AnonymousseOctober 25, 2022 at 3:43 pm #1116623
You have not dealt with this for a lifetime. You’re 21. New therapist.AnonymousseOctober 25, 2022 at 4:09 pm #1116624
Since you did say it just started in high school, this hasn’t been a lifelong thing and it doesn’t need to be. I think you’re really sensitive to this and it probably stings every time grandma comes over. Because your family is the problem.
Your parents are jerks. You grandparents are supreme assholes. Your sister is not an asshole. Just because she is smart and looks good doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have her own feelings, issues and problems that she struggles with. When she brought hers up, you dismissed her. I bet she would be eaten alive for complaining since her life is perfect.
You don’t have to live in her shadow. You don’t have to be compared to her. Yes, you can learn to accept and cope with the fact that your family are actually really messed up and will say terribly mean things to you. Maybe in time you’ll choose to have less of a relationship with them. Adults get to chose who they spend time with. I am a grown adult who has told my parents that if they can’t be kind to me, we’re not going to talk. Boundaries are your friends. “Dad, I am uncomfortable when you talk about my body vs my sisters body.” “Grandma, I did my best in high school, if you’re going to keep comparing me to Julie, I am leaving this bingo hall.” And repeat. And leave that bingo hall!
Definitely get a different therapist!Anonymousgirl25October 25, 2022 at 11:17 pm #1116626
So I am probably going to ruffle some feathers here but I agree with you that what your sister said, in an attempt to help you and relate to your struggles, was hurtful. Do I think your sister was intentionally trying to be hurtful? Absolutely not. I agree with everyone that she was trying to lessen your hurt by telling you she has not had it easy either and was trying to give you examples of that, but I can see from your point of view where it unintentionally hurt your feelings.
You have obviously been compared to your sister in extremely hurtful ways by those around you. It is absolutely obvious your sister has been told she is special her whole life and has been put on a pedestal by your family, town, etc- although through not fault of her own. Even she seems to be aware of this. You were venting to her about how you have been treated your whole life in comparison to her and she proceeded to essentially say “you will never know what it’s like to be beautiful and smart” and kind of implied because you are neither of those things. “You NEVER have to worry about a professor accusing you of cheating” – because you are not as beautiful as me so people don’t think your stupid like they do me with all my beauty. “You NEVER have to deal with people thinking you slept your way into medical school or are performing sex acts for grades” – because you are not near smart enough to get into medical school in the first place like me and even if you did, you are not beautiful like me so people would never question your intelligence or if you slept with people to get where you are. And so on.
Again, do I think this was what your sister was thinking or trying to imply? No. I think she was trying to be a good sister and help you see that she has problems too. And of course her problems and feelings are valid just as yours, but I can see your point of view on how *her words hurt. You have been told over and over again by those who should support you the most that you are not near as smart, pretty, successful, etc etc than your sister and in your mind, her words just reassured that- unintentionally of course. It is not rationale thinking of course, but human emotions are often not rational.
Her words and the situation kind of remind me of a dear friend of mine. My friend is infertile and could never have children although she and her husband desperately wanted biological children. When she would tell people she could never have children of her own, in an attempt to be helpful, they would say things like “well be glad you cant because children are a handful”, “well at least you can sleep in everyday”, “children are expensive, be glad you can spend your money on whatever you want”. Of course these were people who had the one thing she desperately wanted but could never have. They weren’t trying to hurt her, but to make her feel better by listing to her all their “problems” as a result of parenthood. But really all it did was hurt her more and reminded her of “problems” she would never have. I have a feeling this is how you felt when your sister was trying to explain her hardships to you.KateOctober 26, 2022 at 5:57 am #1116629
Well, yeah, what her sister was doing was “silver-lining” her, which isn’t the most empathetic response. What she was really saying was, ok but being hot and smart doesn’t make you happy, but yes, of course the underlying message is that you’re not as hot or smart. Which… true. It would be great if ANYONE in this family or community knew how to recognize the qualities that make the LW special and articulate them. That’s messed up.KateOctober 26, 2022 at 6:03 am #1116630
And actually, what is someone with kids supposed to say when someone says, “I can’t have kids and I wish I could?” If you say, yeah, that must be so hard,” you’re acknowledging their pain, but you’re also acknowledging that your situation is better than theirs. So I understand the urge to silver-lining it. If someone said that to me, a child-free person by choice, then it’s easier for me to say, I’m sorry, that must be so painful.KateOctober 26, 2022 at 7:57 am #1116631
Just a random thought, too, but would you actually want to be a heart surgeon? Would you want to have a job where somebody’s life is always in your hands? Where you might not have much time for yourself?
Would you want to be a model? Where you have to starve your body and always stress about looking thin enough or young enough, and about finding work?
Or would you rather, like, find something you have some natural aptitude for and turn that into a decent-paying career that provides some work-life balance and the ability to nurture relationships with people who appreciate you?
I guess… what else is the sister supposed to say when LW tells her directly that she feels like she has everything? If she’d said, “Yeah, I do have pretty privilege and organic chemistry came naturally,” LW would still feel lesser.
I can think of instances where I was jealous of my sister. Most notably, she moved to NYC to move up in her career around the same time I finished grad school with no job prospects in sight and had to move back in with our parents. I did feel jealous that she’d found her path and was having an absolute blast and I did feel like I was failing, but those feelings were separate. I never felt like she had everything while I had nothing. And I know it’s not the same thing because he never compared us (to our faces), but my dad definitely put down the first job I did nab out of school.
So IDK. I can appreciate that it really must hurt to be compared all the time (and think it’s wild that somehow it’s an entire town of people who don’t know not to make these comments), but I also feel like LW can start taking control of who she spends time with and how she views herself. You’re not lesser, LW, you’re two different people meant for two different paths.
I have mentioned previously in this post that I do not wish to have my sister’s life nor am I inherently jealous of her- I am proud of her deep down, she works extremely hard to be where she is at. But it’s the CONSTANT comparisons and the put downs and obvious favoritism that has lead me to ne jealous and sometimes resentful of her. It is not her fault and I know that. She has always been supportive of me but it is hard not to have those feelings. And even during the years I did move away from family for college, the comparisons did not stop. My mom would call to remind me my sister was already a junior her freshman year because she had so many college credits from high school. I was constantly reminded how I did not have the privilege of having college completely paid for like my sister and how I was costing my parents so much money. When I would make friends, they would see tagged photos of me and my sister on social media and say things like “holy cow that’s your sister?!?!? She’s flawless. Does she look more like your mom where you look more like your dad because you guys don’t even look related!” And that was MULTIPLE people saying things along those lines. And I have already mentioned the boyfriend story. And that’s just one guy. Something like that has happened multiple times. I have been compared to her my whole life and put down. It really started to ramp up once I got to high school but when I look back, the comparisons and favoritism has always been there. Even my mom has mentioned how my sister was such an easy baby whereas after me, she made sure I was her last kid as I stressed her out so much. My sister started walking by this age, but I did so much later. My sister started reading and riding a bike at this age, but I did so much later. My sister was just born “gifted” and they did not raise us any different. These are things I have been told over and over again. And then comments by teachers, boyfriends or guys I’ve liked, therapists, friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc etc etc. And after years and years of this, it has lead me to be extremely jealous of her. Not necessarily because of her looks or success but because of everyone else putting me down in comparison to her
I would not say it’s the ENTIRE town but more so teachers and people we known. We are from a small rural town where everyone quite literally knows everyone. It’s the kind of town where everyone is at the local high school on Friday nights for the high school football game. The people who work at the 3 local gas stations and local grocery store have worked there for 15+ years and know everyone in town. People don’t lock their doors. When people graduate they either start having kids or start working. So yes, they are amazed that my sister, who was extremely involved in the community, is where she is. And as her younger sister, I guess they expected the same of me.LisforLeslieOctober 26, 2022 at 1:31 pm #1116635
I’m truly sympathetic to your situation. I think you have to remember that most people are, quite frankly, idiots. They’re stupid, thoughtless and rude.
There is no perfect solution here, you’re in your own race, to be run at your own pace and reach the milestones that are right for you. I think one thing is really clear though – you have got to get away from your town and from a good chunk of your family because they are bastard-coated bastards with essence of bastard filling.
This is sooo inappropriate of your mom.
My brother has major issues I won’t get into, but suffice it to say I have the looks and brains in the family such as they are. Neither of my parents would EVER make any kind of statement comparing us, because why? That would be so wrong. It’s very wrong of your mom too but I almost feel like you and your sister are in somewhat the same league in her mind or why would she even make comparisons.
And yes, people have said to me, often, “that’s your brother? You two look nothing alike.” My dad actually told me confidentially one time that he believed my brother got switched at the hospital because my dad was away when my mom gave birth and she was on heavy drugs and didn’t know what was going on, and she was sharing a room with a literal child who was giving birth probably from incest (New Hampshire, you know, 1972).
Anyhoo. These people are all being assholes and maybe there are things you can learn to say to people to let them know they’re hurting your feelings and should stop it.
Have you ever said anything to the people making these comments? Because I would. Like I said in a previous comment, I’m kind of a petty b so I’d be making smartass comments intended to make people hear themselves and even feel a little uncomfortable. You’re allowed to say something (doesn’t have to be my approach).
My sister and I have always gotten the “you two look nothing alike” comments and I actually do recall a couple instances of friends in HS telling me she was really pretty and understanding the inference that by comparison I was not. I definitely knew back then that I was not the pretty one and I was insecure at that point in life, and while I’m sure those moments stung, the comments really never settled under my skin. That’s part of the reason I made the comment above about looks changing, putting yourself together in a way that makes you feel your best, and generally finding your confidence — because I was the later bloomer in many ways. And why I keep asking if there’s anything about yourself/your life that you like/makes you feel good. In every response, you’ve vented and listed more grievances, which I guess is fine if it helps, but really, is there anything? I’m honestly curious. You’re in school. What are you studying? What are your favorite classes? What do you find interesting? Do you have any hobbies?
Regardless, new therapist. Learning to set boundaries is important. Your inner monologue is important. Therapy can help with that.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Copa.