Sister's next email came only a few hours after my measured and reasoned answer to her question about whether or not I wanted to meet her biological daughter.
She betrayed her anger in her next email, although I could clearly see she was trying to disguise her anger in her reply. My sister looks down on the overt expression of the emotion of anger. She thinks it is always wrong to show one's anger. Probably because creating scenes with her self-centered anger was one of her frequent failings in life. So, rather than be honest when she has the emotion of anger, she will try to subvert and disguise it. That means it comes out in other ways. Like defensiveness and condescension. Here is her next email sent April 1st at 12:57 p.m.:
I am sorry you feel as if I have been putting pressure on you to know K. In fact, you need to know the pressure isn't coming from me. It is coming from her. And she is beginning to feel the rejection that comes from not being wanted and accepted by my family. That is why I asked. I will not ask again.I have known for some time that you have had an issue with K being in my life at this time. I wasn't sure why, and I was deeply hurt that you were not willing to share my joy. Friends and even acquaintances were so happy for me and expressed great joy. The contrast with how you received the news was so great I couldn't help but notice. So now I understand where you are coming from and I will have to accept it.Just so you know, P is completely fine with me and with my relationship with K. After K told her what it would mean to her, P was the one who orchestrated it. She has told me that K needs to know her family of origin to become the complete person she is designed to be. Having known me all along, P also sees that K and I are very similar in so many respects. K and I are blown away at how genetics are so much at play with who she is. I have told P that I am grateful beyond all belief that she allowed K the love and nurture that was needed to become the person she was designed to be and not an injured person like myself.As a result of K being with me for these several months, I have been able to help nurture and develop a greater appreciation in K for her mother. K needed to know some things and understand the greater picture. She needed to know what her life could have been as apposed to what it is now. She needed to hear of P's kindness to me and of my great admiration of P. K's impatience and irritation of her mother have vanished as a result of her relationship with me. I would never do or say anything to take away from her love of P or D [K's adoptive father]. They know that and trust me. Everything I have done in the past speaks to my integrity on this issue. I would never do or say anything to take away from what I sacrificed so greatly for K. To undermine her attachment to her adoptive family would be to make all the years of sacrifice and pain of no value. I am not willing to do that.One thing you need to know about K is that she operates from love. She loves people. She loves to be around people. She is not outgoing in the usual way but she has to have people in her life. And family is of great value to her. " Tell Anna I love my family." I remember feeling such joy when our extended family got together. It just felt right to me. The continual estrangements in our extended family caused me great sadness and still does. So I understand K's longing to know you. And it is a longing. Not at all brought on by me. In fact, I do not speak of you to her at all. I have taken your lack of sharing in my joy and lack of interest in talking with me about it as a sign that you potentially did not want anything to do with her. So I have kept silent. She is the one who speaks of you to me.Yes it will be awkward to meet her at first. She will just smile at you and you will not know what she is thinking. But I have learned that she mostly is just trying to know you and observe you. Which for me was most uncomfortable. But she has always been the one to initiate visits with me. Now that she drives she will be making trips to see me even more often. At first I couldn't understand why she wanted to see me at all when she hardly talked. But now I understand her much better and I know that she just needs to know me. By knowing me, she feels as if she knows herself better. And it is healing the unspoken rejection that is harbored inside every child who has been given away.K is innocent and naive, but she is also very strong willed and independent. She is kind and sensitive as well. I will pray about how to explain your position this to her. I feel as she may be hurt by the e-mail so I'm not sure I will have her read it. I will ask P's opinion on the matter. P knows her and how she would take it. Am I right to assume that you would prefer to meet her without me present. Perhaps that will be the take I will give it.Thank you for letting me know your position. I will be silent on the matter from now on.Love,D
In the comment exchange on the last post I did on my sister someone portrayed K as being helpless. Quoting now, "In fact, the 'sympathetic character' from my point of view is indeed... your neice. [sic] She is the one most helpless in the situation..." This is a false argument. K was and is totally empowered from beginning to end in this situation. She was the one making all the choices. Her adoptive mother asked K if she wanted to meet her biological mother. Answer, yes. She could have said no. At any point along the way she is empowered to cut off all contact with her bio mother. She is not being forced in any way to stay in contact. This child is well-loved by her adoptive mother. Even my own bitch of a mother never could find anything mean to say about this adoptive mother. That is saying something. If K decided to have nothing more to do with my sister then she would have the means and power to make that happen. So to portray this young woman as disempowered and being carried about on the winds of life without a rudder is an assumption on the part of the commenter, not on the facts of the case.
Because there are people who seem eager to take every word my sister utters at face value, I'm going to dissect the above email a bit and explain what I know and how I understand what she is saying. All of you only have the naked words and not the history and knowledge that informed me as I read it. My reply to this email did not directly confront every thing she stated because I knew it would be useless. Therefore, my responding email will not fill in some of the facts for the outside observer. I will try not to be redundant. What I addressed in my response to her I will leave alone for now.
I am sorry you feel as if I have been putting pressure on you to know K. In fact, you need to know the pressure isn't coming from me. It is coming from her. And she is beginning to feel the rejection that comes from not being wanted and accepted by my family. That is why I asked. I will not ask again.This entire paragraph is lie-based. First of all, notice her non-apology. She is sorry for how I feel. Apologizing for someone's feelings is never an apology. A non-apology is a form of a lie. It is a deceptive device aimed at soothing someone's irritation while the "apologizer" knows they are not giving anything up because they are not giving a sincere apology. She is using this "apology" for how I am feeling as a preamble to telling me that my feelings are misplaced and wrong. That is another sign of an insincere apology. Discounting the other party's feelings.
She smoothly transitions from her non-apology into her next lie. She claims the pressure to want to meet me is coming, not from her, but from K. Sister is indeed the one putting the pressure on me to meet K. Seeing as how K and I were not in any communication, the only way I could feel pressure is if my sister was the one exerting it. Then there is this reality: sister told me how much she would talk about me and my daughter to K, extolling our virtues and then reporting how it made K excited to meet us. Who is the originator of K's desire to meet with me? My sister. Because sister hasn't been asking me directly, only obliquely hinting and hoping I would just come out with a statement about how I want to meet K, she feels her constant manipulations have gone unfelt by me so she makes the mistake of thinking I hadn't noticed what was going on. She forgets all the many accounts she has given me of how much she has talked to K about me and how she has been the one to pique K's interest in meeting. Sister repeats this lie when she says,
"So I understand K's longing to know you. And it is a longing. Not at all brought on by me."
"So I have kept silent. She is the one who speaks of you to me."
Those are just bald-faced lies. She thinks I am fooled, but has not fully appreciated how well I listened to her phone calls and how I remember her own accounts of how things actually happened. She is full of shit.
Then my sister ups the guilt factor by telling me how K is starting to "feel the rejection" because I haven't met her yet. This is entirely the doing of my sister. I had done nothing to make K feel rejected. K is being fed information by my sister and basing her views of me on what her bio mother chooses to say or not say. My sister is the one setting K up to feel rejected by me because she is the one working K into a lather of excitement before my sister ever bothers to ask me what my thoughts and intentions are. I see that as cruel on my sister's part. She was not looking out for K's best interests by playing the game as she did. She was deliberately setting the circumstances up to make me feel I had no choice but to accede to her will when she finally decided to corner me. She would use this child's curiosity and expectations which were deliberately fed by my sister to make me jump when sister wanted me to jump. I find such manipulation of this child to be utterly vile. This child is not faulted by me for being curious. That is natural. But my sister with intentional deliberateness fostered this natural curiosity into much larger proportions while never once making sure I was on the same page.
Then there is the reality that I did say "yes". My sister is telling me how rejected K is starting to feel even though I had just said YES. WTF? I didn't say yes the right way. That is the reality of it. Therefore, my sister plays like I said no and proceeds to try to ratchet up the guilt. Unseemly.
Sister claims that K's adoptive mother is "just fine" with K being in my sister's life. She apparently forgot that she told me otherwise on another occasion about a year earlier. Her memory may be short, mine isn't. Maybe P has gotten over her insecurities about her daughter being so involved in her birth mother's life. (I know you anti-adoption types hate that term "birth mother"...tough...it is a descriptor that clarifies relationships.) Nevertheless, she at least one time demonstrated discomfort and fear over it. My sister is pretending that was never the case. I call that a lie.
She pretends that she and the adoptive mother have had an ongoing relationship:
Having known me all along, P also sees that K and I are very similar in so many respects. K and I are blown away at how genetics are so much at play with who she is.
This is also a lie. There were only a few face-to-face meetings during my sister's pregnancy and immediately after the birth. There were no more than a few phone calls in the immediate months after K's birth. Then the only contact was one-sided....the package of pictures and a note each year. That does not constitute P knowing my sister.
I have told P that I am grateful beyond all belief that she allowed K the love and nurture that was needed to become the person she was designed to be and not an injured person like myself.
This is an admission from my sister that K had been loved and nurtured by her adoptive family and that K had realized her potential as a human being without being "injured". Sister, later in this email, says that K being able to meet her birth mother has enabled K to heal from the "unspoken damage" every given away child feels. So, apparently K was "injured" because she was adopted. Sister says K has been "healing" from that "unspoken damage" by meeting her birth mom. If K has been healing by just associating with her birth mother then meeting extended family is merely icing...not the cake...if I choose to go along with my sister's line of reasoning.
As a result of K being with me for these several months, I have been able to help nurture and develop a greater appreciation in K for her mother. K needed to know some things and understand the greater picture. She needed to know what her life could have been as apposed to what it is now. She needed to hear of P's kindness to me and of my great admiration of P. K's impatience and irritation of her mother have vanished as a result of her relationship with me. I would never do or say anything to take away from her love of P or D [K's adoptive father]. They know that and trust me. Everything I have done in the past speaks to my integrity on this issue. I would never do or say anything to take away from what I sacrificed so greatly for K. To undermine her attachment to her adoptive family would be to make all the years of sacrifice and pain of no value. I am not willing to do that.
This all sounds really good, but I know it is a crock of shit. My sister's early reports of K's relationship with P were all positive. My sister would go on at length about how loving and attentive to her adoptive mother K was and what a loving relationship they had. It was only later on that the kid started having complaints about her adoptive mother. The grass was starting to look greener on the other side of the fence, er, the state. This is an instance of a narcissist creating the problem so she can fix it and look like the heroine. K's "impatience and irritation of her mother have vanished"...this is a completely upside down version of the truth. My sister's high claims to integrity and sacrifice and resolve to not undermine K's attachment to her adoptive family are contradicted by my sister's behaviors. The words and behavior do not match. I believe the actions. My sister's email was a work of revisionism and fiction. She was angry at me and it shows in her defensiveness. People who are defensive are very likely angry. She, in an attempt to circumvent my scruples, gets preachy on me and would instruct me on how I am wrong on every point. She could not graciously grant me a right to my opinion. She preached at me and then pretended she would "remain silent on the matter from now on". In other words, she wanted to get the last word. Slap me around and then shut down the conversation.
The other problems I had with my sister's response are dealt with in my next email to her.
I find it interesting that once you start deconstructing the language that narcissists use, you can pick out the different levels of abuse, from lies to false accusations, to outright shame/blame tactics. Always there is an underlying outrage that you are resisting the control. Their transparency is laughable really, and none of the rhetoric stands up under close examination. I discovered this for myself when I moved away from my mother and started writing to her about our relationship. I found myself using great chunks of her letters and dissecting them to prove how pathetic the lies were. As soon as you call them on it with concrete proof, they switch tactics though. From a purely objective point of view, its really quite fascinating to watch.
There is nothing as good as getting the narcissist to put their words down into writing. I discovered that fact about five years ago. In the last period of time when I was still allowing some contact with my mother, I told her I wouldn't accept her phone calls, only letters. I had letter exchanges first with mother, then later my father, and lastly my sister. You are so very right about how transparent their tactics become when you can look at them in black and white. And the ability to quote them back to themselves is priceless. It doesn't take long for them to refuse all contact if all they are allowed are letters. They eventually figure out that medium works against them. I share your fascination of watching how they work in writing. I felt it even when I was in the middle of it. Their con artistry relies on plausible deniability. When words are just spoken they can gaslight, lie, deny, twist. Having to put their twisted ways into writing actually forces them to show their hand. It corners them. It is a beautiful thing if you're looking to compile enough evidence for your self to justify a break off.
This is so true about limiting contact to "letters only". My husband's sister would take his emails and edit them and send them out to rest of his family to rally her troops. It was so funny because one time, she copied the wrong passage by accident, and had to resend the other one. As if no-one could tell what she had done. Since this series of emails years ago he has agreed only to communicate with her if she sends him a letter. It has been over five years and she only sent him one envelope. Inside was a picture of herself with no written note! Priceless!
From the very first line "i'm sorry that you feel"... you know what's ahead. The whole message is a comedy of manipulation and lies. Thank you for the interesting site.
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