I need some blog-writing therapy today. I am so tired that I can’t actually be arsed to write, but I really need to, so I am hoping this helps.
Last night I was playing on my phone as me and my husband drove back from a wedding quite far away. I was flicking through social media and not paying much attention until I clicked onto my sister’s Instragram page to see if she had put anything up and saw that apparently we were no longer “following” each other… I knew immediately that she had removed me/blocked me/whatever it is called but just to be sure I asked someone else if they could still see her stuff and, obviously, they could.
I was shocked and hurt. Why had she done this and why now?
I haven’t heard from my sister in months, I blogged about what happened previously but in short she is angry with me for not attending a family bbq in the summer that my mother and stepfather arranged for my grandparents and extended family. I also blogged back then about my reasons for not going (mainly my stepfather but also not wanting to be around the toxicity of them all being drunk and having to attend without my husband because my mother and stepfather hate him and he hates them).
I would like to say at this point that it was not an easy decision not to go, but in all honesty, it was. I went camping with my husband and stepchildren instead and I was pleased with the decision I made. I was relieved and glad and, I’ll be honest, I was proud of myself for doing what I needed to do for me for once and for not being guilt-tripped into attending something for the sake of keeping the peace or avoiding conflict. That may sound selfish but I am very low contact with my mother and completely no contact with her husband for a reason (many actually) and do not feel safe going to an event like that, particularly without my support system (husband).
My sister however… well, she thinks I am the worst person in the entire world for not attending and she can only see this through her own eyes. I am selfish because my grandparents would have loved us ALL to be there and my personal favourite “they are going to die soon” and we won’t have the chance to do that for them again. In other words, I have ruined their “dream” and now they will die unhappy because of me. Powerful aren’t I?? *rolls eyes*. By the way, this whole me and death thing is a theme in my family. My mother told me when I was younger that if I told my nan about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother’s then boyfriend, she would have a heart attack and die. My therapist often tells me “you are not that powerful Twink” and I have to repeat that to myself when the guilt over this kicks in now and again.
When my sister aired her disappointment at me, I told her that I did what was right for me and that whilst she had every right to be annoyed or upset about that, it was HER issue and not mine and I did say (in anger) that she had no right to contact me and say everything she was saying.
Months have passed since that happened and suddenly yesterday she has unfollowed/blocked me on social media. WHY?
Anyway, I have felt very sad today. Very down and its made me reflect on and (over)think about so many things re her, mainly her, but also my mother, my entire family really and I guess in many ways I’ve felt a bit sorry for myself but the general feeling today has been how UNFAIR it all is. I said to my husband earlier that I know I sound immature and childish saying that, “unfair” feels like a young word to me, but that I just can’t help it.. that is the feeling and I can’t change how I feel just because it isn’t mature enough. I’ve learnt enough in therapy to know that denying your feelings really doesn’t get you anywhere.
The main thing eating away at me today is that I just want to have a nice, normal relationship with my sister. I would love to have the closeness that many sisters have and that I just do not understand why that is not possible.
With the risk of sounding like a narcissist myself, I have looked after my sister for her entire life. I have cared for her since I was a child myself, literally. I have supported her through her spells of depression. I’ve rescued her from my mother’s rages – helped her when she has been suicidal and been there as an older sister for her to talk to, cook for and all the other stuff. Then after literally years of that care, I don’t attend a flipping bbq and I’m cast as the worst person in the world and ignored for months and now, apparently I am so awful that she doesn’t even want me to see her Instagram photos!!! WHY?
There have been many times over these past months that I’ve wanted to contact her and try to sort this mess out, to fix it but T has advised me many times that my sister is used to treating me badly, being abusive or nasty and then not speaking to me for a while before I contact her and let it all go and repeat… she told me that I have always taken the role of mother and she’s been able to act badly with no repercussions and that now I needed to let her know very clearly, I will not tolerate her bad behaviour anymore and that I will not just let it all go without any kind of discussion or apology. She advised me to let her come to me. I told her then, that she wouldn’t. That she is the most stubborn person I know but she told me to wait it out.
I can’t decide if I am more hurt or angry today. I feel both things so strongly. I could cry right now so there’s definitely sadness but I am also enraged at the unfairness of it. It triggers an old wound in me of not being loved and of not being good enough and it triggers a current wound in me of being the flipping scapegoat despite not having done anything wrong.
She cannot see things from my point of view because she is different to me. She had a difficult childhood too, in different ways to me. We had different issues to deal with. She is too young to remember some of the worst things, she didn’t get sexually abused and not to sound braggy, but she had me protecting her and caring for her which I did not have. BUT she was clearly affected by my mother’s lack of interest and love and it led to my sister’s depression. Me being my mother’s project and golden child for a few years also stuck the knife in and made her feel rejected and left out and so, we both have our own insecurities and difficulties. Sadly my sister is very strongly against therapy and so she has managed to convince herself that my mother is wonderful (and changed!) and that my mother’s husband is an amazing man and that altogether, the family is very lovely and very happy and that it is only me ruining things for them all.
My poor mother is so upset and hurt by me.. SHE is so upset and hurt by me and oh, did I mention that I’ve so upset and hurt my grandparents by not going to the bbq. Ugh.
I am the scapegoat. I am the one with the problem. I am the one who holds a grudge and doesn’t “move on”. I am the one who has been brainwashed by a therapist, a therapist who I “still” see when I should not. I have forgotten about my own family and now only care about my husband and his. I have been selfish and cruel and my sister just cannot stand a person like me, one with no morals. My mother said recently that me and my sister have “very different priorities”. What she meant by that was that my sister priorities her and my stepfather and my grandparents etc – …. and that I do not.
That’s true.. and there are many, many reasons for that. Did my mother prioritise me when I was a child? No, she did not. But that sentence would be seen as further evidence of me not “getting over things”, holding a grudge, not moving on blah blah and they would say things like “what is that therapist telling her because she clearly isn’t helping her to get over her anger at these perceived wrongs. She’s brainwashed”.
I’m angry about how unfair this all is. I grew up feeling alone, unsafe and unloved. I was literally not safe. My mother was selfish and only interested in men, she did not enjoy me, I was literally just a burden. My entire childhood was a lonely, scary, awful time and now that I am finally an adult myself, trying to recover from all of those years… I am being scapegoated and hated because of my distance from my mother. HOW IS THAT FAIR?
I know that everyone thinks they are innocent in arguments with other people but this feels so totally unjust that I want to scream. I not only made it through my awful childhood but I acted as a bloody substitute mother for my sister for years and years and now she’s living with my mother and step-father playing happy families whilst they all talk about how awful a person I am.
My mother clearly is never going to be able to admit she was a shit mother. She does not think she did a single thing wrong. Nothing that I felt growing up is valid, nothing. I am deluded and made it all up. I need my “head testing” (literally her words). That’s fine. I genuinely think I have made peace with that. I no longer need her to be able to validate my pain because I have had it validated from T over the last 5 years of therapy and, more importantly I suppose, I validate my own pain now. I remember how I felt and that is all that matters. Whether she can ever acknowledge her mistakes and apologise no longer matters. I have worked VERY hard to get to this point but my sister…. clearly I am not “there” yet because this has seriously stirred me up today. She has a VERY short memory.. or she has an extremely good defence mechanism.
My husband said earlier that my sister is only “nice” to me if I do exactly what she wants me to do. The second I say “no” to her, this happens. She says a load of nasty and unfair things to me and then disappears off……….. and eventually I chase after her because I miss her, because I want us to be sisters and possibly because I am still trying to “look after her” like she is my child because for so many years, she may as well have been.
I will never be able to do what my sister wants me to do which is to play happy families again. My sister would like me to make up with my mother and stepfather, start going to my mother’s house again regularly, attend every family party and event and just do the things that she thinks I should be doing. Instead I am difficult and selfish.
I will never be able to win. I will never be able to do what she wants me to do. I don’t keep my distance to hurt or punish my mother – I just keep myself safe. I do what is best for me and if that is selfish, well then I am selfish, but all in honesty I think I am just healthy. For years I was a people-pleaser and a codependent, but now I am not and I am glad of that. My mother (and my sister) would like me to sweep everything under the rug and smile and get along with everyone but why should I? I can’t understand how my sister can remember our childhood and put it all aside like it doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe that is what I would have done had I not had therapy after all, until I had therapy I didn’t realise even half of the ways my mother had hurt me. This is why my family think therapy is so awful. Why uncover and validate all of your pain when you can just squash it down and drink yourself stupid every weekend instead?
Why fix dysfunctional patterns when you could just continue to repeat and pass on the hurt to another generation? WHY take a look at yourself when there is always someone else to blame? Me being the problem in the family enables them to look squeaky clean because they are all fine – it is only me with the issue. It definitely serves my mother to have my sister on her “side”.
The conflict remains. I miss my sister and I wish we could have a close bond but I cannot do what she wants me to do and I am so hurt and angry with her for treating me like a monster from simply protecting myself. I wish she could understand that my mother refusing to validate, accept or apologise for anything in my childhood has caused me unbearable pain and appreciate my need to keep my distance. I wish she could just respect my decision and love me anyway – without strings. But she cannot.
Being the family scapegoat is horrible. It is lonely and feels grossly unfair. There is nothing I can do about it. Challenging the family system is clearly an act punishable by rejection and isolation and that is very painful.