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Family Christmas and the past

Community Member
I am totally fed up with family sheit. I have a family history going back generations of violence in the home. I am the eldest of our three kids...and every time I get to have what I think is quality time with my sister she tells me yet another story from our childhood where I was violent to her. I have no such memories. I have a mother who is cold and unemotive..except about how brilliant other people are. I have just got home...alone..and the conversations are overwhelming. I feel like the worst sister ever... I feel like a fraud of a mother and feel that I have totally wasted my professional life. I feel really very shit. I don't want to revisit the conversation with my sister...but I don't want to again be blindsided.. I feel unworthy of my kids... I feel worthless and that I ruined my sister's life... And it all started with me asking whether we had a fun childhood... I hate it.. I hate feeling this terrible... I have sat outside and bawled my eyes out.. I am 56 ...and want to be a better grandmother than what I am as a mother...but with this constant negative closet...that is not even mine...how can I get better... I am angry I am alone I am very unhappy...
3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion


welcome to the forum and thanks for writing your post.

It must be so hard when your sister recalls bad things but you don’t.

This is affecting your self esteem.

Is there a good memory you have of your sister you could share with her.

We can’t change the past but we can acknowledge the other persons memory and pain.
is it possible to focus on the present and future..?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I almost guarantee your sister has mental scars from her childhood and, rightly or wrongly, blames you for many of them. The waves of anger from her wont subside until the matters are laid to rest and that takes (ideally) co therapy where you allow her to voice the anger and just as important- your patience in allowing her to do so. It can also mend things when you express your love to her etc

You have no or little memory of inflicting anything untoward on her of what she claims, that's likely because you were not the victim, only the victim remembers and resents. Yes, there is also the possibility that she is exaggerating in her mind the seriousness of any abuse so I want to be fair to you. Typical kids conflict is often less conflict and more disagreement.

So you have a few choices at this point-

  • Organise a meeting in a neutral place like a cafe, park or similar. Discuss things then
  • Seek out counseling but unlike a couple it is fruitless unless she agrees to attend
  • Send her a card with a sweet message inside saying that you apologise for whatever ill treatment you gave her in childhood, that it wasnt meant and you desire to put it in the past so it isnt mentioned at any gathering again.
  • Take a break- a medium to long period.
  • using wit to counter comments (see below)

Using wit is not an easy process to master but it can be the most effective. See your sister knows you well. She likely knew each time she brings up the topic that you get hurt, even hopes you get hurts so you are punished. The secret with this process of wit is to nip the topic in the bud so after a few times she will know it is fruitless to continue her behaviour.


So the above thread is well worth reading. In your case lets test it out.

She says- "not to mentioned how my big sister bullied me when we played hop scotch"

Your answer- "children do that when there is an age gap, when are you going to move on"?


She says- "I'll never forget when you slapped me 5 times because I broke your doll"

You reply " you're lucky I forgave you for breaking my doll, when are you going to forgive me"?

Notice I always end with a question? That sends it back to her. In a way its semi ridiculing to achieve an end purpose.

Its better to not risk conflict at xmas and that means spending xmas with those that wont clash. Here its called "taking care of yourself". That's your priority.


Hmm...this is of course not the first time such conversations have been had...this event has never been raised before. From my perspective I would suggest that one person very rarely just deliberately inflicts pain on another. I would rather ask the question as to what was happening to bring me to violence...even as minor as scratching a hand in a car...

All of these comversations are aimed at me being diminished and brought to account for ancient history. I am probably the first in a very long line of people who have hurt her....me as a child dealing with my own childhood experiences. I have actually apologised to her before for the blanket 'childhood' issued. I am angry that at a time I am trying to put away unpleasant memories of my own..from childhood...its awfully convenient to place a mirror up to show me myself. I will need to think about my self management of this.