My husband and I were not invited to my sister’s wedding because she started a huge argument with my husband last Christmas and cannot let it go. Basically, she was going on and on about her continual bladder infections and my husband said that the real problem was that she was always pissed off. I laughed pretty hard. My sister does live in a perpetual state of annoyance. My sister took it as a put down, told my husband off and left with her fiancé. I was shocked, but thought they would get over themselves. My husband won’t apologize because he says he did nothing wrong. Should I apologize for laughing? I haven’t talked to my sister since all this transpired because I think she’s being petty, but I really want to go to the wedding because there will be relatives in attendance that we have not seen for 15 years.
Your sister is being petty, but isn’t it small-minded to want to attend her wedding, not to be present for her sake, but so you can see other relatives? The rift between you two was fine until you needed to use her to get something? Hey, I think this volcano was rumbling long before the lava spewed.
If you consistently ignore the hot spots in a relationship, eventually you’ll be facing disaster. So sweat the small stuff, but do it sanely. That means that you explore the discomfort for what it means about you, not what it means about the other person. For example, it seems clear that over time your frustration with your sister’s health issues became super-sized. Only junk food is served in those dimensions. Thoughts about how your sister should be different became junk food for your mind, feeding your feelings and actions. If you listened to your sister’s ailments without trying to fix her or prove that you’re living right and she’s not, you would hear her differently.
I suggest that you surrender your desire to go to the wedding. Arrange to see visiting relatives on your own. Then, apologize to your sister for not listening to her with compassion. Admit that you have been pissed off about her chronic health problems and that you didn’t deal with those feelings maturely, but that you’re trying to do so now.
This may sound ridiculous, but I can’t shake the idea that I have been betrayed by the 21st century. Futurists always promised a life of leisure with robots doing all the work while humans rest and play. Instead, all I do is work, work, work just to supply myself with the basics. In the little free time I do have, I’m usually too exhausted to do anything except sit in front of the TV and veg. Then I feel guilty because my life is passing me by.
Your life is not passing you by. Working and zoning is the life you have chosen, but all play and no work would probably make you quite an indolent boy. Consider E.F. Schumacher’s wisdom from Small is Beautiful: “To strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and can’t be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.” So perhaps the 21st century is not the culprit. You have simply betrayed yourself by being more robot than human. Fire that vision and live the life you want now.