A mother and daughter are standing in an aisle in a big box store on one of two visits a year. It is daughters birthday and she has requested to pick up some birthday supplies. Mom has back to isle and deep in conversation with daughter and doesn’t notice daughters smile or pay attention to her say, ”hi,” to someone as they are passing behind her. What does bring her attention is the shift her daughters body language and tone of urgency come into her voice as she tells her mom, “Don’t move!” Your sister is walking by us. Mom is startled as daughter goes on to say that her sister just walked by and only nodded her head and without a smile in response to her greeting. Shock and disbelief settle in as recognition there isn’t even a well wishes for her daughter’s birthday. She knows there couldn’t be a memory loss as it was her very own daughters birthday the next day! Added to the thoughts are the memories of this recent Christmas and daughter once again sharing that sister was in the store. Only that time mother went and greeted sister and they had a nice conversation adding to the question of this present experience. Why the need for this distance and lack of connection.
Taking daughter around the lake near by the big box store to exercise their dog, it is part way around the lake and mother admits to her daughter that she just realizes what is bothering her. It was her own need for turning around in the store and approaching her sister and having a conversation. She found herself in a reaction to her daughters experience and remained loyal to her wishes. Her daughters experience that may result from……..
A funny thing on the way to family becoming divorced happened when mom’s sister sold her first condo. This sister moved in to a building the recently separated husband and father of her sister and her children had already moved into. Not long afterwards husbands girlfriend and child move in the apartment above hers and she finds herself connecting in a sympathetic way with them as her own sister and her children are in the process of filing for divorce and moving forward. The sympathy for this new couple came in the way of a bullying influence through her recommendations that her sister had to now include this new partner and child into considerations of compensation. She was so uncomfortable with the situation she was unable to hear what this brought up for her sister when she wasn’t being supportive or loyal to her as her own family member. Shortly afterwards the new couple broke up as father had a new girlfriend, and when new girl lost interest got back together and moved in as a family with her child for short time. Before long he moved on and in with someone else. Had the sister been influenced by her own sister’s pushy recommendations it may have turned into a nightmare!
Shortly after this sister moved out of her apartment and bought her second condo in same neighborhood. On the avenue during a sidewalk sale the children and mom saw sister come out of the drug store and turn towards them. They all smiled and as they stepped forward to say hi and talk, sister looked away, put her head down and walked right through them. Their mouths dropped open and with a look of shock on their faces they watched her cross the street, go behind a building and walk away through the alley rather than the stay in the market area. These children were young and didn’t understand what was going on, nor had they been told anything. They had many questions. This explains daughters urgent reaction now on her birthday and her mom’s hesitancy.
At a recent presentation the speaker spoke about the connection between cultural behaviors of competition and loyalty. The focus was upon relationships and families. He suggested in his talk that in a small group there is always competition and with an addition of a new person or group the original competitors become loyal to their own group and compete as a team. The example given was two teams of rowers. In one boat there may be opposing personalities that struggle to lead the group yet in competition they drop that in order to beat the other team. This explanation answers questions of how people fight in relationship yet pull together to oppose or resist anyone new even if the intent of the new party is for the purpose of support. Even in expressing their pain between each other if they feel a threat towards one of them they will stand up for them until the appeared threat settles.
One can only imagine what is happening for the older sister that affects her in a way that she is unable to be comfortable in the first family loyalty that binds other families together and connects them.
This is a true story, without name references to protect identities of those involved.