Tag Archives: estrangement

Puzzling musings

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Whenever I have some “down” time I feel guilty, like I have to fill the minutes with
some important chore. Even as a child, I felt compelled to always be doing something
productive. I remember once (I was a pre-teen) my parents had a party and they had
about 40 guests. When the party was over, it was late. My mother took one look at
the kitchen, with its dozens of dirty plates and glasses, sighed and said she would
clean up in the morning. I don’t know if I imagined it or if it was true, but when the
morning arrived, Mom was pretty upset by being confronted by the mess! We did
not have a dishwasher yet and although she never said it, I suppose part of the reason
she was cranky was that she might have been suffering from a hangover!

My parents enjoyed entertaining so that parties and social gatherings at our house
were common. Mom’s reaction after guests left was always the same: she would take
care of the mess in the morning. I don’t remember when I actually began to clean up
the kitchen so that when she woke up the next morning, all was in order. I do remember,
however, that my life was always that much more pleasant as I didn’t have to deal with
her “whine” which was worse than any yelling she did. I’m not sure where my Dad was
in all this, though I do recall that before the parties, he would be the one vacuuming the
rugs!

In those early teenage years, I established a personal habit that requires my kitchen
sink to be clear of dishes and the kitchen itself to be clean. Since my parents both worked
outside the home, we had our “chores” to make sure the home was functional. I don’t know
when it became my self-appointed responsibility but as long as I lived at home, no one had
to deal with dirty dishes or greasy counters or tables full of crumbs. I remember my older
sister referring to me as “Cinderella” more than once in her inimitable sarcastic manner.
My parentsĀ purchased our first dishwasher during the days that I found myself recovering
in the hospital after an operation. I have never believed in coincidences!

As I write these musings down, I am filled with frustration and confusion. When and why
did I decide to take over management of the house? Was the fact that I was such an affable
take-charge individual the reason for my elder sibling’s jealousy? I learned early on that my
sister was not on my side, so I did everything I could to keep her from physically harming
me. I would do my chores and hers. I would give up my “leisure” time in order to get her
out of the many scrapes she got into. I would save my allowance to have it taken away from
me by her because she spent hers quickly. I would not refuse my mother’s requests that my
older sister go with me places because my mom convinced me that I was the lucky one who
made friends easily and had to be the “good” sister. It took getting to age 60 before I accepted
that my sister and I have no real bond. It was a sad realization, one that I still have trouble
coming to terms with, after all, aren’t sisters supposed to be friends and have each other’s
best interest at heart?

Going off into these stream of consciousness reveries have become very cathartic. I feel I
can only heal by writing and more importantly by writing publicly. My sister and I have been
estranged on and off several times over the years. The estrangements have always been a
source of great peace and tranquility for me and have lasted as long as she has had no need of
something only I can provide. I feel in my heart that there won’t be a next time, that she can
now enlist the help of one of our two younger siblings and I don’t know why I didn’t think of
that years ago. It feels good to get it out and down on paper…and out into the ether to see
where it lands. I am sure I am not the only one in the universe who has a less-than-stellar
relationship with an older sister, but I can bet it didn’t take others as long as it did me to
finally give up and move on!

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Adult siblings!!

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Abraham_Lincoln_II_and_his_sisters,_Mary_and_Jesse

I am currently estranged from one of my siblings. It pains me to admit it but
it is a reality from which I will not move a finger to reconcile. After +50
years of being bullied, manipulated, lied to, taken advantage of, etc. I guess I
saw the light and saw my sibling as an individual rather than someone whose
connection to me (blood) was so strong I actually (and often) gave in to unreasonable
demands just so we could be in relationship.

I realize now that my sibling was always jealous of me and that perhaps my
loyalty lied with my parents and also I did not want to be the child that
disappointed them or made them think their parenting styles were somewhat faulty.

While I cannot really recall being compared negatively with my sibling, I do
recall my mom telling me that my sibling was somehow lacking in emotional maturity,
social skills, etc. and that because I was thought to have an abundance of these,
I should feel sorry for my sibling and include my sibling in my life and activities
all the time.

We grew up, married, yet remained connected. Sometimes long periods of silence
between us ensued as a result of life getting complicate for us both but I always
managed to connect and make sure I had plenty of information to provide my parents
from whom my sibling was estranged for years at a time.

This is the first time that I feel no urge to reconnect; the last insult was almost
a year ago and rather than feeling lonely, I feel light and airy that I have lost
the constant stress and anxiety that walking on eggshells put me under. I will admit
that losing a sibling who shared many memories of our early childhood is rather sad
but the benefits for me are what I focus on each day. These days I can honestly say
that my thoughts do not center on my sibling every day like they used to. I think of
my sibling perhaps a couple of times a week, without any guilt or desire for connection.

Life is short, only lived once and as I age I realize that no one really needs to be
a martyr and that my immediate family is relieved by my decision, one they thought I
should have taken long ago.

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