I'm A Resentful Sibling Who Can't Reach My Father
I am the youngest of 5 in my family. I grew up there with my brother who is now deceased. He would have been 40, I am 34. From me to the next eldest sister is an 18 year span. I did not grow up with this sister, we did not share Saturday mornings together etc.
She has always been a distant relative to me with a family of her own who would come over for visits. She has always been overly polite, the kind of polite that is forced, and I have always been a feeling kind of person, so I have felt her resentment for me since I was a child. She would glare at me when she would come to visit, and I would get all excited and try to be a part of the conversation with her and my mother.
It was not until I was a bit older that I really concluded her dislike for me. When her daughter spent a week with me. It was a fun week that got crushed the moment she called someone and I overheard her saying that her kids were at her parents house with her sister and now she would have to bring them back home and "reprogram" them.
The years flew by each with our separate lives. She would still come over and visit, act overly happy and polite, but you could see her smile fade and the glare sneak out as she would turn her head away. She was always trying to be perfect, perfect family, perfect job, to me it always seemed like she would come over just to try to say she was better than me or my brother before he died.
It felt as if there was some odd competition going on that I did not join but was forced to be a part of regardless. It never really bothered me since we were never close, nothing to lose. This changed later on in adulthood when we lost my brother and my mom. It makes you want to be closer to the family that you do still have.
So I tried for years to at least try to have some sort of relationship. It was still strained, but felt like she was finally trying. Eventually our father started becoming unable to live on his own, and the decision for her and her husband to move in was made...without me might I add. She invited me at the last minute to this meeting and made sure it was at a time when I could not come.
Anyhow within months she had remodeled my dad's home, tossed all his furniture out, hid his decor in storage, flipped his world upside down. She now controls who can see him and when, and she goes on and on about how much she does and how much of a saint she is for taking care of him. But the thing is, she won't let anyone else in.
I finally lost it on her, after she un-invited me to Christmas there, calling to let me know that they were going to have a huge Christmas dinner for 3 families (yes that is how she put it) and it would be better for us to come another time. She wanted me to then schedule a time slot with her. I was floored.
I finally confronted her about everything, and she started the blame game, blaming me ,even blaming my father, etc. When she started blaming my father, I realized this was about much more than the here and now. This is about her feeling in control once again like how she felt before my brother and I were born. I just don't know what to do about it because she is someone who does things and it does not dawn on her why for years, if ever. She cannot see what she is doing.
Meanwhile she is hoarding my father, keeping him from everyone unless they come on her terms. It is still his house but the last time I spoke to him he had the air of defeat and despair. Like he has no say in anything. He calls her the boss now, and just sighs all the time and won't even give his imput on things anymore.
It tears me up inside every time I am able to breach the castle walls to see him. I feel helpless.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. The situation you describe is clearly painful and very frustrating. I know how bad it is to feel helpless, and a victim to the controlling behavior of another person. Especially when that person is keeping you from your own father.
The approach I will take with you here is that you are not a victim, and you're not helpless. Otherwise, I would have nothing to offer. I strongly encourage you to make up your mind to accomplish the following:
1) Get in touch with your inner strength and the power of your healthy anger.
2) Decide exactly what you want in this situation, and set your intention to accomplish that. It has to be an outcome that is good for everyone. Write this out, and keep working on it until you feel you have a vision of what you want that meets all of your needs. Don't worry about how to do it, just focus on what you want.
3) Take the steps I recommend below in an effort to reach these goals.
First I recommend that you learn about healthy anger, as described on this two page:
Healthy Anger And Your Health
Hopefully, this will help you to find your inner strength and resolve to assert yourself. There is a gift in this for you, and that gift just might be for you to connect with you inner power and focus.
You are strong, worthy and capable of creating the kind of relationships you want in your life. Believe in yourself.
My very best to you,