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Old December 13th, 2012, 09:55 PM
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Sister not invited to Christmas

Not sure where to begin. I’m the middle of three daughters and we have an older brother. My older sister (sis1) has been difficult to deal with for years, since we were children. She always seems to be surrounding herself with people who are no good for her and consistently makes poor decisions. I’ve always said we could put sis1 in a room with 100 men, 99 of whom were great guys who would treat her like a princess and 1 absolute jerk who would treat her horribly and without fail, she’d leave with the jerk.

Her current…ex…current jerk is a real prize. She’d been with this guy for several years. Even following him out of state while he tried to avoid legal issues. This past spring she got fed up with him (still not sure what all happened), she left him and moved out on her own. Our younger sister (sis2) lived closer to sis1 at that time so she was the one that always got the crying/hysterical/panicked calls from sis1 about all the trouble the ex was causing and threats that were being made. Sis1 and her ex had two dogs while they were together. Sis1 took one of the dogs with her when she left, leaving the other with her ex. The two dogs didn’t get along. One day the ex shows up at her new place and asks to borrow her ax. He told her the dog she’d left with him had an “accident” and he needed the ax so he could bury it. I’m sorry, WHAT!!! OMG I was horrified when sis2 told me about this. Then “someone” took out a loan using sis1’s name and bank account information. I wonder who would have had easy access to that info? They had a truck together, titled under sis1’s name and when she left she signed it over to him. He took the truck but refused to get the registration changed. He’d tell her he was getting it done, or had already done it, but he never did. His DUI’s and a warrant might have been why.

The law caught up with the ex, he was arrested and sent off to jail. Sis1 moved back to this state and I was really hoping things were turning around for her. She seemed happier than I’d seen her in a long time. But some people don’t seem to be able to stand happiness. First she told me the ex was very ill and she felt sorry for him. I told her she was not responsible for him. After everything he’d put her through, not her problem. Sis1 said she understood that, but still felt bad for him. Two weeks ago I called her offering to take her shopping (she doesn’t drive) and she informed me the ex was out on bail and she’d taken him back. I was speechless. Didn’t know what to say. I did meet up with her a couple of days later. Thought we should talk. She was just about gushing about how she loved him, had missed him and how nice he’d been in the week since he’d been out. It took everything I had not to SCREAM at her, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. She’d actually gone to his bail hearing and told the judge she was his fiancé and was taking him back. I felt sick. I tried again to get her to see that this guy is not her responsibility. She needs to worry about taking care of herself not him. Might as well beat my head against the wall for all the good that did.

Sis2 had been out of town while this last mess was taking place. When she found out she said she’s done dealing with sis1. Our brother says he’s done with sis1 as well. Even dad says he’s had enough of trying to support her through the consequences of one bad decision after another and thinks it’s best if she’s not at the family Christmas get together. Me, I’m just sad. Christmas should be a time when family comes together not get torn apart. I know sis1 is going to be very hurt being excluded, and while I hate the thought of doing it, it needs to be done. The family can’t go on pretending everything is okay when it’s not. I wish I thought that not inviting her to Christmas was going to get her to wake up and realize this relationship is no good for her, but I’m not holding my breath. You can’t help someone who doesn’t think there’s a problem. No matter how much you love them and want to make it better, you can’t. I know that, but it still hurts. And knowing how this is going to make sis1 feel hurts even worse.

Not only am I the peacekeeper in the family, I’m also the family “cruise director”. If there are plans to be made for a family gathering of any kind, it’s always me making them. Sis1 will be calling, asking what’s going on for Christmas, so I’m going to be the one breaking the news to her. How am I supposed to tell her the family has decided she’s not invited this year? Should I wait for her to call me or should I reach out to her first? I have been a basket case for days worrying about this. I hate confrontations. I just don’t know.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 11:28 PM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

I'm really sorry for your situation. It sounds so painful.

I have one question before I delve too far into my opinion. Would Sis1 be invited if the boyfriend stayed home?

If the answer is yes, then I think the thing to do is wait for her to call. When she calls, respond with "Oh, we thought you'd be spending Christmas with boyfriend. Are you not?" If she says yes, she's planning on bringing him then you can say "Sis1, I'm so sorry but no one in the family likes how boyfriend treats you. We don't want him there because we're all really disgusted with him. If you want to come over, we'd love to have you. If you want to be with him, that's understandable but it can't be with us."

If the anwer is no, then I still think the thing to do is wait for her call. I'm not sure she will, because she may *know* on some level that she isn't welcome. If she calls, just be honest with her like you were in your post. You love her, you're so sad, but the family just can't continue supporting her through all of these horrible decisions she is making with her life. It is too painful to be around her now; everyone wants to help her but she doesn't even realize there's a problem. Maybe offering to have some small celebration with her away from the family celebration will be salve for her wounds, maybe not. That's your call. But I think honest, compassionate, and as a united front (i.e. no "Sis2 said this and dad said that") is the way to go. You sound like a very gentle, kind person. I think you can do it.

One thing I picked up on in your post was one of the most important life lessons I've ever had. Never badmouth the ex (or the current) no matter how deserving or tempting. That backfires if (when) they get back together, because your sister now has to defend her ex/current to you. That puts her on his side, united against you. If they don't get back together, it still is hurtful to her ego (you date LOSERS) that will stick in her subconscience and come out some other time when you "aren't being supportive."

Do you think your sister is being abused (physically or mentally)? I may change my mind about my answer...
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Old December 14th, 2012, 01:34 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

Hi longhairedgnome, and welcome.

Reading your post, there is a LOT of detail, more than what most parents would reasonably know about their adult children. Is there any chance you feel far more responsible for your sister than what is necessary? - If she's just bad at making decisions, that is her responsibility, not yours. While you don't sound old, it doesn't sound like you are exactly teenagers either.

And i agree with KayKay, if the boyfriend is not welcome, just make it clear.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayKay View Post
I have one question before I delve too far into my opinion. Would Sis1 be invited if the boyfriend stayed home?

....Do you think your sister is being abused (physically or mentally)? I may change my mind about my answer...
Inviting sis1 to come if she came alone was my intention when I found out she'd taken the ex back. The rest of the family is too upset to deal with her right now. If Christmas weren't so close, they might have time to cool off before the decision needs to be made, but not now. I understand, and the family needs to be united on this. It isn't going to do anyone any good to have her there and have a horrible argument start. People could say hurtful things on both sides that they can't take back, so it's best if she's just not there.

I don't think he's ever been physically abusive. Sis1 is pretty open about all the drama in her life, so I think someone in the family would know if he'd ever hit her. As for metally abusive, it's hard to say. He's had issues in the past with drugs and alchohol (hence his legal problems) and what people are capable off when under the influence is anyones guess.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

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Originally Posted by Mrs X View Post
Hi longhairedgnome, and welcome.

Reading your post, there is a LOT of detail, more than what most parents would reasonably know about their adult children. Is there any chance you feel far more responsible for your sister than what is necessary? - If she's just bad at making decisions, that is her responsibility, not yours. While you don't sound old, it doesn't sound like you are exactly teenagers either.

And i agree with KayKay, if the boyfriend is not welcome, just make it clear.
Hi and thanks for the welcome.

Yes, it's a lot of detail, more than I wish I knew, frankly, and not near everything at that! I'm not sure I'd say I feel responsible for her exactly. I'm treading very carefully trying to be supportive but not enabling. I don't want to look back on this in the future if something bad happened to her and have regrets about what more could have been done. In the end I know she's an adult, she's almost 50 for heaven's sake, and if she hasn't learned better by now, it's not likely she's going to.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by longhairedgnome View Post
Hi and thanks for the welcome.

Yes, it's a lot of detail, more than I wish I knew, frankly, and not near everything at that! I'm not sure I'd say I feel responsible for her exactly. I'm treading very carefully trying to be supportive but not enabling. I don't want to look back on this in the future if something bad happened to her and have regrets about what more could have been done. In the end I know she's an adult, she's almost 50 for heaven's sake, and if she hasn't learned better by now, it's not likely she's going to.
The bolded means that you have already had too much involvement in your sister's decisions. You will have regrets. There is always something to be done, but your sister is the one who has to do it. It's time to let her go and stop letting guilt, or fear of future guilt, control you.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

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Originally Posted by longhairedgnome View Post
the family is too upset to deal with her right now. If Christmas weren't so close, they might have time to cool off before the decision needs to be made, but not now. ........... It isn't going to do anyone any good to have her there and have a horrible argument start. People could say hurtful things on both sides that they can't take back, so it's best if she's just not there.
IMO this is what you say to her when she calls.

I do worry that it seems like y'all are throwing her out at a sensitive time. I worry that she'll never get over that.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

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Even dad says he’s had enough of trying to support her through the consequences of one bad decision after another and thinks it’s best if she’s not at the family Christmas get together.


Then Dad can make the phone call.

I hope you're not the one to call and tell her.

Whose home is this Christmas shinding going to be at? Parents home? Your home?

IMO... You're the sister, not the parent.

This is how I would handle it if I were in your shoes...

I would invite her. I wouldn't even bother to tell her to be good. If she wants to bring that... man she's hooked up with... Let her. Everyone is supposed to be an adult and behave appropriately - especially during the holiday seasons. If someone didn't agree with me (which I probably wouldn't even bother to tell them I invited so and so). If someone doesn't like what she's doing then let them speak up to her. I would let things flow. Who knows... You might be surprised with the outcome. If it fails - would it be your fault? Not hardly. You can't be held responsible for someone else's behavior.

It's easy to have someone else do the dirty work, but it's hard when they have to do it themselves.

It's Christmas! It's your Christmas too! Why should you have to be the one to tell your sister she's not invited to be with the family this Christmas?

Follow your heart on what you think is the RIGHT thing to do.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

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Originally Posted by LucyVanPelt View Post
The bolded means that you have already had too much involvement in your sister's decisions. You will have regrets. There is always something to be done, but your sister is the one who has to do it. It's time to let her go and stop letting guilt, or fear of future guilt, control you.
I hadn't thought about it that way, but you are absolutely right. It's just another way of saying I do feel responsible isn't it? Best thing I can do right now is just step back and let it go. If she calls I'll explain, calmly and gently, as best as I can what the deal is. If she doesn't call it's not my responsibility to be the one to tell her.

Kaykay, you had a good idea before suggesting I do something with her seperate from the family get together. I don't want her to feel like she's being cut off.

Knot2loud, I agree that we should all be able to act like adults and share Christmas together as a family. That is what I'd like to do...in a perfect world. My family isn't perfect. I know it wouldn't go well, and with two parents in their 80's, they don't need the stress. I don't need the stress right now either. I'm so glad this year is almost over. Sis2 normally hosts Christmas but she recently lost her job. Luckily she found a new one very quickly but it's in another state, so she's currently packing to move. As for telling sis1 to bring her boyfriend if she wanted to, I have no use for the man and after what I've learned about him in the last few months don't ever want him in my home ever again.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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Re: Sister not invited to Christmas

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Originally Posted by longhairedgnome View Post
As for telling sis1 to bring her boyfriend if she wanted to, I have no use for the man and after what I've learned about him in the last few months don't ever want him in my home ever again.
Looks like the boyfriend problem is solved.

Good luck to you and I hope everything works out. Have a great holiday season.
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