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Childhood Buying my sister stickers and toys

Thread starter #1
My big sister turned 44 today. She suffered several years of sexual abuse from my stepfather and plenty of other hell from my mother and others in the family. She was pretty rough on me for several years as a result.

But now we are good.

For her birthday, I sent her a mermaid toy and a bunch of stickers. I also ordered her Hopscotch Rabbit Calico Critters (3.25" tall rabbit toys and their 2 children) along with a tiny living room set for them.

I think the mermaid was kind of meh but the rabbits made her cry. She always wanted some when we were kids but my mom said they were too expensive. She loves them.

I usually buy her stickers or toys. I think I am just now realizing how often I buy her stickers or toys.

She had a flashback the other day after we had talked about my stepfather. I rarely have flashbacks and never due to talking but I spent 15 years in talk therapy. I now know I need to be more careful when talking to her. I am just learning because we living a long distance from one another and just started talking again about 1.5 years ago. We've been off an on for all of our lives but I think we are going to make it this time.

What concerns me is that I know I send her toys because her childhood was torn from her and she likes them BUT I fear that I might be drudging up things I should be more careful about.

Does anyone have any insight on this?

( I guess I should have explained that things are still very confusing for me with my sister because she dissociates a lot and has huge memory gaps. She is constantly up and down and I've gotten to where I don't trust her to tell me if things are bothering her because she doesn't realize until it is too late.
I was thinking that maybe someone with sexual abuse issues would have some experience with how toys like ones from childhood affect them. I don't have her history of sexual abuse so I don't relate to a lot of what she goes through. )
 
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Thread starter #3
I would honestly just ask her how she feels about it directly. We can all guess, but we aren’t her 🤷🏼‍♀️
Well, I am confident that she likes them. I am more wondering if she might not realize that they drudge things up. She's not very recovery-oriented. I guess I don't know if she could tell me.
 
Thread starter #4
I guess I should have explained that things are still very confusing for me with my sister because she dissociates a lot and has huge memory gaps. She is constantly up and down and I've gotten to where I don't trust her to tell me if things are bothering her because she doesn't realize until it is too late.
I was thinking that maybe someone with sexual abuse issues would have some experience with how toys like ones from childhood affect them. I don't have her history of sexual abuse so I don't relate to a lot of what she goes through.
 
#5
Gotcha, I don’t know then. Because everyone feels and reacts to things differently. For me, I do have that history, it would depend on the day. Some days it would be comforting and other days it would be painful to look at. But that’s not very helpful.
 
Thread starter #6
Gotcha, I don’t know then. Because everyone feels and reacts to things differently. For me, I do have that history, it would depend on the day. Some days it would be comforting and other days it would be painful to look at. But that’s not very helpful.
Actually it is helpful. I hadn't realized previously that some of these toys, especially the ones that were actually around when we were kids might actually cause her pain at times. I need to change my gift giving habits for sure. Thanks.
 
#7
Your gifts sound thoughtful and she clearly likes them.
But also, does it have to be 'either/or'?
Can you get her gifts for where she is now in her life and then things you knew she liked from back then?

But I agree with @Annalyn78 , I think it is best to ask her.

My sexual abuse wasn't within the family. I disassociate. For me, it would depend what the item was to how I respond to it. For example, music is a big thing for me and for many years I couldn't listen to music of a particular time. Bit recently I did, and that kept me in a negative state. Basically, I think it is complex. For me it brings good and negative feelings.
But that is just me.

If you feel able to talk to her about it, then I would. But you are then also relying on her to be assertive enough to tell you the truth. It would be hard to say "no I don't like the presents you get me as they hurt too much" to a sister who has been thoughtful. She might not want to upset you and she might not want to come across as ungrateful or rude. So how you start the conversation to give her permission to say what she needs to might be key?
 
#8
What concerns me is that I know I send her toys because her childhood was torn from her and she likes them BUT I fear that I might be drudging up things I should be more careful about.

Does anyone have any insight on this?
Well, I am confident that she likes them. I am more wondering if she might not realize that they drudge things up.
things are still very confusing for me with my sister because she dissociates a lot and has huge memory gaps. She is constantly up and down and I've gotten to where I don't trust her to tell me if things are bothering her because she doesn't realize until it is too late.
Trust your instincts and observations.

Something, too, to consider is that nearly all of the toys/games of childhood are preparation for adulthood - there are adult versions of virtually everything aimed at kids. The toy... versus the real thing. So you can still enjoy the thrills and delights of childhood... @ an adult level.
 
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