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There is a lot of WEIRDNESS going on in me the last few weeks...something is going on inside my head and maybe it is because I am so worn out or just so fed up, but for me, being open and honest is usually the best way to start healing so here goes: I have always been able to stand up to anyone...and I do mean anyone. I have relatively little fear in me about any matter on this earth and have frequently been asked by friends, family, whoever to "handle" things for them when they became too uncomfortable to handle and I did so, without hesitation....BUT...the oddest thing in my life....the one person who should be helping me but instead does nothing but belittle me, offer constant suggestions of how I ought to do things, what I should and should not do, tell me they will help me with this and that and then NEVER do it....this one person is my sibling....and I have decided I am totally intimidated by him...I don't like to admit it...it is painful for me to admit there is someone on this earth with who attempting to discuss something like a rational human literally makes me ill. And it is because there is no normal and calm when it comes to discussing something with him as he immediately makes his opening comment by going after me with something that wounds me so deeply it brings out my "fight" instinct and it gets ugly fast...so instead of discussing or trying to discuss anything, I just let it pass and suck it up and take his emotional abuse...maybe I'm answering my own question as I type this...Maybe he knows that if he attacks me enough I will not bother him at all....who knows...but it bothers me greatly. It has been a lifelong dynamic as well, typical stuff as little kids, brothers kidding and joking about things that continued to the point it was not humorous any longer...and it never stopped....and after one of these mind bending , ugly arguments that most likely sends my blood pressure so high I am amazed I have not already expired, he generally acts like a spoiled rotten kid. He always comes back around (I'd prefer he just stay away but Mama really wants to see him...much more so than me) and when he does return, there is no apology, no anything, just back as if to say..."are you over your little fit now"??? I don't know if it is his way of continuing to avoid responsibility, his guilt for not doing one damn thing throughout the course of this....his guilt of knowing that because he has not helped one bit financially that now I am losing my house as well....or a combination of these things...I just don't get it.....I'm not a weak person by any stretch of the imagination...anyone who knows me knows they can count on me to stand up to anyone in any situation....any situation but this one.....and this one little tidbit seems to control my entire life.....right now I am feeling disgusted with myself....

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Thanks emjo...yes, I have come to understand he is not going to change......I have come to a point of knowing I am pretty much alone in this world now. My precious Mama is here of course but certainly not able to chat and visit the way we used to. I miss that so much. We were such good buddies...And this all seemed to really happen quickly once she had the fall...it feels sometimes like you are losing them every single day. I'm not miserable in my caregiver role..to the contrary...I am so thankful that our journey did not end the night she fell because everyone pretty much said it was going to...since the only thing that hurts me now is the aforementioned, I will just move on...he will always be my brother, and if he ever needed me I would help him. And he knows it. But if I ever need him, I need to move to plan B because he can't be bothered....and I know that....and that's ok. because that's just the way it is.
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Sorry - we cross posted. I can understand how hurt you are by your bro's failure to keep his word. I don't think anyone is suggesting to disown him. Detaching is not disowning. I know the struggle to keep loving and praying in the middle of dysfunction. I have had to detach for each one of my children at one time or another. Did I ever stop loving them or praying for them? No. Am I in decent relationship with all of them now, Yes, but, in at least one case the boundaries have changed. I still pray for my sister and my mother with all their life long mental health problems and seek how I can best love them. But I do protect myself more than I did. All the best to you.
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Sharon - Boundaries is a great book and deals with this kind of issue.

hope - re "Regarding my brother, in some ways I feel pathetic because I want so much to be able to look up to him the way I used to...and sometimes I still see glimmers of hope, but he just keeps letting me down over and over and over." I doubt your bro will change. I wish he could/would. I hoped for years that I could have a decent relationship with my sis, I looked for the positives, found a few and then got slammed again. Looking back, I "tuned out" the bad stuff only to have it happen again and again. FinalIy, I realized that I had to accept the way my sis is and learn to deal with her in a way that is least stressful to me. Would I like to have a sis with whom I cam share things and have a decent relationship - of course, but the truth is that I don't have a sister like that. I have one who seems to need to put me down, accuse and attack me. It took me a long time to get there, so I understand that you are holding out hope for better things, and my dearest wish is that your hopes would come true. Meanwhile, you are doing a great job with your mum, you are under a lot of stress as a caregiver and with your mum on hospice, and I also hope that you look after you anyway you can. You deserve it. (((((((Hugs))))))
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No, no...you're fine....as you can tell...it is just like a cancer to me...not keeping ones word is one thing I detest in anyone...let alone my brother.. It is heartbreaking....and in this situation in particular, it is shameful...
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I do want to say Sharonkay, I am not meaning to come at you for what you said at all....we are all here for the same purpose, care for those we loved...but this is the ONE issue in my life that has literally caused me so much pain...it has also been the only thing within our family unit that ever caused friction, so it is an intensely sore subject for me...it is also one for which I went to counseling for a LONG time, and for at least thirty two years has torn me apart. So as I said, I stopped believing in him a long time ago. But for me, it is similar to if I had a child who just would not act right and kept disappointing me over and over. I would not disown my child and would continue to hope and pray they would come around because we never stop loving our children....we just don't like their ways....(and I don't have children so I am talking about something I don't know...this is just what my Mama always told me) anyway, it is probably the reason as well that I continue to be hurt by it...if it didn't matter, I would not care if I hurt his feelings...just like in every other situation where someone is just being an a**, I can easily do whatever I need to do to handle it because while I might not WANT to hurt that person, they do not have a piece of my heart, so it does not matter. It makes a difference when you have a sibling to whom you were once so close...and it makes a difference if you have a sibling.
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Hope,

I am sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to.

He obviously has issues with keeping his word, which is horrible.

Sharon
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You know, in a nutshell, honest to God I would feel so ashamed of myself to have behaved the way he has ....utterly, completely ASHAMED.
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I am aware that it is not his job to make me happy. I don't think I implied that. And trust me it does make a difference if you have never had a sibling who has had the world handed to him all their life while I had to step aside for him and his family. I absolutely KNOW he will not change. He only seems to get more and more selfish as the years go on and feel more and more privileged. No, it is not his job to keep me happy or lift me up. It IS his responsibility when he has told me for the past year that he will help me go and get all my furnishings and he will let me know when he can go (I do have to arrange for respite care and that does not happen overnight)...I have already spoken with our nurse about this and they and I are all waiting on him. It isn't going to happen, I already know that. So I am moving to plan B, just as I have done all my life, when every stinking promise he has ever made he has not stood by. No it is not his job to lift me up.....you'd think it would be his own personal issue as a man to just honor his word. He sure was NOT raised that way by my Dad...but he was coddled by my Mama. Trust me, I stopped counting on him a long time ago. Doesn't make it hurt any less.
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Hope,

I have no siblings, so I cannot empathize with you. But my mother is the one who gets my heart racing (in a horrible way).

Anyway, I have been reading your thread for a couple of days. In your next to last post you make a comment that caught my eye. "But he just keeps letting me down over and over and over..."

That comment bothers me for some reason. His job in life is not to lift you up. It would be nice, yes, but it is not required of him. You need to somehow get past this and realize that only you lift yourself up. When we lean on others, we will get let down at some point. Our strength comes from inside of us.

I am not very good at expressing what I want to say sometimes, and I feel that this is one of those times. I am not intending at all to hurt your feelings or make you feel incompetent or sad. I just feel that if, perhaps, you could look at this a bit differently, the situation could turn around. At least for you, and you could have some peace. Your brother probably won't change.

I will say that in the last couple of weeks or so, since I've been on this forum, I've been looking at things VERY differently regarding my mother. I'm reading the book "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud and it's been quite the eye opener. I'm not finished yet. I am by no means any type of a counselor at all. Your comment just grabbed me.

In a way, I look at this backwards. My husband has five siblings. He is third in line, and the youngest son. However, all of his siblings (except one) tend to revere him and his opinions. (Go figure!! :-) Perhaps revere was too strong of a word.) Anyway, the fact that they look up to him doesn't mean it's his position in life to make them happy/content. And he doesn't. They are all individuals and ultimately responsible for their own happiness.

So sorry to ramble. I truly hope things go well for you.

Sharon
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Sadly the other day with hospice, I surely did "let it fly"....I think I shocked the nurse....she is certainly not used to seeing me like that...no one who truly knows me is...I hold it in way too much I know...and it did feel really good to let it go and get it out....one day I feel like I want to go to the Grand Canyon and stand on the edge and just scream my head off til I get it all out.
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Pamstegman, so it is not just me who is feeling this way...I get so aggravated at myself for feeling so cranky towards hospice sometimes because I know their purpose is to help my Mama and to help me, it just seems like so much of the time they don't listen to what I am saying and yet want to haul out the social worker anytime I begin to get upset...and I don't want the social worker but told them if and when I did I would certainly let them know....It gives me some amount of calm knowing I am not alone in feeling that way...

Fading....Yes, I think clearing out the junk will be overall healing ...my brothers junk and mine as well. I often watch Hoarders just to get me even more motivated. My house has never approached those folks but it is a not so subtle reminder of how freeing it is to let go of stuff..


Regarding my brother, in some ways I feel pathetic because I want so much to be able to look up to him the way I used to...and sometimes I still see glimmers of hope, but he just keeps letting me down over and over and over...like a small child who just keeps being promised this and that and it never comes to pass...that makes me pretty ridiculous in and of itself to feel like a small child when he treats me that way, but actually that is how it makes me feel...I am trying so hard not to be hateful or hurtful to him, but I don't know why I bother...
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Hope .. same situation here, only with my older sister. I know exactly how frustrating and hurtful this type of relationship can be especially when your parent and in our case, our Moms, think our siblings "hang the moon." It's been that way all my life and just like your situation, my sister does nothing except call and occasionally visit, but she gets any of my Mom's money than she can get away with.

Emjo is right, detaching is the answer. Even that can be painful because it feels like you not loving the person the way you think you should. But love is less about emotions and more about intelligent goodwill and grace. Unfortunately, narcissistic people really know how to make you feel guilty about detaching so it can be a delicate balance of maintaining emotional distance yet remaining invested their well being.

Getting rid of stuff is good therapy too, in my view. When this situation is over, you may feel like you are making a fresh start and that's always energizes and strengthens.
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One thing I discovered during the presence of Hospice, was that tempers are short, there was a real short fuse on everyone, including the patient. We were all staring down the inevitable and wondering when it would happen. Uncertainty really rips you up. I managed to hold back from yelling, and found myself lying on the dinette bench, heart racing and short of breath. I think I would have been better off to just yell. So go for it.
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It is so true that I feel out of control of everything...from visits from hospice that never seem to be when they are supposed to be except for the bath aid who, thankfully, is there on the dot at 8:00 am every other day...I can't even tell you how much I LOVE that...otherwise, this place is not "MY" home...although I have pretty much let folks know these days when to come and not come and have, hopefully, gotten the hospice situation under control. I know life happens, things happen and we're not in control of everything...and some concessions must be made here and there, and I don't want to be so hard a$$ that I have to have my way all the time, BUT I don't appreciate when I am willing be conciliatory and end up being taken advantage of because of it...I have begun getting rid of all the stuff. I have even sold some things at the salvage yard and while I didn't get much for it, it gave me some degree of satisfaction just turning crap into cash...especially when it was not my crap... As far as being able to keep him from coming or calling...he is going to call every day regardless...I do ignore the calls now unless it is during a time that works for me. and when he does I put it on speaker and just lay it beside Mama so she can talk to her hearts content...it is actually kind of hilarious to listen to, when I'm not on there prodding the conversation along, he gets to enjoy what I hear all day long, day in day out 24/7...and he doesn't stay long....also because his visits mean a lot to her, I feel that I need to let him visit and that he does every single Sunday but it is at his convenience....I have stopped worrying about that though...I do what I want to do and when he starts with the comments I try to just tune him out....It is strange to feel that one day I will look forward to having none of the people currently in my life actually in my life anymore...at least that is how I feel right now....everyone sure has made it obvious to me exactly what they think of me....
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Emjo...yes, it does..very much...I know from past experience that to engage in a verbal all out war with him is futile and only upsetting to me. My health is not so great these days, which he knows, and so why he wants to even engage me I do not know..even the simplest things that don't matter tick me off... example....he will not do anything I actually NEED him to do...(I asked him to clear out his stuff from the garage by the end of June 2012...yes 2012....so I could bring my things home from my house (that is now about to be foreclosed on)...all that crap is still in the garage...and all my stuff is still sitting two hours away...I have decided I am going to try to sell as much as I can....I have no where to put it, will lose most of the value as folks aren't going to ever pay what something is worth, but he was allegedly going to help me move my things home...that was months ago....so I just want to do whatever I have to do get what does matter to me and get rid of the rest and to heck with him....also....he knows I do not want him messing with our yards...we have tons of delicate wild flowers, shrubs, etc. he is always wanting to bring his high powered lawn equipment and just bushhog the whole thing...gets in my flower beds with the weedeater, thus causing the clipping and such to reseed the flower bed and creating even more work for me..he cleans up nothing he messes up..everything he does creates more work for me and more work I do not need. this is a heartbreaking thing fo rme because as kids I looked up to him and loved him so much, but all of this from him is so hurtful...but sadly... Assand...yes, she literally would fall apart I fear if she could not see him...that is what is wrong with him..he is spoiled rotten and always has been.... I guess I'm doing the right thing by not arguing with him ..... everyone else thinks he hung the moon...
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((((((hugs)))))) hope. Please don't feel disgusted with yourself. You are only human, and some of us have some big dysfunctions to deal with.

Having a very dysfunctional sib myself, who played put-down games for as long as I can remember, I feel for you. While not quite that bad. my sis pushes my buttons too. I am learning that detaching and being assertive are the best way to go. It backs her off.

Some years ago, not long after I lost my youngest son, sis (who has a diploma in counselling) would call me and tell me I was not grieving right. It was designed to put me on the defensive. She would often preface her "barbs" with "I know I shouldn't say this but..." After a few calls like this, one day I woke up to what she was doing and interrupted her and said, "Then don't". She didn't and didn't call me again for over 10 years. That was fine with me.

Last fall, she visited mother intent on showing that she was the "good" daughter, that I was doing little for mother, and called me a few times. One call was a very pleasant girlie exchange. I see that as the bait. After that, I got raked over the coals for not doing this or that for mother (she, incidentally, does little or nothing for mother), she complained abut sending $11.00 !!! of her own money on mother, saying I should have been able to do it and so on. Then she attacked by asking me if could justify how often I had visited mother on the last year. By that time, I was fed up and told her I did not have to justify anything to anybody. That stopped her in her tracks. Her game is to attack and put me on the defensive then come I with criticisms. I don't intend to play that game with her any more.

I would not spend so much time analysing, as figuring out how to respond in a way that works for you. I also would not engage in any argument where he wins by you getting very upset. That certainly is at least part of his game. Also, let go of the "shoulds" and accept that your bro is an unhelpful a**hole. He is not going to change and become helpful. You are the one who has to change. Don't argue or defend when he offers suggestions. He is baiting you. Stay out of his presence as much as possible, so he cannot engage you. I am sure you have better things to do. Really it is detach, detach, detach.

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taken from detachwithlovem/detachment (words in brackets are mine)

Detachment is the:
◾Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves
◾Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational ( let him have his opinion about how things should be -whatever)
◾Giving another person the space to be himself
◾Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people (work on not letting his opinions affect you so much)
◾Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person
◾Developing and maintaining a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life
◾Establishing emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence
◾Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering
◾Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling
◾Placing all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life
◾Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point
◾Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them
◾Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be"
◾Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you (self preservation)

Emotionally detaching requires that you change many of your attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. ... if you successfully detach it will probably provoke them to become even more nasty and controlling for a while
Emotionally detaching requires that you change many of your attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Detaching is not about enabling someone else; it's about disarming the other person by eradicating his or her ability to hurt you.

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Not all of the above may apply to your situation, but some do. Hope this helps. Blessings and prayers.
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Hope22 is really that important for Mom to see him? Does she ask for him frequently? If not I would speak up to him next time he criticizes you...
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