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This isn’t a JAWM but if you do think I’m overreacting please be gentle. I’ve been crying off and on since last night.

My mom had a big birthday today. She lives about 10 minutes from me. My two older siblings live several states away. They decided to come surprise her. I found out they were here right before bed last night due to FB videos of them surprising her (several hours prior). Today they had a whole day planned for her birthday and I wasn’t included. I still haven’t spoken to any of them. They’re posting pictures everywhere though of their fun day.  A bit ago my mom finally sent me a text asking if I wanted to come over and I just told her to enjoy her visit and I would see her after they left. I’ve been alternating between anger and hurt all day. I don’t want to see them because I know I’ll be snippy or just start crying and I don’t want to ruin my mom’s day. I’ve had a rocky relationship with my siblings for a while but I didn’t think things were this bad at all and I just talked to my sister a few days ago. My sister has sent a few texts asking if we’re coming over but zero acknowledgment of any reason I wouldn’t be. I’m ignoring them for now (I already told my mom no) because I’m not ready for the conversation and me being the bad guy. It doesn’t help that we’re coming up on the anniversary of losing my little brother and it just feels like I’m not really part of their family anymore. I kind of feel like I’m done with them for a while and need a break.

And it’s not that they never see her. She visits them at least twice a year and they visit her at least once a year. She was just there a few months ago and my sister came here not that long ago (asked me to pick her up from the airport but this time I was told nothing). I’ve been told about travel and visiting plans every single other time.

I’ve been writing and rewriting this for the past hour and it’s helped a bit. I keep thinking things will get better but I just keep feeling hurt. 

Sorry this got so long but I think it helped me some. Hopefully you all don’t now say I’m way overreacting. 🤪

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You are hurt enough to cry. Please do not minimize your feelings. I do not think it is over reacting to cry because anyone who says that also tries to say how hurt you should feel. No one gets to do that except you. 

I am sorry you feel this way. 

The only advice I will give is, take time to process this. But do not minimize your hurt or that you should not feel that way. You are not "over reacting". Feel free to verbally smack people who say so for who decides what hurts you other than you and how much.

((Hugs))

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I wouldn’t have done it all due to Covid but I wasn’t even asked. I would have done some of it but now I don’t even feel comfortable enough seeing my mom today.

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I’m really sorry.  Please make space for your feelings and don’t try to minimize or mute yourself.  What happened was really hurtful and your sibling sending you a text now would feel a little like a set up, to be honest.  Like, it’s your fault to choose to not join them now, but they offered.  When in reality, they should have been inclusive.  FB is a terrible way to find out about their “surprise”. 

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I don’t think you’re overreacting.  It was beyond rude to plan something like that and not even try to include you. And asking if you’re coming over after they’ve had their fun is not including you.  I’m so sorry. Hugs. I totally understand how you feel- family relationships can be painful.

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1 hour ago, Joker2 said:

I wouldn’t have done it all due to Covid but I wasn’t even asked. I would have done some of it but now I don’t even feel comfortable enough seeing my mom today.

I know it is hard and it is understandable and ok to feel horribly hurt but if you are the most cautious they may have not wanted to feel like they were pushing you or confronting you so please don't let it be a reason for future division if that is the case.

 

I have ran into that same circumstances when my parents invited my brother and sister in law for my little brother's birthday (just at home) but they assumed I wouldn't come since the last time they asked me the hospitals had been full and I was not visiting anyone for anything. It hurt and it has separated us a bit because they don't understand my position so they avoid me I think but I try to recognize it as misunderstanding. 

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Thank you all for making feel less crazy! Dh has told me several times I’m justified for being hurt but my family makes me second guess. 

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2 minutes ago, frogger said:

I know it is hard and it is understandable and ok to feel horribly hurt but if you are the most cautious they may have not wanted to feel like they were pushing you or confronting you so please don't let it be a reason for future division if that is the case.

 

I have ran into that same circumstances when my parents invited my brother and sister in law for my little brother's birthday (just at home) but they assumed I wouldn't come since the last time they asked me the hospitals had been full and I was not visiting anyone for anything. It hurt and it has separated us a bit because they don't understand my position so they avoid me I think but I try to recognize it as misunderstanding. 

We’re not the most cautious (by WTM standards) but I have been careful with my mom because she is refusing to get vaccinated. They’ve all had no problem pushing my comfort zone until now though.

Dh has convinced me to take some time and really think about what I want. He is very angry but he doesn’t want me to do or say anything I might regret. This will be my fault in their eyes so if I’m honest with them it will probably end our relationship for a while.

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They might pretend they don't know any better, but they definitely do know better.  

It's pretty pathetic for adults to act this way.  

I witnessed some straight-up pitiful behavior among adult siblings at a funeral I attended a few years ago, and heard about more from a more-recent funeral my mom attended.  I do not know why some adults have such bad behavior towards/among siblings, but there is no way they do not know better.  

Whatever justifications they make are only that.  

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You are absolutely right to feel hurt and it certainly sounds like it was not handled well.

I will say this in regards to them not having a problem pushing your comfort level in the past. I have a sibling and his wife who are much more cautious than us. Since about May, when we were ready to start expanding our bubble to invite extended family into it we extended invitations to them as well as my other siblings. They were really bad with communicating their comfort level and it started to seem like they were feeling pressured by us with each invite, even though it wasn't meant as pressure or in any way a judgement on their caution. We were merely extending the same invites we did with other siblings. No crazy gatherings, just family and timed so we had time to quarantine between certain interactions.

It got exhausting feeling like my normal invites were pressuring them so I stopped. I haven't seen or really talked to them since Christmas Eve. My mentality is, when they are ready they will let us know. 

We were incredibly close before covid. We saw each other at least once a week if not more. So all that to say, this pandemic sucks and it has changed the dynamics of even families with great relationships. I really hope that they didn't intend to hurt you the way they did because that type of hurt extends past a misunderstanding. 

I know I would be hurt if my siblings acted that way, especially if it was so out of character.

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2 hours ago, Joker2 said:

This will be my fault in their eyes so if I’m honest with them it will probably end our relationship for a while.

Then don't do that. 

3 hours ago, Joker2 said:

It doesn’t help that we’re coming up on the anniversary of losing my little brother and it just feels like I’m not really part of their family anymore.

Maybe you could talk with a counselor? It sounds like you have grief you're trying to deal with and those emotions are spilling into everything else. From the sounds of it, they invited you twice and you told them no. Between your grief (appropriate) and your covid concerns (appropriate) you were already in a negative place that wasn't in party mode like they were. Maybe they knew that and were trying to handle you. 

Maybe don't burn bridges now over something you might be able to see differently later. They did invite you and it just wasn't your day to make it. Maybe another day it will be.

Does it really bug you that they're partying on the anniversary of the loss of your brother? Is that part of the problem? Are they handling it very differently? That's stuff to think about. I don't really need the answers. I just don't think you need to make permanent decisions when you're grieving. It's ok to hit the pause on that and decide to deal with it later. 

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I would suggest let a few days go by (so your mom doesn't have a raincloud over her birthday), then talk to your sister and ask if there was any reason  you were not included in "mom's" birthday plans?   

they may be completely clueless, and it may have been unintentional - but until you talk to her you really won't know if it was deliberate or an oversight.

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Is it possible that they've shelved the idea of doing any relationship work until the pandemic is resolved?  Your mother's birthday doesn't seem like the best day to get into a big sibling fight and if they're fairly certain you'd remain quarantined, saving all of that drama for a later date makes sense.  You choosing not to go over there would just solidify any ideas like this.  I wouldn't make any permanent relationship decisions until the pandemic is behind us and you can at least visit each other. I don't blame you for being upset though.  It's HARD floating out there in space while the rest of your family is hanging out together.

I would continue to work on your mom to get the vaccine.  I learned to day that my uncle has covid.  My mom is vaccinated and hasn't seen him in a few weeks.  My uncle's granddaughter visited him.  She appeared to have a cold, she said it was allergies, but my uncle caught her 'allergies' and got tested.  He was between vaccine doses, and doesn't seem to be in any danger, but the man is closing in on 80 so they should have been more careful with him.  He probably has some protection from that single dose.

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You are not overreacting. What they have done is very hurtful and downright jerky behavior. Even if you would say no to some of the activities, they could have at least given you the option to opt out. Shame on them!

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There’s really no excuse. They were awful. I would let the relationships end for a long while. Even if they assumed you wouldn’t come they at the very least should have invited you and said they were going to be there. It isn’t your fault they’re acting as cliquish as a group of 12 year old girls, that’s their fault, pandemic or not. 

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You are not overreacting at all! In fact, your inaction speaks volumes of maturity. I can't imagine how nor why your siblings would do something that ultimately hurts your mom the most - thinking that all moms want, more than anything, for her kids to get along and be supportive. Sending you love. 

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I would ask they why they didn’t include you in the planning of the event and only invited you to drop by after it was a done deal.

Don’t accuse or let your voice rise.  Do this over the phone and not text.

Call someone and say, “Hey sis. I saw the pictures of you with mom on her birthday and it hurt my feelings. Seeing those pictures was the first I heard of the get-together. Why wasn’t I included until after the fact?”

And then listen. Listen listen listen. I think we’re all so used to hearing scripted responses on tv shows that we forget how messy real-life communication is and how disjointed an answer can be when the person isn’t expecting to have to defend a decision they made. So, listen to what your sister says and believe it.  Don’t look for ulterior motives. You can ask clarifying questions, but don’t get into some weird argument where random accusations are thrown back and forth. Just listen and ask clarifying questions if necessary. Keep your voice down. Don’t let it rise.

Why do this? Because until you ask, you’re just going to stew and feel miserable. You’re going to run through countless reasons in your head and scenarios of how it happened and what might happen next. 

But if you ask them, you will understand what they were thinking. And unless you really believe they wanted to hurt you and sat around thinking, “Neener, neener, we won’t ask Joker to the party! Ha! That’ll get her!”, then go into this with the idea that they were clueless and thoughtless and you’re just giving them feedback that they hurt you. You’re asking them what happened in order to be able to move past this for yourself, and also so that hopefully they won’t be clueless and thoughtless in the future.

Be sure to stay on task and don’t start bringing up other issues. The only thing this conversation is about is “I was hurt that I wasn’t included,” and “Why wasn’t I included.” Any other issues can be worried about another time. Stay on task.

And don’t expect an apology yet either. If you ask them directly what happened, they might get their hackles up, thinking they’re about to be attacked and a fight is coming. Simply ask, get the answer, say, “ok, well in the future, please ask me even if you think I’ll say no, so that I don’t feel left out,” and leave it alone. This is a fact-finding mission (why didn’t you invite me) and a delivery of a message (I was hurt). If you start expecting apologies, then things could go downhill fast. 

Edited by Garga
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I would not open up this opportunity unless pretty sure there really was some kind of “oh we didn’t know better” possibility.

But seriously — they didn’t know any better?

Okay, it’s possible, but my default opinion is they did know better.

Some adult siblings are weirdly competitive or want to be “mom’s favorite” or whatever and it leads them to act in really unacceptable ways.

But they are adults and should already know better.  

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I would not open up this opportunity unless pretty sure there really was some kind of “oh we didn’t know better” possibility.

But seriously — they didn’t know any better?

Okay, it’s possible, but my default opinion is they did know better.

Some adult siblings are weirdly competitive or want to be “mom’s favorite” or whatever and it leads them to act in really unacceptable ways.

But they are adults and should already know better.  

I think there will be a reason and I think it’ll be about covid. 

But only the OP knows her family. Are they backstabbers who hurt each other on purpose? Or were they clueless and didn’t know how to handle covid and will understanding that they were clueless about covid give the OP at bit of closure? 

Edited by Garga
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If it’s COVID I think there will be a stand-in that this was a way to get a dig in at somebody who has a different political or just COVID set of opinions.

If they are just clueless then that is ideal.  But I don’t see how this is the action of a clueless person unless they were very known to be extremely clueless. 
 

I also wouldn’t want to take a chance on hearing some presentation of facts like “mom said don’t bother since she won’t come anyway,” when that would be maybe something that was twisted up a bit in the telling.

 

If they are weirdly competitive then the chance to get a “mom doesn’t like you as much” dig in there would probably be like icing on the cake.  
 

I’m sorry my mind goes there, but I think there is a 95% chance it’s bad behavior and 5% it’s unintentional.  

Edited by Lecka
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This happened to my son the summer before covid. Every Saturday, my son plays DnD with his friends at O’s house. 

One Friday night, my son saw on social media that all of the DnD guys were at O’s house having a sleepover. 

They hadn’t invited my son. 

He was beyond hurt. It was pretty bad. There they all were, hanging out, and my son was the only one excluded.  And on Saturday afternoon, he was supposed to show up at O’s house and play DnD with these guys who had excluded him from the party they were all at. He was supposed to walk in there, with them all settled in from hanging out all night, as if they hadn’t just excluded him.

He was stewing and upset and looked like he was going to throw up. He was pretty sure they all hated him.

I told him, “You have to find out. You have to know once and for all: do they want to end the friendship? Because if they do, it’s better to know what you’re dealing with now than to worry about it for days/weeks/months while they keep doing things like this to you. Because maybe they do want to stay friends and there’s some stupid bone-head guy reason that they didn’t invite you.”

So, when he arrived at O’s house, he knocked and asked to talk to O outside. He said that it had made him feel bad that he wasn’t invited to the party and didn’t really know how he was supposed to play DnD now with everyone. O said, “Oh! We were watching anime all night and we know you aren’t into anime so we didn’t think you’d want to come!”

It was a stupid bonehead guy thing to do: they should have asked my son instead of assuming. But they did still want to be friends and it was just them being bonehead guys.  

My advice when you’re so crushed that you’re crying is to ask. Better to rip that bandaid off and know the damage or perhaps find out it was a stupid mistake.

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I’m positive this isn’t about Covid. My sister was weird a few months ago when I was taking care of our mom after a surgery. She flew in a few days later and posted a ridiculous amount of stuff on social media and made it seem like she was the only one taking care of her. It bothered me but I don’t care about my “image” on social media so once again I just let it go.

They don’t like that my kids are part of the LGBTQ+ community and they really don’t like that my mom has been supportive. I’ve noticed my mom being less supportive lately though so maybe they’ve been able to turn her against us. IDK. 

I will communicate with my sister at some point but it will be via text because I will cry and then I feel like I’m being manipulative. I can’t control it but with family hurt and anger I always cry. I hate it. 

I’m going to try putting off seeing or talking to my mom for a few days because I already know she will ask me not to rock the boat because it’s what I’ve always done. Dh told me it was truly ok to start putting myself first with my family and that my mom is a big girl and needs to learn how to handle it.

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5 minutes ago, Lecka said:

If it’s COVID I think there will be a stand-in that this was a way to get a dig in at somebody who has a different political or just COVID set of opinions.

If they are just clueless then that is ideal.  But I don’t see how this is the action of a clueless person unless they were very known to be extremely clueless. 
 

I also wouldn’t want to take a chance on hearing some presentation of facts like “mom said don’t bother since she won’t come anyway,” when that would be maybe something that was twisted up a bit in the telling.

 

If they are weirdly competitive then the chance to get a “mom doesn’t like you as much” dig in there would probably be like icing on the cake.  
 

I’m sorry my mind goes there, but I think there is a 95% chance it’s bad behavior and 5% it’s unintentional.  

I hear you. It could be this, too. The OP knows her family so she’ll probably know which way asking them directly would pan out. 

Edited by Garga
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15 minutes ago, Garga said:

This happened to my son the summer before covid. Every Saturday, my son plays DnD with his friends at O’s house. 

One Friday night, my son saw on social media that all of the DnD guys were at O’s house having a sleepover. 

They hadn’t invited my son. 

He was beyond hurt. It was pretty bad. There they all were, hanging out, and my son was the only one excluded.  And on Saturday afternoon, he was supposed to show up at O’s house and play DnD with these guys who had excluded him from the party they were all at. He was supposed to walk in there, with them all settled in from hanging out all night, as if they hadn’t just excluded him.

He was stewing and upset and looked like he was going to throw up. He was pretty sure they all hated him.

I told him, “You have to find out. You have to know once and for all: do they want to end the friendship? Because if they do, it’s better to know what you’re dealing with now than to worry about it for days/weeks/months while they keep doing things like this to you. Because maybe they do want to stay friends and there’s some stupid bone-head guy reason that they didn’t invite you.”

So, when he arrived at O’s house, he knocked and asked to talk to O outside. He said that it had made him feel bad that he wasn’t invited to the party and didn’t really know how he was supposed to play DnD now with everyone. O said, “Oh! We were watching anime all night and we know you aren’t into anime so we didn’t think you’d want to come!”

It was a stupid bonehead guy thing to do: they should have asked my son instead of assuming. But they did still want to be friends and it was just them being bonehead guys.  

My advice when you’re so crushed that you’re crying is to ask. Better to rip that bandaid off and know the damage or perhaps find out it was a stupid mistake.

You advised your son so well. If people don’t actually ask the questions, others never realize how their actions are perceived. They lose an opportunity to grow in personal relationships. 
 

we have several people in our circles who are never “called out” (only term I could think of, but it’s more harsh than I intend) on thoughtless behavior. I know these folks are not selfish but they’ve never had anyone point out to them how their actions are perceived so they go around hurting peoples feelings unintentionally. My family has stopped playing that game. If you do something thoughtless it’s fair for someone else to mention it.

 

but as far as the op, It doesn’t seem as thoughtless as intentionally exclusive.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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I reached out and let my sister know why I was feeling hurt. Her response was that she didn’t mean to hurt me but if I want to talk about being hurt - and then she listed ways she feels hurt by my dc. My dc are adults now and I told her to ask them why they don’t reach out. They have both told me they will gladly share with her if she really wants to know. 

My siblings are going to take zero responsibility for anything and instead just try to explain to me how they are really the injured party. It’s annoying and in the past it has worked and I ended up feeling guilty. Not this time.

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She’s mad at you because she’s not close with your adult children who she is, at best, conditionally supportive of?

That is crazy toxic. 

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53 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

I reached out and let my sister know why I was feeling hurt. Her response was that she didn’t mean to hurt me but if I want to talk about being hurt - and then she listed ways she feels hurt by my dc. My dc are adults now and I told her to ask them why they don’t reach out. They have both told me they will gladly share with her if she really wants to know. 

My siblings are going to take zero responsibility for anything and instead just try to explain to me how they are really the injured party. It’s annoying and in the past it has worked and I ended up feeling guilty. Not this time.

That’s terrible. She made it all about herself. Not cool.

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25 minutes ago, Katy said:

She’s mad at you because she’s not close with your adult children who she is, at best, conditionally supportive of?

That is crazy toxic. 

Yes! Youngest just came in the room and showed me that she has already received a text from my sister. Dd said she kind of wanted to respond and just ask what my sister actually knows about her other than she’s gay. The answer would be nothing. 

I’ve honestly never though of my family as toxic but since I’m in my 40s and this is the first time I’ve stood my ground with them, they might be a little bit.

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1 minute ago, Joker2 said:

Yes! Youngest just came in the room and showed me that she has already received a text from my sister. Dd said she kind of wanted to respond and just ask what my sister actually knows about her other than she’s gay. The answer would be nothing. 

I’ve honestly never though of my family as toxic but since I’m in my 40s and this is the first time I’ve stood my ground with them, they might be a little bit.

Oh brother. 
 

“When people tell you who they are, believe them.” 
 

as sad as it is, yes, your sister is at the least, not helpful. At worst she’s one of those toxic people. You called her out and she’s showing you more of who she is. Anybody can put on a show of being a decent person while others tiptoe around them. 

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16 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

Yes! Youngest just came in the room and showed me that she has already received a text from my sister. Dd said she kind of wanted to respond and just ask what my sister actually knows about her other than she’s gay. The answer would be nothing. 

I’ve honestly never though of my family as toxic but since I’m in my 40s and this is the first time I’ve stood my ground with them, they might be a little bit.

Even if they are or are not overall toxic, they ARE in this particular situation - your sister for sure.

She has told you as much with her actions and text messages. 

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It seems odd that they did not tell you.  Is it possible Sister A thought Sister B told you and vice versa?  Or some message got lost in transit?

Personally my reaction would have been to ask "why didn't you tell me you were coming" right away as soon as I found out.  They could both be surprised you didn't know, and that would clear things up without drama.  Now that you've waited to ask, I can see why it would be awkward to ask or show up during the visit.  I'd ask right away afterwards, though.

Without a pretty serious history of this kind of thing, my first assumption would be that nobody meant any harm.  So I'd ask with that assumption, and you'll be able to tell by the answers you get or don't get.

I hope you get to spend some quality time with your mom today.

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3 hours ago, Joker2 said:

I reached out and let my sister know why I was feeling hurt. Her response was that she didn’t mean to hurt me but if I want to talk about being hurt - and then she listed ways she feels hurt by my dc. My dc are adults now and I told her to ask them why they don’t reach out. They have both told me they will gladly share with her if she really wants to know. 

My siblings are going to take zero responsibility for anything and instead just try to explain to me how they are really the injured party. It’s annoying and in the past it has worked and I ended up feeling guilty. Not this time.

 

2 hours ago, Joker2 said:

Yes! Youngest just came in the room and showed me that she has already received a text from my sister. Dd said she kind of wanted to respond and just ask what my sister actually knows about her other than she’s gay. The answer would be nothing. 

I’ve honestly never though of my family as toxic but since I’m in my 40s and this is the first time I’ve stood my ground with them, they might be a little bit.

As others have said, it’s not clear yet whether your sister is full-on toxic from this one incident alone. I can’t remember other threads to know if there are many stories like this.

But she certainly comes across as very self-centered and immature. 

I’d believe her at this point that she didn’t meant to hurt you and was just being self-centered. I’m glad you called her on it, though. If you’ve never done that before, then yes, her first instinct would be to deflect and attack by playing victim and accusing your kids. It takes maturity to be called out and actually listen without mounting a counter-attack. 

It was wise of you not to get into some sort of sparring match with her about your kids, but rather to tell her to ask them directly. 

I’m sorry she is acting this way. How disappointing to have to deal with an adult sister who is immature and self-centered.

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