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Postby mjmj6 » Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:28 pm

I am 44, have 4 children and have been married for almost 24 years. I have one sister (40yrs – “Lenore”) and 3 brothers (42, 38 & 32yrs). Our parents divorced about 18 years ago (after 27 years of marriage – marital infidelity and mental abuse, on my father’s part, were major contributing factors), and our Dad passed away 4 years ago. Our Mom is 69 and in poor health. Without going into a lot of detail about the past, it is sufficed to say myself and my family all has “emotional baggage” that colours our world. n n “Lenore” and “Leon”(our 42 year old brother) have not been speaking to each other for the past 8 or 9 years for various reasons. “Leon” and I got along okay until he did not agree with what was done with our father’s headstone. After everything was in place (he was invited to have input-but chose not to) he voiced his displeasure, and insisted we need to spend another $5000, to make Dad’s memorial more meaningful. When my youngest brother “John” (he is married w/10yr & 1yr old daughters) and I did not agree with him (we are the executors of the estate), he broke off communication with both of us.n n In general, John and I get along with most people – we are known to be quite easy going, and are very close. Leon and Lenore are very intense, they are “black or white” people, with very little grey areas in their life. My third brother “Lee” is an alcoholic and a loner, whom we all rarely see. He only speaks up when he has had a drink. n n Lenore also did not get along with our Dad. In fact, it would be fair to say they had one of the worst father/daughter relationships I have ever seen. During my parents rocky years/before divorce, my sister felt she had to choose a side, and she chose Mom’s. I don’t like conflict, so I tried to remain neutral. Lenore often got very angry with me for that. She wanted me to side with her and Mom and gang up on Dad. I was raising a young family at the time, and quite frankly often tried to dis-engage myself from the conflict so I could save my energies for my husband and children.n n n Lenore has a 6-month-old baby boy, and before he was born, her main occupation was at a high-end restaurant as a server. She is a great artist, and was accepted at a very prestigious art school years ago, but never went. She is estranged from the baby’s father (they are not married). He does see his son, and weekly stops by for the “hand-job” (I am sorry for being so blunt – but it is unfortunately the truth) my sister gives him so he will be nice to her and give her the child support payments. (He is an attorney, so money is not an issue). If she balks at the sexual favour – he gets very angry and sulky and difficult. When she shared this intimate detail with me, she informed me that she knew I would never understand – but that for her – it just works, and makes everything easier and that she never kisses him so that makes it okay for her. Plus she said she sees herself using him, not the other way around, and is quite proud of this. She knows he did cheat on her when they were together, and mentioned to me that he currently has 3 women with whom he is intimate. I asked how she managed to find a man with the same track record as our father. She agreed – and shook her head.n n Lenore is known in her circle of family and friends as being late for almost everything. It has been suggested that she then has a sense of control that way. She however does have a big heart, and can show it when she wants. She puts a lot of thought into the gifts she buys for birthdays/Christmases. She befriends those she sees as the underdogs or the lost in society. (Our father had the exact same personality trait). Lost or hurt animals quickly have a defender at their side. Every Christmas, (because my parents were split up – my home became the neutral ground that my family could come to for Christmases, birthdays etc) we knew we would have extra guests because Lenore always befriended those she could see would be alone at the holidays. We lovingly referred to them as Lenore’s Orphans, and always felt enriched by the expansion of our family table.n n Periodically over the last several years, Lenore has gotten very, very angry with me. A small issue will trigger it, but it quickly grows into a full force hurricane very quickly. She brings up many, many things from the past. Ways I have hurt and annoyed her. So many of these things are absent from my memory bank. I think it is because I have tried to put my focus and life energy into my family and my own spiritual/emotional growth, that I do not recall most of these incidences. The odd one that ‘rings a bell’, usually resonates with different details than what Lenore is berating me for. However, that is beside the point. Wait – maybe that is not beside the point. My father, and brother Leon also had/have the tendency to “rewrite history”. My father especially tended to “stew” about something until he had himself convinced it was all the other person’s fault. Unfortunately, my sister is a lot like my Dad. Explains why they did not get along.n n When my sister found out she was pregnant, she didn’t tell me. I found out later that she told my oldest daughter, but made her promise to not tell me because she didn’t know how I would “handle it”! Over time and with a few clues, I guessed, and voiced my “aha!” moment to my Mom, who confessed Lenore had told her, but made her promise not to tell anyone – including me. I felt so hurt, and betrayed and left out of such an important thing – which I see now is exactly what my sister was shooting for. We were in the city about a week after I guessed, and I asked her if she was pregnant. When she said yes, I hugged her, crying, and asked why she didn’t even give me a chance to support her and help her through this tough time (she had severe nausea all the way through). She did not answer me. When her baby was born, I took a week off work in October, and came to the city to stay with her and help her out in any way I could. She really seemed to appreciate it. Everything seemed to be getting better between us.n n Then, just before Christmas she started getting annoyed about little things again, and informed me that she wasn’t celebrating Christmas this year – she was staying home alone with her baby “eating soup and watching videos” and that she did not want to have any company or anyone to cook for. We were having everyone at our house this year, and she said she did not want to drive (1 hour and 15 min on a 2-lane divided highway) to our town with a baby and our Mom to worry about. So, again we all changed our plans just for her. We packed everything up and drove in to the city. She ended up inviting one of her “Christmas Orphans” and cooking a turkey. She (not too surprisingly) seemed very happy to have everyone there. This point was not lost on me. However, I knew I would have felt too guilty staying home knowing she was alone with her baby on Christmas. I thought I was showing support for her. Showing her how important she is to our family and me. She had told me a while ago that she didn’t feel very important in our family, for many years. n n The point for me right now is that I have had it! Lenore has crossed the line. To make a long story short, we were in the city and before leaving for home, we drove my Mom back to her apt. I was appalled at the condition of her place. My Mom has not been feeling well, and is not the most fastidious housekeeper at the best of times. The next day after having a pleasant conversation with my sister, I mentioned the condition of Mom’s apt, and asked if she and our sister-in-law “Karen” (John’s wife) could go for an hour and clean a bit. I knew I wasn’t going to be back in the city for 2 weeks, and it saddened me to think of Mom living like that. My sister has been very good to our Mom, and when we are in the city, we help where we can – often with things my sister has requested. It is usually her deciding Mom needs this or that. Which is fine, since she sees Mom more than we do. n (She speaks to Mom more on the phone, then in person, now that she has a baby. She absolutely refuses to take her son to our Mom’s apartment because she is a smoker – even though Mom will not smoke when she has company - and Lenore will not expose him to second hand smoke. One more important note about our Mom – 9 years ago she was given 2 years to live. If she had been younger than 60 and a non-smoker, she would have been put on a waiting list for a heart/lung transplant. So, about once a week, Lenore brings Mom to her house to see the baby.)n n Anyway, back to the trigger…..I asked her to do some cleaning at our Mom’s apartment – and she absolutely freaked out! I will list the diatribe as I heard it, and answer to some of them………..She started yelling that she can’t believe I am asking her to do that, that she can barely keep her own place clean and here I want her to go and clean Mom’s, and that she can’t believe how we hardly help her, that we help Karen and John with their baby more, and here she is a single parent! And that we see their baby more than we see her baby (their baby is 5 months older so we have seen her more, but we always see both babies when we come to the city – we call it our ‘baby fix’), and stay at their house (she has a cat – to which my husband is severely allergic – so we don’t sleep at her house) and when our son came to help her for a weekend, she actually spent more time having to cook for him because he ate so much, and that our oldest daughter (whom she has asked to be her son’s god mother) has only seen her son 7 times, and the last time we had all been there, she was cleaning her place for days after (the truth is that her kitchen was cleaned of a mess that had obviously been there for days, by those of us who cleaned up from supper – it was the living room with all the baby toys that was left as it was found), and that the Flylady book I lent her (a book I found very helpful in setting up routines for our home etc) was just my way of showing that I can see what a mess her place is and that I was just rubbing it in by bringing that “f__king book!”, and that when she was trying to eat when we were there, and I was holding her baby, if she had wanted him to be in the exer-saucer, she would have put him in, and so why did I put him in it, why didn’t I just hold him when she gave him to me, and when she came to eat, all the food was put away (she had disappeared in the bedroom – with the door open – with the baby’s father, and stayed there for a while, while the rest of us visited and ate etc, in the living room), and that it is better that she knows she is on her own (I reminded her that I had recently been there for 2 weekends in a row helping her, and that it was I who took a week off work to help her when the baby was first born – and she said “don’t do that again!”), and that I used to leave her a list when she babysat my kids, and would make her redo things (this is one of those memories she has that doesn’t make sense to me……same with this next one…), and that I would drop my kids off even if she was studying or writing a paper, and that she will not accept anymore help from us, so don’t even offer, because any offer will be refused…and she went on and on.n n Okey dokey! This is where I’m at! I am seriously drafting a letter to her that says I am tired of her abusing our relationship, and that I want to have her in my life, but not like this. If she is testing me to see if I am worthy of her respect, I guess I haven’t passed the test. n n Would it be a smart thing for me to suggest counseling.n n I do not feel safe in my relationship with her, when I do not know from one minute to the next what will set her off. How do I do the right and healthy thing for my family and me without cutting her son out of our life? He is an innocent soul in all of this and I truly feel for him. With her proclivity for NOT moving on/forgiving and forgetting, when he disappoints her (which being human, he will do) she will not let it go. n n Does she need me to “freak out” back at her? Is that what it will take for her to get over past hurts. One of the quotes I really like is from the Buddha –“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I have worked hard to not hold on to anger in my life. I am a “the glass is half full” kind of person, and relationships are ultra important to me. n n I have barely scratched the surface in this extremely long explanation. This has been going on for a long time, and I am ready – with help – to finally do something about this, to hopefully turn things around for the future.n n It has been said that all you can do is all you can do – so all I can do is take responsibility for truth in my life and communicate that I will not allow her to treat me this way any longer. n n How do I do that?n n Blessings and thanks,n Mjmj6

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Re: family

Postby Kerry » Sat Mar 26, 2005 8:38 pm

Hi Mjmj6:n n I just read this post after having replied to your other post. n n Again, the problem is you. There's simply no way for you to complete your experience of abuse, of abusing and being abused, as long as you continue to relate with everyone you have been relating with, especially all family members. Each morning you have a choice, to relate with people who are whole and complete or those who are addicted to abuse. Your choice to continue relating with abuse addicts reveals that you are in need of about 50 hours of therapy. n n Re: Your use of the word "blessings." I know you are aware that such expressions offend some people, yet you arrogantly, defiantly, self-righteously chose to dump it in my space. It's abusive. It's an unconscious setup. I strongly recommend that you stop using Christian vocabulary. It doesn't produce the results you say you want—that, or honor your pastor by taking your problems to him/her. Please do not argue, explain, or justify this point, to do so would be even more abusive. "Thanks, I got it," would work.n n In any case, please do not reply to this post here. You may acknowledge this reply by replying in your other post.n n With aloha, Kerry

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