Author Topic: Teenager's taunts hurt adopted sibling  (Read 4232 times)


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Teenager's taunts hurt adopted sibling
« on: April 27, 2008, 10:13:57 AM »
DEAR ABBY: I'm 12 and adopted. I have always known and have never felt less loved because of it. My mom always said that when you're adopted, you know that you are wanted and loved because nobody gets adopted by accident.

My 14-year-old sister, “Melissa” is our parental natural child. We were always close, but lately she has decided to be mean to me and tries to hurt me by telling me that I’m not her “real” sister and our parents aren’t my “real” parents.  This hurts very much.  If I cry, she thinks it's funny.  She never says it in front of our parents—she wouldn't dare.

Melissa used to tease me when we were alone in our room, but now she does it in front of her friends, who also laugh at me when I get upset and cry. Melissa would be in big trouble if I told Mom, but I'm afraid it will make her even meaner. I don't want to get her in trouble because, in spite of this, I still love her. I just want her to stop being mean and start treating me like her real sister again. Abby, what should I do? —REAL SISTER IN TACOMA

DEAR REAL SISTER: Clip this and show it to “Miss Melissa.'' I have news for her. Parents who raise a child ARE “real” mothers and fathers. And you are as “real” a sister as Melissa is likely to get.

Her behavior is cruel, insensitive and immature. She’s doing it because you have allowed her to get away with it. Give your sister one warning. Tell her that if she repeats that nonsense again, you will tell your “real” mother, who also happens to be HER mother. And if she's foolish enough to try it—follow through.

Dear Gabby's reply

Hi Somewhat Real Sister: I say this because your letter reveals the problem is not what you say it is.

Part of what your hurt is about is that you’re in denial. Of course you’re not her real sister. For the purpose of her communication (to hurt you) her definition of real means blood (same parents). The reality of it has not sunk in for you. Once you allow yourself to get it (to just have it be) it will mean nothing. Now it means something. You have adopted (pun intended) an attachment to being an original family member. You resist the pain of acknowledging that you're not. Regardless of the semantics, or however technical the point might be, the truth is you are not her real sister. Had you said, the very first time she said that you’re not her real sister, “Yes, I know. I’m adopted. Technically, I’m your step-sister or adopted sister if you will. What’s up? I don't get your point. What are you really upset about?” it would have been a fork in the road (as with all communications). It would have taken you both in different directions.

Now let’s look at what this is really about. As you describe it you come across as the crying victim. Where’s your responsibility in this drama? What did you do to cause her to want to hurt you? You’ll have to go back to the last day/time you experienced the experience of mutual love with her. What did you do or say that upset her? What would she say you did to deserve this treatment? That incident is referred to as an incomplete. It's the #1 (the first). All the rest is drama compounded by that incident.

Ironically she is correct in that you aren’t being real. You’ve got some act going on that serves as a barrier to communication. You don’t consider your Mom to be safe enough to discuss your problems with her. There’s fear in your relationship with both Melissa and your Mom else this problem wouldn’t be hanging around as long as it has. What happened, some time ago, after which you stopped communicating openly, honestly, and spontaneously, with your Mom? It was an incident, referred to in communication coaching jargon as an incomplete; a communication that did not end in mutual satisfaction, from which your mind made a decision for you, “Whoops, better not do/say that again.” Most likely you don't recall having made the decision.

How does your sister know with absolute certainty that you won’t rat on her? It appears you have compromised your integrity with her about another incident, another incomplete. Something about your leadership-communication skills have trained her to treat you as she does. It's possible you survive by acting as the nice child (the "good" girl) so as to garner points from your parents. This pattern of itself would infuriate your sister. It began with an incident in which she got in trouble and you looked good.

Now here’s the biggie: You’ve got to get to the truth of what this is about and reconcile the relationship or, tell her that you want to sit down with her and your Mom and resolve this—no half-baked make up. It’s got to be a powerful emotional transformation or it will persist for life but covertly/politely. There are two big reasons that make confronting this imperative: If you continue to let it slide you are ripe for attracting a partner who is also a bully, eventually a life of spouse abuse. You’ll find yourself using the same reasons (fear) for not handling spousal abuse; already your pattern is to put up with abuse. And, your silence is condemning Melissa to the consequences of bullying abuse. You are unconsciously setting it up for the world to punish her (your silence is not a gift of love, it is in fact covert sabotage). Unbeknownst to her she is racking up horrendous karma that begs to be caught in some form, be it sickness, rape, an accident, or pregnancy or whatever. That is to say, if she doesn’t get acknowledged (caught) for this abusive (behind her mother’s back behavior) and given a choice to stop (to discover the incident that automatically motivates her to abuse you every time she sees you), then her integrity will set up life for her to experience the hurt she’s inflicted on you and others. Put another way, if you see someone about to walk into a glass door you can say something, or, cause him/her, through nonverbal communication, to continue walking into the door; you are always the fork in the road. If she’s on the way down (to crashing and burning) then you need to know you did everything possible to be there for her.

Re: "I don't want to get her in trouble." It's too late. She's already in big trouble—heading for more.

BTW: Her behavior is indicative of a communication breakdown between her and your Mom. She’s dramatizing some upset, an incomplete. At some level she knows this would upset and hurt her mother for her to be treating you this way. Teens who don’t know how to communicate upset/anger responsibly, through to mutual satisfaction, have no choice but to escalate the aberrant behavior, bring in outsiders, teachers, counselors, or even the police, so as to bring to someone’s attention that there’s a communication breakdown in the family. Your Mom has gone unconscious. She used to be able to look at either of you and know in an instant if thing’s were OK or not. Something happened, she is out integrity, she needs counseling. There’s virtually no difference between what’s happening and say incest. Abuse is happening right under her nose and she supports it with her unconsciousness. Most likely she’ll say, “I had no idea. Why didn’t you tell me?” This would be her way of blaming you instead of acknowledging, “I see now that I caused this by not being in communication with the both of you? I didn’t teach you both what to do when such things happen. I should have said, "Never ever hide such things from me, unless of course you want to punish me for being a bad, uncaring, unapproachable mother.”

Do show everyone this post.


PS. Thanks so much for reaching out.