The several feet of snow that we have is being slowly melted away.
A few days ago was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandma’s death.
My maternal uncle’s mother died yesterday.
February is now a very bad month for my cousins.
I went to bed earlier than I have been lately hoping to get up earlier… it didn’t work.
As I was willing myself to get out of bed I received a group text.
At first I thought that my abusive sister somehow got ahold of my new number and somehow got around the fact that I have her blocked because the names are listed in alphabetical order, but it was from my Dad.
My Dad sent a group text to me, my sister, my mom’s sister, and his mother.
He was letting us know that my Mom was currently in the ER with a suspected gall bladder infection.
She is alone because of Covid restrictions.
I cannot go and be with my Dad and brother because I am isolating as much as possible while I wait my turn for my vaccine.
I yelled the F word several times after reading the text, texted my Dad privately to be certain it wasn’t visible to my sister and then forced myself to get out of bed.
It was time for my afternoon meds. I grabbed two wrong medication organizers before finally grabbing the correct one and getting my meds in me.
I got my teeth brushed, pulled on a hoodie, got my glasses on and called my husband at work to inform him of the death in the family and that my Mom was in the ER.
I worried over the phone to my husband about the fact that my sister might now have my new number because she was part of the group text.
I needed breakfast.
I opened the wrong cabinet and tried to put my juice glass on my Keurig instead of my mug.
I eventually managed to get my juice in my juice glass, my coffee and creamer in my mug, and my milk and cereal in my bowl.
I ate breakfast and took care of some of my normal daily routines on my phone while eating.
I posted to Facebook about what is going on with my family.
I got another group text from my Dad letting us know that a cat scan ruled out a gall bladder infection. Mom has really bad reflux, still unsure why, but she should be coming home from the ER soon. He’ll update us when he knows more.
I texted my husband with the updated information. I told him that I am still worried about why her reflux is so bad all the time, but that right now the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is only a few days ago and the fact that there was just another death in the family might have something to do with it.
I wrote a comment on my Facebook post giving everyone updated information. (Minus my hypothesis as to what’s causing her current reflux issues.)
Now I’m sitting here writing this post because it’s #PepperDay and I didn’t know what else to write about.
I’m sitting here trying to find the motivation to get up and take the shower that I still need to take today.
I’m sorry that my posts have been such downers two months in a row now.
Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.
And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.
And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.
Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).
4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.
4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.
4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.
4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.
4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.
4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.
4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.
4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.
4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.
4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.
3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.
3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.
3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.
3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.
3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.
3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.
3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.
2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.
2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.
2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.
2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.
1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.
1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…
10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.
4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.
4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.
2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.
1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.
So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.
I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.
It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything in this blog. I wasn’t sure if I would ever come back to it and I may never have come back at all if it weren’t for the fact that I made friends through this site that I have had contact with via other forms of social media during my absence.
I’m not sure exactly what caused me to walk away from my blog in the first place. But the longer I was away, the harder it seemed to come back.
And then recently I started reading Rara’s blog posts on both her sites about coming back to blogging after being imprisoned for 438 days. After all she suffered, and all she lost, she is finding her way back.
So, if she can do it, so can I.
I had just barely started to actively follow Rara when she was no longer able to continue blogging for a while, but her’s was one of the blogs that I went and binge read back through the archives. I was anxiously awaiting the day that my friends on social media announced that she was free again at last. And it hit me like a ton of bricks when I instead read the words that her husband had died while she was still in prison. So much unfairness that it just can’t be comprehended.
But she’s back to blogging, and I want to try to come back too.
But if I am going to come back, there will have to be a few ground rules. I realize that the most popular and searched posts on my blog are the ones about me cutting off ties with my sister. They were the most commented on by people who were going through similar situations themselves before I closed comments. I do not regret writing those posts, and I hope that people will take comfort that there are others’ who are going through things like what they are going through, but I can not give people advice on how to handle their situations anymore. I am not qualified to give advice and constantly talking about my sister, or randomly being reminded of her via people bringing up those posts and asking for my advice is not healthy for me at this time. So, unless I bring it up myself, those posts are off limits for discussion. I am trying to move on with my life, and I can’t do that while looking backward.
Another ground rule, be patient with me and please don’t be upset if I am not able to keep up with your blogs. There’s a lot going on in my life that has me feeling very overwhelmed, and I just can’t add staying completely up to date with all the blogs I follow to that list.
And related to that last one, please don’t be offended if I take a long time to respond to/approve any comments you may make, or if I never respond at all. I’m sometimes very bad about social interaction.
Whenever I get to feeling guilty or upset that my life turned out differently than I expected it to, I remind myself that even if my sister was still in my life, my life still wouldn’t be the way I would want it to be because my sister is incapable of contributing to a healthy relationship with me. All that would happen were I to allow her in my life would be that she would have another person to abuse. There is no reason for me to fill that role. If I’m not there she’ll just find someone else to abuse. Because unfortunately the only sort of relationship my sister seems to be capable of is one where she is in the role of an abuser.
Yes, families are “supposed” to stick together. But family members are supposed to not be abusive as well. I have nothing to gain from allowing my abusive sister room in my life. Keeping up a relationship with her simply because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do is nowhere near a good enough reason to subject myself to her abuse. She’s never showed any signs of feeling guilty for all the hurt that she’s caused me over the years, so why should I feel guilty for not allowing her to continue to abuse me?
Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.
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 itisn’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.
I’ve noticed recently that the search terms that bring people to my blog the most are ones about removing toxic people from your life. The blog post that I wrote back at the beginning of this year about my decision to cut my sister out of my life, entitled “Removing toxic people from your life, even if they’re family…” gets around 20-30 views a day lately. Now, I know that it’s possible that not all of those people are actually reading my entire blog post, but the fact that that many people are searching for advice on how to deal with toxic people in their lives is shocking and sad to me.
When I first wrote that blog post and the ones that followed dealing with my relationship with my sister, I never expected that anyone would be able to identify with my situation. I braced myself for negative comments about how I was being selfish, or how I would eventually have to give my sister another chance because she was family. But those comments have not come. Instead people have recently been commenting about how my story reminds them of their own story and have been asking for and giving each other advice on how to deal with their situations. I never expected to be giving people advice on how to decide whether or not to cut someone out of their life. When I wrote those blog posts I felt like a complete failure as a sister, and as much as I hate the fact that anyone else might be going through a situation like mine, it helps to know that I am not alone in this. The guilt over my decision has lessened considerably and I hope that my story will help others to let go of any guilt that they might be feeling as well.
When I was first struggling with the idea of no longer allowing my sister a place in my life I kept having the thought that “this isn’t how things are supposed to work. You aren’t supposed to have to cut your sister out of your life.” I felt like I had failed in some way. Until I realized that the fact that my sister and I couldn’t have a “normal” healthy relationship had nothing to do with me or my choices. I couldn’t choose how my sister interacted with me. The success or failure of my relationship with my sister was not solely my responsibility. A relationship where only one person is doing all the work to keep it going is not worth it. A relationship where one person is being abusive toward the other is definitely not worth it.
Like I said before, I never expected to be giving advice on how to decide if you should cut someone that you think is toxic out of your life, but since so many people have been ending up at my blog while looking for this sort of information I think I’ll share a bit of my advice here in this post. I recently wrote a reply to a comment that someone else had written on my blog asking for advice on her situation and I’m going to go ahead and post my reply here with some added emphasis.
How you should proceed really depends on whether or not you actually want to have your sisters in your life or not. If you want to try to have a relationship with them then you should go ahead and allow them to continue to be a part of your life. However, if the only reason that you are considering giving your sisters another chance is because they are making you feel guilty, that is not a good enough reason to allow them back in your life in my opinion. You should have a relationship with them because you actually want to, not because you feel that you need to. Perhaps you should take a few days with absolutely no contact with your sisters in order to figure out how you actually feel about the situation. Don’t read any emails from them, don’t take any phone calls, no contact at all. It doesn’t matter what your sisters say, if you feel that your life would be better off without them being a part of it, that is your decision to make.
Also, if you do decide to give your sisters another chance, make sure that they know that there are some ground rules for how you expect to be treated if they want to continue to be a part of your life. If they can live with those rules and you can have a healthy relationship with them, then great. But, if you find that you are unhappy with your relationship with them you have the right to end it at any time. You need to do what’s best for you.
I hope that this was helpful and that things work out well for you. Good luck.
And now I will leave you with a song that always reminds me of my relationship with my sister and why she is not a part of my life. “It Ends Tonight” by The All-American Rejects. Here are some of the lyrics that really jump out at me and remind me of making the decision to cut my sister out of my life.
They strangle me
I can’t explain myself at all.”
“Maybe it’s best you leave me alone.
A weight is lifted
On this evening
I give the final blow.
When darkness turns to light,
It ends tonight”
“I can’t explain what you can’t explain.
You’re finding things that you didn’t know
I look at you with such disdain”
“Just a little insight won’t make this right
It’s too late to fight
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.
Now I’m on my own side
It’s better than being on your side
It’s my fault when you’re blind
It’s better that I see it through your eyes
All these thoughts locked inside
Now you’re the first to know”
Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.