Your sister is supposed to be your best friend. No matter what you go through, she’s the confidant you can always count on; she’ll be your biggest cheerleader and best friend, and maybe, sometimes, your worst enemy. So letting go of one of the people you love the most is not easy.
I have always struggled to connect with my mom, though we no longer have a relationship but never with my older sister.
My sister had always been my role model, even though we were treated completely different. I’ve always wanted the best for my sister and always very proud to be her little sister. Not once did I ever wish anything bad to happen to her because her happiness is very important to me.
Since the day that my sister was born, she received all the love from everyone in the family, especially from my mom for being pretty, smart and very well behaved.
As we grew older and immigrated to Canada, I started to notice the changes in my sister’s behavior and attitude. The main reason being and until today is I got better in school, receive more attention (specifically from men) and overall, I’m doing better.
We’re both grew apart slowly, especially when she started hanging out with her new friends and then her boyfriend. She became less caring, condescending and sometimes purposely sabotaging when my life is doing well.
Simply put, she is happy when I’m miserable.
“Don’t hold on because you think there will be no one else. There will always be someone else. You’ve got to believe you are worth more than repeatedly hurt by someone who doesn’t care, and believe that someone will see what you are really worth and treat you the way you should be treated.” – Maya Angelou
The most critical moment that I realized my sister is no longer the person I used to love was when she posed this question to me: If my boyfriend, her and I go for a hike and my boyfriend and her would fall off the cliff, who would I save? My answer was her of course, not even thinking twice.
Sadly, her answer would be her boyfriend, now her husband. Her reason was that she has a life to live. From that moment, I started to make mental notes on everything she said and done. I finally recognized what people were telling me is true that she is jealous of me and that her life didn’t turn out the way my family expected from her.
I guess we’re both destined for different things and far better off apart. It was a painful journey to accept that our relationship just wasn’t meant to be. But finally accepting that truth and letting go of her was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done for myself.
You don’t have to keep toxic people in your life, not even your family. Moving on from your dysfunctional family relationships starts with some tough self-love and self-respect.
Growing Up Together Doesn’t Mean You’re Family
Many people feel obligated to keep their family in their lives even when they’re dysfunctional or abusive. Sometimes, parents will pull out the old idiom, “Blood is thicker than water,” but they only have half the truth. The full saying is actually, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” In other words, you choose your family in this life, and bloodline isn’t an excuse to accept abuse or maltreatment.
When you think of “family,” what comes to mind? It may be pain, heartache, yelling and constant disagreements. I grew up in a household that knew more tears than laughter, and I became painfully aware as I got older that my family was not what I wanted.
Letting go of someone who you grew up is very difficult not to mention the pain that comes with it. I was fortunate enough to make good friends who had healthy families, and I started to realize what family meant to me.
Now that I have a son, it becomes imperative for me to raise him well and that means creating a good environment for him to learn and to grow up in.
Family is support. Family is love. Family is acceptance, forgiveness, and encouragement. A person is your family when you know that they will support you through thick and thin; they will always act in your best interest, not their own.
Family isn’t easy to find in this world and if you’re fortunate enough to meet them, appreciate them.
Sibling Rivalry: Nobody is a Winner
Adult sibling rivalry is painful, demeaning and often mentally destructive. When you have a sibling who always cast a heavy shadow over you, you may constantly believe that you are not capable of achieving greatness. You can reach all you want, but you’ll never be quite tall enough to grasp what you want.
A Cornell University study found that out of 275 mothers with 681 children between them, 70 percent of mothers could identify a child they felt closer to. The mothers’ favoritism was linked to depression in adulthood.
Being the black sheep in my family, allowed me to see things as they are and give me the strength to overcome life challenges that my sister didn’t have. She was always told that she was smart, pretty and gifted. So, when things didn’t turn out the way they should, the result is intense jealousy, regret and self-loathing.
I guess that was why I have a lot of sympathy for my sister and as a result, I allowed her to mistreat me in many occasions so she could feel better about herself. I know some of you might ask me why I did what I did? Because I can handle it and she can’t.
What I learned from this is that not everyone can accept the truth and that life is changing constantly. If you can’t keep up, at least listen to what people have to say so you can change for the better. Unfortunately, not with my sister, she loves to tell stories why her life is the way it is and why I’m doing better than her.
We haven’t spoken for months now. In fact, she hasn’t seen her own nephew and she told everyone it’s my fault and she didn’t do anything wrong. I miss her every day but I need to stand my ground. Letting go of her is the best for me and my family.
Nobody is the winner in this type of situation. The best thing you can do is respect yourself to decide to walk away and hope that the person will one day come back into your life.
Just Like Baseball: Three Strikes and the Game’s Over
One of the things that I will always be grateful for is that I’ve never viewed myself as a victim from all the family drama that I grew up in. I strongly believe that was what truly saved me from messing up my life and turned out far better than anyone ever expected.
As we got older, I learned how to form some friendships and met my best friend in high school that I realized what a normal family was like. My best friend had a sister who was four years her junior and they were like two peas in a pod.
I wasn’t jealous; I was heartbroken. I had grown so accustomed to being ousted by my sister that the weight of the relationship we’d never had collapsed on me all at once.
I distinctly remember breaking down in my best friend’s bedroom when her sister came in and playfully teased her about stealing her favorite sweater. My own sister would have cursed me out and called me a thief before going to our mother, who would tell me to get my own clothes and stop trying to “be like her. You can’t.”
While my life is going right, I see my sister became more unconsidered and unhappy with her life. A victim of my family and my mother’s love, she constantly seeks validation for everything she does.
Letting go of loved one is not easy but you should it only when you’re ready and weigh all your options first.
A few months before I gave birth, I decided to give my sister the last chance to make things right between us.
I scheduled a sit down with my sister and told her exactly how I felt and everything that she has done that was wrong. Though I apologized for my part but the only response she gave me was: “I don’t remember anything you said I’ve done.”. The end.
One thing that I learned after my conversation with my sister ended is that no matter how much you want someone to love you, you have to love yourself first. And sometimes, that means choosing to live without them.
Truth Over Faking
As painful as it was, I decided that it was time to end our toxic relationship. Letting go of someone who you grew up with and looked up to is very hurtful and it’s not for everyone.
For me, I can’t handle the passive-aggressive comments, constant comparison and endless insults weren’t worth my sanity, self-esteem or happiness. Especially now that I have my son, I don’t want him to witness an unhealthy behavior between family members.
If you have a family like mine, chances are that you’ve always known things needed to end, but you never knew when to make that final call. Mine was my son.
It will never be easy, but acceptance is the first step and letting go should be your last option. If you’ve tried to reconcile and express your feelings only for things to stay exactly the same, then you know what you have to do for your own well-being.
It’s always worth giving things a try. But when you’ve lost track of how many chances you’ve given someone, it’s time to be honest with yourself, letting go and say your goodbyes. Things are never going to be the way you want. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, or that things would have worked out if you were just “good enough.”
You are enough. You always have been. It’s not your fault if your family can’t see that.
Put the Mask on Yourself First Before Helping Anyone Else!
There is a good reason why the emergency design on the airplane is to take care of yourself before aiding someone else. If you’re not well or alive, who can you help really?
Think about that for a second.
Letting go of a toxic family relationship is hard, but it can be the first step toward living a healthier, happier life. You may hesitate to let go of your family because “family is everything,” but what does yours really give you? If all you ever feel like with them is an outsider or a failure, are they really doing you any favors?
Belonging comes from a lot of different places, and it’s not limited to your blood relatives. If you don’t have a good family, it’s not your fault. But you deserve love, happiness and a sense of unconditional acceptance. You can find that, even if it’s not with the people who were meant to give it to you in the first place.