Adult Siblings - How many are not on speaking terms?


#1

I have 2 adult siblings, both over 45, and none of the 3 of us speak to each other.

Sibling A did something very hateful to Sibling B, I tried to solve it by sternly asking for them to make up, Sibling A and I haven’t spoken in over 5 years because of this. Sibling B hasn’t spoken to me in a year because of an assumed slight. I tried to make up, but it didn’t take.

My take:
Sibling A, always been a flake, always acted before thinking about consequenses. Never been responsible, non-religious, free-spirit type, regularly an embarrasment.

Sibling B, divorced with kids and anti-Catholic, has always been an angry person, enjoys sending scorching emails, doesn’t really care about relationships with anyone other than their kids.

My question to you is, how many of you have families where adult siblings no longer speak to some of them? Have you tried to reconcile, and how did you succeed or fail? Do any of you have adult siblings that resemble mine?

I try to teach my own kids about forgiveness, and I make them go through the steps of forgiving each other and accepting an apology, which we NEVER had to do growing up. Our parents just let the grudges go on, I guess they assumed we’d work things out.


#2

I have an older sister (she's about 10 years older than me) with whom I haven't spoken since the end of February, and to be totally honest, have no desire to repair our relationship. She accused me, falsely, of something heartless and then proceeded to tell other members of our family that I did what she said I did - one of whom will not speak to me now.
Forgiveness has been extremely difficult for me with this. I've been in the confessional with this twice so far, because I want to forgive her but it's not happening. I think part of the problem is that I was so hurt by this because this sister and I had been so close, basically best friends for the last 25 years or so, and the fact that she thinks I could do something so horrible hurts me terribly.
I have a total of 7 siblings - 3 brothers, 4 sisters - and this particular sister has caused similar trouble in our family in the past. She can also be very controlling, make people jump through hoops so that she doesn't get mad at them and shut them out. I've decided at this point that this relationship is only toxic for me and that's why I don't want to repair it. But I do want to sincerely forgive her - our faith demands that of me. I just can't seem to get there. Prayers would be appreciated.
This is probably WAY more information than you wanted, but I apparently needed this catharsis. :blush:


#3

I have one younger sister (4 years between us) and I love her to bits. Our first cousins on our mother's side, 4 boys, grew up in the same street as us and are like brothers to us. I can't imagine not getting on with them.

Dad has fallen out with various brothers over the years - we never knew which of our uncles he wasn't speaking to at any one time! However he has been reconciled with each one - usually after a serious illness has put them at death's door.

I think it is so important to at least make your peace with your siblings and wish them well even if you are daggers drawn each time you meet.

IrishRush, at least you are trying to forgive, when you have been so badly hurt I'm sure no one could expect you to instantly forgive and forget. I'll pray that one day you will be able to forgive, and that you'll get an apology.


#4

I was estranged and resentful of my only sister for years and years. I thought she had ruined my life growing up and hurt our father. (She did do some pretty bad stuff.) I felt victimized. I was the “good daughter” and never asked for anything from Dad. I felt I had been ripped off.

One day, I was reading a book on boundaries and how to set them. God picked that moment to remove my resentment completely, and we reconciled and are very loving now. We’re all we have, since both of our parents are gone.

I would say to pray and ask God to heal the wounds. Only God could have healed my resentments. I had tried many times to forgive my sister, but there was always that little burning splinter of anger left in my heart…God removed it, in an instant. The best miracle in my insignificant life.


#5

I would't know what I would do if I wasn't on speaking terms with any of my siblings.


#6

I have 6 siblings. I have a loving relationship with my two sisters. I would not consider my relationships with my brothers loving but it is certainly not indifferent. Two brothers I am close to and two brothers I love but do not really have much in common with and am not real close.


#7

I have an older sister who has disowned my mother and I. I will continue to pray for her well-being and conversion, but I am relieved not to have a relationship with her.


#8

I rarely speak to any of my three siblings. I don't view it as non-forgiveness but as having boundaries. Those boundaries were crossed once too often with screaming fits, rages, abusive and totally out of line behavior. I found out in the course of addressing this exactly what it means to be from a dysfunctional, alcoholic family, and that given family dynamics, i could expect those boundaries to be crossed again...and again. And to be told it was my fault and I deserved it.

The advice here at Catholic Answers, was actually that there is no dealing with people like this and the only answer is to put as much distance between me and them as possible.


#9

I had a very frosty relationship with my sister for years. We spoke and were civil for family holidays, but that was pretty much it. I can't even remember when the divide began or what it was about. We have reconciled in the last couple of years and I've never been happier in my life! We are very close now, and are also close with our brother. There aren't two people (excepting my children) that I would rather spend time with now.

Wasn't the scripture reading a couple of weeks ago about forgiveness? Something about how can we expect God to forgive us our sins if we can't forgive the people who have sinned against us? Perhaps you could pray for God to give you the grace to love your sisters in spite of the dysfunction in the family?


#10

[quote="creole54, post:9, topic:258187"]

Wasn't the scripture reading a couple of weeks ago about forgiveness? Something about how can we expect God to forgive us our sins if we can't forgive the people who have sinned against us? Perhaps you could pray for God to give you the grace to love your sisters in spite of the dysfunction in the family?

[/quote]

Creole, I'm not sure who you're addressing, but I think forgivness and love and boundaries are all separate things. I think it's quite possible to love someone, forgive them, have compassion for them, and wish them well in life, and yet not continue to subject yourself to their abuse.

I don't spend time with my siblings because they keep crossing boundaries (and my boundaries are quite liberal, actually, and I am quite capable of overlooking quirks and irritations, and have done so a thousand times). It doesn't mean I don't love them. It means I eventually learn that if I keep sticking my hand on a hot stove, I'm going to continue to get burned, so I finally quit sticking my hand on the hot stove.


#11

I've never had a falling out with my brothers (one is dead now but not with him either), but I've been annoyed or disappointed with them at times.

Brother A is an anti-Catholic, heavy metal tattooist who is becoming more and more obnoxious and outspoken, but manages to maintain some amount of tact at family things. Brother B is very nice, a peacekeeper who has dropped his religion, not sure why - we don't talk about it.

It's never led to a full-on fight, though. We don't see much of each other and I get a bit down that the family is not really close, but when we do get together, we enjoy each other's company.

Mum and Dad too.


#12

Not permitted to vote, but, Number 2.

Couldve used almost the same words: treated like a 5yo, put down in front of others. One brothers a raging communist (under his very unpleasant spouses thumb), the others a Dawkins-like sarcastic type. Sister always thought the worst of me. Plus she`s a trendy.

Let em live their own lives, but i wont be part of it!


#13

I have a brother with whom I am not especially close but we do love each other. We are not close because we live on different continents and see each other once a year or less. It is difficult to maintain a close relationship like that, at least we have not managed. I'm sure if we lived closer we would spend more time together.


#14

I had been estranged from several of my siblings when my younger sister was dying of cancer many years ago. They were angry that she did not ask them to journey with her and blamed me for a lot of things. It was not their journey to go through . 2 of my brothers stood with me . One Lent, I spent in prayer and in dealing with the this resentment and isolation. It was an eye opener for me, because it made me learn how to forgive and see the pain of the loss of their sister from their perspective. It took time, but now I am in a closer relationship with all my siblings except one ( but that is another story to tell at another time) My older sister and I who never really had a good relationship to begin with have reconnected and have put many old issues to rest. I am closer to some of my siblings than others, but am grateful that we enjoy being around each other. I had to learn to forgive and then accept their forgiveness. Hard lessons, but worth every bit of the journey


#15

I have a somewhat challenging family, but we seem to always manage to work it out. I have theories on why we are able to get past these things.

I think misunderstandings and fights often occur because we (the "royal we," lol) don't communicate well, and people don't say what they really mean, and they don't think about how their words are being interpreted by others -- in effect, we often "talk past" one another.... and so resentments and hurt feelings are not resolved, and continue to fester.

I also believe that we have to accept one another's faults a bit more. Perhaps this one is flaky or that one is sarcastic, but just bearing that in mind when you are talking to that person and thinking "I'm sure she didn't mean it that way, she can just be so sarcastic." Or even saying TO HER: "Wow, do you really mean that, or are you just being sarcastic?"

I find so many of the fights and problems begin when assumptions are made and words and actions are assigned meaning by the receiver that were not intended by the sender. For example, I have said things like this many times, "Well, I can see WHY she reacted that way -- it is in her personality to take those types of comments to heart, not as suggestions but as criticism. You should tell her you didn't mean it that way."

I guess I am blessed with a family that, although not perfect, is at least willing to listen to one another and are humble enough to apologize to one another.

I also remember my parents telling us from early on: Be good to your brothers and sisters; protect one another, stand up for one another. When Mom and Dad are gone, they are your family of origin and it's very comforting to be with them as an adult, they will be the only people who have known you and loved you YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

I guess I should be very grateful. :)


#16

[quote="holyrood, post:10, topic:258187"]
I think it's quite possible to love someone, forgive them, have compassion for them, and wish them well in life, and yet not continue to subject yourself to their abuse.

[/quote]

And this is why I no longer speak to one of my sisters. Don't want to give away my age, ;) but after many years of keeping the peace and being the one that tried to do the right thing (and probably not setting my own boundaries for them,) I came to the conclusion after one very heated blowout, that my life is too short to include people that are only causing me pain and were never really "there" for me anyway. She was not adding anything to my life, and I could not see going on for the sake of obligation only. My life is quieter and less stressed--at least on that end anyway.


#17

I have a brother who is 60 this year. He is a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin, and a strong agnostic. He married a Catholic lady, who passed away a year ago. I tried to have intelligent conversations with him, but he rejected the faith years ago and has nothing to do with us any longer. I pray for his conversion to Christ regularly. I am sure his wife did as well.


#18

I have 3 siblings… one I’m very close to, another I’m fairly close to (still talk at least every 2 weeks), and the third I rarely talk to…
None are estranged or indifferent… just not as close…


#19

There are five adult siblings in my family, two sisters and two brothers with the youngest being 43 and the rest in their late 40’s and mid fifties. I feel like an odd ball in some respects because God has blessed all my family to be very close to one another, respecting each others differences even if there are few differences of argument.

I think the OP brought up an important point bringing up his/her own family, with a secret, namely, forgiveness.
Forgiveness can never become a reality without the genuine effort of true personal humility and love. Love hurts sometimes. But its true, I don’t take my relationship with my family for granted. I feel so richly blessed in this area of my life.

I have cried with friends and even strangers sharing their life and vulnerabilities with me and seeing so many broken families. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about these things.

I suppose having very close loving parents who were also strict but yet who also shared the difficult period of their childhood during the war years. Times were difficult and their sharing how they felt unloved left a big impact on me.

Laughingly I wonder if I would have made a good Catholic Shrink. Everybody in this world during sometime in their life needs a non-judgmental compassionate (“Listener”).
After reading two books in my later teens called “The Listener” and “The One Who Listens”) by American author Taylor Caldwell it seemed to sum up a quality I believed the Lord blessed me with.

Why I never followed this pursuit for a career I’m not so sure except to say perhaps it was traumatic moments in my life.

Childhood as well as early events in Adulthood have a way changing who we are today, but not always for the worse. There remains Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest is Love.


#20

This is very meaningful discussion, thanks to all.

Throughout all of the sibling fights, I have tried to stress to them that, as humans we will at times be hurtful to each other - either by accident or on purpose. This is a constant in life and will happen. Given this fact, what matters is how we react to this. Of course we Catholics should strive to forgive, or at least we are taught this by Jesus on the cross.

My siblings don’t speak as a result ofthe stupidest things which I believe is a result of grudges from years before. I am the only of my siblings who remained catholic. I lead a fairly simple non-chaotic life, I try to stand up for truth and justice with broad shoulders, try not to be too judgmental or self-righteous – but my feeling is that I’m the least liked by all except for a stepparent who likes me.

It feels good to vent but I really don’t think about it too much. Is very interesting to hear others stories. I’m glad that so many are in loving relationships with their adult siblings and hope the same for my kids.


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