Author Topic: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG  (Read 8552 times)

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gena264

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Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« on: January 27, 2013, 10:44:06 AM »
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.
 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 10:47:52 AM by gena264 »

artk2002

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Re: How to Deal with Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 10:48:18 AM »
"Thank you for your input. Any issues between my DD and myself are just that -- between the two of us. Bean dip?" Do *not* try to turn this back on your sister and her (future) parenting -- that will just make her defensive and more entrenched in her position. Just acknowledge that she has given you some information but decline to comment on that information. Change the subject.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

gena264

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Re: How to Deal with Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 10:54:31 AM »
"Thank you for your input. Any issues between my DD and myself are just that -- between the two of us. Bean dip?" Do *not* try to turn this back on your sister and her (future) parenting -- that will just make her defensive and more entrenched in her position. Just acknowledge that she has given you some information but decline to comment on that information. Change the subject.

Thank you.You are right, I won't bring up her parenting. I thought that by bringing up how she might feel if people ridiculed her as a parent how upset that would make her... but she is a long way from the teen years.

 I try to change the subject and she tries different ways to bring it up again. It's like a mission with her, she must let me know I was a terrible parent. I forgot to mention she even said that it affects our (her and I's ) relationship. So basically she sucked me in to thinking we were discussing our relationship and she found a way to throw in my DD's perceived faults . She claims the only way we can move forward is if we get it on the table and not have to walk on eggshells.

Sharnita

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 11:03:21 AM »
I think I would tell her that if those wete her terms for moving forward you have to decline.

FWIW, it sounds like your DD is still young so I tnink some of these "problems", real or imagined will take care of themselves. It might take another frustrating few years but it will happen.

gena264

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 11:09:12 AM »
I think I would tell her that if those wete her terms for moving forward you have to decline.

FWIW, it sounds like your DD is still young so I tnink some of these "problems", real or imagined will take care of themselves. It might take another frustrating few years but it will happen.

Exactly. The issues my DD has/had were really no different than what most teenage girls experience.

BarensMom

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 11:12:38 AM »
I would stop discussing anything family-related with this sister.  If she calls and tries to bring up the subject, simply say, "I'm not going to flog this dead horse," then bean dip.  If she keeps harping on the subject, hang up.  If it means that you have to give her the cut as well, so be it.

Bear in mind that your parents and sisters heard your DD's version first, so that's usually the version that sticks.  17-year olds are not the most rational or subjective of people, so everything they heard was probably blown out of proportion.  I say this because your problems with your DD were most likely not due to bad parenting, but teen angst and hormones. 

GreenBird

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 02:21:18 PM »
I think you need to go back to telling your sister you won’t discuss it with her.  The conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere productive, and it kind of feels like she started the discussion under false pretenses.  If she’s talking about parenting skills, she’s really not talking about the relation-ship between the two of you – you are not her parent.  She’s drawing you into JADEing so she can pick apart your responses, and I think you’re better off simply not going there. 

I’d tell her you won’t discuss it with her further, and then I wouldn’t respond to the topic any more.  If an email only talks about this issue, I wouldn’t answer it at all.  If an email includes other topics, I might respond on the other topics (“yes, it has been really rainy here”), but not answer anything else.   If an email only includes other topics, I’d go ahead and answer that one like you have in the past.  Hopefully this can keep the door open for some kind of relation-ship, while keeping a very clear boundary intact.
You may need to pull back and keep conversations extra-innocuous for a bit while she figures out you’re not going budge on this boundary.


gena264

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 03:23:43 PM »
I think you need to go back to telling your sister you won’t discuss it with her.  The conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere productive, and it kind of feels like she started the discussion under false pretenses.  If she’s talking about parenting skills, she’s really not talking about the relation-ship between the two of you – you are not her parent.  She’s drawing you into JADEing so she can pick apart your responses, and I think you’re better off simply not going there. 

I’d tell her you won’t discuss it with her further, and then I wouldn’t respond to the topic any more.  If an email only talks about this issue, I wouldn’t answer it at all.  If an email includes other topics, I might respond on the other topics (“yes, it has been really rainy here”), but not answer anything else.   If an email only includes other topics, I’d go ahead and answer that one like you have in the past.  Hopefully this can keep the door open for some kind of relation-ship, while keeping a very clear boundary intact.
You may need to pull back and keep conversations extra-innocuous for a bit while she figures out you’re not going budge on this boundary.

I agree this is the best way to handle it. However what do I say when she thinks the only way for us to move on is to discuss our 'true' feelings ? I have avoided her on this subject for years now and while it would be nice to clear the air so to speak, I don't see how insulting me as a parent and listing my DD's faults accomplishes that. I truly believe if I had taken her up on her suggestion to be a mediator, she wouldn't have fired back her 'opinions' on my DD. This has been a usual pattern with sister. She is always inventing some sort of intervention with someone in our family. One time I was asked to write my mom a letter stating how concerned I was that she (mom) was obese. I declined to do that of course, but sister gets something stuck in her head and she alone will be the 'savior' and 'fixer' and wants the rest of the family to follow along .

snowdragon

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 03:29:03 PM »
Someone needs to speak up for DD. "I love my DD no matter what you think of her faults, or my parenting, I will not hear of you running her down" would be appropriate

Bethalize

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 03:34:39 PM »
I agree this is the best way to handle it. However what do I say when she thinks the only way for us to move on is to discuss our 'true' feelings ?

If I were you I'd tell her directly that if she is unable to move forward then perhaps it is time she seeks outside help.

Your sister sounds like she is bullying you to serve her own self-image.

Corvid

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 03:53:32 PM »
Tell your sister you'll consider discussing the situation with her the day she gets her doctorate in psychology.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013, 04:02:28 PM »
Someone needs to speak up for DD. "I love my DD no matter what you think of her faults, or my parenting, I will not hear of you running her down" would be appropriate

I agree.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

gena264

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 04:07:15 PM »
Someone needs to speak up for DD. "I love my DD no matter what you think of her faults, or my parenting, I will not hear of you running her down" would be appropriate

I agree.

I agree too and I will say that sister . My sister only tells me the negative things about DD because she attempted to 'fix' her when DD moved out there. It didn't go so well since DD is her own person and is going to do what she wants , not what sister thinks she should do. In fact, DD lived with sister a year or so ago for a month or two . Sister even told me 'with my guidance, I hope to shape DD" . I just shrugged and said sounds good, knowing full well that it would not go over well.

gramma dishes

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2013, 04:14:50 PM »
Someone needs to speak up for DD. "I love my DD no matter what you think of her faults, or my parenting, I will not hear of you running her down" would be appropriate

I agree.

I agree with this and would add "...  and I am not going to discuss this with you any further."

gena264

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Re: Help in Dealing With Sister !~ LONG
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2013, 04:23:22 PM »
Someone needs to speak up for DD. "I love my DD no matter what you think of her faults, or my parenting, I will not hear of you running her down" would be appropriate

I agree.

I agree with this and would add "...  and I am not going to discuss this with you any further."


Is there a polite response to her if she says that I am not doing my part in trying to resolve the issues if I don't talk about it? Since she claims her issues with me are because of how I raised my DD, if I don't talk about it , that means that I don't care about her feelings. She said something to that effect. I had stated my feelings of being judged and criticized as a parent by her. She apologized and then said that I, "need to understand where she is coming from, much the same way she understood my feelings" ...that was when she listed off DD's issues and blamed me for them .If I say I am not going to discuss it with her further (which is what I want) , she will most likely  tell me that I am not looking at her side or her feelings. How do I respond to that?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 04:24:59 PM by gena264 »