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Troubled sleeping means I very rarely remember my dreams. This morning I woke up furious.

I was with my mother and 2sis (I’m youngest of 3 sisters). I think we were at 2sis’s house. Anyway, the two of them were getting a tea tray ready and were fussing over spoons. I remember mildly suggesting that spoons weren’t that important and we could do without them if that made life easier as we didn’t really need them. But spoons are apparently a vital component of a tea tray and 2sis rounded on me and sneered at me. I have no idea what she said, but she made me angry. I turned on her and said something along the lines of I was fed up with her constant sneering and belittling of me and it was high time she grew up, stop being a bitch to me and acknowledged how vile she has been to me for the last 20 odd years. At which point I woke up.

We three sisters all have problems with low self-esteem and self confidence. 2sis resented being the middle sister, feeling that 1sis got privileges for being the eldest, and I for being the youngest. Not uncommon with middle siblings, but she never really got over it.

2sis decided that our father preferred me, that I was his favourite. It wasn’t, and isn’t, true but because my parents were that much older my father may well have had more time to spend with me than he did with 2sis. I had my first champagne at a younger age than she did; something she resented for years, along with other unearned privileges, mostly due to our family simply being better off. My father is incredibly proud of being a Yorkshire man, and brought 2sis and myself up to feel the same (1sis is a southerner). 2sis rejected this and wanted nothing to do with any Yorkshire upbringing which again created a barrier between her and my father.

Stephen PotterI don’t really remember it as a child; we were friends at one time, but as an adult she would take every opportunity in conversation to belittle me to make those tiny little comments to put me down. I used to do the same in return, thinking it was just fun sibling rivalry and we were playing one-upmanship, and yes I had read the book and seen the film. At some point though it dawned on me that she really meant it. So I stopped.

I took the very charitable decision that if she needed to be horrible in order to make herself feel better, then I was going to feel sorry for her and let her get on with it. And she did carry on. If my parents were not around, we could have a tolerable conversation. As soon as they were within earshot she’d start with the sneering again.

My mother used to recognise this and express sympathy for me but a few years ago decided to re-write history and eliminate this from her memory. My father rarely listens to what “us women” talk about so has never noticed. No-one recognised it other than me. 1sis does but the three of us are hardly ever together.

I have just stopped talking to 2sis. Over the years I have tried to keep in contact but kept getting rebuffed and eventually I made the decision to stop trying. So I’ve never stood up to her and told her how angry I am with her or how much her remarks have hurt me over the years. Part of the reason is that I don’t expect her to listen to me if I did say it. Part of me thinks that she’d just laugh at whatever I said and hurt me even more.