I had issues with my two sisters and mom a while back and have used the model, deliberate thinking and acting as an emotional adult to get through this with your help. I don’t need to get into the conflict we had only to say that one of my sister’s and I have not spoken because if it. I’ve managed to resolve the conflict with my mom and other sister. They returned my calls and we’ve moved on. Coincidentally, I happened to call my Dad and my sister (who has not spoken to me) was visiting him and we spoke. This was our first conversation since our fight. I told her that I didn’t want to focus on past issues, we can’t change anything about it and to let’s move on. She agreed. A few weeks later she called me from my Dad’s (a little tipsy) and we had a great conversation. Following that, I texted her and called her and she didn’t respond regarding her plans to visit because she is the sponsor for my daughters confirmation. One night (having a little wine), I texted her and asked her why she hasn’t returned my call and to not just call me when you are drinking with Dad. She immediately got defensive. She said “She wasn’t drunk”. She was just having a nice time with Dad. The next day I texted her that I was sorry, that I was angry that she didn’t respond to my text or call. She told me to save the apologies. That she has decided to distance herself from me because of my “anger” when I sometimes drink. Her inappropriate behavior is always excused because “she didn’t mean it, she was just angry at the time”. My inappropriate behavior is due to my anger when I sometimes drink. Period. I told her I realize I have anger. I’m working on myself, I’m improving and I’m learning how to handle my emotions like an adult. I also told her that she never “owns” her own mistakes. She just can’t seem to return anyone’s phone calls. It’s been a real issue with my whole family. She has actually acted inappropriately many many times while drinking but because she doesn’t get angry it just seems to be ok. Ex. “It’s ok to kiss her husband’s best friend while drunk because they were going through a bad time”….this is a pattern with her.
She told me that she does admit that she deliberately was not calling and/or texting me because she is now “all of a sudden” is deciding to distance herself. I then asked her what the excuse was for not returning, Mom, Dads and everyone else in the family? She finally told me that all of her inappropriate behavior is because of me and that it was time to admit I have a drinking problem.
Now, knowing what I know through coaching, I know that I cannot control my sister. She gets to choose how she thinks and feels and act and I can’t do anything about that. I truly get that. I may slip sometimes but I learn and move on. That being said, I also get to think and choose how I feel and no one else gets to force me to feel a certain way. I am very comfortable respecting my sister needing her distance from me. She may be shocked by that because I used to depend on her so much. However, she now wants to rehash the original cause for the major conflict between my mom and other sister and I simply do not want to. I’ve listened to your podcast on “How to have a difficult conversation” and I do not want to sit down with my sister and rehash the entire sequence of events. Nor do I want to play the blame game. It would not solve anything because I know I should have handled things differently back then and if I did the outcome would be different. However, she did some manipulating things that she will never, ever apologize for. I’m always doing the apologizing. Plus, she agreed originally when we first spoke that we did not need to rehash things nor did she want to either. I did one week on her for my relationship this month and it has helped but I’m reluctant to send her a letter. (The one you suggested). I’m afraid of her response and I want to tell her that I seriously do not wish to rehash the past (she agreed) and I don’t want it to continue to resurface every time we may have a disagreement.
Do I send her the letter and also tell her that I respect her decision to keep her distance from me if she chooses? That I love her and to reach out to me when she feels like it? She places conditions on everyone. Especially my mom. She paid for my moms trip to Ireland on the condition that she behave herself. I tried to explain to her that you can’t place conditions on people and I don’t want to place conditions on her but I’m not going to rehash past issues anymore.