Monday, June 3, 2013

All in the Family: When Siblings Attack

June brings to mind weddings and for me, it's a reminder that I may not go to my younger sister's wedding. Why? Well, here's the thing: I'm one of those weirdos that doesn't have a great relationship with my siblings, particularly my younger sister. In fact, while I love her as a sister and want only good things for her, I don't like my sister as a person. If we weren't related we probably wouldn't have anything to do with each other. 

Yes, I know that sounds awful and harsh, but the sad part is that I'm pretty sure she feels the same way. Iyanla, if you're reading this, your Fix My Life services are needed. 

I call myself a "weirdo" because among my peers, it feels like I'm an outlier. It seems like everyone I know, friends and acquaintances alike, has a great, good or at least decent relationship with their sibling(s). Obviously I don't know all the gory details of these relationships, and I'm sure that things aren't always roses and rainbows, but I do know that these people couldn't imagine their lives without their siblings and they know that their siblings will always provide the comfort, encouragement, affirmation, understanding, acceptance and tough love they need to get through the storms of life.

As for me, I can't say the same and it makes me wonder if I'm truly an outlier or if there's a closet bursting with people like me who have a hard time coping with family members who do more harm than good, whether they realize it or not.

How did we get here? Chile, a blog couldn't hold the sorted history, but it stems from a six-year age difference, not really growing  up together even though we lived under the same roof with the same dysfunctional parents, EXTRAORDINARILY different communication styles, lack of acceptance of the other one's personality traits and flaws, resentment, and trust issues. Unfortunately, we've both done and said a lot of stuff  to hurt and wound each other over the years.

So, as the wedding approaches I'm at a crossroads:  I've never been to a wedding in this state of mind. Given everything that's happened, the idea of sitting in a pew, through a reception, smiling as if everything is OK, doesn't make any sense. 

There's a big part of me that wants to follow some advice I saw on  Instagram (DO NOT give me that look), "Stop chasing the people that hurt you..." On the other hand, do I again try to strive toward the ideal expressed in a Frank Bruni opinion piece from The New York Times, or does our dysfunction make this ideal out of reach??

"With my sisters, I can be my most primal self: inarticulate, childishly emotional...They’re the only people in the world you can be your worst self with and they’ll still accept you.”

My sister and I don't have this, and I've adopted the mantra that you can't make grown people do anything, including developing relationships with their siblings. Many of my friends have treated me better than my sister and provided much needed balance. But, is it OK to stay in the I-really-don't-like-my-sister-and-I'm-not-going-to-pretend-I-do closet, and wouldn't it make more sense to just try to be good to those who are good to me?

Yes, I've prayed about all this, talked about it, but I still have questions that are going unanswered, the most important one being, can this relationship be saved?

Stay random,