For whatever reason, for years, I kept trying to be adopted so to speak by any family but my own. My counselor & I are agreed that part of the reason that the house purging goes in fits & starts is that I’m not just purging the stuff, but grieving the family — the family I’ve never had.
Since my traumatic event is losing my mother at 3, sisters or quasi-sisters were an obvious substitute.
The quasi-sister closest in age and distance to me was the abuser’s daughter, and it wasn’t until years later that I realized the abuser had done with her daughter what she’d also done to me. That is compare me over and over again, with her daughter, who was apparently my superior in every way. Her daughter told me something that made me see that the woman had pitted us against each other, so we couldn’t find mutual comfort, while calling us “sisters” or saying we were like sisters.
I have a half-sister, who wasn’t raised with me. She’s older and deals with her inferiority complex by an attitude of assumed superiority, something endemic in my family (the attitude of superiority in or about whatever they’re good at). She’s passive-aggressive. She says things that are double-edged, that is they could be very loving, but the tone and delivery says otherwise. She also has no interest in talking to you if she isn’t controlling the situation. I guess it’s too dangerous? The fastest way to get this woman off the phone is to talk about something she can’t play one-upmanship with you about. It makes it very tedious to deal with her. There’s no relationship or connection possible there, as it’s just performance art. I can be an audience and applaud, I can be a victim (so she can be superior) or I can opt out, which is what I’ve done.
I’ve also got an in-law, close in age to my half sister. She has her own tragic tale, but part of it is that she lived on the street for a while and survived by being absolutely fearless (apparently). When she’s mad at you or in your direction this manifests itself. She’s an emotional steam-roller, there’s no room for you, your opinions, or your feelings. I’ve been flattened by her three times, three times more than I should have. Abuse starts with the attitude that there’s no room for anyone else’s opinion or feelings, that whatever they’ve done is completely at fault. All traits which are manifested by this woman when she’s being an emotional steamroller. I don’t need to be abused, been there, done that.
Then there’s the women friends who over the years have told me I was their “sister.” Here’s two examples: One of them told someone I was disgusting in front of me, but expected me when we connected on FB to be buddies and walk down memory lane (Hello??? Like talking into a dead phone isn’t it?) Another said I was an adopted member of her family, had a problem with her kid, I stayed up all night trying to figure a solution to the problem, when I (finally) reached her the next day she said, “Oh yeah, we fixed that hours ago. Why were you worried?” So much for being a part of the family! 😀
I decided I just wanted too much. I wanted something like a “real” family and didn’t have one. It set it me up over and over to be hurt, and no one was worth that. I wrote them all out of my life, the abuser’s daughter disappeared. She maybe dead or not — I don’t know.
But there’s my SIL from my marriage. She and I are sisters. Various & sundry life things are happening these days, both to her immediate family and to us. There’s a commitment to try and help each other, to listen and be supportive. It’s completely unique in my life and I treasure it. I got off the phone last night and looked at my husband and said, “I’ve got a sister!” and he sort of agreed, puzzled. I’ve had one for the all the years we’ve been married. Huh?
I was scared of my husband’s family for years. (There are a lot more of them than there are in my family!) For obvious reasons, I didn’t want more relatives to deal with, the ones I had were bad enough.
But life gives you blessings in ways you never see coming. Thanks sis!