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Lockdown was a good excuse not to meet up with my sister.

(76 Posts)
Santana Thu 18-Feb-21 11:49:10

My sister is 5 years older than me, and has always been demanding and bossy. My dad died when I was 8, leaving my mum with three girls to bring up, which she did brilliantly, holding us all together like a matriachal elephant.
My sister has had many illnesses throughout her life, so always needed the attention, quite rightly. However this turned into using her health as an excuse to dodge things later in life as my mother needed assistance. I took responsibility for power of attorney through to care homes, and finally funeral. Although I didn't mind doing any of this, the unpleasantness and griping has poured out of my sister for years. The funeral and wake saw some very nasty verbal assaults which really was the final straw for me.
This was 4 years ago, and I have only seen her once, before lockdown.
I was dreading having to face the expected contact when I retired but of course lockdown saved me. I have spoken to her on the phone to check she is ok, and text from time to time, but always me that instigates the contact.
I would appreciate any views from outside looking in please, as I know she is going to expect me to visit eventually. My family all say let her drop, but I have a sense of duty and obligation pulling me.
She has many friends and a son, although she never really comes out of the village.
Do I just suggest neutral ground for lunch with my eldest sister joining us?

JaneJudge Thu 18-Feb-21 11:50:39

I would just phone and text, I don't think there is any need for you to meet her if you don't want to.

JaneJudge Thu 18-Feb-21 11:51:19

By the way, I laughed when I read the title as I imagine a lot of people have enjoyed not spending time with some people in their lives as well!

Galaxy Thu 18-Feb-21 11:52:20

I have found that lockdown has given me the opportunity to check that what I am doing is actually what I want to do. If it makes you unhappy you need to say no.

Santana Thu 18-Feb-21 11:54:18

Thanks Jane. I do feel a bit guilty that this terrible situation has saved my bacon on this!

Kandinsky Thu 18-Feb-21 11:56:49

I’m sure lots of people have secretly loved not having to meet up with people. ( I certainly have )

MaggieTulliver Thu 18-Feb-21 11:57:11

I think you have gone above and beyond to accommodate your sister OP and shown kindness and good grace. There’s absolutely no need for you to meet up with her so just carry on with the occasional text/call.

Kandinsky Thu 18-Feb-21 12:03:03

Going forward, just tell your sister that the whole coronavirus thing has made you really anxious so you have decided to stay home for the foreseeable - & especially as your sister has health issues you wouldn’t want to pass anything onto her. But if you have an overriding sense of duty then you’ll have to meet up.

maddyone Thu 18-Feb-21 12:04:21

Dont go to see her if you don’t want to. I have a toxic sister who has caused family problems for years. She has mental health problems that cause her to be unbelievably nasty. I suspect she is narcissistic, although obviously that’s just my opinion. She no longer speaks to three of her four children, and although she’s speaking to our mother at the moment, she’s had many periods of time when she has cut mother off. Her last text to me was so unbelievably nasty and sarcastic that I decided to have nothing more to do with her. Previously I had tried to be a supportive sister for years, given her problems with so many of family members. Basically I gave up.
I would suggest that you have as much or as little contact with your sister as you feel comfortable with. If you don’t want to meet her, don’t. Keep contact to texts and phone calls. If you want to, and only if you want to.

Santana Thu 18-Feb-21 12:06:41

She shouted at me about the gravestone as I held my mother's ashes in my arms ready to walk to my father's grave.
I did get an apology about 6 months later via my other sister.
Strangely, 4 years on, this makes me smile, as the funeral director said not to take too much notice as my hat was about to blow off. He promptly gave the hat a sharp tug so that I could only see my way with my head tilted back.

TwiceAsNice Thu 18-Feb-21 12:09:17

I am actually estranged from my only sibling. It has always been me who made the effort to be in touch. He would go months and months ignoring me and then turn up and expect the fatted calf! The last straw came when I was in the middle of a horrible experience and he promised to support me and then vanished again. I decided enough was enough and haven’t seen or spoken to him for 4 years. I don’t miss him, I tried really hard. Don’t feel guilty blood is not thicker than water I love my close friends much more than my brother. Look after yourself and don’t bother.

Rufus2 Thu 18-Feb-21 12:20:09

I imagine a lot of people have enjoyed not spending time ^with some people in their lives as well!
JaneJudge Great minds are forever thinking alike! grin
I've just posted the following on the Good Evening Thursday thread. Taken from a lady's T shirt adv.

When this virus is over, I still want some of you to stay away from me!

cornishpatsy Thu 18-Feb-21 12:35:57

Why do you instigate contact if you do not want contact with her. The fact that she does not contact you must tell you something.

Just because you are related to somebody does not mean that you have to have a relationship with them.

Harris27 Thu 18-Feb-21 12:41:44

You don’t need to met her. Just keep in contact by phone or text. Sometimes you have better friends than family I’ve found that. You’ve done your bit for your mother and she didn’t. That says a Lot in my book.

sodapop Thu 18-Feb-21 12:42:31

I agree with cornishpatsy but I understand you feel you have a duty of care toward your sister Santana I would call or text her occasionally and leave it at that. If she asks to meet up at some point just say you can see her for coffee when its possible and you only have limited time. You have already done all that could be expected so don't worry about this.

Redhead56 Thu 18-Feb-21 13:18:47

I don't need the virus to be an excuse to not bother with my sisters. I haven't bothered for quite a few years simply because of their selfish natures. You have no obligation to her at all so don't make excuses for not seeing her. Don't ring her up see if she makes the effort to ring you. If she does when this virus eases off and you feel like making arrangements do so. In the mean time look after yourself and stop worrying life is too short.

Santana Thu 18-Feb-21 13:49:05

Thank you everyone for your help. Interesting that I am contacting her even though I don't want contact.
I will think on that for sure. Perhaps it is left over from when my mother was alive, and I was trying to keep the peace.
Also hadn't thought of sister as toxic, which is correct of course.

FarNorth Thu 18-Feb-21 14:01:06

Be aware that it's your decision on whether to meet, not hers.

If you do decide to meet her, it's a good idea to have your other sister there too and to meet in a neutral place like a coffee shop, not in anyone's home.

Smileless2012 Thu 18-Feb-21 17:01:05

You said in your OP Santana that any contact you do have with your sister is instigated by you so presumably unless you suggested actually meeting up, it's unlikely to happen.

There's no need for you to have any feelings of guilt. You say "she has many friends and a son" so it looks as if there's plenty of friendship and support in place.

Rather than regarding 'phone calls and text messages as not being enough, try and see these as a nice addition to what she already has.

If she does suggest a visit in the future and you feel able to do this then yes, "neutral ground with (your) eldest sister" does sound like a good idea.

Hithere Thu 18-Feb-21 17:49:40

Another vote not to see her if you dont want to

While pandemic is a good time to reset, eventually we have to communicate why something no longer works with another person.

We cannot hide behind the pandemic forever.

isla1 Fri 19-Feb-21 10:38:23

Good morning - life is too short to spend time with people you do not want to be with.

The pandemic has shortened our lives probably - so we will all cherish our freedom that much more. Have fun , enjoy yourself and forget about duty - you have surely done yours.

Fernhillnana Fri 19-Feb-21 10:39:15

Ended a toxic relationship with my brother several years ago. He is now dead but I have absolutely no regrets.

NemosMum Fri 19-Feb-21 10:42:59

Just keep her at arms length (e.g. occasional text). It seems to me that you have no particular obligations to this 'bitter plant'. You will not change her character and neither do you have to tolerate her bitterness.

NellG Fri 19-Feb-21 10:49:56

Just adding to everything already said really. If the relationship isn't mutually beneficial in that you don't even enjoy each other's company then there's no point to it. Gone are the days when we needed to trawl through these awful relationships out of a sense of duty. Where is her duty to you?

You have the support of your family, she isn't ever going to change so why not put your energy and attention where it will be reciprocated.

Good luck, it's tough call I know, but doable and you'll feel better for it down the line.

Coconut Fri 19-Feb-21 10:52:49

For donkeys years many people have put themselves thro all sorts, just because its family and in my eyes, misplaced duty. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and every single relationship we have, should be mutually respectful, blood related or not. I’m a very soft person, but I openly admit I visit my 90 year old mum out of duty, because of a life time of put downs and criticism. However, the minute she starts I change the subject, and if she persists I just say I’ve got to go now, and I do. Finally she has learned some respect for me with only the occasional lapse. With your sister, if you never saw her again, what difference would it make to your life ? If the answer is none, why pursue the relationship ?