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Fight With Sister Over Pregnancy

"My Sister Is Not Accepting My Pregnancy"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My problem is that I am not sure how to handle my half sister. We stopped talking because she doesn't accept my pregnancy. At first when I told her I was pregnant, she asked me why I hadn't told her sooner and made some jokes about going to watch the football with my boyfriend and her husband while I stayed at home with baby, she also told me that she would support whatever decision I made with the pregnancy and that she would be there for me.

A few weeks later she changed her mind, started to ignore me and pretended not to receive my messages on Facebook. Eventually I asked her why she was ignoring me and if it was to do with her having trouble accepting my pregnancy. To this she replied that she is offended by it and is too embarrassed to even tell her husband. I told her that I found what she said to be harsh, and she just told me "whatever, do what you want, you don't listen to what anyone ever tells you anyway" and then deleted me off her friends list. The only communication we had was on Facebook because about two weeks before I told her I was pregnant, I moved to another country to live with my boyfriend.

I'm hurt by the way she has chosen to react to this situation, because my boyfriend and I are very excited about our baby. It has been roughly two months since she has last spoken to me. A friend of ours asked her how she feels about getting a new niece or nephew, and she told them that she isn't fussed. This was only a week ago. I'm half way through the pregnancy now, and I don't think she will talk to me until the baby is born. How will I be able to forgive her after what she has done? I am 21, but she is acting as though I am 15 years old and as if I have shot someone!

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henna-red henna-red 3 years
The very best of luck and love with your new family DonnaJo! :)
Donna-Freundt Donna-Freundt 3 years
For some unknown I reason I only saw the last post you made and didn't notice the first one. I will take a look for that book. I am not going to bother with her husband, he hardly talks and we sort of have a relationship, where it is mostly just hi and bye. He is the type to walk into a room and not bother saying helllo.. only if he feels like saying it. When I do speak to her, I will definitely be thinking about the things you have said, beacuse you seem to understand it very well. Thank you so much for reading about this and being extremely helpful. It is much appreciated.
Donna-Freundt Donna-Freundt 3 years
Thank you sooo much. You are 100 % right. I am going to take your advice. I went to my week 20 ultrasound today and I am really starting to get excited so I am sure once baby arrives, what she thinks or says won't mean a damn thing to me or my boyfriend :-).
henna-red henna-red 3 years
DonnaJo, your situation has been percolating in my brain, sort of clarifying for me this evening. I want to say that your sister's behavior is controling and manipulative, aimed at giving her power in your life. And it sounds as though this is her pattern. If you call her and offer her an opportunity to express her feelings, or the reasons behind her feelings, you are feeding into her control, rewarding her manipulation, and continuing the pattern. To break the pattern, my advice is to let her know that her behavior is unwelcome and unacceptable, and let her know what behavior is welcome and acceptable. And if she wants to participate in your life, and the continuing life of your family, then she will only be welcome to do so if she shows appropriate behavior....which does not include her lecturing or trying to impress her views or beliefs on you. You need her support, you want her support, and that is what is welcome. That is what happy, healthy, successful relationships are about....supporting each other. And if she can't or won't do that, then there is no relationship that is worth persuing. I know that's strict, and you may feel it's harsh. And I don't think it needs to be some huge confrontation....but can be a calm, statement of your boundaries, and a hopeful invitation from you to her to participate in the life of both of your families. Thanks for your patience, here, with my long process. Best of luck :)
henna-red henna-red 3 years
Hey DonnaJo. I want to recommend to you two things that bubbles has said....she has experience with the kind of personality that you're describing here....first, the post "bad reaction to engagement" is where bubbles speaks of her sister, and of an experience similar to what you have here. Second, she recommends a book, "He's afraid, She's afraid" by Socol and Carter. I, personaly haven't read it yet, but it's on my list. It's about the manifestations of personality disorders. She says it doesn't list the disorders, just describes the behaviors. So, I believe that whether you sister is just enormously selfish, or whether that's just a manifestation of a personality disorder, you going to her to ask her about her feelings and thoughts is exactly what she wants. She wants to make a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with her....about her. What she thinks or feels has absolutely no bearing on this situation, except for her power to either bring you down with her rejection, or lift you up with her support. Either way, it's about her power, her effect, her, her her. It's not about you and your baby and building your new family. And I don't think you can change that. She is the only one who can change that. I mean really, what is there to resolve. You're pregnant, and she's being nasty. Either she stops being nasty, or she doesn't. Who care what she thinks about your pregnancy....that's your life and your choice and your family. If she can't of won't get behind that, then there's nothing you can do to change that. I think your motivations around giving your baby and his/her their cousins, and a happy, close family is the best motivation in the world. Those kids, your nephew and niece must have tough row to hoe with a mom who is only focused on herself. It's definately going to affect them, and having close family around can only help, I think. But that, too, is going to be up to sister, and sister's husband. My emotional reaction is to suggest an end run around sister to her husband, to give him the news yourself; he is your family also, my marriage, and the father of the cousins you're hoping will be close to your baby. I don't know if that's a good response.....I know your sister would resent that...because it would be taking away some of her power to control the situation....but then, I don't believe she uses her power for the good of her family, or yours. Of course, it's not my place, or anyone's beside her husband, what is for the good of her family. Think about it. It could make things stickier, but it might also provide you with an ally, someone close to her to speak for you, mediate between you two. It might be putting your brother in law into an unfair position....a position I bet he's getting used to if this is her SOP. Well, I'm glad you're not overly stressing this, to any point where you're adversely affected. If something like this must happen, it's probably a great thing that there is that big distance between you. A buffer zone. I'm still awfully sorry that it's happening. I hope you'll take a look at that post, and check out the book. I expect to get to it sometime myself.....people are such a puzzle, it's good trying to put some pieces together to see a whole picture. take care donnaJo :)
Donna-Freundt Donna-Freundt 3 years
Hey, Sorry for repyling a bit late. Well honestly in the past we haven't been extremely close, we occasionally have big disagreements, and don't speak to each other for a while but nothing for this long or bad. She is 34 and has 2 children the ages of 7 and 5. She is most definitely used to be the centre of attention, she can hardly keep a conversation going with someone else, that isn't about her for more than a minute, before she directs the conversation back towards herself. I believe from what she has said she thinks she is right and she hasn't done anything wrong. She thinks the child will stress me out too much, and that it is a HUGE mistake - her words. I think that even if she really feels this way, that she should not be playing the ignoring game and instead she should of tried to be helpful and show some genuine support, because she isn't gaining anything from doing this to me apart from making me upset and she knows that is a good way to get to someone. I am thinking of telling her that if she wants to talk to me about her feelings and to explain properly why she feels the way she does, in a non aggresive way, that now would be a good time to sort this. I really don't want to be the first one to talk to her but I don't think now is a time to be stubborn. I am definitely not going to attempt to try and prove myself to her or apologise. For now I need to focus all my energy on treating myself properly and eating healthy for the baby. I have a lot of things to deal with and get organised. It will be a happy time regardless of whatever she choses to do but of course, I won't just about forget about her. At first I was really really angry with her and felt like it was such a rude shock that she could be so nasty.. Like she had made me see the truth about her. But yes in all honesty, after some time I realised it wasn't so suprising because she likes to pass judgement on everyone. Sometimes she says the most rude things about other people and this has always annoyed me about her. I partly want to talk to her because I don't want her telling other family members how much she disapproves of this pregnancy, because it is kind of like she spoiling it for me by doing that. Everyone else is extremely happy for me and supportive except her!. I am fairly new on this website and I am not sure what bubble's story is. Yes it is a difficult situation but I am hoping to resolve it. I am not going to forget her behaviour and I definitely won't forgive her until I feel she has earnt it. Hopefully her and I can move on from this and in the future it won't mean so much. I am currently living in Berlin and she is in Sydney so I am lucky we don't have to see much of each other anyway, just want to resolve it for the children's sake that are involved in this. I would love for my nephew and neice to have a new cousin.I think they would like that. Thanks for the responseee.and best of luck wishes :-)
henna-red henna-red 3 years
first, so sorry about the crappy spam^. I report them every time they show up but.....impossible to discourage. Ignore them. Second, congratulations on yours and your boyfriends happiness. Happy baby! I'm wondering how your relationship with your sister has been to this point. This kind of hurtful action on her part speaks to me of manipulation and control. She either feels as though she is losing something by your pregnancy or she feels as though she can gain something from rejecting you this way. Is she used to being dominant, or a "star" of the family? Whatever this is, it's selfish and ugly, and I'm very sorry you're going through it. My feeling is that, if you feel she's making some kind of bulls..t moral judgement around this, (and I don't get the feeling from your post that your family has some kind of rigid social or religious code), then I would say she is using that judgement as an excuse to pull away from you and that she will use that rejection and that excuse, that judgement to try to guilt you into letting her have some kind of control in your life. Now I could be way off base, so I'm wondering if that sounds like anything that has happened before between you and your sister. Has she ever denied you recognition or attention and then grudgingly changed her stance after you have apologized or somehow sort of built her up in some way? Is this a continuation or an escalation of some kind of manipulative strategy that is an old and perhaps unrecognized pattern? It's hard to know, since you have not included details of your relationship from before this rejection. However, I believe that, since you're expecting her to come back after you have your baby, that this may be an old pattern. If it is an old pattern, then she is going to expect you to follow whatever that pattern has been in the past.....for you to apologize or overlook her hurtful behavior, for you to perhaps feed her ego, or stroke her feelings while you have been the person wounded and "sinned" against. And if this is a pattern, then it's going to be up to you to step out of this pattern in order to break it. If you continue to acquiesce, to overlook or "forgive" the crappy behavior, then the behavior will continue. Frankly, with this kind of manipulative crap, I expect it may continue no matter what your response. Your choice may be whether or not you allow this behavior into your life. Which may be a choice about whether you allow your sister into your life so long as she employs these kinds of tactics and stategies. It's so so hard when its' a sister or close family member who uses these kinds of abusive and disfunctional behaviors. Because it's that family member who needs to change their behavior, and they don't usually recognize or acknowledge their issue. My suggestion is one, that you focus on your new family, and getting ready for this child. Two, that you don't include any significant role for your sister in that readiness, even if she contacts you after the birth of your baby, because the last thing you are going to need is to molify, placate, or work to include someone into your happiness who should just naturally want to be involved. If she can't or won't be there for you, but wants you to be there for her, and to have the focus on her when it needs to on your new responsibilities and new joy, then she is baggage that you can't afford to carry. She must learn to carry her own baggage, and that will require her, and you, to recognize that it is baggage, that it is an unworkable pattern, a damaging manipulative pattern. Basicaly, let her live the consequences of her behavior. These consequences can absolutely be painful for you, can affect you deeply. But if you don't step out of this kind of pattern, it will continue for so long as you allow it into your life. Your story reminds me of bubbles story around her sister and her marriage, and I expect she will have something to say... Your situation is a very difficult, hurtful situation, and I'm so sorry you're going through it at one of the otherwise, happiest times of your life. I suggest you take some time to really examine your history with your sister. You don't sound shocked or amazed that she could this, which is why I'm wondering if this is saddening but not surprising you. If this is an escalation of an old familial dynamic. To me she doesn't sound like she's treating you as a 15 year old, but that she is incapable of engaging emotionaly around anything that doesn't focus on her. And it sounds to me as though this isn't completely new to you. take care girl, perhaps look into talking to a counselor who can help you examine your family dynamic with your sister to help you understand her actions. Best of luck!
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