Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blog share post

For your reading pleasure... here is the anonymous blogger....

Dealing With Faulty Family Members

Nobody is perfect. At least nobody that's alive today. So it's normal to have weird family members and to have relationships that suffer as a result of faults and personality clashes. Still, it seems so much more difficult when the relationships are your own. I've been growing more and more frustrated with my relationship with my sister, we'll call her Mary, over the past few years. That's where this story begins.

I'm older than Mary by three years. We grew up fighting like cats and dogs. Most of the time it seemed that my mother took her side, or even started the fights by pointing out an injustice that had been overlooked by Mary. As we grew older, she and my mom grew really close. I felt pretty ostracized from the family. Things changed a lot when I finally moved out of the house. I got married a few months later and Mary was the maid of honor at my wedding. She was wonderful. I started to believe that our relationship was turning around. She was the perfect sister throughout the engagement and especially on the day of the wedding. While we were getting ready in the bridal room at the church, she hooked up a karaoke machine and we all took turns singing cheesy wedding songs. That memory will forever remain golden and perfect in my mind. My wedding coordinator finally came up there to tell us that we were being too loud and the guests who were arriving could hear us. We all giggled like school girls and proceeded with our hair and make-up. That day seemed like a magical beginning to happily ever after.

Things changed though as time went by. To be honest it took me about four years to see the changes. Apparently the fairytale magic was a short term offer. We rarely saw each other at first, because I'd moved to a new city shortly after my marriage. A couple of years later, she moved to the same city. I was elated. We could actually spend time together and be sisters! For the first six months that she lived in our area, I invited her over for dinner every Sunday night. She actually came over about once a month because she had such a busy study schedule. Once she invited me to come watch her play intramural football and Hubs and I went, with our newborn and shivered in the cold. We really tried to make the relationship work.

It seemed that every time I took a step closer to her, she pulled a step back. The bottom fell out a few months later. My husband was out of town for nine weeks for an on-the-job-training thing and the baby and I both got sick with the flu. When my fever spiked to 101.5, I called my sister and she came over to help. Now, to be quite honest, I was really awful that night. Chalk it up to being sick and being paranoid. But when she started to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the skillet on the stove and the dog was jumping at her feet and my baby was being held in just one arm, I sort of freaked out. I needed to rest, but I felt that I couldn't trust her. It was a disaster. The next day she sat down with me and basically told me not to ask for her help ever again. I took that to mean that I shouldn't count on her at all. Things got really rocky for us after that. We didn't speak much. Finally I asked her to have breakfast with me and she agreed. We went to a Waffle House on a Saturday morning and decided that we would never be best friends. I don't think it's in the cards for us. We'll be doing good to maintain a civil relationship at all. About a year later, her boyfriend proposed. She accepted and immediately assumed that I'd be the maid of honor. A few weeks later she told me that I would be doing the flowers for the wedding too. I told her that I'd be more than happy to do whatever she needed, but that I couldn't feasibly do both at the same time. She freaked out. I was told that I was not being supportive enough. She called our mom and they both agreed that I was not being a very good sister. Long story short, I was demoted to bridesmaid and told that mom would worry about the flowers.

So basically, they don't want me to do much of anything now that I've shown how "unsupportive" I'm going to be. The whole thing upsets me and my husband whenever we talk about it. I feel like I'm really fed up with the way she's treated me for the last few years. Yet, I can't shake the way that she selflessly undertook the role of maid of honor for my wedding. She truly did a fabulous job. Part of me feels that I should do everything in my power to make her day just as special, because she made mine so much fun. I need some advice from objective bystanders. How should I handle this and what would you do in this situation? Is it horrible of me to wish that I could just make the whole thing go away?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that I would do everything I could to make her day fun. That does not mean I think you should do the flower arrangements though. I just think that you should do enough so that you don't look back on it and wish you had done more to make her day special.

3carnations said...

Wow. I would come unglued if someone were holding my baby with one arm while cooking on the hot stove with another.

Sorry for your difficulties...But the two of you obviously see things very differently.

Anonymous said...

Holy moly lady, check your reality stats lately. Life is NOT a fairt Tale.

Sounds like you, Mom and sis have had some issues from the get go. A quick silly oment before the latar does not make a wonderful relationship. What mother has NOT done the one armed bandit thing with their child? and why would you call her in the first place if you are not getting along? And what does the perfect sister all through your engagement really mean? Maybe YOU had rose coloured glasses on?

Grow up. Get real. Smell the coffee burning. Mother and sis ganging up on you. NOW that is really adult. Move on. Get over it. Life your life on your own terms. Sheeeeesh

Allie said...

This has to be really hard. I think sometimes we let family dish out so much more than we'd ever take from friends.

Tess said...

I think relationships with same-sex siblings close in age are some of the HARDEST to navigate. There's just always that "best friend" expectation. I know just what you mean. It's hard to let go of that.

The good news is, you are both at really crazy points in life. Maybe when things settle down, your relationship will improve?

3carnations said...

Um, hey anonymous - THIS Mom has not done the "one armed bandit thing" with her child. A safe child is more important than a timely grilled cheese sandwich.

cadiz12 said...

maybe go out of your way to do something thoughtful for her, like a handmade gift that incorporates good memories from your childhood or step up and help the maid of honor with her duties in any way that you can? if they've already decided you're unsupportive, perhaps an unexpected effort will be more meaningful?

Kristi said...

I think your mom and sister are being insensitive to demote you to bridesmaid, but let them do what they want. Be the best bridesmaid you can be. Maybe do the whole karaoke machine thing on her wedding day too. I agree with cadiz that a little extra effort might make them come around. If they don't, then at least you tried.

Courtney said...

I think you and your sister will both feel better if you put forth a little extra effort for her wedding. She did the same for you, and while I shudder at the image of holding a baby with one arm right next to a hot stove, I'm getting the impression that she didn't mean to hurt you or the baby. If you do something special for her -- maybe nothing as time-consuming as the flowers, but something special nonetheless -- you'll both feel better about your relationship. Families are tough. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have no room to give advice, because my sister always manages to make me feel about thisbig. But if I were in your situation, I would probably do my best to smooth it over for the wedding. Then I'd go back to living my life as independently as possible. I know it feels really sucky right now (to say the least), but families are always a little bit prickly. And don't forget, she's a bride right now, which usually ignites a little bit of insanity in people.

Sra said...

That's rough. I'd try to do the best job I could and leave it at that. You can control your own behavior, but will never be able to control the behavior of others. So do your best, and if your sister doesn't appreciate it, there's nothing you can do to change that, so you must accept it and let it flow under the bridge.

Anonymous said...

I would like to be unconditionally supportive, but from only hearing one side of the story, I just wonder what we would hear from your sister's perspective. If you can't ask her that, maybe you could at least get a better handle on how to deal with her if you asked yourself what she would say if she were explaining your relationship anonymously. It might help you see better what you BOTH could do differently to form and maintain a relationship with each other.

newduck said...

I agree with 3carnations that I would freak out if someone held my baby in one arm over a hot stove. That said, I would take the high ground on the wedding and do everything you can to make her wedding as nice as possible. You'll be able to look back on it and tell yourself honestly that you did the right thing, and in the end that's what matters.

CityStreams said...

To the most recent anonymous - how would it make any difference if she could see how they could BOTH change? She seems to be showing introspection and a willingness to change her own actions. She obviously can't change her sister.

To the poster - I agree with so many commenters. The one-armed bandit thing would not fly in my house either! Be the good big sister and then try to stay out of her hair. Make sure her day is as special as possible. Don't beat yourself up too much about it. Everybody's human. You sound like a fabulous mother.

Kari said...

Just from hearing your situations I feel that your sister is not pulling away from you when you get closer, but quite the opposite. I feel that you have underlying anger issues (possible from feeling ostersized) and you are now overreacting to situations because of this. I suggest to be as supportive as you can on her wedding day, do something special for her that day and work on your anger that you have. We can't change others but we can change how we react to situations.

kari said...

Let me just clarify my above response. I said work on anger, I am meaning more pain which may result in anger