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Broken relationship with sister

(31 Posts)
Jue1 Thu 27-Feb-20 09:20:34

My sister is 18 months younger than me. Our relationship has worsened as we have gotten older. She has become a strong political activist and as much as I am very interested in politics I do not use every opportunity to get my views across.
I recently tried to reach out to her and encourage a coffee every month at our local tea rooms.
She turned up and it was going very well until she started questioning me on my politics and why I didn’t agree with her.

I suggested we leave that subject as we don’t agree but that doesn’t mean we don’t have other interests.
She became very angry and began raising her voice. I was stunned. She was quite shockingly rude to me with some racist overtones, at which I refused to discuss it further. She stormed out of the cafe. I haven’t spoken to her in 6 months.
I met with my brother recently and we discussed it, he felt that she has always struggled with the fact I had had a very good, well paid job and a stable marriage (she is divorced) and that she had always felt inferior in some way although I hadn’t encouraged that.
I did contact her a day after our meeting and said that I loved her but could not abide her rants and uncomfortable views.
I feel we have parted now but a friend of the family who we haven’t seen for years has asked to meet up with us all and I really don’t know what to do. Help.

H1954 Thu 27-Feb-20 09:31:31

What a dreadful situation to be in Juel. After reading the part about your brothers comments I can't help thinking that there's certainly some underlying issues in your sisters life and her coping mechaninism is venting on a subject she feels strongly about but she is simply not accepting other people's points of view and values.

The very fact that she "kicked off" in the cafe does rather indicate insecurity, immaturity and anger surely?

Perhaps meeting up with the mutual family friend might be a way forward. It does rather sound like your sister needs to talk about her anger issues no come to terms with them. Perhaps at some points could suggest counselling?

I hope you mend your relationship, good luck.

endlessstrife Thu 27-Feb-20 09:50:41

I would have said to leave it, and just get on with your own lives. The only people I would ‘ pursue’, are children and grandchildren. However, since this family member wants to meet, it may be a last chance. Does this person know of the animosity? Could she be trying to fix things? I would go, but make it the last time. Life is too short for all this aggravation. Good luck🤔

Dottynan Thu 27-Feb-20 10:00:40

What we actually argue about is often not the real reason we fall out. From experience I would say there are many many buried issues that bubble to the surface

Madgran77 Thu 27-Feb-20 10:06:17

I would meet up , chat to friend, chat normally etc. If your sister asks anything provocative just say I'd rather not discuss that and change the subject. Have some subject matter in mind ready. If she starts to kick off say that you dont want to spoil the get together for everyone and as your presence appears to be a problem you are leaving.

I think that is what I would do in this situation flowers

Grammaretto Thu 27-Feb-20 10:07:52

I would make an effort and go. Your sister won't be able to rant if you are all there. Safety in numbers. She is probably looking for your approval and has a strange way of showing it but younger siblings often put their elders into the position the parents had, IYSWIM

It's a fine line to walk but will be worth it. She may have moved on a bit and it's got to be better than simmering hatred.
From Robert Burns' Tam O'Shanter :
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

vampirequeen Thu 27-Feb-20 10:48:16

I'd go to the meet up because the person is your friend and there is no reason why you shouldn't see her. It will be your sister's decision as to whether or not she attends. It hurts when a relationship with a sibling breaks down. My sister hasn't spoken to me for nine years. I have no idea why. Like you I offered the olive branch but it came to nothing. Now I don't bother about it and tbh I think you should do the same.

Namsnanny Thu 27-Feb-20 11:01:48

Such good advice from other posters.
I agree, go and try to enjoy your time at the meet up. If she goes also, you can try to smooth troubled waters, but don't waste too much of your time doing so.
She does seem to have deeper issues centred around you, which will take time to get to the bottom of, and a friendly get together isn't the place to deal with them.
Estrangement hurts, as vampirequeen said, and some things cant be mended.

Joyfulnanna Thu 27-Feb-20 11:38:41

Just shows how childish siblings are towards each other even in adulthood. That's always fascinated me. I guess old habits and patterns of communication are difficult to break unless you both recognise what's happening. You need a bit of third party mediation. Can a friend accompany you both on your next meeting? Get someone you know will be impartial. Like an aunt or uncle.

Jue1 Thu 27-Feb-20 11:42:23

Thanks to everyone for such wise advice.
I do intend to go, it will be strange because our brothers (I have 2) will be there and although they are encouraging, they are probably a little on edge.
I for one will be friendly.
I don’t desire to revive our relationship because it would be hard for me to suggest her getting help and my brothers wouldn’t dare, which means no change.
My 4 very wise and lovely children feel she has many issues and while I would like to help, she would not take it from me.
I have spent 6 months worrying about our relationship but have decided sadly I am not able to resolve it for the longer term.
Thank you all. 👍

Laurensnan Thu 27-Feb-20 11:52:44

Juel I am in a similar position. My sister is rude and judgemental and shouts when things happen that she doesn't agree with. I have been constantly hurt by her and actually have anxiety if I know I will see her. I've decided to no longer reach out and try to keep a relationship with her. She has always been a bully and I have always been the quieter more sensitive one. I'm empowering myself now by walking away from her. It's very sad but I need to. I kept the relationship going for my parents sake (she even shouted at them in their 90's!) but now I no longer have them to do it for. Thankfully I have my older sister, we are so close and she is my best friend. I will always be there if my younger sister needs me but I will no longer offer a friendship to her.

jenpax Thu 27-Feb-20 12:09:26

It’s so sad when siblings fall out.
I was an only child of two only children, so when my children have arguments I find it puzzling and distressing, and difficult to understand. I longed for a sibling growing up!
However my DH is one of three and he rarely speaks to the middle brother and has lost touch completely with his youngest brother who isn’t very pleasant or kind to him.
In certain circumstances I guess it’s for the best especially if it’s making anyone anxious or depressed.
My own 3 DD manage to rub along most of the time despite being very different personalities but I do wonder if this will be maintained after we are gone or if they just try harder for our sakes?

Grammaretto Thu 27-Feb-20 12:22:18

I want my DC to keep being close. They are always interested in each other but as their lives and lifestyles diverge, it's harder to keep it up. When we are gone, who will be there to keep the family together?.

I see competitiveness. Sibling rivalry never seems to go away and then the spouses who don't always appreciate each other.
If we start worrying out loud about one - another pops up "what about us!" we have 4#DC

65lady Thu 27-Feb-20 12:23:58

Hi Juel
I feel your pain regarding this situation but also feel you have adopted the best way forward for you and your sister. I too have a younger sister who is very jealous of me and my life. Although over the years I have helped her both financially and emotionally in the end I decided that I could not ‘fix’ her, she had to do this herself. My sister decided that she didn’t want to have any contact with me over the last 4 years, so I decided to leave well alone until she had ‘thawed’. The ‘thawing’ took place 12 months ago after the birth of our first grandchild. However I made a decision that I could not go back to how our relationship was in the past and decided to take baby steps with her; only having minimal contact, on my terms, not getting embroiled in her problems. This might seem harsh to others but in the end you have to look out for yourself and be true to yourself also. I’m a very caring person but I also have my family to consider and put them first. I hope you find that way forward for you and your sister. Ps like you I have three brothers who are very happy to sit on the sidelines, seems an easier option for them! Good Luck

paddyanne Thu 27-Feb-20 12:24:38

My sister kind of abdicated from the family when dad died,she didn't want the reposniility of helping with mum who had ongoing health issues.My other sister and I tried to contact her about mum for a few years and then gave up,She changed her phone mumber and wouldn't answer letters.
When mum died I had to get my daughter contact her daughter with the news.She came to the funeral with her inlaws in tow.We later heard they believed she had been treated badly by MUm and us wasn't true.
We decided not to try with her again.If she wants to reconnect its up to her .
Just because you're sisters doesn't mean you'll have similar ideals or values and sometimes its better just to walk away .Good luck with the meetup ,dont let her get inside your head ,just keep her at a distance ,its whats best for you that counts

Nannan2 Thu 27-Feb-20 13:03:55

One of my sons hasnt spoken to one of his sisters in over 3yrs now and its heartbreaking for all the rest of us. Especially as i can see how much its hurting my daughter as they used to be the 2 closest.She puts a brave face on it.And our family get togethers are not same as we've to do them all separately or choose one. Their OH have made it worse,now i think they'l never make it up in my saddens me 🙁😥Why cant folk see how theyre are hurting others& cutting off their nose to spite their face as my late mum would say! My sisters the same,never bothered with us all for years& years now.(& we didnt even have a fall-out!) How can people do this to their own?hmm

Nannan2 Thu 27-Feb-20 13:15:30

I wish my 2 WOULD try to reach out& meet up,but that wont happen,they once fell out for 6 months but made up,but it wasnt over very much really,but this time i fear it will last forever,but it hurts me as my lot have always been so close.I fear that maybe they wont be together till maybe my funeral(not that im that old but i do have several health issues!) Or that one or the other& their family would not attend it because of this feud!Its upsetting,why cant they see this and at least be civil again?sadhmm

NemosMum Thu 27-Feb-20 13:21:57

It's never really about the politics! Your sister was just using that as a stick to beat you! One of my brothers has done the same to me since 23 June 2016. Unfortunately, it coincided with me staying with him to attend a (non-political) conference nearby. He has always complained that nobody ever come to stay with him, so I stayed one more time and was shouted at and berated over Brexit yet again. It was useless trying to have a discussion about it, and I realised that I needed to drop any idealised idea of filial closeness. I resolved never to stay with him again. Since then I've stayed nearby with my nephew and also in a Premier Inn. He has stayed with me lots of times in the past, and can do so again, if he wishes, but I will not permit him to verbally abuse me. It arises from difficulties he had in childhood with what would now be called ADHD and dyslexia, which was unrecognised at the time by parents and school. I am the eldest, and I was put in charge of him going to school and at school. He was badly bullied and I had to protect him from the bullies, or get into trouble from our parents. Despite having had a very successful career in a technical field, having built his own house in a 'posh' area, and having all the accoutrements of a successful life, and lovely children who have done very well, he carries huge resentment. Although I have never spoken of those miserable days (it made me miserable too!) I think he associates me with those times and so he takes it out on me. I have realised that I will never change him - his impulsiveness shows in his emotional incontinence. I handle the situation by keeping meetings short and 'jolly'. It's a shame, but you can't choose your relatives! Fortunately, I am very close to my youngest brother, who was too young to realise what was going on in our childhood. I would say you should go to the meeting, paint the smile on your face, keep it light, and remove yourself if she starts to abuse you. Good luck!

TrendyNannie6 Thu 27-Feb-20 13:25:45

How ridiculous she sounds as if has anger issues to me, very insecure and jealous of you, I would go as it’s great to meet up with friends, you are not responsible for what she comes out with, I’d walk off and leave her to it,she sounds really immature , I hope you go and have a nice time

nanasam Thu 27-Feb-20 13:32:11

I had a huge falling out with my older sister but we always managed to be polite to each other at family occasions. I was so glad that she didn’t try to turn her family against me and, likewise, I asked DD not to let our falling out get in the way of their relationship. It worked for us. Unfortunately, although we ‘made up’ when she was ill, things never got back to how it was before the row so you may find the same happens, but you learn to live with it.

Twig14 Thu 27-Feb-20 13:48:19

Sorry to hear about your sister fall out. I know what it feels like I’m in the same position. I have 2 almost 100 year old parents. I am older than my sister and my DH has been diagnosed with a serious condition and I spend a great deal of time at drs and hospitals. I did as much as I could for our parents but the last 18 months have been tough. My sister has grown up children who help but I have just my DH. My mother is currently in hospital and about to be discharged my father in a care home for respite which I had to arrange as I couldn’t look after both of them. Tomorrow I have to meet my sister at a meeting to discuss my parents needs. I cannot do now as much as I would due to my one situation My father has Alzheimer’s and is safer in the care home. My mother wishes to return home and bring my father Back home too. It’s a massively worrying situation I know my sister wants them both at home. She’s going on holiday next week and I will be the one dealing with everything. I honestly do not know what to do. I have tried to reach out to my sister I have written etc but am completely ignored. My elderly mother says she can look after my father. It’s impossible. In fact I fear for my mothers safety but social services have said as long as she has capacity to make her own decisions then nothing they can do. She won’t stay home on her own and I looked after her when my father was in hospital recently and brought her to stay with me It’s very hard and my husband is 79 himself. Tomorrow I have to see my sister who has blanked me now for 3 years. I cannot understand this. It really hurts but I know siblings can fall out. I feel for you and hope you can get together with her while you can

Happygirl79 Thu 27-Feb-20 14:02:14

Sadly people change
Be true to yourself but polite to her
Accept she will not be part of your life and don't dwell on the past
It doesn't do anyone any good more especially yourself

Paperbackwriter Thu 27-Feb-20 14:13:03

My husband's sister - who he used to be close to - kind-of fell out with him several years ago. He never understood why and was quite hurt. Found out a while ago that she's apparently holding a grudge from when she was 3 and he wouldn't let her join in a game with him and his friends (he's 10 years older than she is). It's totally ludicrous but what can you do? People are strange. Good luck with your sister and I hope the meet-up goes well.

jenpax Thu 27-Feb-20 14:43:47

Paperbackwriter is that really all there was to her falling out with your husband! It’s incredible to be harbouring a grudge from an event that happened when you were 3🤦🏼‍♀️

LJP1 Thu 27-Feb-20 15:31:17

I often find that family rows are expressions of stress, which is often entirely unrelated, but feeling are vented on those who are most likely to keep on loving just the same.

Parents have the same problem with teenagers, don't they!

It probably seems odd but I see these rows as a sign of confidence in my steadfast love and take it as a compliment.

Keep on loving and hang on in there, behaving as if nothing is wrong. Give a hug if you can.

Good luck. flowers