Growing up my sister and I always had a close relationship. We played together, worked together, and were seemingly a textbook sister relationship. My sister is four years older than me and once she got to high school and college our relationship was different. We were very different people, my sister was very book smart and buried academics, I was the opposite and struggled to even get a passing grade for any class. I worked full time and went to school full time starting my junior year of high school, I put everything I had into working because that is what made sense to me. We didn’t fight and we hardly had times where things got tense, I could just assume that Disney style sisters were a bit too farfetched and sister were typically distant even in the same house.
When I graduated high school my sister graduated college, here is where it all started. My dad had gotten a job in Texas and needed to move from our home in Colorado. We were both stubborn about leaving and refused to move. Within a week of not being with my parents, I realized that moving was the best decision and made to move with my parents to Texas, leaving my sister in Colorado. I can assume and speculate what happened to my sister, but I’ll never really know what happened to her in her mind. We hardly spoke and when she would visit it just seemed off. We would get in fights and arguments about how the other has changed. My parents would defend my sister saying that I was being inconsiderate. Years would go on and the same arguments would happen again and again. I felt that there was something wrong with me and started to change and fake who I was when she would come to town. I would take time off work, I wouldn’t talk to anyone else or make any plans when she was in town my world stopped for her. We would have some good times and nice laughs, deep down the resentment would grow and hate would fester. It seemed that no matter how much I tried to pretend and mask my emotions it wasn’t enough.
At this time my sister met her second boyfriend and they ended up getting married, much to my parent’s disapproval. There were months that would pass where my sister would not talk to parents because of a disagreement they would have about her relationship, eventually, one side would break, and communication would slowly start back up again. I kept my distance and tried not to get involved. It only made the resentment build inside me. I was so angry at my sister for not wanting to listen to my parents and be logical. I felt that I had to compensate for her lack of being a daughter and put myself into high drive being there for my parents.
This all came to a screeching halt when I checked myself into treatment for an eating disorder and depression. I had kept it hidden for so long that no one even knew it was a problem. In the shock of finding out I needed treatment my parents went to family therapy to see how they could help. I ended up telling my sister and she agreed to come to town to have a session with us together. I dreaded our session and told my therapist that she would just make it about herself, but we worked through it and had our session. Then a huge family session with all of us together to talk about our issues. By the time I graduated from the treatment I felt that maybe this would be a turning point for my sister and I, maybe we could finally be that Disney channel idea of sisters.
A few months after the treatment my sister and I were talking, I figured this was what normal sisters did and started to complain about how my parents no longer were going to family therapy and didn’t want to continue to participate. We went back and forth for a while about random things that were making us upset or angry; just venting as I imagined sister do. The next day I got a text from my mom apologizing for all the terrible things she felt she had done. I was shocked and honestly felt like this was coming from left field, she didn’t need to apologize for anything in my book, why was thing happening? I reached out to my sister to find out what happened and that’s when it all fell apart.
My sister told me that she told my parents the things we, more exactly I, had said in our vent session, giving my parents an ultimatum to go to therapy or she would not talk to them again. I felt so overwhelmed. I didn’t know who to talk to, I didn’t know what to say, I felt like was I being cast out from everyone in my family. My parents refused to talk to me until they could understand what was happening and my sister was so proud of herself, I couldn’t talk to her. I was alone.
I finally built up the courage to talk to my parents after a month had passed. We sat and talked, I apologized for the role I had played and assured them I do not agree with my sister. We had a big discussion and lots of tears. We talked out what needed to be said and worked toward building our relationship back together. My sister’s husband had then written an email to my parents, casting them as horrible people who abused my sister, and she would no longer partake in our family. My sister refused to talk to my parents and nothing more was said.
I was angry and wanted to shout at my sister for being so illogical. We had as normal of a life as anyone could have asked for, why now was she bring up years and years of hate and mistrust? When I thought about calling her or writing an email the words would come out, but I didn’t want to be like her or her husband. I didn’t want to continue to add fuel to a fire that was already out of control. I blocked my sister on every avenue I could think of. No social media, no text or calls, no way to communicate.
It’s been just over a year since the last real conversation I had with my sister. Otherwise, I have no idea what is happening in her life. When my aunt died, she came to the funeral but refused to talk to me or our parents. Part of me has secret pride that I was right all along, and my parents now understand. Then I feel ashamed for having that thought. My parents lost all connection with their daughter over a conversation that I had thinking we were normal. I’ve been reassured multiple times that it’s not my fault, I did not cause this, but deep down its hard to justify when it was within the same 24 hours of having the conversation.
Now that time has passed, I realized that having the textbook Disney sisterhood and family is something that will never happen. I see friends and post on social media about brothers and sisters getting along and having trips together or doing things together. It makes me sad to know I don’t have that and probably will never have that. I also know that I’m not alone. There are so many people out there who have zero connection with their families and may or may not understand why. Silently together, we are connected.
If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/why-i-broke-up-with-my-mom/