Social Question

SoOverIt's avatar

MY sister still chooses my ex over me?

Asked by SoOverIt (67 points ) July 12th, 2010

My mother is bipolar and unmedicated. When I was 21 I had a child, and separated from his father when he was 6 mos old because he was not willing to leave the party scene and become a parent. While I was a single mom for a short time, my mother had a lot of control over me; I met my now husband and she lost that control- which she never got over. She did some horrendous things to try to split us up and gave up her right to be a part of our lives. She has this strange attachment to my oldest child, and when we would not let her see him (she was having him call her mommy, among other things) she became friends with my ex and bribed him with money and such in exchange for bringing my child to her during his visitation. My sister also chose to turn her back on me and became “best friends” with my ex. Now you’re probably thinking, what did you do/ there must be a reason why your family turned their backs on you. I would think that too. But the answer is nothing, except marry a great guy. 7 years later, my husband and I have a 5 year old as well as the 8 year old, and we are very happy. I just became an RN and my husband is working on his BA. My husband family is very supportive. Over the years, my ex has established himself in my place with my family. He has holidays with them, has lived with my sister several times, and even had our court battle funded by my mother (which they lost). Recently, my sister has gotten 6 felony charges for drug dealing and is out on bail, waiting for sentencing. After several years of estrangement, she approached me, expressing her love and asking me to put my home up for her bail. I refused but told her I would like to have a relationship with her and her daughter. She disclosed that my ex is on methadone, has stolen/betrayed her repeatedly, and has warrants out for his arrest. She also told me she was finished with him. I have been spending what little time she has left trying to rebuild our relationship; but came to the undisputable conclusion that everything she has told me is a lie. When confronted, she showed no remorse, apology, or embarrassment. She was pretty much like, “oh well, you got me.” Now she is moving back in with my ex, who she now says she loves and is her family (though she denies any sexual relationship), and she expects me to just accept this. She even asked me to help her pack- while he was there! I finally told her enough was enough; she obviously has no regard for my feelings and absolutely no respect for me. I am willing to support her while she is in prison, and give her daughter (6 years old) love and stability to help her through this tragedy that is her life (both of her parents will be in jail); but she must stop her relationship with my ex and stop lying to me. She has not responded. My problem is that I would like a relationship with her and my niece; I would like to help them get out of this situation and into a better life. Is it even worth it? I know a grown person cannot change their character- especially if they do not want to- but is it foolish to say I can accept her as she is, when her world is so different from mine? What does it mean when a sibling has no feelings for another? I am afraid to invest myself emotionally in my young niece, and she in me, to have her taken from me at the whim of her mother. My sister wants me around for some reason- she says she wants a relationship- but her actions scream a completely different story. This is forever long and I apologize, there was just so much needed to explain to paint a thorough picture. Any sincere comments would be welcome

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12 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Since I have experienced a lot of family discord over my life time, I hope you can accept my assurance that as time passes, this will lose the significance it currently has in your life. I have had family members react in a similar manner to a situation, but over time, we are able to work it out.

One thing that works for me is to refrain from saying things that are hurtful and do not lead to a healing, but rather continue the animosity.

Andreas's avatar

@SoOverIt Your tale is so common and I feel for you and your husband. A couple of observations from a stranger may help. “I just became an RN and my husband is working on his BA.” Doesn’t that take sacrifice, effort, character, etc to achieve? You are both working to a common goal, even though at times it may be hard to continue, you work together. “My husband family is very supportive. ” In large part THIS is your new family, based on what you said in other parts of your tale.

As for you niece: Be the best aunt to her you can be, and your husband the best uncle. She will remember that, no matter what happens. Your mother and ex, as well as your sister seem worlds apart from you and they probably aren’t worth your time in their current state. Personally, I’d give them a wide berth, and leave them alone.

Obviously, if they have a genuine change of heart, evidenced by their conduct, you would need to reassess your relationship with them.

Take care and keep us posted.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Your family seems so remarkably stable despite your history. I hope you have a plan to deal with potential disruptions from your mother, sister and ex.

SoOverIt's avatar

We have considered having my ex sign away his rights so my husband can adopt him, and in case something should happen to me. I have suspended his supervised visitations, until he recovers from his methadone addiction and resolves his warrant issues. The problem is, he wants to come around when it suits him and knows I will not deny my child from having a relationship with his father and forming his own opinion of him- so I do not think he ever would. The best I can do right now is keep his negative influence to a minimum and raise my child with my morals and values; he will see a difference and make his choice of character.

Pandora's avatar

You say your mom is bi polar. Is it possible your sister is as well. Some bi polar people may turn to drugs as a way to self medicate.
The only thing you can do is try to live your life the best way possible. I agree with @Andreas . You have to also do what is best for your immediate family. I love my siblings but they come second to my spouse and my children.

BoBo1946's avatar

@SoOverIt She could be jealous of you. That is very mean-spirited and would allow them to be happy in their misery. Silence is the best way to handle it. After all, if you say something, it will not change things. Actually, make it worse!

marinelife's avatar

Seriously, from an outside perspective, you should isolate yourself from these people. They continue to lie to you and to try to use you.

They are very toxic.

It is a shame about your niece. You could perhaps ask for temporary custody while your sister is in prison. You do risk your heart, but the possible good influence you and your family could have on her life is priceless.

You laid down your conditions for maintaining a relationship with them, and they ignored them. For you to now accept them anyway seems like a betrayal of yourself.

It is very hard to separate from your family of origin, but it is sometimes for the best. Think of your children.

stardust's avatar

I’ve experienced difficult family relationships and situations during my life and the only advice I can give you is to walk away. It’s incredibly difficult to do that, but I can’t help but think the alternative will cause pain for everyone. The only person that can change your sister’s life is your sister. If she’s using drugs, your influence will be minimal. It’s awful about your niece – I’d tend to agree with @marinelife in that the heartbreak might be outweighed by the loving influence on your niece.
When people are caught up in addiction and in such a negative place, sometimes the best thing is to leave them alone with themselves and pray that they’ll eventually turn their lives around. It’s difficult.

CaptainHarley's avatar

File under, “You can lead a horse to water, but…!” For any relationship to work, both parties must want it to work. I tend to agree with @YARNLADY: time is the best healer in cases like this.

Make sure you don’t burn any bridges, especially with your niece ( who is a truly innocent party in all of this ), but do NOT get either emotionally or finacially entangled with your sister. Let her sink or swim, and when she comes to her senses ( if she ever does ), let her make the first move toward reclaiming her family relationship with you.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I agree with @CaptainHarley.

The way that I found to deal with toxic family relationships is to cut them off. I moved away (far away) as soon as I was able to do that. I realize that you may not be in this position (yet) as your husband is in school, but RN’s are needed everywhere so maybe when he graduates? I know that your husband’s family is supportive (and I am guessing live nearby? So you may not be able/want to move.) I would still simply call a moratorium on interactions of ANY KIND….with your sister, your ex and everyone else. You have children to protect….your own. You can help your niece, but draw the line with your sister. She wants to draw you into her web of lies again. How can you trust her after what she did? Trust comes after a person changes, and she has not done that yet. Stay strong and demand respect, first.

Why put yourself through this? To appear to be a nice person? When people have treated you so badly? No…don’t do that. You have your new family, and until your old family can come to their senses, get help….and clean up their act….they will have to find someone else to kick around.

Show them the door. Politely. And get on with your life. Your husband and children need you more than anyone else. And if you want to help your niece, then do so…but I wouldn’t deal with your sister….not until she shows that she cleaned up her act. Tough love is the only way to go here. Stand strong, don’t give in…and attend get some professional help in dealing with boundary issues.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

And just to add….you are probably a fantastic nurse…you take care of people all day…then you care for your family….you have your hands full….the reason I said to get help on boundary issues…is simply that you need to take good care of yourself, too! So, it was said with concern and care.

You can take a stand and say, “No more!”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you think over the years your sister and ex have had a shared drug/drama history? If your mother was friending him in order to get closer to your one kid then she and the ex have some shared drama. She gave him money which he probably used for drugs so they both had reasons to keep a connection. I wouldn’t spend much time on why your sister does as she does because you’ve got kids and a partner who love you that need your energy more.

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