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Manipulative reward and punishment attempt

Community Member

I am 51 years old with three siblings, aged 48 and 47. I left home at 18 because my middle sibling C caused friction between myself and my parents. Aged 24 I decided to emigrate to Oz because of the friction C caused and the insistence by my parents that she was never to blame. Once she caused my father to pin my youngster sister R against a wall. We don't know why. R will never forgot this.

Growing up my father was largely absent, working as a farm labourer 24/7 to provide for his family. From the age of 8, I had to look after my siblings during school hols (with a stay at home Mum across the lane and father popping in throughout the day). When I was older and Mum worked full time, I had to put homework on the back burner to prepare the evening meal. I received no academic support and was told to leave school at 15 and get a job to contribute financially to the house.

I did ok but yes it pisses me, especially when my parents rave about how C's two sons have gone to uni and done well for themselves. There is nothing to be gained. I say nothing to my parents who have put C and her sons on a pedestal.

Since 1994 when I moved to OZ I have maintained a distant but cordial relationship with C. We do not exchange cards, phone calls etc. Her relationship with R (UK based) is also distant.

Recently I found my maternal biological grandfather for my Mum. Fantastic but sad too. He is unwell. I suggested I visit my father said no then started a diatribe of cruel words relating to my relationship with C. I should be proud of her and her sons success and we can get back to normal. That I go round the word pissing people off and on NYD, the blackmail.. apologise to your sister and her sons (for what I do not know), and show them a few words of love or I'll cut you out of my will and you'll be about in the cold. Oh and tell anyone about 'the deal' and it's off.

He parenting style has always been dictatorship, he has no self awareness only a manipulating, controlling trait that makes me sick in the stomach. R has tried to talk to him and Mum. They either do not get it or do not care. Personally, my mental health (shaky since May 19) doesn't need this, and I do need, nor want his money, so I have disowned both of them.

Thankfully I have a great circle of friends and a counsellor. My husband not so much but maybe there is hope we can use this episode to build love and respect between us again.

Thanks for reading.

2 Replies 2

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear SJ69~

I'm afraid I could not find your first post so will welcome you now here instead. Being on such bad terms so as to be estranged from parents is something I'm familiar with, having been disinherited after the usual 'will' threats.

Sadly some parents are all about control and also feeling that their views are the only ones possible.

I think you have shown wisdom, firstly by leaving what sounds like a very unhappy home when you were able, and putting more distance between you again in '94. Now when threats start I don't think you have much choice but to leave them strictly alone. Trying repeatedly to build bridges in that sort of atmosphere is only setting yourself up for more heart-break.

I am hopeful from your words that you have a good relationship with your youngest sister R.

Have you considered contacting or visiting your maternal biological grandfather off your own bat without reference to anyone? It might put things in perspective and could even be doing him a kindness -it all depends of course.

While I'm very pleased for you that you have a set of good friends and are seeing a councilor I did read that your own mental well-being had not been good, and that your relations with your husband was not all it could be.

Is he someone that might benefit from going to a councilor with you?

I will say in passing that the eldest, normally female, sibling can have an awful lot of family duties pressed on her in families with little money and where the parents have to work long hours and are habitually exhausted, plus at the time do not regard education as a priority.

It is not fair, and the younger siblings not only benefit from this arrangement, but often are the ones for whom education is possible -courtesy of their older sister's sacrifice.

I would like it if you returned and talked some more


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi SJ69

You sound like an incredibly amazing person and a true inspiration. Not sure if I would have been fearless enough to leave at 18 (such a young age filled with uncertainty for most of us). Even with such a motive leading you to leave, it was still a brave and admirable call.

At 49, I've come to realise something that has significantly shifted my reality and I hope it leads you to feel just as proud of yourself. In looking back over life, the amount of times we are left to raise our self can be mind blowing. Whilst we can be raised by our parents through financial opportunity, some of us take responsibility for a lot of that emotional stuff. Whilst people or circumstances can lead us to be brought down, put down or kept down for a period of time, the challenge and determination to rise above all this (with often limited life skills) can be truly miraculous.

When we rise to challenges that have the potential to wound us or put great fear into us, we have entered the realm of the brave, the heroic and the natural self. The reason I say 'the natural self' because this is the part of us that accepts those challenges in life that see us evolve in the most powerful ways. It is not natural to become stagnant without great discomfort being the result.

In what you write, I get a glimpse of the natural you. You have a powerful imagination which led you to wonder what life would be like if you left home all those years ago. You wondered what it would be like to meet your grandfather. I'm sure you have wondered about much more, all those things you have brought into reality. SJ, you are wonderful. You have dealt with and overcome much challenge. You are a warrior who fought for your own evolution. You are a priceless person of great integrity who cannot be bought. And if there is one surprising thing I have come to discover after all this time (I'm 49 by the way), some deeper part of us has always been self loving, otherwise why would we have raised our self to achieve what we have achieved thus far. I believe we don't always fully feel self love but we can still know it's there, pushing us to rise to the next challenge.

To say 'I love myself and I finally know exactly what I deserve' is a powerful moment. It is a moment where our consciousness has become so great that we understand we deserve to be raised above depression and even above an average life, for we are far more than simply average.

Stay wonderful and don't let anyone stop you 🙂