Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why do families do this to each other?
...or, was it just our family? I don't know.

Since no one who reads this blog knows my identity or my relatives, I'm safe in writing this. My parents both passed away several years ago. My relationship with my dad was always rough. Two months after Mom passed away, he ended his life. Dad and I had not been close for many years. I was a disappointment to him, and he never failed to let me know that. My sister and her husband were heroic in how they handled things immediately after our parents' deaths. I did not hold up my end of the deal. I didn't help. I just didn't. Not good, I know. I didn't know how to face it all, so I just 'didn't'. Depression runs in our family; I firmly believe Dad had it, and so do I. My sister's depression is much more severe than mine. I accept that. This is where the problem is. I have been taken to task, repeatedly, over the years, for not doing my part to help out. You know, with processing our parents' estate and doing all the after-death things that needed to be done. I hid. I didn't help. And I can't change that now.

My sister and I both received funds from our parents' estate. I firmly believed I was going to be left out of the will, because of how things were between Dad and me. Bad, just not good at all. My sis has more of Dad's character in her than I have. She comes down hard on me, repeatedly, for not living up to my past obligations. Granted, she has a case. I admit it. I was a BUM. Of course, at the time of their deaths, I was working an excruciating amount of hours at a sub-minimum-wage cab job, so making a living had something to do with it too. But still, I could have helped my sister and her husband, for he was working at the time and still is. My sister and I have established a pattern: We'll fight over the 'net, things'll get bad, we'll "block" each other, and after the dust clears, we start communicating again, and things go really good until one of us says something wrong to the other and the entire brouhaha starts all over again. And now, she and her husband tell me, that SHE doesn't make me feel bad about this; instead, I CHOOSE to feel bad. Is there any truth to this? Am I totally in the wrong for feeling badly about having to own up to a situation that I cannot possibly make better now?

I "CHOOSE" to feel bad? That smacks of stuff I have heard from metaphysical, hippie-dippie-type folks who believe in the great wheel-of-Karma and all of that stuff. I "CHOOSE" to feel bad? So if you are mean, rotten, nasty and ugly to me, and I jump out of a window because of the things you told me, you didn't have anything to do with that? THIS IS WHERE I GET REALLY ANGRY ABOUT ALL OF THIS STUFF. I "CHOOSE" to feel bad? Ha! That's just another way of saying, "I don't have to care about your feelings!" So, I get into an argument because I feel bad about something I read, but no matter how bitterly I am maligned, I have no right to argue, because what was said to me, NO MATTER HOW BITTER AND UNFAIR, didn't make me feel bad. I just read all of this stuff and CHOSE to feel bad. I am sorry, but that's one of the biggest piles of (*****) that I've EVER heard.

This has been going on for over 4 years now. I don't want to hurt her, I really don't. She was a good little sister, and we had fun. Of course, we grow older, time passes, people change, and change we did, for sure. And we have had great fun communicating. But, I also am always having to be really careful with what I say, how I phrase things and what I write about, for the smallest thing can set her off. A typical e-mail I send her takes over an hour to write, then I'm proofreading and editing it until I'm satisfied that I've got everything down in the "safest" way possible. And we STILL get into it! And what's more, because I know her depression is more severe than mine, I can't "strike back". I feel I have to be very careful in everything I write. How do I know her depression is more severe than mine? She keeps TELLING me. So I don't have a leg to stand on. But then again, in our family, I never did.

This has been going on for a long time. Neither of us are doing each other any good at this point. There IS no healing. And, the relationship between my sister & her family and myself is in serious jeopardy. And, I (almost) don't care. If there's no other way to live our lives than to just stop communicating altogether, then I am FINE with that. I sent her an e-mail tonite, saying, "I can't make this situation better". She feels I haven't deserved the money I got from the estate, and rips me all the time for freeloading from my folks, which is just not true. There's nothing I can do to make this better. Nothing at all. So, good old selfish, thinking-only-of-myself-ME, I'm gonna just keep on living my life. Go FORWARD. That's all that's left. For, you know what? This FAMILY stuff does nothing but CHOKE me. It's almost as if, there is no other way we can grow or heal, than to stop communicating with each other, totally. That's how our family is. 1982 was the last time I spent Christmas with the family. It just didn't matter any more. And now, everything matters less than THAT. Families. Bah.

Reading the comments on this post oughta be interesting. Like I said, no names have been mentioned; everything here is totally anonymous. I think, if you could put our family in a bottle, you'd have to put a giant "Mr. Yuk" sticker on it. Our family was POISON.


Blogger Phil said...

I have a few issues with my sister too, and I simply ignore them. Oh, I don't ignore my sister. We keep in touch a few times a month, mostly via email because I just don't like to sit and talk on the phone with her. But I avoid any and all discussion about issues that might lead to disagreements. I have to let that stuff go, because there's no room in my life for all that "poison" ... I like to "accentuate the positive" as the old song says, and "eliminate the negative" ... It's been working pretty well the past few years.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Lil' ol' me... said...

Hi, Phil, and thanks for stopping by. I am no angel, I'll admit that up front. But when is it time to move on? NOW, I would think. I don't want to ignore Sis, but I don't see any other way. I am tired of "choosing" to get hurt, I guess. It is poison. And in our case, not much "positive" to "accentuate". I've 'blocked' her for the time being; maybe forever, who knows? Call it "psychic survival", I guess.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous lil' ol' me... said...

The following was sent to my e-mail in response to this post by Mari (Ms. Dogwalker)...

Okay. I'm going to try something out on you. I'm no psychiatrist to be sure but it sounds like your sister is trying to transfer all her issues onto you and in a sense you're allowing it.

My brother and I (both adopted) are as unlike one another as two
people can be.I'm the "responsible" one, the take charge one. Always have been. When my Mom died he told his daughter not to worry, Mari would take care of everything. And I did. I did not begrudge him one bit.

He is what he is and I am what I am. We both know one another's
strengths and weaknesses and I guess most importantly accept them in each other. I love him dearly and I know he loves me. And he has been a great "big" brother to me. We're very fortunate.

Maybe a step back from your sister would be good. You are who you
are and you're making great strides in self discovery and acceptance of yourself. That's HUGE! You can't get caught up in the mess if you don't take the bait.

Hope I'm not intruding. Just a few thoughts on how I see it. She has issues and you can't solve them. Don't let her put her monkey on your back.

You're a good man. What you've been in the past has contributed to that. You've learned from it and grown from it. Don't ever believe otherwise. And there are those out here that read you and chat with you that know that and cherish our relationship with you.

The old axiom is true. You can't pick your family but you CAN pick
your friends and you have them.



Hi, Mari, and thank you. I do keep taking the bait. And time and time again, this happens. So yes, I am pulling back. I can't focus on my own personal growth if I'm licking my wounds. This all hurts, but life ain't easy, right? I appreciate the comments...

2:00 PM  

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