Author Topic: Why bother mentioning it?  (Read 11375 times)

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PoisonIvy

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Why bother mentioning it?
« on: December 10, 2006, 05:44:16 PM »
My sister and I have never had the best relationship.  She is a year younger than me and though we are in our late 20's she's kind of a textbook sufferer of "middle child syndrome".  I won't go into it here, but we've had our childhood/teenaged rivalries, but unfortunately it looks like I'm the only one who's outgrown them.  I've lived overseas in England for the past ten years (I'm an east coast US native) and this spring I took a trip home (my first in four years) for our dad's 60th birthday and her treatment of me was absolutely appalling.  My British fiance - who'd never met my family before - was absolutely shocked.

Anyway, that's a story for another day.  This one concerns birthdays and holidays.  Every year, my sister does the same exact thing - she sends me an online e-card for my birthday (to her credit this year she actually sent it on my birthday instead of the usual three days late), backed by an email packed with lame excuses: "I was going to call you but I don't know how to dial an international number" (er, for the past ten years I've provided the full dialling codes from the USA to everyone back home).  The other one is "Look out for your b-day present, I sure hope I managed to get the address and the postage right."  Predictably, every year the alleged present doesn't turn up.

Now, I don't really care about the present at all.  It's the lame excuse and the lack of effort that gets my back up.  My sister attended an Ivy League university, and holds a high-level position in a PR company.  This is not a woman who doesn't know how to dial a telephone number or send a package by airmail.  She is not one of these hopelessly disorganized types either.  In fact, I am probably more disorganized than she is, and I still managed to order her birthday present (an iPod) and get it to her on time, despite being overseas.

I'm tempted to send her an email that says, "Hey, that birthday present you mentioned still hasn't shown up.  Which address did you send it to?  I'm wondering if I need to pay my neighbors a visit to see if they got it by mistake."  Incidentally, my birthday was five weeks ago.

Brennie

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2006, 06:16:39 PM »
I'm tempted to send her an email that says, "Hey, that birthday present you mentioned still hasn't shown up.  Which address did you send it to?  I'm wondering if I need to pay my neighbors a visit to see if they got it by mistake."  Incidentally, my birthday was five weeks ago.

Heck yes I would send her an email asking about it! After all you wouldn't have wanted her to spend her time and money and it "wasn't delivered". I can see how sending an email could be considered a faux pa IF she hadn't stated that she sent you a present. I send presents to Kansas every year for Christmas and if it hadn't gotten there then I would want them to give me an electronic heads up so I could check it out.

Incidentlly, I'm sorry your sister can't seem to drop the sibling rilvary. My sister is 10 years older then me and after she had moved out (when I was about 9) my mom married someone who was more, shall we say, well off then my biological father had been. As a result I had a stuff, NOT a better childhood as my step dad turned out to be a few cogs short of a gear, but I had a TV in my room, so it must have been better. She never misses a moment to throw that back in my face.

She doesn't do it in front of the fam however! That's terrible that she treated you so horribly when you brought your fiance around for the first time!

FoxPaws

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2006, 07:14:10 PM »
I would ask once. If she offers some lame excuse, I'd skip sending her birthday and holiday presents and stick to e-greetings. She obviously doesn't want an adult relationship with you, and you aren't being fair to yourself if you keep pursuing one.
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sammycat

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2006, 07:53:17 PM »
I would ask once. If she offers some lame excuse, I'd skip sending her birthday and holiday presents and stick to e-greetings. She obviously doesn't want an adult relationship with you, and you aren't being fair to yourself if you keep pursuing one.

I second this advice.  At the very least, if, on the (seemingly) off chance that she did actually send you a present this year and it has gone astray you'll be able to try and track it down.  Call her on it - ask where and when it was posted and can she provide a receipt or something so that you can try tracing it. That might provide some interesting answers. Then, if she really hasn't sent you a present, I'd also stop sending her anything.  I think this is one of those times where "it is better to give (on your part) than receive" should fly out the window, as this relationship seems a bit one sided.  Unfortunately I speak from experience.

Clara Bow

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2006, 09:30:29 PM »
I don't really know what to tell you. I think that you should tell her you didn't get the gift and see what she says, but I wouldn't expect miracles. And I would definitely not buy her any more expensive gifts! She doesn't deserve it, and not because she doesn't reciprocate, but because she can't seem to treat you like a sister and a person. I'm so sorry that this is happening to you, you do not deserve it.
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Buffy2424

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 10:14:07 PM »
Eh, who knows why she does that.  I say, don't bother (try to forget about the imaginary presents). 

Or trip her up by telling her how much you liked the lovely gift  ;)

MineralDiva

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 10:53:04 PM »
Ahhhh...family.  In July, I finally got the Christmas presents that had been purchased for me TWO Christmases ago!  I live across the country...and they never got around to it.  The mind boggles.

Balletmom

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 11:54:43 PM »
Your sister is playing a nasty little passive-aggressive game. You should call her on it.

Email or call her back. "I didn't get it, do you want to follow up with the post office?"

Keep asking. Along the lines of, "I feel so badly knowing it went astray/got stolen/is sitting in dead mail somewhere. You went to so much trouble for me! I don't care about the present, I just feel badly for you."

I can get a present to someone in another country, and I don't even have a business position in a PR firm.

I am sorry your fiancee had such a poor experience with your family. On the other hand, it will help him to understand exactly where you "came from." 

Evalieutions

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2006, 05:18:23 AM »
My sister and I have never had the best relationship.  She is a year younger than me and though we are in our late 20's she's kind of a textbook sufferer of "middle child syndrome".  I won't go into it here, but we've had our childhood/teenaged rivalries, but unfortunately it looks like I'm the only one who's outgrown them.  I've lived overseas in England for the past ten years (I'm an east coast US native) and this spring I took a trip home (my first in four years) for our dad's 60th birthday and her treatment of me was absolutely appalling.  My British fiance - who'd never met my family before - was absolutely shocked.

Anyway, that's a story for another day.  This one concerns birthdays and holidays.  Every year, my sister does the same exact thing - she sends me an online e-card for my birthday (to her credit this year she actually sent it on my birthday instead of the usual three days late), backed by an email packed with lame excuses: "I was going to call you but I don't know how to dial an international number" (er, for the past ten years I've provided the full dialling codes from the USA to everyone back home).  The other one is "Look out for your b-day present, I sure hope I managed to get the address and the postage right."  Predictably, every year the alleged present doesn't turn up.

Now, I don't really care about the present at all.  It's the lame excuse and the lack of effort that gets my back up.  My sister attended an Ivy League university, and holds a high-level position in a PR company.  This is not a woman who doesn't know how to dial a telephone number or send a package by airmail.  She is not one of these hopelessly disorganized types either.  In fact, I am probably more disorganized than she is, and I still managed to order her birthday present (an iPod) and get it to her on time, despite being overseas.

I'm tempted to send her an email that says, "Hey, that birthday present you mentioned still hasn't shown up.  Which address did you send it to?  I'm wondering if I need to pay my neighbors a visit to see if they got it by mistake."  Incidentally, my birthday was five weeks ago.

Your story and mine could be the same with age and a few details the only differences.  I struggled with how to deal with the one-sided nature of the relationship for years.  I realized that the only person I could change was me.  The person I have to live with every day is me.  So I decided to be true to my nature, and to do that which made me happiest within myself.  That was to continue to treat my sister as a loved person even if it means I never get an acknowledgement.  So, I write, send gifts, and call.  None have been acknowledged in two years.  My mom got involved a month ago, because sis has been telling her that I don't communicate with her.  And of course, I have been telling mom that sis isn't communicating with me.  Mom got irritated, and said one of us better grow up and start talking to the other.  So I gathered up all of the shipping info for packages I have sent, "sent" e-mail headers and highlighted all of the phone calls to her # for the last two years and copied it to my mom, and told her one us of has been talking and that was the last I was going to say on the subject.  I know that was a petty thing to do; I was tired of being made out to be a liar. Now sis isn't talking to mom either.  It goes without saying, that that isn't what I wanted. I think you have to do what you feel you can be comfortable with.  And understand that you may never understand what is going on in your sister's head.

Minmom3

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2006, 09:43:08 AM »
I'm tempted to send her an email that says, ..... 

Send her an email that says, "Why do you bother with the same tired old BS every year?  I don't really care if you get me a gift or not, but your constant excuses are offensive.  Let's be civil to each other when we see each other, and not pretend to anything more, because you have made it more than obvious that anything more than that is too much effort for you to bother with, and I'm fine with that."
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BurninDinner

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2006, 11:14:50 AM »
I don't get it.  Why do you still send her nice stuff like an iPod?  Mail her a card and be done with it.  I really wouldn't exert all this effort to maintain the facade of a relationship with someone else who does not.

Gambitgirl

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2006, 12:24:17 PM »
I would not bother asking about the gift. My older sister, who is the "black sheep" of the family for her year of manipulation, rudeness, and downright evil behavior stopped giving me or my other sister b-day gifts, and our parent's mother's and father's day gifts a few years ago. But she always sends an email about a week after the date to say "expectto see your gift arrive in the mail soon," and it never does. There's not point in confronting her on it, it would just open the door to one of her classic rants about how she's soooooo broke, and has such a haaaaard time caring for her kids, and we just will neeeeeever understand how hard she has it.

Nevermind, about the gift, it's the empty email promises she sends to try and cover her rear end. She can never tell the truth about anything, even as simple as "I decided not to send a gift this year b/c I am having financial troubles" or whatever. It's always lie, lie, lie, so I gave up expecting her to behave any differently and quit torturing myself over how she acts b/c I couldn't change her, only how I reacted to her totally predcitable and mean behavior.

I send her a gift cert for her b-day b/c it's the appropriate thing to do, and I don't waste energy anymore worrying over her blowing off my b-day gift. Honestly, the less she acknowledges me the better these days.

Of course, if I did not send her a gift I'm sure she would complain...THAT would be when I would bring up her not sending me a gift for my last b-day. But I'm not going to instigate the conversation as it would undoubtably be unpleasant and honeslty,I don't have the energy or desire to talk to her about it. I prefer to fly under her radar and engage with her as little as possible...it's saved me a lot of grief. You might want to try that, and take advantage of being more mature than her and just ignore her behavior as much as you can. Downright rudeness to your face should be addresed (like during your visit with your fiance) but this sort of juvenille passive-aggressive ive snub isn't worthy of your attention.

Just my 2 cents :)

*edited for typos*
« Last Edit: December 11, 2006, 12:30:15 PM by Gambitgirl »

PoisonIvy

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2006, 01:33:36 PM »
Wow, I'm wondering if I'm related to several of you here.  I'm having major deja vu reading some of these replies.  And I apologize for not responding very quickly, I've been at work so I've found it necessary to abandon ship mid-reply a few times.

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Nevermind, about the gift, it's the empty email promises she sends to try and cover her rear end. She can never tell the truth about anything, even as simple as "I decided not to send a gift this year b/c I am having financial troubles" or whatever.

This is EXACTLY what I mean. 

I mean, I am no angel at all. I was a rubbish older sis, but I pretty much grew out of it in our teens.  I've tried to make up for my childhood bad behavior (hence making a big deal out of her birthday and buying her a gift I knew she'd love - the iPod, which incidentally she seemed blown away by), but honestly, we were KIDS.  Siblings argue with each other, but we weren't candidates for Supernanny or anything.  It's not like I beat her up, locked her in the cellar, stole her boyfriends and told her she was ugly.  My "cruelty" was mainly due to my not letting her borrow my clothes (she'd always return them covered in oil or pizza sauce) or not letting her choose the radio station when I was driving.  Really petty stuff like that.  Incidentally, the family always viewed me as the black sheep because I was older (er, by one year) and therefore "should know better".

I'm not the only one in the family she has a problem with though.  She hasn't spoken to our mother or maternal grandmother in seven years.  Both are recovering alcoholics, which is the reason she always gives, but she stopped speaking to them even before the drinking problems became apparent.  Grandmother had a stroke when I was home visiting (she's okay now) but when I told my sister about it she said, "I'm coming home again for a visit in two weeks, I'll visit her if she's still in the hospital."   I think the rest of us, quite simply, aren't good enough for her.



PoisonIvy

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2006, 01:39:27 PM »
That's terrible that she treated you so horribly when you brought your fiance around for the first time!

Ah, she didn't realize that I had him with me.  We were on the phone and he was in the room, and she was shouting so loudly on the other end that he could hear her!  My crime?  She was having a busy and stressful week, so I offered to take her dog to the vet for her.  Apparently that's me accusing her of not taking care of her dog properly. 

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Or trip her up by telling her how much you liked the lovely gift

I nearly did just that!

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"Why do you bother with the same tired old BS every year?  I don't really care if you get me a gift or not, but your constant excuses are offensive.  Let's be civil to each other when we see each other, and not pretend to anything more, because you have made it more than obvious that anything more than that is too much effort for you to bother with, and I'm fine with that."

...and that.  So many choices....

Texas Mom

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Re: Why bother mentioning it?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2006, 01:56:53 PM »
In fact, I am probably more disorganized than she is, and I still managed to order her birthday present (an iPod) and get it to her on time, despite being overseas.

Why do you keep sending her gifts when she doesn't reciprocate?

If she sends you an e-card for your BD, do the same for her!

I wouldn't say a word to her about your "missing gift."  Just stop doing what you've done in the past.  If she says something about it, just tell her "it wasn't possible" to send her anything.