Sister Sister Sister

United States
August 3, 2012 9:26pm CST
What do you do when you are too tired to deal with a difficult person? My sister has Asperger's Syndrome very severely. Because of this she has some problems with interpersonal relationships. Recently I made the mistake of "liking" a post on her FB. She wrote me an email with the heading, "I don't understand". She didn't like that I liked her post because it was about her computer dying. I thought she had found a solution and so I liked her solution. Well, apparently what she was wanting was someone to come to her rescue and so she was "hurt" by my "liking" it. Well, I sent her an email explaining that my "liking" had nothing to do with her computer breaking and everything to do with my sympathy for her situation. Kind of like, "Yeah, I've been there, too." That should have been the end of it but NO! She had to turn it back on me and tell me how wrong I was to use the like button like that and so on and so forth. Suddenly I was sucked into an argument that I had neither the patience nor the energy for. After a couple of emails back and forth and her not backing down but continuing in her attack on me, I just quit opening her emails. Today I got a package from her. Inside were some things that I had no interest in and another nasty note from her telling me how I "resented her" so much that she couldn't stand to have any photos of me around so she was returning the photo a friend had given her to me. Mind you, this woman is 53. She is very much a child and I am fed up with her tantrums. I am dealing with quite enough without this aggravation. Is it any wonder that I have been the only one in our family who would try to help her over the past several years? She doesn't see all my efforts on her behalf as showing love but as what she just needs. She doesn't see how ungrateful she is toward me but instead that I resent her. She only hears and sees what she wants to and it has come to the point where I am going to have to back off just out of self-preservation. Again, I don't dare try to explain that to her because she will only hear that I resent her. Seriously, I want to scream! I really do not know what to do other than to just cut off all communication with her. She is not backing off and is continuing in her nastiness. I don't need this abuse. She even went on FB and posted a huge diatribe about the incident for all to see her narrow viewpoint. My friends who had no idea she was talking about me, of course, had no idea what to say. I have not told any of my friends about this and wonder if I should. I don't want them to turn their backs on her. She needs someone to look out for her. But if any of them were to try and talk to her about this, she would turn on them and shut them out, as well. I am just at a loss. I have tried telling her the things I'm dealing with and she doesn't care. It has no impact on her at all. I am still expected to apologize and play nice no matter how she treats me. I just can't do this anymore. I have advocated for her in the face of enormous obstacles and quite frankly she has worn me out. I have a daughter who needs me and she has to be my first responsibility. I'm just sick of being hurt over this.
4 responses
@deazil (4547)
• United States
4 Aug 12
Some times the best thing to do is back away from a situation. I think you are doing the right thing. As you said, self preservation. She seems to be intensely preoccupied with arguing over this with you. You're right to realize that your daughter needs you more. And you have to think of yourself. Depending on who the friends are I would hesitate to say anything. It will probably come out, though, sooner or later. I would expect that anyone who -really- knows you wouldn't believe the things she may be saying. It's unfortunate that some people prefer to believe the bad rather than the good. All you can do is hope for the best. I am not very knowledgeable in regard to AS so I don't know what to expect from your sister, for example how long will she carry this on? Not long, I hope. Sit tight and hopefully it will blow over. Immerse yourself in your (other) family responsibilities and try not to think about it too much. The ball's in her court. It may be there for a long time. I hope everything works out for you.
• United States
4 Aug 12
Asperger's is a form of autism. People who have it are unable to put themselves in another person's shoes or see another viewpoint other than their own. My sister has it very severely. She sees life through a filter and finds reality impossible to deal with. She cannot express herself appropriately and often talks too loud. She basically lives in her computer games and fantasy world. When she has to deal with anything new in the real world, she feels very daunted. A few years ago she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. At that point in time she was living in her own trailer and it looked like something straight off "Hoarders". It had not been cleaned for at least twenty years and the dust and animal droppings and smell were overwhelming. I cleaned the whole thing out over the period of about 8 months, going out with my daughter each Friday after work and returning to my home Saturday evening, often as late as 10pm. We had at least fifty runs to the dump with a minimum of fifty large (36 gallon) garbage bags on each trip. When my sister got out of the hospital, I just could not bring myself to send her back to that trailer so I opened my home to her. She is very OCD and cannot stand people around her. She expects others to tolerate her rudeness and has no notion that she could ever be in the wrong. One time while she was living with us, she came out of her room and there was a box on the floor in her way. She just stopped and stood there, looking at it like she was lost, until I told my daughter to move it for her. She has no problem solving abilities at all. At the same time she is very highly intelligent and has built her own computers. She gets on the computer and she's happy but only if everything is the way she wants it! She is extremely intractable and has to have everything her own way. For example, when she plays her World of Warcraft she has to have the sound on and cannot have headphones on so the sounds of violence permeates the entire house. This makes it very difficult for those of us trying to keep a peaceful spirit in the home. She has no sense of propriety and no manners at all. One Thanksgiving some friends of mine had us over for dinner. The rest of us played board games after dinner but my sister doesn't play board games so she laid down on their couch and just lay there loudly farting all through the rest of the evening. No apologies or "excuse me". Those are words that are lacking in her vocabulary. But when describing our tiff, of course, she lays all the blame on me. It's all my fault because I'm the big bad bully sister and she is the eternal victim. I just don't think I can be there anymore for her. She has no appreciation for anything I have done for her. She accuses me of resenting everything I've done instead of expressing any kind of gratitude. She is in many ways a child. We only recently got her diagnosed so she grew up without any intervention that might have helped her development. Needless to say, she is difficult at best to deal with. She has no affection and no kind words for anyone. But she will take offense when none is intended and then beat you up for it until you beg her forgiveness. Any relationship with her is very one-sided, to say the least.
@riempie9 (1026)
• South Africa
4 Aug 12
You are in a difficult situation with your sister but because of her illness you must try to understand and OVERLOOK a lot. She is not her usual self. I have Parkinson's now but I try to live a normal life. Help her. One day someone will help you. That is the way the world works. We are here for a very short time. Be the bigger guy. Overlook some of her faults. Speak to her. And most of all try and be compassionate despite her ways. You can't get rid of family. What you do in this situation will teach your own kids about life.
• United States
4 Aug 12
riempie, you obviously do not understand the situation. The fact is that my sister is her usual self. This is pretty much par for the course for her. She has been this way all her life. The fact is that I have stuck by her through thick and thin and do not think I need to kill myself in order to do my duty as her sister to her. There is such a thing as self-preservation. I have set her up with a caregiver and gotten her on disability. She is cared for...thanks to me. But I have health issues of my own and have no more to give. I don't think submitting to her abuse is necessary or needful. Nor does it do her any favors. I have four other sisters whom she has cut out of her life long ago because of one perceived offense or another. They lost all patience with her and gave up long before I ever thought of doing so. I was the one who got her diagnosed. I was the one there for her and walking her through her bout with cancer. I was the one who got her out of Alaska and into some kind of help. Don't tell me I haven't been compassionate with her or understanding with her or the "bigger guy". You have no idea what I am dealing with in my own life so spare me your preachments.
@cyberfluf (5005)
• Netherlands
7 Aug 12
I am very sorry to hear about your situation. I work with children with special needs and my neice has Asperger's Syndrome as well. I grew up with her and she is my best friend. She can be a hand full to handle at times, but she's also one of the most sincere and loving people I know. She knows she has trouble with interpersonal relationships, but she wants to learn and if she does something that's really inappropriate or that hurts someone (without her wanting to hurt that person), she's open for feedback. I've worked with and met many people with autism, from very mild to very severe, including people that have both autism and a mental handicap. Apart from the fact autism can make a person 'difficult', it also depends on their own character. If someone has autism but also is a very stubborn person, that makes quite a tricky combination. Not a single person is the same, and that also goes for people with autism. If you have tried this hard, somewhere you have to draw the line. The only thing you can do is point out that it was never your intention to hurt her. I know how hard it is never to hear that a person is sorry, that they love you or that they understand you are hurt. Even though my neice can do this, it's hard for her, but I've also worked with children who couldn't and that would physically and mentally hurt me on a daily basis. I feel your pain and I admire you for keeping up with it, both as a professional and as a family member of a person with autism. All though I can hardly say I am in the same position in my family, I've seen quite a lot at work.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Aug 12
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and heartfelt input. Like I have said before, if I didn't have so much on my plate already I would willingly continue to deal with my sister. You are so right that individuals have their own character. My sister is very stubborn and once she gets into a particular mindset it's like pulling teeth to get past it. She has never had anything to give, emotionally. Never gave love or comfort or sympathy. She's like a huge emotional black hole. In her FB post she said something about wanting to apologize but that I wasn't talking to her so she couldn't...and yet she emailed me more of her nastiness after the FB post. No apologies. I don't dare say anything to draw her attention to that, though because then she would just use that as an excuse to attack me some more. She can be very unreasonable. It's like with the photo she sent me. My friend Angel gave her that for Christmas. If she truly just couldn't handle looking at it because it was so painful (as she said in her note), she could have given it back to Angel...or just thrown it away. She sent it to me because she wanted to hurt me. But she refuses to admit to any of it. It's all me being stubborn and mean...never her. Drives me nutso wutso! I just need a break. Maybe after the baby is born I'll have some recovery time and will be able to go back into that storm but not now.
1 person likes this
@cyberfluf (5005)
• Netherlands
8 Aug 12
You are very welcome, like I said, I know what you are going through more or less. I agree that when you have a lot on your mind it's harder to deal with these things. They are always hard to deal with, but when you reach your own emotional peak you can't be there for her as well. The sending of the picture sounds like making a statement, making a visual statement about the size of the hurt you caused her. Along the way, she doesn't seem to have any room for thoughts or attention about how this will affect you. Like you said, she doesn't seem to have the abillity to see things from your point of view; which pretty much is one of the main things in autism spectrum disorders. I hope that after some time she will cool down and things will get better. Handling a lot of stressful situations isn't good the babies health so I admire you for being strong and being able to say no to your sister, because you do feel responsible. Otherwise it wouldn't have gotten to you so bad. You are a great sister for caring so much about her.
• United States
8 Aug 12
Thank you. I needed that.
1 person likes this
@Axai2012 (371)
4 Aug 12
I'm sorry to hear that, it must be difficult for you. I have worked with someone with Asperger's. I have seen how they are. It is really difficult. You have to communicate with them the simplest way possible otherwise they will take things literally. They do not know how to read between the lines. Since i have worked in a home setting, when his father visits him, he sometimes lock his room up and don't want to be disturbed, or if he does see his father he will only shout at him. It's rude of him but if I come to think about it, they can't help it. Because of Asperger's they cannot read other's feelings. It is their condition making them do it. They need all the understanding you can give but who can't say you've had enough?
• United States
4 Aug 12
Thank you, Axai. Yes, I have been the one to stand by her and get her the diagnosis and get her on disability. I have researched her condition so I do understand what is going on. Like I said, however, I am dealing with my own infirmities plus a pregnant teenage daughter. I am willing to help my sister out as much as I can but I am not willing to allow her to browbeat me over some imagined offense. I cannot continue to put up with her projecting things onto me, either, which she does all the time. She was the one who accused me of wanting to "end our relationship" and then she turned it around and told me that I was the one who said that. She is the one who insisted on building this misunderstanding into an argument "I'm right and you're wrong" and yet now she claims that I am the one doing that. I just want her to stop attacking me. After the package arrived today, I couldn't even bring myself to read her nasty note so I had my daughter read it to me. I emailed her back and told her to just leave me alone because I was done dealing with her nastiness. I hope she takes the hint. I just can't take this anymore.
@deazil (4547)
• United States
4 Aug 12
I am SO sorry you're having a really bad time (understatement). Thank you for the explanation of AS. I was only aware of a small part of it. I appreciate the enlightenment. Please, take care of -yourself-. That's the most important thing right now. And your daughter. I know you are trying and I can't even imagine being in your shoes. You have already put up with more than most people could or would have. I wish I could do or say something to help. Axai, it's so good that you have experience with AS. You can understand better than I what a-ray is going through.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Aug 12
Thank you, deazil. Have a great weekend. Take care and God bless.
@allknowing (70977)
• India
7 Nov 15
One needs to be equipped with expertise on how to handle such cases. Have you had consultations with experts on this? You tried to deal with your sister with love, when they do not know what love is.