Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Family, Mental Health

The realization that there is no “wrong” way to live my life…

Closesomedoors
I was replying to a comment on my last blog post earlier and it got me thinking about how I was feeling when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life over 2 years ago, and when I revisited my decision earlier this year. When I originally made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I was at a crisis point. It was a situation of either my sister had to go, or my sanity would go. I chose to keep my sanity, but it was an extremely difficult decision to make. I felt like I had failed even though I knew that I had already done all that I could do in order to try to keep my relationship with my sister. But since I was the only one willing to try, the only one willing to compromise I ended up compromising my sense of self. When I realized that I had to be a different person around my sister than who I truly am in order to even attempt to avoid confrontation, I knew that our relationship could not continue. Especially since I was acting less and less like myself even when I wasn’t even around my sister. I was more nervous, had a harder time making decisions, and always in the back of my mind was the thought “will this get me in trouble with my sister?” Nobody should have to live like that.

I knew that I was happier when I didn’t have to have contact with my sister. I had had minimal contact with her for years before, and had decided to try to “have a more normal sister relationship” with her… which turned into me having to drop whatever it was that I was doing in order to answer her call no matter what time it was, or immediately respond to her text messages or emails. And always living in a constant state of dread of when those calls, texts or emails might come next… and if this next phone call would be the one where my mask slipped and I inadvertently fell out of character long enough to provoke my sister’s rage. I did not like being in contact with my sister, and I felt extremely guilty for it. My determination to suck it up and force myself to have more contact with my sister in order to be a “good sister” wasn’t working out. I couldn’t figure out how it was that other sisters could happily talk to each other everyday… until I realized that not everyone had a sister like mine. Other people could have a good relationship with their siblings because those relationships weren’t one sided. My relationship with my sister was always about my sister and keeping her happy, and it simply wasn’t sustainable. One day I simply had enough of her bullshit and wrote that email cutting her out of my life… which she ignored, so I had to repeat myself a couple more times before I decided with the help of my husband that if I simply stopped responding to her emails she might get the message.

I didn’t simply make the decision to cut my sister out of my life and never revisit it though. I would have conversations with my mom where my mom would tell me how her relationship with my sister was doing much better and I would have to tell my mother that I just didn’t think that I was ready to allow her back in my life yet, and that it was possible that I might never be ready. I was feeling guilty for still not wanting to have my sister in my life. I felt like if my sister really was “doing much better” and had “really changed” then I had to give her another chance. That if I didn’t, I would then be the the bad guy.  I would have conversations with my husband about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want to have my sister in my life, I was happy not having contact with her, but I was afraid that I was doing the wrong thing simply because cutting our sisters out of our lives is something “we just don’t do”. I once said to my husband “Who cuts their sister out of their life???” and he responded “Who treats their sister the way your sister treats you?” It took me a while to realize that even if my sister did “really change” I still had the right to continue to not have contact with her. The trust had already been damaged beyond repair. And in the end it isn’t about her anyway.  The choice of whether or not to allow my sister in my life is about me. I need to do what is best for me. My sister could really change for the better, and when it comes to her having a relationship with me it could be too little, too late. If I don’t feel right about having contact with her, if I still dread the thought of talking with her, then I am not ready.

I cut off contact with my sister because it was what was right for me. If I choose to resume contact with my sister it should be because it is what’s right for me. 

But even though I realized that I was doing what was right for me, it still felt like I was getting life “wrong”. It’s a very hard feeling to try to describe… It’s kind of like when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I had done something that just isn’t done. Like I had broken some unwritten rule that everyone just follows. Like there’s a way that we all go about living our lives and I had done something that took my life outside of that and made me different from everyone else. Sharing my story on here and hearing from others who have had to make similar hard decisions has helped me to feel less like I am going to be told at any moment that I have to get my life back on script with everyone else. I have the right to do what is best for me, and there is no wrong way to live my life. And since there is no wrong way to live my life, I am now free to discover who I really am… and that is a very exciting thing.

 

Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.

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13 thoughts on “The realization that there is no “wrong” way to live my life…

  1. Dear Controlled Chaos, I know I wrote to you yesterday but I read your new post this morning and I just have to write again. Your post about your sister is “identical” to my story, I just still cannot believe I have found you; I searched for you for years!! I could have written this myself. There is not one word in your post that is not what I have endured. I have read other people’s stories, but they are never identical to mine, I thought I was the only person in the world who had a sister as mean as mine. It is the things you mentioned like the phone calls and emails, etc. One evening I was lying on my bed, talking on the phone with my best friend in another part of the country (I had cancelled my call waiting feature at that time), and my computer was in the bedroom, and the computer beeped like when you get a new email, so I just happened to go over and look (I guess I knew it was her, from instinct) and the subject line read “GET OFF THE PHONE” (no message inside). And when I would go out in the evenings (I was single at the time) to visit at friends’ houses, the next day she would call and say “So,,,,,you’re speaking to me are ya??” in the most hateful tone and I would say “what do you mean?” and she would say “I see you’re screening my calls” and I would say “well, it’s a little hard to hear the phone ringing across town”. I knew if I wasn’t home I was going to get it the next day!!! I was in a perpetual fight or flight mode because I knew I was causing another episode. And one of things she did to me since 1975 (I even remember the year), when I moved into my first apartment, she would call and when I answered she would say “Oh my God,,,,,you sound like such a hick!!!” and she was laughing her head off, and this continued until I eliminated her from my life three years ago, but she had graduated to, I would answer the phone and she would say “OH MY GOD” (very loudly) and I would start to panic thinking something had happened to our parents and I would say “What, what?” and she continued on, as per usual, “YOU SOUND MORE LIKE A xxxxxx HICK THAN EVER!!!” (and she does not ever ever swear). I, to this day, am very self conscious when I speak to people and I will never get over that I know. I am always thinking they must think I talk funny. Anyway, you made my day because I am still healing and your posts are giving me more peace, validating that I did the only thing I possibly could, or let her ruin the rest of my life on this earth, and I am 58 years old. She might have ruined my life up until now, but at least the last part of my life she can’t. Thank you!

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  2. Advice?? I’ve read your posts about cutting off contact. What if you’ve never really got along with your sister, and tried and tried but your very different and clash. But recently have been thinking life being too short and its time to let the past be the past. Knowing that one day, you will have to confront them because parents don’t live forever, and in some strange way miss them, but hesitant on how to reestablish contact?

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    1. magyarok27- I can only speak from the experiences that I have had in my own life, and I am not an expert in this by any means. I cut my sister out of my life not because we simply clashed, but because she was abusive toward me. The point of my posts have been to tell my story and let other people who might be in abusive relationships with family members know that they have the right to end the relationship. An abusive relationship is not made okay simply because the person abusing you is a family member. Abuse of any sort is never okay.
      That being said, If you actually really want to have your sister in your life, then you should try to reestablish contact. My advice would be to be honest with your sister. Reach out to her in whatever manner you feel most comfortable with. I would probably feel most comfortable with writing a letter or an email, but that’s just me. However you decide to reach out to her, just be truthful about how you are feeling. Let her know that you would like to have her in your life again, but are unsure of how to proceed. Then, if she wants to have you in her life, the two of you can figure out together how your relationship is going to work.
      Like I said before, I am no expert in this, but I hope that my suggestions help. 🙂

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      1. Thank you for the advice. I was thinking something along those lines too; just hesitant. We both aren’t saints and have our share of faults in the lack of contact over the years. But thank you again, it’s given me something to really think about! 🙂

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  3. I struggled in this in therapy for a long time. I had to come to the point that it was OK for me not to want to have to treat my family the same way they treat me (limited contact, only when they want something, feeding off of my son’s situation, etc). We are better people than that, which means not playing games.

    I know that life is short and things happen, but that means to me that the time I am here I need to be free from abuse, ridicule and hate.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective 🙂

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    1. Free from abuse, ridicule and hate………………Amen to that! I truly thought no-one else had a sister like mine. This blog is starting to grant me the peace I have been searching for for years, but it’s still difficult, just will take time I guess.

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    2. NotAPunkRocker- You’re welcome. 🙂
      And you are right, the way I see it life is short and that means that I shouldn’t deliberately make myself deal with people who will only bring negativity and pain to my life. There is no reason to subject myself to abuse.

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  4. Controlled Chaos,

    Thank you for your courage in writing this. My situation is not with a sibling but with my mother. Your words struck such a chord. In particular, ” … it still felt like I was getting life “wrong”. It’s a very hard feeling to try to describe. Like I had broken some unwritten rule that everyone just follows. Like there’s a way that we all go about living our lives and I had done something that took my life outside of that and made me different from everyone else.” Thank you for your words. I don’t feel so alone.

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  5. Dear Mimi,

    I do know what you mean. It does feel wrong, like we have broken unwritten rules in life, but sometimes it is the only way for our spirit to survive. Why should we put up with negativity, put downs, abuse, jealousy, and meanness just because they are family members who are doing this to us? Why should we let the rest of our life be ruined by family members like them? Just because they are family? Life is so very short and I am now happy and free of continual put downs and ridicule and everything I mentioned above. Life can be fun and happy and positive. I walked away from my sister at 55 years of age and I am now 59. It makes you the black sheep of the family, but it was worth it!!! Never feel alone, there are many of us out there, but I didn’t know either until I found this life-saving site.

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