I did talk about some of the problems with my relationship with my sister, but it wasn’t all bad, so now I’m going to talk about the upsides.
I love my sister, but she’s as extroverted as I’m introverted, and sometimes as a kid, I just needed to get. away. She literally could not grasp that I was getting recharged by reading a book (she always has found reading draining) so if she saw that I was tired or drained, she’d try to get me to do stuff she found relaxing. I think she knew I was about to blow up and was trying to direct me to relaxing things to defuse me, but she didn’t have the emotional maturity yet to realize that what she found relaxing stressed me out.
Once I got old enough to realize that I didn’t have the emotional control to not hit her when she tried grabbing me and pulling me with her to go socialize with her friends when I was that exhausted, I’d sneak off and go hide from her when I needed recharge time. I only realized this past year what she was trying to do – she and I can drive each other up the wall at times, but she’s always been the one most tuned-in to my moods and feelings, and I think it was her way of trying to help me avoid trouble with our parents.
She’d also try to play interference with my parents when she knew I needed a bit of time after school before I had any demands lest I blow up. She’d burst in the door, chattering merrily away about school and her friends and so on in a verbal wall of text while I snuck away to my hiding place before my parents had a chance to tell me to do my homework or clean the dishes.
She was really more of an older sib to me growing up in some things even though I’m actually older – she led the way in social situations and when we were older, she made sure I remembered to eat when parents were away. For my part, I helped her with schoolwork (around when I figured out the magic that is social flow charts in high school, I figured that I could apply my social flow charts to math algorithms she could memorize, and it worked like magic for her because it did the pattern recognition that was giving her trouble. Her problem was never one of not being able to do the computation, it was one of not being able to recognize which computation she should apply and for some reason all the teachers thought it was a problem with not knowing how to do the arithmetic. To this day, when she takes a math course, she calls me up and has me help her with writing the flow chart for it) and taught her how to fidget without the teachers seeing – she had ADHD and so was fidgety like me, but unlike me, she needed to run and jump and so on. When my parents were angry with her, I’d act up to redirect their anger to me. I didn’t mind being grounded – but for her, it was torture to not be allowed to run around and be wild. Me? Oh, I’m grounded? Whatever. I have books.
I started doing that when she started sobbing on the way home because she’d got detention in school that day (more torture, for a kid like her – sit in a desk and don’t move or I’ll make you sit in the desk longer) and usually our parents would ground us if we got in trouble at school. I offered to act up and see if I could get them to forget that they’d been called. That was when it started. Thing is, I didn’t get why she was so upset about getting grounded, but to me, I accepted that my sister was different from me and different things upset her. I didn’t want her to be upset, so I figured I’d take the punishment for her, if I could. Because, to me, oh, I get to stay in my room and not be bothered by anyone for a few days? Awesome!
(Now, I realize that being grounded to her room was as bad for her as writing lessons or being made to sit in my desk with nothing to do or gym class or being forced to eat lunch in the school cafeteria was for me. But for her, it would last days or if she reached a point of can’t-take-it-anymore and broke the grounding, weeks).
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that for all the problems in our relationship, and for all that I will never willingly live with her again, she is my sister, I do love her, and our relationship isn’t all bad.