The Sister I Don’t Love

Hi Guys. CJ here. I still need to identify myself before each post so that people don’t think that Craig has gone “all girly” over night. Hope you’re well and surviving the Christmas lunacy. On with the show (as you-know-who says)…

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Have I ever mentioned to you that I’m a middle child? Only about twenty or thirty times, huh? Clearly I have no issues about it at all ;) Being the Jan Brady of my family presents some challenges. One of them is called Marcia (for today). Let’s just say that our relationship is a little strained. Actually, we don’t have a relationship; I haven’t spoken to Marcia for about four years. Nup. Not a phone call, birthday card, Christmas card: nothing.

Farewell Dutch Nana

Prior to December 2005, I can’t remember having any contact with Marcia for at least three or four years. Then, as often happens, a funeral forced all the dispersed members of my family including uncles, aunts and twenty or so I-wouldn’t-be-able-to-recognise-you-in-a-police-line-up cousins to converge on a little town to say goodbye to a very strong and unique woman: my dear Nana.

The morning of the funeral, Cindy (younger sister) and I were running uncharacteristically late as we drove around in circles peering through the mist, struggling to find the church which I had assured Cindy I could easily locate, having been there once for my Opa’s funeral over ten years earlier. It seemed somehow appropriate that it was a cold, foggy, and gothically gloomy day, even though it was the middle of an Australian summer. Sunshine always seems so insensitive and unsympathetic at a funeral. Maybe God really is Catholic. Or maybe He just likes my Nana.

When we eventually stumbled upon the church, we had to sheepishly scurry down the aisle like two late schoolgirls to where our parents were sitting with Marcia in the front row. I found the funeral upsetting and bizarre, not only because of the unfamiliar Catholic ‘bells and smells’ but because my Nana and I have exactly the same name. Hearing my name being repeatedly put to rest throughout the service was like witnessing a strange and disturbing preview of my own funeral. Very disconcerting.

Do I Know You? Oh, That’s Right, You’re My Sister

It wasn’t until much later during the wake (Why is it called that? It’s not as if the guest-of-honour is expected to ‘wake’ up, is it?  Although, I suppose ‘after-party’ doesn’t really fit either.) that Marcia and I found ourselves next to each other:

CJ:       How are you?
MB:     Good. You?
CJ:       Fine, thanks, but sad about Nana.
MB:     Yep.

 (awkward silence)

Cousin Anthony (calling):  Can everyone come over here for a cousin photo?

CJ:       We’d better …
MB:     Yep.

So that was it. That was our most lengthy, heart-felt, sisterly conversation for the past eight years. Geez, I’m glad I don’t have to write a three-hour script based on that little interaction.

But Why?

You’re probably wondering ‘What the hell happened?’ to make two sisters so estranged. I wish I could recount an exciting and dramatic tale involving lies, deceit and betrayal – perhaps a controversial and divisive will from a distant aunt or even a soap-opera-style love triangle. It would be a lot more interesting and easier for you to understand than the tediously honest explanation:

We just don’t like each other. At all. And we never have.

When I was little, I often imagined that Marcia and I were not actually sisters, that there had been a tragic mix-up at the hospital when I was born and that one day my ‘real’ family would come to collect me. Do you think maybe it’s time to let go of that particular fantasy? Yes, Marcia and I have the same parents – just as indisputably as Cindy and I have the same parents. But that’s our only connection.

I have simply always known that she didn’t like me. There was no specific point of realisation or tragic event which illustrated the lack of expected sisterly love. If you were to ask someone to pinpoint when they realised they were human, or when they learnt their own name you would get the same response – they’ve just always known.

Sometimes our mutual contempt would erupt into savage warfare – especially during the tumultuous teenage period – but mostly the years have passed in an unofficial truce of silent indifference and apathetic disconnection. We each get on with our lives in separate, parallel worlds with our parents being the only junction – and they have finally learnt to accept that two of their daughters are like strangers to each other.

The Rules

Our society sets some fairly rigid guidelines about who we are supposed to love. We are expected to love our parents, our siblings, our children and assorted relatives to appropriate degrees which are usually determined by their position on a hierarchy of closeness. Most of the time the love arrives exactly as anticipated and it is effortless, infinite and indestructible. Sometimes we don’t particularly like a family member or have anything in common with them but we can still recognise that we love them and that we will always be there for them. And, occasionally, we don’t like them or love them. It happens.

If I Try Really, Really Hard Could I Make Myself Love Her?

There are some rare moments, usually just after watching a schmaltzy Hollywood film, when I believe for an instant that it might be possible to force myself to love Marcia. Surely I could do this one small thing to make my parents happy? Surely I could manufacture some love through sheer strength of will? However, as many of us have learnt through painful experience, feelings are just feelings. Commanding our hearts to love someone because of pity, obligation or convenience is as pointless as watering a plant that died years ago and expecting its brittle branches to bloom.

Similarly, ordering our hearts to stop loving someone is futile – like trying to ‘unknow’ a secret told to us in error. If only it could be as easy as clicking ‘unfriend’ on Facebook to delete our love for the parents who can’t love us in return, the fruitless yet captivating lover, the apathetic partner or the toxic friend. Of course, just because we cannot stop loving someone does not mean that we have to volunteer to be their doormat. A toxic friend may need to be strategically ‘performance-managed out of the organisation’ even though our heart may scream ‘No!’.

Can’t I Just Pretend?

Sometimes I feel guilty that even if I cannot actually love Marcia, I haven’t made more of an effort to pretend that I do. I don’t hate her (I don’t hate anyone, frankly) and I’m sure that she must have some good characteristics that I have been blind to. Perhaps I’m being childish and lazy? But then I recall the ferocity and bitterness of our arguments; the lack of any common ground and the painful awkwardness of our parents stuck in the middle. Oh, and the fact that she hates my guts. It may be a cop-out but some things are just better left alone.

Besides, we are all struggling nowadays to spend enough time with the people we do love. One cool thing about being a grown-up is that we are allowed to choose our friends – the people with whom we connect and hang out with. I would rather share my precious time, mediocre cooking and limited repertoire of amusing stories with the people I genuinely, effortlessly love than with those whom the ‘rules’ stipulate I should.

Free to a Good Home: One Sister, Barely Used

So there it is. I probably won’t see Marcia again until the next funeral – which could take some time given that we have now run out of grandparents. I’m ok with that, really.

So this is where you come in; to offer a little perspective and wisdom. Or maybe just an honest opinion. I would value and appreciate your responses to some (or all) of these questions:

1. Is there something wrong with me for not loving my own sister? 

2. Is it okay that we don’t love a sibling (or other family member) or is there some kind of biblical, emotional or sociological rule that I don’t know about. You know; the one that says we go to hell if we don’t love our sister. Oh shit. 

3. Can we ‘will’ ourselves to love a particular person? Do we need to have the ‘feeling’ (of love) or can it just be a choice we make? That is, love without the normal (expected) emotions.

4. Should we love people because “we’re meant to”, or should we love them because we want to?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

 CJ xox

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Cdn friend December 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Wow CJ. I admire your courage and openess to talk about this.

I have an estranged brother – we haven’t spoken in about 20 years. But there was some drama regarding our abusive parents, so I can’t say it’s because I just don’t like him. My thoughts:

1. There is nothing wrong with you
2. You’re not going to hell over this
3. If you want to love someone, I believe love is a choice and doesn’t have to be something you “feel”. I choose to love my estranged parents but I don’t have feelings for them.
4. You are the only one who can decide whether to love someone or not. No one is walking in your shoes but you :)

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Anonymous February 16, 2013 at 5:44 am

You cant ‘love’ someone if you dont have feelings for them. So your statement doesnt make sense at all. If you have no feelings for your parents then you simply dont love them.

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Lightening December 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

You raise some interesting points there. I’ve always felt I have to “love” one of my brothers who has always hated my guts (to the extent he made it clear to all and sundry once I’d moved out I was no longer part of the family, and told some horrible made up nasty stories at my wedding to anyone who would listen – me, issues? Ummm…yeah). Anyway, we live miles apart which suits me fine. The thing is, he now has kids and it’s not there fault they were born in his family. And I DO love them. So I make an effort for the sake of that relationship.

I think as far as family goes, love does go deeper than emotions. It’s a connection you can’t sever. But, does that mean you have to use up time and energy on those relationships? Dunno.

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anika December 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

C.J I tend to agree with cdn. My brother and I were both adopted, before mum and dad had a child of their own. Although we are not related I still feel guilty for not loving my brother. Even as children I didn’t like him very much. He is an alcoholic and caused much pain and anguish to me and my family. I feel enormously sorry for him as a human being who is fighting so many demons in his life. Mum and dad have just recently passed on and now I feel pressured to be nicer to him and include him in our life more. But I am not because, at this age I choose positive people to be in my life. It is a difficult dilemma.

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Michael December 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Once again we have the new age do gooders who rant that we will all get heart attacks if we don’t forgive.

I am estranged from my brother and my ex mate. They, along with some b***h who bullied me at work destroyed my life.

You can’t stop loving someone. That’s stupid. So many rant on you have to let go before good things or someone else comes along. Crap. I let go so where is the new partner?

No if you don’t see people until the next disaster so be it.

You cannot be forced to love someone.
You cannot be forced to unlove someone.
You cannot build a bridge and get over it if you ain’t ready or willing.

I hope this does not undo all the wonderful months of blogs Craig has put up challenging us to forgive etc. It’s all good, it’s just my view.

CJ, you do what you want. We can hold onto anger and be told by billions of people it’s not good for our health and we will grow old and bitter. Well tough if that’s what is to be that’s to be.

1. Is there something wrong with me for not loving my own sister?
NO NO NO AND NO

2. Is it okay that we don’t love a sibling (or other family member) or is there some kind of biblical, emotional or sociological rule that I don’t know about. You know; the one that says we go to hell if we don’t love our sister. Oh shit.

It is OK for sure

3. Can we ‘will’ ourselves to love a particular person? Do we need to have the ‘feeling’ (of love) or can it just be a choice we make? That is, love without the normal (expected) emotions.

No. It can be a choice if we love someone and they don’t love us back, but basically we cannot love or like or dislike anyone even if we are on the torture rack.

4. Should we love people because “we’re meant to”, or should we love them because we want to?

The latter, there is no meant to be that’s all crap.

Sorry CJ I’m very passonate about this issue, I am NOT saying I am the authority and I am right but as usual Craig and you hit the exact issue I need at the exact moment so there is my view :)

As for Craig going girly aside from army shorts he is anything but ;)

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USAmerican December 17, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I dont think anything’s wrong with you. You can’t force love, love is an action, and if you think by loving this person somehow you’ll be living right by your family, you’re actually sowing the seeds for the destruction of your family. Because you feel pressured by social norms to love your sister unconditionally doesn’t mean you have to abide by those rules. In the end, do what’s right for you, and from what you said, it would be limiting your exposure to your sister.

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Suza December 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Friends are the family you choose. Invest your emotional energy (love) where it will give you the best return (for you).

xx

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Ben Tydeaz March 19, 2012 at 4:51 am

Best comment I’ve read so far.

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Anonymous August 4, 2012 at 5:33 am

I call them “framily.”

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Kate December 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Wow, interesting.. I am also a middle child or rather share the middle with my sister.. I have 3 brothers and two sisters.. so the names you used today are probably very relevant..

My mothers goal was to make sure we were all very close.. so when I ‘was’ different to my older sister ie I really like boys, she really liked degrees it was just weird… I wont go into too much detail but basically I moved away from them 5 yrs ago and in that time they have come to see me say three times and that is not all members however we are really close and hence all their parterns blah all get along so well… So well infact that I attended three weddings of my siblings in the past two years and the crowd BAR The guys side of the family was the same friends included… There iS NOTHING Wrong with you for not loving your own sister… I dont think MY mum really loved me as much as my other sisters growing up actually I am sure of this.. but I do understand just because you are born under the same roof does not mean you have to love each other.

q2 a/a

3. I believe you can actually love almost anyone as there is always something to love ,.. but love takes effort and time and we have to live our own lives as well (took me ages to and am still working on saying NO to family)

3. Can we ‘will’ ourselves to love a particular person? Do we need to have the ‘feeling’ (of love) or can it just be a choice we make? That is, love without the normal (expected) emotions.
4. We should love people because we want to.. I dont think you can truly love unless it is a choice as you would become resentful..

Well timing is impeccable cancelled seeing my older sister this Sunday for her bday considering I just spent two nights for the past 3 weeks with family (I do love them and dont know what life would be like without them 6 kids, eight years in difference)….and hey my older brother just handed me the book..’sperm are from men, eggs are from women, the REAL reason we are different, blunt as my family

Anyway after saying NO i then felt so guilty I called back and said yes now I am resentful and time poor… WOW i need to change yet again.. but it hurts my heart….

I sympathise with you CJ but honestly there are some members from my family that in my heart I dont love…. and others like my little sister where I would give my own life

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Jane December 17, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Of course, just because we cannot stop loving someone does not mean that we have to volunteer to be their doormat. A toxic friend may need to be strategically ‘performance-managed out of the organisation’ even though our heart may scream ‘No!’. Wow .. this REALLY resonated with me… but not for family reasons… now.. back to family….you can choose your friends but you cant choose your family…
I know as a middle sister I have done some absolutely sh!tful things that have hurt my siblings…. for which I am deeply sorry..
But, for me… bottom line is… just as with my children… I dont always like what my brothers and sister do… and I sure as know they dont like what I say or do……. but I will always love them… and them me… we are family. I guess your perspective is a bit difficult for me to understand because of the family I came from..
you said CJ that ‘Marcia’ said, she hates your guts… I wonder why or how long ago.. or if things have been the ‘norm’ for so long that neither of you know how to change that.
Imagine if she was a client coming in for some personal training… how would you relate to her… and her to you???

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lisa December 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Since you are younger than Marcia, in the beginning you were a tiny, innocent little baby who was the unfortunate recipient of Marcia’s bad energy. How could you love that?

with love, from another middle girl

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Joy December 18, 2009 at 12:20 am

This is timely for me. I recently tried to reconnect with a brother who, being 10 years older than me, I’d never really got on with. It was not great. He took every word I wrote as an insult, though I was, I thought, being friendly. He was angry, furious, he said, at my vitriol. I am the black sheep of the family, having been disowned by my mother for not taking her abuse, and ignored by my oldest brother. It’s not a surprise, but it is hurtful, and it’s difficult to reconcile with the typical ideal of family. I feel like a failure for not making it work, but I’m not prepared, anymore, to be the person shoehorned into a position.

I doubt that this is uncommon. We just don’t speak about this, like we don’t talk about incest and we didn’t use to talk about depression. Funny how mental illness got free of those ties before family did.

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Pip December 18, 2009 at 12:26 am

To me that does sound a sad unfortunate situation.
Does Cindy get along with Marcia?

I wonder if Marcia is a person who distanced herself from your family for reasons of her own but was being particularly offhand to you because you were the next youngest.

I would suggest if Marcia has done something totally vile to you or your family or was/is in a dangerous cult or similar you are scared of then maybe she’s best left alone.

Otherwise if it’s just dislike but no major arguments since you were teens or early 20′s I think it would be cool to knock her socks off in 2010 and send her either a Christmas or birthday card. Just one or two sentences very casually wishing her a good Christmas/birthday/year ahead or something similar, – not an invite to be best friends or have a huge catch up or anything. If you get nothing in return you do know you you have at least done something she wouldn’t have expected. Then do it again in 2011. If close love/agreeing on things is definitely out of the question, being a little civil to each other could be nice if you think there is a slight possibility you could be. You may be still not able to like each other but be civil and just a teeny bit more of a relationship.

If you feel that is totally out of the question I do feel sad for you there.

All the best,
Pip :-)

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Kim December 18, 2009 at 2:34 am

I’ve never commented here before, but somehow this discussion has hit the right button for me. I find myself questioning my own beliefs and the expectations I have lived under all my life.

Is it wrong for a sibling not to love a sibling? No, I don’t think so.
What about a child not loving a parent? I think that’s ok, too.
What about a parent not loving a child? That one’s harder for me.

The past few weeks I have felt much pressure from my family to have kids of my own. I’m not ready for it, but my parents and in-laws have made it very clear that they expect it. I’m afraid I won’t love my children- that I will resent them. If it’s ok for siblings to not love or even like each other, and for children to not love or like their parents, is it ok for a parent to not like their child?

Thank you CJ for sharing something about yourself that I would find difficult to admit. You are helping me to ask myself the hard questions and to realize that it’s ok if I don’t have the feelings that society expects.

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CdnKali December 18, 2009 at 3:07 am

CJ, thank you for writing this. I had this VERY SAME conversation with a bewildered friend last night. He couldn’t believe that I have no interest whatsoever in building a relationship with my half-sister.

I grew up 4,000 miles away from her. In the short time I have known her and lived in the same city, she has done nothing but make poor decisions… and been supported/enabled by MY family in doing so (while I didn’t get any support when I struggled). She’s likeable and pretty charismatic, but I wouldn’t say I love her. I think of her as sort of a distant cousin I met once at a family event. I wouldn’t be there for her if she needed help. I wouldn’t let her date any of my friends. You get my point. I don’t miss having that relationship in any way and I’m okay with that.

So, no, I don’t think you’re a bad person for not liking your sister. It’s good that you’re civil and indifferent, rather than being a drama queen about it. I think we love who we choose to love, but should never be forced into making any decisions about who and when. Why be around someone negative or toxic just because someone says you should? Screw that. This isn’t the 1950s and we’re grown women. We make our own decisions.

Good luck out there and know there is at least one person in Canada who supports you… and appreciates your lack of relationship with your sister.

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Andrea December 18, 2009 at 4:07 am

CJ, you are brave! The truth is this: we want to love everybody, especially our family. But even more than wanting to BE a loving person, I think deep down we want every single person we’ve ever met, and I mean EVERYONE, to love us back. And that, my friend, is impossible. In our efforts to be excellent human beings, we forget that we are human. I, for one, like your humanness!

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Patricia Singleton December 18, 2009 at 4:20 am

CJ, who made the rules that says we “have” to love all of our family members, even someone as close as a brother or sister? I know from my own childhood experiences of growing up in a home with incest and alcoholics that you can love and hate a person at the same time.

I don’t see feeling nothing for someone as something that needs forgiveness. I have had an issue with forgiveness in my own life because of the incest and alcoholism. I was able to forgive my abusers but only on my own time schedule and only after many years of being hurt and angry. I have never done forgiveness for the other person. I finally was able to let go of the hurt and rage only because I was the one being hurt by them. My abusers could care less if my hate and rage were hurting me or not.

I have never forced forgiveness onto others even though it works for me. Why? Because for years ministers and others tried forcing me to forgive my abusers and it just didn’t work. All it did for me was make me feel guilty because I couldn’t do it. Forgiveness didn’t come until I had let go of the hurt, hate and rage. Does forgiveness mean that I will never get angry, hateful or hurting again? I don’t think so. I still find myself feeling those things when some new memory comes up or when I dig deeper into the incest. What is different is that I now feel it all. I used to stuff all of those feelings into my body and into secret places of my mind and didn’t deal with them until the pressure cooker couldn’t hold any more steam. Then I would blow up all over my husband, myself and my kids. I rarely do that today.

Don’t feel guilty for whatever you feel. If love were as simple as a choice why would I still love the father and mother who abused me when I could do nothing about it? I don’t believe that love is ever that simple. It is a very complicated thing. I do the best that I can and let it go at that. Forgiveness isn’t a simple thing either and it isn’t for everyone. It is a choice that I couldn’t make for years.

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Vicki December 18, 2009 at 4:56 am

I am the Cindy of the family (well, youngest out of 6 kids!) and there’s a lot of torment amongst us… Our recent torment was over a stupid facebook issue which saw half my family de-facebook my husband over Britney Spears… and many de-facebook myself because I stood up for him (over Britney).

We are having our once-a-year family xmas catch up next week. Mum lives interstate and Dad is no longer with us. That leaves the kids to be as fake and destructive as they like. The eldest brother & sister think they are smart enough to take over the roles of 2IC, but unfortunately alcohol doesn’t always speak resolution.

I actually had to get professional counseling to prepare myself for it. I’ve never had counseling before. I already got myself in a twist before the day! Now there’s more family involved (nieces & nephews) the hatred is just spreading. And if there’s not hatred, there’s boredom & disgust hidden behind a tiny air of fakeness.

This year will especially be fun. I am now looking forward to it – because I know that they are all different to me, different in taste, opinion, thoughts, worldly thoughts, priorities, etc. I can’t expect them to change or be like me – that is what family is about. Friends have things in common – there is an “external” link that brings them together and they make the best of what they have with that connection (a school, other friends, work, music, etc) and build on that. But when it comes to family, it’s all emotional…internal.. It’s hard to separate that emotion because it’s too tightly linked! There is such thick history there that it has been used & abused deep in your past (and tossed around & used for blackmail, attention, lying, etc- where many traits were practiced by both parties and became a new learned behaviour) that it’s all been set in concrete. You’re going to have this sister forever.. so you can choose to have these feelings get worse, stay as they are.. or do something about it.

I have a sister that hates me. Well, that’s what I think. Maybe she doesn’t hate me – maybe I’m creating that hate, or when I sit with her, I give off so much “hatred” that it is resonating off her like fireworks. I personally think she’s a stuck up ****. In fact, so does my mother deep down (interesting conversation lol). She hates everything. Oh except Britney. and everyone else who loves Britney. Oh, and everything else that has it’s nose stuck up. And everything fashion. and Fake. and whatever she can grab “externally” to make herself look good and put herself above others in status and appearance. And if you’re not in her league (fake tan, latest clothes, britney loving, drinking, real wives of blah blah),you’re trash. No, she is not in her 20s. Or 30s.

At one xmas Family Day, I actually tried to talk to her. I sat with her and thought “I like you – you’re my sister!” and started a conversation. And she lasted 51 seconds.. yawned.. got up and said she has to get a drink. I tried…… So, it didn’t improve anything that day to “pretend” to like her, but I’m sure if I put the effort in over a whole year, things would be different at Christmas. I’m not talking facebook comments – that doesn’t do it. I’m talking personal one-on-one time, or personal emails asking how they are, birthday cards, etc – That’s what it takes for Step 1. I know it’s hard (especially because I can’t stand her and she treats me like absolute rubbish trash) – but someone has to make a difference. You can’t write a letter and “quit” being their sister. There needs to be a massive shift to the next level – yes, it is very hard to move to the next level (of love) because there is emotional history. To get past that emotional history won’t happen overnight – but it will happen (does that sound like an Ad???).

It starts with one person… why not make that person YOU. otherwise you could be waiting forever. You may get knocked back a few times, insulted, abused, embarrassed etc, but I think it’s worth the fight. BUT instead of having it an abusive fight.. because YOU won’t be fighting back, or becoming affected, it will have a different result.

It’s very inspirational, courageous, requires strength and stamina from the insides, but I know you can do it.

Whether you have 5 more funerals.. or none.. she is still your sister and I know she’s in your heart somewhere, even if it’s a flicker of hatred. You can’t have that in your heart – you need to deal with it. Even if it takes just one person to start the connection – that’s what the beginning of world peace is going to take. Do you believe in world peace – or are you one of these people that just says .. because it sounds good? World peace is not going to happen overnight also – but it is going to start with one side giving up the fight and making some damn fine moves towards recovery. It doesn’t mean the waring parties have to “love” each other, but it will be one step closer to creating peace.

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Suzanne December 18, 2009 at 5:51 am

Oh. My. Gawd. Imagine my surprise at reading the title of your posting. Then reading the “Marcia Marcia Marcia” line. And THEN reading about the Dutch Nana!!!!

Here’s why. I don’t like my sister. I do think that I love her but I simply don’t like her. Her name is Marcia. Really. Not kidding! I live in The Netherlands so the Dutch Nana thing is freaky.

My sister and I used to be friends. We are two years apart and shared a bedroom until our early teens. Yes there were major fights but we could get along when we wanted to and had lots of fun. That fun escalated in High School when we discovered how much fun it was to get drunk on the weekends. We carried that friendship through the years with many ups and downs–Mom and Dad’s divorce, her two weddings and divorces.

But my sister’s head has gone up the proverbial arse and in the last two years she has become impossibly egotistical and uppity. Our mom is 80 and has many problems but Marcia has chosen to ignore these problems and basically live her life as if Mom doesn’t exist. She doesn’t want to be bothered.

And for that I don’t like her anymore. In the past 10 years or so she has been very critical of any of us 4 kids regarding care of Mom and life in general. Now she is doing the very things of which she was critical of and worse as far as I can see. Mom just doesn’t exist anymore.

So wow yeah, I was interested to read that I am not the only one with a Marcia in my life. I don’t know if I will ever like Marcia again. It’s silly but I am dreading Mom’s funeral. One, for the obvious reason that my Mom is gone. Two, because Marcia will be all boo-hooing and I will just want to bitch-slap her. I am hopeful that they will clear this up before Mom leaves us but I am doubtful.

I will not be going to Hell (well OK I don’t really believe in that but if I did, I wouldn’t be) it’s HER that will be going to Hell (because she does believe in that). Don’t feel guity for not loving your sister, I don’t think there is any rule out there that says we must love any of our family. It sure is nice if a family loves one another but in the Real World, it just ain’t so.

Thanks for your posting, I enjoyed it.

Suzanne
An American in The Netherlands

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Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 8:49 am

Suzanne,

Maybe your sister hates your mom just like you hate her? I hate my sister because she does EVERYTHING to be noticed. If she allows someone to go first in line, we hear about it. She buys expensive gifts (almost to the point where people are uncomfortable) and tells everyone what to do, when to do it and how to do it. She is a know it all, bossy bitch and we haven’t spoken in years.

I think people can decide who to be close to and who to alienate. End of story,.

Cheryl

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ValentineM December 18, 2009 at 5:53 am

If your history with a person is either non-existant or comprised of a series of events that made you feel bad each time, it’s ok and probably even healthy to sever the relationship and move on.

Blood may be thicker than water, but experience is thicker than blood.

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tooltime December 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

I enjoy your messages, this one hit home, my brother was an only child. Our dad died in 1961, my brother still remembers what I got on my 8th birthday, he is still the smartest, tallest, best looking and up until a year ago thought that little brother was still his punching bag(verbally). I had put up with his self centered nonsense in the hopes of having a family, one day as dished out his crap I realized that he was toxic. If he could do or say anything to ruin my day he would.
Well, something snapped, I let him have it, I went so far as to tell him if wanted to settle anything, I would meet him any time, any place. Kind of childish. I now know that I never could stand this idiot, I put up with him because “that’s what you’re supposed to do”. My only regret is that I didn’t tell him off years ago and spare myself years of frusration. I don’t hate him, I just don’t care.

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Damian December 18, 2009 at 9:50 am

Wow Vicki, good luck with the Xmas do, sounds scary!

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Elizabeth December 18, 2009 at 10:29 am

CJ – wow. At least now I know that it isn’t just my family. None of us get along anymore. No “major” fight/argument – just too many hurt feelings and resentments.

It doesn’t help that our mother has a tendency to play favorites and seems to have a need to always be angry at one of us kids. I believe “Jan” realizes this, but I know “Cindy” doesn’t. Most of the time “Cindy” is our mother’s “buddy” and it is either Jan or I who end up being the subject of our mother’s anger…..

So not only do I not get along with my sisters, but my relationship with my mother is strained too.

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Kyles December 18, 2009 at 10:31 am

hi cj..
i think second siblings get it pretty rough from an “only child” sibling – who still wants to be an “only child”.. we come along and wreck their world!! of course there is resentment from them!!

My sister hated me all through our childhood.. I was the bane of her life!! there are other factors that made it worse.. but I will say – when we got to our late teens.. we hit it off.. and have grown to be best friends in our middle age!! but it was hard work.. and bumpy.. and we are still growing our relationship..

If she hadn’t given me that opening of acceptance in our teens.. i think what little connection we had would’ve died off… though i think I would’ve still loved her – she wasn’t a horrible person.. she just didn’t like me… had no tolerance for me.. but nothing really bad.. just no time or effort.

so..as far as love goes.. i think it depends on the degree of trauma in the childhood from that sibling.. if they were a really horrible person – how on earth could you love them… don’t blame you at all!!

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Charlotte December 18, 2009 at 10:32 am

Hi, Wow…

I believe you don’t have to completely love them, you just have to tolerate them to make peace for the whole family, it’s hard but that’s what works for me.

I’m the eldest, my baby sister, has hurt m by taking off with my first love, I didn’t speak with my sister for 4yrs, the thing that I found the hardest was the fact that she was someone very close to me & if you can’t trust your family who can you trust?
I have learnt to let go of the anger & hurt but will never forget, we are civil, we do catch up occassionaly but there is this huge barrier that will always be there.

I still care about her, still no that she is my flesh & blood, I do love her but the memory will always be there & I won’t allow her to get to close to me but just enough to get along to keep the peace…

Charlotte :)

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Kate December 18, 2009 at 10:35 am

HI tooltime, totally understand I did the same at 15 I told my mother that if she wanted it.. boy I would give it to her…wasnt really comfortable living there after that .. as for the abuse from my older brother well apparently this was all acceptable.. then One day I went back to visit at 26 andhe threw me to the ground (which Of couse didnt really happen) and I said that is illegal Mum Im calling the police. I held it together left and got into my car.. i was shacking like all hell.. I just wish it hadnt taken me so long to realise the fantasties its like my family is this one amazing bunch of people and then on the other hand so much crap..I forgive them all.. after all everyone is dysfunctional.. but maybe If I had realised this all earlier I wouldnt have been ‘fantastying’ about making my own ‘amazing’ family… time to move on …

and live ‘selfishly’

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Nat December 18, 2009 at 11:28 am

I never did understand my husband being estranged from his sister. I thought it was weird and terribly sad, but reading all the lengthy comments I now think maybe I’m the weird one. How lucky am I to be have a family who love and like each other and choose to be friends.

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Anon December 18, 2009 at 11:51 am

Hi CJ

I have a Marcia too, a complete know it all.We were close as teenagers but after she had children she became very verbally abusive to me and others. I put up with it for a while for the sake of our elderly father then started to stand up for myself. She then told all and sundry that I was “starting something” to get my hands on our fathers will which I have never had any interest in, and did a complete character assassination. After a period of very little communication for 2-3 years we then had a very strained relationship with her never missing a chance to make a snide remark about me or my friends, however this has improved considerably this year.
Observers from my extended family and in laws have all commented that she has problems and put it down to the fact she is very jealous of me and not happy in herself. She has problems with her in-laws and neighbours too but it is all their fault and apparently it is healthy to state your opinion and show anger!!
Watch the movie “In her shoes” very interesting look at the relationship between two very different sisters and how they grow to understand each other.

All the best

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Sybil December 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Wow. Thanks for the post CJ. It rings deep with me on many levels. I have a ‘Marcia’ in my life and I find it a very hard situation to understand. I’m not sure if something specific has happened over the years or if there just isn’t a connection – either way – I feel ok with just letting go and not pursuing the relationship. As the saying goes….we choose our friends, not our family.

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Marcia. S. December 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Hi CJ,
Yes, my name really is Marcia :) I am a middle child, one of six, we are all half brothers and sisters. I love all of them dearly although we are all very very different.
My problem is…I have an 11 year old stepdaughter from my husbands previous marriage, whom I am just expected to love. The thing is I don’t love her. I am expected to love my stepdaughter, but I don’t. I don’t feel guilty for it either. I only see her once a fortnight, so there is not a whole lot of time to do any bonding with her, especially as my husband takes her out to spend “quality” time with her. I have had arguments with my husband over this….he thinks i should love her because she is part of him. That makes no sense to me. Maybe as she gets older I might have more of a connection, but right now I definately have no love for her….. just strained friendship.

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MIchael December 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm

After reading this blog and what others have gone through I have not been so disponded and depressed about human nature as I have in all the months of reading this blog.

Tool with you there like my brother, he did the same thing and I don’t want to see him.

Family and Friends – depressing, maybe a desert island might be better.

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mike b December 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm

yo cj

I left my nuclear family and Maryland home just out of high school and have lived in Colorado with (and without) extended family for 30 years.

Reconnecting with my mom and my brothers has been sporadic — and strained — so I’ve learned to keep a soft heart towards them in spite of their indifference towards me…..

…and without expecting reunion or without browbeating myself for the mutual separation..

I also demure to friendly relationship suggestions, but quickly tell others if their family advice feels hollow — or shallow.

good luck

mike b
denver, colo

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Dodi December 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Wow, CJ. I too have a sister (and a mother, actually) whom I don’t love. It comes from my childhood where my mother always wondered what I did wrong if I came into the house (I was young…7-12 ish?) to complain about someone treating me badly or fighting with me, and from the song my sister used to sing to me where the only lyric was the word “ugly”. I can still hear it and I am well into adulthood. WELL.
Now of course they’ve seen the light and want to have a relationship, and I cannot do it. I have no feelings for these two people and I don’t want to put energy into having any. It would take a lot. I’ve talked to therapists about this and they say it’s OK. I sometimes get twinges of–I don’t know–guilt or something, but they are fleeting.
I have a wonderful family that consists of my husband, his family (who are more supportive and loving toward me than my own ever was) and my son and his wife. My biological family lives far away which makes it easier to maintain a non-relationship.
As for your questions:
There is nothing wrong with you. People are people, some are related by blood. Doesn’t mean we have to like or love them. Some personalities just don’t mix, and being blood related doesn’t guarantee that they will.
2. Guess I answered that one in #1. There is no unwritten rule that you automatically love a blood relative.
3. This one stumps me. I guess I never thought about it that way… as a choice or love without emotions. Doesn’t make sense to me.
4. Loving someone because you’re “meant” to seems like duty to me. I don’t think it’s necessary.
Looks like there’s a lot of this going around!
Thanks for another great post!

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Anonymous December 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm

sorry but i found this whole blog boring and abit annoyed that I had to listen to all this dumping about ones personal life.
Get on with the good stuff.

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Allyson December 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Your timing, my dear CJ, is astonishing!

Just this week I admitted, out loud, that I don’t love my sister – not to her, to my therapist. I don’t wish her harm, I don’t hate her, I truly hope she lives happily ever after – just not anywhere near me :)

I have some horrendous stories of her treatment towards me since we were little’uns – my parents, relatives and friends all give a myriad of reasons why she has treated me this way:
- she’s going through a phase (she’s 38 now …. *&^%ing long phase!)
- she’s jealous of you
- she smokes drugs
- she’s insecure
… and I could go on but I’ve come to realise that the only answer that seems to appoint blame where it needs to go is that she behaves badly towards me because she chooses to – END OF STORY!

And me being the little people pleaser, put everyone elses needs before my own, tolerator of shit behaviour because my self worth says that’s ok – has tried over the years to re-connect with her more times than most of us has gone through a pair of pantyhose – and each and every time – it just happens again.

Sadly we are the only two kids – I’ve always said that what I wanted for christmas was a sibling I actually liked :)

So I wholeheartedly support you in not loving your sister – we don’t HAVE to – love is a by-product of a supportive, respectful and loving relationship – not by virtue of blood lines or obligation.

Allyson x

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Anonymous December 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Im hearing ya CJ.
I am the middle child also. This yr i decided not to take crap from anyone anymore (saying NO aswell) as I am having a really hard time in my marriage and thought I’d try to better myself with counselling before wrking on the marriage.
Well this hasnt gone dwn well with the family as I will no longer tolerate ‘put downs’ and unsupportive people. Some of these people are my imediate family members and they cant understand whats going on. I am the ‘yes’ person & I always do anything for anyone…..now I have been accused of being depressed!

They have also been discussing me behind my back to friends & even my husband whom is a huge source of emotional pain for me at the moment. So via an arguement with a sibling I discovered all this…so much for communication in relationships especially my marriage!

I find myself questioning who taught me to be so flexible, nice and tolerable of people who really arent good people, blood or not!!

So this is at least teaching me something……to teach my children different. Dont allow people in your life that make you feel horrible, surround yourself with happy people that are good to you. And that may mean that some family members are out but so be it.

We choose happy healthy lives.
Now who wants to go to Bali for Christmas and not ‘have to’ tolerate the untolerable??

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Anonymous December 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Hey Anonymous comment at Dec 18 1.47pm,

Did someone hold a gun to your head? No?

Well then why continue reading the blog if you werent connecting with the first few lines of content?

I started reading it and thought CJ has been talking to my sister and read on eagerly. Thanks CJ loved it and only have the people YOU choose to have in your life. xx

Sisters are doing for themselves!

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Denise December 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

I understand completely but I dont see why you would put it on the internet knowing your sister would know who you are and who she is just by reading it.

I have a sister I dont speak to but would never publicly do that.

Anyway thats just me, dont like ‘em fine but no need for the public humiliation

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Denise December 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I read Craigs blog every day but that one was a bit wrong

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Gail December 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm

CJ I am the youngest of three i have spoken to my eldest brother in 6 years and couldnt care less. He sexually abused me when i was younger and has always hated me and there is no getting around that. I stood up to him and copped the beatings for it and i would gladly do it again as he was a bully and still is.

If he died i would probably shed a tear before dancing on his grave that one less scum is out of this world. Harsh words? Maybe, but thats how i feel.
He practically accused me of killing my mother, apparently i can make brain tumors now, and threatened to throw her grave stone on my front lawn.
He is one person i can gladly put a bullet in his head and not feel any remorse for.
So i have nothing to do with him and didnt i cop a deluge of letters accusing me of many things but i have maintained my silence towards him as that hurts him more.
I dont even count him as my brother anymore he is just a sad,lonely angry old man.
i dont care what anyone says nothing in this world would make me love him and if God sends me to hell for it then i will accept that.

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SUZAN July 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm

You will not go to hell accept that. Those who cause us the greatest grief are our greatest teachers. They teach us values through our choices we make and teach us to be better than them.

There will be a place in heaven for you.

Live your life well as can be.

God bless.

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Maveric December 18, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Hi CJ
You write a good post but I’m not so sure you are good at selling vapourware.
Food for thought:
1. Is it possible that you do and always have loved your sister but have withdrawn from her and purport to reject her because you believe that she has always hated you (for no reason)? ie best form of defence is attack.
2. If you really were so estranged from her why does she register in your world enough to publicly reject her?
3. Im fairly certain that she does not hate you and never did. Perhaps she envied you about something, perhaps you were more likeable than her and she hated herself and projected it on her…irrespective…… decisions about hate made by children are seldom logical or….true.
4. Based solely on what you said I believe you both love each other but there is a real barrier to get through…no idea what it is…probably originated with some sense of severe injustice. With 3 girls perhaps your parents played favourites. Usually the youngest is the favourite but Im guessing it may have been you. This is an unforgivable sin in itself. (ooops that’s my story)
5. If you asked her why she hated you I bet she would be shocked. Is it possible that she felt unloved and un liked while you two (younger ones) ‘got away with murder’ while she had to ‘do the right thing’. I bet she is sick of that right about now.
6. The Marsha and Jan ref doesn’t quite work. Despite the (usual) envy and rivalry between siblings they loved each other heaps. That’s why we watched the show
7. If all this meant nothing to you then why is it front of mind enough to share it with a bunch of strangers….me thinks the lady doth protest too much.
8. You can’t chose your family but I believe they choose us…its all a learning experience.
9. Life really is too short…sisters are sisters and ‘no’ you don’t have to love, forgive or work on the relationship, but there is one. You and she are cut from the same cloth and monosyllabic or not you spoke to each other at the funeral. This is truly meaningful
10. Have you seen ‘Love Actually’ lately? We are a strange lot we humans, but you have a lot of love and kindness in you and as I read your blog the only message that I got loud and clear was that you wanted your sister to love and accept you .
Of course……I could be wrong :)

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Michael December 18, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Bali ok
:)
Anon above 110% with you my friends and family did that so I got rid of them.

Someone will say what did you do, well yes I am responsible but not totally and they say they are not so good on you anon.

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Kate December 18, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I have decided I love my family, they have been there unconditionally for all of it… also how do I add a pic to my little square box…

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CJ December 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Wow, guys. You have really knocked my socks off with your comments this week. I’ve read them all (twice) and I keep finding myself getting all ridiculously misty-eyed like a certain enormous bloke we know.

Thank you for making the effort to share your thoughts. I’ve learned a lot from you.

It’s clear from your comments that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ family; we all have our secrets, our disappointments and our complicated family dynamics. Especially when we’re children, we falsely believe that ‘everyone else’ is happy and getting along like a cheesy family in a television sitcom. The fear of being found out as ‘abnormal’ can be paralysing for a child.

It’s also interesting that even as adults many of us (myself included) are reluctant to talk about estrangements in our families, probably because we’re afraid that people might form a negative opinion of us – that the problems are all our fault or that we haven’t tried hard enough to solve them. We can somehow feel that we have failed if our relationships with family members are difficult or non-existent. But, of course, we must understand that the only person we can change is ourselves (we’ve been told that a few times on him-dot-com haven’t we? When will we all believe it?).

It seems that many of us have our own family’s version of a Marcia, don’t we? Thanks for the advice regarding mine – I’ll have a big think about it over the next few days. Oh, and some of you asked about Cindy’s relationship with Marcia. The short answer is that Cindy hasn’t spoken to Marcia since Marcia refused to go to Cindy’s wedding almost two years ago. It always seems to be weddings and funerals, doesn’t it?

Kim: Good on you for having the courage to ask yourself the tough questions about whether or not to have children. You may want to seek some impartial and wise advice for that one. Even when you love your child desperately, being a mother can be a very tough gig so you would want to be certain that it’s what you really want. You. Not everyone else – you.

Thanks again, guys. What an amazing group of people you are.

CJ xox

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Andie in Melb December 19, 2009 at 10:10 am

Hi CJ – it’s not only the “middle child” that doesn’t get along with siblings. I’m the eldest of 6 and haven’t ever even been “friends” with my sister, let alone say that I love her. We never went shopping together, out clubbing, or any of those things. And, I don’t regret any of it. I’m fine with the fact that she happens to be related, but if I’d met her “outside the family” we wouldn’t see each other. That suits my reality. I’m not ignoring the “we’re meant to love our family” sentiment. That’s just another example of society putting expectations on us. One way to very quickly screw up your head is to try and live up to all those expectations. I’ve chosen to ignore (ie not compete) some of them utterly. The’re there in the back of my mind, but I’m not living my life around them. You need to do what suits YOU, not anyone else. Most of the stress is caused by “thoughts” not by actual events. Thoughts are just that, not reality. Relax and enjoy the people you can love without trying – they are the ones that fulfill you.

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Michael December 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm

CJ SPOT ON RE THIS (sorry for caps but i’m jumping up and down here) and this relates to any situation not just the one you discussed:

“probably because we’re afraid that people might form a negative opinion of us – that the problems are all our fault or that we haven’t tried hard enough to solve them.”

BINGO – winning lotto numbers to CJ now.

It is so amazing that so many do that; we are always the ones at fault. There is this anti victim mentality in society. Much like how sexual assult is always the victim’s fault by law and society. Add to the mix the Louise Hay school of we create our own reality rubbish and it’s all our fault no wonder people end up feeling guilt and hold it in and get heart attacks etc.

Now, I have always advocated there are two sides to the story and I can’t be so self-rightous and say look it’s everyone else’s fault. But, by god, you do something and others blame you, you get beaten up (not that I have been) and yes it is YOUR fault not the one that threw the punch and we have to forgive. Give me a break!

Yes I believe we give out and get back, yes you might be presenting a ‘kick me’ attitude in your posture or how you speak, yes you might go into a suburb which is violent and you knew better. BUT that is NO excuse for the new age people who down the track say to you ‘oh just get over it and forgive them’. Tell that to people like Marcia who won’t accept responsibility for the broken relationships. Like so many other experiences people have written on here.

PS if you watched Australian Story today about the guy that murdered his mother for money after all she did would you go “oh it’s all karma, all her fault?” CJ THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I don’t know the circumstances, there are two sides to every story, but rack off all those people, family, friends or whoever, and let’s enjoy life leaving these people to their own paths of bitterness.

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Megan December 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Aloha,

Great post CJ, thank you, really enjoying your sharing. I would say I have a love hate relationship with my younger sister, one filled with my own resentment, jealousy and guilt. I am sure she has some of her own too, and my whole family shares in it! I hope that as the years go by I will do MY OWN healing and come to put this where it should be….. a past life experience. Regardless of what my family have/haven’t done it is up to me to accept them as they are, and stand within my own choices as to how I deal with them… at the moment it is from a safe, and loving distance. My family have taught me more about myself than I would sometimes like to know!! All my judgements, how I would have liked things to be, how society has told me a “happy” family should be but I wouldn’t be the determined, strong, gentle, shy, humerous person without them. Love, Megan xx

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Kin December 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

In eastern philosophy, one of the key concept is letting go.

Letting go of what? Illusions.
What illusions? Man-made patterns of human life (that we have come to believe [mistaken] as reality itself)

Real is the blood and hereditary relation between family members.
Illusion is the “must” of the structure of a family.

I am not talking about abolishing, or fighting, family structure, but for us to see that, outside of family, the possibility to form strong, if not stronger, bonds with others in this world is there.

Coming from a traditional Chinese family, I had the full experience of the crippling effect of such “structure”. (of course, there’s some plus but that’s besides the point here.) Oh, guilt can be such heavy burden. But behind it lies the intention that “I am important as a family member and it is important, a must, for me to maintain this ‘structure thingie’.”

So I gave up being important to become the person I can be with nothing holding back. Even better now, I give my parents the respect as the persons they are instead of the “respect” of me being a good son to them as parents.

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Cindy December 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Hi Guys, Cindy here (yep, CJ’s sister). There are a couple of things I would like to add/clarify, so here goes:

No CJ, there is nothing wrong with you for not loving your own sister. We are very close because we happen to be sisters and choose to be friends.

Marcia is the favourite, I am a distant second and CJ is a very distant third. Marcia was the one who got away with murder, though, in the long run I don’t believe this lack of boundaries did her any favours.

We have made numerous attempts to include Marcia, CJ invited Marcia and her family to our now annual Christmas gathering in CJ’s home, Marcia never responded to the invitation.

I have never been close to Marcia, there is an eight year age gap and we are very different people, however, I have always done my best to maintain cordial relations – then I got married ;) I thought the bride was supposed to be the drama queen but Marcia became a Sisterzilla with everything meant to revolve around her, including the wedding date and guest list. In short, we will have our second anniversary in April and have still not received her or her children’s RSVP.

Well CJ, given the 44 comments you have received, it seems you’ve written about something that resonated with a lot of people.

Cheers,

Cindy
Ps: Marcia does not know that CJ writes for this site, she has never heard of him-dot-com and neither has our wider family.

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Michael December 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Can we move on now ;)

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Jaine December 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Hi CJ

I’m not sure about this. Reading between the lines and taking into account some of your previous posts I think that you don’t like her simply because she doesn’t like you.

It seems to irritate you when you need to remind Craigs readers when it’s actually NOT him writing these particular posts but yourself?

Your post has bothered me. It is quite aggressive, yet the way you have worded the questions at the end. A complete contradiction…

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Bianca December 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

Wow! I can totally relate!!
With me it’s a sister-brother relationship, I have 3 brothers and for some reason, I have borderline hatred one of them for the majority of my life and felt an absence of emotions for the second and I love the third. I have been accused of displaying sociopathic tendencies for the two I don’t like…..just complete disregard for who they are or their existence. There is no absolute answer for your questions-the most important thing is to extricate (at least on YOUR terms) yourself from any toxicity….even if it is a family member that is the culprit.
XX

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Suza December 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Jaine,

While CJ is more than capable of responding on her own behalf, I thought I’d add my bit anyway.

I’m not sure exactly WHAT you read “between the lines”, but I can tell you you’re way off-base. Firstly, there is much more to the life-long story between CJ and her sister than she communicated in her post, so passing judgement so readily is naive and ignorant, at best.

Second, CJ is not irritated by Craig’s readers mixing them up at times – amused would be a better word. Don’t you think it would be funny to imagine someone reading a girly post and just be assuming that Craig wrote it?? The posts people have written along these lines have been quite funny.

Third, knowing CJ in real life, I can tell you that she is one of the LEAST aggressive people I know. I re-read her post and honestly can’t see where you came up with the aggressive feeling. Keep in mind that her role here is to make us think and ask probing questions, so the story was never meant to be a complete rendition of her relationship with her sister; just something to set the context and open up discussion of the questions at the end.

90% of the world we see is our perception of it. The fact that you saw “irritation” and “aggression” in CJ’s post and were very quick to pass judgement suggests that this is more about you than the post or the topic. What is it that’s going on with you to prompt you to see it in that light, I wonder?

With respect,
Suz

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Hannah August 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I’m so glad somebody’s willing to broach this subject…. My sister and I have absolutely nothing in common, clash horribly and to be honest I don’t really feel much towards her. It makes you feel so guilty and like such a bad person, and given how little there is written about this subject it’s almost taboo. I’m always hearing about people who don’t talk to certain siblings for years but it seems terrible to admit you don’t love one of them.

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neveragain September 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I stumbled upon this article the other day. I was deeply surprised to read that mostly everyone here is going through the same thing. Recently I (a grown adult) was assaulted by my sister (a grown adult) because she recently got my e-mail that said I wanted “space” from her. She has used emotional manipulation to force a relationship with me and over time I was avoiding her (I know -not a thing to do) and finally sent her a very curt and polite e-mail responding to a letter she left me. Family has been pressuring me to “for the sake of the family” embrace her and all of her problems but honestly I have grown to love her a LOT less (naturally because as an older sister I have had to let her go to make her own decisions, etc) and I frankly don’t care of the day to day doings in her life. She literally drove clear across town to assault me after she received the e-mail and she kept telling me “f- you” “f- you” and she intended to make me feel the hurt that she was feeling. So needless to say, I am done with her and I wish her the best. If you never had to deal with situations such as some of these I have read on this site then you shouldn’t judge. I feel for all of your stories. Thanks for sharing. There is virtually no one to talk to about issues like this and it helps to know I’m not alone. Thanks!

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Evelyn December 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Wow. It’s a relief to read this site. I just do not like my sister. Her constant preaching and bitter accusations toward me annoy me, and I want to be left alone. We never got along. I don’t want to know about her life. She keeps texting. All I want is to stop the aggravation. We never got along. I’m so glad people have the guts to talk about this.

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Julie January 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

I don’t have the answer to your questions but I am in a very similar situation – only I feel I have valid reason for disliking my younger sister. She literally abuses everyone in my family, and has gotten away with it for years because my father has a complex that the youngest one should have no limits.

As I am writing this she is calling my mother a pejorative – my mother whom she has hit and given a black eye in the past. She is screaming at the top of her lungs because my mother won’t “shell out” 5,000 for her go to see the Olympics. She has been given every chance at succeeding but has blown all of them – and I do pity her – but I tried for years to help her and now I just feel bitterness.

Why? Because she steals my time with my elder sister away. She likes to poach on mutual family resources, and, perhaps out of pity, my elder sister always gravitates to her and is so kind to her even when she screams and swears at her to her face. Even despite all this abuse she seems to prefer my younger sister – and it has been this way ever since she was born – I suppose simply because she is younger and brings out more maternal feelings?

I wouldn’t call us estranged because it is a family obligation to come “spend time with the family” – but I sit here most of the break getting internally angry at her abuse of the “good” side of the family – but I know it is unChristian to go and slug her one when barks at my elderly mother and my sister. If it were a stranger talking to someone in my family like this they would be dead in the street, but as she is family, everyone must treat the little psychopath with care.

And we do. Nobody calls her psychotic to her face, except my husband who comes from a normal family and sometimes can’t help reacting to someone who pulls a knife out on him and tries to hit him with a cutting board because “your cutting is KEEPING ME UP!!”

My mother on the other hand is extremely controlling and has lost her mind, and my father has the responsibility of a gopher.

Have to go do cleanup from the little princess’ mess.

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Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 8:07 am

I’ve been cast into Coventry by my family. I guess I wasn’t always the nicest older brother to my 2 brothers and 3 sisters when we were growing up. And after moving from home at a young age, I’ve grown apart from them. We always got together on family occasions, but when one of my sisters moved to the other side of the country, that was it. Then, she didn’t want to send us Christmas or birthday presents because of the postage costs. Hello, we ALSO have to pay these! But she’s not short of cash, she’s married to a wealthy businessman.

Because I’ve always spoken my mind, I’m not popular, although I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut (except I’ll vent here now, thanks!) But it got worse when I discovered that my mother was bad-mouthing my wife and was always being unpleasant to her privately and just never been welcoming or affectionate towards her. My wife didn’t tell me and let me discover this myself. She told me that if she’d mentioned it to me, she was worried that I’d believe my mother over her. Smart woman, my wife. Then again, I should’ve figured it out earlier, because my mother was always antagonistic to ALL her sons and daughters-in-law, always starting arguments over the years. My mother disliked her own mother and one of her sisters left the family decades ago and never spoke to them again.

My mother and 2 of my sisters are particularly vindictive and I’m sure their poison eventually got to my other siblings, who now also no longer communicate with me. I tried, we always drive the hour or so to the family home, but no-one ever drops by here or gives us a call.
Recently, one of the vindictive sisters visited from interstate so I drove to my mother’s then my sister asked if I/we were coming to Perth because her son is getting married. Not only do we have to pay for our travel, but our accommodation as well. She’s wealthy enough to be able to house all the interstate family, but our emailed invitations came with suggested hotel accommodation. As it’d cost thousands to go to this wedding, I’m not interested. But the rest of my siblings will go. Thing is, my youngest sister is as poor as a church mouse and can’t afford it, and yet she’s saving up to go. Besides, the sister who sent the invites is the one I can’t stand the most. She only wants us there so it looks like her family all love her so much they’ll shell out thousands for air travel, accommodation, car hire, wedding presents, etc. just to be there.

I’m stewing that they don’t like me, but I’ve gotten used to the idea over the last 20 years. One of my brothers-in-law hasn’t spoken to his only brother for longer than that, and another brother-in-law disassociated himself from 2 of his brothers about a decade ago, and they’re totally incommunicado.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt on here, it’s that you should cherish your friends and the family you choose. Also, that family relationships can be pretty fucked up.

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Anonymous March 19, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’ve been cast into Coventry by my family. I guess I wasn’t always the nicest older brother to my 2 brothers and 3 sisters when we were growing up. And after moving from home at a young age, I’ve grown apart from them. We always got together on family occasions, but when one of my sisters moved to the other side of the country, that was it. Then, she didn’t want to send us Christmas or birthday presents because of the postage costs. Hello, we ALSO have to pay these! But she’s not short of cash, she’s married to a wealthy businessman.

Because I’ve always spoken my mind, I’m not popular, although I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut (except I’ll vent here now, thanks!) But it got worse when I discovered that my mother was bad-mouthing my wife and was always being unpleasant to her privately and just never been welcoming or affectionate towards her. My wife didn’t tell me and let me discover this myself. She told me that if she’d mentioned it to me, she was worried that I’d believe my mother over her. Smart woman, my wife. Then again, I should’ve figured it out earlier, because my mother was always antagonistic to ALL her sons and daughters-in-law, always starting arguments over the years. My mother disliked her own mother and one of her sisters left the family decades ago and never spoke to them again.

My mother and 2 of my sisters are particularly vindictive and I’m sure their poison eventually got to my other siblings, who now also no longer communicate with me. I tried, we always drive the hour or so to the family home, but no-one ever drops by here or gives us a call.

Recently, one of the vindictive sisters visited from interstate so I drove to my mother’s then my sister asked if I/we were coming to Perth because her son is getting married. Not only do we have to pay for our travel, but our accommodation as well. She’s wealthy enough to be able to house all the interstate family, but our emailed invitations came with suggested hotel accommodation. As it’d cost thousands to go to this wedding, I’m not interested. But the rest of my siblings will go. Thing is, my youngest sister is as poor as a church mouse and can’t afford it, and yet she’s saving up to go. Besides, the sister who sent the invites is the one I can’t stand the most. She only wants us there so it looks like her family all love her so much they’ll shell out thousands for air travel, accommodation, car hire, wedding presents, etc. just to be there.

I’m stewing that they don’t like me, but I’ve gotten used to the idea over the last 20 years. One of my brothers-in-law hasn’t spoken to his only brother for longer than that, and another brother-in-law disassociated himself from 2 of his brothers about a decade ago, and they’re totally incommunicado.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt on here, it’s that you should cherish your friends and the family you choose. Also, that family relationships can be pretty fucked up.

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Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

I think we have to learn to forgive and move on. Once we’ve forgiven them for whatever they’ve done that’s hurt us, it’s their responsibility to forgive us. If WE hold on to unforgiveness, it will only hurt us and make us bitter. Let them be the bitter ones.
I’m also experiencing this only it’s 3 of them and only 1 of me. I’ve apologized to each but they won’t accept. What’s worse is that they’re all now trying to get my parents on their side and everyone else in the family to hate me and it’s working. I went from having a big family where we were all close to having absolutely no one.
So, i’m on my own. I didn’t realize I had to be perfect for family. I mistakenly thought family was the ONE group of people who you didn’t have to be perfect around. Also, I had no idea they were so perfect themselves that they have to consistently talk about my imperfections.

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Amy May 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

I really understand an relate to your story CJ, My sister and I can’t really get along, it seems as if we can never have a regular communication with eachother. im older than her, im 18 and shes 15 she always acts like she’s older than me she tells me im stupid,an idiot, a bitch all bad things, we would get into physical fights but now we just argue.she gets mad for every little thing,i dont wanna be part of here life anymore,i guess its cuz we just simply dont like eachother anymore. to be honest i cant love her anymore i feel sad when i say that,but i dont want to be here sister anymore i just dont wanna see her.is that bad? i mean she treats me worse! i dont know what to do anymore, please write back for advice!!!! an she replied to me that she loves our step sister more than me . i cant take arguing with her any longer its been too long and too much ,sometimes i feel like she holds me back on my dreams cuz she always says negative remarks i need to move on ,please help!!!!

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Norliz May 17, 2012 at 6:05 am

I stumbled upon this post while searching online for advice to my dilemma of not wanting my sister to attend my (very small and private) wedding. Apparently I’m not alone in disliking a sibling, it doesn’t even seem like I’m in the extreme range! Phew! A while back I asked my friends if I was evil for not loving (not even particularly liking) my grandmother (whom I’ve never really seen much). It got very mixed reviews, and I ended up feeling a bit guilty for not even liking this woman very much. Needless to say perhaps, I’m not much of a “family person”, but I do still love many of my close relatives and friends very much. In my perspective, I think it’s more important to be loving and supporting to the people that matters, and to be honest. If family relations are maintained by “faking” on both sides – does it really benefit anyone? I’d like to think that the people around me really mean it when they act loving.
But then again, I think I’ve decided to include my sister in my wedding, to not break our parents hearts. After all, I don’t hate her, I just mildly dislike her.. (How can I tell if I really love her or not? Sometimes I try to envision that my family members die, and then estimate how it would make me feel. With my sister, I imagine I’d be very sad, but the sorrow of seeing my parents loosing a child clutters the whole thing. My fiancé says I’m overanalyzing too much. Luckily I know I love him!)

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Over It Sister July 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

Hi CJ your article just described my situation with my younger sister. I have made an effort but over the years I have just stopped trying. I am in university and we have to share a room now since we moved and i never had to share a room not since i was 9. I have a brother younger than her and we get along and I have older sisters as well and we get along. I have love for all of them except for the sister i share a room with. She is just disrespectful and no one can tell her anything. We had an argument today because i mentioned to her to make up her bed and throw away some of her papers and books that are necessary to make room for her other stuff. And a huge argument erupted. Your article put some things in perspective but i was wondering if you can give me some advice.

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Janette July 30, 2012 at 7:21 am

They maybe your family but you do not have to like them. Or feel any guilt for not liking them.

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Anonymous September 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I just really want to praise you for writing such a detailed and thoughtful response as to not loving your sister. Like you said, society expects us to love ALL of the members in our family and sometimes that is just not the case. I have tried time and time again to getalong with her but to no avail. It’s as though she just can’t connect with me… ironic because we are identical twins. But yeah, thanks again. Definitely puts things in perspective.

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whoa October 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm

today i finally hit my limit with my sister, who i’ve never gotten along with. she’s condescending and terrible, especially to our mother who is older and on dialysis. she takes absolutely no responsibility for how awful she is towards her (god forbid my mom mix up words and get confused, she screams at her and just confuses her even more.) she once pulled over in a fast food parking lot to scream at my mother for two hours when she went to visit her. today she had the nerve to call the cops on me when my mom butt dialed her while we were having an argument. CALLED THE COPS FROM CLEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY. mothers and daughters fight. we get over it. was that seriously a reason to call the police? i don’t understand her, i never have. i don’t like her. i have no feelings towards her, especially not love or anything like it. i’ve been feeling guilty for years like maybe i don’t try hard enough and maybe this is all MY fault… there’s something wrong with me, right? there has to be if i don’t love my own sister.. but i have tried. i just can’t :( not without sacrificing my own happiness and sanity. thank god i’m not alone, thank you.

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sis-from-hell November 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

WOW! Guess Im not the only one stuck in this dilemma. My sister is two years younger than me. We have never gotten along and she has donw everything in her power to climb on top of me and constantly rubs my name in dirt to other members of my family and is extremely jealous and manipulative. She talks behind my back and she has called the cops on my before for no reason other than me telling her that I didnt want her negativity or toxic behaviour in my life anymore. I finally after 27 years put my foot down. I will not allow her to treat me the way she has in my future. It is hard to do but it is the best thing I can do for myself. Love her from a distance.

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anonymous 1 December 28, 2012 at 12:54 am

I hear ya. My sister has always been extremely selfish and “she thinks she is better than everyone (bougie if you will). So here is the story: she wanted to start a business. So she said that me moving in would be good. She bought a huge home in the middle of no where. I lived in the basement. Upstairs was my sister, my niece, my nephew and my niece’s father. So, all was “fine and dandy.”. I gave her rent every month (500 per month) and I hardly stayed at the house. So I lost my job and told her that I couldn’t pay the rent but promised to give her money from a retail job that I landed in the interim that wasn’t paying much. Of course, family came to visit and she commenced to show her rump. She demonized my boyfriend (who I am married to now…the real interesting part). The family followed suit saying that my then boyfriend was such a bad guy and that he did not love me. (Needless to say that they are not together anymore). She called me and hounded me about the money. Once tax time hit, i repayed her all money owed (3 months that made me fully current).She yelled and alienated me so much that I moved out. She did other mean things. We did not talk for 2 years.
2 years later i get a strange phone call. I find out that the business failed and the home was going through foreclosure and her beau was refusing to pay. She had a job but was not making alot. So I helped her. Babysitting my niece, helped her find a job, help her get a car and money here and there. She found a place to live. So we were getting along ok i guess. I was still troubled by the past and I was irritated. So, anywho, she ups and decides to move back in with her old beau something i told her to not do. He gets her to quit the job i got for her. So right after my bachelorette party that she didn’t. come to because of a lie, she comes over and tells me that her and the beau had a fist. Apparently, tbhis was going on for some time. Then she begins living with me and my husband (yes the one she demonized). She is still selfish and I want her to leave because she is still very selfish. She doesn’t clean, communicate or truly pay rent (we began charging 200/ month a month ago.) She has been here 4 months and I have been married for 4 months.

I do not like my sister. She is selfish and a know it all. She has constant pity parties. Also…..I would love to enjoy being married. Her selfishness and control landed her here. I have helped her all i could. She has to grow up and change. I live with this daily.

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Lacey Hudson December 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you- CJ you have wonderfully written and bravely posted my thoughts and feelings to my own unharmonious relationship with my ‘marcia’ ( I being the cindy and my twin being the jan). I always feel guilty or afraid to voice my true thoughts, that I just don’t love my sister. I’m so happy to the acceptance of the comments. I agree with all the answers that there is nothing wrong with you or I.

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Alice January 19, 2013 at 7:05 am

It’s taken my a few years to figure it out but I can finally admit to myself that I don’t love my sister. I don’t hate her or even dislike her but there’s just no love between us and I can’t describe how much of a relief it is work out it’s ok.
I know some people may disagree (and that’s fine) but some people are just too different to love one another. After all, we can choose our friends but not our family.

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Joey February 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

thanks for sharing… and no, nothing wrong with not loving a horrible sibling, and nothing wrong with phasing her out. (loved your comment about the ‘free to a good home – one sister, barely used.’ haha. i have to stop myself from hoovering that right up and putting it on facebook!)

i have a sister (free to a good home, barely used) who has always hated me, always put me down, always been an absolute cow. she has hit and punched me (when she was physically bigger of course), screamed at me, made constant comments about how ugly i am (which i am not, haha), constant put-downs about his stupid i am, how pointless my chosen job is, and so on. over the years, we have occasionally bonded – mostly when shopping for pretty dresses, or when making fun of people together (i agree that this is pathetic, but i take my ‘special’ moments when i see them). you’d think we’d bond more, seeing as we’re both products of a supremely messed-up, broken home; but no: in coping with the broken home scenario, she chose to be my tormentor, not my ally. i have always thought that we could be friends one day – but the more i try, the more i see this is impossible. cooking dinner for her leaves me with the feeling of a colossal waste of my time. every time i see her, she leaves me upset and emotionally bruised. she has worked her way up to a position where she has lots of money, and she talks about it all the time and makes it clear that she has no time or sympathy for anyone who is a less successful person than her. she delights in putting people down and saying awful and controversial things – for example, over the last few years, she’s decided that it’s OK to be a racist, and she takes a lot of pleasure in spouting racist and homophobic bullshit in the family circle. i can’t stand it and i challenge her; but she just finds it exasperating and mildly amusing when i do. i am funny, apparently, because i despise the way she talks about human beings. of course she just thinks this is political correctness gone mad. i hate her.

but i digress. what i was going to say is – phasing out a sibling is so, so easy. the thing that isn’t so easy is the realisation that you have phased out the sibling, that apparently this sibling doesn’t feel any desire to be part of your life either, and that the two of you – two people who possibly know about one another more than about any other people in the world – two women who, after all, have so much in common, who have been through the same hell, and who could understand and support each other so, so wel – two women who should be each other’s allies and greatest fans – are basically turning their back on one another and choosing to let it all fall away. this is a loss which makes me intensely sad, and i wonder if there isn’t something i should do; instigate a heartfelt chat, talk to her, tell her how i have always felt, tell her what we could have and how i do not want us to lose it. maybe i would do well to lose my cool in front of her, and break down and cry, and force her to confront things that I have always carefully hidden behind a mask of complacency. but i don’t know if she would take me seriously. if i told her how i feel, and she just chose to give me that look – that horrid, ‘i find you mildly amusing’, ‘God, you are such an idiot’, ‘what you are saying just confirms my opinion of you as pathetic’, ‘i am going to humour you right now and have a good laugh about it with my partner later’ – i think something in me would break.

don’t know what to do. but well done for coping so well with your situation. ‘the best revenge is to live (and write) well’. go live well!

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Joey February 13, 2013 at 9:12 pm

ps people talk about couples counselling. i think there should be a sibling-counselling.

pps did i mention that i also have a younger sister? she is my best friend….

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Alison March 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I have this bookmarked on my phone. You have no idea how much comfort your article provides me. Thank you.

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Sam March 20, 2013 at 5:26 am

Hello CJ and posters,

I have a sister who is a year older and has been totally self- absorbed since she was 16, she is now 50. She has pursued a life of partying and up until my mom died 8 months ago she was enabled by my parents. As a teenager she was known to be “tough”, fighting and beating on other girls. She made me defend myself a couple of times, but I avoided her at all costs if I could. She created havoc in our house, drugs, promiscuity and ruling the place with her violent temper. Mom was also quick to hit, so I had already had enough of that kind of life when I left home at 17.

This behaviour never stopped with my sister, she currently lives on a welfare disability (from regular welfare since she had her first kid at 24), works a few hours as a janitor and will engage in illegal activity to make some quick money but hasn’t had to make much effort over the last 30 years or so…my parents were always there with a car, phone, food, furniture whatever she and her kids needed… to the tune of $200 to $800 a month. My parents raised her kids, moved her from town to town, man to man, crisis to crisis.

Whenever I would attend a family gathering in the last 30, if my sister was involved, it was a dysfunctional drama. I always left with either a physical injury or a feeling of relief that I managed through the contact by walking on eggshells or I because I managed to flee. She is disliked by almost every member of our extended family, but my mom was loyal and defended her always. Mom wanted her family to be a family and so I tried for her.

My sister has assaulted me, spit in my face, said things like I wish you were never born, calls me names and threatens me every chance she gets. The expectation was that she will say sorry, I will forgive her and we will try to get along until she blows the next time.

I have led a much different life. I went to college at 18, worked , went to college again at 21, worked as a professional, married at 30, had a child at 34, bought a house, work as a paralegal and take law classes on-line. Hitting is banned in our house, you don’t call names, negativity is banished with positive talk and we are a family who shows our love with respect, nurturing and positive interactions

Now that Mom is gone, my Dad has been moved into a facility as he has been diagnosed with dementia. She has been trying since the day Mom died to get money and possessions…I have power of attorney so that will not happen, Dad’s money will now take care of him alone, at 50 with children in their mid 20’s she has been told to do it on her own.

I don’t love my sister, I don’t like my sister and I don’t expect that it will ever change.

1. Is there something wrong with you for not loving your sister? No, love makes you feel good and is a two way street.

2. Is it okay that we don’t love a sibling or is there some kind of biblical, emotional or sociological rule?
There is a sociological/anthropological basis that humans do better in groups who work toward the betterment of the collective. Family groups, if they function well, work to the betterment of all the individuals and society as a whole…but I think most people recognize that dysfunction will impact the individuals of that group and can impede their participation in society as a whole.
CJ, if you are going to hell, then so am I and I’m not thinking that will happen. Is there an emotional rule? I would say if there is, it is self imposed, after all they are your emotions to control or not.

3. Can we ‘will’ ourselves to love a particular person? I don’t believe you can will yourself to love, you do or you don’t. You can mimic the emotion, go through the motions but why bother? I get one shot at life, as far as I know, and I’m not wasting any more time trying to fake it, guess you will have to make the decision that is right for you.

4. Should we love people because “we’re meant to”, or should we love them because we want to?
I think I get something from each relationship I have in my life…If it hurts or is negative then I have to ask what I’m getting from it. If it is positive and makes me feel good, is give and take, acceptance and moves me forward then I try to build and nurture that relationship.

Good article, thought provoking and therapeutic in allowing me a voice.

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Perky P March 21, 2013 at 1:32 am

Family members CAN kill love.

I loved them…. Found out for decades they had ‘agendas’… not love for me. The finale’ was after my parents died….. ( My father warned me on his deathbed that they had agendas)…..Greed is an ugly thing.

I’m in my 50′s and they do not exist and it does not bother me at all!

It’s their loss……

My life has never been better after removing the toxicity that was sucking me dry.

….there are myriads of people that want and need love….. We don’t have to love people just because we resided in a home with them for a few years as children!!

….IMHO
;-)

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Anonymous June 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I have a brother that I have not liked since I was in middle school. I have ignored him for years. My spouse thinks it is hard on my brother to have a seriously financially successful older sister. Worse for him is how my daughter is obviously smarter/more successful than any of his 3 kids…. But from my view, we never got along…not when I was young, or single or poor or married or successful pre kids, after a kid whatever. He always wanted to compete, I was always confident. When the folks die, we’ll truly be 100% estranged, and I cannot wait.

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Lilly November 21, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Thanks CJ for starting this, really helpful and a good range of perspectives which I have really appreciated today.
I particularly like the posts from those of us who are in a situation where both sisters have behaved less than perfectly towards parents and one another (surely true of everyone??), each has clear failings and limitations (again, doesn’t everyone), and both grew up in a household where the parents had some form of mental health problems which meant that emotional needs and difficulties did not get healthily manged.

I am in a situation where I see that it would be helpful to see my sister’s kids and my family would like to see them, but where each episode of contact with my sister herself involves – to partially quote one of the posters here: “a series of events that made [me] [and her] feel bad each time”
Also, I feel that my sister finds my failings and limitations particularly unforgivable and sees them as particularly bad compared to what her expectations of human beings are. In some ways it is helpful for me to know that she has had numerous upsets with neighbors and work colleagues and her accounts of these always concern the fact that these are particularly bad human beings (like me!).
BUT I am torn between (A) trying to understand, to forgive myself, and to gently grow myself into a better person, and (B) being really angry, whilst also fully believing that what my relationship with my sister means is that I am a REALLY EVIL human being – so I have a kind of imposter syndrome: if only all my friends, colleagues, church community knew what she knew, they would realise how awful I am.

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Mackenzie M. November 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

I think this whole article is extremely relevant I my life right now. My mother is having another child. My three younger brothers are excited. However, I, the oldest, am not.
My mother, who is only 35, has not divorced my father. The father of the child is legally married to some woman as well. Morally, I don’t agree with this.
Putting that aside, emotionally, I feel I cannot live this child in any way, shape, or form. Being the only girl for 16 years, I was very accustomed to having my own room, spending time with my mother, & being the unofficial favourite.
Everyone on my mother’s side of the family is excited. They cannot wait for a new granddaughter, niece, cousin, etc. In this situation, I view this child as replacing me. Each time I try talking to my mother about the situation, she gets over emotional. As does other relatives.
My only other options for people to talk to are friends and friend’s parents. Both my friends & their parents understand my point of view.
Is it wrong that I want absolutely no connections to this child? I’m not sure. Am I overreacting? Possibly. Whether or not I am, this child will cause financial problems to my mother and the child’s father, added stress to them both, as well as adding to my depression and willingness to stay in the house.
There’s more to the story, but I’m sure you et the basic idea. I’m so lost in this situation and I feel a little less alone knowing that there are others who don’t want intimate relationships with siblings.

I would love to hear any advice or suggestions. Feel free to email me at mackenziemarieee@aol.com if you would like.

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DJ April 2, 2014 at 12:40 am

I have just stumbled upon this and I feel as though you have written it about me. The only difference being that I am the older sister. As the older sibling, I have grown up being told that the younger is jealous of me and one day we will get along. I always resented this, as the jealousy thing seems to imply that this situation is my fault. I truly don’t think she is jealous, we are just so different that there is actually no common ground–except for my little niece and nephew whom I adore. Problem is my sister uses them against myself and my parents –not letting us see them in a power / punishment sort of way. I have always felt like I was disappointing my parents, more so my mom, because I don’t get along with my sister, and always feel a sting when I see other sisters get along so well. My mom holds onto the hope that one day we will be one happy family. If my sister were any other unrelated person there would be absolutely no expectation of me to even give her a second thought. But because she is my “sister” it is expected of me to give her chance after chance—-with never any effort from her.

My wedding is coming up and it has put even more pressure on this issue. My sister and I never talk to one another and yet I’m expected to have her be standing up at my wedding with the most important people in my life–whom I can count on for anything. It feels like a lie. Well, it is a lie. Having her at my wedding gives me great anxiety because she is a real “all about me” personality and it has left me with bad memories of any big life celebration on my end. I just wish my mom could respect the fact that we don’t get along and not make me feel like a terrible person for not wanting to be around someone that can be so mean to me (and my parents). Watching how my sister treats my parents is gut-wrenching, and yet my mom can’t understand my position. My dad and I have discussed it and thankfully he understands & supports me. I understand where my mom is coming from and if she needs to keep hoping for the mother/daughter relationship with my sister I respect that. I just wish she could respect my decision (over 18 yrs in the making) to not continue the roller coaster that is usually more hurtful than not.

I could go on in a venting session, but will stop myself here. Just know you are so not alone and it is really nice on my end to know that not everyone is best friends with their siblings. These comments all feel like a support group, much needed and appreciated. I am absolutely open to any further advice & discussions with those of you going thru the same thing. It’s hard for other people to understand…… dsoriano21@gmail.com

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Rabbit Lady May 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

What you wrote is so much my story. My sister and I can not easily get along. It is so much work to be around her. We are so different and have different views on almost everything. I’d rather not have a relationship with her but my parents keep stressing we must get along. I can’t do it. I too have the same questions. Are we required to get along and love those who we related to just because we are related? This is a tough position to be in.

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Soph May 23, 2014 at 10:56 am

Did I write this?
No, I would put my entire family in there. And it would have been a thesis.
I am so grateful for my dogs.

Come back CJ.

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Anonymous May 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

This site is sickening when I read some of these stories. It just shows how selfish and self-serving people can be. I am convinced that those of you who dislike your sisters or brothers were taught poor family values by your parents. I know because I have some similar attitudes and relations with my own sisters and I now realize it basically stemmed from how our parents (mostly mother) raised us. The saying “you only have one mother and one father” also holds true to your siblings. I really care about and love my sisters but when I had devastating life circumstances my sisters looked the other way and even tried to have written into my mothers will that I would have to pay back any amount of money she had helped me with. I might add that they are both financially secure and I am not and haven’t been since my husband left me at age 50.

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Patricia Singleton May 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Dear Anonymous, How sad that you feel the need to judge this site and others. That says more about you than it does about us.

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