and then she didn’t do anything with them. In fact twice that’s happened. I worry koz when she’s back to blocking it all out and is being pally with my mother, she tells her things I’ve said! It’s a really tricky mix xxx

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I so get that. It’s so hard! It could be about YOU and what you’ve gained and who you are now without mentioning your mother?And maybe something about seeing it all written down would help her. And surely your mum has enough ammunition to use against you to last a lifetime now, so it wouldn’t matter too much?! Especially if it’s about you not her xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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