How can I describe my relationship with my sister?

Tumultuous comes to mind.

My relationship with my sister has been complicated to say the least. There have been many times when I have looked at my other friends with their sisters and wondered, “Why can’t my relationship with my sister be like that?”

It is hard to express why my sister and I do not have a close relationship because I can only see it from my point of view. I have tried to see our relationship from her eyes and while there are times I can understand her difficulty with me, there are more often times I cannot. I am the annoying little sister. Or at least I was as a kid. But wasn’t I supposed to be? Isn’t it every younger siblings duty and birthright to be bratty and petulant, even for a little while? I thought so.

This changed when my sister got married young and moved away from home. She was 18 and I was 8. I was overcome with emotions and feelings I’d never had toward my sister. I remember going with my parents to the airport to see her off and feeling overwhelming sadness. My bothersome big sister was leaving me and I didn’t know when she would be back. I cried as I realized just how much she meant to me. I missed her so much while she was away.

She returned sooner than expected and this was when things would never be the same again.

My sister returned without her husband. He was a bastard. An abusive, self-righteous, egotistical one at that. Even at 8, I knew I didn’t like him. I could never express why but as a kid I trusted my gut and knew something was off about him. To this day I can never say I ever once liked him but only learned to tolerate him.

Most of the time.

My sister was a broken woman, but I didn’t know or understand at the time. Like many emotionally and physically abused women she stayed in the relationship. She stayed when he abused her again and again. She stayed when he hit her while she was holding their daughter. She stayed despite the STD’s. She stayed despite lie after lie and mistress after mistress. She even stayed despite the fact that he got another woman pregnant.

This would be more than enough to change anyone I suppose.

My sister became distant. She became selfish. She became sheltered. She didn’t hug anymore or show any affection. She didn’t spend time with her family anymore. Instead, she spent most of her time with her new in-laws.

As I entered my teens and 20’s, I couldn’t understand why my sister would tolerate a life like this. A life that was less than she deserved. I would tell her this on occasion but it would always lead to a big argument.

Eventually, she divorced her husband and started a life of her own.

I was happy for her. I felt like now she could finally live her life. She was basically a kid when she married. She never got to really have fun and let loose. Of course now she had a child so she didn’t really want to. Also, she was still in love with her abuser. She went back year after year begging him and pining away for him. She continued to give up her money, her time, her self-esteem, and all self-respect to this jerk who didn’t even want or appreciate her.

I was angry with her.

When I graduated from college, I moved back home. My sister and her daughter were living there as well. This is where the sisterly relationship crashes and burns into a pile of unsalvageable ash.

Well, almost.

My sister and I fought daily. She did not want to share anything with me. Not her food, not her daughter, not “her house”, and certainly not her feelings. I must admit living with her for those four years has to be, hands down, the most miserable four years of my life. It was petty and it was ridiculous. I would cry. She would cry. We would try to talk but there was always a breakdown in communication. Something said in the wrong way at the wrong time to push us even further apart. The center of our arguments were always about her ex-husband. He was a sore spot for her and the sheer mention of him led to screaming and yelling.

By the time I hit 27, I’d had enough. I saved every penny I could and had amassed enough money to put a down payment on a place of my own. I was only too happy to escape the hell that my relationship with my sister had become. Since I’ve moved out we have only had two arguments and they both started because of some ridiculous comment or complaint she made about our mother. I’ve realized we get along much better not living together. Unfortunately, my mom is the one who now endures that hell.

Despite everything I love my sister and I’m fairly certain that she loves me too. We don’t have the loving sister relationship that I would like for us to have and I still don’t know why. I have pretty much stopped wondering. I now accept that our relationship is what it is. She is who she is. I am who I am. I used to wonder if we would ever be close like my friends sisters. Now I just wonder if I will ever get my sister back. I’ve tried to talk her into seeking help to overcome the past, but she won’t. I feel like because she won’t, our relationship, as any relationship she enters into will never flourish.

I guess we will only be sisters by blood and strangers by any other means.


4 thoughts on “Sisters

  1. This is really sad. I have myself been the wayward older sister. I did many things that were incomprehensible to my sister and went through some bad times. I am much happier now, and my relationship with my parents has improved, but I cannot make things up with my sister. I would like to start afresh with her but she cannot seem to forget the past. I am sure that as time heals, your sister will eventually move on. The only thing I can say to you is to let her, to be prepared to forget and forgive, if you can. I hope that things work out for you. It’s a painful thing to be so distanced from someone you grew up with..

    • Thank you for commenting. It is hard to be so far removed from someone. Especially someone like a sister. I want to forgive and forget and I have many times, after long periods of not speaking unfortunately. It takes two to forgive and forget and I feel like there is something she’s hanging on to that won’t allow her to move forward either. I just regret that it may be too late for us to have that close sisterly relationship that we used to have when I was a child.

  2. I hope it isn’t too late, for you and your sister, and for me and mine! I have one hopeful story: my Mum’s cousins didn’t speak for 20 years and were reconciled at the age of 50, they are great friends now. It’s never too late! x

  3. I know exactly what you mean! I have cousins I have more of a sister relationship with, then my sister. She is older too and it has never been easy. For years we never really talked. She has alot of similarities with your sister. In those years that we never really made an effort to have a relationship our fights were crazy. Due to bad life style choices (like your sister but not married) she doesn’t have a ton of friends. A few years ago we started talking more. Now she calls me just about everyday. It doesn’t make up the years of not talking. But she has a good job and a stable relationship so we can relate to each other.

    Not going to lie though, I think she is selfish, doesn’t take criticism and I can’t tell her anything without her telling my mom. In the end it was my mom who made me ‘play nice’. There have been some hiccups lately (my sister projecting on me because I am younger and getting married). But slowly we are coming together. In our 20’s we both had to start making a conscious effort to include each other in our lifes more. It has been very hard to let go of the past we had with each other…but once I did we have been able to work on a ‘normal’ sister relationship. Food for thought 🙂

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