I have a younger sister who likes to think of herself as an arm chair psychiatrist so to speak. I have a situation that is extremely long and drawn out but I would like to get everyone's opinion on how to handle a certain issue regarding my sister.
Very short background. My DD went to live with my parents about 4 years ago many states away. She had just turned 17 and didn't like the rules etc ..This was all kept a secret from me. My parents, my older sister (and this sister) refused to tell me anything despite me asking them. So this resulted in a large family feud that has not been resolved yet in the last 3 years. Other nasty things occurred after my DD arrived there, mainly everyone in my family judging and criticizing my parental skills and talking bad about me amongst themselves and my DD. This of course lead to further estrangement between my DD and myself, something we are still working on to this day. I have not spoken to my parents in all this time , they have never acknowledged any wrong doing and in fact have left me nasty messages and continue to talk bad about me.
The only person I have had contact with has been my younger sister (the favorite in the family , if that matters). Over the years we have had some discussions about what happened 3 years ago. She did apologize for her part which was a nice first step.The past 3 years or so I have kept her at arms length. We exchange pleasant but brief emails here and there, mostly on our birthdays. Every so often she attempts to engage me in what happened before , but I politely tell her I am not interested in discussing it now because quite frankly I don't trust her and I am not sure if she is trying to get me to 'open up' so she can have drama.
A week or so ago she emailed and asked us to work out what happened before. I approached it cautiously and she seemed to not want drama so we talked (respectfully). I explained that I felt judged and ridiculed as a a parent among other things. She agreed, apologized, said all the right things. Then she offered to be a mediator between my parents and myself. I told her politely that I see a mediator as someone who is impartial and has no emotional or vested interest in the situation. I told her that I felt it could lead to possible misunderstandings even though I know her offer came from the love she had between my parents and myself. I also told her that my parents and myself are adults and we know how to reach each other if we chose to.
Her next email agreed that I was right and she probably couldn't be impartial . THEN she proceeded to tell me that while she doesn't agree that the family should have bad mouthed me she thinks.. .....and then she listed at least 5 things she felt were 'problems' with my DD. The way she worded it made her sound like she was trying to be a psychiatrist.
It read like this (details have been changed) " It became increasing obvious to all of us when DD arrived here that she had little to know understanding of -blank blank, she had a flat affect, she was stunted in -blank blank, she had little to know understanding on how to read street signs or any basic life skills."
So she basically agreed with me in a previous email that they were wrong to judge me and analyze DD, but since she didn't like the fact that I turned down her offer as mediator, she then decided the appropriate next step would be to list her opinion of my DD's perceived defects.
I sent her another email telling her that I did not need to hear (read) her psychoanalysis of my DD . I told her that she was entitled to her opinion , just that I have no interested in hearing about it. I told her that when her son reaches his teenage years( he is 2 now), I hope people don't feel the need to critique him for her and point out her failings as a parent, and that was something I would never do to her.
She wrote back that she thinks parents are largely responsible for how their kids turn out and that she will 'embrace' all of her sons successes and failures. I told her that a parent can do all they can to shape and guide and teach their children, some children take longer than others to 'get' things. It doesn't mean the parent didn't attempt to teach them. There was more to these emails, this is just the condensed version.
How can I continue to keep up a polite conversation with her when she seems to actually enjoy telling me her negative assumptions of my DD and how much at fault I am for DD having these issues ? I promised myself (and even told sister) that I would not ever again defend, justify or explain myself as a mother to her or anyone else. Yet I find myself so angry at her assumptions when she has NO idea what my husband and myself tried to teach DD.