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"My mother passed away last winter, but we waited until this summer so we could have her memorial service and sharing outside. It was a beautiful service, but I was fascinated by the fact that my younger sister Jessica had very different perceptions of my mother than I did. I’m upset that I never had the mom my sister did and now it’s too late."...

“My sister started a business a few years ago helping people de-clutter their homes. As a stay at home mom with older children and time on my hands, I started helping out by answering phones and filing. At first it was fun working together, but recently it seems that nothing I do is good enough for Shelley. It’s really put pressure on our relationship. We’re about to re-open after the pandemic and I’m wondering if I should just quit. But her business has really grown and she needs the help. Plus, she’s my sister; I can’t just walk away. What should I do?”...

Dear Vicki: My mother passed away right before Christmas, so we waited until last month to have her memorial. It was a beautiful service, but I was fascinated by the fact that my sister, who is five years younger, and I had very different perceptions of my mother. I found her to be exacting, somewhat aloof, and critical much of the time. My sister remembers her as loving, nurturing, and kind. How is that possible? I’m new to an understanding of the Five Elements, but I have to believe my mother was a Metal; she worked her whole life as a tax accountant. My sister is probably an Earth since she is a full-time mom now and was an elementary teacher before she married. I’m really not sure about my element, but reading what you’ve said about others, I guess I’m a Wood. I like getting things done, enjoy success, and can rub people the wrong way. Can the Five Elements explain why Jessica and I had such different experiences with our mother? Honestly, I’m upset that I never had the mom she did and now it’s too late. Signed: Baffled in Buffalo Dear Baffled: The Five Elements absolutely can explain why you and Jessica had such different experiences growing up, but first let me offer my condolences on the loss of your mother. It’s never easy to lose our moms, no matter what kind of relationship we had with them. My hope is that the discussion here might offer you a different perspective on your mother and help you heal from your loss. Since you have some experience with the Five Elements, you know that you and your mother related on the Controlling Cycle (Metal controls Wood). However, your sister and your mother related on the Nurturing Cycle (Earth feeds Metal). This dynamic alone is part of why the two of you would have experienced your mom differently. That your mother was a Metal also contributes to the fact that she would not have  mothered each of you the same. And finally, the age difference between you and Jessica could have been a factor, as well. But let’s start with an understanding of your mother as a Metal parent. People with a lot of Metal often don’t have a family. They are happy with their work and studies. They also enjoy time alone, which is hard to get when one has children. If they do have children, it’s usually just one. Another aspect of Metals is that they excel at compartmentalizing. A Metal parent can successfully keep their work life and family life separate, and it’s likely your mother did this. They can also parent children differently if they see the need. And I think your mother probably had a secondary Earth given that she chose to have more than one child, so that would have affected how she parented, too. So let’s look at what happens when a Metal/Earth woman has a Wood daughter and then five years later, an Earth daughter. There’s...