Monday, August 24, 2009

Boundaries with Family; The Sister Chronicle

So My sister and I got into it a little about my health tonight. I haven't set up a boundary with her about health and weight discussions before as I didn't think they were necessary. Tonight's experience with her made it clear to me that while we have been able to talk about my health and weight in the past that setting a boundry with her is going to be necessary. She, like my stepmother is blinded by her concern for me. Unlike my stepmother, she has better self management.

Here is how it went down.

We had a dinner plan near my apartment which at the last minute my sister and our friend changed to a more trendy place two blocks away. The place is usually crowded and the only chairs without arms are in back room. I told her that I'd go there, but we would have to wait for a table in this room. She said no problem we could have a drink at the bar while we waited. I am not comfortable sitting on bar stools nor was I comfortable with the idea of standing. Normally, I'd have no problem standing in a bar for a table, but I have had two difficult days with the asthma and the humidity has been intense so standing in a crowded bar seemed difficult to me.

When I told her I'd have to wait outside on my walker, she got very upset and in a tone that is hard to describe.... a cross between her yelling at me in an angry way and a very frightened outburst... she said, "What walker, Your using a walker, oh Ivan." To which I said, Marjorie, I am gonna pass on dinner, you go out with Shawn. She then said, That's not fair, just because I am upset about you using a walker doesn't mean you get to keep me from seeing you. I told her to let me get off the phone for 10 minutes while I decide what to do. She sent me a text saying, " I won't deny my sadness about your physical state, but I miss u & want 2 C U. I'm on my way. Please come.

In hindsight, standing at the bar would have been doable, but the last minute change of venue threw me.

I went there without my walker, just a cane. I planned to take a cab for the three blocks, but when I got outside it wasn't humid so I walked there. When my sister arrived, she didn't bring it up, and we just visited and enjoyed each other. ( see her ability to self manage in play here )

As I sit here and write this, I am feeling sadness as I realize I am going to have to set a similar boundary with her. She and I have always said the we were the closest to each other. We are the were the two black sheep in the family. I am still the big fat sheep while she has married, bought a beautiful home and is making a nice life with a super guy I really like. I realize tonight that I have to move my sister out of the "closest person in my life" to the column with my stepmother in it. This makes me very very sad (as I tear up typing this last sentence) It feels very scary and very lonely to symbolically send her off on her way to a place where there are limits to what we can talk about. (more tears, throat tightening up)

It is sad, but it is necessary. I do not want to hear that she is sad about my physical condition. I do not want drama when we decide where to go to eat ( if we ever do this again ) I want to be able to tell my sister anything, anytime, just like we could when we were growing up.

The truth is that my growing up in my new space of Fat Acceptnence is sending her into the column with my stepmother. It is much harder giving her these marching orders that it was to give them to my stepmother.

I said that I would divorce myself from relationship with my parents if they wouldn't honor my boundaries, and I just can't, in this moment, with these tears, and this choked up throat, say that I could do that with my sister.

I love her too much.

Wow this really, really hurts.


  1. Have you actually talked to her about your feelings? If so, and she's ignored them, then maybe making your weight and health off-limits makes sense. But maybe you don't need to write her off just yet?

  2. I'm sorry that this is causing you so much pain. *hugs*

    I have to move my sister out of the "closest person in my life" to the column with my stepmother in it.

    I think its important that you consider that just because you ask someone not to discuss your weight/health/hair colour, doesn't necessarily mean that they are no longer the closest person in your life. The closest person in your life will listen to what you have to say and will respect your decision to make those topics off limits, and will continue to love you anyway.

    For a long time, The Husband and I agreed not to discuss religion, as it was a cause of conflict for us. So we set those boundaries, but we were still extremely close.

    Closeness depends upon the person, not the boundaries.

  3. Waking uo this morning I after a great night's rest, I can see the value of these comments. Yesterday, was very raw for me, and I do know see that setting these boundaries with her will enable me to continue authentic relationship with her, even with the fact that she, like my stepmother, can only see risk and danger in Fat Acceptance.



  4. I can't imagine the difficulty of sharing FA and HAES with people unwilling to listen and so set in their ways that they require boundaries (well I can because most people have trouble with it, just not in the personal sense that it confronts you). That said, because of your relationship with your sister, it really sounds like one talk predicated on the intention of avoiding boundaries about what you've been learning and feeling and coming to understand could be incredibly worthwhile. If you don't think she'll listen through the whole thing because she'll want to talk or argue, then perhaps a letter. I'm not suggesting that it will preclude the need for boundary setting but as that idea is obviously and understandably very upsetting to you, perhaps this is a first path to consider. Maybe you will find a family ally in her that you didn't expect. Just a suggestion, but I hope whatever you have to do it doesn't cause you more pain. I'm very sorry you're feeling this way.

  5. (My friend Austin is typing this)

    My name is Bob. And i found your blog when you commented on Eva's video.

    I am blind and a very big guy. I live in Brooklyn and I'm also Jewish. I'd very much like to be in touch with you. And my email is .

    A lot of what you said resonates with me, so I'd like to communicate with you by email or phone.

    Hope to hear from you, warmly,