Your sister and mother seem to have been treating you poorly for years. You said so yourself. When you bring it to their attention, they don’t want to hear it and essentially shut you down. However, that hasn’t stopped you from having the same discussion and the same fight with them again and again. Perhaps that is what you meant when you said that you “keep jumping in the ring for more punches.” That is self-destructive.
The famous Einstein quote seems applicable here: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
There’s also another quote that is applicable here: “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Your sister and mother do things in a particular way, and it seems they’re not going to change. You are the one who does not seem to be accepting of their ways. It’s a shame that things are the way they are and that your mother isn’t more equal in her treatment of you and your sister, but you have no power to change that. You’ve tried and it hasn’t worked. It’s time to give up on the idea that something will change with them and accept it.
Understandably, this is a difficult reality to accept because it’s unpleasant. It’s proof positive that your mother and sister may not be the people you wanted them to be, expected them to be or wished they would be. The reality is you don’t have the power to change who they are. You have to accept who they are and adapt accordingly.
As they say, “you can’t choose your family” but you can and should learn to adapt to who they are and how they treat you. Treat them how they treat you. Don’t be willing to do more for them than they are willing to do for you.
You don’t have to like how they treat you nor do you have to tolerate it. If being around them is unpleasant, then I would suggest limiting the time you spend with them.
For example, you invited your sister to Thanksgiving and she didn’t come. Maybe next year don’t invite her.
It would also be best if you developed friendships outside the family with people who want to spend time with you and who will not give you excuses about why they can’t do certain things. Be around people who want to be around you.
Finally, don’t take how your family treats you personally. I understand that is easier said than done but their behavior likely has nothing to do with you. The way they treat you (and everyone else) is wholly about their personality and personal life philosophy. It is not a reflection of you or your children, in any way.
Find other friends and don’t keep “jumping in the ring for more punches.” It is unproductive to purposely put yourself in a situation that you know is going to end badly. If you need more hands-on assistance with how to better manage your family, consult an in-person therapist. That would help immensely. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle