Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-19-2012, 07:31 AM
FannyHackabout's Avatar
FannyHackabout FannyHackabout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 6
Default Lose-lose situation, need advice

About six weeks ago my second sister and I had a falling out. That falling out happened after she sent me an email explaining things she had been upset over the couple months she had been in the relationship and that she couldn't even see herself being friends with me for the time being. Her way of dealing with issues with me had always been to withdraw without warning and not contact me until she was ready to talk about what happened. Often it was days or weeks before this happened, and if I didn't pick up that she was upset and said or did something to push her to talk about issues or inadvertently upset her, it would only make her more upset. As such, this email left me with a lot of hurt, resentment and anger over how she decided to deal with her feelings and how she wouldn't provide the opportunity to work through them with her. Instead, she really left me hanging. Since then, it has grown into a very unpleasant situation.

Between her email and through talking to my first sister (who is in a relationship with her) I've pretty much ironed out by now why my second sister handled things the way she did and what she was upset about in more detail. Essentially, my first sister gave a blow by blow analysis of exactly why my relationship with my second sister went wrong. It was difficult to hear this, because she would tell me things from my second sister's point of view and I would immediately flame at how this wasn't right or that's not what I meant, etc. etc. It only hurt more because I still don't have the opportunity to talk to her, or at the very least, take "full responsibility" to her for my actions, which she feels I did not properly due in a couple of instances.

My second sister is still in relationships with our boyfriend and my first sister; ergo, she is still in very close proximity. I don't see her at all, but obviously she is a big part of the hearts of my sister and boyfriend, and there's still a (currently rather buried) place for her, too. The stress from being so close to someone yet unable to work out any issues at all, even to the point of being on speaking terms, is taking a very, very heavy toll on me. Try as a I might, through several sources, including a professional source, I cannot seem to effectively process the feelings I have about things with my second sister. It's really unhealthy for me. I've begun having anxiety attacks about it, bad ones.

Tonight, on a kink website we are all on, she removed everything about my from her profile, other than to say she was my sister, and wrote a lengthy, detailed journal entry about "her couple." I had already had an anxiety attack earlier today due to an unrelated cause, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had an absolute, full-blow panic attack meltdown. I just couldn't handle the stress. For several hours I had to sit with someone because I didn't feel safe being alone. I have overcome the majority of my past emotional health issues, and for this to happen was very alarming and concerning for me. I am worried I am becoming a bit unraveled.

I think what grieves me most is the concern that, even thought things with my boyfriend, my first sister and I are perfect right now, and even though I plan on spending my life with them, my difficulties with my second sister will tear that apart, if not from pushing me away than by me getting to a place where I am all-around unstable and it destroys my other relationships, too. I worked, very, very hard for those to be built into happy, healthy relationships. I would be devastated if they fell apart because of this.

I am unsure of what to do. I want to talk to my partners about it, but my boyfriend usually ends up telling me second sister about when I am upset with her and then things get ten times worse because she will fight with him AND be more mad at me. My friends think I am not fully standing up for myself, but the last time I "stood up for myself" things just got worse. I need to defriend her on social networking sites because reading things she posts triggers these attacks, but I am not sure how to do that without making things seem even more awkward/fueling the fire. All I know is I want to stay in this relationship, I am very upset about the situation with my second sister, and I am slowly unraveling from the anxiety. Any advice?
__________________
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” - Dr. Seuss
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-19-2012, 02:51 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 536
Default

Just a clarification, from reading your other posts: these are not actually your sisters. That does change things. It makes it a whole lot easier to walk away from without the rest of the family being dragged into it, for instance.

It sounds from your posts as if Margo, second 'sister,' has had quite a few issues in your group, and she's only been there a few months. This should supposedly be the honeymoon stage, and she's been fighting with two of them and giving the cold shoulder to you. How do the other two feel about this? Are they getting tired of it?

Look at these comments you made:

Quote:
things with my boyfriend, my first sister and I are perfect right now,
Quote:
I want to talk to my partners about it, but my boyfriend usually ends up telling me second sister about when I am upset with her and then things get ten times worse because she will fight with him AND be more mad at me.

Quote:
last time I "stood up for myself" things just got worse.
I know I'm coming from the outside, but if you can't have a private conversation with him, there's a problem with him, too. Why isn't he respecting your need to talk about this without it all being reported back? Is either of them bothered by how she's treating you or are they just leaving you to deal with this yourself while they continue to support her?

A relationship where any attempt to stand up for yourself makes things worse is not a perfect relationship. Again, I know I'm seeing only bits and pieces, and I know I'm bringing my own experience in an emotionally and verbally marriage to how I read this, but to me, that sounds like an abusive relationship, where everything is smooth sailing as long as you smile pleasantly no matter what and don't rock the boat.

When I told my pastor about the things going on in my marriage, his words were, "Get some counseling to get strong enough to do what you need to do."

Have you ever heard of EMDR? It's used for post traumatic stress, and it has been used by many people on the infidelity board I frequent. My advice is to take a little time to yourself to think things through, to do a few things on your own, reconnect with your own wants and desires in life, where you want to be in ten and twenty years, and look into counseling, maybe specifically with someone who does EMDR.

I wish you the best of luck, and hope you can find some peace.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-19-2012, 05:25 PM
cuninglingwist cuninglingwist is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 29
Default You need to stand back,

and see things more clearly for what they are. The worst thing that happened to me that can happen to others in any relationship especially including polly, is to have one party that refuses to talk where she acts like the other party does not exist, she is not uncontiously doing this, she is very concious of doing this and fully knowledgable of the mental stress,hurt and damage she is causing you, she is a none verbal mental sadist, she proberbly acts so precious to the others that they dont see it, its her way of controling the group with her none verbal communication with you, the fact she is a new cumer to your otherwise happy group they should see this and support you. after all the other girl could be next! I dont care how good she feels when going down on you, this type of person is not a team player, she needs to go and find another victim to play her games on, or you need to go if the others dont see it, otherwise it will consume you. its all about what SHE wants in this group, not you. she was proberbly spoiled as a kid and knows how to push buttons to get what she wants, so baby you need to be strong, talk to the others and confront her together, shutting out one person is not the way a polly family grows or conducts its self, open communication is a must. you will not be her private mental masochist. if you need to talk further with me please get intouch.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-19-2012, 06:29 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,026
Default

My advice? You guys have weak conflict resolution skills. It is a two layer problem.
  • The SPECIFIC THING -- whatever it was that set all this off.
  • And then the HOW YOU COPE with solving conflict THINGS IN GENERAL.

That's your conflict resolution style. It seems weak to me so it makes the THING that much harder to bear and sort out. You have clunky tools.

You have opportunity here to choose to work on beefing up your conflict resolution skills not just with her, but with your polyship's various tiers. (Here's one example thread of people in a triad having a THING and learning how to break down the elephant. )
  • Own your upset.
  • Let her own her upset.
  • Learn to set a time limit for a check in so you are not in endless limbo. (That is what you suffer from here. The not knowing. )
  • Learn about more effective conflict resolution methods while you are waiting in Limbo.
  • Don't be dragging your other Meta Sister person and your Shared BF into the middle of it. Especially (like the BF) if they have weak boundaries on that kind of thing.

Quote:
Her way of dealing with issues with me had always been to withdraw without warning and not contact me until she was ready to talk about what happened.
Again. Let her own her upset.

If that is how she chooses to handle difficult things -- by hunkering down away from stimulus to lower her internal volume so she can then be ready to talk more calm, that is how she handles it. It is not an unreasonable method for coping with emotional flooding - to back away from the stimulus.

(here is one emotional flooding article with tips. Here is another. Google more. Maybe YOU are also having emotional flooding.)-

But since you also write this...

Quote:
this email left me with a lot of hurt, resentment and anger over how she decided to deal with her feelings and how she wouldn't provide the opportunity to work through them with her. Instead, she really left me hanging.
To me it sounds like you'd be more ok in giving her emotional space so she can clear her emotional flooding wackies if she ALSO Gave a check-in time.

If she said it like
"I need some space to cool off my hot head. Can we come revisit this in a week? And if I'm still too hot under the collar to talk like a calm person, I'll tell you. But at least we can do a temperature check and not leave you hanging. Is that reasonable?"
You could ask her to treat you that way in future.
"I want to stay with you and work this out. But next time? Can you tell it to me more like THIS (see above) and not just shut down and shut me out completely? I'd like to know a check in point is coming so I don't overworry and get all cranked up myself. That's no good for either of us to be able to move it forward."
Quote:
Often it was days or weeks before this happened, and if I didn't pick up that she was upset and said or did something to push her to talk about issues or inadvertently upset her, it would only make her more upset.
Is her expectation that YOU will do all the work of conflict resolution? Either in being a mind reader or drawing it out of her. She does not want to do the work herself?

If she could set the limit when it happens then later at the checkpoint you agreed to she could say
"Alright. Thank you for giving me some emotional space and waiting to our week later checkpoint. I am ready to talk about it now if you are willing."
If she's not strong enough to do that yet? YOU set the check in. Own that part of the elephant -- get her to a place where she can be strong enough to OWN her side.
"Look, I see you are upset. You are sending me all kinds of provoking hot head things. I will give you emotional space and then check back in a week. See where tempers are at and if we are cooler then we can set the appt to work things out. But I have a limit -- do not needle me. I want to be in right relationship here. "
And don't let it become the game of moving the appointment all around the place -- pick one and stick to that checkpoint. You are supposed to work together to break down the elephant -- not cover eyes and pretend it does not exist and also pretend isn't pooping all over the relationship!

Just my 2 cents.

GalaGirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-19-2012 at 06:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-20-2012, 01:22 AM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,235
Default

When you say "sister" do you mean it like a "sister wife" kind of thing?
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-20-2012, 04:32 AM
KyleKat KyleKat is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 284
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
When you say "sister" do you mean it like a "sister wife" kind of thing?
Based on the context, that's how I read it. Especially considering she said there's a relationship between her first and second sister. I'd like some clarification as well.

I dislike the sister wives titles for this reason. I understand it's to make people more accepting but that's because it's misleading, which isn't at all what poly is about... Buuuut that's a conversation for another thread.
__________________
"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is the regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." - Sydney Smith

Kyle: 27 year old male
Katie (rymmare): 25 year old female
Kids: girl: 5 years old, boy: 3 years old
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-20-2012, 01:54 PM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleKat View Post
Based on the context, that's how I read it. Especially considering she said there's a relationship between her first and second sister. I'd like some clarification as well.
In some of her previous posts, it's clear they are not actual sisters, but yes, more like 'sister wives.'
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:27 PM.