I am a mature woman with college age sons. Recently due to an out of state move I stayed at my sister's home (my original hometown before I moved) during the holidays for approx. 30 days with my sons. I was very grateful for their hospitality and would have gone to a hotel if they felt it was too long to stay with them. She has a family of her own and I was more than assisting her with all the daily responsibilities, took her children for outings and financially contributed to the household during my stay. During my stay my college age son had some traumatic events in the previous months that came to light and caused insomnia that lead to a depression. He stayed in his room and did not interfere with the household. My sister and her husband seemed helpful but my last day there, my sister approached me and disagreed with my arrangement to have my son fly back to his college town while I drove my other son (not the one with depression) to his college town where I live. I thought at first it was out of concern for my son getting on the plane by himself but the comment made me realize that my sister and her husband did not want me to leave my son at her home for 3 hours before he was picked up for his flight without me being there. My son is a great young man and was just feeling down. I had to leave at 8am for the long drive back home and he was being picked up at 11am for his flight. Some very scary and cruel things were said to me about my son (and his condition) by my sister which were blown out of proportion to his actual state of mind. Not only did they scare me but also caused my son to cry like I've never seen him cry. I tried explaining to them that I appreciated their opening their home to us for 30 days and tried to diffuse the situation so that my son would have not gotten further upset, but they came after me 2 additional times while I begged them to please stop. My concern was for my son and the confusion they were creating for all. I was hurt that I did not have their support to leave my son there for 3 hours when I needed help. I would have been the first to offer my help to them and even would have offer to take their child to the airport if needed. All I asked of them was to leave my college age son there sleeping until his ride picked him up. I am a single mom and have been very responsible with my sons, but sometimes I can't be at two places at the same time. In the 30 days that I was there I did not do anything for myself due to the attention my son needed to get through this rough time. I did not voice my feeling during the drama in order to calm everyone down and internalized everything that they said for the sake of peace. Once I had left, I had nightmares from the things that were said so I sent a letter with the facts and explained how hurt I was by what transpired. The letter was not an attack as they are very defensive people. The thing that got me the most upset is that I would have never treated my sister or her family in this way and if I did cause someone to cry I would have felt so bad that I would have stopped and apologized at that moment. My sister did not respond to the letter (I know she received it because she called my brother to tell him about it 2 weeks ago). If the shoe was on the other foot, and I received the letter I would have felt so bad and called my sister immediately. The reason I wrote a letter is that they do not allow me to speak and twist what I say to other family members, so I thought that I could get my thoughts out and they could not change my words when running to tell everyone what I said in the letter. This way they could re-read what I said and maybe it would sink in how hurt I was by them. I did not ask for an apology nor did I ask them to accept what I said, I wanted them to understand how they made me feel and to respect me as I have always respected them. I told them that I loved them all but that I want to have the decisions made with my son respected. My sons have no idea this is going on but my sister (after I requested in the letter to keep this to ourselves for the family peace) went and told her children and probably others in the family without actually showing them the letter (I would think that if they read the letter they would have seen that it was not an attack but simply how hurt I was by them). Is their non-response a form of further cruelty and control or is it that they just don't care about me and my feelings? Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
The question that comes to mind is why were they afraid to have your son there for 3 hours? Did they think he would hurt himself if you were not there? Perhaps it was the nature or circumstances of his trauma that caused this riff between you and your sister. It seems as if you are leaving out some important information as to what happened to your son to put him in a depression.
The Following User Says Thank You to lenvegas For This Useful Post:
It does not really matter why she is doing what she is doing. You have done the right thing, the letter is out there, you can let it go. We cannot change somebody's thinking when they are closed off as this one seems to be. Sometimes all we can do is walk away. Do not let your sister's ignorance and fear trouble you further, just look after your son. I also think that your other family members probably know just what she is like and take her nonsense with a grain of salt. Sera
Thank you for your input lenvegas...my son became depressed because he had not slept for 9 days over anxiety over a job his father (my ex) had forced him to take that was very demeaning in nature to a young educated college student. His father's control had him lose his happiness...this was short lived as he was with his father for only 3 months and then moved out. It was nothing serious. He was very sad and was upset that he could not find his happy side with it being the holidays. He was sharing his bedroom with his cousin and brother so I do not feel that they were in any way threatened by him or they would have not left them alone for 30 days in one bedroom. I just feel that they didn't want to be bothered by him being there and having to feel like they were responsible. He is an adult and did not need to be watched. (Although I did tell my sister that if she ever needed me to watch her children I would have stayed up for days to care for them...her comment was "I wouldn't ask you" that's because she has so many people to ask for help including a husband. I did not. I told her that I would do it even if she didn't ask and I saw that she needed me. Her comment was "I can't have dark circles under my eyes". What am I missing here???) I would have gladly taken my son with us at 8am and dropped him off at his grandmother's if they had approached me about their concerns. They didn't do this but attacked me verbally causing so much hurt and making my son (who never cries) cry for over 4 hours with their cruel remarks. I am such a good mother that I would have never left my son there for 3 hours if in anyway I felt that he would be harmful or not capable of handling the situation. He wanted to fly back to college on his own...his flight was just too late for me to drive my other son back to college and our new hometown. My question was about the letter and why would my sister not respond when I explained what they put my son and me through and how hurt I was by their words. How can I now make amends with her without her and her husband further feeling like they can disrespect me? I feel that they are further using their non-response as punishment for writing the letter in the first place. I wrote the letter because if I didn't, the situation would have eaten me up inside...I have let so many things go for the sake of family peace but this was too much...I would have had to cut them out of my life.
Thank you Sera. I have been trying to let it go and forget about it. The thought my upset about the situation was let go once I wrote the letter, but now her unexpected non-response makes me feel that she is further trying to hurt me by ignoring my feelings. It was a difficult letter to write and took me over 2 weeks to finally mail. I must have re-read it over 30 times to make sure nothing in it was accusatory and that it only reflected my feelings of hurt. Although the letter I did not send was full of my anger about the situation...I knew that would not help our relationship and I did not want her to become defensive and see it as an attack...that would have not resolved anything. That letter was my feel-good letter but I did not send it. I will try to let it go...my son is doing fine since he went back to his college town. I'm thinking my sister's household was not a good environment to help him although I thought family was what he needed to feel better and be happy once again.
Last edited by Mod-S4; 02-18-2013 at 12:08 PM.
Reason: posts merged
Thanks for the info......In your letter to your sister you told her she caused you and your son hurt feelings. Perhaps she felt an apology was not in order for whatever reason thus not replying to your letter. Maybe your sisters husband put pressure on her while you stayed there, who knows? She is still your sister faults and all and if it were me in your shoes I would give it a month or two then give her a call just to see how she is doing. I bet she would be happy to get your call and besides you do not want to carry a resentment against your sister. On the other hand if you feel what she did is totally unforgivable then do not contact her again.
lenvegas...I have always been the person that lets things slide and have learned from my son that internalizing and letting others control you causes you to lose yourself. I do love my sister dearly and let her know that in the letter along with that I did not expect an apology nor did I expect her to agree...but to respect me and my family decisions. I was hoping for a least an acknowledgment of my hurt feelings caused by their insensitivity and irrational thoughts. I thought that by reading the letter and reflecting on what they said they would realize that they were insensitive to my son and me. By calling her, I will be doing as I always have...sweeping their behavior under the rug and accepting their treatment towards my sons and me. I know if the shoe was on the other foot they would have disowned me and it would have caused a major upset. I was under a lot of stress when this was going on. I was sleeping only 3 hrs a night, lost 10 lbs. in one month, had severe back pain due to kidney infection that would not clear up...so I was a low point in my life and dealing with the unknown about my son at that time. I had no one to turn to and no support but everyday I put a smile on my face. I appreciate that you are listening to me and providing support. I can not go to anyone with this because of the privacy I want to keep for my son so that is making it so much more difficult for me to discuss this with family or friends. Thank you.
I am more upset today. I spoke to my brother and he thinks I should call my sister to make amends. He feels that she will not call me and said my letter was not nice because I said her words were cruel. She failed to tell him that I said I know that she was not intentional but that I was hurt because her words were cruel which was true. None of this would have been an issue if my sister and her husband did not verbally attack me...I think that they should make amends with me for doing this to me when I was in a stressful situation. I am wrong to stand my ground and not accept their behavior towards me?
I tried reading the letter to my brother so that he could make his own judgement but he didn't want me to. Maybe I should just send a copy to him. It seems that my sister is going to our brother when she should be contacting me to resolve this. I think I am done for now, it's taking too much of my energy in a negative way. Thank you Sera.
First, I am sorry you have had trouble in this way. Involving your brother in anything likely won't help and just puts him in the middle. If you feel the need to send the letter to him, you can, but really, I don't know if that would help since he didn't want to hear it. You have asked for an apology and let it be known that you were hurt. Now, though, just avoid the drama that is draining and upsetting and move on. You don't need it. Take care of yourself and your family. Don't worry about your sister or the rest of your extended family. Your sons and your health and well being are the primary focus.
One of the choices I have made is that I avoid any negative drama that involves my extended family. I don't care if they think they are right or think bad of me. It's not good for me and does nothing but bring me down. I also refuse to get into any conversation with them where they are trying to bring any other family member down. I just won't do it.
Take care. I hope things with your son get better.
Thank you for your response Metalzombie. I did not want to involve my brother. I agree he should not be in the middle. My conversations with him do not bring up the issue but the last one he brought it up and asked me what "I" was going to do to make amends with my sister. I think Sera is right is saying to send the letter only because he can then understand my view and not hear my sister's half sentences in the letter. I have had my ex do this to me where he gave half details that painted him in a good light and when I filled in the rest of the information they realized that he was manipulating the circumstances to his benefit.
It is sad that I would have to cut myself off from them as I have nieces and nephew that will be affected and my own children. I can't believe that some people are so self-righteous that they can not be sensitive to others' feelings especially when I spelled out how hurt I was. I want to ask her did she think her words were helpful or hurtful? I tend to live life that if it's not helpful then keep it to yourself. I am sorry that you have been through this. It is a hard thing to do but you are right about the energy is better focused on my family and me. I also can not be around negativity and it seems that they thrive on it but it make them unhappy. My son has improved 95% and that is the best thing in the world for me.
I'm not sure I understand the situation. Why does it seem like everyone is treating your son like a child? The way you write about him and the way your sister and her family reacted to him makes it appear like you're all treating him like a baby. His reaction of crying just because of something stupid his aunt said is a little off as well. Maybe he needs to feel like he isn't a child anymore and that will help his depression. If I was in college and people were treating me like that I think I'd be depressed too. He isn't a child, he is a man and should be treated as such or else he will never grow up.
As for your sister, I'm sure the reason why she hasn't replied to your message is because she didn't like being called out on her behavior. Not many people do. Very few people will respond positively if someone points out something they did that was hurtful or upsetting and that's because they are embarrassed or they are mad that it was brought to attention by someone. I think you'll be waiting a really long time for an apology because she won't be giving you one. If I were you I would just chalk it up to a bad experience of having overstayed your welcome at her house and move on. I wouldn't treat her any differently but don't go out of your way to spend time with her if it is not a special occasion. That's my suggestion. And I am in agreement that you should not involve your brother. It's not his issue to resolve so keep him and all the others out of it. This is between you and your sister.
The Following User Says Thank You to Kszan For This Useful Post:
It is very unfair to you that your sister has not responded. Some people are unable to communicate well under these circumstances and are unable/unwilling to be accountable for the things they say or do that may be hurtful. I think that you have done all you can do, to make things right. I know that now you feel even worse than before you wrote the letter because of the lack of response and now the drama of all of the behind-the-back retelling of your letter. I have a sister who has a non-confrontational nature (and a big judgmental mouth) and I still have a situation with her, two years later, that is strained because she is unwilling to get things out on the table. It is such a sad situation and I have many feelings of anger, of resentment, of shame, and also of a righteous indignation because I have done nothing wrong. I wish there were something you can do, but there isn't. You have to just leave things alone. I stay in sporadic touch with my sister and she acts civil, but is now totally uninterested in my life and does not pursue me to see how I am or ask about the extended family. I don't feel that you owe ANYONE an apology. You were being honest and you explained your feelings. If your sister did not take that well, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have said it. We need to be true to ourselves even when it hurts. One thing I *might* do, one last ditch effort, is send her a small bunch of flowers, reiterating your thanks that she allowed your family into her home for such a long time. Short and sweet note. Then see what happens. Wishing you well. I know this is such a bad situation and you are feeling unheard. I know what you are going through.
You don't have to cut yourself off from your family and you don't owe anyone an apology. I agree with Kszan that you may be waiting for an apology for a long time. You can't force her to apologize or to realize she is wrong. If your brother brings it up again, you can tell him that you don't want him in the middle, he doesn't know the whole story and it is between your sister and you. Then, just don't discuss it. After all, it really isn't any of his business.
Some people just thrive on drama, negativity, etc. I have some of those in my family. It's really sort of a losing battle with them, so I just don't bother. Maybe one day they will wake up, but I don't count on it. I just ignore the dumb parts and enjoy the good parts.
Thank you Sweetpotatoes. I did give my sister and her family a very, very generous gift for our stay at her home with a big thank you. I think she is feeling that my stay (which I constantly let her know I could get a hotel if it ever became inconvenient but I was used as her babysitter while I was there) and her behavior are one and the same. In my eyes they are two separate things. I let her know how much her hospitality was appreciated numerous times along with being very generous and helpful during my stay. I feel that the next step will be on her part. I am 5 states away so I won't even be around for the special occasions. I do send my nieces and nephews gifts via mail and text them with my love but even their responses are "hovered" by my sister. I appreciate your input and time in responding.