Wedding Woes

"Have you made up?" "No. This turkey is delicious, how did you cook it?"

Dear Prudence,

About two years ago, I had an argument with my sister that resulted in me ending contact with her. We had never been particularly close, and on the occasion that we did see each other she would rarely show interest in me. I heard all about her relationship, her work life, and her friends—and I was happy to—but she would never ask me anything about myself, and if I offered some news about my own life she would be scrolling through her phone by the time I finished my sentence. When I moved house she offered to help me, and then cancelled on the day despite knowing that she couldn’t make it a week earlier. She asked me to cancel an important business trip I had booked for months (I was speaking at a conference) after she scheduled her baby shower for the same weekend, and then didn’t speak to me at the shower. When I said it wouldn’t be a good idea to visit our elderly mother during the height of the pandemic, before vaccines and masks were widely adopted, she blasted me with abusive texts (that’s when I cut contact). Prudie, I could go on—but that’s basically our history as adults, me wondering if I had done something to make her be cruel to me and coming up empty-handed every time.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and a lot of time speaking with a therapist about it, and have realized that I’d be happy to never have a relationship with her again. I can’t imagine it would be a huge loss to her, and it’s not a huge loss to me either. So that much I’m comfortable with. But I’m struggling to communicate my choice to our family, who seems to either think that we’ve had a sisterly spat and we’ll reunite soon, or believe that as the older sister I should take the “high road” and automatically forgive her so I can be a good influence. Prudie, we’re not young girls having a tiff—we’re both in our mid-thirties. I’ll be seeing family at Christmas for the first time since the pandemic, and am dreading facing the questions from them about whether we’ve made up and when I plan on forgiving her. The relationship is over, as far as I’m concerned: How can I make them understand that?

— Sister Sister

Re: "Have you made up?" "No. This turkey is delicious, how did you cook it?"

  • edited September 2021
    “Nope. How was your trip? It’s great to finally see you again”. 

    ETA: if you’re at the same gathering people will notice you’re not talking but it’s not really their business. Decline to talk about it and move on. 
    mrsconn23
  • I hate the phrase 'make them understand'.  You can explain things to people, but you can't understand it for them.  

    LW doesn't have to tell them anything, but if they truly haven't said a word about sister's behavior, then maybe they should show the 'abusive' texts sister sent when LW expressed concerns about going to see mom unvaxxed or whatever.  If they have and family still doesn't 'get it', then bean dip/refuse to discuss or don't come around.  

    What does your therapist have to say about navigating your family and standing up for the fact that you won't have a relationship with someone who's mistreated you? Because if you're comfortable with cutting off sister, then next steps are boundaries with your family. 
    short+sassy
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I hate the phrase 'make them understand'.  You can explain things to people, but you can't understand it for them.  


    THIS.  I would consider elaborating to the mother only if the LW thought that there would be an empathetic ear.  

    But if my years of experience tell me anything, as parents age they seem to hope for some panacea that cures what ails their children who don't speak to each other and often look to the scorned to forgive and move on.  It's foolish and does not work and pushing that only makes things worse.

    If the LW also thinks that the situation is bad enough to be toxic then I'd also advise being busy for Christmas and showing up at another time.  If I wasn't speaking to my brother I wouldn't show up to a more intimate gathering that's only going to be more awkward with that tension.
    charlotte989875mrsconn23MissKittyDangerlevioosa
  • Extended family doesn't need to understand! They don't even need to know. 

    It sounds to me that LW is more interested in getting family on her side than on avoiding uncomfortable conversations. 
    MesmrEwecharlotte989875mrsconn23
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2021
    Extended family doesn't need to understand! They don't even need to know. 

    It sounds to me that LW is more interested in getting family on her side than on avoiding uncomfortable conversations. 
    This!  Also, putting distance between herself and her sister doesn't have to mean ill will or intent nor uprising being necessary...  I'm guessing the LW is the drama llama of the situation...
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