Have I done the right thing?

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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.

Answers 1 to 10 of 42
Rebecca: I am so happy to read your post and at the same time so sorry for the grief and hurt your sibs put you through. I was so concerned when we stopped hearing from you.

Rebecca, I agree it's time to kick these sibs to the curb. It's difficult enough when you have so much responsibility with your mom and have to cope with her memory issues. Why take abuse from sibs who are supposed to have both oars in the water. Blocking call that are hurtful and antagonist seems like a wise decision to me.

You said, "My husband and son just cannot deal with the drama and the fact it upsets me. Is this the right attitude to take?" Are you asking if your husband and son's attitude is right? I think they should be supportive of you and help you find the resolution that you feel is best for you. (But, I'm not sure I have the question right)

What is the issue with you both being teachers and your sibs not liking your lifestyle? What do the sibs do?

I'm glad that you are sharing more of your life with us. I am so sorry for the brain injury your mom suffered and how it has affected her relationship with reality. What was she like before the brain injury?

Rebecca. I have to get my dad to bed now, but I'll be back. You are a wonderful person and a good daughter to your mom and also to your father, bless his soul. And you are a good friend to us.

Love you and glad you are back. Cattails

Rebecca: If you are asking if you did the right thing bringing an end to being involved in the endless trauma dramas your sibs enjoy creating, of course you are. You need to take care of yourself. Love, Cat
Wow! Do I admire you! Your flexibility in service of a goal is inspiring. You could continue the dramatics about who is going to do what at church to commemorate Dad's passing on a certain Sunday, or you could just let it go and do your commemoration on a different Sunday.Which is more important, the tradition of a specific day, or keeping the tribute harmonious? Some people have a hard time giving up any detail of a tradition, and here you are illustrating how it is done.

I'm sorry that you have to severely restrict your contact with certain relatives, at least for now, but I see that it is a smart move. You are trying to keep the peace? I'll bet things seem a lot more peaceful with those calls and texts blocked.

Keep up the good work. Honor your father on your own terms. Visit, help, and comfort your mother. Do what ya gotta do.

You rock!
Top Answer
Have you done the right thing? It would seem so. Be sure your self protection and detachment extend as far as they need to. As I remember, Mother's Day was a disaster for you, and not just because of your sibs. As to your sibs not liking your lifestyle, it is none of their business. Your husband and son are normal human beings. No one can deal successfully with that kind of drama, other than by detaching and distancing. I don't think there is any need to explain to your mother, and especially since she won't understand it anyway. You are making choices for yourself and your family. There is no need to explain or justify yourself to anyone, Likely your sibs will try to break down your boundaries, but you can get lots of support, and ideas here to help you deal with them. Center on yourself, your husband and your children. (child?) Do what is good for you and your family. Look after yourself. Many hugs and prayers. Joan
Joan: Perfect!!!! Thanks, Cattails
So glad you are back Rebecca!!! I too am sorry about the siblings. Been there, done that. I also think your decision to cut them out of your life is brilliant. When I made that decision years ago it changed my life. The jealousy from the sister? It sounds to me like she has regrets about the choices she made in her life. Be proud of who you are and the life you have made with your husband and son! Don't let her bitterness in your life for another second. You don't need anyone to tell you how to honor your fathers memory. Do it your way. And my mil is convinced I was switched at birth. And you know what? I am so grateful I never fit in. Look where I am today. Look where you are today. We are so blessed!
Thank you so much for your answers! I feel like I have come home.You are all correct. Cattails, I think my husband and son are worried about my health due to my COPD. I fainted one day last week and I never faint. They also feel like my siblings are stealing my happiness when I have to deal with their dramas. Emjo, you are also right. Mother's Day was a disaster with my mother putting a sibling in the mix and changing our plans. I have created my own family over the years, and I plan to continue. to do so. Lisa, you are so right about my sister. The big issue for my family is that they are huge party people. We will have a glass of wine and don't mind when others drink as long as they don't hurt others. We are just a quiet, gentle, busy family that has a normal life except for family drama. It was not present that often when my father was alive. He just wouldn't tolerate it. I have tried so hard to get along and keep the peace, but I just had to withdraw last week.Thank you for your love and the advice from all of you. It has helped. I am crawling out of my dark hole and have stopped feeling like I failed my father. Love, Rebecca
Rebecca when those feelings come back about failing your father, and yes they will come back, do me a favor. Go to a quiet place and close your eyes and think of him. Then feel his love surrounding you. He's with you. He sees what happens, and he knows you've done your best. And I bet you even hear his thoughts...DAM GIRL, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? and know you are very much loved here. Go to my thread and read about the bank incident. That will start your beautiful smile today, right girls?
Oh, Rebecca, honey (((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))), I saw your reference to your dad, on his deathbed, asking you to keep the peace, and thought "That's humanly impossible." I know you have done all you can, and more than you should have, to try to keep peace, but peace between two or more people depends on all of them, not just one. You can't carry that burden alone. You have NOT let your dad down. I am so glad he was a dad who would not tolerate the nonsense, but look what came out of the woodwork after he died. Not his fault, or yours. I think not looking after yourself would be letting him down more, than wrecking your health in the endless family drama trying to accomplish an impossible task. I don't think he would have wanted that.
That you fainted is not good, and does reflect the stress you have been under. I was forced to distance myself more due to health issues too. I think it is nature's way of telling us that enough is enough, and the time for major change has come. You have listened to your body and are making those changes. Good for you. I felt my family ended whn my dad died years ago. I didn't even go to his funeral, as my sis and mother had already started in on me. This shocks some people, but the stress of their treament of me combined with the stress of his death would have been too much for me to cope with. Instead, I spent a few days visiting him, as he requested, just before he died. We do what we have to do to survive, and I have no regrets.
You mentioned your mother drinking with your brother. That sounded pretty unhealthy to me, and I am like you - a drink once in a while is fine, but don't hurt yourself or others. Your mum is very fortunate to have you nearby. I am not sure that the reverse is true. Do what you feel you have to do, but don't get sucked into the dramas or games. Family, to me, are the people who treat me well, and care for me, and my wellbeing. My sig other's question has been "Are you the only sane one in your family?" I am so glad he met my cousins who are "normal" people. I know your mum has a brain injury, but it seems to me she also makes some unhealthy choices that affect you negatively. Visit as often as is good for you, if you need more time to yourself, that is OK. too.
Hipe you are having a great week in your new found freedom.
Joan ♥
I don't think you failed your father. You Did Try to keep the peace. All relationships involve give and take. You can't make a relationship work if you're the only one trying. If your sis/bro are like my mom's siblings (our aunts/uncles), perhaps they look down on you and hubby cuz your "just teachers?" My mom was a homemaker while dad was just a warehouse clerk. They had Government Jobs. They treated us as slaves and mom was always ignored. As an adult, I avoid them. Can you believe they're just as hurtful now as they were then?

I'm the neutral one in the family. Everyone can talk to me, tell me their problems, etc. because I'm a good listener. So not only am I and my oldest sis taking the burden of the parents, my family also talk to me of their problems, etc..

Jeanne gave me some very good advice because I was becoming so bitter, resentful and angry towards siblings for not helping us. She said that I can change my situation. That I have options. She told me to give up my bitterness towards my Dear Brother of Next Door. I keep telling myself that all my siblings have their own life and they chose not to help. So, I've decided that I need relationships where it's a give/take. I no longer want a one-sided kind. I'm still trying to figure out how to back off or cut down with my family relationship. I will always remain resentful if they keep coming to me for encouragement, relationship problems and work problems, etc..and they're not giving back by helping me.

You know what popped in my head as I read your story? Forget them! Yes, they're your siblings. If they want a relationship with you, then they need to start making nice. Based on the years you gave, hello??! You had like at least 50 years of this treatment. I don't think it's going to change any time soon. Forget it! You have your very own family. It's time to put all your effort to them.

Visiting mom? If you know the siblings will be there on Mother's Day or Thanksgiving or Xmas, then visit your mom the day before or after. That's how our family does it. Easter Sunday on Saturday with the in-laws' side and Easter on our side. Your mom ask why not with your other siblings, just say that you want to spend quality time alone with her. Just as your siblings will spend quality time tomorrow.

Well, you needed that week in the dark hole. You needed to hit rock bottom in order to wake up. Now that you have, you can proceed to just concentrate on your immediate family. You take care!

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