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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!

28 comments:

  1. Hugs! My family has it's share of assholes too.

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    1. Thanks Kristi! Yes, I know you've had your ups and downs with your family as well. This too shall pass.

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  2. Ah the joys of sibling rivalry! Since you are older I will take your word for it that it never ends.

    I have 2 older brothers. We don't have the greatest relationship between any of us. We all live in the same town and barely hear from each other. We may not be as confrontational as your sister seems to be but we don't always agree either.

    I think that's cowardly for her to go off on you and demanding that you not respond. You should at least be allowed to state your opinion.

    Hope things will get better! And congrats to your nephew for graduating!

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    1. Well, state my opinion I did, Workingdan! But really, I should have taken the high road and ignored her. She's a master at pushing my buttons. Someday I will outgrow that hopefully. Maybe :-) Yup I am mighty proud of my nephew, he's a great guy, and deserves his moment in the spotlight. I just didn't need someone to tell me that!

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  3. As you know, I used to be close to my brother but through the years we have drifted and I'm closer to my in-laws and consider them my brothers and sisters too. I have more contact with the seven of them than I do my own brother. I continue to work on my relationship with my brother but no longer worry over it.

    I'm sorry she put you through this mess. And on Mother's Day. Geez. I hope you found your smile!

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    1. I think that's pretty much where I am Elsie, I keep trying but I don't have a lot of emotional investment in the outcome. Writing about it here was a good pressure release. I get mad, then I get over it, that's how I am. I'm smiling tonite, Monday survived, barely. :-)

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    2. I'm glad you got your smile back. You deserve it!

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  4. All I can offer is a big ol' southern hug and a 'there there'...because I've been there in family drama of misunderstandings. Love and 'positive' your way, dear. This too, shall pass. It's hard, and may require more input from you, but know you have 'sisters' standing in unison with you as you try your very best to love everyone, inperfect as they may be, in your sphere.

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    1. You are right Chrissy, I am madder at myself for falling into this than I am at her for her harsh words. I should be the bigger one. Next time I'm going to step away from the email for at least 24 hours, that will hopefully bring me to my senses! I have my imperfections too, shocking as that may be! :-))

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  5. This is so much what I see in my family, except...there is seldom any direct words to me. Instead, one sister will tell another and then in a moment of weakness, the other sister will tell me what she said.

    This time it is because I didn't go to my youngest sister's middle daughter's high school graduation. I had just visited the town two weeks ago to attend the play that the child starred in, I felt that this was enough, along with the set of luggage that I went in on for her with my other sisters.

    It is easy to tell yourself not to engage, but so hard not to. I mean, you have a side that needs telling too!

    I suspect that your papa bear is like my Bing. She just tells me to let it go and hugs me and then I relax a little. It does help.

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    1. Ah yes, Maria! You probably remember from years past that my two sisters loved the game of trying to get me in the middle between them. Three is a bad number, always two against one. I finally said NO MORE and refuse to talk to either sister about the other, ever. But still, on the times when I know they've been discussing me, it hurts. Somehow it always comes back to me. You are right that it's hard not to try to present your side of things, thats what I was trying to do last night, but really it's silly to waste words on closed ears and closed minds. And you are so right about Papa Bear, he is the voice of calm and reason and helps me reground myself, so does a long soak in the hot tub!

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  6. Wow I can't relate to this even though me and my sister Sue were not close for many years we were not this bad we just didn't see each other much and when we did we didn't talk much........

    Now days we are pretty close and I guess it would come as no surprise that I am close to all my siblings and we see each other a lot............

    I know I am lucky but it is when I read posts like this from my blog friends that I realise how lucky I truly am...........

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    1. It just seems so dumb and frustrating to me Jo-Anne, so silly that adult women can't get along peacefully and share what good their is in our lives. This has been going on since our teen years and I'd like to think we might outgrow it someday, but I've pretty much given up hope. Sad, really sad. We manage to patch it up now and then but it never seems to last for long someone always has another issue, like this one. Hardly a critical one.

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  7. Wow, that would have been a hard situation for anyone to deal with. I wouldn't have been able to take it sitting down either although, as you point out, it would be the better way to go. I do the same thing as you after an argument - I always feel sort of sick and, of course, upset. Sorry that you had to go through that - I'm sure your thoughtful gift for your nephew will mean a lot to him!

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    1. Goodness! I almost forgot lol... Love your picture! I see you didn't go far to hunt up that smile! I love your expression - there's a mischievous twinkle in your eyes. Thanks so much for sharing :)

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    2. I've had enough fighting and arguing to last a lifetime, Lady in Red. I don't have the energy or enthusiasm for it anymore. Truthfully, it sickens me, it's just such a stupid way to deal with things. And it makes me even more upset when I play into it. Next time I'm gonna get it right and hit the IGNORE button!

      Glad you liked my picture, I totally loved yours too! I wish everyone would show there face now and then, just so we'd get to see what they really look like!

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  8. hey Josie, I've tagged you on my new post and passed along an award. I hope that's going to be OK. :)

    Sorry about the family trouble. Those are always the worst type.

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    1. It's more than just ok, Ken, it's AWESOME... thank you!! I'm hoping some of my readers will head back your way, they'll find you as much fun to read as I do! I'm always eager to see a new "inatractor" post pop up!

      Family trouble...ugh! Yes, the emotions run high in our family, probably in most. That's why I live where I do... far, far away in Texas! It helps maintain peace and quiet! :-)

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  9. Sometimes family can cause more pain than happiness. It really is awful when that happens because family should bring joy into our lives, not sorrow. I've had some family problems here lately myself, so I can definitely relate to what you're talking about here. Try to take some time for yourself to take care of yourself. I often recommend getting a mani-pedi or a massage or just go to the park and relax. I think taking time for ourselves is something we forget to do, but that is so important.

    I wish I had some great answers for you, but the only thing I can tell you is that you can't change other people's behavior, but you can change the way you react to their behavior. So don't exhaust yourself trying to change your sister because all it will do is make you feel worse.

    Take care of you.

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    1. Hi Mrs. One Day, welcome to my blog! I totally agree with you about the futility of trying to change folks, particularly family, so I'm just letting her continue to blow off steam. The emails keep coming, I keep hitting delete. Eventually she'll move on. I love to get my nails and toes done too... how I look forward to climbing in that massage chair after an exhausting day at work! Almost as good as a walk on the beach... or as close as I can get here in West Texas! :-) As you note, and as I remind her, we can only change ourselves or how we react to situations, we can't and shouldn't be trying to change others. Take me or leave me, I am what I am. THough I do grow weary of hearing that's not good enough!!

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    2. Good for you for being yourself. Regardless of what anyone thinks, you ARE good enough. I know how tiring it can be to hear that you aren't because I have people in my life that behave that way as well, but we just have to hold our heads high and be the best person we can be. Right? Right!

      It is always great to meet a fellow Texan!

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    3. I believe that at the end of the day I have to answer to only God and the lady in the mirror. If I did my best, then that's good enough. I weary of people like my sister who spend far more time trying to "improve" others than they do reflecting on their own situation.

      I'm not a native born Texan, Mrs. One Day, but as the saying goes... "I got here as fast as I could!" :-)

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  10. I know exactly what you are going through. My sister is an incredibly difficult person to get along with and has all these guidelines I have to follow which of course, I forget about and then get into trouble. I am so sick of it. All that walking on tenterhooks is no fun at all. I hate to get pulled up on things when my intentions were good. It's so frustrating. I would have responded to the email too - I wouldn't have been able to help myself. Some family relationships really are quite stressful *sigh*

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    1. That's it exactly Selma, I try to hard to stay in her good graces and please her, often by meeting her far more than half way, but it never is quite good enough and that's what upsets me. All that judgmental stuff drives me away. Sadly, I fear we will never be really close, though I wish that wasn't true.

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  11. Even our sisters are alike! I gave that up though...looooong story. It is just better for me this way.
    ~hugs~ you can be my sister.

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    1. I've pretty much given up on it too, McGuffy Ann. My older sister... another long story. Too much drama for my life. I don't need it. Sad it has to be that way. I'd be delighted to be your sister, I have the feeling we already are! :-)

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  12. I'm late to the game here. Family! We all have our stories, don't we? My mother is very good at telling me what my brother and one sister say about me behind my back. Each time I ask her not to. I'm good at ignoring the bad stuff.

    After traveling to Chattanooga for a family wedding, I didn't talk to my sister for 6 months. That was a bigger deal for her because she couldn't come to me to get her hair done :) I finally decided to forgive her for her awful behavior. We're traveling to GA in August for another wedding. Wish me luck!

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    1. LOL, Cheryl, you are brave to try it again! My older and younger sister used to love to tattle back and forth with what the other said about me, it drove me crazy! I really DID NOT want to know! Now I leave them to their own devices and go on about my life in peace! :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)