My sister and her asshattery reared their ugly heads a couple weeks ago. It hurt my heart and broke my spirit a little to read the things she said about me. But some good came from it. I had been undecided about what I was going to do about the giant rift that has been floating around on the periphery of my consciousness for the last year and half. I didn’t know if reconciliation was something I wanted or if I would have to cut her out of my life. Her tirade helped me make that decision. Here’s what happened in all its ugliness:
Her: “Can you put my mail on a shelf in the garage please? Thank you.”
Me: “I think I threw it in a box to go to F’s since you spend so much time with him. Perhaps you could change your address and forward your mail so I don’t have to be responsible for it anymore?”
Her: “I spend so much time with him so I can see the children, he doesn’t spend his time hurling unnecessary insults at me and trying to degrade me every chance he gets and I appreciate that about him. Can’t say the same about your behaviour. Plus, in the event I have a problem with something he does he doesn’t verbally assault me over how I feel, it’s nice. If you could apologize for all the insults you’ve thrown in my direction, I’m sure I would be willing to see you too. But alas you will not and that’s your choice.
I have been meaning to change my address I just haven’t got around to it yet.”
Me: “OK. I’m sorry you feel that way, but the way I see it, you and I participated in an argument where we both said some hurtful things. If you want to use your big girl words and talk like a reasonable person, I will happily listen to your perspective and apologize for those things I said or did as appropriate. I expect the same from you. Believe me, you owe me many an apology too.
By choosing my abusive ex-husband and his manipulative girlfriend over working to heal your relationship with your sister, you have repeated history a la Auntie C.
You chose them. I’m not chasing you. You want to mend fences, it’s up to you to make the move.”
Her: “All you’re doing is projecting your qualities and attributes onto 3 other people and playing the victim. Take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone else.
What I said was that you were making a mistake and I was right. I think that an ill conceived plan of adding extra people to your marriage was a poor idea, and I was right. I honestly think the only thing that hurts you is that you were wrong. I didn’t do anything except for voice, my correct, spot on, opinion.
I ask you to not post a picture of me and you do anyways. I ask no video and you do it anyways. I’ve had an entire lifetime of being bullied by you and kept down any chance you get. I’ve been in an abusive relationship and so I have first hand experience in being able to spot red flags, not that you would ever give me credit for any of my education or life experience because that would mean I may know something you don’t and then you would have to admit you’re wrong about something, which experience with you suggests you’re incapable of.
You have gone out of your way to call me racist (unsubstantiated), doesn’t do self-work (unsubstantiated), systematically oppressive (unsubstantiated and your babysitter never said that) and now you’ve compared me to Auntie C whom Auntie E trained you to hate from the time you were born.
You chased me away by disrespecting me, insulting me, being rude to me, doing things I specifically asked you not to and then when I told you how I felt you attacked me for how I felt.
I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, however, to date you still can’t tell me what I did. So please, by all means tell me what I did to deserve being treated like garbage by you for over a year. So then I know what I’m apologizing for.”
At this point, I showed O the message she sent. He said: “Don’t respond. Nothing good can come from you responding. Just let her dig her hole, you don’t need to participate.” So I didn’t respond. This is what happened, over the next 10 hours:
“Still not going to tell me what I did wrong huh?”
“Here is the definition of projection. Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.”
“Whenever you’re ready to tell me why you’re mad I’m waiting. What did I do?”
“Not gonna take your own advice and use your “big girl words” and explain to me what I did that made you so mad?”
“Please, by all means, tell me what I need to apologize for.”
Then, I guess she must have slept, because when I woke the next morning, this was on my phone.
“Why do I owe you an apology or “many an apology” or still no answer? I’ve been asking for over a year now and you still can’t provide me with a reason why you’re mad. Cause if you provide a reason then I have something to work with.
Secondly if you were sending my mail to F, you could have sent me a message stating as such. You didn’t need to handle it how you did. Change locks. Wait for me to ask for my mail since I’m not allowed in the house (reason 2 for not visiting You). Then when I ask for mail tell me you gave it to a third party.
Projection and Deflection are in Elementary Psychology books it’s pretty basic stuff. Basic. Look it up and expand your mind stop blaming everyone around you and look at yourself. No matter how much booze you drink, food you eat and guys you fuck you’re not going to escape from the pain that’s inside you.
If me losing all respect for you destroying your own marriage by your own choices by letting other women fuck your husband warrants an apology from me then I’m sorry I don’t respect you.
If standing up to you because I feel I am being treated fairly because you tend to name call, insult me, and purposefully make me look bad, or purposefully uninclude me. I’m sorry I don’t like to be called names or insulted and I am strong enough not to be bullied or pushed around.
If it’s because you use internet buzz words and whatever is “trending” in political smear campaigns against the party you don’t support to describe me and it’s blatantly false and not based in reality as i don’t have those attributes. I’m sorry you can’t see me for who I really am and you let the internet control your assumptions about those who surround you. I’m sorry when you’re losing a debate you take the snide lazy road by insulting those you are talking to. I’m sorry you think that’s appropriate behaviour.”
“If it’s because I refuse to hate myself for the colour of my skin. I’m not sorry. I’m not spending a life feeling guilty for something I had zero control over.
Just fucking tell me what I did that made you so mad.
We did have an argument. One where I said being a whore was a terrible idea. I told you to rip off the bandaid now cause you’re getting divorced. You broke my fucking heart because i knew you were just slow rolling getting out of your marriage. You name called me for hours upon hours upon hours . For what? I was asking questions about why you woulc consciously decide letting other women fuck your husband was a good idea. Which even then you couldn’t answer. But you could insult me over and over and over. You decided to move forward in opening the marriage that was what you were gonna do, you did it, you fucked up HUGE. You let your man realise that he didn’t have to continue being treated like garbage by you, a reality I’ve gone through my whole life, except those amazing 5 years you were in Sweden. Miss those days.
Your marriage ending is not my fault. I warned you against your actions. I have no respect for you whatsoever now. If you’re going to make a life altering decision that will change the life of children and you can’t justify it beyond your sexdrive….it’s a mistake. It was a mistake and you can’t turn a fantasy into a reality.
But then again, had YOU not decided to open up the marriage and invite W and her children into your home then you would have no scapegoats to blame for everything. At least with W in the picture you invited her in to then you can call her names and blame her for “stealing” your husband and manipulating him to leave you when we both know that’s not true. He stopped choosing you. He chose someone else. That’s what hurts. He stopped choosing you and then he chose someone else. That’s not abuse.
He stopped choosing you. He chose someone else. That’s what hurts. He stopped choosing you and then he chose someone else. That’s not abuse. Abuse is being picked up by the throat and thrown through a door and then choked and punched until you pass out. A husband who comes off a night shift and after a 12 hour shift you greet him at the door with garbage and ask him what he’s making for supper and reacts grumpy to that, that isn’t abuse. That grumpy is justified.”
“And one more thing calling F abusive and W manipulative is textbook projection. Additionally it’s just name calling and defamation of character. It’s completely unnecessary. I was in an abusive relationship and it’s insulting and demeaning to women who’ve actually gone through abuse for you to compare that to F.”
And that’s where it ended, because I didn’t respond. O was a huge support and talked me off the ledge of responding. I shared the conversation with A and with G too, and both of them gave me some great words of support. A told me it was laughable that anyone would say those things about me. G just reminded me how much she loves me, made fun of my sister and her stupidity a bit, and threatened to take my phone away if I responded to her. The truth is, I was really hurt by it. This is my sister, someone who is supposed to love me. Someone who thinks I’m a bully. That I’ve been intentionally mean to her. That I’ve degraded her and hurt her her whole life. She thinks that I’m abusive and manipulative. She thinks I’m a whore. She doesn’t understand the fact that I’m polyamorous and thinks that is why my marriage ended. She thinks I’m mad at her, W, and F because F chose W. So many of these things aren’t true. It fucking hurts that my own sister would think so badly of me. I work so hard to be kind, supportive, and accepting of the people around me. I work to be generous and loving. When my sister says things like this about me, to me, it breaks my heart and makes me doubt myself.
This hurt was the solidification on my decision to cut my sister out from my life. I just don’t think there is any coming back from this. I could totally forgive her, but she absolutely doesn’t understand or acknowledge what she’s done. How she’s hurt me. How inappropriate she is. How hurtful it is to choose my abusive ex-husband and his awful manipulative girlfriend over me and to use my children as the excuse. So, I decided that it was time to cut her out, for my protection. The reality is, my life has been a lot easier since she’s been nearly absent from it.
Originally, I had decided to cut her completely out of my life, but then I saw her with my kids on a trip to Mexico with my family, and I knew that I couldn’t cut her out of their lives. I also can’t open myself up to her toxicity, so I had to reach a compromise: I will set some very strict boundaries that she will follow and I will continue to invite her to family events like the children’s birthdays and major holidays, like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. I won’t be reading any abusive text messages or be engaging in any discussion with her about the ones that have already arrived. Messages will be limited to logistics only. I will require her to forward her mail and to remove all her possessions from my property. I have enlisted the help of my parents if she starts to lose her shit on me to get my kids out of the room to prevent them from seeing her treat me badly. Otherwise, I will keep my parents out of things, because I would never expect them to get involved or pick sides.
The other day, after our trip to Mexico, I messaged her and said “As per our conversation in Mexico, I am hosting Christmas dinner on Saturday, the kids would love it if you’d come.” Her response was: “As per previous messages, tell me why you are mad at me.” I just said “Our parents are coming at 3, you are welcome any time after that, please let me know if you will be coming.” Her response? “Lol”.
She didn’t come. I was relieved. Another affirmation that cutting her out as much as possible is what’s best for me.
This got me to thinking of what I *would* write if I actually thought she would listen to me. How I would like to respond if I could just smack it to her. It would go something like this:
Know this first. I love you. I am sorry for every time I hurt you, both the things I really did and the things that you blame me for that are just part of your perception with no base in reality. While I know I’ve done things to hurt you, it was never my intention to cause you pain. I have said things in anger and for that, I am sorry. I have also been accused of doing things that I haven’t done. I’m not sure why you think I would do those things, but I don’t pretend to understand where you are in life.
There are many things that I wish to say to you. The first is that I am not a whore. I am polyamorous. This means that I believe very strongly in the fact that no one person can fulfill all my needs. I believe that the ability to love is infinite. I don’t sleep around and I don’t have casual sex. I didn’t “invite” women into F’s bed, he dated them willingly and embraced polyamory with me. No one forced him and he was happy to start dating other women and to have me date other men. I was there the night he met W. I was unaware that she was such a horrible person, but I know now. If he had been able to keep any of the other women he dated, there’s a possibility it would have taken a much longer time to separate, but I have no doubt that we would have ended up separated anyway.
The thing is, when I started dating, I suddenly had men who treated me well. They treated me with respect, love, and compassion. The showed me what it was like to be desired and valued. At the same time, F was intentionally pushing all my boundaries, sometimes physically, he was ragefully jealous, and incredibly angry with me for things that couldn’t be my fault. Not only that, but W intentionally destabilized our relationship, by spreading rumours about me, and lying to F about what she had “read” on her other partner’s phone and then telling F that I didn’t love him. You are right about one thing, he did stop choosing me. He chose her and that was what put the final nail in the coffin of our marriage. But I’m not angry about it. I’m not hurt by it. I’m happy to be done with F. I don’t blame W or scapegoat her, I blame him and I. We ended our relationship through our actions and I’m glad we did. In the end, I realized that F didn’t want me to be happy. He didn’t respect me. He didn’t value me. In the end, I realized that even if we could get past all the other things, I could no longer be married to someone who didn’t want me to be happy. Now, I’m dating two men who value my happiness very highly, and because of that, I’m exceedingly happy in my relationships and my overall life.
You have said I’m projecting and implied that I’m manipulative and abusive. That I think that F being grumpy with me because I asked him to help after a hard day with four young kids at home constitutes abuse. I don’t. That’s just him being a grumpy ass who didn’t contribute to our family unless asked. Ever. Being a “single” parent is easier than being married to him ever was, because now he has to parent the kids when he has them. The things he said, the way he manipulated me, the passive aggressive and outright aggressive comments, the selfishness, the disrespect, all of those things were abusive. He didn’t respect my boundaries. He told me he didn’t care about my feelings. He destroyed my property. He mocked me when I cried. He broke my spirit and he broke my heart. He didn’t care, because to him, it was all about him. This isn’t physical abuse. This isn’t the type of abuse you sustained. It is still abuse. I’m busy unpacking the many layers of abuse that I suffered at the hands of F and I suspect this will go on for years, in a similar way that our mom is still unpacking some of the stuff our father did to her. The father that you communicate so similarly to. I am sorry you don’t see the impact of the abuse I sustained as significant as that you did. I’m sorry you think that my suffering minimizes yours. It doesn’t.
You tell me I said all of these things about you. I did. You undermined my babysitter multiple times. A babysitter whom I was paying to watch my children while you slept off your party in my basement while living with me for free. You didn’t contribute to our household and you couldn’t be bothered to respect the person who we entrusted with the care of our kids. You would say horrible things about our aboriginal population, justify slavery, and no end of comments that show that you don’t appreciate how the colour of your skin and the location of your birth have afforded you no end of privilege. I didn’t insult you for this, I asked you not to say some of the horrible things you said in front of my children. You support Donald Trump. You argued for his racist policies. I never called you a racist, I argued why his policies were bad. That they don’t agree with my political views is true, but I make my own opinions, I don’t just follow the platform of my favourite party. In fact, I don’t have a favourite party, I have opinions about many policies and I support the party that represents my interests and values best. The fact is that me disagreeing with you doesn’t make me mean or insulting. It means my opinion is different than yours. You are entitled to your opinion. I am entitled to mine. It’s OK to not agree. It’s just important that if I ask you not to say something in front of my children, you don’t.
You implied that by embracing polyamory, I destroyed my children’s lives. My children have a much better life now than they did then. There is no longer conflict in my home. They are happy, thriving, intelligent, loving children. They have two parents who love them, and I can’t speak for F, but they have an extremely happy mom. I am modelling for them a strong, independent woman who is living life to its fullest. Who is unapologetic about living life under her own terms. I am a loving mother. I am a strong woman with a career. I am a loving and caring partner to two wonderful men who love me. I am valued by incredible friends who love me and would do anything for me as I would do for them. I have friends who have become family. Like a sister should be. Contrast that with you and the things you will say to me, let alone the things you say to others.
You have accused me of doing or saying things I didn’t. You never asked me not to post that photo, you accused me of posting a photo you disliked intentionally to hurt you. You accused me of intentionally cutting you out of family photos. But you never asked me not to post it. After you treated me like crap and posted a bunch of hurtful things on Instagram, I deleted the picture and your comments and you from my Instagram and Facebook. My pages, my choice. I already apologized for posting a very loving and fun video of you being an amazing aunt. I didn’t realize you were serious when you told me not to post it. Had you communicated effectively, it wouldn’t be an issue. You passive aggressively attacked me about it, when you could have just asked me to delete it.
I don’t believe in naturopathy or acupuncture because I’ve read the studies that show they are placebo and in some cases, outright dangerous. That’s not an insult to you or your education, that’s a credit to mine. It’s not personal. Just because I don’t instantly believe your “500 things that are good about coconut oil” doesn’t mean I don’t respect your education, it means I have a healthy dose of scientific scepticism and the ability to form my own opinions and make my own decisions. As for me being wrong, I’m great at admitting when I am wrong, I just haven’t been wrong with you.
I’ve never let “the internet control my opinions” or one aunt brainwash me over the other. I let peer-reviewed scientific literature, my life experience, and my morals and ethics control my opinions. My opinions are fluid and I’m very good at assimilating new information. The fact that you don’t agree with my opinions doesn’t mean I didn’t come by them through critical thinking and personal judgement. It means you have a different opinion. It’s not an insult to you or your opinions, no matter how ill-informed they are.
I haven’t treated you like garbage for over a year, I just haven’t talked to you. I haven’t engaged you. I changed the locks on my house so you couldn’t come and go as you please because the only time you spent at my house was when I wasn’t there. I ensured you have access to your possessions, but not to mine. It’s safety. You’ve chosen my ex-husband over me, I need to make sure you don’t cause damage to my life in support of him.
The thing is, you consider your opinions to be fact. You have a lot of opinions about how I live my life. You think it’s acceptable to judge me and condemn me for decisions I’ve made, but you’ve never talked to me about why I did. I’m not sure why my marriage ending would break your heart, it didn’t break mine. It was the right thing to do, for me, for F and for our children. You have no right to tell me that embracing polyamory was wrong. You have no right to call me a whore. You have no right to call me a bully or imply that I don’t think for myself, that I don’t take responsibility for my actions, or that I make decisions without regard for my children’s welfare.
What you do have a right to do is to say specifically how something I did hurt you. You have a right to tell me how you feel when something happens. You have the right to an apology if something I did or said hurt you, intentionally or not. You have a responsibility to act respectfully and with compassion. You are required to respect my boundaries and take responsibility for your actions.
And that’s it.
Those last two paragraphs are exactly why I’m not responding. She’s treated me horribly and is unlikely to acknowledge it. So I wrote it out here so it’s out of my head. Moving forward, she is but a challenging family member that I have to deal with at family events. Now, moving on.