Sunday, 17 February 2008

Siblings

I have two brothers and one sister. My brothers live close by and we see each other often. They're cool and we all get along.

Our sister lives in another country and hates the lot of us, me in particular. She disowned me in 1999 but has never really explained why. I did something to upset her (an email joke that went round the entire family at which everyone but her laughed, even though the joke wasn't directed at her personally. An odd situation that no one else has ever mentioned being upset about). I apologised immediately and three times. Our male parent told her I hadn't meant anything dreadful but she was furious and sent several emails to me with awful things in them. I responded in kind, defending myself - I thought - articulately but assertively. I hadn't meant to cause any problems and apologized - but she didn't want to forgive. She told me never to contact her again. I didn't really believe her at the time, I must admit. I did not believe that three years after we'd lost our mother, she would purposefully cut me and my offspring out of her life, thereby cutting her own offspring out of ours. Our kids don't have any other cousins.

I honestly didn't believe she meant it - but she did. She never contacted us after that, despite my 8 year old offspring calling her now and then. We wrote to her kids, I begged her in writing to let me have contact with my nieces. I begged her to help me when my ex left. My offspring called and asked for more contact. Nothing happened.

The male parent and I were still in touch at the time and he passed on snippets to me. I'd ask him WHY she had done this. He continually said "I don't really know. She said you embarrassed her in front of the cousins in America" - which was in 1987, an event I don't remember, and he couldn't furnish any further information on. "She just says your behaviour to her is typical". "Typical of what? What does she mean?" I'd ask. "I don't really know," he'd answer. He seemed as confused as me because he could NEVER tell me why she'd done it. He actually agreed with me that it was a hard thing to do after the death of our mother. As I've said in this blog, I'd never cut anyone out of my life like that. "I know you wouldn't," he said. I couldn't believe she would do something SO hurtful for SO SO SO many people - she hurt my offspring, her own, me, our brothers, even the male parent because, git that he was, it meant he could never have all his grandchildren together. I did not understand it.

She told him I was a bitch and a slut, that I was evil, that I'd done terrible things to her, that I'd tried to steal her boyfriend (see below). She told me I was never going to have contact with her kids again. I passed this on to our male parent: "She brought the kids into it -", I began. "She said you did," he told me quickly. That confused me - because I geniunely hadn't. I was trying to keep things together. Suddenly, the sister she had called on a day basis had gone from being her best friend to her worst enemy. I was selfish. I let other people clean up my messes. I was a slut. I had barged into her territory (I had moved into our male parent's house where she was living). I was a slut (incidentally, I was NOT!). He spent a lot of time passing things on to me, snippets of what she'd said but never giving a concrete explanation. I asked him why he wasn't intervening. He said "It's up to her". I asked him if he believed I'd do the terrible things she said I'd done. "Well, no," he said. "Did you tell her that?" "Well, no."

Years before, she had said I was after her boyfriend. That one came out of nowhere and I could not understand where she had got this from. He and I had been friends, yes, civil - for her sake. Nothing else. We had never been alone together. I felt she had gone too far so one day I went to her house to speak to her about it. She said my behaviour was a "bit suspicious". I asked her to explain. "Well, you came round here on a Tuesday afternoon because you knew that was when he has his bath". !!!!! Do I need to defend that one?! "You got your t**s out for him when we were having dinner at your house." I couldn't even remember anything like that happening - until weeks later I remembered I had indeed bent over in front of him to pick something up - but I had grabbed my top and held it closed. She chose to see things another way. I mentioned this to male parent. "She wears her heart on her sleeve," he said. He said he didn't believe her.

Maybe it was wedding hysteria because she got married that year. She decided that I would be at the bottom table, far away from her and even my own offspring. I was to be at the table with guests like my own ex, people who had to be invited for propriety's sake. Kudos to the man, but our male parent flipped his lid.

Go back in time again: she was the quintessential little sister and loved to tell tales and get me in trouble. With our mother, given the fraught relationship we had, she was believed quite often. My sister lied frequently and maliciously because she knew she would be believed. I lost possessions because she said they were hers - even things I'd bought myself. I lost skin in beatings because she told our mother I'd hit her. I lost credibility because mother never believed me unless a third party stepped in - which, for example, our grandmother and stepfather often did on my behalf. The male parent did not allow her to tell tales on me, something which was a relief, I must admit. Despite the torment of his torrents against our mother, he never let that girl torture me at his house the way she did at home. I won't deny retaliating, although I did not hit her. I yelled at her a lot, just as much as she yelled at me.

Back to the wedding: he felt she was up to her old tricks. As he was paying for the wedding, they arranged a meeting to discuss costs and seating etc. That same evening he turned up early at my home very angry. He had walked out of her house. He threw the seating plan down on my table and said "Look at it. Look where she's put you!". I was hurt and embarrassed that she would want to publically humiliate me. I'd rather not have gone that have put up with that. He said, "I told her that she was going to have you as chief bridesmaid AND at the top table or I wouldn't pay for the bloody wedding. She's not doing that." Looking back, perhaps it wasn't the best way of maintaining a relationship between his daughters as in her position I'd have been furious BUT she was using me to make a public statement (but choosing only my friend and me to accompany her on her hen night says something else, doesn't it?).

In public and in front of the family, she wanted to humiliate me - but when no one else was around, she wanted me there.

She had our mother's full attention throughout our entire childhood. I used to think it was blatant favouritism because I was the unwanted, ugly, unloved child. She is very like our mother in appearance. People have always assumed that meant her character was like Mum's too, and that because I resembled our male parent, my character was like his. Whatever the reason, she had mum's attention - I resented it. Of course! I wanted some attention, not all of it, but I didn't want to be left out. I never received the love my sister did from our mum BUT I was the target of the alienator, not her. He didn't want me to receive love from mum because that would prove him wrong, wouldn't it? He wanted me angry so that no love could find its way to me, so that - as happened - she wouldn't want to be around me because I was such trouble, so difficult, such a faultfinder, so critical, so much his child.

The alienator told me that I was not loved because I was like him. "She loves your sister because they are alike, but I'm not like that. I love you both the same. I don't have favourites. I'm not like your mum. She's mean and cruel. A real parent wouldn't show favourites. She's stupid. She doesn't know how to parent."

Fast forward to now: I, the child who was supposedly like him, has not alienated anyone nor disowned them. She has. She disowned him too, for years. I warned him that she'd make him choose between us because she needs to be the most important child: it happened. It didn't surprise me but it surprised him. She cursed at him and put the phone down on him. What DID surprise me, thought, was his reaction. He has always portrayed himself as a calm and reasonable person. That's his "image" - unless he gets angry and then the rants start. When my sister disowned him, this new person emerged. It was new to me but clearly was a hidden pre-existing part of his character. He began to badmouth my sister. He said AWFUL things about her, including that she "has a nasty streak like her mother". All of a sudden she was a devil. I can't stress this enough: the change in his attitude towards her was IMMEDIATE.

But then, after he disowned me in March of 2005, my uncle said things were "defrosting" between them. Am I wrong to be suspicious? What I believe happened was that something else was going on in the background - his partner kept in touch with my sister via text message and suddenly I'm out, she's in. I think she got what she wanted: she made him choose and he chose her. For what reason, I don't know. She has double the number of kids I do. Maybe that's it. Beats the hell out of me.

And then we're back to where we started: a man who had built up an image of being a calm and reasonable person disowns his eldest daughter via an email filled with filthy abuse and mockery of her mother's death, using such vile words that my ex couldn't believe it was his ex-father in law.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could it be that your father is manipulating your sister? He has lied to you about other things. Could he be lying to you about what your sister said? Could he be saying things to your sister about you that are not true? Since he has 'disowned' you, he may be working on her. I don't believe his alienating behaviors have gone away, just shifted since he has no contact with you.

Hope it helps, Deb H

dlsnc said...

Where one child is being alienated the other child can get jealous of the attention, and focus the blame on their brother or sister instead of the alienator.
Your sister took on the same traits as your father.
Alienators do play one off against the other, that's what they enjoy doing.

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