Sibling Relationship Crumbling

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Spring Butterfly

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Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« on: August 02, 2020, 06:40:58 AM »
Hey all, In the past I've only ever posted on the parents board but I find myself needing to come here. I never thought I would, siblings and I got along just fine. I'm struggling it was this situation and my brain is stuck in a loop.

About a year ago I had a medical situation I needed to take care of and just needed some space to do so. I didn't need anything from siblings and didn't think we had a problem at all. After a few months though with the sibling I've always been closest to there was tension, pulling back, distance. I asked over and over at what's up but for about 6 months the only thing I got back was "What do you mean" "nothing's up just super busy" and you know how it is - nothing you can put your finger on but in my gut I knew there was something. All my life I was taught to ignore my gut so again I ignoring my gut, talk myself out of it, accepted maybe they were just busy, told myself I'm being silly.

So after about 6 months we were down to text message only. Our entire life the sibling and I talked on the phone at least once a week and sometimes more. Every once in a while I would ask but again "nothing's wrong just super busy" but then came a text message with a sarcastic remark, kind of like a slap in the face.

I kept responding back that we talk on the phone not on text. Sib kept trying to pull me back into an angry text argument. Finally we talked on the phone and there was accusations going back 6 months that my needing to take care of my medical situation by myself without them was somehow viewed as a rejection of them. It was a crazy and long conversation. No matter what I did nothing was smoothing things over. Honestly I don't know what to do if you're accused of saying things you didn't say or meaning things you didn't mean by your words and that's pretty much what I said. I apologized sincerely from the heart that it wasn't what I meant at all and I'm so sorry it sounded that way I just needed space to take care of myself.

Seriously guys this is really at the root of the problem with my entire FOO because I didn't ask them for anything I just space to take care of myself 8 years ago and that was enough to set off a wave of hoovers of such magnitude I found myself in the middle of a terribly abusive situation and landed here.

Anyway back to recent events. We ended that phone conversation parted as reluctant friends. There was an increase in text messages but as far as talking on the phone no.

Then a situation came up in April where sib needed me. By then we were in the middle of quarantine and sib just needed some extra support and an increase in text messages. I offered what I could by way of encouragement but I'm not sure it's what they were looking for. I'm not sure sib even knows what they're looking for because they told me flat out if I don't ask questions they don't think I'm interested. When I ask questions I get vague non-answers. So I started just checking in a couple days a week with just"how's things" sort of message and offering words of encouragement and just asking how they are without asking specific questions since specific questions were danced around and not answered. Asking open non-specific questions is not what they want but when I ask specific questions I'm treated like I'm prying.

There must be some sort of problem connecting and communicating with this person in text message because everything is misunderstood. Maybe it's misunderstood on my part too but I'm the sort of person now with good boundaries where it's easy for me to say "Hey what do you mean" and the person says what they mean and we move on but this sib isn't able to handle that because every time I ask what do you mean I get mega DARVO.

Some of the things sib says seems sarcastic like a verbal slap. I know text message loses tone so I think just asking what do you mean shouldn't be a problem. But it is and I know in my gut it's because they were called out. it wasn't my intention to call them out it was sincerely to figure out if I was taking it wrong. I've been taught all my life not to trust my gut so it's just easier at this point to ask. Obviously I was not taking it wrong but neither do they want to confront the situation and be upfront about what they mean otherwise it wouldn't become a flurry of messages.

Following the flurry of messages and back pedaling is accusations that I'm being too sensitive and the whole bunch of DARVO designed to make me feel bad and apologize to them. The distance grows greater and weeks go by with no communication unless I reach out to ask how they are except when I get back is "good".

So I've stopped reaching out. I'm tired. With all that's going on I have enough of my own stuff going on and need a little bit of grace myself.

Honestly I'm not sure what I'm looking for in writing this I just need to get it out because my brain is stuck in the loop. This place is always been my sanctuary and the people here are my tribe. There's nothing to fix. If you made it to the end here bless your heart and if you have any words of encouragement to offer I would accept it with a warm heart.
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moglow

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 02:22:02 PM »
If I may, is this the sibling who -after being asked specifically to not say anything- told your parents about your medical issues? If so, this could go back to that and a reluctance to talk so that things aren't misconstrued. I wonder if sin is building on that and trying to somehow protect themselves from a repeat performance. Kind of a quid pro quo, if they refuse to talk then it can't come up again later.

And my paranoid brain due to a lifetime of mommie dearest - does sib want things in text so they can later "This! Right here! This is what you said/didn't say to me!!"? It sounds like a sad defense mechanism on their part, being so defensive they avoid conversation entirely for fear of honesty. Is it possible parents are needling them about you and sib doesn't have the strength to just tell them NO? Not everyone can draw that line and stand behind it.

I dunno, Spring. There's nothing to do other than keep being who you are and encouraging them to do the same. I wouldn't want them to pretend and I suspect you don't either. I understand and feel that hurt with you.:hug:
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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 02:46:29 PM »
Oh my gosh Spring Butterfly. This has so many similar shades to what I've gone through with my own FOO over the past couple years, especially siblings.

The thinking loop, the confusion, the subtlety of all FOO's actions that keep you wondering "do I really have anything to be mad about?" And the hardest blow (in my story) thus far has been losing a sibling that I considered my best friend for so long, and in a very similar way to what you describe...and in a way that makes me feel like I'm the one at fault, no contest, every time it gets talked about. (Not to mention that when *I* ask for space or distance, it's a huge problem, but other FOO can force it into place Willy nilly; it's not bad when they do it).

They give you just slightly above the bare minimum so technically there is nothing for you to react to or be upset about, so they can DARVO it all away when you do call it out. But what you get back are lukewarm and empty nothings, and more distance, in exchange for the "drop everything and please give me everything" response they so badly want.

What they offer is conditional love in exchange for my unconditional support and attention. It is crazy-making. I feel your pain, and for what it's worth, I think you're doing your best in this situation and nothing you're doing strikes me as inappropriate or wrong. You're communicating as directly as you can, imho!

I too was very close with my own siblings only to get this very similar treatment you describe, and it all started when I began setting *very understandable and simple* boundaries, just like you did (and they even seemed like they mutually wanted those boundaries too - except only *they* could do the enforcing, not me).

I, too, had a health (and moving, and financial, and marital) crisis, and asked for a certain type of support, or at least I thought I was making it clear...to just listen and hold the space for me...pretty basic imho, but they had different ideas of what support from them would look like.

A quick laundry list of what their support looked like: making me feel guilty I couldn't throw parties/barbeques/firework shows for their entertainment during this time, and also guilt for not going to the holidays, smearing both my DH and I as abusive and mean people, one sib telling another sib that I'm abusive for talking about my health crisis to them (that I'm using them like "a therapist" when I was in therapy during that whole time too), making me feel guilty when I turned down offers to help me move (I didn't need the help), making it clear they were too overwhelmed by me talking about my health issues and putting up distance (or denying/minimizing/gaslighting my experience), and then the icing on the cake, blaming that distance and everything else on me....and that's not even the entire list.

I'm so sorry you're going through this realization with your own siblings Spring Butterfly. You're not alone! The loop can feel torturous. I also feel like I ought to keep contact open every once in a while, that I'm being "mean" not contacting them or reaching out anymore, and I empathize with them still so much; but then every interaction with them is either completely draining or it feels like walking on knives.

It's been over a year, almost two years, and I'm so done and just want to be happy...I wonder if siblings will ever see *my* side of things but I just can't keep putting off happiness in my own life for their sake. It's just a crabs in a barrel mentality is all it is....

I'm glad you reached out here, your story helps me feel validated and I hope I can offer the same in return. :bighug: If you were my sibling and had that medical issue, I'd ask you precisely what you needed and then give you that, even if it was space! These things should be so basically understood.... but if you don't have empathy, then it's completely foreign when someone does anything that has nothing to do with you.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 04:10:09 PM »
Thank you both so much! Yes yes yes you both nailed it 1000%

Yes sib definitely wants it in writing because constantly I'm told go back and read what I wrote and she presents that as evidence of whatever failure is being thrown in my face.

All I've ever asked is space to take care of my own self, can't run errands or have lunch because I need to go to the doctor and things like that. What an insult and rejection!

Sib is twisted in their thinking. I've listened to sib spin in paranoid accusations against other people over the years and have gently asked if they're sure the story is straight or is it possible blah blah blah. Nope nope no the story is reality, fact. Sad. Now I'm the target. Sib is persecuted and the victim. Always.

ETA  yes same sib and looking back has always held secrets to keep up appearances.

Thank you for this safe space and for the validation and understanding.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 04:15:29 PM by Spring Butterfly »
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PeanutButter

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2020, 04:25:15 PM »
Im sorry you are experiencing this.

So my thoughts as I read were could it be that sib talked to your parents about you needed space for medical when that happened a year ago and parents convince sib that you were doing to sib exactly what you 'did to them' back when? Sib believes them?

Now sib may be baiting you to justify what they been saying behind your back to 'get in with parents?'
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 04:34:16 PM by PeanutButter »
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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 04:44:49 PM »
Maybe. They're cut from the same cloth and love is conditional on me doing for them. I am rejected and not enough because they all are unending pits of need and no one can possibly ever be enough. No one except me has learned to "own"  themselves and take responsibility for their own life. Part of that may be because I was on my own for anything outside food clothing and shelter just trying to avoid physical damage in a hostile abusive environment growing up. Siblings on the other hand always had me to fall back on but I had no one and wasn't allowed to take care of myself without it costing me whatever facade of love I thought existed.

It's just the dark ugly truth and I don't often go there mentally. I'm cheerful and genuinely a silver lining sort of person. In fact some sibs hated that sunny cheerful disposition growing up. My sing sing morning hello often greeting with a growl or eyeroll.

Mentally it's a place I don't go to and is super uncomfortable but because of all that's going on I've been brought back there. I just acknowledge it externally as "unhealthy environment" when I talk to others. So this is really only the safe place I can be gut honest and pour out the ugly truth because I know you all get it.
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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 07:17:45 PM »
I’m sorry. It does sound like nothing you could do would make the relationship with your sib workable.

I am in a similar boat with my two siblings. I went NC with our parents and they were “supportive,” but our own relationship just didn’t survive it. There was never genuine caring for me with either of them. And if I’m honest, I didn’t connect to them in the healthiest way either. It wasn’t possible. At best we were trauma-bonded, and when I refused to continue in the abuse there was no longer anything left to hold us together. Once I said no to mom and dad’s triangulation, well it was either side with them or me, and I had already told at least one sister I wasn’t going to be her surrogate mother. Looking back it’s not really surprising in the least that we didn’t make it as genuine sisters.

Even with that legacy, it still hurts when I remember how they treated me. Part of me thinks they ought to know better, given how much they complained to me about our parents, but then they turned around and did the exact same things to me. Perhaps we none of us had much self-awareness. I’ve gotten caught in the loop too and there just is no making sense of it.

I do know that their way of being in relationship with me is not good for me, and that I can’t change them. So I chose to step off that crazy train as well.

Your sibling wanting everything in writing sounds super sketchy. I wouldn’t be surprised if your text communications are forwarded to parents. But even if that’s not the case, taking everything you say so it can be used to “defend” herself definitely indicates a lack of trust that seems like treatment you have not earned by being untrustworthy. Many of us have that boundary with exes or PD parents, e-mail communication only, no phone. When a relationship is at that level of guardedness, it’s impossible for it to be close IMHO, and the person who institutes such a boundary very clearly does not desire closeness. She very well may see it as her matching what you did to her, that is “rejecting” her. That’s her prerogative, though. She’s doing what works for the way she sees things. You don’t have to keep beating your head against the wall. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2020, 11:33:21 AM »
Quote
their way of being in relationship with me is not good for me
honestly sibs way of any relationship isn't healthy and it always *seemed* like it was different with us. In reality I look back and see signs it wasn't and I was here to serve the needs is all.

Quote
She’s doing what works for the way she sees things
in a way I think all of them think of me as abusive and intolerant. That's what they've said - the whole DARVO thing making it seem like I'm so very sensitive. What they really want is to snipe passive aggressive comments my way without repercussion. PA is just a way to release anger, that's what PA is and it's for cowards who don't have the guts for an honest discussion. Someone who can't just say "hey I'm hurt / angry / upset / confused about ___"

Now that I know boundaries I can do that, at the lowest level just say hey that hurts. That's what triggered this last round and when called out sib started massive texts pointing back to my texts as "proof" I had failed and they were right. For example because I just say "how are you" I haven't specifically asked about a particular situation or specific household member. I need to specify "how is [insert specific situation / person by name]?" and if I just say "hope you're having a good day" well then I haven't asked how they are and therefore it's proof I don't care at all. That's the level of of detail required so my love is accepted as intended. So if I say I have asked then there's proof I haven't asked in x number of days / weeks about [insert specific thing].

That's just not me, I don't always ask questions and I don't always specify unless it is specific like a friend having surgery. It's a specific and finite event. I put a reminder on my calendar and follow up. However, if someone has constant drama, constant issues or it's always a vague "you have no idea how much I've got going on and I'm so stressed" then I have nothing in particular to follow up on and I just let the person know I'm thinking of them. Sometimes I just haven't heard from someone in a while and I let them know I'm thinking of them. If they have something they want me to know they'll tell me.

Seriously no one in my life requires the level of detailed attention of my FOO and I had no idea nonPD people don't even expect it. Most humans are quite happy to know they mean something to someone and love to hear I had them in my thoughts. Those are my people and I need to get these few who have rejected me out of my head and focus on the many contacts I have who actually matter to me. I need to get past the rumination over the rejection. It's not constant but I hate that it comes up. Granted this is a new round of rejection and I'll work it through and hopefully quick. I need ALL my brain because I have so many really cool things going on that I'm super excited about. Focus. Focus.
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Bloomie

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2020, 11:42:38 AM »
Spring Butterfly - this is painful to have happening with your sib. Having been raised together in an atmosphere of secrets, behind the back alliances, chaotic and confusing shifting of loyalties I have come to understand with my own siblings that there is sadly, often something simmering that will eventually hurt and harm the connection between us.

There is a strange rivalry and dishonesty and complicated expectations (especially to read their minds and know what they need  :upsidedown:) inherent in the relationships that I often just cannot keep my arms around because much like with my parents nothing is really upfront and as it seems.

This kind of shift in the level of contact and the 'mood' of the relationship happens with my sibs as well and it used to confound me and causes a great deal of angst and yes, a feedback looping kind of thinking and sense of impending doom. I am learning to not be triggered into an emotional flashback with this more and more.

For me, we were not raised to trust each other or bond deeply with each other. Our relationships were/are always dominated and interpreted by my parent's. Even after they are long gone it is still hard to find true, trustworthy familial connection with my sibs despite how it may seem at times.

Thank you both so much! Yes yes yes you both nailed it 1000%

Yes sib definitely wants it in writing because constantly I'm told go back and read what I wrote and she presents that as evidence of whatever failure is being thrown in my face.

All I've ever asked is space to take care of my own self, can't run errands or have lunch because I need to go to the doctor and things like that. What an insult and rejection!

Sib is twisted in their thinking. I've listened to sib spin in paranoid accusations against other people over the years and have gently asked if they're sure the story is straight or is it possible blah blah blah. Nope nope no the story is reality, fact. Sad. Now I'm the target. Sib is persecuted and the victim. Always.

ETA  yes same sib and looking back has always held secrets to keep up appearances.

Thank you for this safe space and for the validation and understanding.

Yes, similar here. Sibs are to have full passage into my life and yet that is not reciprocal and there are many, many secrets to keep up appearances. And me taking space for my own stuff and having a separate life and circle of close friends from my FOO has certainly been seen and experienced as rejection and as an often convenient excuse for distancing due to my latest offense. Which is unspoken until then they circle back to sometime months later.

For me, all of this is manipulative and unhealthy and I can't afford the luxury of trying to understand the "whys" of it. I have accepted that our relationships were/are colored by sharing a toxic home and parents. I can only stay in a medium chill kind of place with these relationships for my own well being. I have disappointed my sibs and parents for a long time. I have found that I can live with that without too much angst these days.

Much strength and good healing to you as you process this latest. :hug:



« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 11:44:24 AM by Bloomie »
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Kat1984

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2020, 12:25:29 PM »

Sib is twisted in their thinking. I've listened to sib spin in paranoid accusations against other people over the years and have gently asked if they're sure the story is straight or is it possible blah blah blah. Nope nope no the story is reality, fact. Sad. Now I'm the target. Sib is persecuted and the victim. Always.




Ah yes!  I've listened to the paranoid thinking since we were kids.  For years I have noticed that sib always, always has an enemy.    We don't see her often, but when we do she regales us of the latest update in whatever saga is the current saga.   Sister is always the hero, and there is always a villain.    Sister is perfect and kind, and villain is unreasonable and evil and dumb and mean. 

So why am I surprised AT ALL that I am now the one in her sites?   I guess somehow I convinced myself that I could always just be a spectator and never the main course.   I thought I'd figured out how to avoid hitting her triggers (politics, any questioning or criticism of her or her choices) and we could ride out the rest of our lives in peace and even continue to have many good times together.

But I learned that she sees everything as black or white.   There must be a winner and a loser in every situation.   Not sure if she doesn't understand what compromise is, or if she just feels like compromising is for losers.    If I were to criticize her, she could not take that criticism without first totally annihilating me.  Even then she wouldn't take the criticism, but I think that totally destroying me would 'take the edge off it' for her. :stars:

She has declared war on me because I called her out on her rages.   It's a nuclear war.
I am not at war with her, but that doesn't seem to matter to her.

She has a private business and I've read the reviews on Yelp.  If someone dares to criticize her business, she destroys them in her  "reply from owner".  As my hubby says, the patron shoots with a pea-shooter and my sister comes back with a Howitzer.   Yep, that really encapsulates it.

Hope you know you are not alone, SB.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2020, 09:22:43 PM »
Thank you both.

Bloomie, me expectations you mentioned. Yes not only are they unspoken they're not humanly attainable. I like what you say about "Not trying to understand the why" and I'll have to just accept that this is one relationship I won't be able to smooth over. That's the tough part because I've handled such challenging situations at work and have always managed to bring people together but it's just not possible in this situation without sacrificing my very soul on the altar of their wishes.

Kat, Yes there's always a current saga, someone who has wronged sib. Some of the people were mutual friends and I've said I won't choose between you and this other person. Needless to say that didn't set well. I like what you say to about not being at war I don't feel angry at all just sadness at the loss of what I thought I had but never did in actuality.


Thank you both and to you all for helping me feel less alone. My heart feels so much more settled than it did when I landed here to pour this all out and I thank you for your kindness and listening and offering your experiences as well.
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· Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
· If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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moglow

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2020, 09:51:01 PM »
You're never alone, SB. Not anymore.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Sheppane

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2020, 06:28:42 AM »
hi Springbutterfly
I just want to say I could have written this myself.  I too have the same situation of conditional love in return for my expected unconditional support. So much of my functioning came,  I thought from a genuine wish to support, but really feels more from guilt and fear and obligation and the knowledge that if I do not reach out and make contact , well ...I will have to wait a long time for sib or anyone else in my FOO to contact me. And yet it is my "fault ". So FOO dont contact me, but I am somehow to blame for that!
All types of subtle ( and not so subtle ) messages get fed back to me - that I make it difficult for them, Im not available , Im too busy etc etc. I have explained that it works just fine with other folk, but in truth it is more about setting the bar too high for me , so I can always be blamed, and " not good enough".
I have pulled back out of a need to conserve my energy for me, and though it is difficult and painful I am realising how one sided the relationship is. I am still in contact, but not as frequently as I used to be. A relationship is a 2 way street.  I do still feel guilty for not reaching out, for not contacting as often as I used to ...but hey...once I contact less all that happens is I hear nothing from anyone!  Which is actually very painful to realise that all I have to do to realise how little they contact me is to stop being the one putting all the work in. And while I am the one trying to figure out the healthy way to stay in the relationship,  others dont seem to feel the same need. So the energy is all from my side.
I try to view it through the lens of what a healthy, balanced relationship would look like, where everyone's needs are equal.  And when I do that objectively I see how dreadfully unequal and unbalanced  it is , and how it is deemed my role to run after everyone,  expecting very little on return,  and yet my part is never "enough ".  I recently wrote a "personal bill of rights" and getting it all on paper really made me feel clear about how unbalanced this relationship is, and in doing that I felt less guilt, and more secure in myself to give myself permission to not engage in it in the way I had been doing.
I totally relate to the thinking loop, the confusion, the " have I really done anything wrong ?" feelings, and how exhausting that is. I also think that me owning my stuff, my life, and taking responsibility for me only is read as a rejection of sorts. Which of course is not a rejection of them by me,  it is simply my recognition of " my stuff/ your stuff ", and my need to prioritise my life. When I have needed space for me it is often met with interrogation to either over explain or defend myself, I suppose to slightly minimise or invalidate my request for space. 
Anyway, I am learning to hold onto myself but I know how painful it is to experience this. Once as I related some of my experience to a mentorand as I tried to point out all the " good stuff ", which is there too, she pointed out that by others standards they were crumbs.  It really made me sit up and think. I find if I take a birds eye view I can see the imbalance more clearly.
Stay strong and keep posting here,  sounds to me like you are doing great despite all that is going on for you!
S

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nanotech

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2020, 09:30:00 PM »
Quote
their way of being in relationship with me is not good for me
honestly sibs way of any relationship isn't healthy and it always *seemed* like it was different with us. In reality I look back and see signs it wasn't and I was here to serve the needs is all.

Quote
She’s doing what works for the way she sees things
in a way I think all of them think of me as abusive and intolerant. That's what they've said - the whole DARVO thing making it seem like I'm so very sensitive. What they really want is to snipe passive aggressive comments my way without repercussion. PA is just a way to release anger, that's what PA is and it's for cowards who don't have the guts for an honest discussion. Someone who can't just say "hey I'm hurt / angry / upset / confused about ___"

Now that I know boundaries I can do that, at the lowest level just say hey that hurts. That's what triggered this last round and when called out sib started massive texts pointing back to my texts as "proof" I had failed and they were right. For example because I just say "how are you" I haven't specifically asked about a particular situation or specific household member. I need to specify "how is [insert specific situation / person by name]?" and if I just say "hope you're having a good day" well then I haven't asked how they are and therefore it's proof I don't care at all. That's the level of of detail required so my love is accepted as intended. So if I say I have asked then there's proof I haven't asked in x number of days / weeks about [insert specific thing].

That's just not me, I don't always ask questions and I don't always specify unless it is specific like a friend having surgery. It's a specific and finite event. I put a reminder on my calendar and follow up. However, if someone has constant drama, constant issues or it's always a vague "you have no idea how much I've got going on and I'm so stressed" then I have nothing in particular to follow up on and I just let the person know I'm thinking of them. Sometimes I just haven't heard from someone in a while and I let them know I'm thinking of them. If they have something they want me to know they'll tell me.

Seriously no one in my life requires the level of detailed attention of my FOO and I had no idea nonPD people don't even expect it. Most humans are quite happy to know they mean something to someone and love to hear I had them in my thoughts. Those are my people and I need to get these few who have rejected me out of my head and focus on the many contacts I have who actually matter to me. I need to get past the rumination over the rejection. It's not constant but I hate that it comes up. Granted this is a new round of rejection and I'll work it through and hopefully quick. I need ALL my brain because I have so many really cool things going on that I'm super excited about. Focus. Focus.
Absoblinkinglutely babe!
You are right about their crazy level of scrutiny, the quest to know everything about our lives. Nit  nit nit picking  like demonic detectives.
Then they are offended if you are not specific enough in your questions?
 Do they just fail to recognise healthy interaction?  I can’t believe the hard time they have given you over  texts. What are they, royalty?
OMG the level of entitlement is astronomical.

I was naive.
I used be an open book for them ( JADING a lot) because I believed the questioning signified interest and love.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
It is spawned from their desire for control and power. Information can and will be used against us.
I’m still learning too. Learning to do without them,
Because there would be those regular intermittent rewards that would strengthen the trauma bond.
We were/ are addicted to them.
Resisting and not slipping back, just for those tasty morsels of gingerbread, is a daily effort.

Sheppane, I could have written what you write. I too have discovered the one -sideness of things with my sibs, now that I have put boundaries in place.

I see that they never miss their sibling’s voice  (mine) or feel a pang of worry for me, or fancy ‘a quick catch up’, off or online, but where mutual respect occurs.
But...
I miss their voices.
I have the pangs.
I wonder how they are doing.

But for them? Well, I no longer serve them as fixer and scapegoat, so they literally don’t wish to know me on any other basis but that unnatural one.

Yet- they still want to know everything in my life. Where I go. Who I know. That way, at least, they can still criticise me, and devalue me in front of others.
Sooooo- they are all blocked on social media.
They hate it.
No information  equals no malicious gossip and no opportunity to shame me. They adore the shaming game, and Facebook and Messenger were their weapons of choice.
Not
No
More.
 
They never would engage in any prosaic yet loving activities suggested by me ( for example , a shopping trip, or a spa day or yoga retreat).
I even offered to pay for younger sib to go the retreat. ( yes I know that makes it unequal, but she lives on very little moneyIt was when I thought I could still fix things).
She’s very very much into yoga, but hey no, she’d  ‘rather not. ‘
You start to feel like you are not a nice person.
But I’m a good person. My kids love me. I have friends and a loving husband.
Most importantly, I’ve learned to practise self love. I give myself that unconditional love that I need, that every one needs. I became my own parent, my own sibling.
 They sort of shunned  anything they didn’t initiate.  What they wanted  was to carry out their usual familiar exploitation of my nervous system, and be mostly uninterrupted by the hindrance to treat me like a human being. Hence their not wishing to engage with me on their own without the rest of the FOO.
If it we’re not for the regular intermittent rewards, I wouldn’t have stayed so long.

Mostly they bullied. All bullies love an audience. And the audience had ideally to be the rest of theFOO.
They couldn’t risk seeing me alongside people who might  afford me some respect.

Any pastimes I had or indeed have, were/are automatically viewed negatively. Even if they coincided with their interests, there was apathy or even mockery. Sometimes they took my actions personally, as if the whole point of my starting that hobby, buying that car, staying at that hotel etc, was to upset them.
Im not exaggerating. Examples provided on request!
They hated that I was not playing my role.
And of course, it was all my fault.
Nano is antisocial! Nano isn’t family- minded! ( 🤢)Nano thinks she’s above us all!  Nano is so selfish! Nano is so uncaring and harsh!
Fine.
Let the propaganda machine whirr on in the background. It eventually gets quieter and quieter- if you don’t feed it.
For the time being, sticks and stones... and all that jazz.
We are living, and enjoying looking for and finding our tribe, of healthy people! X
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 10:31:49 PM by nanotech »

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2020, 12:06:47 AM »
Sheppane, sooo much of what you wrote resonates deeply. Thank you so much for taking the time. Here's a few excerpts that stood out that I would like to keep in mind and add to my healing journal.

Quote
knowledge that if I do not reach out and make contact , well ...I will have to wait a long time for sib or anyone else in my FOO to contact me.
...
setting the bar too high for me , so I can always be blamed, and " not good enough".
...
pulled back out of a need to conserve my energy for me,
...
to figure out the healthy way to stay in the relationship,  others dont seem to feel the same need.
days turn into weeks weeks turn into months literally and if I don't reach out I don't hear a thing. but you know what is sort of a blessing because I don't have to go through the whole no contact decision. I just let the silence fall.

But what you say about the bar being set too high reminds me of some corporate jobs I worked with a intentionally set the bar high so that the employees wouldn't get the bonus. It's like setting the bar too high and ensuring your failure gets them off the hook so that they could walk away feeling wronged in their little pity party.

 nanotech, so much of what you wrote es similar. Thank you for helping me feel less alone.
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage. Plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
· If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2020, 12:49:35 PM »
Spring Butterfly sending you my support. A couple of things you mention struck a chord regarding how some in PD families need others to validate that they are great and powerful human beings, and when you need them in your life at critical moments it confirms that you agree and they are indeed on a high and mighty pedestal. Choosing to not have them at the center of your most sacred moments, or with issues you need to handle your own way might somehow be taken as a betrayal. There might also be something about not recognizing boundaries. Perhaps one way the relationship worked for them was that they always felt powerful in your eyes. Maybe they saw something that opposes their view, so respond by withdrawing. I can only guess, but I understand it is hurtful and am sorry this is happening. 

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SeaClear

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2020, 04:17:37 PM »
Hi Spring Butterfly,

I’m new here :wave: and was fortunate to come across this thread. I can relate to so much in your situation, as well as the others who posted here. For me it is my SIL and brother. It is especially hard to deal with this kind of loss in these already difficult times. I think you’re right that focus is the key, and avoiding dark roads in you mind that won’t lead anywhere.

My experience: texting bad, phone calls worse, email slightly better. Texting is a PA person’s paradise. My enabler brother uses it to bully, nudge, guilt, boss. Since my BPD SIL has the only email account in their family, I am now down to letter writing (only for practical matters). No matter the means of communication, what I say will ALWAYS be hurtful and not good enough. Took awhile to finally get that.

The idea of an impossibly high bar is very helpful! After my H went NC with them, SIL and bro would invite us to gatherings that they knew we couldn’t/wouldn’t attend. They got their desired outcome: feeling wronged and hurt. It’s all quiet on their front now, so NC on their part. I am calmer, happier but sad about the loss of my brother. Awful to say, but the pandemic is another good excuse to stay the heck away from them.

I wish you the best and thank you all for sharing! This will be a very helpful forum...

SeaClear

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2020, 08:11:44 PM »
Blueberry Pancakes, you may have hit on something there. Sib said in the meltdown that they were supposed to be there for me and acted as if I had prevented them. The fact is though they were very limited with the help offered. Like I had to fit my needs into their box but my needs didn't fit in their box. What they offered was not what I needed so I declined and said just give me a month to sort it out. That's where things went super south.

Before that any help always had to fit in their box. I don't want to get into too much identifying detail but not only was the help severely unequal to the help they've asked of me over the years it was given with attitude and limited and finite. Even then I was like "that's ok I've got this, just give me some space to take care of it" and that set off the wave of fury. For real I didn't need it to be equal and was totally ok with them not being there for me. It sounds crazy but seriously that's how it went down.

Boundaries... they have plenty as in walls, however I'm not supposed to have any and had none for the longest time. Didn't even know about them. Now I do and that's like a major insult. To claim my privacy and not share every detail of my life is a personal attack but they don't need to share a thing and it's supposed to be like we're best buds.

Boy that sure helps me put things into perspective. Ugh the whole thing is crazy making and so often I say here not to try to make sense of the crazy. There's nothing to figure out. Never gonna make sense.

"not my stuff"

SeaClear, welcome and yes phone calls are pretty much off limits. Written I can't hear tone. The bad thing is they can't hear tone and read everything I write as angry.

I'm getting used to the silence, the lack of their reaching out, the being labeled in their minds as the bad daughter and sibling. They have their version of me and I have mine and I have plenty of good people in my life who are happy to have me in their life. It's ok and I'm so over it, tired of thinking, need to move on, too much to do, life to live, poured out my heart and my tribe here has helped me heal. You all held space for me and let me heal in this safe space. Thank you!
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage. Plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
· If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2020, 09:28:50 PM »
Welcome SeaClear!  :wave: I found so much support and enlightenment in this forum and I'm sure you will, too. Like so many others' accounts here yours sounds like such a similar situation to mine with your PD family and sibling especially. Good on you to know what to do to get peace of mind!

Spring Butterfly - I'm late chiming into all this but I'm glad you're feeling better  :) But just wanted to say WHOAH to the way your FOO expects you to mind read so much! That struck me as so one-sided and a no-win situation for you. I can't even believe it. Something like that is so draaaaaaaining and crazy making. You're so right to find peace of mind and cut out the crazy. Myself and others see it for the craziness it is and I hope for so much healing, happiness, and enjoying your wonderful life without all that fr here onwards!  :yes:

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Sheppane

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Re: Sibling Relationship Crumbling
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2020, 07:09:54 AM »
Spring butterfly, you said " Im getting used to the silence, the lack of their reaching out, the being labelled as the bad daughter and sibling".
This is SO painful and I am sure many others understand this too. I certainly do !!! I am in the same place and it has been a gradual recognition, but it is painful and for me needs a lot of acceptance as I hope that maybe I have it wrong, maybe Ive misunderstood, may they will see me. That can also quickly slip into " maybe they are right" , and this is what backpedals me in, trying to get my emotional needs met from them. I also need to go very gently as I come to terms with this.

What I have learned is I dont need to get my emotional needs met from others, but the loss still hurts like hell. The other thing is that you are NOT the bad daughter and sibling,  you are being LABELLED as it. So you can choose to reject that label.  That may be their reality for lots of different dysfunctional and perhaps sad reasons,  but that does not mean it is the truth.

Thank you for starting this thread,  I identify with so much here. When you said you used to call each other at least once per wk or maybe more, that was the same with me too. Then it became almost daily texting,  which was difficult to manage and I learned BIFF and to keep messages short / not to let them run on to a conversation that drips on with no end and so much potential for misunderstanding. We are now mostly at calls only, but as I have done less of the " calling" I am noticing more silence. When I do call,  it doesn't feel received with emotional connection, but rather that I have finally done my duty, in other words, the entitlement to me. I am noticing how me and my needs are never very visible in the conversation. I can really feel that difference when I compare to calling a buddy where we just communicate with ease. I still find it difficult at times to hold onto myself in a conversation but my stuff/ your stuff helps, and knowing my internal boundaries around what I will not tolerate. This is s work in progress. 

The wanting your communications in writing sounds like a big red flag to me. Just ask yourself does anyone else request that of you ? ? I often have the sense of a scorecard being kept about me, to be brought up in future ( this has happened before) and it leaves me stunned and confused in the conversation at the time. Its like trying to avoid bullets that come so fast I cant possibly defend myself. Harder for people to recall what is said verbally.

As Kat1984 says it is about a winner and a loser. The agenda is often not about real connection,  but about their need to feel right. I relate to the " tasty morsels of gingerbread" that I go back for, trying to get my needs met.

Distancenotdefense this is so true - the "slightly above the bare minimum"!  Yes, it makes it so hard to call out and is so confusing sometimes as we are left thinking" maybe its not that bad, maybe I am imagining it ?" . When I reach out I often get coldness,  which feels like punishment, for not being enough, for not calling enough, or for whatever it is I have not done, all the unspoken expectations about how I should behave. And I could be accused of being paranoid except that I have experienced narcissistic rage where I was told all these things. At the time that happened ( a few yrs ago) all I had done was communicate a very healthy boundary about how I was not willing to be yelled at. But it provoked a huge attack on me, and full DARVO, all the gaslighting so the other person ( the one who had done the yelling and screaming at me) became the victim. That was a big lesson to me, and now that I am more familiar with the pattern,  I would leave the conversation at a much earlier point , before the character annihilation began Lol  ;)

Anyway, I hope some of that helps. I am still learning how being heard depends on the other person, something I have no control over. And how important it is for me to know when Im safe and to listen to my body when it is triggered and trying to tell me something. And strong boundaries which are about me, not them,  and keeping my part, the only part I have control over, as clean as I can. As for the pain over the losses in these relationships I guess that's something we work through slowly with ourselves,  realising that its not our fault if we have tried our best.

Stay strong 😊