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Dreading Family Holiday

Sleepless1987
Community Member
We're all getting together for Easter, 15 of us, 6 kids. I was looking forward to it. Now I'm dreading it. One of my sisters and I fight all the time and it's always apparently my fault. I don't want to cause any problems, I don't want this holiday to be all about past issues, but I don't know how to stop it. I want to spend time with them but I don't want to. I'm close to a major break already and I don't want to fall over the edge.
11 Replies 11

romantic_thi3f
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Sleepless1987,

Thanks for your post.

I'm sorry that the idea of confrontation with your sister is getting in the way of the excitement for Easter! It sounds like it's very frustrating and exhausting.

I feel like you haven't given us a lot of info about what it's like between you and your sister so I'm just going to offer a couple of broad suggestions; feel free to pick and choose what you like or if nothing works for you that's okay too.

- When you arrive, approach your sister and talk to her in private. You could say something like "I'm really looking forward to Easter; I'm hoping that this can be a good time for us; I felt like last time things ended badly and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again. I want to put the past aside this time." Whatever feels natural with the intention of trying to be present, without blame and focusing on Easter for the kids and rest of the family. Often with confrontation the key is to try and use I statements and focus on how you're feeling and what you're thinking.

- Switch and ignore. When things come up, distract with something else or walk away. If this is something that happens all the time I'm assuming that you'll know quickly when things start to turn negative. It's surprising how many reasons people find when they need to remove themselves from conversations; having a drink/food, toilet, checking on the kids, phone calls!

Alternatively you could say "I can see that you're frustrated, but I don't want to focus on that right now" so then you're acknowledging her feelings but without delving in.

- Take breaks. Out of 15 of you you've mentioned you have a problem with 1 of them; your sister. That means they're 14 other people who can potentially provide a great experience and not fight with you. Hang out with them. Crowds can work in your favour here.

- Remind yourself that you are more than these fights. I know that this sounds a bit cliche, but you yourself know what is your fault and what isn't. Feeling blamed isn't helping you and it isn't helping anyone. Practicing relaxation techniques like breathing and mindfulness exercises can be very helpful. Affirmations might also be a great tactic, although it can take some practice to find the one that works for you.

My sister is very stubborn, and opinionated. If you don't agree with her you are automatically wrong. She won't let it go if she thinks you are wrong she keeps at it until you admit you are wrong. She follows you hounding you. She treats everyone,even our dad like kids, she has 4, and she can be incredibly rude because she doesn't think before she talks,something she accuses me of, she needs to be right about everything. I can see she has anxiety and depressive issues but she is in complete denial. Every conversation and decision she has to be involved in. She is controlling and manipulative. Anyone who stands against her or confronts her is the bad guy.

JessF
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello Sleepless1987, it sounds like your sister's behaviour is a considerable source of frustration for you, and your attempts to resolve issues often wind up with the blame being placed back on you. Once a confrontation is started, it doesn't end happily.

Changing your sister's behaviour doesn't seem realistic. How you react in the situation is something within your control. What are some of the options you have for handling this behaviour if it comes up on the holiday so you can enjoy the time both for yourself and with the rest of your family?

It's difficult, I plan on spending time by myself, sometime with my nieces and nephews. I can walk away but she will always pick up where she left off. We will have separate houses. But apart from avoiding her I can't really think of anything. I refuse to compromise my beliefs and feelings just to avoid annoying her. She doesn't agree with so of my life decisions and tries to change me. She's almost impossible to ignore she has to be in everything, every conversation and every decision. And if she doesn't agree she will sulk and play the victim until she gets what she wants. We've been putting up with it ever since we were children and we brush it off as "it's just her" but sometimes she takes it too far. It is completely possible that nothing is going to happen and we will all have a great time, however experience had taught me to expect the worst.

Hi Sleepless1987,

Thanks for your post.

I just want to try and understand a little bit more; in previous years does the conversation only end when you say the words "I am wrong"?

What about your Dad and other family who you've said is also feeling attacked this way; how do they handle it? I can imagine how frustrating it would be for you.

JessF - I love this reply, thank you.

Yes, you have to admit you were wrong and apologize for upsetting her. Dad ignores her, which doesn't work she just gets angry. Last time I confronted her we argued and fought for the whole week we were away and ruined my cousins wedding. Dad made a few mistakes over 10 years ago but she still holds onto it and refuses to forgive him. She reminds him all the time which upsets him. But we have been letting her behave this way for years without pulling her up. We just say that's her and ignore her. But it's gotten worse in the last few years. She's more controlling and manipulative she brings up past failures or faults in order to get you to do what she wants you to. You can't reason with her either. Her husband doesn't argue with her, he just let's her do and say what she wants. She never thinks before she speaks and never apologize if she hurts your feelings, she doesn't think she did anything wrong. But if you upset her she will go out of her way to make you miserable.

Hi Sleepless1987,

This does sound incredibly frustrating for you.

You said in your first post that you are close to a major break already and falling of the edge. I think the most important thing to remember is that you can only control what you can control.

Jess F asked what your options might be and it sounds like the only feasible one is trying to avoid her as much as possible. I can see that this ruffles a lot of tension for you so allowing it to slide away and reminding yourself that it's out of your control can help. Your sister is only one part of the rest of the family and there's lot of other people you can surround yourself with to help you have a good time.

Sleepless1987
Community Member
Well, we all survived with not too much stress.

JessF
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hello Sleepless, sorry I missed your post when you updated us. Well, what a relief! Please let us know what happened. Did any of your worst fears come true? How did you handle things, if they did get difficult? Hopefully this might be a good one to look back on for future issues with your sister.