Healing familial sister hatred | Handel Group

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A 4th Generation Feud

Read this letter no matter what, but ESPECIALLY if there’s someone in your life you left for dead…even if understandably.

Sure, it’s a long read, EXCEPT there’s no time like the present  a pandemic to unclog an artery or two… 

Feel free to get moved (and moving).

Dear Marnie,

You kick an amazing amount of ass. On Thursday, you and I spoke about my sister and how she and I are the 4th generation of sisters in my family who don’t get along, and about how I don’t even like her as a person.

Well, talking to you about my history with my sister really helped me cognitively understand that I don’t need to live with this anger and don’t need to carry around this weight anymore. I left my sister for dead and it has been eating at me emotionally for years. I just didn’t know it. I’m still working my way up to writing out the difficult conversation she and I need to have, but I have more motivation to do it now. It’s become more important. Urgent almost.

The reason I’m writing is because earlier today I was about 15 minutes into the daily W(h)ine Down call, watching from my laptop and listening on my phone, when my mom came over. She and I had made plans but I didn’t really want to get together with her in the first place and would rather catch your call instead. So mom comes over, late as usual, and I’m on the call but I take an earpiece out and ask her if we can run to the post office and the pharmacy. She said “okay” so we got into the car and the whole ride she kept trying to talk to me when I was really trying to listen to the call (Beth Weissenberger takes no bullshit and I love how curtly she speaks to people). So I think, fuck it, no more talking Mom and I pull my headphones out and put the call on speakerphone.

Here we go.  

So my mom and I are driving down this country road in the corner of Nebraska, smack dab in the middle of the country, and she points down to the phone and asks me to hold it closer to her ear because she can’t hear it very well. She’s interested! Well, the topic of hating your sibling came up and my mom started listening intently…it just so happens she’s 3rd generation hate-your-fucking-sister. All that hurt has been eating her up for years and she’s never dealt with it, and it still makes her cry, and I could see her going through all these thoughts. It was just fascinating. But then…YOU said MY NAME and mentioned something I said about MY sister during our conversation yesterday and my mom looks over at me – and I just look straight at her and wave. She keeps driving down the highway listening and then you said my name AGAIN and even try to ask me a question on the call – but I couldn’t get the phone off of mute in time and my mom was busy getting her mind fucking blown by some crazy sounding New York chicks who were talking about hating siblings and one of them keeps mentioning Becky and her sister, on a conference call.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with my mom over the years about our familial sister hatred. 

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Well, as mom and I get to the post office, you won’t believe what finally arrived. My very own copy of Maybe It’s You. Funny how these things happen. So my mom gets her stamps and we get into the car and I put the call back on speakerphone. Mom’s listening intently again. Then who starts talking? Someone FROM fucking NEBRASKA. Ha! Now Mom is definitely listening. No one is from Nebraska. There is another Nebraskan on the call?! Next, we drive to the pharmacy and I take the call inside with me, mom stays in the car. Guess who is reading Maybe It’s You when I get out?

On the way home, the call ends and mom and I start talking about Maybe It’s You, and about my homework, and all of these calls I’m spending so much time on and…she says she’s thought about it and decided that she was willing to wade through “old shit” with me. I can interview her about relationships if I think it’s going to help me move forward in my life. And…the next thing you know, she and I are having a sincere, vulnerable conversation about OUR relationship. Which is HUGE because she and I have never been close but she’s always been close with my sister. 

We get to the house and we park in the driveway and keep talking for almost an hour, just sitting in the car. We talked about her calling the cops on me. We talked about the reason I moved out of state. We talked about my sister beating the shit out of me. We talked about how cold my grandfather is and how my grandmother didn’t know how to talk to her other daughter, a.k.a. my mom’s sister / my “bitchy” aunt, yet my grandmother and my mom were close. And…my mother and my sister are really close but my mom and I are distant… she sat there and told me she didn’t know how to talk to ME…her own daughter.

I was blown away. She finally acknowledged what I’ve always felt. That she’s never been able to see me for who I was. That she couldn’t relate to me. Wow.  

Marnie…the stars aligned and old family wounds were uncovered. The timing, the references, the whole situation was just like being in a flow. Water crested and ran over into an arid field. Now the healing and the growth can begin. Thank you so much for helping make this possible. The energy and the love you are giving with your work and on these daily calls…you are creating powerful fucking waves. And I trust you. And I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am. This one afternoon felt like a literal sea change.

Thank you.