I'm beginning to think that siblings that do not visit their elderly parents (if they live in the area and have the time) are dysfunctional.

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in other areas of their lives also, and probably have very little, if any integrity. In addition, they probably have very low self-esteem. I believe it would bother an individual terribly who had high-esteem to know that they were not doing right by their siblings and parents, and, therefore, they would change the situation and begin helping out. Basically, what I am trying to convey is that if you have a sibling that does not offer themselves (the best thing you can give anyone), they probably have a poor attitude in other areas of their life, so please don't take their lack of caregiving personally. Speaking for myself, I am still considering whether or not to keep in touch with my sister when our parents are no longer around. I'm undecided at this point, but would be interested in anyone's input on this subject.


Everyone's situation is different. I have a brother nearby that has a family of seven, including himself. He is the sole bread winner. He is also very active with his church, which takes a couple of days of his time. He is totally committed to both his family and church, so it leaves little time for other things. Because he has strong Christian beliefs, I can tell that he feels bad about not being more involved. I do not expect him to do any more than he does, because it would be a terrible burden on him. I do not have the responsibility he does.

The other brother lives many states away, so it would be impractical to expect him to do much.
This is my first posting and I want to say that I understand your comment 'I am still considering whether or not to keep in touch with my sister when our parents are no longer around'. I am taking care of my 82 year old mother and I have no help or support from my older brother, who lives 30 minutes away. I do believe that when my mother is gone (my father passed away June 2011) that I will never have anything else to do with my brother. But, in our case we have never been close and this is the final straw for me. If he cannot help me now, then I have no use for him later. I know this does not help you, but I wanted you to know that others are in the same situation as you. I wish I had an answer for you and all the others going through this.
I forgot to add that I don't think either are terribly dysfunctional. They are just busier than I am. I work at home, so fit what was needed. Now, I might be majorly dysfunctional myself. Usually I think I'm half crazy and getting more so every day I remain a caregiver. :)
In my case, both my brother and I are not working due to various disabilities. I cannot say whether my brother is dysfunctional or not, I know he has never shown an ounce of compassion toward anyone during my lifetime. And, as to half crazy, well, I passed that point a long time ago. ;)
Jessiebell. I say BS. If he is a Christian. Honor thy mother and father. Just an excuse if he lives close
Here4her, I know what you're saying. I feel that my brother has such strong beliefs that he convicts himself for not being more involved. His job keeps him on the road a lot, as does his church. I believe he convicts himself enough that I don't need to add any extra. One person can only do so much.
I am sorry if your siblings seem to not care, and maybe they don't. But for me, it is hard for me to see my mother's decline. I am sure I am an accountant because I never would have been a good nurse, but it doesn't mean I love my mom any less. I find it depressing and almost physically painful to go see mom. That bing said, my sisters understand how hard it is for me. I don't think either will cut me off after mom goes. Now, maybe you can ask the sibling that doesn't visit to take on some other role. I pay mom's bills, do her banking and some of the legal work. Have you ask for some other type of help from your sibling that doesn't visit? Maybe they just don't know what's needed to take care of mom or dad. Ask them why they don't visit, maybe it's just too hard, we are not all alike, how boring a world - or family - if we were all the same. JMO!
My sister worked across the street from the nursing home I first put mom in back in 06. She drove right by mom's residence twice a day ..she never ONCE stopped to visit her. I lived 20 miles away and visited mom often at different times of the day to make sure she was being cared for. BUT...I do believe my sister is very dysfunctional. As a child she only cared about herself and would blame others for things SHE did which got the other child in BIG trouble...(being picked up by the ears and carried into another room). She never 'grew" out of that type of behavior and now at 56, she is STILL a bully. She's bullied me for years and years. Over the years, I would attempt to ask her "why do you treat me this way" and she would always say...I don't want to talk about it. OF COURSE she doesn't. It would be admitted that she is a BULLY and always has been. I've always been the opposite of her...a pleaser since childhood. She also has cancer now and I know this sounds bad but, I don't feel ONE BIT sorry for her. KARMA is alive and well. When she bullied me with her drinking buddies about 3 years ago, I told her "That's it" and I had no contact with her for 2 years. Meanwhile, I have always cared for mom...took care of all of her paperwork, bought her shoes, clothes, took her to all appts., took her to funerals, took her to visit relatives..etc. etc. etc. WHen I see the NH is neglecting her, I bring her home to live with me again. It's always been this way.I had brought mom home to live with me again after the NH abused mom back in Dec, 2011. Something kept telling me..."call your sister". Mom was on hospice, she was SO bad when I brought her to live with me. SO, I finally gave in a called the PERSON who is supposed to be my sister and told her. ..Mom is on hospice, she'd appreciate it if you would come and see her. Well, sister came alright....but NOT to see mom. She barely said, "hi" to mom as mom lay there in the bed. Sister then began telling me ALL about the day she was told she had cancer and blah, blah, blah, blah. I didn't care at all but I never told her. I just listened. She stopped by to "visit"...like nothing had ever happened ...all those years of bullying me. She never once said she was sorry..in fact, the subject never came up. She wasn't there to see mom. THAT made me mad but still I never said anything. My house is on her way home from work and TO work. She didn't have to go one minute out of her way. She stopped by three times during those 4 months mom lived with me and NONE of the visits were to SEE MOM or even TALK to mom. Then, out of the blue she calls and asks me to come to her house on Friday to get some tomatoes..she had been making salsa and had SO MANY. When Friday came, I called first to see if she was awake at 2pm and I should have known...She wasn't even home but at a friend's house in the pool...drinking it up and having fun. THAT was the last straw for me. I guess she started feeling a bit "badly" about that day and a week later she stops by my house with a bag of 6 TINY tomatoes in it. I didnt' even want to see her face. She hands me the bag and I look inside to see the poor little tomatoes and was going to just take the bag WHEN she says, "Uh, well..you only need one or two, don't you???" OMG. She is the most selfish, self-centered, bullying person I've ever known in my life. And, I have known her longer than ANY of her so called.."friends'..drinking buddies. I sent her a letter telling her I wanted nothing more to do with her and not to EVER stop by AGAIN. DYSFUNCTIONAL....YES!!! Alcohol and partying at her age...even with cancer and the cancer meds she's on...she won't stop. I'm glad to be "rid" of her. Sorry for the long rant!!!
I really do understand how this came to be,All our kids were raise the same, we had two daughters and three sons, Our girls have always been very helpful the sons on the other hand are very selfish.The girls were up to last years when I lose my sweet daughter of age 47,so so hard on me but not untill she was gone from my life did I feel the great loss more so untill now. I am older my wife needs more help as I do.Daughters are by nature ,helpful caring,compasion,son are into their toys, even churchbecause it serves as an excuse to not visit us. The other son of guns do not because again the same things or into the wife relatives. but we all live from day to day anyway!! You should get a lot of feedback on this ,good luck ,Johnnycares
I don't mean to be unpleasant, but this sounds a bit judgemental. Your situation may be one where you feel frustrated with your sibling for her lack of participation and that is completely understanable. But to judge all situations that way would not be correct. Sometimes family dynamics are so dysfunctional and aimed so much at a particular family member, that the family member feels that they have to walk away.

Having experienced dysfunction in my family of origin and in my husband's family, my motto is that "Just because you share DNA is no excuse for poor behavior from your family". Of course there are exceptions, such as dementia or severe chronic pain, something that would make the parent act out of character.

I can tell you personally, I treat my FIL much better than his own daughter does, yet he disrespects me and hopelessly chases after the daughter that will never give him the approval he seeks. I feel like just walking away from the whole situation myself.

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