So without any more further hoop-la, here it is, Part 2:
Since I hadn’t given in to my sister’s actions and called her up to really let her have it and thus give her "a reason" to declare war on me, she’s been desperately trying to get me to boil over every chance she can, all in an effort to feel *justified* when she tells my mom she won’t tolerate being around me anymore and that my mom will just have to choose between the two of us…
She’ll remind my mom about how I stopped talking to her for 2 years and *abandoned her* and caused "all those problems." I’m sure she’ll toss in arguments about how she was the only one holding everyone together… and that my mom owes it to her for her *sacrifices*... and my mom will in turn choose my sister over me, like she’s done before (cough *disinvited to Christmas* cough), and allow the pattern to continue because it’s easier to tell my sister yes than no.
The situation would be all too simple if my sister wanted me gone for good… but she doesn’t.
After the 2 years I spent not talking to my mom and the emotional wreak that became of her in my absence, it’s safe to say that my sister is only out for 2 things. Power and Control. She merely wants to cause enough drama and strife to feel justified in removing me from the family so that she can strong arm my mom in my absence to write her will, leaving me out of it. Then once that is done and enough time has passed for her to grow bored with not having anyone to manipulate other than our mother, she’ll “reach-out” and allow me back into their lives on "her terms." After all, how can you bully someone if there isn’t anyone around? Then when I re-enter the picture by her good graces, she’ll convince my mom that there won’t be any need to amend the will and that she will just give me what’s fair when the time comes… Essentially leaving her feeling like she has full control over not only our mother, but me as well, finally having something permanent to hold over my head to "keep me in line." Then when she’s bored again, she’ll eject me once more from the family just to show she can, then relent and invite me back…
Rinse and Repeat.
Sounds exhausting right? Well it is… and it wasn’t until earlier this month that I realized I actually had a third option.
I could just take all of her power away.
Imagine a world where my sister’s scare tactics and threats didn’t hold any power at all… Think about it. The only reason her threats hold any weight is because I let them. So the question now becomes, can I just render my sister obsolete and make her not matter anymore? Is that even possible? I guess when you realize you don’t have anything to lose and everything to gain, you grow bolder and I decided to take the gamble. If I lost, then I was only speeding up the inevitable, but either way it would mean no real further damage.
So I decided not to take up my sister’s offer to “chat if I wanted to” and didn’t call her back. I decided that if my mom called me up asking why I wasn’t “reaching out to my sister” that I would tell her the truth… All of it. How hurt I was with her that she allowed my sister to call the shots in our relationship, my disappointments from the wedding, the baptism, and the exclusion from the family thus far... there was going to be no more sugar coating things.
But my mom didn’t call me up… and I kept biding my time. Waiting....
I got a few text messages from my sister about my mom’s upcoming birthday trip to Disneyland and I continued to plan the details with her, never offering more about myself and my life, but keeping things polite and not giving her a reason to start the war before I was ready. I kept praying for the right moment to come along and kept getting the impression that I should wait and keep my mouth shut… so I did.
Then my sister called me up again and I could tell she was determined to get something out of me that she could use against me to set her plan to evict me back in motion. After all, with our mom’s birthday just around the corner, she was running out of time if she wanted to use that moment... for without it, she’d have to wait until November when all her future in-laws were around for Thanksgiving… and I’m sure her fiancé wouldn’t appreciate her ruining the holiday for his family too…
So the other night while I was making dinner, my phone went off and the wicked witch ring tone from the Wizard of OZ sounded ominously on the counter indicating it was my sister on the other line.
“So, what are you doing…”
- ME: “Making dinner…”
- ME: “Burgers and Salad…”
- ME: “No, SCB is grilling and I’m making a salad to go along with my burger.”
She instantly started hollering and disinvited me to our mom’s birthday, which I knew was coming… So again, I remained calm and I didn’t get upset because it’s what she wanted me to do. Instead I just sighed like a parent does with an upset child who doesn’t get it and I told her that I didn’t need to go to Disneyland to celebrate our mom’s birthday with her. I told her that I could just grab a bite to eat and celebrate with her on "our terms" … so it was fine if she wanted to uninvited me because I could just make other plans.
With her first scare tactic eliminated and no angry response audible from me like she was hoping to recieve, she moved on and started in on tactic number 2… Let's just say there were just lots of comments about how I *abandoned* our mom and how she was always the one there for her, calling her, keeping everything together… How she was the better daughter…
and in the moment she paused for air I just told her that she was right…
which shocked the pants off her and granted me a few moments to continue. I told her that yes, she was there for mom those 2 years and I wasn’t… and I'm okay with that because it was more important for me to be away.
Then I beat her to the punch. I brought up the will she wanted my mom to write and informed her that I’d already sat down with our mom and spoke to her about her will and let her know that if she wanted to leave nothing to me, that she could because its hers and that her decision would not affect whether or not I loved her and wanted a relationship with her so there was no real point to bring that up again because it was already discussed well over a month ago.
It was clear that the demure and calmness or my attitude towards the whole conversation was getting to her because more than anything she wanted me to get upset so she could feel justified in her actions. Add in the realization that I had been un-doing the damage she’d been doing these past few months without her knowledge and she was rocked to the core.
Sure, she might have known I had grabbed lunch with my mom before my baptism, but she really had no idea what we talked about because no one (namely me) had bothered to call her up to yell at her for what she’d been doing behind my back. So for months she believed she had gotten away with smearing SCB’s family and my husband and I in the mud without us being the wiser. But now she was angry and taken aback. Not only had I known and tried to un-do the damage without involving her, but she realized something had changed between us. Normally by now she’d have me in a screaming match with her on the phone where I’d stoop down to her level and toss garbage at her just the same… but not this time.
And it wasn’t over yet.
If I was going to take her power over me away, I had to emphatically take all her ideas, thoughts, opinions, and threats that she had used at one time or the other and make them worthless. I had to give her no return arguments to sling my way so she would walk away wounded and feeling justified in her anger. So I moved on to the final blow. I told her that I knew she was going to naturally call up our mom and insist that she spend every major holiday, birthday and gathering with her and not me…
but I quickly interjected that she needn’t worry because we (my mom and I) had already decided that we would just make alternate arrangements to celebrate together without her when it was convenient for us to do so, so we could insure that we could enjoy our holidays together.
She called me names and hung up the phone and that was that.
Just like that… in one 15 minute conversation I had effectively told my sister that:
- She couldn’t really stop me from celebrating our mothers birthday by “disinviting” me to things like she had in the past... (In the past this hurt so much because my mom wouldn't stand up for me and would just let my sister run the show and we'd have to wait around while my mom convinced my sister to be the bigger person and relent, which meant my mom agreeing with her that I was infact evil.)
- That I couldn’t be bothered by her threats of being financially tossed out of the family because being in the will no longer matter to me after my last conversation with my mom at lunch. I got a chance to tell my side of the story and my sister wasn't aware that, that conversation had taken place. (she was hoping that the idea of being financial written out of my mom's will would hurt my pride and make me walk away again on my own accord at the injustice of the fact that my mom would even consider doing it.)
- That her presence was no longer required or welcomed in my life (which would naturally upset her since she has a ton of insecurity issues and can't stand being out of the loop)
- That I had in fact spoken with my mother without her knowledge and it stayed that way until I chose to share it with her (therefore making her prior role in the family as "controller" obsolete)
- and finally that I had grown beyond her petty immature games and would no longer be bothered by her antics.
After my sister hung up the phone, I looked over to my husband and confirmed I was speaking to my sister on the phone and he immediately broke into a happy dance in our living room…
1 phone call down with my sister and 1 to go with my mother…
Only I wasn’t sure when that one would happen since I needed to wait for my mom to call me for all of this to work out the way I was hoping that it would...
Considering the last time I talked with my mom was infact the luncheon before my baptism (and the phone call inviting her to dinner that was declined...) I had a lot of ground to cover and needed to make sure I played my cards right... Phone rang 3 hours later at 8pm that night.