Why, oh why, do I let myself get sucked into drama with my sister?
Yesterday wasn't one of my better days, I wasn't feeling great because the weather changes leaves me achy and moving slow, I was missing my Mom and my kids who I visited with on the phone but who live too far away to see, and we had to make an unplanned afternoon run to Wally Hell which took a bite out of my day. Then, late in the afternoon, I received an email from my younger sister. (I have two siblings, a sister who is older than me by two years and another who is younger than me by three.) In a brief, biting message she stated something to the effect of "I feel hurt because you didn't_______x________. I used a "fill in the blank" here because this is just one of many such emails I've received from her in past years. This time my transgression was that I had failed to text her son with congrats over his college graduation after she told me to do so in an email last week. She noted that she had been upset about my lack of caring and consideration all week, that she can never count on me, and then finished up with her usual "please do not reply, I just needed you to know how I feel".
The truth of the matter is that I had planned to send my nephew a congrats card with money in it this week after I get paid on Tuesday. I was not even informed of his pending graduation until a couple days before the event when she noted in an email that she wouldn't be home due to going to his graduation. He and I have never texted, and I didn't see any reason to go that route now. It seemed kind of cheap and impersonal. Up until the time they got older I used to send he and his brother gold dollar coins for their birthdays and they enjoyed showing them off to their friends, so I had planned to buy a couple rolls of gold dollar coins to send, something with a bit of sentiment attached. I didn't feel the need to inform my sister of my intent, thinking whatever manner I chose to acknowledge this milestone was up to me. My mistake, I should have immediately updated her on my plans so she wouldn't have spent a week stewing about my lack of followthru!
If I had at least half a brain, I would NOT have responded to her email last night. That would be the intelligent way to deal with her verbal spew. But NO, dummy here just had to respond. I don't like it when someone puts me down but then says "don't reply". Why shouldn't I have a rebuttal opportunity? So of course I took one, noted what my intended plans were and that I really didn't appreciate the chronic "you let me down again" missives. I apologized for her hurt feelings and said I would take care of it this week.
Of course that wasn't good enough for her and a more heated exchange took place. She went on her usual rant that I have plenty of time for my Internet friends but never time for her, asking why that is. In reality she has no knowledge of how much time I do or don't spend blogging or on Facebook. I fired back that maybe it was because the people I know online don't spend a lot of time judging me and everything I do or don't do! Needless to say, things spiraled downhill from there. I apologized again for her hurt feelings but reminded her that most of her disappointments in life come from the expectations she sets for others not being met. I told her that she needs to focus on her own expectations of herself and stop deciding what everyone else needs to do or not do in relationship to her and her family. If I had decided to send nothing to my nephew, that would have been my option too, but such was not the case, nor am I that negligent.
Family drama is nothing new, the issues are endless. That's one of the reasons I left home, and then the state many years ago... way too much interference in my life! I would love to have close relationships with either or both of my sisters, but it's just not possible. The older one is certifiably crazy and wrecked all kinds of havoc in our lives shortly before Dad died. She has a problem with truth and her fabricated versions of it. I find it far healthier to avoid communication and keep her at arm's length. My little sister operates on very middle-class ethics and has little tolerance or understanding for anyone beneath that standard. In a recent phone conversation (another point of contention - she doesn't want to talk to me on the phone, preferring emails - while I don't like to email her because it always seems to end up in another verbal tennis match), she noted how much she dislikes all the ESL students in the school where she works as a para-professional, and how she absolutely refuses to do the physical care associated with the more severely challenged students now enrolled in their special ed program. She won't so someone else has to. She also complained in past years about being asked to take along a child on her son's team to an out of town game because the single mother was working and couldn't afford the time off or the gas money. I reminded her that I was a single mom for awhile and how hard it was to cover the bases and make ends meet. Her response - then maybe their kids shouldn't be in sports!! She's also had plenty to say in the past about my affiliation with children on the rez. She lives in a "white bread" world and prefers it that way. If you know me at all by now, you can guess that we've locked horns more than one time over her snootiness!
So anyway, after a couple of replies and HER telling ME how I had once again made her feel so bad, I apologized once more, and then told her it was time to move on and goodnight. Needless to say, I felt like a limp dishrag. These family entanglements take so much out of me emotionally. They replay hundreds of such tapes from the past and I have long since reached the point where I can barely tolerate them.
So why do I allow myself to get sucked in to these games? Old triggers die hard I guess. I'm always angry with myself afterwards, and I always feel like shit for once again letting her get to me. SOMEDAY I am going to be the stronger, wiser one and just hit the delete button, no reply. For now, I can expect another period of cold war, as she noted that once again I have proven we can't have an honest relationship with her sharing her feelings. (Translate that as she can share hers, but I am not to share mine, she doesn't want to hear them.) ARRRGGGGHHHH!!
How I envy families where the siblings are close and enjoy the support and encouragement of each other. Along the way in life I've had to create my own family of people who love and trust me, and actually like me! That's fine by me, I'm just sorry that my blood family still has the power to get to me.
Yes, I know life is short. Much to short for this kind of stupidity. I will "make nice", send the card and coins as originally intended and make no further reference to it. I will send short, innocuous emails regularly as expected/required/demanded to keep her happy. Anything for the sake of peace... but what an artificial peace it is. SIGH
It is a gray, rainy Monday here. I love the rain but its adding to my gloomy state, along with the phone craziness of Mondays. Now that I've vented, and let all of you share in my woe, I'll shape up, shake it off, and get back in the game of life. Day half over, I think I'm gonna make it. Going hunting for my smile now, bye!