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Why can't my sister be happy for me?

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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Unhappy Why can't my sister be happy for me?

This is partly a vent, but mostly I'm just sad today y'all. I love my sister and I know she loves me, but it's like my weight loss has become this huge deal beween us.

There's lots of history here. I've always been overweight or obese, whereas my sister grew up very cute and thin (not super-skinny, but definitely thin). She had boyfriends from the time she was 14 and was popular. I was the stereotypical nerd on the academic team in the gifted program.

She's now 38, married with two children, and has gained weight over the years. She carries it well, but it's obvious she's uncomfortable with her weight and tries to hide under baggy clothing. She has stated several times that she's unhappy being "fat." I was guilty at first of trying to spread the calorie counting gospel, but realized pretty early on she didn't want to hear it, so that stopped fast.

She lives in another state, but I've seen her a few times since I started my weight loss journey. Back in August I was at about 160 and she was happy for me, but she made comments about how "high maintenance" I was about my food. By Christmas I was at 135 and she was shocked. She told me, "You look weird this thin. You need to get fat again." (One of the things about her is that you always know what she's thinking! )

I was on the phone with her today, and I mentioned that today was my first long run on the c25k. She responded, "Honestly, I kind of tune out anything you say about your weight loss and exercise because I've gained all my weight back and I don't want to hear it." (She went on a crash version of South Beach in January in preparation for a cruise, where, by her own admission, she ate everything in sight.)

Ok, ok, I know. Relationships with sisters are already weird and strange and fraught with tension. I know that she is obviously dealing with jealousy issues, and I'm probably not always gracious when I talk to her. I'm not perfect in this, I'm sure. But I'm so proud of how far I've come, diet and exercise-wise. I'm annoyed and sad that my sister seems so selfish that she can't just say to me, once, good job.

I'm seeing her next week and I want it to be a good visit. I want to have fun with her, and not have any tension. I don't know how to accomplish that. Sigh.

Thanks for listening, 3FC. I feel better just having gotten my feelings out there.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:37 PM   #2
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Because she grew up skinny she probably never had to work for it, and when you have children it gets hard to keep the pounds off.

She's probably just sad, she misses being skinny being easy. She wants to be happy for you, but she is to full of guilt to be happy.

Good job by the way, I'm 128.6 myself, but I have kind of a chunky build.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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I'm going through something similar with my sister. She was very skinny & wanted to put on some pounds so she could be 'thick' (which is ridiculous because her face is bloated & she has a tummy). Meanwhile, I'm working my arse off to lose the 51 pounds I gained on Abilify. She says "I need to stop letting people get in my damn head and stay where I am." Really? 170 lbs at
5'3". SMH.

Your sister sounds jealous. She doesnt want you to shine. Take it with a grain of salt & keep doing you =)
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:56 PM   #4
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It sounds like not talking about weight loss will help the visit be great. She's not ready to work on it for herself, just find something else to talk about.
I remember when my sister was all into running and eating beans and things, and it was seriously boring for me to hear her go on about it. It is boring if you aren't into it.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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The thing is, I understand how she felt. When I was at my most overweight (and frustrated about it) nothing anyone told me about how I could improve my situation helped. I had to really figure that out on my own. The most well-meaning and well-intentioned people could have said everything that I am actually doing now, but I wasn't in the right mind-set.

When you're used to seeing yourself in a different way than what the mirror or the pictures show back at you, there's a huge disconnect that can really affect your self-esteem. And the last thing I wanted to know then was how people were so successful at losing weight because I felt it was insurmountable..... and impossible... and that I was a loser.....

I'm sorry you're sister isn't happier for you. I'm glad you know that you can't help her overcome this. But understand that her mindset yet isn't where she feels she can do this and sure she's envious and upset that it seems like it's been effortless for you (even if it wasn't).
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JenMusic View Post
Ok, ok, I know. Relationships with sisters are already weird and strange and fraught with tension. I know that she is obviously dealing with jealousy issues, and I'm probably not always gracious when I talk to her. I'm not perfect in this, I'm sure.
You've answered your own question.

Rather than wishing she'd react differently, I think you'd best deal with her honest, unhypocritical response & for now, accept this is something you can't share & that you need to do a little self-editing when you're around her.

It's not fair, but it's probably more diplomatic & in a cost/benefit analysis of the situation, it won't cost you as much pain as the jealousy & discomfort would cost her.

And maybe be happy you have a straightforward sister rather than a passive-aggressive sister who claims to be happy & supportive while actually getting her digs in constantly in unpleasant, roundabout ways. In my experience, relatives like that are a lot trickier & more infuriating even than the uncensored, blurt-out-what-they-think people.

(Though they both definitely s&ck.)
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:06 PM   #7
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Hey JenMusic -

Look on the bright side. Being chubby and not one of the cool kids allowed you to develop a great personality!
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:08 PM   #8
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I’m sorry you are feeling sad today. My younger sister has always managed her weight well and after 3 kids, her weight always bounced back. I secretly hoped it wouldn’t because I was petty and jealous. It was easier to be mad at her success than my failure when it came to weight. This is what is probably happening with your sister. Add on top of that is that it seems like her early identity was wrapped around being popular, having a lot of boyfriends, etc --- and that was most in part due to how she looked. She had the looks….you had the brains. Now, you have BOTH! And that is very threatening to some people especially if they are competitive.

I know you are proud of your weight loss – AS YOU SHOULD BE – but you need to be happy with those that can be happy for you and with you. Right now, that’s not your sister. And I hope that when you two get together next week it will not be strained. It’s one thing to hear about the accomplishments you made, it’s quite another to come face to face with it. I’m sure you realized that over Christmas. You don’t have any more control over her feelings as she has over yours. So whatever you do, DO NOT let her diminish all the hard work you have done!!

All I can tell you is that you may want to compliment her whenever you have an opportunity. That her hair looks nice like that or her skin is beautiful or you love her taste in whatever. Just start thinking about things that you envy about her.

I really do hope you have a nice visit with your sister!
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:16 PM   #9
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I agree with seagirl. Don't talk about your weight or dieting. Who knows, maybe your sis will be the one to bring it up...but don't you.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:27 PM   #10
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Each to it's own time and this is your time. She spent a good part of her life thin and now it's your turn. It's all fair Just keep focused even around negativity. Congrats on your weight loss!
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:27 PM   #11
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I suspect that your sister will bring it up, but in a negative way ... in which case her "i'm tuning it out" line will be handy. Unless you gain weight again, this part of your relationship will not change. Even with you not mentioning it at all... but it IS a big part of your life, your activities now revolve around more healthy things that being in front of the tv, so it's not being true to YOU to skip over any of your healthy activities because she isn't into it. I don't want much tv but still listen when friends/family talk about things they've enjoyed. It's about being there for someone.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:35 PM   #12
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Clearly, its jealousy. That's all it is. If she's used to being a certain weight, & seeing you as a certain weight, she may be used to being the "thin" one .. & now that she's picked up weight the tables have turned. I guess it's understandable for her to feel a little awkward & jealous. However, I DO feel like regardless, she should be supportive of your life change. I'd say even though it will sorta bother you, just try not to let it get to you TOO much .. & if it gets out of hand, I'd just come out & ask her why she can't be supportive for once. She may not realize she's hurting your feelings.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:21 PM   #13
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Have you told your sister (kindly) how you feel? Oftentimes people are so wrapped up in their own thing that they don't even think about how it sounds to others. I don't know her, or you, so I could be off base. But when someone close to me hurts me with the things she says, I usually find it's worth taking the trouble to say, "I know you don't mean it, but that hurt me, and here's why." She may have no idea.

Otherwise, apart from setting aside a good quiet time to have that discussion, I agree that it's best not to let your eating and weight loss be a topic of conversation. If she accuses you of being "high maintenance," I might laugh it off with a comment like "oh, I know, isn't it awful?" That can be a bit disarming - better than being defensive about it, and better than making it an opening to talk about weight loss again.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:26 PM   #14
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Thanks chicks. As always, I knew you could be counted on for getting me out of my pity party with a little dose of reality.

For the record, though, I never bring up food or exercise with her first anymore (although she OFTEN has something to say about my eating habits, or needing time away from family activities to exercise). Today she asked what I was doing later, and I told her I was doing my first 20 minute run, and was nervous about it. That's what provoked her comment above.

I guess I need to stop sharing any details at all with her about my "fitness" life, even when she starts the conversation. That's what really rankles, I suppose; I feel like I can't share a very important part of my life with a very important person in my life. I hate that.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #15
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Congratulations on your great loss. My suggestion would be to not talk about weight at all . Just make it a forbidden subject, change the subject if she brings it up.
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