From what I’ve read on medical blogs, interviews by Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and other earthly and literary figures such as Maya Angelou, acceptance tops the list among the things that human beings crave.
I have had the honor of being accepted into a lot of circles during my lifetime: dozens of friends, social groups, literary groups, networking groups, and especially those who have the same disability as me; being naturally deaf.
The only circle which I was never really accepted into was my sister’s family. If I knew the reason why, I wouldn’t be writing this article. It has taken me a number of years to finally accept the fact that her and her family do not want me in their lives.
My husband always said I was hard-headed; how it would take a few hits on the head with a brick to get a point across because I am relentless and stubborn. I’m an Aries–sue me.
I should have probably gotten the idea that my sister didn’t want anything to do with me while I was going through my divorce. “I’m here for you,” she would say, yet she was nowhere to be found when I sought her out. Busy schedules, kid stuff–you know; all of life’s everyday crap that gets tossed into the road of life. You navigate them like orange construction cones until you get to the end and then…
Your life takes on a different route. I wasn’t important to my sister any longer. What was important to her was her friends and her immediate family–in my opinion, that’s all that mattered.
I thought I was immediate family, but I guess I was wrong. I was her only sister and now I’m gone.
You see, there were a couple of promises I made to myself when I approached my 50th birthday. One of them was to not let my sister, nor anyone, claim superiority, or maybe it would be more like ‘entitlement’ when it came to me and my life.
Maybe I should back up a bit. My sister is three years older than me and has always been in charge. What I mean by in charge is that she ran the family business with my father, and she was named Executor of his estate when he passed on and had taken over the family issues.
My parent’s didn’t play favorites. I knew my father loved me unconditionally even though my sister was in his life more than I was. My mother, on the other hand, had told me on numerous occasions, “Your sister thinks her shit don’t stink.”
Really, mom? Can I get that on tape?
I’ll admit my sister had a more entitled lifestyle. She was, by all accounts, my father’s right hand girl. I remember when she strong-armed him to promoting her husband when my dad had his own business by threatening to quit if he didn’t do so.
She’s led a very comfortable lifestyle most of her adult life and as far as I know, has never had to deal with any type of adversity: divorce, serious illness, bad break-ups (her husband was her only boyfriend), crummy one-night stands, being a single parent, or being abused by your husband.
From what I know, my sister has led an idyllic life. Rainbows, butterflies and the yellow brick road. There were no orange construction cones to zig-zag through. No tolls needed to be paid. The top was down on the convertible; she breezed along in life raising her two children in perfect suburbia.
How can that possibly be? Doesn’t everyone have a bump in the road of life? Maybe she is just hiding those bumps because she doesn’t like to air dirty laundry (unlike myself).
So, when she and her husband arrived at a point in their lives with three homes on their hands, you’d think that maybe she would invite her sister up north, or down south. Or both.
She did. But, it was merely checking the box. She would ask us for dates to visit up north and then it was deafening silence (and I know what that sounds like). The last time me or my son were up north was when my son was probably ten or eleven years old. He’s twenty-one now. She and her husband took ownership of the house in the south back in 2008. It was my parent’s place, and I didn’t want it.
To sum it up, I’ve dated my husband since 2005. He’s never seen either place.
When I had my bi-lateral cochlear surgery back in 2009, she came to visit me on the day after my surgery when I was at home. I didn’t see her for months after.
When I was nominated as a HearStrong Champion, it was a very important and significant achievement for me. I invited my sister and her family to attend.
None of my family showed up except for my husband and two close friends (my son was away at college). The only family member to respond was my sister indicating that she had a business appointment. In truth, that really hurt my feelings.
I can’t answer for my sister’s behavior. Maybe it’s because she thinks I raised my son with a stricter hand than she would have preferred. It wouldn’t be a shock to me if this were the case.
When your sister goes behind your back and texts your son saying that she will pay for his Christmas presents, it kind of sets the parent of that child off–and not in a good way.
I had finally had enough of her entitlement. She was not my son’s parent. I was his parent, and I let her know it. She offered my son money for Christmas presents because she had thought he couldn’t afford it. However, if she had come to me first and discussed it, she would have realized that, indeed, he could afford the presents; just not at the amount proposed for the family Christmas Eve gathering.
But, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I asked her, “Do you honestly think that I would let my son sit with everyone else on Christmas Eve without opening up a single present?”
She said, “Yes, I do.”
If you aren’t wanted, why do you bother to keep trying?
Those three simple, yet powerful words told me how she felt about me. Those three words gave me the power to pull the trigger on the starter’s gun to accept the fact that I wasn’t accepted by her.
She is no longer in my life; it’s my choosing to do so because I do not need that type of negativity. I learned going through my divorce, well over ten years ago, that having negativity in your life is a terrible waste of time.
You have to shake it off like hot tar on the heel of your shoe. It isn’t easy, and it took me several years to learn this very valuable lesson.
Her son and daughter feel uncomfortable having lunch or dinner with me. They have un-friended me on social media, as well as their in-laws from my sister’s husband’s side of the family. My sister’s children are in their mid twenties and should be able to segregate the issue at hand. My son doesn’t have a problem speaking to his aunt; in fact, I encourage it. He should continue to be a part of their lives.
I suppose this just reinforces the different beliefs between my sister and me. I let my son form his own opinions. Perhaps her children have formed their own opinions, but in my eyes it is only based on what their mother has told them. Up until my decision to not see her anymore, my niece and nephew said they loved me.
It was all a ruse.
The learning of acceptance to not be accepted into something: at school, at work, socially, or in my case–family–is a tough road to travel. But, you need to constantly look on the bright side of the non-acceptance:
If you aren’t wanted, why do you bother to keep trying?
Acceptance should be a natural experience; one of love and the urge to help, give, and nurture. It shouldn’t be a constant struggle–an obligatory requirement–struggling to get your ass up off your living room chair to tend to the dreaded obligation.
I forgive my sister and her family for their feelings toward me. I wish them well in their lives; I just don’t want them in my life anymore.
Here are some good quotes to remind all of you that not being accepted is really okay: