Tag: emotional wound
I saw this little thing on Facebook today. It’s one of those gooshy bits of prose about one’s love and devotion to a particular person. This particular one was about sisters. It went like this:
Your sister is always the first female friend you will have in your life.
Nobody will ever be able to understand your craziness like your sister and although you don’t see each other as much as you’d like, she will always remain your friend and be there for you when you need her the most.
While people will come and go in your life, your sister will be in your heart for a lifetime.
Then it goes on to say “If you have a sister you love with all your heart, share this on your wall and tag your sister.”
That doesn’t describe my sister or the relationship we have had for years in the least.
My sister is four years younger than me. Most anyone who meets us though thinks she’s older. I don’t know if it’s the cane she likes to carry (but sometimes doesn’t need or use) or the fact that she does appear to be somewhat older than me. I’m sure her being married to a man who is 10 years older than her doesn’t help her acting older. He’s not that much older than me, but he also acts a lot older than he is too. He’s not all that adventurous and it’s hard to get him to participate in any gathering or games. I wonder sometimes if he even likes to laugh although he has his moments when he’s sort of talkative and sociable. Honestly, he’s just a very solemn dude and it’s hard for any of us to really relax around him, but we try. He’s just a very introverted person and that makes it hard to relate to him.
So yeah, my sister and I have really nothing in common other than blood, ya know? And I don’t know if our disconnect isn’t more due to how we were raised. I’ve mentioned this in another post but I didn’t expound on the way things stand today.
As I said in that post, as an adult, she made one particular really bad decision that I didn’t even know about til her friend called me all distraught and wondering what to do about it. She wondered if she should call and tell my mother. I knew my sister wouldn’t listen to me, so I told the friend, yes, she should tell Mom.
Looking back, I admire this lady for being willing to do this. I don’t have a friend that I’d be willing to call her mother to say, “Hey, I’m worried about what your daughter, my friend, is doing and wanted you to know.” But she did call my mother and next thing I knew, all heck broke loose….. on me.
I got a furious, frantic call from Mom and later, Dad got on the phone and said the words that have stuck with me for all these years since… “If you’d been a better sister, none of this would’ve happened.” Nothing was said about it for years… I just took it and stewed on it, and it came screaming back at me repeatedly. It so completely summed up how they treated me and my sister ever since I can remember. She did whatever and I got the blame for it.
Yes, even as children this was true. The older sister was blamed for the younger’s actions or inaction or complete disregard for anything. And keep in mind here… she’s thirty-some years old at this time. I’ve been married for 10 or so years and have a husband and two young children I’m busy being a stay-at-home mother to…and I get the entire blame for this idiot situation she got herself into?!?!
You see, both of us were diagnosed with chronic diseases as children. She began having grand mal and petite mal seizures when she was about 3 years old. I would have been 7 at that time. In 1975, 8 months before my 8th birthday, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After I was grown and married, then as I had children, I have often wondered, in awe really, of how my mother coped with all that. Within a year, both her children were diagnosed with awful diseases. I think it was maybe another year of seizures, doctors and tests before they diagnosed my sister with epilepsy. I don’t know how Mom did it. I’ve always said I would much rather me be the one with an illness than my boys, so I now understand the times my mother cried bitter tears telling me she wished she could take my diabetes. *sob* And every time she said that, in my mind was a fierce “NO!” because I would never EVER wish that on my little mother.
But I digress… (shocking, I know! ha!)
So now here we are, both in our 40’s and living next door to each other, and we rarely see one another. I find that really sad, but at the same time, I don’t know what to do about it. I mean, she has over the years been really vocal about feeling like I don’t treat her like my sister or whatever. She’s sent me letters (the last one came on my birthday… nice, right?) telling me to just “stay away” from her (as if I’m down there banging on her door or something?) since I treat my friends more like sisters than I do her.
First of all, she doesn’t treat me like a sister either. The road goes both ways. Second, she doesn’t know my friends let alone how I treat them. I have much more in common with them, and so I occasionally get together with them for no particular reason. (not very often though considering the way I have isolated myself in this more recent phase of depression) If I would go down there to my sister’s house and sit around listening to her talk about her cats and her various medical conditions or how she is frustrated with Mom or how many medicines she’s taking now, she would think I was the best “sister” on earth.
I don’t want to do that, though. I mean, if she needs me to come sit with her when she’s having a hard time with the seizures, I do that. And I listen politely. But she’s not interested in the least in hearing about my life or what interests me. If she disagrees with whatever I try to talk about, she’s quite vocal about that. But I don’t start telling her I think she’s lazy or sad for just allowing her medical stuff (and our mother) to turn her into an invalid. I don’t insist that she conform to every interest and opinion I have, so why is it that unless I do so for her, I am not treating her “like a sister”??
I have tried hard not to allow my mother’s wishes, although her intentions are good, to turn me into an incapable, invalid person. Because my mom SO wishes that her children didn’t suffer from various medical problems, she has always tried to make it so that we had to struggle as little as possible. For the most part, that is. And if I didn’t have the kind of man I do for a husband, one who pushes me to do more and be more and go further, I would probably not be able to get around myself today. That’s the God’s honest truth. She’s tried for years to get me to use a wheelchair when diabetic neuropathy gave me such severe pain in my feet that walking was a major effort. I know she means well, but how does one not understand that anything we accomplish involves some amount of struggle and hard work. Sure, it’s not “fair” that I have diabetes and my sister has epilepsy. If my boys had medical issues like these?? I would try to help them all I could.. but I wouldn’t try to limit them the way my mom has done. I like to think I would try to help them achieve anything they really wanted to do as much as possible.
I realize that my sister’s husband isn’t that kind of person…he’s not really ambitious or competitive or one to set personal goals, therefore, he doesn’t encourage his wife in that way. So it’s not so much that it bugs me that she won’t “try”, but it DOES bug me that she allows Mom to buy and do for her to the extreme. My parents bought a car for me in high school. Note that I did NOT say they bought me a car. They bought a car for me to use. It was NOT new nor was it “cool” and neither was it ‘mine’, but it functioned and I was happy to have it. After I got married (right out of high school) the car stayed with them. My hubby and I struggled and worked and saved and bought ALL our own vehicles. My sister’s car (and yeah, the truck her husband drives too) have been purchased by my parents. ALL her cars. They aren’t Cadillacs or anything, but a car is not cheap no matter what kind it is. The cars are also NOT rust buckets or antique junk heaps. And all of them have been purchased by Mom and Dad.
Then there’s her house. Built and mostly paid for by my parents as well. It has a two-car garage and a blacktopped driveway. It’s in my parents’ names because they don’t trust that the husband wouldn’t maybe divorce my sister and the house would be tied up in the legal mess. My sister did use the retirement amount she got from working 15 years in retail, but this is a house that would probably be valued at $100,000. It’s not a cheap home.
Lest you even wonder, my parents didn’t pay a dime for our home. My husband did most of the work himself, actually, other than framing, drywall and such. He wired and plumbed it himself as well as doing much of the framing. We were given the 3/4 of an acre that it sits on, but that’s it. My sister’s plot is, of course, larger than mine.
When I start thinking about all this stuff, it makes me so sad, so angry. And I wonder, WHAT did I do that I’m thought so little of? Why am I treated like some step child who is never going to measure up or be worth as much? I just can’t understand. I just don’t know why things are this way.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe my parents love me, but the differences made between us are unmistakable and impossible not to notice. I don’t advertise them to people. Only a few of my friends even know about them paying for such major items for my sister. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to let people know how different they treat us. It’s embarrassing to me that anyone would know that my parents seem to think so much more highly of her than they do me.
I guess maybe I think they will figure that I MUST have been a horrible child? Or that I must somehow deserve to be treated that way… or else that they think I’m stupid for putting up with it. I dunno, but I don’t tell people. It embarrasses me that my parents show such preference to my sister.
And understand me, I don’t really blame her or am not mad at her because they’ve bought her all these things. It does irk me to no end that she is so comfortable with it, and of course, as a forty-some year old woman now, it’s expected. And it really ticks me off that my parents will make comments about how they can’t count on me to “take care of” her when they are gone and stuff like that. I am so sick of that stuff.
I would make sure she wasn’t destitute or without food or medicine and that she got to a doctor if needed, but would I wipe her butt the way they do? Nope. Not on your life. I have tried for years to get Mom to back off and let her make her own mistakes. But she won’t hear of it. And I… I am uncaring for even suggesting such a thing.
And so, in case anyone wondered about the situation between my sister and I, there it is. Once in a great while, I will see her come out her back door while I’m out in the yard. She will throw up a hand and we’ll wave at each other. That’s about the extent of our interactions.
I realize and agree that that’s extremely sad, but again, I don’t really know what to do about it. Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep myself going, to push myself to get out, to be active, to keep doing what it takes to keep myself halfway healthy. I feel like I don’t have the energy left over to either push her OR to listen to her “stuff”, most of which leaves me feeling depressed and defeated. If she could at least come half way and show a little encouragement for what I am doing, ya know? But mostly she is disapproving, critical (“Why in the world do you push yourself that way? Why make yourself tired/sore/etc?”) so I just feel like why even try.
Proverbs 18:24 – “….there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
UPDATE: After my sister agreeing to attend an Emmaus Walk in the fall of 2015 when I offered to pay her way, she really became almost a different person. We get along a lot better now so I am thankful that we finally have a relationship to where I don’t feel pain and avoidance when I think of her. Thank God for His mercy!!
things in this post strike home with me… Fears about ending up like this mother, leaving my children feeling like this writer, of exploring my family history and finding stories just like this mother’s… I just felt like sharing it…
I think I know what’s wrong with me. No, that’s not true. I know I know what’s wrong with me. Or at least, I know one of the things that’s wrong with me. The Big Thing. I have been putting off writing this, because the act of writing it, of putting it on paper, makes […]
I started thinking about a post the other day. But it included using the word “friends” in the context of the way I used to think of friends when I was in high school. And honestly, I didn’t really have friends in high school. I knew people and was friendly with some people. I tried to be nice to everyone, but to say I was “friends” with someone meant something totally different to me then.
By the time I got to high school, I’d had several people I thought were my friends treat me really bad and so I was very slow to give someone the title of “friend”. Very slow.
To me, a friend was someone you loved spending time with, someone you could be yourself around and not have to worry about everything you said or did being misconstrued or turned into an offense. It meant you could count on that person to “have your back”, to not spread rumors about you or desert you when you needed them. It meant that if they came up on some people talking bad about you, they’d be the one who took up for you, who would set the record straight…not just walk on by or even worse, join in with the group.
As a young child, I can remember a few “friend events”. This refers to an afternoon or perhaps a couple of days spent in perfect camaraderie with someone. These were hours spent playing and laughing that you might dream about days later. The time spent was that good.
I learned rather quickly though that just because I’d spent that one afternoon a few years ago in perfect sync with someone did NOT mean they were my friend or that they’d even still like me in a different setting with different people around.
For me, at that stage in my life, that was SUCH a shock! I just was not wired that way. If I liked you, I liked you no matter who was around or what was going on. But I soon learned that was dangerous on my part. That you couldn’t just be all “out there” with people because they would rip you to shreds.
So, as I entered high school, I really didn’t have any close friends. As I continued on through those monumental years, I did have several people who I got close to, who I considered (and still do) friends, but it wasn’t a close, deep friendship that I longed for. It was never a “best friend” relationship.
And maybe that’s where I get this feeling (that still plagues me today) of not being wanted or loved or liked.
Let me state that this is NOT a post to bash my mother. However, it’s recently come to my realization that something she said to me once and then insinuated other times in my childhood has colored my whole view of who I am and how others see me.
One of the few people I DID consider a “best friend”, at least for a few years when I was in grade school, was a girl whose family went to the same church we did and we spent a lot of time together on the weekends. She was about 3 years older than me, so we didn’t go to the same classes, but weekends were always spent together. And this friend had asked me to come home with her for some kind of whole-family thing.
Unlike me, she was the youngest of a family of six kids. I was the oldest in a family of two girls. We were total opposites, but I loved the atmosphere in her family. It was so totally different and I was treated like “one of the gang”.
I know my mother had my diabetes to consider when letting me go and do things, but this was different. I’d spent the night with this family dozens of times, but when I went to ask her if I could go, Mom said, “They don’t really want you to go.”
I don’t think I actually realized it then, not in the chaos of the situation or the feeling of unfairness because I wanted to go so bad and also the crying that I had to do then because I wasn’t being allowed to go… but every time I re-live that moment, those words, now it’s like a sharp slap across the face.
And I realize that I feel that way SO often when I’m in a group of people. If there is the least bit of talk that’s “prior history” for the rest of the group, I will instantly back away. Even if the talk isn’t purposely to exclude me, I will feel as if it is. And I will hear those words, “They don’t really want you.”
I hear that sometimes when my husband tells me he loves me and I’m feeling particularly unloveable. I hear it when my grown sons tell me they love me. I hear it when a friend offers to pick me up to go to lunch or something.
And I KNOW it’s the devil or satan or whatever you want to call him. I just know that it comes from the enemy of my happiness. The enemy of my closeness to Christ. He will even go so far as to whisper it in my ears when I want to spend time in Christ’s presence.
During this last, most horrible phase of the depression I found myself pondering death. Not contemplating it, but just thinking about how nice it would be to just “go on”. And those words came…“What in the world does God want with you? He doesn’t want you either.”
Annnnd, there went my “clinical composure”. Out of all this thinking and writing about one of the most painful aspects of my life, the tears never stung my eyes til now.
And that’s what satan wants when he whispers such horror into my head. But I know The Truth. His name is Jesus. So take that, you wicked creature!
I still have a lot of trouble dealing with that mindset that people don’t really want to be around me. They’re not really my friend. I’m not really wanted in the group. I’m not really liked by those people.
It’s a constant thing for me to fight against and in a world where it’s hard to read people and they DO tend to let you down or leave you behind, it’s really REALLY hard to keep my head on straight where this particular lie comes into play.
I’m just thankful God didn’t leave me in that lie. In the huge vat of that lie where I had been floating for months and was fully convinced that no one wanted me at all. I’m thankful He didn’t give up on me and put others in my life who didn’t either.
God’s so incredibly good!!
[ADDENDUM] As for my definition of friends, as I alluded to in that first paragraph, and how I view the word now… I have friends now. I have some GOOD friends. They will call to check on me if I’m scarce on Facebook or if they hear I’m under the weather. They will even come by to see about me or bring food or other sweet gifts if I’m sick. (and I have one friend who is so precious, she will bring gifts for no reason at all!) I have one friend who was so sensitive to what was going on with me that she insisted I follow her to a quiet room, away from a crowd at an event at camp where I was working, and she promptly sat me down, knelt and untied my boots and massaged my feet because she could see how bad I was hurting. So God has been good to me. I have some amazing, awesome friends!
And after all that, I still listen to that voice, that lie that tells me no one loves me. When I am feeling analytic and take time to ponder this, I wonder why it is so easy for me to believe that. Is it because that has been ingrained in my mind? Is it because I feel unlovable? Is it because I don’t much love myself?
I honestly don’t know at this point. But when I figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Zephaniah 3:17 — “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”