The Fracture Becomes the Routine

Denise

The Fracture Becomes the Routine

Denise
Time heals all wounds, they say.

It also can turn any grudges that fracture a family into a routine part of the family.

The family fracture began in August 2015 when Sibling (my oldest sibling) became angry when another sibling and I questioned a decision she made about transferring my mom from a community hospital to a university hospital. Honestly, we were right and she was wrong. We moved on, she never did.

Her anger led to her request that my siblings and I no longer update her about our parents. Initially, she continued to speak with my parents, although infrequently. But that has basically stopped. She last saw my parents a year ago, which was probably the last time she actually had a conversation with them. Text messages, and not many of them, are now the way she keeps in touch with my mom.

I should mention that Sibling lives five minutes from my parents.

We continue to invite her to family functions. In September, Sibling told my mom she would only attend family functions if she received an apology from me and my other sibling. I told my mom I would apologize to her if my mom thought that would help. My mom said she would talk it over with my dad and let me know. They never followed up with me so no apology has yet to happen.

Over the years, I've researched my sister's behavior to try to better understand her. My best guess is that she has Narcissistic personality disorder. She has seen a therapist for years but, obviously, it's not helping.

Last year at this time, my mom was understandably very upset about Sibling's refusal to join family celebrations. "She's mentally ill," I would say. "If she were healthy, she wouldn't make these choices."

This Christmas, we didn't talk about Sibling's absence. Honestly, I don't think any of us even noticed her absence. Sibling's three adult children celebrated Christmas with my parents on December 27; my parents had a wonderful time.

In late December, I realized I never texted a "Merry Christmas" to my three nieces. I simply forgot. Today, I realized these three nieces didn't text me a "Happy Birthday" as they have in the past.

Our family changed and we have adjusted to that change. Is that healing? I am both relieved (her drama drained us dry) and sad (the next generation pays the greater price).

I think one of my nieces will soon be engaged. She will invite my parents to her wedding celebrations of that I am sure. If I enjoy her lovely day simply through Facebook photos, I am okay with that. But that becomes the family legacy. Will my niece be okay receiving that legacy? Ultimately, that's the legacy Sibling will be known for leaving.

Like this article? Share on social

5 Comments

Sign in to comment

Desiree

I rather prefer \"time wounds all heels\". Sibling may be genuinely mentally ill, but that would not keep her from getting treatment and making the necessary steps to heal her relationships if she truly wanted to. Mental illness is very real. But it's not an easy-out excuse for treating people like crap. Unfortunately, some of those who suffer from mental illness choose to use it to excuse all sorts of horrible behavior, and deny any responsibility. My mom was one of these. It made being around her unbearably frustrating. She never actually admitted to being mentally ill, only \"sensitive and high strung\". A blind person could have seen the truth, though.\r\n\r\nYour nieces won't be children forever. And I'd bet real money they are very well aware of how their mom's drama affects everyone else. When they get to be adults, and able to make their own choices, you may find them reaching out to you. (I truly hope so!) If they seem distant or unfriendly in the meantime, it may just be their attempt to keep the peace with their mom.

Jean

No matter how much we can learn to understand these disorders, it can still sometimes just sting, but for me now, it's just mostly sadness these days.. It is unnerving at times to think how crazy it was when I was with ex who had narcissistic personality disorder.... (Narcissists love to keep everyone off balance). But the longer your out of it, like you said, you realize how much more peaceful things can be. We continue to struggle with my sister with Borderline PD. Her nursing home physician has also diagnosed her with Munchhausin. After I read up on it, boy does it ever fit! (FYI... people with disorder \" Munchhausin by internet\" can also wreak havoc on online groups... read study about that too)

Terry

My Aunt and Uncle have not spoken for over 45 years, I think the reason for the rift was the stress of caregiving and differing views on treatment for my Grandfather. This is an area of family dynamics that could use some research and evolving solutions. As medical care becomes more complex, I think this is really important.

Goldie

First of all, Happy birthday! \r\nI've heard that expression too many times. My husband's sister alienated herself from the family after their mother died and now she is trying to come back. She sounds like she's dealing with it in a similar way to your sister as she is still holding on to her anger from the past. In her case, she had been living in her mother's house, in a sort of rent to own contract with her mom, but she hadn't made payments in months and the contract specifically said she would have to finance through a bank within a certain amount of time or let the house be sold. It got ugly and eventually the oldest sib had to have her evicted. She didn't realize how this sib had bent over backwards for her. She just saw herself as the victim. It's been 11 years. No, time doesn't heal the wounds in this case. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to solve.

BeccaB

I haven't spoken to one sibling in 27 years (siblings's choice), this has impacted me more than I care to admit because I was relatively young when the fracture occurred. I feel for you. There's so much more I could say but want to spare you (and me) the rant. Unfortunately every Christmas certain feelings come up. I get better at handling them but I play \"what if.\" My goal is to play that less and less because each person is free to choose their own path...\r\n\r\nNo matter what, Denise, I can truly say you have been a positive influence in ways that can't be measured. When the going gets tough and I wish for frovility I always remember your words of wisdom ---- it is only frivolous. Thank you.