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Dear Agingcare friends,
I am sorry that I disappeared for the past week. My very dysfunctional family struck again. My older sister lives 8 hours away. She became very good friends with my young sister-in-law during my father's illness. My little brother joined them. I have been amazed at my 63 year old sister's ability to tattle, twist information, and start trouble. She never had children and is jealous because I did. I am sorry for her in a way, but I strongly feel that she would have become a narcissistic mother. She acted that way as my sister. The latest incident was the last as far as I am concerned.My father will have been dead for 2 years on July 17. Mother, in the custom of her church, ordered the flowers for the closest Sunday. She also asked my son, who is a music major and is a music worship leader at 20 years old in a small church, to sing and play that Sunday.He led the music at my father's memorial service. My sister sounded very offended when she and I discussed her visit on that Sunday and my son's involvement. I offered for her to sing instead. She made the polite Southern comment indicating that Adam should play and sing. Within two days, she had taken my comment that our family didn't want to offend anyone, involved my younger brother, and started major drama. I promised my father to keep the peace as he was dying. I can't. There is just too much baggage floating around our family with siblings born in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's. Plus my mother had a traumatic brain injury four years ago and cannot remember certain events at certain times. To top it off, my older brother who is a doctor, did not follow my father's DNR and tried to control his treatment during his 8 month illness. The hospitals Dad was in complained constantly and finally came to me because they considered my brother's behavior unethical. I am a special education teacher and was not afraid to do whatever was necessary for Dad. We are still fractured due to this, and my brother's license has been temporarily lapsed. I have decided to remove myself from my siblings. I am the only child that lives near mother, and I check on her daily, However,I have arranged for any texts or phone calls from my older sister and youngest brother to be blocked. I have left my phone open to my brother, the doctor, in case there is an issue with mother.My husband, son, and I have arranged for books to be donated in my father's memory for that day, and my son will offer to play and sing earlier in the month. We will arrange to be out of town for a graduate school tour and audition during the weekend that the rest of the family is there. My youngest brother is furious with me and my sister is haughty and wants to be in control. I have always had a different lifestyle from theirs. My husband and I are teachers and my son has played several instruments since a very young age in many different orchestras, trios, etc. We don't criticize their lifestyle choices, They don't like ours. My husband and son just cannot deal with the drama and the fact it upsets me. Is this the wrong attitude to take? My mother will not understand if I try to explain even though this is about the 15th major incident in less than two years. I will have contact with her, but will avoid contact with my siblings. I think the doctors gave my mother the wrong child at the hospital. :) I do not fit in and never have.

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Hey Rebecca! Hope things are going ok for you. I noticed that the last time you hadn't posted in a while the family were making life difficult for you. Stay strong friend. We are here for you!! Love to you, Lisa
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How are you doing, Rebecca?
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I am sooooo liking this new you Rebecca!!!
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Rebecca - so nice to see sone humour coming out -
"they can play nicely or go to the swamp in the back 30 acres with the coyotes and water moccasins"
Right on!!!!
Sounds like you belong on that property,
It is a new life when we have serious health issues, and I am so glad you are using new ways to deal with the dysfunctional family members. Sounds like your mum is being watched over by many. If necessary. you can call in the professionals to get her to the next stage of her care. I think you mentioned that before.
Yes, this too will pass - one day.
I am looking for a professional who can hekp me with the PTSD. Have you ever worked on that with a counsellor? I want to be further ahead than I am, in terms of reacting to the manipulation and using. Sounds like you are heading in the right direction. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!
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One last word for the day (my day). If you ask all my 7 siblings, they will all tell you that I'm too blunt. I call it like I see it. They say I need to learn ...to be nicer, gentler, etc...So, we're both on the same boat. You continue what you've been doing. I only mentioned hubby because I think it would be so much nicer if he's With you instead of Frustrating you. Hence, my advice to have him participate with your struggle with the family. Remember, Rebecca, when you married, you became as one. It's just not your fight, it's "our" fight ..especially when it involves your son. Just saying....Later!
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Cattails,
You asked about who is living on the farm now. I was, at my Dad's request, to have the house, move in with my mother and look after her when he died. The house is almost 200 years old, has enough room for 3 families, and is creepy because my mother is a hoarder. Mom does not want anyone to live with her. As the non-drinker in a family of heavy drinkers or alcoholics (someone had to be sober), she knows I will gently but nicely remove liquor, etc. So, I live 20 minutes from her, plan to build on what is supposed to be my share now that we have retired, and Mom lives alone. What she doesn't know is that the sheriff and about 15 couples watch over her and stay in touch with me when needed. She will have to have more help very soon, but I think I will tackle one crisis at a time. I have lived on the farm longer than any of my other siblings and truly love it. But, I can live without it if I need to. No one else lives near it, and my siblings are not happy in a place that is far away from a large city. Oh, well. This too shall pass. Hugs and thank you's. Rebecca
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Bookworm,
You are so right. My husband wanted me to just yell at them and put them in their place when Dad was sick. It is hard for me to deal with the three women because my Dad sent me off to his military boarding school for high school. It had just started accepting girls, and Dad wanted me to have an excellent education while making certain my little brother did not get into too much trouble. So, I fight back in a bizarre way. I understand the male, let's sit down talk it out, get it over with, and move on.I'm slow in picking up the sneaky stuff. My husband and I dealt with his Mother and sister fighting by just listening to both sides and always telling his mother she could live with us if needed.Now, I am playing sweet southern woman who is using all the male aggressiveness I was taught through 5 years of being in a mostly male school. Basically, my message is to not "mess" with my son, husbands, dogs,or upset Mother. I have explained the meaning of true drama to my female members of this insanity. It didn't match theirs. It is out of my character, but I have COPD, PTSD, and a benign tumor on my lungs. I am learning to deal with a new life ,and they can play nicely or go to the swamp in the back 30 acres with the coyotes and water moccasins. You are right on target when you mention the phone .... my husband is fixing it. I am thinking of offering the people who wrote Nancy Drew a new idea: The Mystery of the Missing Living Will. Take care and thanks. Rebecca
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I'm sorry that your husband hates your family....NOT! You sounded frustrated that he's not helping with the situation. Is he being rude to them? Sarcastic? Giving you orders on what to do? Would it help, if you try to see it from His Point of View? If you pretend that it was His father and his mother with the brain injury and how he made a promise to his father to take care of mom, and His siblings are doing those things to him, Rebecca - How would YOU respond? I think it's natural when your loved one is being threatened, hurt or treated badly, a man's response is soooo pro-active. Us females are a bit more catty, back-stabbers, etc...We go at it the round-a-bout way. A man - give him a club - and he will solve the problem straight as an arrow, no detour, no subtlety... :) So, all I'm saying is that it must be really difficult for hubby to step back and watch you targeted via different means (phone, email, new will, etc..) by your siblings. Maybe you can cut down some of those male testosterone by giving him some pro-active project that is helping you from your siblings. Whether it's by trying to figure out the phone blocking system, etc... You know what I mean?
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Wow Rebecca, you need to do it. In Kentucky, anyone in the school system from the board of education all the way to custodian who had a felony is automatically terminated. And the Internet? That is covered by federal laws. Not good for brother. I believe that alone would have them both worried. I'm betting that one simple letter with the letter head from an attorneys office would bring you some relief.
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Cattails, I am so glad to hear from you! I have so many records from my mother's injury. I took care of her for months and my teaching positions for 32 years primarily involved brain injured students. You have just given me so much peace. Thank you!
Hugs to you
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Lisa, you are so right! I know the attorney that has the will and it should be filed. Also, I know enough about my mother and older brother keeping my father's living will from each facility. My Dad suffered so badly and really should have been allowed to die much sooner as he requested. If I have to get ugly, I will. Plus, the entire tiny town knows the truth. You are a huge help!! The harassment issues would be serious because my SIL is a teacher and my younger brother a government employee. My older sister is busy serving herself and guests wine or champagne. The panic attack I was having has stopped. Thank you so much!
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Rebecca: Lisa had a good question. Do you have a copy of your parent's will? I would think that if the will was changed after your father died, the change would be invalid. The reason I think this is because of your mom's brain injury and how it has changed her ability to reason. Even if your brother has DPOA, it does not give him the right to go against your parent's wishes when they were of sound mind. Your father was really the only sound mind in the household after your mom's brain injury. If he provided a will that addressed how assets would be distributed to children after both parents passed. Then it's a done deal. With your mother's mental capacity in question, any changes to the will now, by her, could certainly be challenged in court as being prompted by your siblings coercing her for their own personal benefit.

Do you have any medical records or written statements from your mom's doctor about her mental status? If you have a relationship with her doctor and he agrees that she could be easily coerced, maybe he would be willing to give you a general letter about how her brain injury affects her ability to make sound decisions.

Just some thoughts. Hugs and Hugs, Cattails
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Wouldn't it be great to print out the e-mails from the in law from hell, go to an attorney and have him forward those to your brother with a letter of intent to file charges against her if the harassment dosen't stop? Also you could call your local police dept and find out if your town has a unit for Internet harassment. what would your brothers reaction be? I know you said your brothers don't get involved in their snide crap? Is that right?
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Rebecca, I'm no attorney but I can't see how they could cut you out of your inheritance. No doubt you will make sure your son is provided for. But honey, I would get my inheritance owed to me. Cut you out? OH HELL NO!!!! Rebecca, please get proactive. Do u have a copy of your parents will?
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(((((((hugs)))))) Rebecca - don't feel bad that you can't figure out the options - I had a few "senior" moments on the bus yesterday, when I couldn't even find my phone, and my daughter was calling me. The young man sitting opposite me just looked at me rummaging through my purse. Fortunately, as I get older, I get less embarrassed by my senior moments. I do hope your son gets his portion of the estate, and am glad you will fight for him. It is the least your branch of the family should get.
I am so glad you are planning to have more fun, and less contact with the hurtful relatives. I don't worry any more about being "rude" by normal social custom, as I am not dealing with normal people, so, I find, that the same rules don't apply. I am also very glad to see that you will call social services in to help with your mum. Drinking combined with a serious brain trauma is a very bad combination, as you know, and, I would think, would need professional help. Do take time off and take care of you. Time is not endless for any of us. Let us know what fun you are planning.
(((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))
Joan
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I am horrible at figuring out the options and I think your suggestion is wonderful. Yes, I am worried about a very stressful time. The only think I am going to request is that my son be allowed to have my inheritance if they cut me out. I will go to court and reveal some big time secrets if they force me to do so. My uncle on my father's side will help me and so will one of the judges in town. I miss the lake, it is beautiful and 13 acres. I am the child who had spent the most time on the farm and know almost every inch of it. However , I will make certain my child receives his inheritance. I put myself through college and graduate school so the family would not have to sell any part of it. My father wanted to leave me the house and an equal share of acres because he put my other siblings through college and med school for my brother. I would rather live in peace than fight with them for myself. I will,however, fight for my child. The land is worth about 15,000 an acre and there are at least 200 acres. He has been a good kid and has never been in trouble like most of the rest of them. He also took care of my father even before he was in the hospital. Like you, I wish this would go away. Thanks for answering.
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Hi Rebecca, if you are anything like myself, I am horrible when it comes to figuring out all the options on my phone. I'm sure there must be a way to block out the pics too. So you should do what I did. I went to my service provider, explained what I needed and they took care of it for me. They even locked in the abusive texts from the nephew just in case I would need them at a later date. If they are all getting together at the brothers house I'm just scared you may be in for a stressful time. People like them feel strength in numbers. So if you find time, please try it.
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Dear Bookworm,
Your answer makes so much sense and gives validity to what I am feeling. My mother is so much worse; she had a serious traumatic brain injury 6 years ago and seems to be very normal but her thought processes are lacking in reality and common sense. Her age, 84, is a factor in all of this but, I realized this week that she needs so much help she won't accept. Dementia seems to be a factor here, also. I will not have help from any siblings and she will fight me every step of the way. So, I think I will just have to let social services help me this time. No one else is around to do it, and I promised my Dad I would help her and take care of her. I am going to survive, but at 57 I have COPD even though I have never smoked. I just taught for 35 years and caught pneumonia too many times. I plan to take care of myself. I want my 20 year old son to have the freedom to be whatever he has planned for himself and will help him all I can . My husband hates my family and makes the situation more difficult for me. So, I am going to make myself have some fun, improve my health, and do what I can for those who will let me. That does not include my siblings. Thanks for the listening ear. Take care, also. Rebecca, another bookworm
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I guess they must have been sending you a lot of text/phone calls that it wore out your phone's blocking capability. :) ...Did sis-in-law send photo on a new phone number? Or maybe your phone is getting ready to retire and it's time to get a new one? Whatever is the case, don't get drawn into it. They did some very unforgivable things that is hard to forget. Yeah, keep your answers very straight and simple. Don't give them a reason to respond back. Just concentrate on your mother and your family....take care!
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The problem with ignoring drama queens is that they just cannot stand it. I told my mother the entire story and asked her to let us solve it. I did so because she is spending the weekend with my brothers and his wife and my sister will arrive soon from Ohio. She agreed to let us solve it and promised to stay out of it. During our discussion I discovered that not only did my brother (a doctor) have a copy of Dad's Living Will (DNR) the entire 8 months but so did my mother who refused to sign the DNR at all 8 facilities he was at. She thought it was her choice. He was of sound mind once he woke up from a coma after the initial 3 weeks. They made my Dad's life a living hell for no reason. I can somewhat deal with my mother's behavior; she had a traumatic brain injury. However, I was badgered at every facility as if I were hiding it. Not only that, a lot of this created problems with both of my brothers and their relationship with me. Anyway, I will play rabbit brain and change topics. Yesterday, the sister-in-law who has been the most hateful of everyone, sent me a picture via cell phone which means there is something wrong with my phone block. I was courteous and sent back a "thank you" text. I think I am going to have to move to get rid of the drama.
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You are not alone. I am the youngest of 5, they are in their 60's and I am 49. I feel completely out of touch with them. Drama, drama, and drama. One older sister doesnt' want to be "in charge" on paper, but she always wants to be the director and tell you what you should be doing. Also, when you don't agree with my family, they take low blows and begin talking about me and my family which have no relevance to the situation at hand. I have decided in order to maintain happiness and peace, I will no longer communicate with them when my mother passes. I don't wish badly on them, but I cannot include them in my life because it always turns out hurtful. I feel because they are 13 years plus my senior, they should be the examples of leadership and nurturing to me. But, this isn't reality. My expectations have always been too high I suppose.
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Rebecca, you can respond to all siblings one last time. If you have a file on all your dad's expenses that you paid 100% and those still pending payment, I would add it All Up, Total it and then divide it among you all. Then, alert ALL family members (including your brothers) and say, if you want to be nitpicking, here is the TOTAL COST of Dad's expenses. By splitting the expense, this will be Everyone's Actual Cost. All your asking is this $$ (which you're trying for right now). But if they want to be nitpicky or difficult, this is Actually the Total Cost of Dad's Expense. Say that you have all receipts/invoices and would be Happy to send Each of them copies. You can always photocopy it and send it Registered. Or scan and email it to them. I dump most of parents' expenses in the shoe box. It's useless to keep receipts for pampers, wipes, etc...because most stores now use those cheap receipts that eventually fades.
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Rebecca: I'm sure the costs of your dad's medical are documented and could be sent US mail to each sib. I also would guess that you did that long ago.

Yeah for the fun and smaller phone bill. Don't respond to any more emails. Don't expect them to leave your mom out of it because I don't think it's their style. I put my thoughts about that in my previous post.

Rebecca, you are a smart lady and you have a great family. If you want a sister, I'll be glad to be that for you as will many others. Be happy. You have so much more love in your life than your sibs. Take that blessing and be grateful. Leave the rest behind.

Love, Cattails
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" I am going to learn how to have fun and a much smaller phone bill." Fabuous goals! Worth a lot of hard work to acheive, too.

Good luck to you!
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Well, I thought it couldn't become more hostile but I was wrong. I have just been ignoring my siblings and started making a few changes in my life until Friday. That evening, my sister- in-law decided that she would create drama. She was as ugly as she could be while she did so. While my father was in the highest level of vent care for eight months, many bills were accumulated. My husband and I paid the most serious with all siblings making a promise of paying their shares. Mind you, my little brother accepted a job out of the country three week before Dad died. The job paid several hundred thousand dollars. He claimed that he was taking the job so he could help. Actually, unless his job is similar to his 21 years in special ops., he is not happy. That is his opinion ,not just mine. Well, he paid his share which was 5,000 dollars, but his very young wife has decided that we are lying and she wants all of the money back .... now. She wrote me 4 of the ugliest emails I have read in a long time. She also admitted that she and my sister do not like me. My older sister would have made a fantastic "mean girl" in high school and probably was. The two of them call each other and create trouble or embarrassment me. My brothers never became involved. I wrote a courteous letter basically saying I love you, I will pray for you, but stay away from me unless we need to help Mom. This went on for two days until I stopped responding. I no longer want anything to do with my siblings and will find new ones. :) I told them to leave Mom out of it. She would want to fix it and she can't. I have been an idiot to tolerate all the bullying for years. I am going to learn how to have fun and a much smaller phone bill. Love to all.... Rebecca
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I sent an email but it did not go through. I will write it again when I come home. Rebecca
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Hi Rebecca, just want to say hello and asked how you are doing. I hope you woke with a smile on your face to a beautiful day!!! Thinking of you. Much love, lisa
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Lord cat, what I wouldn't have done to hear those words of wisdom 30 years ago. Instead it took me just a few years longer to come to that decision. It came when my drunk sister called at 2:30 a.m. And my 8 year old daughter answered the phone and heard her tell me she was going to burn my house down when we were all asleep. You can just imagine my jennys frame of mind. Listen to what cat just said Rebecca. I never once regretted breaking contact with those abusive bastards. You owe them nothing. You have a beautiful life and family that makes it so worth it. As for having a lower income? Look where their money got them. Look who they are. I'm "only" a school bus driver. And I take so much pride in the small differences I make in their lives. Look how many lives you and your husband have touched and the pride you feel that you brought your boy up with those same values. You have done great Rebecca.
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Rebecca: Your sibs are thoughtless and rude. To smoke in the face of those who have asthma and COPD is a good example of behavior that lacks empathy. That's a big deal because it means they are not capable of feeling another persons discomfort and pain. Another example would be giving your mother alcohol, a completely irresponsible action that borders on criminal. Another example is your sister's need to see you suffer from her wagging tongue. Another is the way your father's last weeks were handled by your doctor brother.

So, unfortunately, you have some very useless siblings who have no true concept of compassion, honesty, or the ability to put anyone else before their pathetic thoughts or desires.

You can not change this bunch of idiots. All they give you is stress, heartache and disrespect. I'm happy that you had a loving relationship with your dad, but you are not a miracle worker. It is not in your power to make your sibs happy or congenial.
They are not little children that have been left in your care. They are grown adult alcoholics who are abusive to you.

Of course your suffering is going to have a negative affect on your husband and son. They love you and want you to live in the world the three of you have created. It's a good solid place; one that is based on love, respect, and mutual support.

There is no reason to carry on relationships with siblings who are hateful, just because they are siblings. To let them continue to victimize you is wrong. It's wrong for your health and wrong for your husband and son.

In my very humble opinion, you are the one good thing that your dad had a hand in creating. Don't let a comment he made bind you to misery. I know he would not have wanted that to happen. Give him credit for being able to understand that you have no power to do what he asked. He would want you to know that you are free to live a happy life with your husband and son and not be the family whipping post. He wouldn't have tolerated that if he was alive and he wouldn't want you to tolerate it in his absence.

For the sake of your physical and mental well being, bring an end to the abuse. Stop having contact with your sibs. As far as your mom goes, you don't "HAVE" to tell her anything. You can make your own decisions and you don't owe her an explanation up front. If your sibs bring it up to her and she asks you about it, just tell her that the sibling relationships do not work for you. They bring too much stress into your life and your health suffers when you have to interact with them and so you have decided to make your health the first priority. If she doesn't like it, then tell her that you appreciate how disappointed she is, but this is your decision and you are sticking to it. You are happy to continue to check on her, but you will no longer have contact with people that hurt you. Maybe she will even begin to understand that she could be on that list too.

Rebecca, we all love you and know you have done your best. You have most certainly done the right thing in cutting ties and looking out for your self. Better late than never. Also, if your therapist doesn't get this and tell you the same thing, it's time for a new therapist.

Love and Hugs to you, my very dear friend. Cattails.
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All of you have brought me more comfort than my counselor.You asked for some details so here we go. My sister and brothers think nothing of drinking to the point that they either become mean, maudlin, or they just fall asleep. They also constantly pour drinks for my mother who has had issues with alcohol prior to her brain injury and should never drink now that she has a TBI. We will certainly have a glass of wine, but we do not drink to excess. Almost everyone smokes despite the fact there are babies present and my son and I have asthma. They do not move away from us when they smoke, so at least some of the non-smokers will become ill as a result if we stay with them. Asking people to go somewhere else on the 200 acres to smoke is considered bad manners. Also,our son has always been an achiever in several areas. My nephews and nieces have different attitudes toward life with the exception of one niece. They have achieved in their own ways but have a different set of values from our son and the niece. My husband and I are just middle class teachers who cannot afford what my other 3 siblings can afford. However, we have our child in college without debt and he has earned several scholarships. Because there are just the three of us, my immediate family is close and we are involved in our church and community to a reasonable degree. We have a life. It just may not be like theirs. Anyway, I am truly the "odd person out" at any function. However, my husband and I have multiple graduate degrees between us ; we just don't earn what my other siblings do. We love our jobs and are happy. We have tried to be loving to my family. It is not always returned. My sister started this incident which involved alcohol, my younger brother decided to become angry with me due to her gossip, and my older brother will be angry too. I agree that it will be difficult to keep the distance, but this time I have realized just what the drama does to my husband and son. I am going to have to tell my mother at some point, but I think I need to get a little more backbone before I do so. My father would be furious with all three of my siblings. He used to make them go away from the group to smoke. He smoked a pipe but did not light it around babies or those of us with asthma. I appreciate all of you. I should have climbed out of that deep, dark hole earlier and should have told you sooner.
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