Issues with older sister

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2001
Issues with older sister
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 8:17pm

Hello and thank you for reading. I've been holding something inside that I simply need to set free.

I have an older sister (older by 12 yrs) who I just don't feel the desire to spend time with. I know it sounds weird but....if I wasn't a relative I wouldn't want to be friends with her. She's materialistic, she's hung up on a person's physical appearance (men and women), she likes to go, go, go whereas I'm content with reading a book at home, or just watching tv. She likes parties, I don't. Sometimes I feel that she only calls me to do things when no one else is available (I feel this way because she has said that about another friend that she calls last after everyone else has said no.) She does have a boyfriend, new relationship, so she spends most of her free time with him now.

About 2 1/2 yrs ago, I found myself in dire straits...divorce, house foreclosed, laid off from 2 jobs, bankruptcy, car repossession (voluntary) and we lost our mom and brother a few years before this. It was an utter nightmare, a time I wish I could erase from memory.  I was without work for 11 mos with a 16 yr old son. I sold things in the house (before we lost it) to get $ for food. I was skipping meals so that he would have enough to eat. After I lost the house, I was a gypsy and lived with a few friends until I found a cheap room to rent. By then, I had found a job making just $11/hr. During all this, I was a shell of a person, suicidal and hopeless. My sister never once offered to help. I know, I know...expectations will always backfire but aren't we suppose to rely on family? Depends I guess. I know she had her expenses but she makes $65,000/yr. is single living in an apartment and has an adopted daughter who was 9 at the time. I have another sister who was unemployed too but she managed to send me money for food every now and then...and, of course, some very dear friends helped me.

I moved to the state she lives in to re-build my life, which is not too far from where we were raised and grew up. It took a long time to coordinate this move and make it happen as I did it alone. I've been here for 1 1/2 yrs now. Now that we're closer she wants to "get to know me." With the age difference, she was out of the house as I was growing up and doing her own thing so we didn't spend time together. In fact, during one of our get togethers I was talking about my asthma and how I can't go to her friends house because she has dogs. She admitted she never knew I had asthma. day after a sleepover at her place (and I did this because my niece begged me) she admitted to me that she was always jealous of me...she felt I am prettier, my hair is nicer, etc. We have different fathers. My mother married twice. Nevertheless, I was shocked! I wondered how much that emotion has shaped her feelings towards me all these years. I didn't pursue it, I didn't want to feed into it and she quickly changed the subject almost embarrassed that she admitted it.

I turned 50 yrs old on July 30 and she did text me a happy bday but she didnt send a card. She told me on a voicemail msg that she just didnt get around to getting one and she feels bad because I always send her a card. Then she wanted to take me to eat for my bday...but then when I chose the day it wasn't a good day for her so she said she would let me know. All of this and I'm feeling hell with you.

Almost forgot to mention, she's a recovered alcoholic. Her drinking stopped but the behavior is the same and at this point in my life recovering from the hell I went thru a few yrs back I don't have the patience.

Maybe I'm just stressed over everything. I have a lot on my plate. Starting a new life in a different state alone is extremely hard. So....I guess I should just let time work its magic? How do I resolve these feelings of not wanting to spend time with her? Most of my time is spent looking for full time, permanent work (I work full time now but as a temp) and researching schools because I want to go back for my Masters.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2001
Tue, 08-27-2013 - 3:26pm
Yes, I agree....and I am giving her and our relationship a chance. A big part of it is acceptance. Can I accept it won't be buddy-buddy? Yes, because that doesn't mean the time we do spend won't be enjoyable. I was just talking about this w/a much acceptance of what is can be such a powerful thing. It allows healing, moving forward and happiness because we're not immersed in self-pity or wishing for something that can't be. Thank you!
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 12:25pm

For what it is worth, recovery is a life time process and more continues to be revealed.  It sounds like she is at a point in her recovery where she is seeing her R with you in a different light.

Give her a chance.

You don't have to become buddy-buddy to have a relatively healthy relationship. Take it slow and see what happens. 

My DH has a strained R with his kids, and almost non-exisistent with his oldest.  Their R will never be what he had wished for, but he holds out hope that it can be better than it is now. 

Hang in there and good luck with everything!

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2001
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 7:51am

Thank you! Maybe I am envious of her financial situation....this is true. So you make a good point, but I'm ok with it. It doesn't make me not want to be around her. The things that bother me is how she goes about wanting to spend time and other behavior. The world is always going to present to you others who are doing better. That's not anything new to me. It takes two....I realize that, and I have extended a shoulder for her to cry on many times. When she was going thru her recovery she'd call and I'd listen. When she broke up with her partner of 12 yrs....I was there. She would call crying several times a day and I would comfort her. So, I have no problem with being there and I can rest at night knowing I have never pushed her away. I will continue to take it slow and have get togethers but also know that the relationship may never be as fulfilling as it should be.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2001
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 7:43am

Your post is so well thought out and sensitive. Thank you and thank you for the bday wishes!!!

Her idea of getting to know me is to spend time together, which is fine but it's always on her terms. She doesn't bend and isn't flexible if it doesn't suit her. I also caught her in a lie to our other sister...she doesn't know I know.  However, I don't see her as a strong, positive force in my life and I get more from my friends.

It is exciting and I plan on having a better life here. I have reached a point in my life where I want to drama, and things that feed my spirit and warm my heart.

I will take it slow and take it for what it is. Acceptance is key as it may never be the kind of sister relationship I had hoped for. I need to take care of me now.

Have a wonderful day!

Avatar for lizmvr
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2001
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 3:58pm

It seems to me like the two of you are sharing envious thoughts of each other. Whereas she says that she always thought you were prettier, you seem to think that she's been much better off financially. You both probably have no idea of the issues you have both separately overcome.

In any case, just as she has no obligation to send you money, you have no obligation to hangout with her if you don't want to have a relationship with her.

If at all possible, though, you might want to just think about your half sister with a bit more compassion. If you want that compassion from her, it might do you well to show some to her--she went through her family being split up, alcoholism, adopting a daughter, and who knows what else. However, if you are feeling that you just despise her and don't want to try to build a healthy relationship with her, just keep on keeping to yourself, but don't expect her to jump in to help you out in some way if she has no relationship, and therefore no way of knowing, about you and your situation.


Clinical Research Associate


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 2:51am

Hi PMW. 

I think its great that your reaching out and sharing your feelings about your sister. Its hard to articulate these feelings and you have given us a lot of info to help you with. Firstly, turning 50 is huge milestone - happy birthday to you !. Many more :) 

I think turning 50 makes you evaluate your life and who are the important people in your life. Its a reflective time and when someone like your sister doesnt seem to factor into your life as someone you want to share with, then you start to wonder what type of relationship you want with her. 

Sometimes people are part of your life for varying reasons. I know my siblings and I dont see eye to eye most of the time and so I choose to have very little contact with them. I feel they are very unsuportive of me, but yet they expect me to be there for them. It really has to work both ways for any relationship to work. 

You didnt elaborate on " how she wants to get to know you" ? Did she tell you how she wants that to happen? Or is she expecting you to reach out? 

I went to a psychologist and she said that in order to have  a relationship with my siblings I needed to reach out. So I did. I set up dinners and invited them. I saw them all on an individual basis. I took a bottle of wine and card to my brother for his birthday. I invited my sister to dinner. I gave gifts to my other brother. They all treat me like I dont exist, and so I stopped doing anything at all for them and stopped reaching out. My psychologist said I did the right thing and that they didnt respond appropriately. I blame my mother for this as she never encourages postivity, just finds faults with us all.

I now lavish my time and energy on friends and other family - cousins, in laws etc. Im happier because I don.'t see my immediate siblings and they cant make me feel bad. I think having distractions like starting your masters degree and making a new life will give you a lot more meaningful experiences. I wouldn't say to cut ties with her, but she doesnt strike me as being someone who is showing any concern or assistance to help you. So you would tread lightly when it comes to spending time, money and energy on her. See her when it suits you, and try and make the most of living in a new place. 

Personally, I think its exciting to move to a new place and make new friends and start again, its like a new beginning. Just try and be positive about it all and dont be too hard on yourself. If you feel like you dont like her, have some space and see her when your ready.