I may have eluded to the fact that my sister was the first person I confided in when F and I decided to be polyamorous. Her reaction was horrible. She yelled, screamed, accused, and generally berated me for a week. What I got from that was that she doesn’t think very much of me. She thinks I’m a bad person. She thinks I treat her badly, that I’m a bully, that I judge her. According to her, this all started one night when we were building a puzzle in my kitchen and I tried to move the puzzle to complete the edge. Apparently it was a metaphor for my dealings with everyone in my life. According to her, I don’t care about the hard work of other people and I just push my way through them, not caring who I hurt in the process. I certainly don’t think that’s the way I operate. Here’s the thing. She got mad about that at least four months before she blew up at me. She was living, for free, in my basement, while I paid for babysitters to go to work, and she undermined my babysitter daily. It was pretty awful. I should have talked to her about what she was doing, but I was a little busy starting a new job and living my life while she took advantage of my generosity.
I deleted all the text conversations we had, because I couldn’t handle the awfulness. I didn’t want to reread a long argument between her and I.
At Easter, my sister was being wicked awesome with my kids. They were making vinegar and baking soda volcanoes, and someone got the idea of trying to explode a bottle in the back yard. She headed out to the backyard to mix things up, put on the cap, and ran away. It became pressurized and didn’t explode. She snuck up on the bottle and tried to get it to explode, opened the lid and squeezed out the liquid. I videoed it and it was hilarious. It was so fun and awesome. The kids loved it, everyone was laughing, it was great family time. I said I thought it was awesome and I was going to post it her Facebook wall, and she said “Then I’ll delete it.” I posted the video to my Facebook and tagged her in it. I legitimately didn’t understand that she didn’t want it posted. I thought she was joking with me. I thought it was an awesome family moment. She felt otherwise. Of course, instead of saying something, at dessert, she decided scream at me about how she’d been trying to remove the tag on Facebook for hours. I just said “Oh, why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want it posted, I can take it down right now.” She yelled that she had told me. There was a back and forth that involved me saying that I have enough people in my life not actually saying what they need that I didn’t need her poor communication. She told me that she “knows the only reason I posted that video is so that my friends and I could make fun of her.” She said that I had intentionally not posted pictures of her at my kids’ birthdays and Christmas and then chose to post something to embarrass her. At that point I left the room. I came back and said that she needs to get over herself, she’s not that important, my friends and I don’t talk about her, good or bad. I told her that I hadn’t posted pictures of her because I either didn’t have them or the ones I had weren’t pictures she’d want me to post.
I had had a conversation with my mom about my will a few days before, and she suggested that I change the guardian of my children from my brother-in-law to my sister in the event of my death. I said I wasn’t comfortable with my sister having the kids because her lifestyle isn’t conducive to having four kids. My mom said that she would rise to the occasion in the event that it happened. She was concerned that my brother-in-law is as passive aggressive as F. Well, this was an example of my sister being even as passive aggressive. I told my mom, after this exchange, that this was why my brother-in-law was preferable. She just said “Well, don’t die.” I love my mom. It must be so hard for her to see her kids doing this.
And then in the last 24 hours it got worse.
My daughter’s 5th birthday party was on Sunday. I took pictures, and posted one to Instagram of my sister watching present opening. Then this happened:
This was between us on Instagram. I decided that I didn’t need the abuse, deleted her off my social media. It’s my space. I don’t let people treat me badly in my space. She took screen shots and put it in a Viber thread that contains my mom and my step-dad. This is where it continues.
I want to respond, but nothing good can come of it. She’s passive aggressive, mean, and unaccountable for her actions. She blames me for things that aren’t my fault. But the things I would say if I thought responding would be reasonable are:
- I never intentionally cut you out of pictures or didn’t post any. You didn’t come to Christmas, and those pictures that I did have of you at other times are the types you wouldn’t want posted. So I didn’t post them.
- I didn’t post that video to show a failure or embarrass you, I thought it was a great example of you being an awesome and fun auntie and of us having some good family time together. It was so nice to have that laugh 24 hours after I asked F for a separation.
- I’ve never tried to control you or anyone else. I’m glad you feel emotionally stable. I liked you when you showed a small measure of compassion and care for your family and your friends. I enjoyed being with you. Fuck, I let you live for free in my basement for over a year with you hardly ever contributing. Towards the end, I was paying a babysitter to take care of my kids while you slept in the basement, woke up, undermined said babysitter and left.
- You are terribly judgmental – it comes out in your reaction to my confiding in you about polyamory, in the way you talk about my parenting, how you criticize my 7-year-old when you think she needs a bath, or when she behaves like a 7-year-old does and wants a friend to herself and you call her a bully and refuse to spend any more quality time with her. It comes out in the negative things you say about natives, homeless people, professional people, and anyone who doesn’t believe in naturopathy and homeopathy. It comes out when you criticise me for trusting science and not believing in your unproven, scientifically implausible, often times completely discounted natural medicine. It comes out in the way you talk about your “friends”, their clothing, their choices, the things they say.
- I didn’t decide “to set my husband up with other women”. I am polyamorous. I discussed things with him and we decided together. Much like you, his version of history frequently changes, but polyamory is so much different from what you are talking about. It’s really too bad you can’t understand.
- When you say racist things about Muslims and aboriginals, when you justify slavery in America, when you spout pro-Trump rhetoric, or right-wing conservative propaganda, in front of my kids and in my house, I will always respond. Me not agreeing with a belief you have is not me attacking you. It’s me not agreeing with a belief you have. I can love you but still think you are wrong. It’s not gaslighting. It’s not criticism. It’s not abuse. It’s not even an attack. It’s me disagreeing with your opinion.
- My attitude to you changed when you yelled at me, criticized me, called me a whore, and blamed me for things that I never did. You spent an entire week telling me everything you have every perceived as a slight. Because I told you I was polyamorous.
- I have never asked you if I can post every single picture. I did ask you when I took them and you lived with me. But I can’t win on this. If I don’t post a picture, you accuse me of intentionally cropping you out, if I do post a picture, it’s not good enough.
- I am not hurtful and mean spirited. I never have been and I never will be. Have I said things in anger that I shouldn’t have? Definitely. Do I wish I hadn’t? Sure. But I have never intentionally hurt anyone. I’m sorry if you feel I have.
- I’ve never fought you on your feelings. You want me to delete something I post of you? Say so. Don’t accuse me of doing things I haven’t done, and expect me to accept your abuse. I never said I didn’t care about how you feel about a picture you don’t like. You just had to ask me to take it down. Nothing else needed to be said. I thought it was a good pic.
- You keep saying that I “intentionally cut you out of pictures”; “posted a failure video to make fun of you”; “post a picture you don’t like” to hurt you. I literally don’t think about you enough to do any of those things. First, I’m just not that intentional, and would never do something to hurt someone, and second, you just aren’t that big of a concern in my life. You aren’t that important that I, or my group of friends, spend any amount of time talking about you and how to do things to you. It’s very self-centered of you to think that we would. So when I say “get over yourself”, that’s what I mean.
- I haven’t approached you since last summer. At all. Harshly or otherwise. I most certainly haven’t been treating you badly your whole life. If you think I have and you are blaming me for some of these things, you should probably reevaluate some of your perspectives. But if you want to scapegoat me to escape responsibility, go ahead.
- You have never tried to fix anything. You have definitely not tried “everything”. You have never come to me about anything. You have never communicated with me. I guess if you feel that insulting, criticizing, and generally abusing me is communication, you have. But I don’t know on what planet you think the way you talk to me would ever be effective in either getting me to have a basic understanding of the message you really want to send or getting me to change some perceived bad behaviour.
- I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. I said things in anger, and I shouldn’t have engaged you. But it’s not fucking intentional and I certainly haven’t done the things you say I have.
- Quit making excuses about your language being too aggressive. You insult, criticise, and accuse. That’s not communication. That’s being an asshole. I don’t care who you work with. It’s not OK. .
- I want to have a sisterly relationship with you. I always have. Those 4 short years where we got along were great. But somewhere along the way, communication broke down and I just can’t make the sacrifice to my self-esteem to bend over and do what you seem to think I need to do to make things right. I love you, but I can’t do this right now. I can’t take your abuse, criticism, accusations, or negative attitude. I need people who love me and support me around me. People who will actually communicate their needs and desires directly. People who will not make arbitrary rules and then get mad at me when I don’t know them and don’t follow them. I can’t. I can’t do this with you.
- I hope people out there who say they are my friends aren’t actually scared to talk to me. But if they are, they aren’t my friends. I had several people comment on what a colossal passive aggressive bitch you are, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?
- I can’t do this to mom. She is my rock. She is the person who accepts me without fail, and I won’t hurt her. Please don’t do this to her. But if you have to, don’t include me.
There’s probably more. But honestly, I’m just hurt. And tired. I can’t deal with attacks on two fronts. Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. But I’m not the only one who has, I’m just the only one who acknowledges it. I need to take care of myself and my kids. My sister is going to just have to continue throwing attacks that don’t get a response, because I need my energy to negotiate with F and work out a separation and be there for my kids. While my sister doesn’t understand this, my boyfriends, friends, and other family do. For them, I’m eternally grateful.