santa cruz wharf

05 August 2007

wild child wisdom

a few months ago I embroiled myself in a mess with my sister, who is seven years younger. I had some stuff going on in my life....I completely confided with my kids, but only partially with our mother....and not at all with my sister. Her anger and hurt at my refusal to provide her with all the intimate details of my life, led to rehashing twenty-some years worth of instances and issues that she thinks I should have handled differently. The conversation ended badly with me admitting I did not consider her part of my "inner circle" and telling her she better get use to the fact I will never be a sister of the "Hallmark Card" variety. At times, I do not argue fairly. I absolutely have zero bandwidth for discussion from her on how I parent...or other choices I make in my personal life. She has since stated publicly that I do not want her to be part of my life....and has refused to be present where I am....except for major family events and holidays.

My Mama suffers from this greatly. So... I suggested we all might want to go out for coffee or breakfast or something. Try to rebuild some communication. (Can't we all just get along?) I have some ownership in this after all. Once we had a place and defense mechanisms start to kick in...and true to form I confide in my daughter who sent me the following:

You need to have an intermediate level of indifference in regards to your sister.

You need to be the better person no matter how childish she acts - but NOT trumpet or tout the fact that you are being the better person - that negates it.

You can defend yourself and lies against you, but you need to be mild mannered in your defense, no matter how hard she tries to get your goat.

Tonight is not an open bitch session for the two of you. You are getting together to make things easier for your mother, and that should be your focus, not justice for yourself against your sister.

Not all problems need to fixed tonight - or ever.

You and your sister do not need to be best friends. You just need to have a feasible relationship to be in the company of one another for you Mother's sake - remember your Mother? - who is sick and aging?

Do not attack, and don't defend (much).

If she comes at you saying something that is not true about how you feel, or what you've said or done - do not focus on how she is wrong or lying or confused or whatever. Instead, reiterate the correct point or whatever she is screwing up.

and watch your eyerolling and sighing!!!


Misty Dawn said...

What fabulous advice and support your daughter gave you! You have obviously done something right - she seems to be supportive of you 100%, and she sounds intelligent as can be!

Mel said...

Oh, what a wise girl you have.
And BOY is she right on with her points!

Frankly, there were a few in there that *I* needed reminded of this evening.

Duh. Not all problems NEED fixed NOW...some don't need fixed by me, period.

Thank the girl for me, would you please?

(And don't forget to breathe--that one's required.)

Travis said...

"You need to have an intermediate level of indifference in regards to your sister."

Anyone reading that statement could not possibly question the fact that you have raised an intelligent and practical woman.

I feel fortunate to have an excellent relationship with my sister - we are pals. In fact, we intend to try and take our mom to NY to see Young Frankenstein on Broadway for her 65th birthday, which is actually in Sept.

Good luck!

Hammer said...

I completely disagree. what is the point of a relationship where you have to tip toe, coddle and not speak the full truth.

I'm living it right now, it sucks but at least I feel honesty is the best policy. Let them make the concessions.

Matt-Man said...

I am the master of the condescending sigh and eyeroll. Good Luck Katherine!!

Kat said...

Smart kid. You're sister has no reason to criticize your parenting skills.

katherine. said...

misty D: thanks...she knows me better than anyone.

mel: yeah..she keeps me in line. I can't thank her for you... she doesn't know I posted her words. smile.

Trav: your sis and your Mama are fortunate indeed! You best be posting about your trip!

katherine. said...

Hammer: I'm only doing it for my hurts her when her girls are at odds with each other

Matt-Man: who knew we'd have somthing in common? smile.

kat: I am very proud of that woman.