For Cedar or anyone: My dad did it again...

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Again, no excuse for me. I was a screwed up, depressed kid with no friends and jealous of my pretty, popular sister and my mother would not fight for Sis at the time.


No, that was not you, MWM. That is how your were taught to see yourself.

Here is a question, MWM: Who would you have thought you were, had you grown up with loving generosity instead of hate and jealousy and scarcity, with guidance instead of ridicule, teaching instead of judgment. What if you had been cherished for the wonder of your existence?

If there was depression, if there was jealousy, if there were ten thousand challenges...what if you had been taught to cherish your courage in the face of your challenges instead of to judge yourself, to see yourself in these so hurtful ways?

What if nothing had been expected of you, what if your presence brought joy and fulfillment and an absolute conviction that together, you and your family were just fine?

People do that, you know.

They have children who are challenging, and they love them, love them, love them anyway.

Who would you think you were as a child, if that had been the way you were taught to see yourself?

That is how you know where you need to heal. You never have to believe anything your family told you was true, ever again.

They lied.

They lied then, and they are lying, now. I still can't make sense of it. The difference this time is that I know they lie.

And that is all I need to know to disregard anything they tell me or expect of me or want from me.

There is no honor, there. There is nothing to disappoint. No one misses me because they don't even know who I am, MWM.

That is how I am thinking about things, these days. My New Year's resolution this year ~ in addition to continuing to be kind to myself, which was last year's resolution, and which had amazing results ~ was to become aware of negativity toward myself in my thinking. To become aware of those negative ways I had been taught to view myself. It was shocking, MWM.

But the result has been a loosening of judgment, and a burgeoning compassion for myself. I admire myself now for all the things I have come through, for how difficult this all has been.

I think one of the keys for me were the postings you and 2much do here on mental illness and personality disorder.

We grew up learning who we were, learning how to see ourselves and how to remember ourselves and our challenges and learning times and losses through their eyes, MWM.

They are cruel, maladjusted people who had no compunctions about using a child to act out their warped, power over mentality.

There never was anything terminally wrong with us.

Just imagine that.



Everyone gets to make mistakes, gets to make a thousand million mistakes. Consequences for our behaviors are natural things, and we all have experienced them. What most of us have not experienced is condemnation when we are vulnerable because we have made a mistake.

That is where we were hurt.

When we made a misstep. When we made a mistake, and felt badly already. I saw that in the way my family of origin responded to what happened to the family husband and I created. I see families where that kind of global condemnation did not happen. But those families were about love from the beginning, and were never about toxicity. When my father died and the weirdest, craziest things you could imagine happened in the following months, I was talking to a friend about it, about how ashamed I was. She said: "Dysfunctional family, dysfunctional death." All the patterns are going to be exacerbated, because there is much hay to be made and, according to my family anyway, only so much sun to shine. (I added that part.)

They told lies about my dead father, MWM. To justify and solidify their own positions, they told lies about my dead father. There was no honoring his life.

No obituary was allowed.

Isn't that something....

You have nothing in the world to be embarrassed about. That your family (like mine) can still run roughshod into our lives is a gift for us, if we will have it.

That is where we need to heal.

Knowing exactly where it is a gift.

We know how to heal. We know now how to love and accept and open. What we never knew is that it was okay to love and accept and forgive ourselves. We are still carrying the burden, the sense of failure, of not having been enough for our families.

Here is a secret: Just lately? I am realizing I am physically beautiful. I think what is happening is that I am seeing myself through my own eyes for the first time.

I wish I'd known.

But then, just lately, as I am healing and healing and healing, I am seeing beauty in each of us, in our eyes and in our manners and in our hurt places, and in our strength in the face of it all.




Well-Known Member
Cedar, thank you. You're right.

Just because I had challenges, I do think support and love and encouragement would have made me see myself differently so that I may not have felt the need to go along with how difficult sister treated my brother. After all, if my mother had shown unconditional love for me, I would have probably not felt I had to piggyback on sister for approval. Furthermore, if my mother had not said things such as "Stay thin" and "Girls don't have to be bright, they just have to be beautiful" perhaps my sister would not have been so acutely aware that my brother's illness made him look pretty strange and maybe she would not have made fun of him for the way he looked. Maybe we all would have been friends. Maybe, instead of a developing a so-far-life-long eating and body image disorder, my sister would value herself for who she is and not for how skinny she is or how pretty men find her. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

None of that happened, but I see why all of us were so desperate to be in anyone's favor. And so quick to make sure somebody with our DNA loved us. Brother was Golden Child. Perhaps if my mom had not kissed the floor he walked on, he would not feel SHE was the one who was victimized. There was no balance with her. We kids were all good or all bad and it affected us as children. And we all know that our childhood follows us through our entire lives.

We, on this board, have differently wired children and we still love them.

Thank you for this clarity. I never thought of it before. I just thought about how I became the black sheep because I was difficult with problems beyond my control, but, in the back of my mind, I thought, "Because I was bad." I wasn't bad. I was a little girl who needed guidance and coping skills and nobody saw it except for my grandmother. Or they didn't care.

This post you gave me was a gift. Thank you again. I will always think this now when I tell myself, "You were a rotten kid and that's why you were the black sheep."

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I just thought about how I became the black sheep because I was difficult with problems beyond my control, but, in the back of my mind, I thought, "Because I was bad." I wasn't bad. I was a little girl who needed guidance and coping skills and nobody saw it except for my grandmother.

You were a little girl.

Something precious, and so rare.

You may have needed guidance and coping skills...but so does every child.

That is why we have children! To love them where they are, and to be part of their unfolding, to be part of the miracle that life is.

What you surely needed, what we all need, or we will not thrive, was to be valued for exactly who you were, and to be cherished and respected for who you became.

The phrase that can stop me, every time (this is especially true around writing, around that whole beautiful dream of writing and of being a writer) is:

"Who do you think you are."

Beautifully parented children would be able to respond: "I don't know. Let's go see!" There again, if we can listen and hear it, that is where children who were victimized into carrying family dysfunction can learn to heal.

"Who do you think you are."

The answer, of course, is that none of us knows, until we try ~ but we are hard-wired, as Brenne Brown writes, for challenge.

Hard wired.

That is how I know we can come right through this with flying colors, MWM.

Cedar, I WAS screwed up back then. I can't believe I went along with her. Yet my brother forgives her and is mad at ME in an unforgiving way.

Our families-of-origin continue to be deadly. We need to stay away.

Unless I am wrong, your sister is manipulating your brother.

My sister and I had made a pact when we were younger.

It was my sister who came up with it.

The pact was that we would forge a loyal, loving relationship despite the way we'd grown up. So, through all the strangnesses over the years, I kept choosing to honor that pact and not take it seriously. Once my father had died and my mother was there with my sister, my brother would ask and ask me whether I had heard, how was our mother, when was she coming home. I was not hearing from them either, except sporadically.

So, I told my sister she had to keep contact with this brother at least once a month. I reminded her of the pact we had made. When she refused, I told her I expected her to do this, and would accept nothing less.

And she exploded all over Facebook private messaging with the nastiest language and sentiments! She simply refused. She was too busy. She had a thousand things to do and could not be bothered and etc.

When I called her on the language she was using?

She blamed it on the devil.

Isn't that something.

And my mother got nastier and my brother kept (and continues, as far as I know) to try to do the best he knows for my mother. And time passed, and the upshot is that my brother is not talking to either sister.

And I don't blame him and think he is very healthy in that choice.

Our families of origin reflect images as distorted as funhouse mirrors, MWM. There is nothing there to trust. In our healing, we first need to learn to disbelieve how we have been taught to see ourselves and one another.

Here is an exercise. It's purpose is to ferret out and confront unrecognized self condemnation attached to our names.

Write each phrase twelve times.

"I, name, am the beloved daughter of the Most High God."

"She, name, is the beloved daughter of the Most High God."

"You, name, are the beloved daughter of the Most High God."

You will be surprised at the results.



Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
So, through all the strangnesses over the years, I kept choosing to honor that pact and not take it seriously

Okay, so what I meant was that I did not take the weird things my sister would do seriously. I believed she meant what she said. Turned out it was another game, and it worked beautifully. I was in her corner.

For Heaven's sake.

I just don't get it that people like that lie. It made perfect sense to me that we would make a pact of trust and loyalty.

Anyway, I wanted to clarify that.



Well-Known Member
Thanks again for a beautiful post that showed more clarity to me.

I am glad me and my sibs did not make a pact. It would not have worked, just as yours didn't. It is too hard to deal with members of your DNA collection when you have been twisted against one another, when you are all clamoring for attention and approval from the same person who gives it to some and not the others and when you have been brought up to turn against one another.

In our family of three kids, my sister would have made that impossible. First she turned venom on my brother, then on me. I could not have controlled her. She was pretty young when she started doing that stuff and with each cut off and each dramatic call to the cops, I trusted her less and less. Now a normal person would have been leery of her the first time she did a cut off or called the cops. But I was desperate to be liked by somebody in my DNA collection. So she had many chances with me, but each cut off made me see her less and less as a good person, while I was a "bad" person, and more and more as screwed up. She held a lot of herself in until her divorce and then she let me get a good glimpse at her. This is what I saw.

You have to understand, I have a very strong moral code so it shocked me, whereas it may not have shocked somebody else.

The first person my sister took up with, after the divorce, was a married man. In her opinion she was just using him for sexual experience, but I could tell she really liked him and if he didn't call her, he could make her cry. I was horrified that she was dating a married man. I didn't care if his wife didn't know. I didn't care if he was doing it too. I didn't care if other people did it. I cared that my sister was doing it. He was lying to his wife and she was daring to go to church yet go out with this married man and have sex with him. And she never did see anything wrong with it. It taught her about sex. He was GOOD at it and she had had twenty years with her sexually inept ex. He was her teacher. Screw his wife and child. Yes, he also had a two year old child. But who cares?

Yay, it's all about her. She is a lot narcissistic, although I did not see it until in hindsight. I didn't WANT to see it, me you don't date a married man. Only a sleazeball does that and doesn't even have a pang of regret or thought for the wife. Made me sick. I had to listen to her mantra about him until she found somebody else. She could not be without a man. She thought it was normal to not be able to be without a man. She thinks most woman are like that. Maybe they are.

About her second lover, whom she claimed she had fell madly in love with. All I can say about him was, although he had alcohol blackouts and was neurotic and abusive and would never let her go, at least he was single...lolol. What a mess she is, still dieting below 100 lbs. at 55 years of age. Sad. She is a sad person. And she judges And once I

Oh boy. I get tired when we started talking about our mutually dysfunctional families-of-origin. I feel really badly for you because you were so nice. Honestly, I wasn't as nice as you. I was just...needy to have certain people in my family like me.

I still have the last text conversation with my sister. I had gotten so sick of hearing about abusive boyfriend that I finally set a boundary and said I could not stand to hear about him anymore. He was going to hurt her some day...hello, he was already hurting her all the time and she could date her forever if she wanted, but I didn't want to hear about him anymore.

Her: But he's a big part of my life. You're trying to control me.

Me: I'm setting a boundary. (Now in a way a boundary is control. Oh, well. I was doing what I needed to do for me.)

Her: If you won't listen to me talk about him, then I can't talk to you.

Me: That's your decision.

(This above conversation was a combination of many and not word for word, but it was the cause of the last cut off).

I have not heard from her since, except for those phony two texts about my health, which I'm sure she worries about endlessly...lolol.

I don't want to know what she's doing or who she is doing it with. I feel like throwing up hearing details of relationships with married men and abusive, alcoholic lovers (that she claims aren't alcoholics). It was an every day update. Even she knew they were not good men, but I guess part of her sickness is jerky men and an inability to care about the wives of married men. And, of course, not being able to be without jerky men. Now no matter how mean Jerky Lover was to her, she never ever cut him off. Nope. But she cut ME off at least ten times, if not more. So it was very deliberate and personal and mean and really just for me. Or maybe if you are a man, married or jerk or not, and she finds you hot, then you can REALLY abuse her and she will never cut you off. She will never call the cops. Not even when you try to break up with him and he shows up at your work (stalking?"). Nope. She didn't cut the married jerk off or the unmarried jerk. She just cried when they hurt her. I call it karma.

I always did find it interesting that JerkI and II could insult her to no end all the time and she never ever told them "I'm not talking to you for a year." She just did that to me for offenses that were much less....offensive. The claws were out, but only for me. But, again, she is getting a taste of it herself now and I'm not crying for her.

Blah!!!! Gotta go now. Getting tired. Thank you so much for helping me see the way it is and why we are what we are and did what we did.

by the way, this time my letter and pictures didn't work and Dad is still not calling me. I just thought about that. Well, that is his decision. I'm going to sleep :) Have a good night, my friend.
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Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
But I was desperate to be liked by somebody in my DNA collection.

You were raised to feel this way. Even a parent cannot run a victimizer's game without a victim.

Some one of the siblings would have taken that victim role. The others would take the other roles and the family dynamic would be acted out that way. Whether the dynamic is healthy or not, that is what happens. That is why some families are loving and accepting and highly ethical.

Family roles, good or bad, are intergenerational things, like family identity.

The siblings act out as they have been taught to act out. Negative, destructive roles are toxic, and create imbalance.

And so, some families fall apart.

There is nothing personal about it.

I am two years older than my sister. I think that adds a sting to the dysfunction in the family. I think the oldest child (who does tend to feel protective, and who does tend to have authority over and watch over the younger ones) becomes an acceptable target for hostility that cannot be directed toward the parent.


I don't know where else the hostility that fuels all this could be coming from. I do know that it seems bottomless, and that it is a very blatant thing, once you see it for what it is.

I acknowledge that I have hostility too.

Boy, do I.

Mostly, I have regret. I wish it could have been so different for us.


You have to understand, I have a very strong moral code so it shocked me, whereas it may not have shocked somebody else.

My sister sees her mates through eyes like that, too.

I heard her telling someone one time that I was "Minnesota married". That meant I didn't see my marriage the way she and her friends saw theirs. To me, it seems (so far in my life, anyway) that a betrayal of trust is a betrayal of trust. If the marriage cannot be pulled together, then you leave the marriage and then you can do whatever you want to sexually or any other way. For me, the whole relationship thing has to do with trust, I think. I think I do not believe in "love". I believe in warmth and laughter and stability, I think. If someone wants to go away from me, that is fine.

If I want to go away from them, that is fine.

But I don't like gossip or slimy game playing very much, and tend not to play with those who do. We all have our challenges to overcome. It is difficult enough to try to figure out what decent is without acting like jerks ourselves.

And I still do act like a jerk sometimes, of course.

But I try to honor a contract.

And I try to do the things I say I will do.

The claws were out, but only for me.

Maybe the capacity for real love between siblings in dysfunctional families can only be realized if everyone understands and rejects the roles they were forced to grow into. My sibs and I did alright until my father died. (Alright would look nothing like normal. I just mean that the roles were not questioned. We did not see one another often.) When my father died, my mother told everyone who would listen how bad my father had been, and how he was the source of the dysfunction in the family.

So she was forgiven, and was given protection and a period of grace to work her really wicked little nasty games.

Turns out the poison was in my mother, all along.

And that she prefers it!

Ha!! I still cannot understand how that could be satisfying. But, there you have it.

People do not change.

Really, I think I have not changed, MWM. I just don't want to be the who they insist I must be, to be in relationship with them.

Maybe they are the right ones, and I am wrong.

I too am finding that the longer I am away from them, the less I miss them, except in the way I always missed having decent family.

The key now is that I want it decent, or I don't feel responsible for trying to create decency or love or even, the appearance of family.

That is what forgiving ourselves is about.

We are never going to change them.

You told me that, once.

I found it so helpful.

My family is toxic.

My job (Should I choose to accept it, as they say in Mission:Impossible) is to heal as much of the hurt as I can, and to be aware of and not pass it on as much as I can.

We are doing just fine, MWM.



Well-Known Member
Cedar...thanks again. I like the idea that my sister, who is 6 1/2 years younger than me, could see me an authority figure for rebellion as she would not dare cause discord with mother, whom she craved love from (she did not realize that for my mother love had conditions on it).

I have stopped wishing that my family was different, at least in a wistful way. When I married my first husband, honestly what attracted to him the most was his warm, close family. I adored his mother. She became my role model...thankfully I look to her still, even though she has been in that other world for so long...I think about how she treated her family and I try to be like her. I could never be that gracious or tactful or likeable, but I CAN treat my adult children the way she treated hers. I CAN treat their significant others the way she treated me. She was a blessing. I'm sure she's an angel now.

I think, after my first marriage ended in divorce, and I remarried my now husband, a lot of my hostility left me and I transferred the idea of "family" away from the scary DNA collection of my origin to the family I had with my husband and children. It wasn't perfect. Goneboy left (of course he came to us late and under unusual circumstances so I was able to accept it). Other than that, my husband and children were wonderful and loved me and I felt that empty pit in my stomach that used to be a part of my life fill up and disappear. I no longer feel that emptiness where love should be. This made it possible to stop trying to get love from at least one person from my DNA. I can't play games anymore. I'm tired of it.

If I have a flaw that I'm not inclined to try to change, it is my strong moral code. I am very flexible. I don't judge, for example, gay people. I think of them like I think about any person. I do not judge people who are different or disabled or not attractive. I have a tendency, from years of my mother's "fat" obsession ringing in my ears, to judge overweight people, although I have been grossly overweight too. I do try to control and not judge weight. I try to judge heart. However, I do judge those who cheat on their spouses or date married people. It makes me sick. Half these people also claim to have good I can't think of anything worse than contributing to the destruction of a family, which is what any cheating is about. That was a hard time to talk to Sis. I don't know how I got through it. Yet I did. Then when she pranced on to another fool, even though he was unmarried, I couldn't take it anymore. Did she not have any moral? Any honor? Any caring for anyone's needs but her own?

I also tend to judge harshly those who drink too much and I feel sister would drink or be with drinkers then get into trouble because they were all sloshed then whine to me about it. Yay, well, when you are all drinking, somebody's husband may try to feel you up. You don't like it? Don't hang with drinkers. That's the solution. If you still want to, guess what? It will happen again. I have a low tolerance for people who do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I'm not even sure she didn't like the attention, even though they were drunk. She did like any male attention she could get. Her looks seem to be a huge part of her identity (which goes along with her lifelong eating disorder that she thinks she has licked).

I sure got off track. Now that I finally know and understand my sister better, it is freeing to me to post about the stuff she did that I felt was so wrong, yet I listened to her talk about it ad nauseum.

Back to that family of origin. Yes, I craved a better one once. Not anymore. I feel I am stronger for having survived that degree of dysfunction and that what I have now is better. Secretly, I feel that, in the sibling, race, I won. I have the loving husband of twenty years, the loving and great children, the cute grandchildren, the whole nine yards. And my sister? She doesn't have what she wanted the most when she left her marriage. My brother is content, but he also doesn't have a family. He is an adored teacher, but has never had a long term significant other (or any at all, as far as anyone knows). He has been ill with Crohns which I consider on a par with my mental illness. No better, but no worse. He allowed his illness to keep people at bay. Thank God I did not do that. Thank God I let others in because they are wonderful.

Thank God YOU are on this board. I feel like I should pay you for psychiatric services ;) You rock for listening to my ramblings and for your awesome, awesome, wise and brilliant feedback. Thank you for being my board friend.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Did she not have any moral? Any honor? Any caring for anyone's needs but her own?

After my father's death, we saw the same kinds of behaviors ~ the need for male approval, blatant playing off of one child against the other over who would get my father's expensive toys, favoritism of grands and a kind of basking in the glow of new widowhood, from my mother. There was a time I would not let myself see what I saw.

But it was very disturbing, and got to the point that my mother would say the strangest things about jealousy between my sister and myself, and rotten things about D H (and whichever child of mine or my sister's ~ or, my brother's, was messing up, currently).

She was just very mean about everyone, including her own friends.

Alot of resentment, and of using people.

And yet, my mom can be the cutest little thing you ever saw. But she is not someone you would want to let your guard down around, ever.

And then, I could see how similar my mom and my sister are, in their views of the world and how it works and what matters.

Could it be the same genetic thing with your family of origin, MWM?

I swear, sometimes my family is just mean to be mean. It's like they rip into anyone they perceive themselves to have power over, and they see the world in just that way.

The exaggerated eye roll is big, at my sister's house.

So hurtful!

But to watch, and to know what I am seeing without covering it or excusing it or feeling the need to do anything about it at all, that is what forgiving myself means.

Like me, they are who they choose to be.

That does not mean I have to like it.

Nor do I require myself to wrap my heart around them, somehow.

I am still surprised at some of the things I know. But even over time, they do seem to be true things.

Isn't that strange.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Now that I finally know and understand my sister better, it is freeing to me to post about the stuff she did that I felt was so wrong, yet I listened to her talk about it ad

You know, I did this too.

I really hadn't see it that way. I always listened, always encouraged.

It was the same with my mom.

She actually asked me one time whether she should use this certain man she had already, in my opinion, used quite extensively.

I wonder why they do that?

It always felt like they wondered what was the right thing, and really did not know.

Not that I do either, but I am usually honest about how I see a thing.

You rock for listening to my ramblings and for your awesome, awesome, wise and brilliant feedback. Thank you for being my board friend.

Aw, you're welcome, MWM. I feel the same about you. We share at such deep levels here, and seem drawn to those who can help us. I can see myself so clearly in your situations, but without the sting of that family of origin judgment, and so, I can heal.

I think it is the same for you?

We heal to the degree that we are honest about where it hurts, I think.

Both you and I have been so fortunate. This Board has been a gift for me. I am really happy to be here.

Thank you, MWM, for all you have done to help me see myself in a different light, too. Together, we are healing, and we are so lucky! Maybe there is someone reading along who is healing too, from what we share.

What an extraordinary thing.




Well-Known Member
I hope we are helping other people too. It is so painful to feel your "family" is blaming you for everything that goes wrong and that you feel they are right. It's gaslighting, of course.

I do see genetics in here. That's why, after Bart, I decided never to have any more biological kids. I saw the genetics thang early on.

I did not really see how my sister was abusing me with her golden double standard either. In fact, as obvious at this double standard is, I didn't see it until a month or so ago. Although she will cut me off and call the cops if I try to find out why she cut me off (assuming I don't know and want to know), she will put up with real, mean, constant abuse from any man she finds hot, her friends after they have been nasty to her, my father (I smell money, honey), and anyone. I'm the only one who gets her cut offs these days. Actually she has always saved them for people in our family-of-origin. She would never cut off a man..lolol. No matter how mean Married Man and Abusive Boyfriend were to her, she COULDN'T cut them off. She loooooooooooooved them. A few months before the last cut off, she was bullied and tossed around by her group of drinking buddies that are her friends. They even defriended her on FB!!! The horror of it all!!!! Well, she forgave them. I think I am the target of her frustration. She is often mistreated. This is a fact. She, however, is choosing to hang around with toxic people who abuse her and is choosing to keep hanging in there for more. So then there's Sis who she can cut off, and make feel bad, so there!!!!

Maybe I was too nice to She liked people better if they were deliberately malicious most of the time.

I consider myself her dart

We are done. I miss her from time-to-time because, when she is not being a total arse, she can be fun and we do share a family. But most of the time I'm glad she is gone to be abused by her many other abusers, whom she allows to do it.

It has been a week and Dad hasn't called me, even with the letter, which he only got because I am not going to kick a ninety year old to the curb. He may never call me again. This is his choice. I can't worry about it (and don't).

We are certainly helping one another heal. I'm so glad that I can help you, like you help me. Together we will continue to stand strong :)

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
A few months before the last cut off, she was bullied and tossed around by her group of drinking buddies that are her friends. They even defriended her on FB!!! The horror of it all!!!! Well, she forgave them. I think I am the target of her frustration. She is often mistreated. This is a fact. She, however, is choosing to hang around with toxic people who abuse her and is choosing to keep hanging in there for more. So then there's Sis who she can cut off, and make feel bad, so there!!!!

"She is often mistreated."

MWM, I could be a thousand flavors of wrong here, but this is what I see: Your sister is consumed by jealousy. She is like the spoiled little girl driven insane through usurpation of her role as golden child in the movie, "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane."

In the movie, the younger sister (portrayed by Bette Davis) who was a spoiled brat of a child movie star literally goes insane over the talent and adulation given the older sister who, during their childhoods, was seen as nothing, was discounted, victimized and ignored in favor of the movie star child.


How does your D H think about your sister? My D H was so disgusted with my sister for years and years. I didn't care. I believed he was wrong. As I healed, my D H was my witness to the wrongness, the out of balanceness, of my relationship to my sister. My D H swore my sister was jealous.

I flat out did not believe it.

My D H was correct.

Though there is no thing, no specific wonderful thing (and for sure, with what has happened to our children, there is nothing to be jealous of there) for my sister to be jealous of. There may be nothing for your sister to choose to be jealous of and hateful about either, MWM. I think we are not discussing normal people, when we talk about the members of our families of origin. My sister chooses to see me through a film of jealousy so she can hate.

I just happen to be the person in the way.

There is nothing personal about what they do, MWM.

Do not believe anything you learned there.

I began it by looking for the hurt places. I found anger, and I found that I had been stepping back, had been making excuses for, had been allowing the power over games, for all of my life. I saw too the times I was pursued and broken intentionally.

I saw victimization.

It was nothing personal to me.

I was just in the way.

This sister is on her third husband. He was chosen carefully.

That is all I will say about that.


Toxic people tend to interact with other people who are toxic. If her friends are toxic, your sister may be much more ill, and very much more unhappy, than you suspect, MWM. Like me, you may not be allowing yourself to see it because your role was caretaker.

If her role were to be given a name, it would be "Tormentor".

Calling the police on a sister would leave the sister feeling like there was something wrong with her, of course...but MWM no sane person calls the police in the way you have described your sister doing repeatedly.

Are you sure you are the only one she is mistreating?

Could it be that you believe (like I did) that whatever my mom or my sister did, that was "just mom" or "just sister"?

I too believed my sister and mom were bright, popular people. Whatever reality demonstrated instead, I continued staunchly believing each of them was bright and popular in her circle. But what I learned going through this is that what each of them told me about their lives and their friendships was incorrect.

Or maybe, they literally don't know.

After my father died and I was more a party to my mother's life, my mom befriended or was befriended by, a very nice lady her own age. The lady had been a psychotherapist. A helping person, in other words. Watching the friendship deepen, hearing my mom talk about this lady behind her back while she used her to travel more comfortably, hearing her talk about the things she had told this or that mutual friend about the woman to isolate her from the group they both participated in was chilling. Watching my mother and my sister do the eye roll thing about this woman, understanding that they were being mean together about the "friend" was wrong, what my mother was doing.

I could see the wrongness regarding this innocent friend but I would not let myself see it where I was concerned.

To the friend's face, my mother was wonderful and supportive. I am sure the woman did not know my mother was working to ostracize her behind her back.

And here is the thing: There was no reason for my mom to do that. The woman was just a woman like anyone. Kinder than most, a little more naive than most, because as I said, she had been a psychotherapist. Her husband had been a minister.

I'm telling the story MWM because to watch this happen taught me important things about my mother and my sister.

What they do is nothing personal.

There was no benefit to my mother to treat her friend so badly behind her back. There was absolutely no benefit to my sister to treat the friend with contempt, to eye roll and ridicule her among themselves.

And yet, they did those things to an elderly, recently widowed, woman.

I wonder whether there is evidence in your sister's interactions too, of her illness.

And in your mother's.

The toxicity is not bigger than you. You are and have always been, the strong one. And MWM? I think you were made to believe things about yourself that were never true.



Well-Known Member
Cedar, thanks again.

If my sister is in any way jealous of me, she hides it. I think she is more in competition with me and she thinks she won. After all, her mother (I guess she was mine too) loved her, after she began to flatter her and married a man who did. She went to college and I didn't. She was always prettier than me, although she has also always been anorexic, but I truly believe she thinks she has a body that men want BECAUSE she is barely there. You can not convince her that she is still anorexic. I just think she is unhappy and takes her unhappiness out on the nearest target that she feels won't screw up her social life. First it was my brother and grandma. Then my dad for a bit. Actually, I think it may have been Dad who dumped her for a while. This was common in our family, although Sis did it the most. After she buddied up with her mother, she could find favor with her mother by picking on me and she did...over and over again.

The first cut off lasted three years. Why? Well, ten years before she cut me off, my sister thinks I told my mother some bad things about her (which I did, but not for th e reason she thinks) to make my mother think less of her. That wasn't my main reason, although yeah, there was a little of that there. But 90% of it was that I was angry that my mother was treating my sister, like shiot. After all, my sister was still in college and my mother would leave her alone on Thanksgiving to go run to her new squeeze's house. And she did not want to pay when my sister was told she may be very sick and I was fuming at my mother. But if I tell that to Sis, she says, no, I just wanted to make her look bad. Ok, so say I wanted to make her look bad. That is worth a three year cut off, TEN YEARS LATER???? On the other hand, Married Man, Abusive Boyfriend and Drunking Buddy friends were cruel to her over and over again and she didn't toss THEM out of her life. Hmmmmmmm. Well, I do think it is personal, but I no longer care. I just see it with clear eyes. It IS personal, but it's not MY problem, it's hers. I wonder who she picks on now. She has run out of people. And I know she is still going back to her abusers.

Perhaps she is jealous...that I have freed myself of my abusers? That I am happy? That's possible. She does have three seemingly very nice kids...not that she spends much time with them between boyfriends, but my kdis have had a lot more issues than hers have. I don't think it's jealousy. I think it's plain old fashion meanness. The little kid inside of her that still gets hurt by her own choosing needs a scapegoat. And she can drag my brother along too. Not that the two of them are that close. They don't see each other much.

Your mom and sister, talking trash about that poor nice lady, remind me of my family of origin too. My mom used to do it all the time. She especially picked apart every boy I ever dated and all my friends. To my knowledge, she had no friends. Sis makes so much fun of her "friends" that they'd hate her and dump her if they knew. These are all just nasty, petty people who make themselves feel bigger by putting others down.

Dad still hasn't called. Maybe I will be free of my entire DNA collection. I have no idea if he will call again. My guess is, being dramatic, he called my sister to yell at her for letting me know that she knew and they got into a huge fight and he is either sick of us both or just mad at me. I have no given it too much thought. Just here. Just when we do our "therapy."

I am so glad you're on this board!!!!! Thanks for the input again.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I think she is more in competition with me and she thinks she won.

I used to think this way, too. But here is the question: Were you in competition with her? The answer is no. You will say yes, of course there was competition ~ as I would have, before I began to see what was really there.

When our families are deeply dysfunctional, nothing is what it seems and nothing is normal.

There is such a thing as normal competition between sibs ~ and then, there is cold hatred. There is getting only what you need; there is everyone getting enough. And there is excluding the other sibs, who don't feel real to you anyway, so you can have or can hate and dominate, the mother ~ which would be the ultimate win.

It has nothing to do with the other siblings. They are not real. (Perhaps this is how your sister could view her own brother as too ugly to be part of her wedding. His suffering or his triumph over his illness means nothing to her because he is not real.) It is about capturing and destroying the source of power ~ the dominant person in the parents' marriage.

I don't know why.

That is why, if ever my brother turns his back on my mother, I will step in. And that is probably also why, though our mother really treats him badly and is downright nasty about his grandchildren versus my sister's grandchild, my brother feels he needs to watch over his mother.

At bottom, everyone understands even the sickest family dynamic.

We only pretend we don't.

When I married my first husband, honestly what attracted to him the most was his warm, close family. I adored his mother. She became my role model

I love D H mom, too. Right to this minute, I love her, I like her, I am fond of her. One time? My mom was so rude to myself and D H. I posted about it here, at the time. We called D H mom and "told" on my mom.

It was terminally cool.


my sister, who is 6 1/2 years younger than me

Is the sister a middle child?

She went to college and I didn't.

Go now.

It is best to face the lies you have been brought up believing.

Take a painting class or a writing class or a history class. Having gone to college only means we were fortunate enough to have been able to go. It is not hard. It requires a time commitment, but it is not one bit hard.

Okay, statistics is hard.


Or, begin taking classes online. There is knowledge about every single thing out there on the internet, at whatever depth you wish to take it, for free. You only need to pay if you want those credits for a degree.

It's fun. I have taken two online classes, for no reason at all but that I wanted to know. You interact with your instructor, and there are many online sources of information if you have questions or need examples.

She was always prettier than me

I wonder whether this is true.

I know for certain that appearance is an issue in families only when it represents a kind of currency ~ of power over.

And you know power over is all about getting the victim to believe lies.

I suspect you believe it, both because your sister wanted so desperately to be better (prettier) than you, and because you were the older sister, therefore gentler and more responsible. But more than anything, I think you were taught to see yourself as this sister needed you to see yourself to keep whatever fragile peace existed there.

Remember when I posted, on this thread, that I realize I am physically beautiful, and that I wished I had known? Nothing about my appearance has changed.

I can see, now.

I am so surprised. This is an unfolding event, for me. I am dreaming about it. It is the strangest thing. There are so many reflections of self that were formed during times of abuse. These are the places we can heal, MWM. When I dream those faces, even in my dreams, I am kind. I see them. I show them true things.

And I am healing.

Believing things that ultimately do not matter (like appearance) carry enormous weight is an indication that something is not right. Add your sister's anorexia. That appearance means something to the sister tells me you are probably more attractive ~ and you know yourself beauty is not just a matter of the outside of a person. Mostly what I know is that, between sisters and brothers, who is more beautiful, other than being a source of pride for the whole family, should not be an issue. If is is a real issue, replete with hurt and defenses and odd little happenings, then you can go there and find where you will be able to heal.

My sister has a picture of the two of us in her bathroom.

I have pictures of my sister, and of my sister and I, in my house?

But not in my bathroom.

So, I am on her mind alot, it seems.

There are no other pictures in her bathroom.

Just the one of my sister and me.

It isn't that they are bad, MWM. We aren't about condemning our sisters, but about healing ourselves. To do that, we need to see clearly who we have been led to believe we are, and why that is what happened instead of something else, of something better and sweeter and more real.

The deepest regret I have about my sister is that we never swung on the roof of a restaurant down here and watched the sun go down together.

We never did that because my sister did not want that.

When she and her husband were invited to a condo we had on the beach for awhile there, they left early so they could go down the beach and choose the better condo they would have rented, had they intended to rent a condo on the beach.

And then?

She told me that is what they had done.

It was the strangest thing.


I love my sister, really.

I even love my mom, too.

But as it is with our difficult child kids, we need to be wary, and we need to be wise, and we need to keep our wits about us or we will go right down the tubes for nothing that makes sense.

It feels rude to tell the truth, but it is better to know.

Especially if your sister is so much younger than you, you must love her deeply. There is something wrong with her though, MWM. In healing yourself, maybe you will be able to help her heal, too. That is what they say. That if one member can become healthier, the others may choose, a space has been made for, something healthier for them, too.

But first we have to see, and that is a hard thing.

Everything is all wound together ~ hurt and defensiveness and shame and that feeling that we are not enough, that we were never enough.

That is how is it for me, anyway.

I will probably never believe I am enough.

But I am okay with that. Well, I am working on being just fine with it. There is a Buddhist practice that goes like this: Picture yourself exactly where you are in great detail. Then, forget you are there.

That is how we become present.

Works for me.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I just think she is unhappy and takes her unhappiness out on the nearest target that she feels won't screw up her social life. First it was my brother and grandma. Then my dad for a bit. Actually, I think it may have been Dad who dumped her for a while. This was common in our family, although Sis did it the most. After she buddied up with her mother, she could find favor with her mother by picking on me and she did...over and over again.

Could she find favor, MWM...or had she dominated the mother to the point that the mother could no longer stop her?

But 90% of it was that I was angry that my mother was treating my sister, like shiot.

So, you do love and feel protective of this sister ~ even to the point of risking your relationship to your mother to stand up for your younger sister. Yet you were discounted and made to feel as though you do not matter, are unimportant or even, invisible.

Do you see this, MWM?

Here is the crux of the issue that you need to know. You are not able to see it, through the way you were taught to see yourself in your family of origin. The members who are most similar battling it out in ways you cannot begin to understand. (Me either, I don't get so much of this, of the why it matters, either.) The mother the sister wants all to herself, and then, wants to destroy, and the mother who is playing the same game. The game seems to be "You do not matter. Only I matter."

My mom and my sister get into it all the time over my mother's boyfriends. I mean knock down, drag out fights over who has the greater right to my mother.


In my family of origin, I am described as the romantic one, the idealistic one, the little on the naive and foolish side one.

And you know?

I believed that was true about me, all of my life.

But I am really smart, so at least I had that.

Turns out I am not bad looking, either.

Hot damn!

I don't think it's jealousy. I think it's plain old fashion meanness.

I agree. And it is something worse than meanness.

That is why we no longer need to take it seriously. We can be as healthy as we want to because they were never right.

They were wrong, and they lied and lied and lied, all along.

Drat it all!

Oh, but good for us for having the courage to confront it all, once we had a reason to do so. We (I think this is true for you, too) have been happy with our families, with loving them the way we do, even though there is enough sadness and pain there to break us wide open multiple times. (That is why I have velcro holding my insides in, now. When difficult child daughter gets into a thing? I just unvelcro my liver and toss it out there so I can get myself back into balance. That was a joke. If it does not begin to seem more funny to me, I will take it out.)

Where was I.

The little kid inside of her that still gets hurt by her own choosing needs a scapegoat

I'm sorry, MWM. But I think the little kid inside her needs a worse word than scapegoat. She does not know you are real.

Hers is a shattered reality, and happiness is impossible for her.

I think this is true.

I don't know how to help.

But I do know that if we are healthy ourselves, maybe then something will occur to us. What we have been doing isn't helping.

It is only making us sick, too.

Just like the story about the mother dog who could not use her hind legs giving birth to puppies, every one of which learned to walk dragging their hind legs, too.

We are (I am) like that.

Imagine what it will be, MWM, to run.

After a lifetime of not knowing who we were.

These are all just nasty, petty people who make themselves feel bigger by putting others down.

I think that is true. What I don't understand is what is the payoff. Why would you have friends you do not respect, or find interesting and pleasurable. Why have them in your life? A sister or a brother or a mom ~ that is one thing. We want family. But why hate your own friends to the point you wish to see them destroyed?

And it always surprises me that my mom cannot see that the people she is talking to about the supposed friend know exactly what she is doing.

Or they do, soon enough.

Dad still hasn't called.

Then you will need to decide how you want this to be. Your sister has what she wants, what she wanted, all along. I don't know why. What I do know is that this is fertile ground for you to learn and see and heal.

Guess what? So, the phone rang this morning and it was someone from my sister's. I got a shock, like an electric shock, because I am saying bad things.


So, I hopped on my Harley.


You came, too.



That was a close one.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
After all, if my mother had shown unconditional love for me, I would have probably not felt I had to piggyback on sister for approval.

To me, this speaks more about the balance of power between your mother and your sister than it does about the shame of having to interact with your own mother (or for me, with mine) through a sibling.

This is their game.

You are not like them. You would never know there was a game, let alone understand the game, or its rules, or the prize in it.

Even if the prize fell into your lap, you would not see power over as a win. Each of us has things she is proud of, but very few of us use those things we are good at to destroy our "enemies". Most often, we tend not to take our "enemies" seriously.

But it seems they take us very seriously, indeed.

We may not see that they are trying to weaken or confuse us until their behaviors, their criticisms and ever-escalating demands that we believe as they do and behave accordingly, become too blatant to ignore.

We may not understand why they betray or turn things around on us. So, we try to figure out what we did wrong and the next thing you know, we are no longer in control of ourselves. Our locus of control is "out there."

Which is exactly what the power over people in our lives want.

We can undo it, MWM.

Each of us was gifted with free will. That means we have a responsibility to ourselves to see our gifts, and to believe in and use them. When we have been routinely disparaged, it is difficult to believe we have any particular gifts, at all.

That is how it is for me, anyway.

But each of us, all of us, have so many gifts.


What was the relationship between your mom and your sister like, MWM? If you had not been there to dump the negatives on, what would have happened between your mom and the sister?

Now a normal person would have been leery of her the first time she did a cut off or called the cops. But I was desperate to be liked by somebody in my DNA collection.

I think you respected yourself enough to try to figure out something irrational that happened to you. How is it these weird, crazy-making things kept happening to you? So you sought to answer that question, MWM...but you did not know you were the normal, bright, engaging, intelligent one.

I think you will see differently, soon.

No more self-condemnation.

That was a lie your sister and your mom needed to make themselves look normal.

Gaslighting MWM, and it worked.

And that was your life they sacrificed.

And they were wrong to do that, wrong to require that of you.

But now, the worst of it is over, and you get to awaken and fall in love with yourself.

And at the end of it, you will love your sister, too.

That is what I am realizing, as I post about my own sister to you. I do love her, I cherish her, and I wish it had all been so different for us.

Good. I dislike the feeling of being angry, or of feeling taken advantage of. The past cannot be relived, but there is the future, bright and warm and free as can be.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
"Because I was bad." I wasn't bad. I was a little girl who needed guidance and coping skills and nobody saw it except for my grandmother. Or they didn't care.

Or they did it to you on purpose.

MWM, I see your posts.

You are bright, generous, kind in your bones. Despite the way you were raised and against all odds, you are bright, generous, kind in your bones.

You were a little girl raised in terribly destructive circumstances but you came through it anyway. Like me, you need to review how you put these things away. The conclusions you made about who you are, down deep where even you cannot see them, are their conclusions.

And they lie, MWM.

For no apparent gain that we can understand, they lie.

It is right to question their truths and reclaim yourself.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
First she turned venom on my brother, then on me. I could not have controlled her.

Not unless you were like her. You are not like her. You don't understand her. But nature is cruel. We don't get a free pass because we refuse to believe what we see could be true.

Like Maya tells us: Believe them the first time they tell you who they are.

I'm sorry for the hurt of it, MWM.

It hurts me, too.


But in acknowledging what really happened to me, there is compassion. Not only for all of us, but for me, myself, close up and in person.

And so, I get to be real, to that degree. And if I can confront it once I know what is true about the things that happened, then I can be free from what they told me about who I was.

Back when I was first going through the whole physical abuse recovery over the things my mother had done, I would envision myself as an adult, standing next to the little girl I was as the trauma happened. I would assure the child that we had lived, and that I knew, and that I witnessed for her.

And I had to do that MWM, because when I remember how it was, it seems insane. I wonder what is wrong with me, that I think like that.

But the symptoms are there, the scars are there.

It did happen.

So I can heal from it now, because I know what is true and what was never correct or of value.

I wanted to add that my mom said those same kinds of cruel things. I think the most damaging was "Just don't think, Cedar." She would say that all the time, with such contempt in her voice.

I did not know I could think MWM, for the longest time. It was freeing, in a way. I could think whatever I wanted, without judging myself if it didn't make sense.

"Just don't think, Cedar."

It was very important that she used my name, when she said those words.

Such contempt.


But the shame is hers, not mine.

I was a little girl.

Just a little girl.

So were you, MWM.



Well-Known Member
Thank you, thank you, thank you for such long, thoughtful responses. I can't even respond to that all, but I do want to respond to the part about loving my sister.

Of course I love her, but definitely NOT as intensely as I once did, when I was on the phone at age 25 telling my mother to take care of my sister because she was getting into trouble and telling her what the trouble was; hoping to shock the woman into taking care of her youngest child (she is not the middle one...that's bro). When she cut me out the first time, it felt like a horrendous death and I had to grieve. Then she came back. Then she did it again and each time she did it, I grieved less and grew more and more puzzled and resentful and loved her a little less because I would see, in steps, that I didn't LIKE her. She does things I feel are wrong, morally to my gut. But I knew she had anorexia and had read ad nauseum about people who have it and they really do have very deep problems beyond just anorexia. Although she feels she is cured, there is no way she does not still have an eating disorder. It may be less severe than when she was in college, but a normal person does not start dieting if they hit 100 lbs. when they are 5'4. That's not fat or worrisome. A normal person does not get up at 4am to heavily exercise seven days a week. A normal person does not love to cook, but hate to eat (I have almost never seen her eat). A normal person does not LOVE to cook, but HATE to eat. And she is obsessed with running too. Sadly, one of her twin daughters seems to be going the same route and is becoming a Nutritionist. How perfect for a person with an eating disorder. She is also extremely thin, a runner, was sort of a problem child and is now obsessed with what she eats.

One day Sis told me the other twin, who is of normal weight, told Sis she wanted to lose a few pounds and Sis offered to cook her stuff just for the Atkins diet to help her lose. She claims she didn't push it and I believe her. But...if a kid says "I want to diet" and isn't grossly obese, don't you just let them diet on their own? She may have been a little overweight. I have never seen her gross in any way. Or obese. I can love Sis a little because she is mentally ill. And until this year she never went for help and she still isn't going for the help she needs.

Sis is hard of hearing and doctor wanted her on prednisone, but it makes you gain weight so she said "no." So he told her water pills and low salt will help her hearing problem too. Of course, as she told me, she liked that. Both of those things also help her lose weight. She is 55. She will never stop looking at her image all the time. I feel sorry for her when she truly looks old. She has aged well, as we all have.

Cedar, she is prettier than I was. But I was pretty too. That I knew. How? Well, her mother told me I was pretty. It was the only compliment she ever gave me other than I sang well so I knew that it had to be true. It wasn't like she went around telling me positive stuff about me. Also, boys then men have told me. However, I've never been obsessed about it or vain. She is both. It's a very sad obsession to have.

Anorexics are not likeable or well balanced or fun to be around. She never got the right in a way she is like our kids who are different and harder. She can't help it. Now I fight mental illness too, but I'm way ahead of her. I started treatment at 23 and have more self-awareness than she will ever live to know.

My uncle, who was always very mean to me starting out from when I was a little kid and he nicknamed me "the brat" (and my mom let him call me that because he was another Golden Person in Mother's life)...he also had eating problems. He looked as stick skinny as Sis and ran like her and ate weird stuff. It did not really help his longevity. He died at 75. Not a young man, but if he had been uber healthy (he felt he was living a healthy life) he would have lived well into his 80's at least. Why did he die? I don't know. I never spoke to his wife. I got all the info second hand from Sis. And Wife didn't have an autopsy. When I asked Sis why he died, she got irritated and said something like, "I don't know. YOU care about those things. Not me."

She's so afraid. Afraid of knowing anything. Not even if the knowledge might help her or all of us maybe keep a lookout for the same thing happening to us. I did not love my uncle...lolol. He was nonexistant in my life for so long I can only picture him in his 40's and looking skinny-sick. He is Sis's male clone and used to juggle three girls at a time and tell my poor bro, who had no girls at all, about his romantic deceptions and escapades. He was really underhanded and cruel to his girlfriends, especially one who loved him very much. She was so nice and so upset after he dumped her for somebody she knew that she moved to SF and her brothers would NOT tell Unc where she was. He was also very vain about his appearance.

So I need to cut this now or I'll go on and on. The more I write, the more I remember.

Sis and Unc.

The Anorexic twins. He was anorexic before it was known that men can be anorexic.

And Sis. She'll be anorexic forever because she is terrified not to be. Every fat cell on her body terrifies her. It is her beast. Maybe it is her comfort to be thin when Married Man and Abusive Boyfriend treated her like garbage. Maybe...

Thanks for listening. Thanks for giving so much of yourself.