I miss my sister...for the first time in say 55 years.

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Copabanana, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I find myself yearning to speak to my sister....for the first time in say 55 years....Our Mother died a year and a half ago here in the house with me. I have been felled by grief and regret. I had separated from myself from both my Mother and Sister at around 30 years old, reconciling with my Mother at around 40 years and with my sister, never. Yeah, we were polite, but I kept my distance almost completely. She once said, "You used to love me." I did not answer. Yes, I remember that I was a protective and loving sister...but I also remembered the betrayal. She can be forgiven for her cruelty and lying as a child, when she over and over again set me up with my mother and oh so cruel step-father. I see this as a Stockholm Syndrome reaction.

    But, let me give you a couple of more recent examples from when our kids were young that I have held onto these past number of years (doesn't it hurt so much more when it involves your kid?)

    #1After a decade of distance, she comes to a nearby city to visit us with her then husband and her 2 baby girls. We pick her up at her swanky hotel. My son is in his car seat in the passenger seat, my sister's family enters the back seat, with the one car seat they had with them. As if I am not present my sister says to my then 3 year old son (God Bless Him) "Can we borrow your car seat for xxx?" I, stunned, remain silent for 4 or 5 seconds that seem as if hours....my baby son (not more than a year from the orphanage) responds clear as a bell: "NO. IT'S MINE." Imagine my guilt all these years.

    #2 Her and her daughters and I with my son, are at an elderly family member's house, sitting around a picnic table in the yard. We were not close with any of them. My ADHD son, then about 6, audibly says when the elderly hostess is standing behind him: "you pinched me." I remained silent, not wanting to rebuke my son, as I did not see what precipitated his reaction. A few minutes later I walk in the house and find my sister dramatically apologizing to the hostess...."I am so sorry for what xxx did." A few minutes later she tried to apologize to me. I said nothing.

    Since my Mother died there is no contact at all. Nothing. She feels fury that my Mother changed legal documents to give me power of attorney over care and financial decisions in the year before she died. (There was no change in distribution of assets.) In the year before my Mother died, my sister refused to accept phone calls from either of us and refused to see my Mother (she knew nothing about the legal change my Mother made until after my Mother's death.)

    There were many, many more betrayals, that I perceived by my sister to my Mother and to I. Most over money...because that was very important to my Mother and sister. But I am certain that my sister feels betrayal by us, as well.

    So, now that my Mother is dead there is a great yearning for both my lost family. I never before missed my sister. Now I do. Summary of the back story: I buried my love all my life for my Mother and Sister because I felt unsafe with them---until it was too late. I yielded the field to my sister. She had the relationship with Mother for 40 years without interference from me. (I understand, that when I stepped in to take care of my Mother in her last year....this broke the rules. She needed me completely out of the picture. My sister is an extremely controlling woman who insists upon the illusion of matriarchy. She has also always felt entitled to everything, and that anything is justified to gain what she wants. Anything.

    The question: How do I understand whether this yearning for my sister....is something that I can act on...and how....I see her absolutely rejecting me and humiliating me and insisting I accept all of my faults and failures...and crimes...for what? Is there really love there? Is this longing for her....regret that must be borne, and sorrow that must be felt...without exposing myself to being gravely hurt. This may be especially so because of my vulnerability now dealing with my son, and my extreme vulnerability over my Mother. Oh, I forgot to mention it. She has made a competition with kids. She feels her girls to be near royal. I love my son, but he is not yet Prince William. Thank you for all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Copa, I think you have been holding on to too many emotions over the years and now they are bubbling up.

    You have to ask yourself, what is IT that you are actually missing about your sister? It does not sound like you ever had a close relationship with her. Before doing anything, I would really examine your motives as to what you hope to gain and is it realistic.

    If you decide to reach out to her I would be very cautious in doing so, be prepared that she may not respond well and not want to have a relationship. Make sure you are ok with that and be prepared to move on.

    ((HUGS)) to you................
     
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Excellent points, Tanya. Exactly. What, exactly, can I expect, that might be loving, supportive, affirming, uplifting, or even pleasant? But, then on the other hand....how could there be anything positive if nobody has done the work of relationship (namely me). But, even so, there is a time and a place. I can really see that now may not be the time. i feel bruised and vulnerable when the mail carrier is not nice to me.....Thank you, Tanya. Copa.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    But, let me give you a couple of more recent examples from when our kids were young that I have held onto these past number of years (doesn't it hurt so much more when it involves your kid?)

    #1After a decade of distance, she comes to a nearby city to visit us with her then husband and her 2 baby girls. We pick her up at her swanky hotel. My son is in his car seat in the passenger seat, my sister's family enters the back seat, with the one car seat they had with them. As if I am not present my sister says to my then 3 year old son (God Bless Him) "Can we borrow your car seat for xxx?" I, stunned, remain silent for 4 or 5 seconds that seem as if hours....my baby son (not more than a year from the orphanage) responds clear as a bell: "NO. IT'S MINE." Imagine my guilt all these years.

    What did you feel guilty about here? Think hard. Does guilt make any sense here? Why didn't your sister ask YOU the question? Was she snubbing you? He was a young child. Why should your sister be upset over this or you be mortified? Well, as a scapegoated and disliked family member myself I *know* why, but it doesn't make any logical sense. Your son did nothing wrong other than not want to share and he was a child. So? If I got mad at every friend whose child was snarky or hadn't shared with mine, they wouldn't have had any friends at all, ya know?

    #2 Her and her daughters and I with my son, are at an elderly family member's house, sitting around a picnic table in the yard. We were not close with any of them. My ADHD son, then about 6, audibly says when the elderly hostess is standing behind him: "you pinched me." I remained silent, not wanting to rebuke my son, as I did not see what precipitated his reaction. A few minutes later I walk in the house and find my sister dramatically apologizing to the hostess...."I am so sorry for what xxx did." A few minutes later she tried to apologize to me. I said nothing.

    Trying to make you and your child look bad. Very classless. This had nothing to do with her.

    Since my Mother died there is no contact at all. Nothing. She feels fury that my Mother changed legal documents to give me power of attorney over care and financial decisions in the year before she died. (There was no change in distribution of assets.) In the year before my Mother died, my sister refused to accept phone calls from either of us and refused to see my Mother (she knew nothing about the legal change my Mother made until after my Mother's death.)

    Child-like behavior. Babyish. Jealousy. I mean, I don't like my sibs, but my brother is in charge of my dad's assets. WHO CARES? She is not being reasonable.

    There were many, many more betrayals, that I perceived by my sister to my Mother and to I. Most over money...because that was very important to my Mother and sister. But I am certain that my sister feels betrayal by us, as well.

    Yep. I feel betrayed by my sister. My sister has ill feelings toward me. She will never change the way I feel about how things went down and Sister won't even validate that things that happened to me happened to me. Sometimes the fact t hat you were both in the same womb does not make you suitable to be close or even in contact at all. Would you pick her for a friend if she wasn't your sister? If my sister hadn't been mine, we would have never exchanged a word as we have different pholosophies of life and nothing in common. DNA is just that. Too bad that your mom and Sis felt money can make somebody happy. It can't.

    So, now that my Mother is dead there is a great yearning for both my lost family. I never before missed my sister. Now I do. Summary of the back story: I buried my love all my life for my Mother and Sister because I felt unsafe with them---until it was too late. I yielded the field to my sister. She had the relationship with Mother for 40 years without interference from me. (I understand, that when I stepped in to take care of my Mother in her last year....this broke the rules. She needed me completely out of the picture. My sister is an extremely controlling woman who insists upon the illusion of matriarchy. She has also always felt entitled to everything, and that anything is justified to gain what she wants. Anything.

    My own sister would disagree, and she is entitled to her view of the story, but I feel she sucked up to my mother because she wanted a mother to love her more than anything else, and threw me under the bus in the process by watching the abuse and not saying anything about it. Trust me, she didn't want me in the picture either and I wasn't. It made her very happy. She actually never saw my mother abusive to me as my mother hid it then obviously told one-sided stories about how horrible I was to my sister, who chose to believe her. It was in her favor to do so.

    What happened happened. Often losing a parent, brings on those old "family feelings" that people like you and I really never had with our families of origin. We long for what never was. I get it. I am going through this now. You wanted a kind, caring sister who would support you and whom you could support and love, but that is not who your sister is. So you miss that fantasy sister that you never had. Me too.


    The question: How do I understand whether this yearning for my sister....is something that I can act on...and how....I see her absolutely rejecting me and humiliating me and insisting I accept all of my faults and failures...and crimes...for what? Is there really love there? Is this longing for her....regret that must be borne, and sorrow that must be felt...without exposing myself to being gravely hurt. This may be especially so because of my vulnerability now dealing with my son, and my extreme vulnerability over my Mother. Oh, I forgot to mention it. She has made a competition with kids. She feels her girls to be near royal. I love my son, but he is not yet Prince William. Thank you for all.[

    Sweetie, that is EXACTLY how I feel about my own siblings, both of them. Yes, I'm "blessed" with a brother who is better than her, but still rather clueless as he has been away for a long time and also listens to my sister and he was my mother's hands down favorite. So I am facing a father who I love dearly, although he wasn't perfect (nor am I)< and two siblings who are the only family of origin (except my one biologicala chld) whom I have left. So I sort of mourn that they have been reading my posts right here on this forum and probably still are and have been laughing at the abusive reality I lived because they did not live it. Golden Child was treated like a king and Sis learned how to weale her way into Mom's sort=of-a-heart with her children. My mother babysat for them so my sister and her got closer, but she never did win the golden goose. Although my mother did not call me once for about fifteen years (I called her to try to smooth things over), when I did talk to her, she WOULD talk. Usually it was in a monotone, but she did get very animated when talking about Golden Child. She also got animated talking about one of my sister's children, who must have been another golden child of hers. Usually she just acted cold and biotchy and my loving mother's day cards, birthday cards, and phone calls were a waste of time and I'm sorry I tried to make peace in this lifetime. It was not to be. In fact, I'd say "I love you" and I did love my mother then. After all, she was my mother and I desperately wanted her to love me back. But as I've been reading the scapegoat in the family is NEVER forgiven and stays the scapegoat long after no contact has been going on. Never once did she say, "I love you" back to me. She'd say, "I know you do." Reminds me of Han Solo in Return of the Empire when Han was going down to the abyss and Lea yelled out, Han, I love you!" and he said with a smile, "I know." (Well, THAT I thought was funny).

    You can try if you like. Your sister is who she is. You know what she is like. You are the nice one with the heart. Sounds like you have a SO who can hold you in his arms. Maybe (it's up to you) it is better to find solace with those who care for you right now and are not going to hold any resentments. I'm sure you have true loved ones. It is unloving to stay out of contact for forty years. My sister kept cutting me off and I never called her back, but she always came back and it never worked and the last time was it. I told her if she did it again, bye. It is bye. I would hate for you to get to the point where you don't even want to know if your sister is still alive, but I am at that point. She and my mother have hurt me so much, as nobody and nothing else has. And they don't care because they don't have compassion. I don't think brother cares either. Yet I never did one horrible thing to either of them. Yes, some things they did not like. Horrible things? Well, sister has a boyfriend who has been abusing her for five years and she hasn't cut him off. It really doesn't make a ny sense and it is very personal because you are part of the DNA mess.

    Many hugs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

     
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes, I think my sister was snubbing me.

    I think it is either of these two possibilities at work: One is that my sister has longstanding feelings of inferiority, envy and insecurity vis a vis me (that is what my Mother believed) and that ANYTHING is justified in restoring her internal equilibrium and to make herself superior. i feel my sister believes in her heart that I deserve NO RESPECT or consideration as a person or a parent.

    Second, is that I am to be blamed for deficits she has, whatever they may be, it iss my FAULT. She is justified in what ever she does. I am guilty for everything I do or do not do.

    I remember once she and her new (3rd) husband visited a town where I was living...I made a nice lunch for her family and we agreed to meet for dinner. I did not want to accompany her sight seeing (my sister plans every minute of her vacations 6 months at least before. I plan almost nothing.)

    She looks at her husband, so that I could see her...and she looked at her new husband, with a stare that seemed to say, see how she is...and a look of infinite contempt....It was not so much as if I was not there. It was because I was there. The message was to me.

    I remember when she started in AA. A part of it was to make amends. She visited me in yet another city (I moved a lot for work). She says to me: They told me I HAD TO MAKE AMENDS (looking to the side, not to me)--I am complying. I am making amends. No for what or why.

    It is not looking good, is it? Thank you for all.

    But, still the question remains? When is it too late to try? My mother so wanted me to accept my sister as she was. My Mother had such regret at the end, that she had not done so with her own sister.

    When will I know I am strong enough to try? M's mother (I live with him) taught her 13 children when they fought to forgive each other. She insisted after each dispute that they ask forgiveness one to the other, and hug and kiss. It worked. Almost all of the kids will never break the fraternal bonds between them. They do it for their Mother. Even now, by phone, she urges Pardonela. Forgive her. If he persists, she repeats, pardon her.

    Does it become too late?
     
  7. Hi Copa,

    I've read some of your posts about your family before. I have not had to deal with this kind of situation, but it seems to me that your sister has an insecurity problem and there is nothing you can say or do that will make things better. If she changes, then things will be better, but if she doesn't, then no matter when or how you reach out to her, the result will not be good for you. I think you are missing the sister you wish you had, not the sister you actually had. If you want to try to reach out to her again, be prepared for her do something to make you feel bad. At that point, if it were me, I would let her go and try to find other people to have relationships with who do make you feel valued and happy.

    As as society, we place huge emphasis on "family". What does that mean? To most people it means someone who is biologically related to you. But biology in and of itself doesn't create good relationships. Sometimes we're better off if we let go of that definition of family and create our own family of friends who love and support us. It can be really hard to let go of that dream of a loving biological family, so if you don't already have a therapist who can help you with this, it would be a good idea to find one.

    You deserve to have a happy life surrounded by people who love and appreciate you.
     
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It takes two people to work on a relationship so do not blame yourself that there is a rift between the two of you. It does not sound like you were close as children and if she was manipulating situations back then I would imagine not much has changed.

    Here's some of my family history:

    My oldest sister and I used to be very, very close. We live in different states but spoke on the phone almost every day. After our mother passed away she moved in with our dad. (back story: at age 43 sister was living with another family at the time, not paying rent but going to school. She moved from one state to the state our dad lived in. She lived with him rent free, continued to go to school and worked a part time job. Our dad did not require "care" he was very active and would come spend summer months with me and my husband. My dad would share his concerns with me about how she did not handle her money well. She lived with our dad for 11 years before he passed away. Again, she never paid rent, she did not pay for food, our dad had a housekeeper that came into clean, all she did for him was cook and do laundry. He also helped her out finacially) Fast forward: The year before our dad passed away, he came to spend the summer with me. During one of our chats, we could talk about anything, he asked me "what are your plans for my house when I pass?" I told him that we (me and my sisters) would probably sell it unless there was something else he wanted us to do with it.
    He said "no, that's fine, I just don't want there to be any arguing"
    About 6 months later my dad's health started to decline, he was 85 and he was winding down. Three months before he passed I was talking to my sister and I asker her what her plans were when our dad passed. She told me that she would probably move to the state where her daughter and grandsons lived so she could be closer to them.

    The day came. Our dad passed, very peacefully.

    Three days later I get a panicked phone call from sister, she is crying and she tells me she doesn't know what she's going to do, she's now homeless and feels that she should get our dad's house. I was absolutely flabbergasted!! Not what I expected since that is not what she had told me. She also did not want me to discuss it with our other sisters. HELLO!!! I have to. I also asked what happened to you moving to the state your daughter is in? She said "I don't have any money"
    After discussing this with the other sisters we decided that no, she would not just "get" the house. Our dad's will was specific in that everything was divided equally and if he wanted her to have the house he would have made that clear. Outside of the sale of the house our dad also had some money that he left to us. Now she couldn't claim to not have the money to move, right? Wrong. She tells us she has $50,000 in student loan debt. I asked her, what have you been doing these past 11 years with your money, haven't you saved anything?? To which she replied that was none of my business. We each took money out of our portions to give her $5000.00 for moving expenses.

    We put the house on the market and it sold. Wait for it.............................................



    My sister still lives in that house and has been for the last 6 years. Somehow she managed to manipulate the woman who purchased it to let her live in it rent free in exchange for helping this woman with household tasks.

    Don't get me wrong, I will always be grateful that she lived with him and was there "just in case" something happened. I will always love my sister. After all the years we were so close to have it come to this is just so sad. I too miss my sister, I miss the relationship we used to have. It was probably 3 years before we spoke to each other after everything was done. Now, we speak maybe once a year. We share things on FB but our relationship will never be what it used to be. I had to come to terms with that and I'm ok with it.
     
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is never too late to try. I can try tonight. I know my sister will be mean and hang up or insult me or yell at me, but if I tried, I tried. I don't feel it is worth it though if you know what is coming. I did that with my mom. Her head must have swollen each time I called her and said I loved her when she was not going to give an inch and was already planning to disown me...actually, she already had. What's the point?

    My sister is in therapy. She changed a lot. She cut me off again (only her tenth time...some big change...haha) and she still is with her uber-abusive, alcoholic boyfriend that we used to talk about ad nauseum and I tried to help her deteach from him "but I can't. I can't do it. I'm not ready. I need somebody else first." So her therapist must be a gem because she has NOT cut him off. He is the one who should have long been gone, but he isn't. At this rate, she will be his bed buddy forever and I can't say I blame him for getting away with it, since he can. It's her fault for letting him do it.

    Sometimes they are just so behind us in growth that they never catch up and we can't help it, even though we wish it were different. I wish it were different. as I loved her so very much. But it's not to be. I promised myself I'd never let her come back this time and I have to be good to myself and stand firm, even if she comes back again as she always has, even when I never thought she would. I am done with the games. I may feel sad about what s he did, reading and laughing, but that doesn't mean I want her back.

    Seems like our sisters are trainwrecks and we are t he ones with the stability.

    I get no happiness from that. I tried my hardest to get my sister to move on to another NICE man when she met one, but she wouldn't do it. And as for changing...she is still angry at me and only me to the extent that she will allow this man to abuse her for five years, and NEVER cut him off yet cut me off because of a comment or non-life changing action I did that I probably shouldn't have done, but it was nothing big. What this guy does is big and he is on her mind all the time. He is lifechanging for her in a bad way. Crazy.

    We are the lucky ones. Let's count our blessings and keep our lives peaceful.

    Hugs to all :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, when I read my quickly written stuff I realized that I forgot to explain I am thinking more about DNA now because my father is very old and I already miss him...he is the last decent relative from my family of origin that I have left and is the only one in the entire clan that treated me as well as the other two. So that's what has me thinking about sibling relationships. But sometimes your husband and kids and friends just have to be enough...

    With what your son is going through do you really want your sister to look down her nose at you and him? It is just my opinion, but I think it is a bad time to think about bringing mean sister back into your life.

    Hugs!!!
     
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree somewhereoutthere. I feel so vulnerable. I am thinking about going back to work. Sometimes acting like a big girl and doing big girl things makes one feel stronger. I think I am ready. Somewhereoutthere, thank you for caring. I read every word you said. Twice. When I read your words, about your sister, it is so clear to me, that I DO NOT WANT YOU NEAR THOSE PEOPLE. Can I say it more strongly"? Is that what you are getting when you read my situation? Maybe at some point I will begin sending birthday cards....I never did that----I thought it was hypocritical. I can tolerate it if she just does not respond. Sending cards does not necessarily expose me, I think. What do you think?
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, I sent Christmas cards last year. Didn't get any back. Think I'll save the money for stamps this year :) I just want 100% out.
     
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am distancing myself from my sister and from my mother, too. For today, for right now, it feels like the right thing, for me. As I heal, as I learn to believe myself and center my locus of control within, where it belongs, I may see them again. When I do see them...I don't know. Part of my pathology is believing I am responsible when things go wrong.

    As I let go of that, what then is my role there? If I no longer believe I can make all this better for all of us, if I have let go of that superhuman, superforgiving, superunderstanding persona, if I have chosen to be real instead...how is all that nastiness going to look?

    And you know what they say. We slip back into that comfortable old toxicity. It never loses its allure because we trust it. It got us through, helped us survive, some awful things.

    But now is our time to heal.

    Could it be grief you feel, and not necessarily that you are missing your sister? Grief, and regret at the way things undeniably are?

    As I have learned to choose "kinder" as my intention toward myself, and as I have set an intention to be aware of the underlying negative messages roaring away just under the level of conscious awareness, I am having to acknowledge such ugliness in my story, in the story that is the story of my life. Once I was able to do that though, I was able to admire myself, maybe for the first time, for my courage and resilience and even for the roles I do take on.

    I tried to do the best I know.

    We all do.

    In a way, we all are heroes, trying our hardest to make this work.

    There are no villains, here. For some of us, our families of origin were way dysfunctional, were warped, time-locked places where nothing made sense. And we were hurt, and worse yet, we were taught that it was alright to hurt us. We grew twisted around that core, and we came into our adulthoods without our centers.

    And we tried to come to balance in the only ways we knew.

    We survived.

    And that is a gift, a priceless gift.

    Every breath, really.

    There is a lifetime of grief in your story, Copacabana. But just like it is with our kids, we are required to see what is, not how badly we feel over what is not.

    How we feel about our children is a sacred and private thing. (Cedar hears k.d. lang Halleluiah and has a very cool and private moment with herself, and with her children. Love you.)

    Back to business.

    Some people are differently wired. Perhaps your sister is like that.

    They receive pleasure, or come to some internal balance, or justify a pathology we know nothing about, through their interactions with others. If you have been hurt by someone like that, you will see that same pattern reflected over and over, in their lives.

    It has nothing to do with you.

    Your victimization had nothing to do with you. It's like they go on automatic pilot. It is one thing to be hurt through misunderstanding. It is another thing entirely to be used in a game you never agreed to play.

    Only you can decide how you want to take this forward.

    I can understand wanting to see your sister.

    If you do, you should call her.

    It is never wrong to try. You could even say something so simply true as "I just wanted to hear your voice." It doesn't do us much good to pretend we can make it through the troubles and into the relationship both sisters, in their secret hearts, want.

    That doesn't mean we mean nothing to one another.

    It doesn't mean that, at all.

    That is your sister. Of course you love her. She is witness to your life. That is a rare thing, in this high speed world of ours. Without her, there is a piece missing in you.

    But some of us are wired differently Copacabana, and I think wiring cannot be changed. So you would need to set an intention of cherishing yourself, and of non-judgment, and of a time of personal review and assessment for after you speak to your sister.

    Sort of like, damage control for the heart.

    We are here.

    You are not alone with it, anymore.

    I heard it described this way, once: It is as though we have set out on a journey. We find ourselves lost in the savagery of a primitive forest. Huge trees. Strange noises.

    No moon.

    No stars.

    In the far, far distance, a glimmering of light.

    Those are candles held by those who keep watch.

    Each has been through that same lost-in-time forest.

    They know a thing you do not.

    That you will come through this.

    That is why they are there, each holding a candle, a white candle.

    Keep going.

    Dark as it gets, remember there is someone who knows you are coming through.

    It is only a question of when.

    So that you will know you tried.

    That is the only thing that ever matters, Copacabana.

    That we did our best as we knew it to be in the time we were given. There is nothing else, really.

    Begin by loving yourself, first. Sifting through the shaming times and blessing ourselves for our courage instead of condemning ourselves for messing up is a beginning.

    I am happy for you.

    You are on the path.

    :O)

    And we are all right there, holding white candles; the same white candles we hold for our children and ourselves, and for everyone we love.

    Cedar
     
  14. elizabethanne

    elizabethanne Member

    :unsure:
    Any family member or friend that wants to make you wrong, when you know that you are a kind, giving, caring person is NOT someone you need to spendanother minute worrying about.
    My very bff of 40+ years just reminded me of this yesterday, and it really helped me.

    I was telling her about how I recently supported my former landlady/turned friend before during and after her mother passed away (she passed away 14 months ago). Landlady and "Mom" became my new surrogate family the moment I became their tenant in my cute little cottage on the water. After 5 years, we became very bonded--new sister, second Mom. With their Italian heritage (100% Sicilian), came an open door, wonderful food, much love and acceptance...and might I add, much drama! I witnessed some highs and lows between the two of them, let me just say that. Mom had Alzheimer's, but was a lovely soul, funny, and loved me like a daughter.

    Long story short, landlady/friend blew through lots of family money, lost home, Mom passed away and she wound up with no money, and 3 big Labs and a cat to feed. I was with her day and night (holding Mom's along with her, when she passed), and helped in every way I could, except giving her money. Extended family and friends gave her money. I saw her squander money for years as a tenant and I made a decision not to give money support. I did assist her in finding work as I am an employment counselor. Her grief over losing everything completely paralyzed her and the dogs made it impossible for her to hold down a job. She shut me out and told her cousin I didn't help her in her need. She packed up the dogs after being evicted from an 8 plex she once owned and left town to stay with friends temporarily, 2 hours away. She chose not to tell me, not to ask for help moving and not to say goodbye. Her cousin asked , "what do you want me to tell elizabethanne if she asks where you are?". She told her cousin, "I don't care what you tell her, tell her I died".

    I do care about my friend and I showed it in many ways--as the two of you care(ed) about your sisters.
    But we can choose to not spend a lifetime trying to defend or prove our love for others, including our children.
    My bff reminded me that I am a loving person who is anything but abandoning, unkind or "bad friend".
    To Copa and Somewhere::notalone:
    :staystrong:
    PS Wish me luck--I reached out to friend to see how she is and she agreed to talk to me this weekend. She may hear some things from me that make her feel further betrayed. If she chooses to manipulate and attempts to make me wrong again, I'm out. Don't have time for "friends" like that! Sometimes we have to just say, :victorious: "Peace Out!"
     
    Lasted edited by : Apr 17, 2015
  15. Hi Copa,

    I am old enough to remember Debbie Reynolds, but I chose that name as a reference to my second marriage. I hadn't thought about the movie. :)
     
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your support and validation Elizabethanne

    How tough: Her cousin asked , "what do you want me to tell elizabethanne if she asks where you are?". She told her cousin, "I don't care what you tell her, tell her I died".

    On the one hand, one can feel her loss and pain. On the other, what justified her hurting you? How I would have treasured the love you gave Mother and Daughter during that time. My sister would not answer the phone during the last 9 months of my mother's life. How sad for your friend that she cannot value what you did give and share freely and generosity...choosing instead to focus on what you could not. Where is it written that you should follow her off the plank...and that gives her the right to punish you for not doing so?

    I hope she shows a high degree of insight about and asks forgiveness for her cruelty and vengeance towards you--which was completely undeserved in my view. That she will do so, is not my expectation. But you sound so wise, centered, generous and strong, and so open and loving, to allow her the chance to grow....That is what I strive to be...but so far feel I lack the protections in my personality to do so. I wonder too if I still want to hang onto blame....
     
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    When you highlight text in someone else's post, a little pop-up appears with "Quote / Reply".
    Click on reply, and it starts a new post with that text quoted.

    (I haven't figured out how to do the multi-quote thing yet...)
     
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Cedar, Please see above. i do not know how to make quotes so as to have a dialog with your message. Can somebody tell me how? For now, I will use italics.

    Part of my pathology is believing I am responsible when things go wrong.


    Wow, Cedar...this is me, too.

    So brilliant and strong: ***Cedar, I am not there yet.
    It is never wrong to try. You could even say something so simply true as "I just wanted to hear your voice." It doesn't do us much good to pretend we can make it through the troubles and into the relationship both sisters, in their secret hearts, want.That doesn't mean we mean nothing to one another.

    That is your sister. Of course you love her. She is witness to your life. That is a rare thing, in this high speed world of ours. Without her, there is a piece missing in you.

    OK. We are getting somewhere, here. I feel I deserve her punishment, because I judged her most of our lives, and did not give her a chance to have a relationship with me. I feared her. I felt I did not have the skills and protections to have a reciprocal relationship with her.

    I can see that now with my mother dead, my sister is the only tie to the past, to my story, and particularly to my Mother.

    My mother loved her so much, and my sister abandoned my mother at the end. My mother knew this and in her final days grieved this so much. As if she could not wrap her mind around the fact that her youngest girl, who she had tried to love and protect, treated her this way. I almost could not bear my mother;s pain. I tried to tell her, Mama. Please do not not suffer so. Please.

    She replied, "you would, I know you would." I shut my mouth. I knew she had to say the words out loud and that I had to bear them. My Mother said to me, "Susie, you always told me she was like this and I didn't believe you." What could I say, I smiled a sad smile, as if to say: Mama, it's okay. This is the way life is. There is no other life, than this. Let's forgive her and each other, Mama.

    In those unsaid words, everything that had to be said, was said. I just have to grow into this. I am not there yet. I feel so sad now I have to stop.

    Copa
     
  19. elizabethanne

    elizabethanne Member

    Thank YOU for the support and validation you extended to me as well, Copa. Isn't it amazing how much healing can take place just from reading the kind words of another caring human being? All those words you used to describe me in your post is what I also picked up on in you--wise, centered, generous, strong, open, loving. Please believe that you also possess these qualities. I know it's true about you because I felt a big weight lift, and sense of peace and relief replace the heaviness, as I read your words.
    I have to share something that popped into my head when you said, "I wonder too if I still want to hang onto blame". Of course, when we feel hurt, we want to name it and say it out loud..."when she __________ or when she said___________, it crushed me..."I'll never forget how it made me feel when she_____". I think we've all been on both sides of that equation and in our retelling , we feel right, justified and betrayed.
    I read something the other day that helped me that. It was actually something I ready in my son's treatment/recovery paperwork. It said, instead of seeking to blame, seek to understand. I immediately thought of a recent loss of a love relationship, and remember going through a phase where my mission was to lay out in writing for him all the ways I felt abandoned and betrayed by someone I deeply admired, trusted and respected (I thought I was being loving and self-responsible at the same time). He didn't feel the love part. He just felt wrong. When we are hurting, especially when we are in crisis, it is so hard to get to understanding. I think what we want most when we are hurting is to be understood. Maybe we just don't know how to ask for that. Maybe your sister doesn't know either. And my friend--you are right, how could I not empathize with her loss and pain? On the other hand, it is difficult to show empathy when a person is burning bridges at every turn and showing little sign of going forward. I should have offered something other than money. I brought over food, but I should have bought food made meals with her or bought big bags of dog food (but it had to be Costco brand for them, and others were already doing that).
    OK, enough "woulda, shoulda, coulda" replay already!
    I'm going to challenge myself here. Before I call her, I am going to repeat these words over and over and I'm going to write them down too:
    What we want most is to understand and to be understood.

    I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe it's something that could work to bring healing between you and your sister, Copa.
    Does she value those things you mentioned above? That is, wisdom, centeredness, generosity, openness? Is she strong and loving like you?
     
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Elizabethanne, Thank you. I read your reply but will leave a more complete response until tomorrow when I am not so tired. I am wondering towards what end you are second guessing the quality and quantity of your giving. I could say more about this, but for what? 20 bags full of Costco dog food...Would it have made a difference? From what I read between the lines of your post, you were WITH HER as her Mother left this earth. This is a gift for ETERNITY. And she is putting a MONEY price on it? This to me is UNFATHOMABLE. Have I put enough caps in so that you are getting my point?

    I will quickly respond to your question about my sister and how and if she is like me...or not. It is such a helpful question.

    First, I do not see myself as strong. Not weak. But something other than strong. Maybe tomorrow I will try to explain.

    Second, I am trying to select four positively-imbued adjectives to describe my sister---and shame on me, I cannot do it. All of them would need to be qualified. Double shame on me. She is not open. She is generous with food. I think she is centered with her pets, children and husband...in other words, she acts centered when she is in her territory or center---but with no one else and nowhere else. I feel she is bitter and vengeful. She seeks advantage with others, particularly over others.

    I will give you an example of the latter: When my child was 19 we discovered she had an illness that had been undetected since birth. She and I were almost destroyed by the diagnosis. I am not sure why it was so devastating but it was.

    Within a year or so, the illness worsened and shortly after I was at my sister's home with her and her family. Something prompted me to mention the illness, and I did. Everyone kept silent. No response. All 4 of them just looked at me.

    Now the thing is I knew (via my Mother) that my sister's husband had the very same illness. My openness was for my sister an opportunity. Not to reveal that a family member had the illness but to reach out, to share. She could have said something simple like someone close to me, is ill too. I know how it must feel. She said nothing. Instead she let me bear the stigma and the loneliness of being the only one afflicted (which of course, i did not take on.)

    As I write this, I acknowledge the difficulty, not only of walking all this back, but of building a bridge forward. To go forward, there must be a common language. I fear there is not.

    My sister and her children are the only living link to my Mother. To not have my sister in my life means I have lost my Mother completely. It is this that so strongly motivates me to make a bridge. It is not my sister at all, or her children. It is my Mother.

    Now this last piece brings this thread full circle. (Thank You ElizabethAnne). I have mentioned several times that my sister chose to separate herself completely from us as my mother died. It was not an easy death. There was drama, lots of decisions, suffering and grief. Had it been I that rejected my mother I think my Mother could have better accepted it. (There had been an alliance between them for many decades.)

    I could not understand my sister. I could understand her actions on their face, but I could not grab hold of what she was doing. Reject our mother as she died? Again and again I repeated: She is doing this for eternity. How can she do this for eternity? What does she do with her feelings? How can she allow my Mother to go to her death for eternity...causing her this pain? Somehow the notion that this act was eternal, with no chance for a do-over I found so difficult to accept.

    The answer is she stole all of the photographs, even my personal photographs of my child. None are left of anybody. She left me nothing. She will use the photographs to idealize and invent a beautiful ending where she is the heroine, and I the villain. And that is my sister: She will fashion a narrative that is congruent with what she needs. She will believe it. She will cast villains to suit her needs.

    All of you have helped me to understand that to look for anything from my sister in the near term, if ever, would be fruitless, and potentially hurtful and self-punishing.

    There may however be a day when I decide, as older sister, and stronger...that I be there for my sister...without the expectation of anything....just because.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
Loading...