Do you have a good relationship with your siblings? These people, unfortunately, don’t and are sharing why not. The content has been edited for clarity.
A Grieving Widow Part 1
“My husband and I had been married for fifteen years. I had just begun a job that paid a stipend— less than minimum wage — which was to supplement my husband’s retirement income. I started the job on Monday, and he had dropped me off at a mandatory workshop on Saturday, promising to pick me up at five pm. He never arrived. I found out later that he had died of a massive heart attack.
On Sunday, I began the dreary task of informing friends and family that he was gone. My mother greeted the news with: ‘Well, we all knew he was sick’, and then went on to ask me what I was going to do since I couldn’t manage on my own. Way to be supportive, Mom.
Mom must have called my sister, who called me and told me the same thing, adding that I’d obviously have to get rid of our pets since I wouldn’t be able to afford them. Mind you, at this point I’ve been a widow for less than twenty-four hours. Forgive me for not having a Plan B in place just in case my husband died unexpectedly. My sister then began telling me how to manage my life, although she had never been widowed. We argued. We hung up angry.
She called me the following Saturday, and never asked me how I was doing, or even what I was doing, just rattling on about how she had spent Thanksgiving with her family, and how much fun she had with her grandson. When she eventually started repeating herself, I tried to bring the conversation to my own life, and she accused me of trying to make everybody else miserable just because I was miserable. Again we argued, and she hung up after telling me I could call her when I was ready to listen to her advice.
A year or so later, I received an angry email from my sister.”
A Grieving Widow Part 2
“She told me how my mom had sent me a birthday card and it had been returned as undeliverable. No concern for me at all, just that I was upsetting Mom by having to give up my post office box and telephone, because I couldn’t afford them.
When her own husband died some years later, I sent her an email with my new phone number, and an invitation to talk if she wanted to. She apparently didn’t. I have no current address for her, not even the town she lives in, so I can’t write to her. She suffered a heart attack and a stroke last year. I’m sorry that happened, but I will not reach out to her again.”
“My Brother Was The Golden Child” Part 1
“My brother and I are two very different people with very little in common as far as interests, likes/dislikes, everything really. Total opposites in every possible way.
Throughout our childhood all we did was fight, He thought nothing of hitting and punching me, or verbally talking me down. Very rarely were we nice to each other or laughed together.
Then our mother died suddenly when I was 12 and he was almost 15. He did not comfort me or tell me everything was going to be okay. Ever. I was left on my own to figure out how I was going to survive this.
Shortly after that, my father (for whatever reasons he had and dealing with his own grief) decided my brother and I would be better off raised by his older sister and her family. The worst four years of my life.
My brother was the golden child, put up on a pedestal. He could do no wrong. I don’t know if this is true in other cultures, but Asians revere their firstborn, especially a male. The same goes for the deceased. We revere firstborn sons and dead relatives. I on the other hand was mostly ignored and treated like hired help. I was a very shy girl who wasn’t smart or pretty enough in my relatives’ eyes.
I never felt so alone and frightened in my life. I was alive, but I felt completely dead inside. I felt like I had no one to rely on or to be there for me.
I don’t know how I survived my childhood.
Five years after my mom died, my old man got it together enough to be a father to my brother and me. Living with him was no picnic either, but it was better than living with his sister’s family. At least I had my family back. What was left of it, anyways.
My brother, I learned over the years, was exactly like my father. Emotionally and physically distant. Hair-trigger temper. Resorted to physical and verbal abuse. The only difference was my father ended up as a binge drinker who died alone, and my brother, thankfully, did not end up like him.
The road apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
My brother had a son in 1991. Instead of getting me on the phone to tell me the news, he left a message on my answering machine. It ended with, ‘Congratulations, Aunty.’
I was hurt that he couldn’t tell me over the phone but left a message instead. Why would anyone leave a message with important news like the birth of a child instead of telling it in person or over the phone? Maybe he didn’t think anything of it, I don’t know. Just sucked that I learned via an answering machine message that I had a nephew.
I never had a chance to cultivate a relationship with my only nephew. My brother never invited me to visit and be a part of his son’s life. Or his life for that matter. At least his son had a paternal grandfather in his life. Just not his only aunt.
The first time I met my nephew was at my father’s funeral. He was 11 years old, just the sweetest, most handsome little boy. Spitting image of my brother.
I didn’t even cry for the old man. The pain I felt meeting my brother’s only child, under those circumstances, devastated me. He did not deserve that. There was no way I could make this up to the little one.
I wished I could’ve been the bigger person and put aside my differences with my brother and made an effort to be an aunt to his son. I didn’t because I was too consumed by my lifelong anger and hatred toward my brother. My only small regret in life.
A few years ago, I PM’d my nephew through his social media, in an attempt to open the doors to re-establish contact. No response and I don’t blame him. I would’ve done the same thing, too. He’s a good kid, and I want nothing but the best for him.
I could go on and on, but here’s what killed any hope of maybe, just maybe, having a relationship with my brother: Until he cheated me out of my half of a rental property that my father’s will stipulated that we split 50/50.”
“My Brother Was The Golden Child” Part 2
“My brother asked me if I wanted half of the property, to which I said no, thinking that he would buy out my half. Without thinking twice, I trusted him to do the right thing.
Nope. He kept it all to himself. Had I known he was going to do this, I would’ve retained half ownership. My mistake in trusting him. Lesson learned. Never trust your own family. In my case, hopefully not for others.
Sure I could’ve taken him to court and sued him. But…I couldn’t bring myself to do it. To me it was just wrong on all levels, to sue your sibling. I know others do it, but I just could not. I couldn’t live with the guilt of doing something messed up like that. My parents raised me better than that. They did not teach me to be greedy and selfish.
What really stopped me was how my deceased parents would’ve felt if I actually went through with my plan to sue him. I knew they were already ticked off and disappointed that their son did this to me, and that was enough to come to my decision not to take any legal action against him.
I don’t know where my parents went wrong in raising him.
Some might say it’s just money. Yes, it is just that. Money. But to me, it was the principle. It was the principle that mattered.
So I took the high road and just let it all go. It wasn’t worth spending my time and energy being bitter over money. Or him anymore.
I trust that the universe and the karma police will deal with him with the appropriate punishment in due time. Maybe not in this lifetime (if he’s lucky), but in another lifetime. For every cause (good or bad), there’s always an effect. Believe that.
I wish nothing bad for him. No love or hate for him, just feels indifferent. I just want him to be happy, that’s all.
I still get an email from him every few years or so. Only to ask me to confirm my address and phone number for his security clearances for his job. He works in the semiconductor business dealing with government contracts.
This time, instead of confirming my info like I normally did, I ghosted him. I don’t want him to know anything about my life anymore.
It’s okay to close and lock the door on the people who hurt you. So I closed and locked the door on him for good. And I have NO regrets about doing that.
P.S. His excuse has always been, ‘Sorry, I’m not good at keeping in touch with family and friends.’ Uh, no. You’re only good at ‘keeping in touch’ when you WANT/NEED something from me.”
A Father And Daughter Reunited Part 1
“I’ve been estranged from my oldest sister for a little over two years now. She’s almost a decade older than me. We grew up in foster care and I went through different foster homes prior to being adopted. I had never met my bio father before and I had been searching for about 10 years once I became an adult. My sister and I were really close and we talked almost daily for years. We have different dads. She knew how much it meant for me to find my dad and I would ask her questions about him since she was around my bio mom more than I was. I always received a generic answer about him having a bald head and wearing glasses. So I continued my search, hoping that he wouldn’t die before I found him.
I finally found him in January 2019 and it was such a surreal moment. For some reason, I hesitated to tell her because I didn’t feel as though she would have been happy for me. It was an odd feeling. However, I went ahead and told her and my intuition was right. Her response was dry and it was obvious that she wasn’t happy for me. It broke my heart because I was extremely supportive of her when she found her dad years prior. Her dad didn’t really care to have a relationship with her but I was there to help her through it.
I would go on to later learn that she had actually found my dad’s social media YEARS prior and never told me.”
A Father And Daughter Reunited Part 2
“I had never seen him before and his name is common so it would have been impossible for me to find him on social media. She knew where I could contact my dad for years and sat on the phone with me daily while withholding that information from me.
I started to notice a change in our relationship in 2017 when I graduated with my Master’s Degree. She started to withdraw one month before my graduation and I brushed it off. My husband told me it may have been jealousy but I didn’t want to believe that.
She confronted me at the end of 2019, on social media, and basically condemned me for not having a relationship with my bio mom but having one with my bio dad. This was the first time I had heard from her since I told her about finding my dad. I confronted her on everything that happened and called her out on her lies. She had no defense so she blocked me.
I was proud of myself for standing my ground because it took a while for me to get there. However, the betrayal I experienced shut me down emotionally. It’s been difficult coming to the realization that this person wasn’t who I thought she was. It was so blind that I wouldn’t even believe my therapist when she brought up my sister being jealous. I didn’t want to believe it. I’m still healing from the ending of that relationship and it does hurt a lot at times but I know that it’s for the best. I could never trust her the same way again.
Mom’s Insurance Policy Part 1
“My mother passed away after a long battle with an illness. I live about three hours from my mom. My sister about four hours. Somehow I managed to get home far more often than her. A little background. We grew up poor, but my mother always made sure my sister had plenty of clothes and the things girls need growing up. I wasn’t neglected, but my wardrobe was half the size of my sister’s. This never bothered me as a boy growing up. The reason I mention this is because my sister developed a spoiled brat mentality. Which carried over into adulthood. It was either her way or no way. She became a greedy self-centered adult. I recall a few occasions my mother told me my sister has hung up the phone on her. Who does that to their mom?
Fast forward to a few months ago when my mother passed. I arrived at my mother’s house with my wife and teen daughters. My sister arrived a day before. She opened the door and didn’t say a word to me or my family. She immediately went to another room in the house. Mind you, we hadn’t seen her in over two years.
So I thought, ‘Okay, maybe she’s sick and she wants to stay away.’
But after 15 minutes, still no hello or anything. So I went in and asked if our mother had an insurance policy.
She gave me a one-word answer, ‘Yes.’
I asked was the policy active.
Again, one-word answer, ‘Yes.’
This confirmed something was off. The reason I was asking is I know my mother had a mortgage and we needed to pay for a funeral as well. Despite our grief, bills still needed to be paid.
Come to find out, my mother had three policies. 14K in my name and 10K in my sister’s name. I knew immediately what her issue was. She was ticked off about me being left with more money. We both went to the funeral home to begin arrangements. Nothing was finalized that day and I had to go back home for work. My sister called me a few days later to say I needed to sign some papers.
I was thinking, ‘Okay…probably normal procedure stuff.’
I had the funeral home email me the paperwork. I looked it over and found my name and address as the responsible party. Mind you, I never gave them my personal information.
I told my sister and the funeral home, ‘I need time to review the information before I sign anything.’
So I began calling the insurance companies to verify the policies. Turns out, out of 24K, only about $7400 was good. When I tried to explain this to my sister, she said by calling they were going to think we were trying to commit fraud. I mean she was angry and so nasty during the call, telling me it wasn’t my business to call. She actually hung up on me when I tried to explain it a second time.
My thought was, ‘Yea because I’m going to sign my name on something and then be on the hook for the bill should the insurance policies not pay…yea right!’
Right after my mother passed, I told my sister due to the global shutdown, I would not attend the services in the building due to my health and teens with asthma.
After this insurance truth came out, she questioned my relationship with my mother. Told the family I didn’t want certain people to attend my mother’s funeral. I mean she went on a complete rampage.
But that’s not the crazy part.”
Mom’s Insurance Policy Part 2
“Any money left to me, I would have split down the middle with my sister. My wife and I have great jobs, We weren’t hurting for money. We didn’t have spare money to pay for a funeral, but we also weren’t there with our hands out either.
Turns out the policy money was just enough to cover my mother’s arrangements. My sister emptied out my mother’s bank account and kept every penny. She had recently received a stimulus check of 1.2K in addition to her retirement income. Drained it all! I was thinking that money could have been used for a nice headstone. Clearly, my sister had other ideas for it. Did I mention my sister is a retired ex-fed and has a full-time civilian job to boot?
Neither of us was the beneficiary of the house. Which means probate and continuing to pay for the mortgage, property taxes, and care for the home. This would have been costly and taken a while. Additionally, I don’t have spare money like that! I advised my sister to contact the mortgage company as I had told them myself we would not be paying the mortgage due to my mother’s passing. Not sure what she did…
Soon after the funeral, I sent my sister a text telling her how I felt. I allowed her to respond. Then I wrote back alerting her that I will be blocking her number from my phone. I told her I do not care to deal with her and to have a nice life. Before anyone thinks my mother is rolling over. My mother was well aware of how my sister is. I’m quite sure she is resting in peace. I for one am at peace. I try to remove all drama-filled people from my life. I have no regrets about this decision.”
Mutual Respect Part 1
“I have a sister who is five years older than me and we are now middle-aged women. As children, I looked up to her and to this day I love her and want the very best for her. But as we have matured, she has become very different from me. Her values and her lifestyle – we live differently and I can no longer be part of her daily life.
Over the years, I have tried to be there for her when needed, I have ‘rescued’ her when she has asked for it or if I have the resources to do so. And while she has always been the beautiful, lively, and good fun sister, she takes advantage of my kindness. She cancels plans we have made at the last minute and makes up stories about why and she sides with our mother and our brothers against me if there is a disagreement.
Over the years, I have slowly come to realize that I am a woman who values things such as honesty, responsibility, turning up when I say I will, and these things don’t have as much value to her. We have grown apart and I have come to the realization that just because she is my sister, just because she was my rock when we were little, just because it is expected of us to just accept each other unconditionally- all of this does not mean I have to accept the unacceptable.
This became clear to me when I organized a birthday party for her 60th and she got her husband to send a text to say she couldn’t make it, because she was ‘sick.’
I tried ringing her frantically. I had booked a venue, my husband had taken the day off work, and my brothers had flown from interstate. I couldn’t believe she was too sick to attend. She is a healthy woman that I had spoken to only days prior and there was no sign of illness.
After a few hours, she responded to my calls, apologetically saying she was getting the flu. I felt like a veil of denial behind which I had seen her had finally parted. She had done this to me many times before. She had used the excuse of feeling sick to avoid events that caused her possible stress or anxiety yet lived a life of social events of her choosing. She had waited until the last minute to change her mind without acknowledging the work that had been put in for her. She had not invited me to her celebrations and had not visited me for years even whilst living around the corner. And I was tired of the disrespect, so that’s when I knew I had to change.”
Mutual Respect Part 2
“On occasion, my sister had hidden her face when my husband drove past her so that she wouldn’t have to acknowledge being in the neighborhood. She had told me she was not around and was with her children many miles away.
She invited our Father to stay with her after her daughter’s wedding, however when the time came ‘something came up’ and he needed to be rescued at the last minute (me, of course). She is irresponsible, lazy, and uncaring of family responsibilities. She tells lies and she takes me for granted. I try to never treat people this way! And I realized that it will continue that way unless I put down boundaries between us. And so I have and, whilst I miss the big sister that I thought I might have, I love the freedom from being treated disrespectfully.
I love her dearly and won’t talk badly of her around others, but I say ‘No’ to going out of my way to pander to her demands, I say ‘No’ to our mother who begs me to ‘forgive and forget’ and go back to the way things were.
Not long ago she sent an email asking me to list my grievances because she missed her sister. I refused to write any such list – I’m sure she could put a list together of things that I do to upset her too. I simply acknowledged her courage for reaching out and told her that unless she treats me with respect I am due and honestly explains her reasons for her avoidance of me and is ready to reciprocate my efforts and commitment to our relationship, then I will not be part of her daily life. Needless to say, her response was immature and spiteful and I don’t think she understood at all what I was saying. We have grown too far apart for her to even understand what I was saying.
My mother – ever my sister’s apologist – told me I sounded patronizing. I told her it was called ‘having boundaries’ It’s about time higher values of compassion, mutual respect and maturity were introduced into my family’s relationships. Our children deserve to be taught this and I am at an age where I don’t accept nonsense from anyone any more! I don’t treat others that way, they don’t get to treat me disrespectfully just because we are related. I will be cordial at family events, and I will try to be non-judgemental moving forward, but no more sisterly favors I’m afraid.
Works for me.”