I haven’t mentioned much about my oldest sister, Sharon, so far. When the “moving incident” was happening with my parents, Sharon had been pretty much estranged from the family. It’s kind of its own story that needs to be told to understand where I am at now and to understand how deep the family drama lies. First, let me state that there was a time long ago that Sharon and I were close. It’s unfortunate how time and personalities can cause such unnecessary damage. Second, this is how I saw and perceived everything; I’m sure she would state otherwise.
Beginning in high school, Sharon gained some weight and she struggled with it into adulthood. I have experienced that same struggle on and off for most of my life, so I understand how it can affect self-esteem, except Sharon was always strong and outspoken, at least on the outside. In her mid-thirties, at the time when we were close, she decided to crash diet and basically starve herself for over six months. It was amazing to me that her husband and children didn’t notice she wasn’t eating. But, as she lost the weight and got skinny, her whole attitude changed. She was always a little self-centered, but now it was amplified. She and I used to go out together once a week to a local bar for karaoke night, as we both loved to sing. I watched as her attitude started to change and everything became about her. She flirted with many guys and slept with quite a few of them too. Her husband didn’t know, at least not at first. I can’t blame her too much for cheating – it is a common reaction to childhood sexual abuse. I, myself, have struggled with right and wrong a couple times when it comes to just hoping someone will love you.
As Sharon kept losing weight and the guys started checking her out more and more, she started putting me down. She would point out how the hot guys were checking her out, and then how the unattractive guys were checking me out. I had low self-esteem to begin with, so this just tore me down even further. After a while, I stopped going out with Sharon; my self-esteem just couldn’t take it. Over the next few years, our relationship became more and more distant.
Sharon got divorced and then jumped from guy to guy, with her three young children in tow. One day, she accused my mother of knowing about the incest and then disowned her. Sharon eventually came back around however, once she needed my mom for babysitting. It went like that for years. Sharon wanted it both ways – to hate my parents for the incest, but also to use them when she needed something, and that irritated me more than anything.
Fast forward a few years – I got a call from my mom that Sharon had kicked her oldest son, just turned 18, out of the house. This kid was a model child: class valedictorian, perfect GPA, in college full-time, and working part-time. He was very pretty quiet and never caused problems. I was given two reasons for why Sharon kicked him out – at first, my mom told me it was because he had shoved his younger sister (12 years old), but then my mom also said that Sharon thought he just wasn’t doing enough and not being responsible enough. Huh? He was pretty much the perfect kid!
Honestly, in my mind, if he shoved his sister, then something caused that. It would later come out that his sister was taunting him over and over and he finally snapped. I can understand Sharon needing to get her son out of the house to protect her daughter, but she should have gotten her son some help, as well as her daughter who had a hand in what happened. But instead, Sharon just banished him to my parent’s house (his father had already disowned him years earlier). My parents were in bad health but that didn’t matter to Sharon – she had no problem using them. My mother later told me that is was clear that Sharon was just looking for any excuse to get her son out of the house.
Due to my parents’ health problems, I offered to help them out and took my nephew on the weekends so I could drive him back and forth to work. Sharon had told us not to help him, not to transport him and not to feed him. She wanted him to walk 15 miles from work along dark country roads to my parent’s house at night. When we asked her what if something bad happened to him, she basically said, “Oh well!” Well, excuse me, but I am not that cold-hearted and neither were my parents. It turned out to be a big stress on our lives. My other sister, Sandy, was supposed to help out too, but she bailed after just one week. It got to where I cried every weekend – I felt like my life wasn’t mine anymore. I was being a parent to someone else’s child. Sharon was pissed off that we were helping her son, but what else could we do? Let him go hungry? Let him die on the streets? That’s insane!
I dealt with a lot of odd issues when her son stayed with us. He would make strange comments: one night he came out of the shower, walked up to my husband and said, “I’m sorry about the dead body in the shower.” Then he turned around and went to his room. Huh? When my husband told me, I actually had to get out of bed and go check the damn shower! I went and asked my nephew what he meant and he just looked at me stone-faced and said that it was something he just felt like saying. I lay awake all night wondering if we would wake up to him standing over us to kill us, or if I would find him dead in the bathtub by suicide in the morning. It was a long, terrible night.
Another time, he took off for the weekend to meet up with some guys he had met online. I couldn’t tell him ‘no’; he was 18 and I wasn’t his mother. I didn’t now what to do. I spent the whole weekend worrying because I thought maybe I had just sent him off to be taken advantage of or hurt. That type of thing is in the news all the time these days. He came home safe but I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. It was tearing my family apart – my husband was mad; I was mad and afraid. Our lives had been totally changed to take care of my nephew. After backing out on having him stay with us any further, I finally called Sharon one night to ask her to help out more but she got mad and started yelling at me. I, in turn, yelled back at her for taking advantage of our parents. She hung up on me. This was becoming a pattern in my family – since when is “hanging up” how adults handle things?
A couple days later, every family member got a letter from Sharon in the mail, disowning us all. She wrote very mean and hateful things. Of course, her son was still living with my parents, so my parents had minor contact with her in relation to her son. She and I haven’t spoken since. We exchanged some nasty emails early on, but she was so deluded that I finally told her that I had moved on and that she needed to do the same. It is sad that it turned out the way it did, but a person can only take so much, you know? And I, personally, couldn’t get over what she was doing to our parents and her son.
I tried once to fix it, although I admit I was doing it for my mom. I emailed Sharon, writing that we both had said some things we shouldn’t have said and would she like to get together and talk. She wrote back, “I’ll ponder it.” I never heard back from her, and honestly, I was just fine with that. Sharon pretty much stayed out of the family for years, sending her kids to family holidays while not attending herself. That would change though – one event would draw her back in. She came back around in 2009 when the family shut me out over my parent’s moving dilemma. She started going to holidays once I stopped. My two sisters had pretty much hated each other and suddenly they were best friends. It’s speculation, although founded, but I truly believe Sharon did it to get back at me and try to hurt me. I was the only one that had stood up to her and now she was going to make me pay for it. The thing is, I didn’t care – it was so obvious what she was doing. And it wouldn’t be the last time she tried to hurt me.