Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Gets Stranger

So...continued drama with my sister. I received this email from her yesterday.

You have plenty of friends to talk to, but your last e-mail trivialized me. I have told you that you won. You fucked me over. Please stop it. This is another case where you "poured gasoline onto a fire" and detonated a bomb. Your actions since yesterday have hurt me deeply. I cannot continue to receive your harassing emails, texts and a phone call is out of the question. I have told no one, not even S*****. The issue now is only about your behavior in the last 17 hours. Please do not contact me. Maybe later, but it would be unproductive in the near future. You have destroyed me enough I chose not to put myself through any more. I'm not in very good shape today because of you and if you contact me again it is because your only intent is to further fuck me over.

I'm still trying to sort out exactly what is going on. What I've won, I have no idea. Apparently I f*cked up a situation I knew nothing about by responding to her calling me a bitch. I mean -- really -- did she expect no response? And it appears her husband knows nothing about it. Big red flags to me. I had no idea I had so much power!

But so much is not adding up. The idea that she's trying to catch some perv is questionable. She doesn't have an altruistic bone in her body -- never does anything unless she gets some benefit. My suspicion is that she's hiding something really big -- something she really screwed up but, as usual, won't take any responsibility for her actions. I suspect this whole stalker/catching a perv claim is really an affair gone bad. I wonder if the whole fall drama was an effort to deflect someone in the house getting close to the truth. The AFS student perhaps?

One night last summer on the beach, the power of a moment stopped me in my tracks. It was a gorgeous night, my family was together, eating good food, goofing off, bickering, and so on. My sweet husband came up behind me and hugged me and asked me what I was thinking. I said, "I want you to know that I'm not going to screw this up, at least intentionally. We have such a good life, and I appreciate it. You and the kids and where we live and all that. I'm not going to intentionally do anything to fuck this up."

My sister -- the whole family -- can have the west coast. I will take my life on the opposite side of the country with glee and appreciation. it is not a perfect life, but it is a good life. I appreciate it, challenges and all.

Maybe that's what I have won.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't Know Why I Bothered


It's been quite a while. Much has happened, is happening. Since I can't vent about some stuff on Facebook and Twitter, I'm back writing here, trying to process the latest drama.

It's been over a year since I wrote about my sister. In that time, it's been mostly calm. That is, no contact. There was this small episode in February '11 while I was working on the initial phases of the town project (which passed, by the way). She was very nasty to a friend of mine on Facebook -- yes, we were still "friends" though she had filtered her page so I couldn't see anything -- but shortly after that she was off Facebook completely.

I had some contact with my oldest nephew. He moved to a new city to start a new job. I was very excited for him. (I later figured out that the Facebook episode in February corresponded with his departure for the new city -- much like her dramatics each time he left for summer internships.)

This fall, in November, the nephew came to visit. It was great to see him. But the trip was a little odd, too. He seemed distracted. He also said his mom and family didn't know he was visiting us and he'd like to keep it that way. I agreed to keep it quiet, not post his name on Facebook, etc.

Later in November, I sent my sister a birthday gift, like I did last year. This time, though I sent a gift card and it would have been harder to return.

A couple weeks later, I checked one of my alternate email accounts for the first time in a while. This is also the only email address my sister has. And there was an email from her.

It was nice. It was thanking me for the gift and telling me some things, and though it was a little cryptic, it was nice.

I waited a couple days before I replied. But I did reply, hopefully.

And thus began about a month of tentative communication. I was careful not to respond eagerly and took great pains to craft emails that were showed some interest, but weren't too...anything. I vowed not to get caught up her in her shit again.

Along the way I learned that in early November she had been involuntarily committed to the psych ward for several days. This corresponded with the nephew's visit and explains why he was distracted. As far as that commit goes, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. Really. It's been brewing for years -- and brings whole new meaning to the term "crazy relatives." I'm not clear on how she extricated herself -- don't really want details! -- and whether this therapist who called the police is still around. I suspect not -- I suspect she's done her usual see the mental health professional long enough to complain about how she's been done so wrong and get prescriptions but as soon as the therapist asks her to take some responsibility for her life, she bails. It's about a 30 year pattern at this point.

Anyway, the emails. Among other things, I learned that they are hosting an AFS student from Spain this year. Yes, an innocent girl from half the world away has been cast into the mess. The real motive for having an AFS student became clear in one email. She wrote, "When S***** came in August I made the mistake of thinking I will have a daughter who would be just like you. As my little sister you liked anything I did, etc." Poor girl. As my sweet husband said, if the year ends without a visit from Interpol, we can call it a success. However, as of this last week, AFS is looking for a new host family for the girl.

She went to visit the oldest in his new city in December and insisted on telling him all the details that got her the police escort to the locked psych unit and a three day commit. Her sons DO NOT need to know those details. They are not responsible for her mental health. And this oldest nephew now feels in such a difficult situation. As if he doesn't have enough going on in starting his new life.

Christmas gifts were exchanged, even.

So...things were going along fine. Until last night.

Last night I hopped on Twitter and discovered a mention in an account I didn't know. This account, this handle, called me a "bitch." Upon investigation I was able to easily discern it was my sister. And I could see that it was in reponse to a Thanksgiving-related hashtag I'd used back in November, noting that the biting incident was my worst Thanksgiving ever (and I do take responsibility for my role in that). Further investigation of the handle revealed a tweet saying, "New area of expertise: sisters from hell." That would be me, in case you hadn't guessed.

I responded to the tweet with:

@******* Oh, hi, A*****! Nice to see you on Twitter. Hey all, say hello to my sister, A*****. She lives in AZ. Hope we'll have fun here!

Okay, perhaps I should not have done that. I've been called worse by her, admittedly, but this seemed rather out there. She really had to look for that old tweet. She *worked* for that indignant feeling. But -- what the F**K? -- my *sister* calls me a "bitch" on Twitter and I am supposed to do nothing? Wait, don't answer that. I suppose that is what I should have done. But clearly I didn't.

Next I tried texting her. Here is our text exchange:

Me: How about we actually talk things out instead of calling names? 1993 *was* my worst T-day ever...and *I* had a part in making it such. Why are you using J***** B******'s name anyway. Do you even know where he is now?

Her: 17 years ago? Just when I thought you were growing up

Her: I use J***** b***** because I had a horrible stalker

Me: It was rather memorable. And I guess I'm lucky that in those 17 years I haven't had another really terrible T-day. Although 1999 was pretty sucky. And 2006. It was a hashtag that millions of people were using that day. I'm sorry if you take offence.

Me: What does "growing up" have to do with it. It happened. Maybe with time travel we could change the past, but we can't.

Me: Why the need to call names?

Me: Offense, that is.

Her: Thanks for your apology. It's a first. And I do understand that its funny. After 17 years wtf I have gone through it's not fair

Me: We've all been through lots of shit.

Her: If you don't have a better story time to make some new ones

Her: I'm busy. Last word. Gfi

Me: And I am pretty sure I apologized to you back in 1993 when I gave you that book about sisters, cheesy though it may have been.

Me: Gfi?

Me: If you want apologies, how about these:

Her: Go for it.

Me: I am sorry I was born and screwed up the perfect family of four.

Me: I am sorry I no longer idolize you like I did when I was little

Me: I am sorry that I left Phoenix and didn't come back.

Me: I am sorry that you've dealt with the brunt of mom stuff.

Me: I'm sorry I'm not what you want me to be in a sister.

Me: I'm sorry you've been so unhappy all these years.

Me: I'm sorry Dad was so uneven as a parent. Im sorry you think i was his favorite. You should know how much he talked about you and worried about you. He just wanted you to be happy and didn't know how to help that happen.

Me: I hope neither of us ever have a worse Tday than 1993. I only want us to have better Tdays than that. And better days every day.

Her: You were not his favorite. Go back under your rock

Me: I certainty hope I wasn't! It was often accused by you, however. WHY are you so intensely angry at me?

Me: What does what I do with my life have to do with yours?

Me: Why do you feel the need to call names and get so nasty?

Her: Go away. I'm not even reading them. You won! But I wasn't competing

Me: Won what? I haven't been competing either. And I don't believe that you really want me or anyone else to go away. You want us to see how unhappy you are. We see it! You want us to know how angry you are at the world. We know! But what do you want any if us to DO about it?

Her: Erase erase erase. I can truly erase before I read. Don't cast your pearls before swine!! Tweet that one under stupid sisters.

Me: I am trying to do the right thing here. You are my sister and I love you. Even when you are nasty and angry I still love you. We also have a mother who isn't getting any younger and we are going to have to deal with her.

Her: Now my phone is off

Me: Super! You'll get these when you turn it on again

Me: Turning off you phone isn't going to make any of these issues go away

Then it moved to email. The first one from her:

I am so mad, I can't and will not even read your email. I had a stalker. I follow my stalker. The ** police patrol my house. I had to close my other twtter account down with a K score of 52 and 350 terrific followers, including the site for which I have written. That site (HUGE) was almost shut down three weeks ago because of attacks by my stalker at me on that site. Now, you are making me start over again, after just one fucking week? There will be an arrest.

Again, grow up, have the last word, fuck me over again, talk about me for shit that happened 17 fucking years ago, There are people who follow you and they know who I am. I have groveled enough to try to have a relationship. Congratulations J, you fucked me over. Again. Take my kids. Take anything dear to me. It's yours.

Then this:

Your email is unread. This was important to me. I can see you now, running around calling all your friends and anyone that can listen to you just like a girl and a catty one at that.

Then another claiming she's just really an internet crime fighter and I screwed everything up and put young girls in danger. So which is it? So many things don't add up. I had no idea she had a stalker -- and if that Twitter account was all about catching him, why would she call me out? Not to mention Words with Friends posts that mention her friends' names (that would then put them in danger), and so on. It was way too easy to figure out it was her.

Clearly this is a no-win situation. I get that. If I could just sever all contact with no fallout, I just might. But we have a mother who is not getting any younger (she turns 80 this spring and I get the sense she's hoping for a big family get together to mark that birthday. Oh dear.) and extended family that would be extremely uncomfortable and her kids...her sweet boys (at least 2 of 3 are sweet).

I think we're back to silence. It's rather a relief. I was getting caught up in her shit even though I vowed not to. Why a woman who has such huge life advantages sees herself as such a victim, I don't know. Life isn't perfect, crap happens, but she played a role in a lot of that crap happening. So "all I have have been through" sounds so pathetic. Rather "all the poor choices I've made and refusal to take responsibility for my life."

At 57, she's hopeless. I know that, as much as I hate the reality of it. I hate acknowledging that about someone I do love. A healthy relationship with her is not possible. Trying to interact with her in a rational manner is not possible. It's about damage control and minimizing issues from this point forward as long as our mother is around. And as my grandmother lived to be 95, it could be quite a while. Sigh, and all that.

In other news, I am unemployed again. Trying to go in many different directions at once -- which one will stick?