Author Topic: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway  (Read 5723 times)

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StillandSilent

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I'm in a bit of a quandry here.  I am 27, LIttle Sister (LS) is 25.  We are full siblings and my parents only children. 

For our entire lives, there has never really been a bond between LS and me.  Period.  We fought like cats and dogs as children, ignored each other as teenagers, and now live an hour away from each other.  I don't think I've spoken more then three words to her in the past year, and thats only when we happen to visiting our mother at the same time.

Part of the problem is that we have literally nothing in common.  Our life choices are very different (I"m single with a small apartment and animals, she's married with 4 children), and we literally do not share one single interest.  Any time we try to speak with eachother, it devolves into an awkward staring contest within the first minute.   

Another issue, is that LS is not a nice person.  She's selfish and a user.  I wouldn't say that she's completely toxic, because she's not that bad, but she's not someone I would care to associate with either.

It's not even a matter of playing nice with her for the sake of  being able to see the children, since I've always had a borderline phobia of kids.  I wouldn't treat one rudely, but I had zero desire to interact with them either.

LS really has no desire for a relationship with me, either.  I'm sure that my life is as incomprehensible and miserable to her as hers is to me. 

How should this be put to family members who insist on the "But the two of you are faaaaamily!  Thats the only sister you'll ever have!"  mentality?    What is the polite way to put it that doesn't blame LS or me, but makes it clear that we want nothing to do with each other based on mutual decision?  That some people, despite being family, just dont' get along?

Amara

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 01:10:02 PM »
"We have a relationship that works perfectly for us."

Only me

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 01:45:19 PM »
POD to Amara.....

My bro and I have this a little better relationshiop than you and your sis, as in I like my brother. But we're totally different and not much in common. I'm single, he has 4 kids/wife/house/ etc....

We already have a relationship should be fine.

Onlyme

Venus193

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 01:48:16 PM »
POD to Amara.....

My bro and I have this a little better relationshiop than you and your sis, as in I like my brother. But we're totally different and not much in common. I'm single, he has 4 kids/wife/house/ etc....

We already have a relationship should be fine.

Onlyme

Thirding this one.  Followed by a change of subject.

Moray

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 01:57:18 PM »
"We have a relationship that works perfectly for us."

Yup. I feel your pain, OP. I have a wonderful relationship with my youngest sister, but the other one? I love her, but I can't stand her. I'd give her my kidney, but I don't want to hold a conversation with her. She feels exactly the same towards me. We were both a lot happier once we stopped trying to be buddy-buddy for the sake of our parents. Low to no contact is what we prefer, and Amara's wording is something we've both used.
Utah

jmarvellous

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 02:14:23 PM »
"Our relationship is fine as it is."

"Not all sisters are best friends. Our relationship is fine for us."

"I assure you, I'm not seeking any new sisters at this time. I'm fine with the one I've got!"

"It's between us."

Or just, "Every family is unique."

SleepyKitty

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 04:03:32 PM »
My brother and I have a very similar relationship. Actually, the warmest it's ever been between us was because of Doctor Who - I got him watching it, and since I'm the only person he knows who watches it, if he wants to comment on an episode he has to text me.  ;D We really have little to no actual relationship outside of being blood.

I have something of a pet theory about this, though. *puts on thinking cap* I think people - almost always other family members - get concerned when there doesn't seem to be a strong bond between siblings (or parent/child or whatever) not because they care so much about the individuals involved, but because family is such an integral part of our lives, and these days people imagine it to be much weaker than in the mythologized past. People yearn for the close-knit, loving bonds they imagine families should have and it distresses them when reality doesn't reflect that.

So the best way I've found to deflect those people who cry "faaaaaaaamily" is to reassure them on their own terms. In addition to the previous posters' suggestions, try an answer that focuses positively on family in general and kind of bean-dips away from your sister.

"Oh, you know me, I'd go to hell and back for family but Sis and I just don't get along."
"Of course, family is so important. Sis and I just don't get along, but I never forget she's my sister!"
"Oh, I am always careful to stay close with family, Sis and I just don't have a lot in common."

Or even something more vague:

"Of course family is important! Speaking of, have you heard about grandma's new boyfriend?"

Cat-Fu

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 04:32:41 PM »
"Our relationship is fine as it is."

"Not all sisters are best friends. Our relationship is fine for us."

"I assure you, I'm not seeking any new sisters at this time. I'm fine with the one I've got!"

"It's between us."

Or just, "Every family is unique."

Ha, I like the bolded. It's a good deflection, and amusing enough that it's easy to change the subject in a lighthearted way.
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

greencat

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 04:37:17 PM »
How about "Sorry, family member, but our relationship with each other is simply none of your business.  Beandip?"

sourwolf

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 04:43:23 PM »
"It works for us" and then bean dip.

I'll never understand people who are so invested in other people's relationships.  It just makes no sense to me, don't you have something better to worry about?

bopper

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 05:14:02 PM »

How should this be put to family members who insist on the "But the two of you are faaaaamily!  Thats the only sister you'll ever have!"  mentality?    What is the polite way to put it that doesn't blame LS or me, but makes it clear that we want nothing to do with each other based on mutual decision?  That some people, despite being family, just dont' get along?

How does the topic come up?  I think the tactic is to deflect it in the first place.

"Have you talked to sis lately?"   -> "Can you believe how big the kids are?" instead of "We don't talk much."
Or "How often do you see sis?" ->With the kids you can imagine how busy things are, but we are happy with the amount of time we get to spend together." instead of "We have nothing in common so as little as possible."

NyaChan

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 05:16:43 PM »

How should this be put to family members who insist on the "But the two of you are faaaaamily!  Thats the only sister you'll ever have!"  mentality?    What is the polite way to put it that doesn't blame LS or me, but makes it clear that we want nothing to do with each other based on mutual decision?  That some people, despite being family, just dont' get along?

How does the topic come up?  I think the tactic is to deflect it in the first place.

"Have you talked to sis lately?"   -> "Can you believe how big the kids are?" instead of "We don't talk much."
Or "How often do you see sis?" ->With the kids you can imagine how busy things are, but we are happy with the amount of time we get to spend together." instead of "We have nothing in common so as little as possible."

This is what I wonder as well.  If you are sitting there discussing the nature of your relationship and how you don't get along, then it is a little much to then tell someone it isn't their business when they give you their opinion.  On the other hand, if they just bring up your sister with the assumption that you will want to talk about her or know about things in her life, just deflect with generalities and change the subject.

Auntie Mame

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 07:19:04 PM »
Oh I feel you on this one.  I really don't like most of my family.  Nothing against them, I just have nothing in common with them.  At all.

The one I feel bad about is my Mom.  I love her, she's my mom, I will always love her.  I just really don't like her.  I don't like being around her.  I don't like talking to her.  I don't like spending time with her.  She's whiny, pouty, a martyr, prone to histrionics, obsessed with the past and talks to everyone like their five years old.  Even five minutes with her is grating as all heck. 

If she was not my Mom she would not be in my life at all.
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DoubleTrouble

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 09:26:18 PM »
"We have a relationship that works perfectly for us."

Yup. I feel your pain, OP. I have a wonderful relationship with my youngest sister, but the other one? I love her, but I can't stand her. I'd give her my kidney, but I don't want to hold a conversation with her. She feels exactly the same towards me. We were both a lot happier once we stopped trying to be buddy-buddy for the sake of our parents. Low to no contact is what we prefer, and Amara's wording is something we've both used.

Amara's wording is perfect. Despite my sibling being my twin (& only sibling) I'm more than happy with seeing him for less than 24 hours each year. I love him but I don't really like him. He's very smart but not very socially aware & looks down on anyone who isn't under the age of 10 or doesn't have a PhD like him (which is everyone in our family except my DH & even then DB thinks he is the superior being ::) ). If I need him for something important, he's there for me & vice versa but otherwise we're happy the way things are. I've used a variation of the above with various family members & it's worked just fine.

StillandSilent

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Re: When the Family Member isn't Exactly Toxic, but you don't like them anyway
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 07:44:28 AM »
Now why couldn't I think of any of those?   They are all very good, and I'll be whipping them out the next time it comes up. 

The area that my mother and sister live in is very, very, culturally family oriented, and somewhat small,  and I do think that people are genuinely shocked to see siblings who aren't very close.  Many people know of my sister (this is not a good thing), so I am frequently asked about her when visiting.