Sisters

sistersAt first glance, I laughed. I didn’t forward it to anyone. For me, it was just painful.

I was the younger one. My sister and I were raised together for 6 years before the next baby arrived.

She was 2 years older, tall for her age and athletic. I was thin, small and about half her height during these formative years.

All I ever wanted was to be her friend. It never happened.

There were 4 more siblings behind us, none of whom understand why we don’t get along. We understand.

She was a bit of a rebel, a troublemaker, that first-born. She was smart, funny, very social, had tons of friends, aggressive in her demeanor, usually got her way. There was another side to her; she, like my dad, was a Gemini, so between the two of them, there were at least 4 personalities at work at all times.  My father always took her side, protected and defended her. My mother never trusted her, but she didn’t act 0n those instincts.

My mother favored me. I was quieter, weaker, more introspective, and painfully shy. I spent a lot of time alone; reading, writing, taking in the world. My only friends were the ones that I met through my sister, when she was forced to “drag me along” when she went out to play.  Mom and I shared the sign of  Sagittarius. She took my side, always protecting and defending me.

And that was just the beginning of the problem. We were treated differently and we noticed. It was as if there was a rift between us that unknowingly, our parents had initiated and nurtured.

It got worse. Family tragedy turned our world upside down. In our confusion and grief, we could have turned to each other for support. We did not. She was 8, I was 6. We both were about to experience a sort of PTSD that we were too young to understand.

She became my childhood bully. There is no other way to describe it. We were confused and depressed and emotionally abandoned by our parents, who were dealing with their own issues.

Family counseling was out of the question. My dad’s family had a lifelong battle with the mental health industry; there was no reason for him to think there was real help out there.

So, Mom was admitted to a psych ward, Grandma (our true mom) was dead, Dad tried to pass us along to relatives who did not or could not take on the task of raising us.

We were left alone. Socially, psychologically and often physically alone, the abuse began.

I’m not sure how long it lasted; maybe months, maybe a few years. I have blocked so much from my memory. Self preservation.

In 20 or more years of writing, sometimes of a very personal and intimate nature, this is the one thing that stops me, dead in my tracks.

As adults, we never talk about it. There will be no warm and fuzzy forgiveness session. We just avoid each other. There is civility and respect for the lives we lead and the people we have become. There is not, and will never be, closeness. And the siblings will never know why. And that’s okay.

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13 Responses to Sisters

  1. LaVagabonde says:

    You are very courageous to bring it up and confront it now. You have my deepest respect.

  2. Thank you for your kind comment. It’s a tough one for me to address.

  3. It’s sad that you have to accept an outcome like that!

    • Hi Christine. I’m not so sure. I think it might have been more sad for me to continue to think I could “fix” our relationship. Distance has made it easier. We live hundreds of miles apart and only see each other on major family occasions.We put on “the face” for a few hours, then move on. Thanks for your kind support.

      • No doubt you’re right! And you’ve found “sisters” in your life to make up for it. Not all sibling relationships contribute to happiness and good health!

      • I have sought out and found those alternative sisters. I’ve been told, mostly by women with only brothers, how lucky I am to have had 3 sisters. Not so much. Almost all the sibling relationships in my birth family have been toxic. We get to choose our friends, not our family…but, oh…the lessons we can learn from them are unparalleled. Thanks again, Christine, for your responses, always look forward to them. ☺

    • writerinsoul says:

      Christine, it’s refreshing to see someone say not all sibling relationships are beneficial – we get beat over the head sometimes with the message that they are or *should* be.

      • That’s the sad reality! Some bad behaviors can be righted if caught early enough. But, parents need to be aware and present to help!

      • My parents…so far from ” present”, especially at that time. A complicated legacy of mental health issues and personal tragedy. We were the by-product. There is plenty of sadness to go around. My sister claims to have found peace, but I still think she is in denial, mostly about the guilt.

  4. writerinsoul says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I don’t know if this is exactly your story, but parents are often the ones setting up the dynamic for sibling strife, even if they take/accept no blame for it.

    Some wrongs can’t be righted (especially when people aren’t sorry).

  5. lbeth1950 says:

    It must be so hard to accept and write about this. Some relationships are just toxic. It’s a sad thing to be shut out, but not your fault.

  6. You’re so right, Linda, it is hard to write about, but acceptance came sometime in my 30’s. I just gave up trying to reconcile. It is, without a doubt, the toxic relationship of my lifetime. We have polite but detached conversations when needed, but that’s it. And it’s okay. Thanks for reading and commenting. Van

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