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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.