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Sibling issues

  • 04-06-2023 10:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Beanie5

    Wondering if anyone else has a similar situation how they handle it, any advice.

    There's 3 years between me and sister, and as far back as I remember we've never really been close. We're both in our 30s now and I would love to have a proper sibling relationship but she just doesn't seem that pushed. I now have two girls myself and I often worry they will be the same.

    My sister is very much all about her friends group. And even though a lot of her friends are very close to their siblings and they hang out, she just doesn't seem to want that. Don't get me wrong, I'm very lucky with my friend group too, I just don't think it has to be either or. Lately I've made more of an effort to try and befriend her, but honestly it's just making me feel down at this point and I'm thinking of just giving up on it. There have been a few things recently where I would deem her behaviour pretty nasty, but she thinks it's just me being overly sensitive. My mother is inclined to mostly take her side, so if I do ever crack and bring it up, it just causes stress there. Which I would rather avoid. For example, I'm her bridesmaid for her wedding. She also has two more of her friends. Last week she wanted us to go shopping for shoes, dresses, etc. We all went, I drove her and me. It turned out after another one of the bridesmaids had a little party planned for my sister later that afternoon. Fair enough it was at her house and she invited another two of their friends, but it was quite awkward for me when we finished to wish her and the two friends well and to enjoy they're evening as I head off again the only one not invited. I was a bit hurt. I wouldn't treat my sister like that.

    At this point I've stopped texting her much, and I have noticed because of that I rarely hear from her. Just if she needs a lift, advice about work, if she needs to borrow something. She doesn't ever call to my house, I offer to call to hers but she's always busy. She's never offered to babysit the kids, she bas absolutely zero interest in socialising together unless I'm paying.

    Am I just fighting a losing battle trying to have a closer relationship with my sister at this point?


  • Posts: 0 Zahra Bald Bowler

    I’m an only child, but I know that kind of a situation for me would be very unacceptable, sounds like she’s quite egocentric tbh. Was she “mommy’s favourite” from early on? I’m not saying not saying your mother lives you less, but I’ve heard of cases where one sibling has been treated somewhat differently owing to various circumstances and ended up with an inflated self-opinion, maybe all subconsciously.

    Or was there some occasion years back that sparked it off? I would not like to be left out like that, it would bother me a lot. I think if it were me I’d ask why I’m an object give manner as I could muster, when the time would be right. But other posters will have other opinions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Beanie5

    I'm close with my mom, but lately this has definitely put little distance between us. My sister was the youngest, so yes was always my mom's pet - I was my nans 🙂 she always got away with more I suppose. Never had to do the chores like me, less pressure on exams, never expected to work. I was the sensible one, and the quieter one. I did well at school, worked through college and am now pretty successful in my chosen career. Myself and my husband have worked hard for what we have and now have a nice lifestyle. My sister was never made do anything she didn't want to do, any job she's had that she hasn't liked - it's not her fault, it's the always the company. She also seems to have a chip on her shoulder that she's still renting and we've been very lucky with our house.

    My husband has also tried with her. When she needs to lift to work she commutes with him. She's invited to stay over for as long as she likes at Christmas and never has to lift a finger. I'm not saying my sister does nothing for me - she's good at big events. She threw me an amazing baby shower!!! But it's more of a friendship I would love. Maybe some siblings just don't click I suppose.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,659 ✭✭✭Augme

    You can't force people to like you OP, family is no different.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,787 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    Some siblings just don’t - I don’t click with either of mine. I would love to have siblings Im close with but it didn’t happen - we are all very different and parents (who disliked each other) definitely had their preferences too which didn’t help . I get on better with both of them than they do with each other (they don’t really speak at all) but it’s still very distant. The way we were reared likely plays a part (no hugs etc) That’s just life and zero point forcing it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,094 ✭✭✭✭Caranica

    You've got children and she appears not to have. That's one of the biggest divisions you can have between siblings. I love mine but as the only childless one the gulfs between their lives mine are incalculable. Could be a factor in your situation too

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  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Beanie5

    Never even occurred to me that could be a factor Caranica. I have two girls, she doesn't have any kids yet. I think she does want them, but not for another while. Which will then again probably lead us to being in very different stages. Having said that both her sisters in law have kids and she's very close to at least one of them. She socialises with them, babysits. She's great with my two to be fair to her, they actually worship her, she just doesn't really see them that much. Which worries me as I'm always afraid she'll just drop them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,726 ✭✭✭zoobizoo

    I was single with no kids while my siblings had..... made no difference to our general relationships.

    You can't force a friendship. You can't make someone want to hang out with you more.

    We tend to hang out with people we have more in common with, have more fun with and have a better rapport with.

    You have a proper sibling relationship..... and if you were to survey most families, many have similar.

    What I would say is that your sister appears to be very selfish.

    Not extending an invite to you with her friends was mean, impolite and selfish.

    Why would you pay for her when socialising? You wouldn't pay someone to be your friend would you?

    Forget about the babysitting unless there is an offer to help. Just pay someone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,142 ✭✭✭wildwillow

    Live your own life and let her be. She seems fairly toxic and probably jealous of you

    I have no sister but notice among my friends that there is a type of rivalry between sisters, even when they have a friendly relationship.

    I’m much older than you and have drifted away from my brothers. People move on and make their own circle.

    Be happy with your family and encourage your daughters to cherish and respect each other.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,865 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I don't have children, and most of my siblings do. That makes no difference to our relationship whatsoever.

    It's a cliche but true that you can pick your friends but not your family. The party that you were not invited to, on the same day that you had all been dress shopping is mean girl behaviour and your sister went along with it.

    If she wasn't your sister, is she the type of person that you would want to be friends with - I am guessing probably not.

    I would just maintain civility from here on and nothing more, if I were you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 626 ✭✭✭Duvet Day

    I definitely wouldn't be paying for anything for her or giving spins, the cheek of her messaging your husband directly and treating you with such disdain at the same time. You need to see her for what she is, not inviting you to the night out was beyond hurtful, exclusion is bullying. Keep away from her, look after yourself and your family, the more you try to befriend her the more she'll hurt you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Beanie5

    Thanks all. Good to have others perspective. Was definitely starting to think it was all me and in my head. Even said to my husband last night I was considering counselling to try and sort my head out. Feeling a lot better about things this morning.

    Have another few months to go until this wedding, and a few events in between, so will need to grin and bare it for a bit. But I'm thinking I'm going to take a step back and concentrate on my own circle in future. I'll be civil but I won't be inviting her places, giving her spins or going out of my way anymore.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Don't be too quick to go down the "she's jealous of me" route. You say you have never been close, so this didn't just happen because you have children and she doesn't (yet).

    You're still just 2 people. And people click with some, and not others. If you weren't sisters would you seek out her friendship? It sounds like you don't particularly like the person she is and are trying to force a closeness simply because you are sisters. I have 2 sisters. Growing up me and 1 sister got on ok, and me and the other sister hated each other!! Now it's the opposite. I get on great with the sister I never got on with, and the other one has grown into an incredibly difficult person who I cannot spend any length of time with without becoming annoyed! I know for a fact if she wasn't my sister she would be they type pf person I would actively avoid. Everything is a conflict with her. My mother doesn't tend to side with her as such, but does ask the rest of us to just say nothing just to keep the peace! So for her sake we all sit around, pretty much agreeing, or making non-committal noises when "the contrary" sister starts.

    It was very bad form of your sister's friend to organise a party after an event that you were all it and not invite you. But, if your sister is that type of person, then that's the type of people her friends are likely to be.

    I'd be glad I'm not expected to hang around with them and fall in to their behaviours.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,716 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    Hi OP, sorry to hear that you are not close to your sister but as some others here have opined, this is very common in family dynamics where some siblings just don't get along or are close. An observation I have made over the years is the bigger the family the more likely some siblings won't get along. But this can be true for smaller families too.

    I myself (male, 48, youngest of three) am very close my middle sister 5 years my senior - we are very alike in personality and have a special bond - she has always looked out for me - but I have a very tenous relationship with my eldest sister, 6.5 years my senior, who lives in North America. We simply have very, very little in common - she is introverted, very flaky and rather selfish. It has pretty much always been this way as far back as I remember.

    Both our parents have passed away, our mother tragically when we were all very young. My eldest sister is distant and cold and this is not going to change. My middle sister and my eldest sister were never very close but their relationship is very strained now.

    You can chose your friends but not your family is a very old - but true - adage. Not being invited to that party by your sister's friend seems very mean and your sister does seem rather self-centred from your description of her. She is unlikely change at this stage. Perhaps you see some of your girlfriends and their own sisters having great friendships and you feel you are missing out on that aspect. Every family is different and comparisons will only bring disappointment.

    I hope you can learn to accept the nature of the relationship with your sister as it seems like it's upsetting you and you have a partner and children of your own - and friends too - who I am sure give you a lot of love and support.

    Wishing you well!

    Post edited by JupiterKid on

  • Registered Users Posts: 13 oldfriend213sf

    I have a younger sister who could easily have posted the same things about me as you have re lack of a close relationship. However, there's a lot of toxic family dynamics at play and I was very much the kid that missed out the most. My younger sister is the "Golden Child" who got an inordinate amount of attention, care, interest and support from my parents, while I got out from under their roof at a young age and became hyper-independent, never asking for anything of my family. I made my own life, and my family of origin have never really expressed interest or supported me as I'd have liked.

    To go home is to see all of this play out, to be put back in a role that's been very painful for me and to see how self-involved, self-centred and mollycoddled my sister has become - one-way conversations, over-sharing, dominating the dinner table, asking no questions about me, that kind of thing.

    So, while she'd love a close relationship and doesn't understand why there isn't one - I need boundaries to keep myself mentally sane from the weird dynamics of it all and I get my support elsewhere. That's all there is to it really.

    Not to say there's ANY parallels to your situation, OP, but just to give you perspective on how family dynamics can play into these things. If I had kids, I'd definitely want to foster friendship, bonding and support between my children - and I'd raise them very differently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,424 ✭✭✭brokenbad

    You have 3 types of siblings in my opinion:

    1) Siblings who all live close by the family home and live in each others pockets day in day out (that would drive me mad)

    2) Siblings who have drifted apart for various reasons - relocation due to work, marriage, their own family commitments, personal reasons, etc and only meet up at anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, funerals, christenings and the like.

    3) Family dynamics where siblings divert into cliques - particularly in larger families where some siblings are frozen out of gatherings and not kept in the loop as regards family business, etc.

    Personally - I can identify with Option 3.

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,450 ✭✭✭✭freshpopcorn

    Lots of good advice OP try and not compare yourself to other people's siblings tough.

    You'd often see families who are all smiles and doing stuff together and it's all just for show.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,929 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I would do exactly this.

    I think the Beanie5 you've been a long time hoping for a closer relationship and its obvious there just isn't one.

    Life is too short to be investing time and energy into a unappreciated relationship. I would be civil going forward, just keep them at arms length. I think if you lower your expectations the relationship will be better.

    Post edited by Flinty997 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 159 ✭✭Uncharted2

    I've been trying for years to have a closer relationship with my older sister, and quite similar to your situation, she just was never that bothered or cared enough to know how my life was going or how I was. I stopped bothering because I realised she'll never change now and just have to accept her the way she is.