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My sister's attitude toward me (journal excerpt)

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by NolaGal, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. NolaGal

    NolaGal Peer Supporter

    This is about half of a journal entry I just wrote. My sister is three years younger and my only sibling. She was the more outgoing one growing up, and I was afraid to do anything wrong or make any waves. I "ruined my life" (my parents' words) by getting married when I was twenty, and she finished college and did everything right. Even as kids we got along very well and still do, for the most part. We have a lot of fun together most of the time...

    My second husband was a bit obnoxious and desperate to be liked, so he tried too hard. My sister met her future husband around the same time and he is the most chilled-out person I know (at least on the surface). He is "Mr. Calm", and she went from being rather high-spirited most of the time to being "Mrs. Calm".

    After my second divorce I lived with my sister and brother-in-law for a couple of years. I was going through a rough patch and really looked up to both of them. (He has a Ph.D. and she was working in corporate America by that time, so they had it "all together".) She started going to meditation classes to deal with the stress of her job, and eventually became a Buddhist, therefore even more "calm and stable", especially in comparison to me. I had three different boyfriends over the course of that time, which was my one and only "wild phase". I was in my early thirties, and finally starting to learn who I actually was.

    Fast forward a few years and I've been married for over five years now to the most AMAZING guy in the universe. I do creative work that I love and make decent money doing it (although it still scares me pretty often and I self-sabotage a lot. Slowly working on that!) We live 500 miles from our families, but go back and visit several times a year. I love my sister but I still feel like I'm the "flighty, silly, oh-that's-just-_________". I feel like they "smile and nod" a lot when I talk about something I'm enthusiastic about. I just told them about TMS on a recent visit, and left "The Mindbody Prescription" sitting in their living room for a week. I know no one even picked it up because it sat in the same position and someone had put something on top of it. My brother-in-law has quite a few pain issues and he was raised by hippies so I thought he might at least look into it. I just feel like their attitude toward me is "kind condescension". They are both very kind people, but I feel like they're never going to take me seriously.

    When I started playing violin a couple of years ago, my sister never really wanted to hear me play (and I'm not THAT bad, lol!), and it felt like they were chalking it up to "just another of _____'s silly hobbies". She just recently took up an instrument and she's very excited about it, wanting to talk about it all the time, which I'm fine with. She would've never had the patience to listen to me talk about music before she was interested in it herself. She also has this way of cutting me off when I'm trying to make funny small talk (the same type of joking that she does herself WHEN she is in the mood). She'll dismiss a comment or observation of mine with something like "yep, people are strange", like that's supposed to be the end of it, instead of getting into a stupid/fun conversation like she does at other times. We really do have a lot of fun when we're together, but sometimes she'll just "decide" that I'm talking too much or "making her tired".

    Earlier this year we were in the grocery store trying to figure out what to make for an extended family dinner (to suit everyone's various allergies/preferences). Everything was fine for awhile and then I made a suggestion about something and she just acted like she was completely "over it" - closing her eyes, sighing, etc. I looked her square in the face and said, not unkindly but a little bit forcefully "I'm not. doing. anything. wrong". She totally backed off and then apologized on the way to the car, saying she had just been overwhelmed by the crowd and all the decisions.

    At a high school friend's birthday party back in the summer my sister semi-playfully grabbed my beer from me (my ONE beer all night, I might add) and said something about me talking too loud. It was a loud restaurant and I was trying to talk to a friend down the table, and I was FAR from the loudest one of our group. It was just so belittling! I took my beer back, gave her "the look" (passed down from our mom, lol!) and she muttered something about "just kidding". She just seems to do this sort of thing out of the blue, too. Everything is fine most of the time, and then she gets all "better/more responsible than thou" all of a sudden.

    It hurts me when she does this, especially because she's not like that all the time. It's like we're "equals" until she decides to treat me like an irresponsible child. I'm sure it's something that's going on inside of her. Maybe she's jealous that I'm living out my dreams and she has to still punch a corporate clock. She actually has a theatre degree and acted/directed professionally her first few years out of college. I wonder if she wishes she could still do that and is afraid to go back into it. I don't know but I wish I could "exorcise" whatever it is that makes her do this. I'm also thinking it might be the way her husband acts toward her sometimes. He's so "calm" but I once witnessed him have his quiet version of a meltdown where he suddenly got really rude, wanted to be alone and not talk to anyone for several hours. I wonder if that sort of thing has rubbed off on her.

    I guess all I can do is have fun with her/them and not let myself be treated like a child when that sort of thing comes up.
    Ellen likes this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I always enjoy reading your journal entries. They are poignant, honest, and insightful and generate an emotional response in me.

    I admire how you were able to respond to your sister with "I'm not doing. anything. wrong." Being honest in the moment is so hard for me and requires great courage. Of course, you have to have the awareness to realize that you're not doing anything wrong, and it usually takes me a few days and journalling before I can see that. My default setting is that I'm usually doing something wrong--the guilty child.
    NolaGal likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    NolaGal, a wonderful journaling and thanks for sharing it. Your husband sounds great and you're handling your sister real well.
    I can see love all around everywhere in your life. Embrace that.

    Nothing's perfect. Except my dog Annie.
    NolaGal likes this.
  4. NolaGal

    NolaGal Peer Supporter

    Oh Ellen - believe me, I've had a million "I should've said____" moments AFTER the fact ;-) Thanks for the response!

    Walt, I'm glad your dog is perfect. My cats certainly aren't (but I wouldn't trade them for anything!)
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Cats have a way of being self-reliant. I get a kick out of that.
  6. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    Yes, it sounds like you are handling the situation well- sticking up for yourself when it's called for and still being able to have a good relationship.

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