atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4271: The shifting sands

The "discussion" that my wife and I had with my sister yesterday has been impending for a couple of weeks, and my wife and I were dreading it. But I made several predictions about what my sister was likely to say, and to my wife's amusement I had correctly predicted everything my sister would haul out while attempting to bring me to heel.

Whenever you disagree with my sister--however reasonably--right away she raises her voice. If at any point you call her on it, she immediately accuses you of raising your voice first. This is the "volume not logic" strategy.

Any argument inevitably includes a recitation of things she's done for you, especially if she had to go out of her way to do it, even if no one would have faulted her for not doing it and she was not expected to do it. This is the "martyr" card.

She invokes all the problems she has in her life. If you respond with your own problems, she dismisses them by saying "That's not my fault." (Or "problem". Or she says, "EVERYONE has problems!") The point is, you are supposed to feel sympathy for her hardships but she is not required to consider any of yours. This is the "victim" card.

She will inevitably list every way in which you've wronged the people around you. This is the "you're an asshole" card.

If you remind her of something she said in the past which is inconvenient to her argument, without fail she will claim that you mis-remembered or mis-heard what she said. This is the "you have a poor memory" card.

She will also complain that everyone always blames her for the various problems that surround her. This is the "unjustly accused" card.

I had known all this beforehand, of course. It doesn't matter who she's arguing with or what she's arguing about; she always brings out every one of these. (I realized last night that the only one she didn't use--that she hasn't used for years--was her complaint about having to change my diapers when she was twelve.)

Part of the issue stems from the fact that she wouldn't tell us when she expected to arrive here. This is our home, and common courtesy at least would seem to suggest that even if you're saying "I'm coming to stay for four days and you don't have a right to stop me" you could be kind enough to let people know when to expect you.

After receiving her notifications early in June that she was coming, I called her to find out what was going on, and she told us she was coming "to visit". When I brought that up yesterday, she first denied saying it; when she realized that there was no way for her to sell that lie she then said "I'm not coming to visit you." She was actually upset that my wife and I cleared our schedules and ensured we had the weekend off, and she simply would not tell us when she expected to be here. Finally, we managed to extract a date from her...some four days before the date originally communicated to us.

My wife concluded--correctly, I think--that my sister must have been lying on one of the two occasions. Either she lied about coming on the 4th, intending to come on the first, or else she lied when she said she was coming on the first. Regardless, it demonstrates that this is an attempt to rub my face in how powerful she is, and that's all it is.

My older siblings talk a good game about how I should be more gracious and cooperative, but when the rubber meets the road they never walk the walk. Instead they bully, threaten, cajole, and punish. They have never cared about what I thought, nor do they ever take my desires into consideration. Any imposition on them is evil, yet they are free to impose on me at will. They ignore me most of the time, then accuse me of "shunning" them when I refuse an invitation; and if I do attend a function I must stay until they say it's okay for me to leave, else I am insulting them. They count all the insults against them, and never consider the insults given. And everyone else must always be the first to bend. It doesn't matter if I disagree politely or rudely; any resistance must be crushed utterly.

Ultimately I have to do what's right for me and my wife, though. Whatever my siblings think of that is their problem; they don't care about my problems and are uninterested in helping me surmount them, which is pretty much how things have been in my family for a very long time.

The only new thing my sister hauled out in yesterday's conversation was a threat to call her lawyer. That's a first; but I simply told her that if she was going to pursue legal action, she should consider other arrangements for her stay over the holiday weekend.

"Is she always like this?" My wife asked me.

"Yep, pretty much," I said with resignation.
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