Monday, July 30, 2007

Final Curtain

Six days later sister received my response. I make a reference to "EQ" in this reply. There is a pop psychology term called Emotional is usually referred to as "emotional intelligence". My sister likes to think of herself as emotionally intelligent. I'm the book smart one and she's the emotionally intelligent one according to her. All the evidence I can reference from my sister's history and mine would reveal that she's not only average on the IQ scale, she's not got a high "EQ" either. I think she has confused her ability to manipulate, lie and bamboozle with being emotionally intelligent. Getting people to give you what you want can't be the only measure of "EQ".

What follows are the last words I have "spoken" to my sister since April 20, 2006. She made a tentative contact last December that I wrote about here:

Dear D,

Some things have become very clear to me in the wake of your apology. While you do cleanly admit to:

1) being defensive in your Apr. 1st email.....

2) putting me in the position of mother and, as such, needing me to assuage your defensiveness.....

...the fundamental core of what you did against me went unacknowledged and therefore unapologized for. This means that you are going to do the same thing to me at some point in the future. That isn't acceptable. I have been treated like this by you too many times before. Generalized apologies for how I'm feeling don't cut it. Generalized apologies for how you've "hurt and wronged" me don't cut it. Apologies that are non specific are absolutely worthless. There is no basis for trust to be built on general, non-specific apologies unless the receiver is gullible and mistakes it for a real apology. I'm not that gullible. While I did recognize specific admissions as noted above, those did not touch on the real offense to me. You use those two admissions to make it about you and your tender feelings....once again. In other words, those admissions were to serve as excuses. They were to explain away whatever it was I was in a snit about. I was supposed to see you as wounded and weak and misunderstood and thereby forgive you, when the truth is that you were being the aggressor and I was the victim of manipulative tactics. I will not be swerved from what really happened by these diversions.

I have labored through multiple drafts of a response to your apology. I have discarded them all completely. For me to turn my full attention to the content of that email would only be hurtful to you in a non-productive way since you are not willing to admit the truth of what you do. I am not out for blood. I am not needing to prove to you that I'm right. So I'm just going to lay down all weapons and walk away from the field. You can be right. And while you're being right, I'm going to just be gone.

Your apology letter was, in fundamental essence, identical to the apology letter Mom sent me that you claimed made you feel so sick (only hers was more artful). Well, your apology made me feel just as sick. I have been feeling physically and emotionally horrible over how to respond to what you are calling an apology. I have had bricks in my stomach as I have tried to find a way to convey what I am seeing to you. But I know it would be for nothing. I won't waste any more time on it because you are not willing to see and freely admit the core of what you should be apologizing for. I'm not going to script for you what it should look like. I'm not out to extort what would come easily to someone who is truly sorry.

So I'm going to say the same thing to you as I did about K. I will have a relationship with you someday.....someday when you grow up and are willing to take responsibility for who you are and what you do and the decisions you make. I'm am weary to the bone of hearing you give yourself a pass on everything by blaming your childhood. It is looking ridiculous for a 40+ year old woman to be blaming anyone but herself for what she does and who she is. When do you start to take full responsibility for these things? I'm beginning to think never. Does it occur to you that I had the same parents? That in many ways my childhood was much harder than yours? That I never have used my childhood to get me off the hook for the consequences of my bad behaviors? What I'm doing now, by saying "goodbye for now" isn't about my childhood either. It is about the present. It is about how I so clearly see the careless way you deal with me is far from a thing of the past. You probably have little to no memory of the frequency that you've done this kind of thing to me throughout our adult lives. But your memory, or lack thereof, is not my problem. My problem is my memory. When you dish out your manipulative garbage at me you force me to remember so many things. You make the past present. If you can't remember the various unkind and manipulative ways you've dealt with me over the years then I guess that just proves my point. My feelings don't make much of an impression on you because you always feel so justified for what you do.

So...after this email, I am laying down the pen and am leaving you to your reality. I can't live in it with you. Because of the fact that I won't play in your reality, it is certain that you would see me as cruel and mean and insensitive and whatever. I am no longer willing to accede to your version of reality in any way when it conflicts with what I know to be true. I will allow myself to be completely honest which you will see as cruelty. I am so done with protecting your feelings at the expense of my own feelings and principals. I am so done with the constant feeling of holding my breath around you hoping I don't ignite any fires. We've gotten along as well as we have because I was always willing to give in to get along. That was how I coped with Mom, too. My relationship with you has always felt too much like my relationship with Mom. The less cruel thing will be for me to take a bow and leave the stage. A clean break is less painful than a death of a thousand cuts which a continued relationship with me would feel like to you. You have very sensitive feelings. Unfortunately, your sensitivities are all for yourself. Your compassion you save for mostly you. I don't need to spend my compassion on someone who is so generous with it on themselves. I can imagine that you are shaking your head and wondering that I have this view of you and our relationship. I imagine what I'm saying doesn't comport with what you think and feel about yourself or our relationship. I can't help what you think. I can only tell you what I think. If what I'm saying in this email is can use it to help you envision what continued contact with me would feel like.

The high regard and love you claim to have in your heart toward me is a secret safe with you. It doesn't show. If you had those things in your heart toward me you would have treated me very differently than you have in the past, and than you did on Apr. 1st....and you wouldn't have followed that insult with the insult of a non-apology. Your type of high regard and love have never felt like the real article to me. I'm not going to pretend that its there just because you say it is. You've had plenty of time to learn how to show these things to me. That you don't know how after so many years on the planet means I'm not holding out much hope that will ever change. I no longer believe I have to put up with intermittent abuse just to prove to someone that I'm a good person. All manipulators and abusers in my life get the pink slip.

I'm sure this seems precipitous to you. Like I've come clear out of the blue with this decision. First of all, I'm not interested in giving you a recipe for how you should behave around me. That is what Mom does. I, on the other hand, want real relationships based on real caring. Not scripted behaviors. If you can't identify inappropriate behaviors, like manipulation, coercion, guilt-tripping, judging, and dismissiveness after all the conversations we've had about Mom and narcissism then, once again, your EQ is failing you. That you couldn't predict that I would not stick around if you decided to treat me as you have done in the past isn't anyone's fault but your own. High EQ would have told you this would be the result. I have demonstrated that I don't take manipulative crap off of anyone anymore by my decisions about Mom and Dad. You had a front row seat. But you would, if you could, demand yet another pass even while you refuse to apologize for what you really did. You are without excuse. You had all the information you needed to be able to know that your decision to try and force my will would be a fatal blow to our relationship. You did what you did with full disclosure on my part on how I would react to it. But, for some reason, you thought you were a special case with entitlement to endless do-overs if I should take offense at something you did. The plea is always, "That's not what I intended". "You misunderstand me." No, I don't any longer misunderstand when I'm up against a covertly aggressive person. I know when someone is selfishly and underhandedly fighting for their own way. I suppose it is very obvious now how different our view of sisterhood is. My view is simply this: the only sister you get to keep is the sister you don't abuse.

What you don't realize is that our relationship was on the brink back in the summer of 2002. You were so rude and dismissive that I was a hair's breadth from having nothing to do with you ever again. My offense? Refusing to surrender my opinion to yours. I'm betting you have no idea what or when or where you did this. You never apologized because I never confronted you. There is probably a book full of things you've never apologized for. (Just like now, I am sure I would never have gotten your attempt at an apology if I hadn't so adamantly gotten into your face because you don't think you did much of anything wrong.) Your reprieve came because of what Mom did several months later Thanksgiving 2002. We were back in regular communication again and Mom was the focus. What followed was two years of us having common ground (Mom) and many in depth and lengthy discussions on narcissism. What you didn't appreciate was that you were getting a clear picture of where my head was at on dealing with abusive, covertly aggressive personalities. This was your classroom on Anna. When the big test came, though, you failed spectacularly. D, you and Mom are the two most difficult people I've ever had to deal with. Ever. You are also the two most practiced covert aggressives I've ever had to deal with. You two have been the most cruel to me. You two had the most power to be cruel because you were family and the expectation was that you had the right to be mean and I had no right to protect myself by calling you on it. You two knew how to keep me down so I wouldn't resist. You have employed the best and most used tools of covert aggressives in your recent two emails to me. You're not out in the open enough with your aggression that you can be easily pinned down, which is the whole point of covert aggression. Nevertheless, I am well aware of what is going on. I see it all as clearly as if you were overt. No more wool over my eyes. Mom enabled me to rip it away....apparently, that was to your detriment since you didn't learn the lessons the last couple of years could have taught you. So, rather than seeing my exit as abrupt, you need to realize that you had an extra 2+ years to show me that you were different; to show you wouldn't use my relationship to you as sister to treat me any damn way you saw fit when you want your way. Since more than two years of discussion on narcissism didn't teach you anything about how not to treat me, I'm walking away. Since you can't, or won't, admit to what you really did against me, logic concludes: No admission = nothing will change. I don't have the interest or energy to keep up a relationship under these circumstances. I have many healthy relationships. Ours stands in stark contrast. I know when I'm being treated badly. No amount of fancy talk on your part can make me not know it.

I'm sure that if you were willing to denounce me to Mom and Dad as the evil bitch they already think I am that they would welcome you in with open arms. I'm willing to be thought of as evil if it allows me to live in peace.

Maybe, at some point in the future, I'll call you and see if you're willing to have an mutually respectful, healthy and adult relationship with me.

There is no tone of sarcasm in this letter. You can read it with a tone of weariness, resignation and sadness for that is what I'm feeling.

My next post will contain my parsing of my sister's non-apology letter which I never sent to her. It was an exercise I did for myself. Now, I'll share it with ya'll since it more fully shows what I actually took away from her attempt at an apology. It exposes her falsehoods and half-truths. One thing you have to pay careful attention to when analyzing a narcissist's fake apologies are the qualifiers and modifiers and subtle blame-shifting they sneak into their language. These will be highlighted in my next post.

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