Friday, December 6, 2013

I saw my sister at thanksgiving

Ya, I've been wondering how to mention that on the blog for the past few days... that I saw her.

It is starting to be my tried and true method to wait a few days (or a week or so) after interacting with my family so when I do share on the blog, I have a more level head since my ego and wounds have healed a bit. That way the thoughts I share can come from a place of love instead of hate. Maybe it's a sign of maturity as I embrace my late 20's... or maybe its some inner piece I've found by joining the church. Either way, as I've grown up I've found its been healthier for me to put some time between my posts and my latest family interactions.

So, why did we go?
We were down at the park walking Roxy, talking and walking with a neighbor and his pup from our church. Naturally our discussion revolved around the upcoming holidays and we started to discuss my family situation and our hesitancy's to go and spend Thanksgiving with them after our blissful happy drama free holidays last year.

But our friend said something that really struck a chord with me. "You can't repair a relationship if you aren't present for it." So we decided that I would rather have a bad thanksgiving and a wonderful drama free Christmas than the reverse. So when we accepted the invitation, I told my mom that regardless of how it went, we would NOT be over for Christmas and that we would exchange presents on Christmas Eve again this year.

Turkey Day
While the rest of the family and their guests would be coming over at 10am, we planned to arrive around 2pm since dinner was at 3 or 3:30 and I knew South County Boy could only take so much of them for so long. We also brought Roxy despite the fact that my sister was bringing both her dogs. She did fine because she's bigger than my sister's dogs combined and she generally stayed with SCB and me most of the time. Plus she offered a nice distraction and a neutral third party.

While everyone played "surface nice" with one another, I know we were heavily discussed and bashed after we left. How do I know? I heard my sister's rude remarks under her breath the whole time we were there... and my mom confirmed later that things were mentioned after we left. (Stupid things like how I didn't really care that she went back to dirty blonde instead of brunette... how I was rude since I didn't appear that interested in their new home 3 bedroom 3 bath home... or that when she was speaking, I would occasionally look away to Roxy to start to pet her and then turn back...)

I'll be honest. I caved. There were moments I should have called her out... and I didn't. My year away from them has softened my battle armor. It got worse the longer we were there as they consumed more drinks and got louder...

She wanted to make a point that we weren't going to Utah this year, but weren't coming over to the house either for Christmas to highlight our horribleness and to bait me, but I just let it go.

Why I was so passive
We discovered that being in my sisters presence physically makes my husband ill. He spent most of the time in the other room looking green.

I actually had to dig a fan out of the garage and open a door for him so he felt like he could breathe. He spent the whole "pre-dinner" hour and a half in the other room just off the kitchen alone.

He confided in me afterward when he perked up and was all normal like that he just can't get over how she treated us when we got married and the horrible things she did in the aftermath of our nuptials. Just thinking about it makes him physically ill.

So with that in mind, I knew that any small thing I took the wrong way was going to set him off and 3 years of hurt feelings and misdeeds would have spewed from his mouth. It would have changed something that couldn't be undone... so I backed off... 

Part of me also just didn't have it in me. I guess I just don't need their approval anymore. I used to want it... but unlike my sister, I just don't need it from them. I didn't care that she thought I was rude. I didn't need to let everyone know I felt like the victim... I didn't need to cause a reaction to fee justified in my feelings. 

I guess I am growing up. 

I did get one little act of rebellion in, curtsy of Roxy that I have to share.

Because we came late, I had to automatically sit in a chair near the couch, near my sister. Which meant Roxy was closer to my sister than the other guests because she wanted to be near me.

My sister kept calling "Rosie" over to her, and while Roxy let her scratch her head, she wouldn't get on the couch next to my sister or put her paws up to get more attention like she does with other people. In case you weren't aware, my dog is an attention lap whore.

You stop petting her and she will sit next to you on the couch and nudge you with her cold nose. If that doesn't work, she will put her paw on your chest or your arm as if to say "excuse me, I'm still here"... When that doesn't works or stops working, she will sit in your lap or physically nudge your hand back on her head and look at you with those "why did you stop" eyes that make you break every time.

So, she is an attention whore and we love her.

But she wasn't doing that with my sister. Nope. She was sitting on the carpet, allowing my sister to pet her because she kept insisting... not because she wanted to...

My sister decided she was going to try to convince everyone that "Rosie" must really like her since she's such a nice person and everything... and because all dogs like her.

I refused to let me dog become a chess piece for her to use. When I went to get water, I sat in a chair further away from her that was now vacant and Roxy walked closer to me. When someone abandoned their seat on the love seat, I took it, putting myself the furthest I could from my sister so I could reach the snacks... and Roxy followed me further way so my sister got peeved..

She tried to call "Rosie" but she doesn't respond... instead she hopped into my lap, and sat between me and her finance's brother and nudged him to begin to pet her.

Dog's are good judges of character and body language. I was comfortable next to her fiance's brother, therefor Roxy was. I wasn't comfortable by my sister so my dog stood and politely guarded me.

What I learned
My sister hasn't made any real progress in how she treats people... or maybe its just with me.

I know if I had called her out on those mumbled comments and walked into my mom's house on the defense to begin with, we both would have created WWIII.

I mainly did it for my mom... its still a soft spot for me... wanting her to treat me like she does my sister... wanting me to feel equal... but we won't go next year, since my sister was talking about thanksgiving at her house... if its at my mom's, we may try again... but I don't think its fair to SCB to make him go when he's so uncomfortable. Maybe I'll just got for an hour and leave.


  1. My side of my family is totally dysfunctional so I have no advice for you. Hugs for you!

    1. We should form a club! lol, But in all seriousness, I'm just very grateful for the love and acceptance I've received from my husband and his family... and the knowledge that I don't have to repeat my childhood.

      Already I see the differences in my marriage. My husband and I tell each other "I love you" every day. We hug and share a kiss and pray together most morning before I go to work... and I want our future kids to see how wonderful love and a family can be.

  2. It's hard having tense relationships with your own parents and siblings. I have a sister who is quite immature and causes a lot of problems. My parents enable her behavior and it's hard for me to handle sometimes. It's easier to avoid get together, or just "drop by" than spend anymore than an hour in her presence. The important part is that you have matured and accepted things, maybe your sister will grow up one day. It took me until my late 20's to figure out my family dynamic and how not normal it was!

    "therefor Roxy was. I wasn't comfortable by my sister so my dog stood and politely guarded me."

    I love this. Dogs are the best, and they really are great when it comes to judging character of people!

    1. Thanks Angella, I'm thinking if my mom hosts again next year, i'll drop by for an hour or so and just "visit" while my turkey is in the oven and then head back home to my husband and peace of my home.

      I love our dog. I was never really a dog person until her and now we can't imagine our lives without her.

  3. I'm so sorry that this had to happen. It sounds like you've hit upon a solution for next year which is good!

  4. Your sister is a narcissist (as is mine.) It has taken me 50 years to finally realize that no matter what happens everything will always be about "her". Read some online articles about narcissistic sisters and it will all make sense. On another point, as an non-drinking, sober, non-addictive type personality, such as yourself, you cannot expect people who are addicted, narcissistic or alcoholic to "get-it" and act normal. You want this but it will never happen. As for your friend who said you have to be present to heal a relationship, you are present, the problem is narcissists and alcoholics are self-centered so you will never get them to be present with you. Therein lies the problem. Good Luck; your family is your family, but you can build more solid and supportive relationships in your life with a circle of friends who will support you and love you unconditionally. Good Luck, Susan N. Kent WA