Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mistakes were made...

I was asked by my sister who I love dearly to address the distance that she feels is between us - ever since I visited her this fall. I tried to be truthful with myself and with her and I tried to be sure to use lots of "I" messages to convey MY side of things. I recognize that a lot of what I'm feeling may just be in my head. But I don't think she took it very well. And I'm sad that no matter how thoughtful I tried to be, it seems not to have worked.

I'm also sad because I feel like although she asked me what was going on, maybe she really didn't want to hear the truth and I should have known that. Isn't that sort of like the "Does this make me look fat?" question? The truth isn't always what is actually what we want to hear. Sometimes we just want and need to hear that everything is okay and I think I could have done that and addressed the issues at a later date when she is feeling more together. I suspect she's still really got her hands full with an almost 6 month old and adjusting to new parenthood etc.

But I just didn't think I was being hurtful. I thought I was trying to clear the air and help show my side of things and why our relationship might feel different to her and my behavior might seem different. *sigh* I'm not sure how I could have handled things differently but I do feel bad that she's so hurt. Naturally I didn't mean to hurt her. I just figured since she was asking for honesty that some thoughtful, carefully worded "it's me and not you" honesty might be helpful in clarifying the situation. But I was wrong again. This is not new for me or for us. You'd think after 33 years as sisters I would have figured this out.

How's your relationship with your sibling(s)? Am I the only one in this boat? Any suggestions on how to back things up and start over? Right now she's hurt and unable to address this conversation further, but before we ever talk about it again, I'd love to know what I should do to grovel some more and fix things, while still maintaining the right to express myself and my feelings (they're not totally invalid right?).


  1. I'm sorry that you guys are in this situation. Don't be too hard on yourself, you have had 33 years as being sisters, but a much shorter time being adult sisters. And of course only 6 months as both being parents, which changes things again.

    A little grovelling can go a long way, as long as you don't 'take back' what you said to her because they were all valid points which will hopefully change your relationship for the better. Honesty has got to be better between sisters.

    I hope things get better between you guys soon.

  2. Hey.. what did I miss .. you are back in Japan? OH goodness... I don't know how to answer this but one of my siblings is a TURE 150% loser.

    He had been in trouble, done everything, and yet still gets a slap on the wrist.. plays the victim card when trouble catches up with him.. worst.. my parents are the enablers... meaning they keep buying him things and cars...

  3. My brother and I were mortal enemies as kids, but we get along fine now. Still, there are fundamental differences in how we see the world and in some of the ways we parent, and I know it's best just not to talk about them. That's fine for brothers and sisters, but it would be harder for sisters not to talk about important things. I'm ashamed to say that my brother and I usually work out minor squabbles through our mother, who loves to play mediator.

  4. Usually, in these cases, it's time that does most of the work. Keep being present, trying to smooth things out, and sometimes it's just a waiting game.

  5. It's hard being so far away - when things need to be done on the phone or by mail. I have had some very hurtful emails and phonecalls from my sister over the past six months - but then mine to her weren't overly gushy! There was a lot going on but and now that she is 'recovering' the family is meant to be supporting her but not harrassing her for answers and appologies. To be honest I'm emotionally over it and have decided she can contact me when she wants to talk properly. We can have a normal conversation about the kids and things but can't talk yet about the big stuff. She'll come round. We both will. It's what sisters do.

    I would give your sister a bit of time - but not so much she thinks you don't want to sort things out. She's probabaly still in the new mummy overwhelmed lack of sleep stage. God knows I've been in that stage for three and a half years!

    I wouldn't take back what you have said, perhaps appologise for the way or the timing at which it was said - but as someone else said above, you had your reasons and family need to be honest.

    Good luck, and sorry for barging in and commenting. I don't think I've commented (much?ever?) here before.