“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
My next post was supposed to be about my most recent hip surgery, but I still have conflicted feelings about the whole thing at this point, and it’s a long story. I don’t want to speak about it till I’m in a more positive frame of mind. Right now I’m purposefully avoiding hip stuff just because I don’t want to be depressed.
Anyway. . . What this post is really about is my sister’s wedding. I was supposed to be the maid of honor. My sister told me that I have been so supportive of her throughout her life that she wanted to honor me in her wedding. I only have one sibling, and it is my little sister. I love her dearly, and that’s part of what caused these issues. I lived with my sister and her fiancee for two weeks after my surgery (Dr. Sink requires you to stay in the area for 2 weeks post-op), and I’m not going to go into specifics but I saw several things that really concerned me. First off, it was super nice of them to take me in for two weeks. Her fiancee is a good person, but based on what I saw and the things my sister has told me over the past few years (she often comes to me when she’s upset or distraught) I was worried about a few things. . . And from what I have seen, these issues only get worse after marriage. I talked to friends as well thinking maybe I was over-analyzing the situation, but some of them were even more upset than I was about the situation.
My ethical dilemma was this, do I say nothing, or should I tell my sister my concerns? I mean if her fiancee was beating her I would definitely be trying to get her help. I try to be a non-judgmental person because I’ve spent my whole life being judged by my parents and society in regards to my health issues, so I feel guilty about it from that perspective. I’m not perfect by any means, and neither is my marriage. How would I feel if my sister’s fiancee tried to convince her that our sibling relationship had a lot of problems. I probably wouldn’t be happy about it, but I would hope that I have the decency to understand he is coming from a place of love and wants what is best for my sister. Hard to say because I haven’t been in that exact situation. Anyway, I talked to my sister about it in private, and it went horribly. She got hysterical. . . I felt awful afterwards. I had decided at that point to not say anything else to my sister about it because my sister is marrying him, and if I say anything else it will just send her into a fit of anxiety and hysteria. There is some truth to the fact that I’m not the one marrying him. Who am I to say what is best for her? Maybe I’m not, but my gut instinct was pressuring me to talk to her about it.
I talked to my mom about it about a week later because I guess I wanted her advice on the issue. Well, I haven’t introduced my parents, but our relationship is rocky at best. I was actually very close to my mother until about 17 years old when I became anorexic, and I saw a side of her that was very cruel. My father has been emotionally abusive my whole life, and I was terrified of him growing up. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now. I don’t want to hurt my parents the way they have hurt me. My own mother has fueled my self-hate by being extremely critical of me at various stages in my life. When I was anorexic at about 18 years old she repeatedly told me I was evil, and tried to convince me that I was doing it for attention . My first bout of anorexia was at 10 years old. I have a natural inclination for self-punishment. It’s not for attention I assure you. And I will talk about anorexia at a later time because society’s view of anorexia is pretty messed up, which has heavily influenced my parents. And in the past five years dealing with EDS my mother has told me I have turned into a monster, that I’m making up my hip pain, my joints don’t hurt that bad, etc. If it is one thing you can do to hurt someone with a chronic illness, convince them that they are making their pain up. She did all of this at a time when I didn’t know I had EDS, a degenerating spine, a labral tear (MRI was negative), FAI, and an extremely complicated hip issue on the right (borderline version issues of femur and socket combined with posterior impingement caused by the greater trochanter). So I already felt like a failure, and had relapsed into anorexia at the onset of my health issues again from 24-27 because of my extreme self-loathing. Once again, she just added fuel to the the fire that I am constantly battling to keep from burning me alive.
Anyway, my sister told them her side of the story, so my mom was primed and ready to launch into an attack about what a horrible person and human being I am. At this point, I want nothing more to do with my mother. If I’m as horrible as she says I am, then I will gladly remove myself from her life. I don’t need her at this point. I have spent the past five years realizing she does more harm than good. I’m not a fake person either, I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m not. I’m worried if I go to the wedding there will be an epic family feud, and it will take away from my sister’s wedding. Her wedding is not about me, or my parents, it’s about her. So I told my mother I may not be going, and she told me that by not going I was proving to the world what a hateful person I was. And then my dad spent 2 hours trying to guilt me into going to the wedding, and how I would regret this day for the rest of my life. Oh, and the things I was worried about regarding my sister’s fiancee, they told me I should feel horrible that I even brought it up. To be honest, I don’t know how my parents can turn a blind eye to the issues, but given the way they have behaved I guess it doesn’t seem abnormal to them
Let’s go over what my parents have done to my sister. . .
1. My sister was overweight as a kid, and my mom put her on a diet. I can not tell you how damaging that was to her. She grew up average weight but always felt she was fat. She got swept into my second bout of anorexia, and I can’t undo that damage. My sister is kind of in remission from it, but she still has an unhealthy relationship with food. Anorexia is an addiction, and once you battle anorexia, you will be fighting it for the rest of your life.
2. When my sister and I were anorexic my dad repeatedly told us what f***ed pieces of shit we were, and how f***ing disgusting our skeletal bodies were. My parents refused to get therapy for either me or my sister. Not that we were asking. But that only intensified our self-hatred, and thus the anorexia got worse. We would seal ourselves off into a bedroom and my dad would regularly burst in with random lines of hatred. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish. If he was trying to help us, it was the wrong way to do it. I get that he was angry, but yelling at those who self-hate and/or self-punish for punishing themselves only makes the situation much worse.
3. My dad was emotionally abusive and while I got the brunt of it growing up, my sister got plenty. My dad has a horrible temper and flies off the handle pretty easy. I remember a fight my dad and I got into, and my dad punched a wall, and my sister was so hysterical and upset she ran away. My mom had to go find her. And there are a hundred instances like this. . .
4. My sister dated a guy that was a Communist/Athiest and my parents are both strongly Christian/Conservative. Now I did not like this boyfriend, and I’ll call him Boyfriend B. My sister totally changed the person she was to fit into his life. He made no effort to fit into hers. But my mom disowned my sister for it. She refused to see or talk to her, and this went on for a few years. My mom was in the process of writing my sister out of the will for it. One Christmas my sister really wanted to see my parents, and if I had realized how messed up the situation was (I see it now) I would have told her to ignore them. But I didn’t, and instead I let my sister stay with my husband and I, and I took her with us to celebrate Christmas Eve with some other family members. I was the mediator in between both my mother and sister during this time. The damage my mother did to my sister is irreversible and years later she still suffers from it.
5. My mother was upset she was living with her fiancee (boyfriend at the time) before marriage. She made up a contract for my sister and her fiancee to sign saying they would break up within the next year if they didn’t get engaged.
So yes mom and dad, because I give a damn about my sister and don’t want to ruin her wedding by attending (for fear of an epic fight breaking out), I am a horrible person who should feel guilty for the rest of my life about it. The damage you did to her that she still suffers from is water under the bridge. My sister is okayish with me not going. I explained that I am very worried an epic fight will break out, or it will be awkward as hell, and she doesn’t need that. My husband has a sibling getting married in Japan later this year, and I’d rather see them then my own family which hates me. I don’t know, I’m undecided at this point. I want what is best for my sister at this point, and I think me not going to the wedding is in everyone’s best interest.
And I realize there are people who go through things much worse than this with their family. My parents actually had pretty messed up childhoods, but I’m not ever going to discuss it because that is their private life, and they want it kept that way. That just goes back to the quote I posted earlier, every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way. My relationship with my mother is becoming very toxic for me, and if I continue I will likely relapse into anorexia. I have very loving and supportive friends along with my loving husband and kitties. I don’t want to hurt my parents, I just can’t deal with it anymore.
I remember when I was going to get married to my husband. I was actually in my early 20s at the time. His mother was very worried about me because the only time she met me was when I was anorexic. And you know what, I completely understood his mother’s concerns. She wanted the best for her son. They live in Japan so I had only seen them once prior to the wedding, and I was not a nice person. My husband’s mother loved him very much, and that is why she spoke up. I have grown a lot since my husband and I have gotten married. We have been married for 7 years, and I am continually trying to improve as a person and spouse.
Bottom line, I want my sister to be happy, and if she is happy marrying her fiancee, then I will be happy for her too. But I think going to the wedding is going to distract from my sister’s big day, and I want her to have a lovely day she will cherish forever.