Gransnet forums


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

(77 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?

Helenlouise3 Fri 19-Feb-21 13:17:30

Why is she expecting you to visit her? What about her coming to see you? I'd do as you suggest, meet somewhere neutral for lunch with your other sister as well. If that doesn't turn out well, you'll know what to do.

icanhandthemback Fri 19-Feb-21 13:22:32

You aren't her only sister and you have no more obligation to her than to anybody else.
I keep a distant relationship going with my sister whose ailments and mental health problems seem to have swallowed her up so that life is such a drama with her. We always used to joke she was going through the medical dictionary when she was younger and could never have a sore throat without it being diphtheria. There is no doubt she has some medical issues but when you have seen her perform as if she had the end of life brain cancer for a migraine in front of a group of young, frightened children, you sort of lose sympathy. Even when she behaves appallingly though, I couldn't turn my back on her completely but I do choose how much I engage with her dramas. For the most part, texting is enough. I don't feel the need to be visiting. The days for me travelling 70 miles because she has woken up yellow and then finding she is in fact a perfectly normal colour are over. It is like a weight lifted from my shoulders.

Bluecat Fri 19-Feb-21 13:30:15

I haven't spoken to my sister for 15 years. I miss the good times but they were outweighed by the bad.

Lockdown has given you the opportunity to make the break. My advice is to stay out of contact. If you get back in touch, you are settling yourself up to be hurt again.

Alioop Fri 19-Feb-21 13:39:20

My sister has always been a bit of a bully towards me. As children we shared a room and she actually used to frighten me and now years on she is still is hard to handle. She's very blunt, expects everything her way and I'm nervous at times even speaking to her. She is all the family I have left, but I find I'm a lot closer to my friend I've known for nearly 40 years than my own sister. My friend knows more about me than my own sister does which is sad and I see her a lot more, well not at present, but in normal times. Everyone would say my sis needs me more than I need her, she really only contacts me if she needs taken somewhere in my car, etc. My mum made her promise to look after me after she was gone cos I'm the youngest and a bit of a soft touch, but I feel I'm the one who has to do everything for her and get no thanks for it, just normally a load of cheek.

Cabbie21 Fri 19-Feb-21 13:44:15

I don’t see why you have to take the initiative to meet. Stick to texts, unless one of your sisters suggests meeting.

My sister has had mental health problems all her life. She wore my parents out with her dependence on them. Fortunately she was taken into care before they died. I used to visit about six tines a year but I have not seen her for a year now, and I really don’t want to. It is hard to keep in touch, as the staff are busy and can’t always answer the phone, so I have more or less given up trying. She lives in the immediate present and the distant past. Our lives are very different and I have nothing in common with her except our upbringing. I am not sure how I will feel when we are able to visit.

Santana Fri 19-Feb-21 13:53:31

Thank you everyone for you helpful suggestions. I realise now that I feel overly responsible for this relationship and need to let it go. Perhaps losing my father at such a young age made it worse. My eldest sister is a gentle and kind soul and we are close.
I will stick to birthday cards and the like, but not instigate contact with the toxic sister.
I think it's time to do some analysis of my own need to take responsibility. Some things were definitely bubbling up when my mum died.

FarNorth Fri 19-Feb-21 14:01:26

Perhaps you felt, without realising it, that if you kept being nice to your sister she would be pleased with you and would stop being unpleasant.
Just my guess.

I think you've made the right decision.

Notright Fri 19-Feb-21 14:05:27

Be the better person. You don't want to add fuel which you might regret.

Coco51 Fri 19-Feb-21 14:28:51

Why do you feel obliged to see your sister? If she has not treated you well, you can do without a negative person in your life.

nipsmum Fri 19-Feb-21 14:44:06

I would say do what you are comfortable with. As she is quite hard work, contact as you want but don't hark back to part hurts. It does no one any good.

Mollygo Fri 19-Feb-21 15:30:24

Just read your last post Santana. Sounds as if you feel fine with not losing contact via cards. If you’ve decided against instigating other contact, I don’t blame you. One of my brothers has been out of my life for some years now and I feel better for it. Best wishes for a more peaceful future.

jonathan1 Fri 19-Feb-21 16:01:59

I finally now have realized we only have so much time with people we love and who love us back. So the time your thinking of your sister or spending anytime with her spend it with someone that loves you.
I too have a sister who reminds me of yours.
My dear father who passed away last year answered my question.

Jaye53 Fri 19-Feb-21 16:17:06

I can't understand why you instigate phoning her when she's not interested. please don't phone her any more or text her.put her OUT of your mind from this second

Harmonypuss Fri 19-Feb-21 17:21:12

Just because 2 people have resided in the same uterus (not necessarily at the same time) does not mean that they will or even have to get on!

My mother never acknowledged how much I did for her despite me being disabled and clearly less able to help her than my sister but as soon as I removed my assistance she did nothing but run me down and my sister also got really snarky because she 'had to' pick up my slack!

The way mother speaks to people, either I don't exist or I've never done anything to help her, in fact, she likes to tell people that she's done everything for me and I've never shown any gratitude!

My sister, despite being younger, has always been really bossy and thinks she know better than anyone else and that everything revolves around her. A few years ago I got so sick of her attitude and the fact that her head is so far up mother's ass, she's practically fit a broken ring around her neck, that I told her straight that I was cutting all toxic people out of my life, she and mother being at the top of the list!

Other than a text to tell me that it aunt passed away last year, there's been absolutely no contact between us and my life has been so much easier/happier that if I never see/hear from either of them again, I'll be living a much simpler life.

JadeOlivia Fri 19-Feb-21 17:24:36

Your very first duty is to yourself, what makes you happy and brings you joy. This doesn' t. Your sister isn' t alone and has her own family and friends. Enough. Draw your boundary line and stay over your side.

GrannyMosh Fri 19-Feb-21 18:28:44

Santana, I really feel for you. My vote would be for the absolute minimum of contact...none at all, if you are comfortable with that. You owe your sister nothing at all. If she never initiates contact anyway, she might just be as relieved as you would. I cut contact a couple of years ago with a toxic sibling, and although it still hurts, I find it's a lot more comfortable than sitting waiting for the next explosion! If she has plenty of friends ( and I have to ask myself how!) let them keep her company. I wish you peace of mind flowers

poshpaws Fri 19-Feb-21 21:23:11

Leave all contact unless she initiates it. (For all you know, she may be relieved to be free of contact with you! I don't mean that unkindly, just as a thought to throw out there ...) Just because she's blood related does not mean you have any responsibilty to her, and frankly she sounds like someone I'd want to avoid wherever possible. Leave her to her many friends and son, with them she certainly has no need for you in her life, and you deserve to do what makes you happy, not sacrifice yourself on the alter of "family responsibility."

queenofsaanich69 Fri 19-Feb-21 23:26:54

Thanks for the hat story,made me smile.Lots of good advice,your always going to feel a bit guilty,I know,but look after yourself first,things have a way of working out,you can always have a sore knee/hip etc. Good luck.

Notinthemanual Sat 20-Feb-21 04:27:44

The only thing I can add that is slightly different to all the wise words that have gone before, is that I think I understand your quandary, but from the other side.

My sister cut contact years ago. It has been a relief, however, sometimes I do miss her. On her last birthday I was in tears and close to tracking her down. Then the little voice of reason reminded me of all the vile things she had said and done and I once again, thanked my lucky stars that she wants no more to do with me; or rather – has no more use for me.

I realise what I feel at those times is distorted sentimentality. I wish my sister was different and that is foolish. The peace I’ve found since she made her last bitch fit permanent, far out-weighs my occasional wobble.

If you aren’t ready to cut ties, just don’t be the one to instigate contact. You might be surprised, maybe disappointed; but at least you will know how she feels about your relationship. That will probably relieve your feeling of duty.

SueSocks Sat 20-Feb-21 04:58:51

Santana, as you can see there are lots of us who have difficult relationships with our sisters. I haven't seen my sister for over 10 years, no longer speak on the phone, have sent a couple of texts over the years, she still sends birthday & Christmas cards, I do the same. Even when she was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, she didn't tell me. I found out when someone else told me last year. She was annoyed that my mother (from whom I was estranged) left her house to both of us when she died, all the issues etc stem from this. I accepted the legacy as I know my dad would have wanted me to have it.My sister has been very unpleasant and her daughter sent me the most vile email, so I have no regrets about not contacting them. There are times when this makes me sad, but it is for the best.
Life is too short to deal with people who make us unhappy.
As others have said, wait for her to make contact & if you don't want to meet up then don't. Do what makes you happy, don't do things out of a sense of duty.

NannieAnnie64 Sat 20-Feb-21 09:12:42

I've had time out during Lockdown to re-evaluate certain relationships. I have a friend who always expects me to do the extra miles to meet up closer to her home, but every week she travels 10 minutes down the road to visit her DIL. I've suggested that we meet every alternate week before she goes to her DIL, but always has some excuse or other. Somehow, she always makes me feel like I'm making a big deal about nothing and I end up meeting her down her neck of the woods.
What annoys me most is she travels to meet other friends.
During lockdown I have been relieved about the fact I don't have that niggle to deal with. I've been thinking for a long time now that she doesn't hold me in high regard and that I am going to let the friendship fizzle out. As it happens, it got blasted out the water when my friend got stroppy with me about something she took out of context and really had a go at me.... swearing. Well, that did it for me.....I politely said I our friendship has come to. Wow....what a relief...I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Shropshirelass Sat 20-Feb-21 15:39:39

I have had a similar thing with my sister and her family on the death of my mother and then my father. She never offered to help but soon interfered and caused problems when the estate was being wound up. I decided that I don’t like her, I never really have and she is not part of my life. I am better for it, I have lovely supportive friends and family on my DH’s side. You can chose your friends but not your family. If you had friends that were as horrible as your sister you wouldn’t have anything to do with them would you?

Sleepygran Sat 20-Feb-21 19:54:54

I am estranged from my only sister.
She has written off her on,y daughter as she didn’t do as my sister wanted and moved away to peruse her own life.
She wrote her own mother off as soon as she left home.She’s written so many people off, me included. When I looked back it was always me who made contact,and a friend who did meet her with me said why does she always put me you down? And she laughs at you?How do you put up with it? I’d never realised.I’ve had no contact with her for 15 years and if she wanted to come back in my life I’d refuse.I don’t need her constant harping.I believed family was unbreakable,it’s not, and I’m the better for not having here in my life!

JackieBee1 Sun 21-Feb-21 08:20:39

So sorry MooM00

LMW1 Mon 22-Feb-21 10:28:40

Life is too so to be pushed into doing things that you don't really want to do. You be you and decline any face to face meetings and stick to what you are comfortable doing. Telephone calls, texts or emails still are good ways of keeping contact.