These are the questions that keep me up at night.

I was doing alright ignoring them until a few days ago. My sister Quinn, my only sibling from childhood, sent me a novella about why she didn’t want to talk to me anymore. She immediately blocked me.

Was there some kind of argument?

Hey! Friendly fire!

I sent her a link to my post about Donald Trump’s mental problems, because she doesn’t like him either and I thought she might appreciate it. She said it was terrifying, and she was “tired of being afraid all the time.”

Afraid of what?

She said Trump and all his supporters want her dead.

I told her that seemed like a bit of an overstatement. That I thought being unnecessarily incendiary weakened a position that I basically agree with.

Painted quite a picture for herself!

She insisted, so I let it go with “Okay, I can’t convince you otherwise.” And I have neither the energy nor the conviction to try. But I wish she weren’t afraid all the time, too.

She called that passive-aggressive. Called me “gaslighty.” Okay, nice chatting with you, too, you ray of sunshine.

Hours later I received that long message telling me how emotionally abusive I was to her as a child and how I goaded our mother into her petty behavior last year.

How my not wanting my younger sister following me around gave her abandonment issues. Forget that she was annoying on purpose, and was very open about it. She was four years younger and drove my friends crazy.

I can hardly believe what I’m reading!

But I’m not going to argue here. Anything I have ever tried to say is beside the point: “And since I have little faith that you’ll read all of this and not have a LOT to say about it, I am temporarily blocking you on this account.”

Of course I have things to say! For one thing, that’s what I do. Also, I’m expected to let her completely mischaracterize our lives and not comment. Let her stew in half-remembered unhappiness just like our mother. Let her push me away.

Sometimes the only thing to do is drink!

But she has never wanted my help. Nothing I do is ever right. She has been trying to make something out of our rough childhood for years, and it reminds me of the abandonment issues I have been working on lately.

It mirrors the Narcissistic Cycle and I think its extreme form is at the root of that. It involves devaluing someone until you feel like you are better off without them. Then you can leave them before they leave you. It’s an unconscious thing that keeps you stuck in the early stages of relationships because, as soon as they slip up and fail to meet expectations, you are spooked and the devaluation begins.

Don’t worry, darling, you can’t do anything right!

I have been supportive of my sister’s choices. I have told her I usually don’t understand them, but I don’t need to.

But I’m not allowed to have an opinion. She’s always been the kind of person to take disagreement personally, so I just stopped expressing myself on a lot of things. Both face to face and in public places where she might see.

And for what? Peacemaking with someone who can’t be bothered to stop for lunch when her trip takes her an easy 20 minutes from my house. Who has tapped my skills but was never interested in being an ear. Who would rather blame me for her issues than see me as a co-victim.

Time for the gloves to come off!

I can defend myself forever and people will see it however they see it. But I feel robbed of so much, not least of which is the opportunity to have a real conversation about any of this.

What my mother showed me last year was that everything we had built between us since I became an adult was fake. If you have grown as a person, you don’t revert right back like 20 years never happened. No matter what is going on. That’s what growth is, it holds up under pressure. It helps you hold up under pressure.

I didn’t care that the furniture arrangement was a sore spot then, and I don’t care now. We’re talking life and death stuff here, and Quinn accuses me of “starting a pissing contest.” 

 

You’re kidding, right?

 

If that’s how she perceives me, I wonder why I waste my time. She overheard a panicked call home where I said something about not feeling comfortable “talking to my family” which she made all about her and then neglected to consider why I might feel that way.

Hubs was actually impatient with me for being upset by this whole thing. He was arguably being insensitive but he has a point – “She’s crazy, anyway.”

He’s biased but he has seen how I tiptoe around her despite her being hundreds of miles away.

No, no, I was doing something suitably woke…. I wasn’t lounging in the tub!

What really upsets me is now I have to accept that my family is dead. 30 years ago next month, more than three times what their marriage lasted. For many of those years I was the only one in contact with everyone. So I could look around and say, ‘I have a family! See?’

“You lost her a long time ago.” Hubs does have his moments of wisdom.

I guess I’m not gonna get away with not really looking at the roots of my abandonment fears. I have been dealing with individual symptoms, but they share a common cause. Now that I’ve been paying attention, I begin to see how vast the issue is.

Does everyone leave eventually?

And somewhere on the other side are my sisters. I hope they can figure out how to be happy.

But get ready for some Brazen commentary on previously-untouched subjects. I don’t have anyone to tiptoe around anymore.

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8 Comments

  1. Devaluing someone until you feel like they are better off without them…something like this, you said, right? I wonder if this applies to the self. Will need to ponder this a bit more.

    You are very brave to write this post. So timely for me to read this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brave? Maybe. I wrote this because I needed to process it and only published it because I managed to make it coherent lol
      But hubs said it might help someone. These things can be sneaky, I have definitely caught myself beginning to do this and who knows how many other good relationships I have skewered??
      Happy pondering!

      Like

      1. I have no relationship with my siblings. Nothing happened, they live on the west coast and I’m in Toronto, but the one-sided attempts at connections got old so I stopped. Nobody missed me. But this isn’t really bothering me, it’s more the immediate relationships here that are troubling me. So yes, your post is great food for thought. 💗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some Narcs somewhere in your family throwing everyone else off, mainly because they are a dime a dozen. For every Donald Trump there’s a hundred garden-variety Narcs sucking the energy out of some unsuspecting people. My next post is about how these things are intertwined.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone that barely engages with either side of their family due to cycles of toxicity largely fueled by a narcissistic mother, I can relate to this. It was tough in the beginning, but I’m truly happier now due to the absence of the stress of feeling as if I had to entertain familial bonds, that blood is thicker than water. In my case, the blood must be made of corn syrup, red dye, and unfiltered tap water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry that you had that experience too. I’m already feeling better, but it will take a long time to not be sad because to me it’s like an ordinary tragedy.
      But LOL @ unfiltered tap water! So evocative.

      Like

      1. Thanks, it’s been a major part of my journey having to recognize who and what’s no longer serving me. Sounds like you’re doing the same. I know it’s not easy and sadness is expected, but I hope you remember during the dark periods that you aren’t a selfish monster for choosing to no longer be a part of other people’s self-created drama. After all, you have your kids and husband to think about plus yourself!

        Liked by 1 person

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