I have one sister five years younger. We have never been close although there were times that we had a good relationship. She has made bad choices in life with money and her husband who divorced her and her two sons have disappointed her. She has harbored a deep jealously of me for years and it came to the point that I broke all contact with her after our mothers death. Our dad died suddenly when she was eleven.
The DD who lives nearby maintains a close relationship with my DS even spending Christmas eve with her although DD knows how she feels about me and the years of hurt she has caused. This Christmas DS wrote about her childhood and copied pictures to go with the stories. She gave a very thick copy of this to my DD and her almost adult children plus to sisters two sons and their children, including two college age daughters and two younger sons.
DS told my daughter that she could show the book anyone but me. DD asked me to look at it before she continued to read it knowing that her aunt is not reliable when she tells a story or a memory etc. She expands the tale or totally lies about it.
So I pick up the book. I begin reading and immediately see errors in the history of the family. As I read I can see that about ten percent is accurate. Anywhere my name comes up I am slammed with very negative comments. There are many comments made about people that should not have been make to others about long dead people who they are not even related to. But then I skip to near the end.
This story tells things about me and our marriage that I have not repeated to anyone but maybe three people in fifty years. Here it is in black and white and given to teen age and younger children. My sister does not do anything like this without calculating the effect on me.
We have lots of cousins and some I have been very close to and now she has also befriended them. That sounds innocent but I am sure there is a plan behind it. I feel like I should just pull away from them too so I won't be the subject of conversations.
I brought the book in the house that night and opened it to read after DGS appears with what appears to be strep throat. DH could not get the tv to come on and a repair man had to come the next morning. The next morning my keyboard would not work. DS has problems with machinery in his barns. I take the book back as I felt the devil had walked in with the book.
I know DS is only jealous but that doesn't stop the pain. After listening to a minister on tv last night I have forgiven her again. Just avoiding as I have for years now does nothing to stop her. Any thoughts?
I am so sorry you are having to go through such a hurtful situation. Though I know you are joking (?) about the devil coming in your door, there are negative energies that I do believe vibrate or permeate our surroundings, if we let them.
This is why some cultures take the step of smudging with sage or other cleansing herbs, or having a home blessed. Frankly, this was one of the main reasons why I elected to spend the money to build and equip a fairly complex farm office - also, to have a backup residence after an emergency - but, my first inclination was to keep adversarial people out of our family living space.
I had had a nasty serviceman stand in my kitchen, and take a ripe pear out of the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter, without asking. I cannot tell you what a wash of hatred went over me when he did that, and it was then when I set my mind to keep such characters out of our home. It was a very good decision
So, you know how I see these things now...your situation is different, due to the family connection, but similar, because there are toxic elements to this relationship. There is a saying that lawyers use, that farmers well comprehend: Don't get down in the mud to wrestle with a pig. It only soils you, and amuses the pig.
I would ignore her, which will drive her insane(R???) Truly close family will see the lies for what they are, and the rest don't really matter. You have learned that she will violate any confidence.
I would be careful about sharing things of a sensitive nature with your daughter, who for some reason has divided loyalties. (BTW, I had an aunt like this, who was always trying to drive a wedge beteween my mother and us three girls...it gave her a rush to do it. We eventually saw it for what ti was, and your daughter will, too, someday.) Don't be standoffish to your own child, but don't offer her anything that your sister would like to know, which is anything remotely negative about you and yours.
No one in a family appreciates the airing of dirty laundry. Everyone close to the two of you will know that she is deluded and just seeking attention. If you react, she gets what she wants, and she "wins."
The only possible exception I would make is for your daughter, who violated her aunt's confidence, by showing the book to you, against her express instructions. I am sure she doubts that her aunt was the victim I am certain that she portrayed herself to be (in your words, copied, . knowing that her aunt is not reliable.) The way her life turned out could not, of course, be HER fault.
For her, I might answer specific questions, ones she directly poses. Don't try a blanket denial. After some point, all history is "he said, she said" anyway.
I would prepare a stock answer, in case anyone else who has read it asks. I am thinking the right kind of reply lies somewhere along the lines of "Everyone has their own point of view...you have to consider the source."
Then drop it, change the subject, do not engage. Get up and leave if someone persists.
You maintain your dignity and power over the situation, as long as you don't start mud-wrestling that pig.
Our siblings can be our best friends and worst nightmare; Rarely do they fall somewhere in the neutral areas between those extremes. They pretend to have our best interests at heart and turn right around and show cleaerly how it is still all about them.
I don't know about most people but I would not choose my siblings to be my best friends. I love them and respect thembut have very little in common with them. In fact we each have such a different perspective on our parents and child hood that sometimees I wonder if we really grew up in the same house.
With all that said, maybe that is all that needs to be said. Seems to me that your sidter has some baggage from her bad choices and chooses to try to elevate herself by creating tension between you and your daughter and distributing embarrassing or upsetting tales to other family members. It is so obvious that she is trying to bring you downin such an immature and sick way. If it was anyone bbut your sibling and anything but your life we are talking about here, it was be sad and pathetic.Bugt because it is your life, it is frustrating and hurtful.
A dear mentor colleague recently advised me in a similar situation that I had a repsponsibilty to do two things:
1. Pray for the person perpetuating the bad blood
2. Be OPEN to the possibility of a reconciliation.
I respect the advice of this person. I noted that he didn't tell me to ignore the offening person or confront them or "do" anythingdirectly connected to the person. He just advised me to beopen in the event that the person genuinely had a change of heart and behavior in their lifetime.
I don't think I could offer any advice that could surpass that.
I am so happy that she is not my DS! I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I've met you and know that you are not that kind of a person. I feel that most of your relatives know you are not the kind of person your sister wrote about. I think that Kay's advice was very good. I'd give specific answers to your children or grand childrens's direct questions. The deserve to know your side. Anyone else should probably get the "pat answer". Best of luck and prayers for understanding. Too bad you don't have a powerwasher to go grab to take "it" out on.
Wow, a power washer would just be the right thing. I have used those and know that would do the trick.
It is very comforting to read your comments and know you understand! Thank you.
Anytime I am really aggravated with someone, I try to get about doing something that involves cleaning or yardwork. The energy involved in the emotion makes for a lot getting done!
One thing I forgot to say yesterday, which I thought about as I edited my reply this morning (GS got here before I got to spell check yesterday), is that you are not supposed to have seen this book.
It is simple to go with that, if anyone asks..."Oh? She wrote a book?" That limits the discussion of it pretty easily.
Yes that was said, don't show it to you mom, but I really believe she wrote it so I would hear about it because that is how she thinks. This is just one incident. Knowing that others understand how how betrayed I feel will let me but this away soon.
Studies show that siblings are not nearly as loving as families would like to think, in most cases. We tend to judge ourselves harshly when we aren't wildly in love with our sibs...but, think about Cain and Abel.
Thanks friends, I am feeling much better after your concern and advice.