Hurt by my Sister

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2011
Hurt by my Sister
7
Fri, 07-05-2013 - 5:51pm

Hi. I've posted here before, but way in the past. Anyway, to get to the point, I have a sister who has bipolar disorder.Thank goodness, she's on pills now. I have a very deep devotion to her. There's a lot to say, but I'll summarize. She used to be married to a guy that I adored. He was nice, generous and always seemed to want us all to hang out. I was with my ex-husband then, and am not with him now. I have two girls, eighteen and twelve. 

Anyway, she has since divorced her last husband and married a new one. She has two twin, one and a half year old babies with him. I love her and her babies with all of my heart and soul. Her husband is a different matter. I tolerate him. He is very misogynistic, though and has, on more than one occasion insulted me needlessly. He does this to everyone, though, so I just keep my distance and am amiable when I see him.

My sister, however, has sold me to the birds. She likes hanging out with me because I can then a)help out with her twins and b)listen to her complaints about her husband. However, when the blue moon comes around and he is nice to her, I am dumped like yesterday's trash. She never tells me when they go on a trip or even out anywhere. We were sort of planning to do something on the Fourth of July, (although no promises). She then proceeded to tell me matter-of-factly that at the last minute, they were going with friends on that day. I asked her if they were doing an overnight, not because I am trying to be nosy, but because I noticed that she brought the dog over to my parent's house. She said no, they just brought him over so she wouldn't have to come in the morning. Lie. I knew it the minute she said it, and today my Dad (not knowing he was revealing something new to me) told me they did an overnight.

I am pretty much tired of telling her that I don't feel she is devoted to me. It doesn't get me anywhere. My new tactic is to really not be as available as I was before. She told me to "get a life" when I told her that I knew she was going on an overnight trip. (This was before my dad confirmed this, when I just knew). She does this every single time any event like a trip or something social comes up. The only time she asks me to join in is when she happens to be in the park with a friend and I just happen to be in the neighborhood, so she asks me to join.But rarely. And I always tell her to have fun with her friend, and I'll meet up with her at another time. And I mean it. I want her to have fun, and I am always encouraging her to meet new people and make friends with other couples.

The time that I get offended is on trips, or when she could have asked me to join. Most of the time, I would probably say no, if other couples are around, but it would be nice to be asked.

So I do realize I need to get a better social life for myself. But I'm not sure if this change in her ways with me is because 1)her husband is different than her first husband 2)the bipolar medication makes her more callous or 3)she really just wants me around when it is a personal benefit to her (i.e.helping her manage the kids).

I am very hurt by this and decided to show her that the wheel is round and it goes both ways. What do you all think? I don't know if I should talk to her about this, because it doesn't seem to help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 07-05-2013 - 6:11pm

If you feel that your sis is using you for babysitting and then she doesn't want to do fun things with you, then I'd say by all means, don't jump and be agreeable to babysitting if you have something to do.  I do wonder that you would expect your married sister to ask you to go on a vacation with her & her DH--that seems kind of awkward to me, that you would be the 3rd wheel.  I think it's generally awkward for a couple to have a single person doing things socially unless it's a family event.  It does seem that you shouldn't rely on your sister for your social life if she is not inclined to include you.  I don't know why she really has to tell you if she is going on a trip for the day or overnight when it doesn't really concern you.  It concerns your parents if they are taking care of the dog.

My mom has one married sister, one married brother and one sister who never got married.  I know that my parents & the other aunt did a lot of things with the single aunt but I also know that my parents had their own friends that they socialized with (married couples) and my aunt had her own circle of single ladies and friends that she had known from high school and work too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2011
Fri, 07-05-2013 - 7:44pm

Thanks for your answer. You are absolutely right - I have been in a funk lately and really need to go out there and socialize more. But there is never any family time where we all do things together. Yes, I will go to the mall with her or to the park occasionally, but on the Fourth of July it would have been nice if there had been a family gettogether. I wanted to have one, but it didn't work out.

As for being around a married couple, I know what you mean. You need to understand - I would have said no to a lot of things. But I am never asked to go even on an all day venture with them and the kids. And I love her kids, and her kids adore me. We used to do those things all the time once. We are the type of family that would do that. 

Just one more thing - it wasn't the outing that bothered me. It was the fact that she lied to me. When she goes on any trip, I find out about it the day before. We are very close when we do other things, but for some reason on those occasions that have to do with trips, she becomes secretive. If it is her husband telling her this, I would prefer she say it so I don't think it's coming from her, but she always tells me that her husband always wants me and her to hang out.

By the way, when I was with my husband, I wanted my sisters (one single and her before her kids) to come with us. I took them on trips with us, and we had a blast. That is why this is confusing for me. Thanks for your response.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Sat, 07-06-2013 - 3:41pm

I am not really understanding why you want your sister to ask you to all of these events with other people when you admit that you would most often decline any such invitation. In fact, you encourage her, according to your post, to hangout with her friends, make new friends, and do things without you. Why are you giving her signals that you don't want to be asked or to join her, but then get so upset about her not continually inviting you to join her? This has to be confusing for her--it would be really annoying to me.

If you want to hangout with your sister on your own terms, start asking her to hangout with you. Then you'll be more in charge of planning whether or not the kids are involved, whether her husband will be there, etc. You don't need to rely on her for your social life, but you can invite her to be a part of your life rather than somehow expecting her to read your mind about inviting you after you decline and having you babysit.

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 07-07-2013 - 7:19pm

I wonder if the reason she doesn't ask you to join them on trips is because you and her husband don't get along well. She probably notices the tension when you and he are together. Or maybe he prefers not to spend time with you?

There may be other reasons too such as logistics, or trying to figure out how to keep everybody happy from toddlers to a 12yo to an 18yo. Or maybe she just wants to be with her dh and kids and get away from her family. All of that needs to be considered before issuing an invitation--because what if you said yes? Vacationing with another family can be difficult esp. when the kids are not close in age, you have to think of the preferences of twice as many people. 

The funny thing is that you want to be invited just to "feel wanted" because you said that you would probably decline the invitation. Has she invited you in the past and you declined? Maybe she knows you'll say no and figures why bother to invite you. Or maybe she feels like you are trying to be too much in her business and she's reacting by being very private about it?

If you wanted to spend 4th of July as a family day, could you have talked to your parents and organized something and invited your sis and her family to a set event, instead of making very tentative plans (that basically mean "we'll do this if nothing better comes up") that she forgot about when some friends invited her?

I'd start by making concrete plans with her. Without her husband, and with him included. From what invitations she accepts you might be able to see if the husband figures into it. Meanwhile try to build a social circle for yourself that doesn't include your sister, and then you probably will care less about what she is doing and whether or not she invites you or even tells you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2011
Sun, 07-07-2013 - 7:46pm

Thank you so much for all of your responses. I do understand what both of you are saying. It is not so much the fact that she didn't invite me; it the fact that she felt the need to lie. It is very hard when the dynamics are changed (especially when you don't know why). My sister used to be like my best friend and now it's not like that as much anymore. It's easy to say - get over it. But for me, it is hard.

It is also not easy to see your sister jump like a dog when her husband is good to her. It's like she feels the need to prove to me every single time, that her loyalties are always with him; with the other husband I felt like we were both important to her. I know a lot of people who always actually put their sisters above their husbands. That is not what I am looking for; I just want a little respect. I have been married and have never once, made my sister feel like she comes last on my list.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 07-08-2013 - 1:15pm

Maybe she doesn't want you to be around her DH too much because she knows you don't like him--and maybe she also knows you are right about him.  so she's kind of embarrassed to be in the position where she is subservient to him.  I am divorced twice and even though I probably should have gotten divorced in the 1st year of my 2nd marriage, it took me 5 yrs cause I just didn't want to get divorced twice--plus she has little kids.

Oh, one time my ex MIL had told me in advance that she didn't want to go to my Dd's birthday party, cause it was a party for kids at Mcdonald's or some play place that would be noisy--since she was old I didn't mind that she didn't want to go and figured we'd have a little family party another time.  Well later she told me she was upset she didn't get an invitation--I said to her "but didn't you tell me you didn't want to go?  That's why I didn't send you an invitation."  She said "yes, but I still wanted to be invited."  I could never see the logic of wanting to be invited to a party that you didn't want to go to so you could say no, but after that I always sent her invitations--and she said no, but everybody was happy. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 07-08-2013 - 3:39pm

Maybe she lied because she knows that if she doesn't invite you then your feelings will be hurt; so she figures if you don't know then you won't be hurt.

Why she's not like your best friend anymore probably does  have to do with her new husband. Maybe he is jealous or resentful of the close relationship and pushes her to distance herself; or maybe she sees that the "one big happy family" isn't going to work with this husband. Her loyalties pretty much do have to be with her husband now, not everytime in every thing, but most of the time the husband-wife unit supercedes the sibling relationship IF it comes to a choice. Ideally she wouldn't have to make a choice. It surprises me that you know a lot of people who always put their sibling above their spouse...once in a while is fine but if my dh routinely did that to me I would get upset and vice versa.

You don't have to "get over it" but you do have to accept that you cannot make a person have the kind of relationship that you want, if they don't want the same thing. At this time, the distance seems to be what your sis wants (or is willing to do to appease her husband) and you have to respect that.