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Dealing with "Debbie Downers" and family dysfunction....

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She11ybeanz posted 10/10/2013 13:16 PM

So....I'm single...or so it would seem. But, if I were in a relationship....my sister and I act like a dysfunctional married couple! She is probably the closest person to me right now because she watches my daughter for me while I work full-time for free! (yes...I know I am VERY blessed!)

I am constantly thanking her and trying to do nice things for her. I took her on vacation to the beach this year when I got my taxes done, paid to get her hair done, and little things when I have extra money (which is RARE). I constantly feel guilty about her watching my daughter but she INSISTED on doing it because she has cerebral palsy and wants to know her niece. She does really well considering her condition and lives on her own, gets disability, but also works part-time as a manager at night a couple of nights a week at a local theatre.

But, she's always in a bad mood. I can't ever seem to make her happy no matter what I do. I feel like I try extra hard and it doesn't matter so I walk on eggshells. We fight all the time and she has the same insensitive personality that my XWH had and I would put money on it that her "love language" is "acts of service" and mine is tied with "Touch", "Affirmation", and "Quality Time"....

She also has a super short fuse and will cuss me out and one time even pushed me when she had been drinking a little....

My best friend thinks that she is horrible to me and walks all over me and that I should put my foot down...but I don't.....because she is my sister....and she helps me with my daughter....and she has a debilitating disease...etc etc.

I just want to know...how do I build a better relationship with her? Just keep being nice and ignore her moods and try to please her as best as I can? We got super close when I was pregnant and now I feel like we have grown apart and I think she resents me. I've offered to get other childcare and give her a break but she says that it would kill her if I took Piper away from her. But, she acts so tired and upset all the time. It doesn't help that she just got out of a dysfunctional relationship with a 21 year old child who didn't work and mooched off of her for 2 years (my sister is 42)....

I think she just takes out all of her frustrations on me because I'm there.....and I'm the closest one to her... and maybe I just need to learn not to take them personally? Or when she does get personal.....try to learn how to compartamentalize and ignore her?? I don't know what to do....

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 1:18 PM, October 10th (Thursday)]

Crescita posted 10/10/2013 13:58 PM

But, she's always in a bad mood. I can't ever seem to make her happy no matter what I do. I feel like I try extra hard and it doesn't matter so I walk on eggshells.

Have you read "Codependent No More"? It's hard to accept since I'm sure you have good intentions, but you can't control her behavior.

Pass posted 10/10/2013 15:13 PM

I just want to know...how do I build a better relationship with her? Just keep being nice and ignore her moods and try to please her as best as I can?

This sounds very familiar to me, Shelly. This is what I did for the entire 17 years of my marriage. I'm willing to bet it's what you did for your marriage as well.

h0peless posted 10/10/2013 15:47 PM

But, she's always in a bad mood. I can't ever seem to make her happy no matter what I do.

You don't have any power over that. She's responsible for making herself happy.

She11ybeanz posted 10/10/2013 15:48 PM

It is...and in IC, my therapist really tries to push me to go to meetings with codependents from alcoholic families. (I forgot what its called now so forgive me). I grew up with alcoholic parents and even though XWH was not an alcoholic....Piper's sperm donor was and still IS! So....I do have codependent tendencies and attract those types of people. I'm also a perpetual people-pleaser which I have discovered gets you NOWHERE FAST! You can't make anyone happy but yourself....it seems.

But, in this situation....its not a "relationship" per se in a romantic sense....its family! How do you deal with family when this becomes an issue? I love her and I don't want to "disown" her and I want her to know my daughter and be a part of her life.... its like this "fine line" and I don't know how to handle it... UGH!!!!!!!!!!!

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 3:50 PM, October 10th (Thursday)]

TrustNoOne posted 10/10/2013 16:03 PM

CODA - CoDependents Anonymous.

http://www.coda.org/

h0peless posted 10/10/2013 16:16 PM

Shelly, it doesn't have to be either/or. You don't have to disown her. Sometimes, though, you have to stop trying to feed the black hole. If someone doesn't appreciate the things you do, trying harder isn't going to make them magically appreciate it. Even more to the point, doing things for other people with the expectation that they will appreciate it or somehow reciprocate in a way that makes you feel good is a recipe for failure.

cayc posted 10/10/2013 17:47 PM

I can''t ever seem to make her happy no matter what I do. I feel like I try extra hard and it doesn''t matter so I walk on eggshells.

Why are you thinking that you are the reason she''s unhappy? Her state of mind has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Why is it your role to happy her up? She needs to rescue herself. She may have CP but her mind is sound and rescuing herself is about her mind.

Shelly, you are a "reactor". Codependency aside, you are absorbing all the energy around you constantly and REACTING! Every thread of yours is just a whirlwind of emotion. It is often exhausting to read, so I can''t even fathom how exhausting it is to live.

You need to find a way to find your own coat of teflon so that life isn''t running you ragged. Addressing codependency is a start, but to me this seems bigger. You are so busy feeling what everyone else around you is feeling that I suspect sometimes you don''t actually know how you feel. Get in touch with that inner Shelly. There''s strength there. There''s protection there.

(((shellybeanz)))

[This message edited by cayc at 5:48 PM, October 10th, 2013 (Thursday)]

She11ybeanz posted 10/10/2013 18:32 PM

I am a very emotional person. I told my therapist that I thought of that as my biggest weakness....being "overly emotional" like the polar opposite of insensitive.... I'm hyper sensitive. ....to everything! My whole life....including when I was a baby.... I've always been like that. I'm a true Cancer through and through for those who follow horoscopes... and I've noticed my daughter is the same way as me. She is extremely emotional.... and I'm not sure if I'm happy about that. My sister once said that she hoped she wouldn't be like me (in that way) which kinda hurt my feelings because I think I'm pretty great... and just because I'm an emotional person and wear my heart on my sleeve....doesn't make it wrong. My therapist told me that she thought it was an admirable trait... which surprised me. And, I always tend to attract men of the opposite side of the spectrum. I've always thought it would be nice to meet a guy that was at least "a little" in touch with his sensitive side.....IDK...

But, sometimes I wish I didn't have emotions at all. It would make things a lot easier to deal with. I can't compartamentalize.... no matter how hard I try. I feel things when they happen...and seem inable to "rug sweep." I just wish I could better handle situations sometimes... have better coping mechanisms in place or something. IDK.

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 6:35 PM, October 10th (Thursday)]

Pass posted 10/10/2013 19:33 PM

If you had no emotions at all, you'd be like most of our exes. You're better than that. Unfortunately, better doesn't always make things easier.

She11ybeanz posted 10/10/2013 19:40 PM

That's true. My XWH didn't even cry when his grandmother died of cancer....

hummingbird8 posted 10/10/2013 21:34 PM

I have always been a very emotional person. My ex was abusive and I was very codependent. I did IC after the divorce and I'm now remarried.

My current husband is very emotional and sensitive to my and others feelings. The most I have ever seen in a man. I don't know if it's because this is the first healthy relationship I've had, the counseling or what but I am less emotional now. I am more able to wait issues out and talk about them without being so emotional about every thing.

No big advice on your sister. Alanon, could be helpful to you and learning to deal with her.

Good luck.

persevere posted 10/10/2013 21:52 PM

The resources you've been pointed to are awesome. The bottom line for all of them is developing appropriate boundaries in your relationship w your sister. I had to learn to do that w my mother and sticking to it has helped tremendously.

She11ybeanz posted 10/11/2013 07:35 AM

Alanon, could be helpful to you and learning to deal with her.

THAT's what I couldn't think of!! That's what my therapist wants me to go to! I've been to one meeting while I was pregnant.

Here we go again. My sister just called me at like 8:30 all mad cause "I didn't call to wake her up" She was supposed to be at her friends house at 8 this morning and I dropped the baby off at 6:45 cause I had to go get my car looked at before work and put her in the crib at my sisters house. "Apparently" she told me to call her and wake her up so she could make in time to her friends house but what I recall her saying is "Call me later and tell me what they say about your car"

I must be deaf and dumb....cause I didn't hear "wake me up"...

Although I think I accidentally slipped a smartass comment like "I thought you would use your alarm clock...that's what I do!"

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 7:37 AM, October 11th (Friday)]

ladies_first posted 10/11/2013 12:02 PM

Difficult to babysit a 1-year-old when you're fast asleep, no?

She11ybeanz posted 10/11/2013 12:13 PM

Well, my daughter was asleep in the crib in my sister's house when I left....but still! Why was it my job to wake her up??? GEEZ!!!

ladies_first posted 10/11/2013 12:57 PM

Shelly, does Pipe normally sleep till 9 a.m. on weekends?

Well, my daughter was asleep in the crib in my sister's house when I left....but still! Why was it my job to wake her up??? GEEZ!!!

I'm a little concerned how quickly you gloss over Piper's well being.

You already know that your relationship with your sister is dysfunctional; you already know an adult has a responsibility to set her alarm clock and meet her social obligations.

I think she just takes out all of her frustrations on me because I'm there.....and I'm the closest one to her... and maybe I just need to learn not to take them personally? Or when she does get personal.....try to learn how to compartamentalize and ignore her?? I don't know what to do....

Like a married couple, hire a babysitter, take your sister out on a "date" (girls night out) and raise the issue in a calm, nonconfrontational manner. It's about communication. Problem-solving. Not compartmentalizing, not ignoring the problem.

She11ybeanz posted 10/11/2013 14:30 PM

I'm a little concerned how quickly you gloss over Piper's well being.

She's been staying with my sister now since she was 6 weeks old... and yes she has slept until 10am on the weekends before now that she is older. I had put her in the crib myself fast asleep at around 7am and I got the call from my sister at 8:30am. This wasn't that much of a stretch to assume she had slept that long. My sister is very good with my daughter which is why I trust her with her. I definitely don't gloss over her wellbeing. If anything, I'm overly concerned about her all the time and fret like the typical new 1st mom. But, I know as far as being taken care of, my sister does a good job. I am not complaining about that. She's been around children her whole life and has helped taken care of lots of her God-children as babies and older.

I've tried to talk to my sister in a calm and nonconfrontational way but she seems to take things the wrong way even when I attempt that. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. I guess I need to gauge her mood better before I approach her to have these discussions. Sometimes they are productive and we have good communication and other times it feels like I spin my wheels. I would try the "girls night out thing" but to be honest...that's not really my sisters thing and she wouldn't want me to hire a babysitter for us to hang out without Piper. I just know her that way. But, we have gone to the movies before while my friends mom has watched her and things like that but its a very rare situation.

[This message edited by She11ybeanz at 2:32 PM, October 11th (Friday)]

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