I love my sisters, truly, but sometimes we don’t get along. Nothin’ bad, nothin’ earth shattering, but we do go through our little teeth-gritting, eye-rolling, button-pushing sibling sass attacks.
I’m not gonna lie. Depending on the level of sass-itude, or how passive aggressive it is, it can really piss me off. I’m the oldest ─ the bossy one ─ and I’ve got my emotional triggers just like everybody else. So I don’t mind having my say when I need to tell a sis or two about herself. But others take a more “wounded soldier” approach and make you guess who wronged them.
Case in point: Right before Christmas, Sister #6 sent out a group text asking who was in for the Christmas grab bag this year. Sister #4 (and I’m not gonna name names) chose to text back, “No need to ever ask me! I don’t do grab bags with our family. My husband said no thank you, too.”
Sweet Lord Jesus! Was that really necessary? It pushed my buttons. Matter of fact, it pushed ALL of our buttons. And we spent the next half hour on the phone (without Sister #4), trying to figure out which Scrooge had wronged her in the grab bag some Christmas past.
Sister #5 texted, “Ouch! That’s hurtful.”
Sister #2 texted, “Did I have your name?”
And then Sister #1, that’s me, texted, “Who did it, and why are the rest of us being blamed? Was it me?”
Sister #4 responded, “No, you didn’t, Sister #2. I won’t say who did it, but I won’t forget it either! Movin’ on!”
Whaaa? She chose NOT to acknowledge my query altogether (RUDE)! And only pointedly said Sister #2 wasn’t the culprit. Which would leave one to believe it was moi who stiffed her with a gift! Right? But for the life of me, I don’t think it was me. But regardless who it was, why the unnecessary subterfuge? Why not just tell us which Sister Sledge was singing off key on the “We are Family” anthem?
Pisses. Me. Off.
Need another example of our Petty Betty drama? For some reason, aaaallll my sisters like to bring up that I cheated when we played Monopoly when we were like TEN YEARS OLD! They perpetuate this story like it just happened YESTERDAY. Which makes me go tick, tick, boom! I’m sorry already. (It has been eons, for Lord’s sake. I WAS A CHILD!) But EVERY TIME a board game or a game of Spades is mentioned, I have to hear this same sad-sack story. About how I was the banker and always stole the money! (I did). But Lord! I don’t do it anymore. Doesn’t that count for something? Clearly not, as they feel the need to tell my new husband to watch out for me, as if I’ve been put on some FBI’s Most Wanted List. So now it has colored his way of playing games with me. WTW? What’s a sister need to do to catch a break?
Does your family have any petty drama like this? Don’t lie! Here’s how I’ve learned to handle it. You might find it helpful, too (once you float up from your river of deNIAL!)
Before I mini-explode, I take a deep breath. I count to ten, and I think, What is this really about? Let’s get all Oprah and “Super Soul Sunday.” The blow-up probably isn’t about my cheating at a board game, right? Or maybe someone made Sister #4 feel unworthy by skimping on the grab bag gift. Maybe my sisters feel cheated out of some other area in life and are, therefore, compelled to relive Monopoly games gone wild.
If this is happening to you, maybe your sis doesn’t feel like she has a voice in your family and has this deep need to be heard. Take a chance to find out what is pushing your sibling’s buttons, and maybe she’ll stop pushing yours! (I tried suggesting therapy to Sister #4, but I was told by the others that was just wrong! My bad.)
So do as I say and not as I do, my friends. When your sibling goes on the sass-attack over something that happened ten years ago or ten minutes ago, you’ve gotta come up with some right-now strategy to save your sanity. To start, examine how you REACT in the situation. We have no control over others. What we DO have control over is how we react. I breathe. I count. I hurl the board game across the room (JUST kidding … sorta). Maybe you simply remove yourself and leave the room when the convo gets heated. Maybe you hand the phone to another family member to help deal with the drama. Maybe you go big and unfriend your family member on Facebook. But er, uh, does this really help? (It helped me when I unfriended Sister #3 over a minor offense! Lol. But the guilt crept in so I re-friended her. She obviously learned her lesson because I get crickets from her on my posts now!)
Remember, deal with YOUR reaction first, the immediate thing you can control. Then look at the big family picture for additional solutions.
Note to self: Reread this post often so I can actually one day practice what I preach.