Is sisterhood above betrayal??
November 30, 2010 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Should I try to have a relationship with my only sister although she stole money from me? Some of my friends insist that regardless of what she did to me, she is my sister, my blood, and I must continue having a relationship with her.

Frankly, I feel like my sister died a long time ago and I do not know or want to know the person she has become. As I explain in my blog, with a sister like mine I do not need enemies.

However, Xmas season is here and I know that if I don't do something now, the opportunity would pass for good. Is blood more important than actions and should I disregard her behavior because she is my sister?
posted by dupedyestafada to Human Relations (42 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: this is a combination of a question you've already asked before and a blog-promotion question. It's not passing the smell test and needs to go. If you ask another question about this topic please make sure you're staying within the guidelines. Thanks. -- jessamyn

 
You're not obligated to have a relationship with anyone.

Unless you're the parent of a minor child with whom the courts have obligated you to have a financial relationship.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:13 PM on November 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


My favorite response to these sort of problems is "Family everybody has one."
posted by pianomover at 2:16 PM on November 30, 2010


You keep a lengthy blog about her relationship with you and the various ways in which she has betrayed you. You are already continuing to have a relationship with her, in that sense. But in another sense you've also already decided you're not interested in who she is, more in who she was. Is it even possible that you would be able to approach her without expectations and with a willingness to let her tell you who she is?

I'm not going to say I don't understand why you're even asking, but I'm not sure this specifically is the question that you're really stuck on.
posted by liketitanic at 2:17 PM on November 30, 2010


Some of my friends insist that regardless of what she did to me, she is my sister, my blood, and I must continue having a relationship with her.

They are mistaken. There are several family members I do not have contact with due to their past behavior and frankly my life is the better for it. The lack of emotional and mental stress is fantastic.

Do what you want to do, but don't feel at though you have to do anything or that you must have a relationship with anyone who has treated you badly. Life is too short for that shit.
posted by nomadicink at 2:18 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Some of my friends insist that regardless of what she did to me, she is my sister, my blood, and I must continue having a relationship with her.

Not only should you not have a relationship with that sister, I question whether continuing a relationship with these friends is necessarily wise.

You have a genetic relationship with your sister. As such, the extent of what you might possibly owe to her "blood" would be stuff related to that "blood"--if you are tested for a certain genetic condition and find out you have it, it would be appropriate of you to inform her of that so that she could be tested for the same thing.

The fact that you and she are genetically related does not oblige you to have any social relationship with her. She already broke the seal on the mutual bond of sibling obligation by stealing from you, anyway.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:18 PM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


On the other hand, you keep a blog about your non-relationship with your sister? Let that go.

Perhaps your friends are inspired to their inappropriate suggestion by your continued emotional investment in the whole saga?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:20 PM on November 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


"Relationship" is a pretty loose and imaginative term. We have relationships on some level with every single person we interact with. You already are in a relationship with your sister: you hate her and have let that define you through blogging and pondering. That's a very strong way to relate to another person!

If you can simply be in a room with her then accept her and maybe even try to work on forgiving her, but you don't have to have any dealings or commitments with her that extend beyond having a meal. If you can't stand the sight of her then you needn't make yourself suffer.

But disabuse yourself of the notion that you're not in a relationship with her, or at least the idea of her. The first step would be to free yourself from that internal relationship of ill feelings. The external relationship is secondary.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on November 30, 2010


Eh. I cut my dad off for using my social security number to set up various utility accounts, which I only discovered when he defaulted on them and they tracked me down for payment. I discussed it with him at the time and he promised to deal with it and I gave him the opportunity to make good on his promise, and when he didn't, that was the end of that for me. He was not really a parent to me in any real sense and I do not feel bad about it at all.

The only mistake I made there was not immediately informing my sister, who could have been at risk for the exact same thing--as it happens she already had fraud alerts placed on her credit reports for something totally unrelated, but still, she would have appreciated knowing immediately, and I regret that I was too absorbed in my own rage and feelings of betrayal not to think about protecting her as well. I hope that other members of your family whose personal information might be available to your sister are informed about her actions so they can take precautions, whatever relationship they may choose to pursue with her.

It would have been nice to have a good dad but I'm not sorry that I am estranged from a bad dad, and if I were you (having a bit of familiarity with your story from previous posts), I would feel just fine about being estranged from a bad sister, and wistful about not having had a good one. But them's the breaks sometimes.
posted by padraigin at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of my friends insist that regardless of what she did to me, she is my sister, my blood, and I must continue having a relationship with her.

Your friends are clearly not going through what you have to. This Christmas, give yourself the gift of letting her out of your life, and you'll fulfill your opportunity to be good.
posted by griphus at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


i cut my brother out of my life a long time ago. i have never once regretted that choice. i have regretted how long it took me and that i gave him one last chance to fuck me over before i finally said enough.

there's a lot of reasons to rekindle with family and a lot of people like to bring up death bed situations - like, won't you feel so sad if you go the rest of your life with this bad blood between you? and i think a lot of that advice is good and right and useful to people. i also pretty much think those people are either more forgiving or have less shitty relatives than me.

do you have any indication at all that she's changed? has she tried to rekindle a relationship with you (and if she has - has she done it without needing something from you)? this part: "I know that if I don't do something now, the opportunity would pass for good." makes me think the answers to these questions are no.
posted by nadawi at 2:23 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


To do good, rather.
posted by griphus at 2:23 PM on November 30, 2010


Dude, you started a blog who's title and soul purpose is to talk about what your sister did to you. You started it two years ago and you think the bridge is going to be burned this Christmas?

This isn't even a question. Either it's a plea for reassurance about a path you long ago committed yourself to and may now regret, or it's a stunt post.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:24 PM on November 30, 2010 [39 favorites]


You have made your decision. You registered the domain name sisterbetrayal.com. This is an incredible amount of energy to expend on someone you've already written off.

You need to learn to move on, either by forgiving her or by letting her go. But she will keep haunting you as long as you let her.
posted by thejoshu at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having read your blog (which I assume was about 60% of your motivation for posting this to begin with) I recommend that you have no contact with your sister. You are not ready.

The future will be what it will be, people often reunite after many years of bad blood. When your friends pressure you to mend things, tell them you are healing and you will deal with it at your own pace.
posted by hermitosis at 2:36 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let the blog go. My older brother, firstborn, good son, showed his true colors when my mom was having a huge health crisis this summer. He said stuff like 'you're all dead to me now' and other craziness, stuff he'd obviously been saving up for a long time. We have nothing in common, so no great loss. But maintaining a blog? That's a lot of bad energy there.
posted by fixedgear at 2:40 PM on November 30, 2010


I would agree with others that it is worth examining your motivations in maintaining your blog--your profile indicates it is meant to reach out to others in a similar situation, but I'm not sure that's what it's for in practice.

That's not precisely the question you're asking, but as others have noticed, your blog is the current relationship you've got with your sister, in black and white. So if you are really wondering whether or not to pursue a relationship with her, that has to be part of what you examine when you make your decision.

For me, estrangement means no contact, and no interest. Absence of relationship, not twisting the knife and constantly poring over the situation in minute detail.
posted by padraigin at 2:42 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I feel like my sister died a long time ago and I do not know or want to know the person she has become.

That's reason enough. If you don't want to know her, don't. Don't make a big gesture of bridge-burning, just make a resolution not to pick up when she calls or answer when she writes.

If your friends have contrary opinions about what you should do, then politely inform them that when they are in your situation they are more than welcome to handle it as they see fit.

Your blog isn't helping you and it really wouldn't be a terrible idea to delete it.

Talk to a therapist.

Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:44 PM on November 30, 2010


But she will keep haunting you as long as you let her.

This is exactly what I thought after I read your blog after your first AskMe question.

It's hard to let go of the hurt when someone we trust betrays us. The thing is, the only person who can let go of that hurt is you. You have a choice here: continue these destructive feelings of hurt that, at this stage of the game, you are inflicting upon yourself or let it go.

Maybe right now, it doesn't feel right to let it go. It feels like maybe you're letting your sister off the hook, that you're letting her win in some way that you cannot define. The truth is the only person who is going to lose, on the path you are on now, is you.

On one side of my family there's 13 brothers and sisters, all over the age of 70. Some of them have been nursing anger over slights and betrayals by this sibling or that one for fricking *decades.* It's all they talk about and as their niece it's just as tiresome as it sounds. Ask yourself where you want to be in 10, 20, 30 years: the elder relative who is powering forward on sheer hatred and spite? No? Then let it go.
posted by jamaro at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2010


No. You do not have to have a relationship with her.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2010


I guess I need to explain that I saw my sister and she looked so bad that I felt sorry for her. This made me wondered if in spite of everything she has done wrong, there is still something good left in her. Then, again, when I reflect on her behavior, I feel she just turns the charm on when she wants and then acts as badly as before, although she told me that the affection for each other will always be there...

So the jury is still out and the question I asked stands.
posted by dupedyestafada at 2:47 PM on November 30, 2010


I know it's tempting to say "But she's my sister!" However, think of this way: Why wasn't she saying the same thing to herself when she stole money from you? Blood means absolutely nothing; it certainly meant nothing to her. Abandon ship; I doubt you'll regret it. Life is too short to waste time on bad people, regardless of DNA.
posted by lovableiago at 2:48 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Then, again, when I reflect on her behavior, I feel she just turns the charm on when she wants and then acts as badly as before, although she told me that the affection for each other will always be there...

Classic sociopath behavior. She will not change.
posted by lovableiago at 2:49 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy." -- Nelson Mandela

Let it go, the only person you're hurting is yourself.
posted by platinum at 2:49 PM on November 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


> This made me wondered if in spite of everything she has done wrong, there is still something good left in her. Then, again, when I reflect on her behavior, I feel she just turns the charm on when she wants and then acts as badly as before, although she told me that the affection for each other will always be there...

Well, we're not talking about redeeming Darth Vader here or something. Of course there's good in her. She just doesn't control her decisions very well, apparently. So if you're seeing her, what else is there? Is there an expection for you to force some kind of affectionate sisterly vibe towards here? Is this what you mean by "relationship"? If, the answer would be of course not. Be cordial, treat her as you would wish to be treated, and be circumspect.

But you are asking a very vague question about feelings, and that ultimately is something you have to look at in yourself and be true to. No one here can give you the right answer.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:52 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


...she looked so bad that I felt sorry for her...

Pity is not a basis for a functional relationship. Ever.
posted by griphus at 2:53 PM on November 30, 2010


The blog is weird. Like "see a therapist" weird.
posted by Crotalus at 2:54 PM on November 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


Blood is not thicker than water, IMO. Lovableiago hit it on the head exactly.

In fact, I believe blood has a greater capacity to poison.

So if you feel that it is not in your best interest to maintain a relationship with a family member you do not trust, don't let her in.

Sometimes we have to be firm with ourselves and our relatives, and it's hard and horrible, but in the end we mustn't get down in the hole too, so to speak.

If it were me, I would keep my distance, and let her know why.
posted by patronuscharms at 2:54 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of my friends insist that regardless of what she did to me, she is my sister, my blood, and I must continue having a relationship with her.

I've found that people who hold that sort of attitude generally have pretty normal or healthy family relationships, and can't understand the inverse of them.

I started writing a lengthy response about my personal experience with this sort of thing, but I've deleted it and decided to write only this - this is your choice. Plenty of people won't understand it, and you may well question your own motivations for it later on; but misery breeds misery, and family bonds are only as permanent as you'd like to make them.

Good luck with this.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:55 PM on November 30, 2010


You're not obligated to have a relationship with anyone.

Unless you're the parent of a minor child with whom the courts have obligated you to have a financial relationship.


It seems pretty useless to say that you have no obligation to have a relationship with anyone. If a parent really walked out on minor children and had no further contact except support checks, it would actually be a terrible betrayal of a moral obligation.

And if my sister, to whom I'm very close, told me tomorrow that she was never going to speak to me again because, I don't know, I improperly watered her hydrangeas, it would be a betrayal of an obligation, too. She'd be hurting me terribly -- a hurt based on our past history as mutually loving, giving sisters -- for no good reason.

So it depends how bad it was, and how good your relationship has otherwise been, and "stealing" isn't enough information. I'm not going to read a whole blog about it, though, so maybe you could give more information here.
posted by palliser at 2:56 PM on November 30, 2010


My above comment was made in good faith that this is a real question and not a stunt post to gain attention for your blog.

Regardless, therapy for you, and therapy for your sister. ASAP.
posted by patronuscharms at 2:56 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it depends how bad it was, and how good your relationship has otherwise been, and "stealing" isn't enough information.

It's enough information for me.

But then again, I wouldn't blog about it for years. Or be all enmeshed in the drama. I would just not have a relationship with the sibling in question unless they needed specific help (blood donations or something) based on our genetic connection.

OP, you seem to be really invested in this whole drama. Again, I suggest that that is why your friends are invested in this whole drama. You could pull the drama plug any time you wanted, you know.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:11 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I feel like my sister died a long time ago and I do not know or want to know the person she has become.

Then don't. One of the best things about being an adult is that no one gets to tell you what to do (illegal acts excepted). If your sister is dead to you, then so be it. Forget about it and move on. Live your life. Be happy.

Sorry that your sister is a bitch. That sucks.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:17 PM on November 30, 2010


I liked your blog. It's probably not how I'd work out this issue, but you have to do what you have to do.

That said, you need to work out your anger with her one way or the other - for yourself. If keeping the blog does that for you, then great! Just make sure you are doing it for that reason alone, because your happiness is the only reason that matters right now.

In your case, your sister not only stole from you and lied about, but she was jeopardizing your mother's care. I might forgive her - some day. But there is no way I would have any sort of relationship with her, even after forgiveness, until she had repaid at least a healthy chuck of what she stole, and until she'd very honestly repented *after* doing so.

She looks like crap? That's karma right there. You can genuinely feel bad for her, pity her, rue her horrible decision-making, her lack of honesty and a lot more . . . all without having to have a relationship. Too much is made of "blood," and there's a reason why the bloodiest and most savage wars are often those fought by brother against brother.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:22 PM on November 30, 2010


If you like having stuff stolen then by all means have a "relationship" with your kin. If not then treat her as you would any thief.
posted by patnok at 3:24 PM on November 30, 2010


I'm not telling you what to do, but I will tell you what I did.

My sister stole money from me. I still have a relationship with my sister. She is a 'bit' of a fuckup. She has made a lot of mistakes. But I still believe that she is not a bad person, she acted the way she did because she was desperate. She has qualities, but just hasn't really become the adult she should be.

People make mistakes. Some make more than others. Some learn, some don't. I let go of the anger over the stolen money long ago. Being angry about it won't bring it back, nor will it change anything. I don't put myself in situations where this could happen again.

I think you would do well to let it go. Whether or not you choose to associate with your sister is up to you, but hanging on to the anger and resentment is not healthy.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:24 PM on November 30, 2010


Sidhedevil is right. Pull the drama plug. Delete the blog, don't hang out with your sister, stop talking about her to your friends, stop posting askme questions about this. If you need to talk more about the whole ordeal, try therapy. Stop letting your sister's actions define you. Move on.

Maybe down the road you can have some sort of relationship with her, but it definitely shouldn't be the sort that involves obsessive blogging and askme questions tagged "revenge."
posted by beandip at 3:26 PM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


You know, based on a quick Google search of your domain name, it seems you ask these same sort of questions at a lot of different sites and always link to your blog, which brings into question the sincerity of this post.

This is not what AskMe is for.
posted by jamaro at 3:52 PM on November 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


I saw my sister and she looked so bad that I felt sorry for her

People who make shitty choices often end up with shitty lives. Film at 11.

If you work hard to maintain a relationship with somebody who makes consistently shitty choices in order to keep yourself available for them to fall back on when things go wrong, are you helping them understand that their shitty choices have shitty consequences? No, you're not.

Until your sister works out for herself that a life of shitty choices is a shitty life, I expect you will continue to have reasons to feel sorry for her. But there is no shame at all in having been pushed too far; you don't need to deal with her shit if you no longer feel moved to do so.
posted by flabdablet at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2010


> You know, based on a quick Google search of your domain name, it seems you ask these same sort of questions at a lot of different sites and always link to your blog, which brings into question the sincerity of this post.

Yeah, that's a bit sketchy. Your blog was posted in your question but the moderators deleted that. It seems you're trying to cast more of a net for eyeballs to your blog, which is much more than just a journal of your troubles with your sister. Since you asked this same question last month, I also question your sincerity here. That's not to say you don't have real problems with your sister, but maybe more you're just fishing for an audience here. After all, the only answer out of many good answers that you marked as "best" was the one that opened with "I liked your blog".

If you do have a real question/problem here it won't be fixed by broadcasting it to the internet like this. I personally feel that you're abusing the good faith of the users on AskMe.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:34 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Without reading your blog because if it said anything important and relevant you would or should have said it here...

1. Your friends are idiots. You don't HAVE to do anything. By the same token, the question is misguided. You should have a relationship with her if you want to, i.e., if it's important to you. There's no universal answer for whether siblings should continue to have ongoing relationships.

2. Your idea that if Christmas passes nothing can change ever is misguided. There's always time to change your relationship, and there are always opportunities if you choose to create them or avail yourself of them.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:44 PM on November 30, 2010


So the jury is still out

There's no jury.

I mean, yeah, yeah, it's a metaphor, I get that, but the thing is that there is no jury. Nobody's keeping score (except you, apparently).

Let. It. Go.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:05 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You want attention, not an answer to your question. Allow me to pay attention to you:

1. You keep a blog about your sister's betrayal. You're invested in past events between the two of you as a form of identity; you're a victim, poor you, she's so terrible, look at what a saint you are for even considering a continued relationship!

2. You keep a blog about your sister's betrayal. That right there is a relationship. You're obsessed with the past.

3. You keep a blog about your sister's betrayal! It's a public forum in which you air your dirty laundry. I'd like to point out that, thief or not, it's possible that she doesn't care to continue a relationship with you, either.

She stole from you. She's abusive. She sounds like a bitch. So what! Get over it. Move on. You both need to change.
posted by goblinbox at 5:29 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


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