Am I being too sensitive? A vent about family.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    As some of you may remember, I live near one of my 3 sisters and she happens to be a bit loco. I call her loco-sister (sort of like a nickname for Local Sister as opposed to those who live over 6-10 hours away).

    On Thanksgiving, we're all convening at my brother's home on LI...there will be 30 of us total. This past Saturday night, my H who worked with locosister's son told me my other nephew from 12 hours away is arriving at locosister's house before heading to NYC and then my brother's on Thursday. I hadn't heard anything. They never said anything, no email nothing, and my loco sister never said anything either - this is very much like her.

    So, Sunday I have chores to do around the house, etc., no phone call. I eventually leave the house to run errands and get my brother a gift and when I return, nothing, no phone calls. We make and eat dinner, and it's about 6:40PM and the phone call comes from loco sister. She said,

    "Hey, x & x are here and they rolled in at about 4AM, we went on a really long hike today and we're all really really tired, but I just made a pot of coffee - there's no dessert - and was wondering if you want to come have some coffee so you can say hello."

    Some invite, huh?

    I said we were just finishing dinner ourselves, that H had worked both Sat/Sun, I was beat and that if I had known ahead of time...." and she responded,

    "Well, they didn't really say anything, I don't know, maybe they just wanted to come and hang out here before going into the city Monday. There was nothing conspirational going on; I only found out the day before."

    To which I said, "I never said there was anything conspirational going on. I just said I wish I had known. I don't know - I will call you back" but then I never did. I finished my usual readiness for the week stuff and showerd and eventually went to bed around 11PM. They never called back either.

    I find it hurtful that I live less than 5 mins from my sister and my nephew & his wife, who I've been very kind to and I thought close to forever (they are 41), could be so thoughtless. Likewise, since this is my sister's MO, I am not surprised by her behavior, but you'd think that maybe she would have asked H and I if we would have joined them on the hike. This is not the first time this scenario has played out with loco sister - never anyone else. If I had family coming in and didn't tell her way ahead of time, say in the planning stages before anything was finalized even, she'd flip out. But she does this all the time.

    I was thinking about it last night off and on...and I think I am a fairly thoughtful person. When I have family over, I always go out of my way to make it pleasant, serve home made foods that everyone can enjoy. For instance, I am making my brother's birthday cake for Thanksgiving. Three people in our family have celiac disease. Instead of making a regular cake, I'm making a girlfriend cake so they can enjoy it. I always ALWAYS make sure I have girlfriend foods and treats for loco sister and her daughter at my house. And it's not just that, but if I see something I know a friend or my sister would love and it's not a million bucks, I will pick it up for them. I call or email for birthdays. I always try to be as accommodating as I can be.

    I just really feel invisible. I feel like my own family doesn't even know me or care about me unless it's a tragic emergency - they aren't there for me. And the kicker is that loco sister is so phony and everyone just thinks she is so great and funny and exciting but in real life (when no one is around) she's actually quite a b***h. Seriously. She's mean spirited and says whatever she wants without a care for how it hurts others, whether it's me, H or her own kids and H.

    This is the sister I had to go to counseling to learn how to detach from (which eventually helped me with difficult child) a few years ago. I've done so well with it but every once in a while, something like this will happen and it just GRATES on my very last nerve. Now I have to go to the family Thanksgiving. I've even changed my plans a bit - I was staying over, but now we're driving home Thursday evening. And on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, all the women in the family are going to a workshop and now I don't want to do it at all. Just the thought of being with loco sister in all her phoniness is nerve wracking. And then, to make matters worse, the women in the family are planning a trip to the city in December before Christmas and I REALLY don't want to go to that because the plan is for me to drive with loco sister. Ugh - just stick pins in my eyes! I'm going to back out of that and give my oldest sister the money she invested in the trip anyway, it will be a $50 loss (for a show). But it's too much togetherness for me. I shouldn't have said yes to begin with. I would probably spend money I don't have in NYC right before Christmas. I'd rather go with my family after Christmas anyway.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, uhmmmm.....I think you are right to maintain detachment from her. This is obviously not a good relationship or you and too much togetherness with her is only more turmoil for you that you don't need.

    If the realtionship was good and this incident was somewhat a "stand-alone" incident, I would think that maybe he (the nephew) might have told his mom ahead of time that he didn't want to plan anything for that day because he knew he would be arriving very late in the night, would be tired, and maybe he needed to talk to her or his dad or something about something personal. But it sounds like there is a bigger issue here- and that being a tense relationship between you and her.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi Jo,

    Family get-to-gethers in some families could be likened to cleaning out the stables at the Budweiser clydesdale farm. Lots of pretty things to look at from the front and then once everyone has seen everyone it's all horse apples and hauling loads of manure.

    My x inlaws were perfectionists in the art of things like this. One Christmas right after Dude was born my Mom came for a visit. Keep in mind I lived ONE house away from them. ONE. Walking, no literally spitting distance. My brother in law earlier that year had filed for a divorce and started dating this woman. My other brother in law was dating a woman everyone sat around and talked about and no one liked. There were two sisters as well who brought their kids and everyone was there at my xmil baking cookies and listening to Christmas music.

    My Mom and I decided to bake some cookies. I was out of baking powder and had no idea that anyone was at my xmil house. None. I got no call, no invite, nothing. I walked in, and to my surprise there sitting in the den having a cookie party with all the trimmings were the two sisters, the girlfriend everyone hated and talked about, the new girlfriend who turned out to be 10 years younger than my brother in law (she was 18- a literal jail bait and not that nice either) a friend of the family which everyone also talked about, all the kids in the living room watching a Christmas show and my mother in law looking like a cat who ate a mouse because she had everyone pull their car into the back yard so I wouldn't see it, but said it was so they could carry their cookie trays out the back door. Which would be good if she had a back door. She had a side door - no farther from the front yard than the back.

    WOW. When I walked in? Everyone got stone quiet. I mean you could have heard a pin drop. Except for the music and the TV. I said "Gee, cookie party huh? That's nice that you can all get together and play nice when you all talk about each other so ugly the rest of the year. Can I borrow some baking soda?" Of course mother in law handed me a box with a look of 'I will kill you later' and I said "It's amazing how you keep the two of them in the same room after what she said about her....and I looked at the girlfriend no one liked and said 'well they must have dug deep for Christmas Spirit to let you come after what I overheard I didn't think you'd get through the front door." and I left."

    Consequently I wasn't invited to any parties before than, and none after that. Didn't care much either, but come to think of it there wasn't any cookie parties after that either. I think I ruined that. :ashamed:

    My point being - I wasn't really upset that I was not there with that group of hyeniahs. I never felt welcome with them anyway. They weren't fun, they talked about everyone, they were mean, gossipy and pretty much treated everyone like what you muck out of a horse stall. What hurt is, was and always will be is the sense of not being included. Being picked last on the team, not being asked to go to lunch in the office full of girls....not being wanted. That's what hurts. So you have to consider the source.

    Do you really, knowing your sister would you want her to include you in her plans for future outings? If she called you every day and said "Jo, I want you with me X, and X and X." would it make you feel wanted or would it make you feel uncomfortable. If it did make you feel wanted; how long do you think it would be before you would start bowing out of things to get away from her because you know her ways?

    SO this was a special occasion. What makes it special? Your nephew and his wife show up. The problem being the nephew showed up and didn't call YOU. So, my thought is the problem isn't really with your sister, it's with the nephew. In this you have two choices. You can either corner him and say "WHY didn't you tell ME you were coming in and include me and H in your plans when you went to Aunt Fakeys house?" and well - that would answer your own question. OR you could approach him and say "Okay Mister - Next year - when you drive down to XX's house for Tday- WE insist you stop over at OUR house first, I won't accept any excuses, deal? We were so sorry we missed you and your wife XX." That is if you really missed him and his wife XX.

    If you didn't? Problem solved - Nephew snotwad and his stuckup wife can just as well go to sister Fakeyfake whenever and leave you out of it.

    As far as bowing out? Yup. I would say "I have other plans that conflict on both days, here's the cash, I've already called (list important family members that need to know before you tell HER) and then say "I know you will have a good time." Don't apologize....Don't make small talk. Just bow out with grace and dignity.

    Sometimes it's not the fact that our feelings are hurt - it's figuring out WHY our feelings are hurt and recognizing who hurt them. This time unless your nephew said "Hey call auntie Jo and let her know we're here." and she just did not? This one is on your nephew for not calling. He knew he was coming, and he's a grown man, he could have called you just as quick and easy as her. That she didn't call you isn't her responsibility. (sorry not sticking up for her) it would have been a nice gesture, but not her responsibility. However if he did say "Hey can you call Auntie Jo for me I'm beat?" and she just "forgot" (Know what I mean?) then yeah - she's a horse apple, but you knew that - and are over get over it, and approach your nephew with the "HEY MISTER next year" line and let it go and don't ruin your holiday.

    Also - just an afterthought.... IF (big IF) you think that you WOULD have fun with the others in your family on either outing? Go. If you don't? Don't and plan something ELSE...but don't just sit home and do nothing. Plan an instead outing...and go. ;) - Like -----Take Star to Radio City Music Hall day.....;):D
  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I don't think it is being too sensitive. Sounds like you have practiced healthy detachment over the years. That doesnt' mean that aren't moments in times where it just grates on you, far from it.

    I do understand. This is much like some in my family at times. I have 2 cousins I really enjoy, but don't know that well. One lives in the US and the other in the UK (brother and sister). We see them when they are in town visiting their mother. Now, that over the years has ranged from hearing about the visit AFTER they'd gone home already. HUH? Well its not like they plan their visits on short notice. These were long planned visits. Hmm. Then we have the visits where we know one or both are coming to town and no plans get made. Then comes that call: Hey, tomorrow. All of us. The whole family. To save a burden of one person cooking a meal lets do a potluck! Well, myself, my brother and my cousin who lives local, all have kids. There are spouses. Jobs. Kids activities and sports. It isn't that easy. Other times its a well planned visit. If we are given ample notice, we are expected to attend. Period. If its a restaurant, we are expected to afford it. Well a upscale restaurant for my family of 4 isn't always in budget, in fact rarely. Even with notice. Saving for a meal out for 4 at a fancy place isn't always a priority at , say, CHRISTMAS time.

    Now, I enjoy the get togethers. I love spending time with them. But it sometimes isn't about what works for everybody or even majority. it has a level of self absortion that can drive me batty.

    I really advocate NOT living near family as adults ;)
  5. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    My mantra for quite awhile has been, "You can't control what other people do or say; you can only control your reactions to them." I think that might apply in this case.

    You say you were not surprised by her actions and that similar things have happened before. I don't exactly know that you are being "too sensitive" but to expect them to act differently just because you want them to or think they should is not going to happen. Our families are what they are. If they habitually act like jack-donkeys then we should expect it. That way if they have a time when they don't, we can be pleasantly surprised.

    Detaching from them is a good thing. If they call you and want you to come at the last minute like this - if you want to go, go. If you don't, don't. Never mind the shoulda, woulda, couldas. I'm sure your sister is not sitting, ruminating over what you think or what she should have done or not done differently. Why should you?
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes loco-sister, if she knows you're upset with her will beat the dead horse until she pushes you into a corner and browbeats you about it. I am trying to avoid that scenario with her. If she brings it up with me, I'm just going to say she's making too much of it and let it go. It's best to avoid altercations with her of all people because she has that narcissistic personality disorder thing and you can never tell which way she'll go. And, having thought about it a bit more and reading the responses, it really should have been up to my nephew or his wife to notify us and if they were interested, make sure they saw us, even if it was for 5 minutes. If my nephew or neice says anything to us I will just express how disappointed I was that they weren't able to stop by for a brief visit. My feeling is, if their ultimate destination was NYC, why did they drive 3 hours out of their way for a one day visit without the intention of visiting ALL the family in our tiny town? Know what I mean??

    I just can't let my sister get under my skin - she is who she is and she's a sick individual. You should see the way everyone walks on eggshells around her at family functions. Once you ignore her and just have a fun time, she gets over herself - usually! Hahaha. It's her condescension that drives me the batty the most.

    Thanks for the support. My God, I hate feeling invisible.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Jo -

    I felt invisible for years. I had a mother in law that was eggshell disaster. EVERYONE catered and cow-towed to her every whim and IT.MADE.ME.NUTS. I was the ONLY one who did not kiss her apricots. I am not built that way. I was polite, I was respectful, but I am not a butt kisser.

    Hence I was left out of a lot of stuff. My logic? I'd rather be left out and be able to live with the smell under my nose than take stock in Chap stick and have stinky lips.

    Oddly enough? I'm 45, she's dead and the people that were running around kissing that butt? Weren't really all that sad when she was gone. Relieved is more like it.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Jo, you're much nicer than me.

    I tried to include family members in my life - inviting them over, making the long distance drive to see them, to celebrate their kids' birthdays. But, it was never returned. Not one of them ever came to my kids' birthday parties, or anything. Not even my father.

    I finally got tired of being the only one interested in making the relationship work and I stopped. I haven't heard from these people in years. They weren't interested, so why was I going out of my way for people who obviously didn't really care?

    I called it housecleaning and taking out the trash - the garbage in my life that I don't need weighing me down. I wasn't included and I was the only one making the effort. So, I stopped.

    I only want people in my life who want me in their life as well.

    I'm sorry you're sister is such a snot, but she is who she is and she's not going to change. You need to decide how much of a relationship you want with her.

  9. ML

    ML Guest

    No, you're not too sensitive. It would have hurt my feelings too. I agree that mentioning this to the nephew is a good idea. At least you know better than to expect anything from sista loca. Hugs, Jo. ML
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{Heather}} I nearly cried reading your post. That's such an awful feeling and that is exactly how I've many time with my family. Even now with baking my brother's cake, finding the perfect gift, etc.

    Star, your xil's are x's for a darned good reason and as my mom would say, "Good Riddance!"

    Saw my therapist tonight and I was able to talk about all this crud. It was difficult to give therapist a full snapshot of my sister and her antics. By the end of the session, she said she felt my sister may have BiP, which would not be a stretch for me to believe, given the other therapist said she had narcissistic personality disorder, lol.

    Anyway, I was able to put things into perspectives and realized that for me, it's my nephew who I need to say something, if anyone at all. By the time Thursday rolls around, I may not even want to broach it.

    therapist really helped to validatemy feelings about everything, as did every one here, which I'm grateful for. She also asked me how I would feel if I could get out of the trip to the city in December and my first thought was 'relieved' and she nodded and said, "On Thanksgiving, you need to pull your oldest sister aside and tell her you just can't go. Explain to her it's too much before Christmas, you have too much to get ready for and don't want to lose a day. Either she will understand or she won't, but at least you will feel relieved. If your first feeling is one of relief at the thought of not going, then you need to honor that."

    I was thinking about how I'd have to decorate and bake all my cokoies, etc., on the weekend of the 5th and that's too soon - I'd never get it done in time. Plus, there are cookies that I can't make ahead. I feel good about this now.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Jo! ATTA GIRL!!! :D
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think my feelings would be hurt, too. I tend to agree that given time and space, I would blame the nephew more than the sister in law, although the sister in law is certainly complicit in this. I would have called her on the lie, though. "I only found out the day before" my behind.
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Glad you got into see therapist & spew the emotional crud. Really helps.

    I, for the most part, cannot understand this type of stuff among families. Though my older bro & sis are closer to each other than with the rest of us. There is more money & in their humble opinions more brains.

    I've learned long ago that it's my reaction that has to change because their's aren't going to - many times they aren't aware of it. It's just who they are.

    I hope you get thru the holiday season with-o all this crud the entire time.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, that's just it, isn't it? My reaction has to change, which is what I worked so terribly hard on a few years ago during a horrible fall out with my sister. She is who she is and there is nothing I can about her - but I can change the way I behave and react. All the practice of dealing with difficult child's (there are many in my family) has taught me a lot. My therapist said to me as I was leaving, "so you're the sane one, huh?" I was afraid to say yes because I might have junxed myself! Hahaha.