How to Deal With A Particularly Negative, Critical Family Member.


Hi all. I first posted here two years ago, when I was having problems with my mom being very hateful toward me. You'll be glad to know that after talking with her doctor, she agreed to go on anti-depressant medicine. It has made a WORLD of difference! We have our disagreements, but things are a lot better.

However, over the last year, she's been dealing with a number of health issues. Malignant mass removed from her left kidney last October. Then, in June, she found out she has non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She started chemo and has done very well. Unfortunately, she fell and broke her ankle halfway through treatment and has been in a nursing home for almost two months for short term physical therapy.

When this happened, I sent a simple, one page letter to family members and friends, telling them where she is, when visiting hours are, that they are MORE than welcome to visit, and gave them her phone number. Well, apparently, this has upset one of them. I got a very mean, hateful e-mail from her the other night saying "You have mad it more than clear to everyone that you do not want to be bothered. But if your Mom calls me and is concerened, I WILL call you, I DON"T care how busy you are. Most busy/unavailable people have a phone number or a answering machine where they can be reached when there are problems with a family member. This is after a year ofnothing but "it's only going to get worse, you need to do this, you have to do that." I am so mad I can't see straight. Right now, I'm the one who works a full eight hour day, goes home long enough to feed the cat, chekc the mail, etc., then go spend some time with my mother. She's been to see her 2-3 times in almost two month. When I asked her for help earlier in the summer, she gave it reluctantly. THEN, she told my mother, "I'm only telling you this because I love you, but you're house stinks. I've never seen it so dirty." I'm just so tired of her and her negative attitude. If wanting to have a few hours in the evening of private time makes me a bad person, then so be it. I have TWO cell phones, so if my land line is busy, the nursing home can reach me. And it's not like I said "don't contact me at all--this person knows my e-mail and I would've gladly sent her a note to update her on things. Have any of you had a family member like this? How do you deal with them? I'll tell you this--my friends are the ones keeping me sane right now. My relatives sure as hell aren't.

number. I also asked them not to call me at work; that my office frowns on personal calls. Then went on to explain that it is VERY hard to reach me in the evenings because I'm visiting Mom.

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There are some twisted individuals out there that will misinterpret what you say/write. You can either reread your original email that you sent to find out what they took offense at or just blow it off & chalk it up to another persons wierd interpretation of what you were trying to say. If they were predetermined to reject you then that is another twist. Actually it's not worth your energy & sounds like your mom doesn't need this negative person around her anyhow.
If your mom requests this person then I would address that at the time, but I would welcome this persons removal of themselves from your lives. I might even dance a little jig.

Bella, I heard the exact same comment from my brothers[the ones who wouldn't lift a finger but came in like generals barking orders.I ran my dads fishing business,the farm, the rentals and was no. 1 butt wiper,errand girl and the one perch outside ICU every other week. I took care of a herd of cows his 22 stray dogs and unloaded 3000 lbs of feed on a regular basis.My duties were to numerous to list.I also had a 7 year old daughter who I enlisted her help.N o matter what I did or how I did it I was criticized by my brothers who later came after me like mad dogs.The brother who did zero was the one who criticized the most and later made up lies once my dad was gone.I was a easy target for them being out in the country alone with no witnesses. That brother did not see my dad on fathers day in the ICU. HE was called the last day of my dads life,but refused to come see him-The hospice lady thought him to be dispicable.He did not come to funeral. 3 YEARS later that same brother is trying to hurt my daughter and myself any way he can. He has allready took the family farm,the house built for my mom when they were married,my tractor-furniture.He put the farm up for sell the same day he took possesion of it. Daddy made it clear he wanted nothing sold. Mean insensitive,uncaring,uncompassionate people are just that and you cannot change them.When someone is sick in your family,you all pull together and give support not criticism,[I learned that from my dad] Loved ones need to offer support-mental,physical or financial if not,they need just to shut-up and go on with there selfish selves.

Lillip is right. Forget about them. I used to ask my brother to come over and stay with our parents when I needed to go places in the evening or on weekends, because he said "just let me know if there is something I can do", but all he would do is blow up and whine and try to make me feel quilty for expecting him to give up some of his precious time. I would get foaming at the mouth angry and waste way to much energy on his useless self. So I just stopped asking him. I'm disappointed in him but not wasting my energy on anger anymore. I figure "what goes around comes around".

Let's not blame Bella for her unresponsive family...longtime self-centeredness cannot be resolved over a cup of coffe.

Bella: the ungrateful family members will always walk among us. You did what you needed to do to inform everyone about your mother's visiting hours, etc. Now just forget about them and get on with the business at hand and know that you are doing the very best for your mother. If others criticize her "smelly house" let them come over and clean up for her. What a shameful and unproductive comment. If you need help, hire a paid caregiver to come in once a week for cleaning, personal care, etc... it is a life saver.
Everytime I tried to talk to my sib about my Mom he just blew up, started a fight, and stamped off pouting. I just had to give up. If he does not want to be involved in caring for Mom that is his problem to deal with.
How sad that everyone sees an elderly person, that they once loved, as a "burden." It isn't easy to care for an ailing senior, but what is the alternative? To leave them alone to fend for themselves? Or to slap them in the nearest facility? That is exactly what would have happened if my Mom didn't move near us. It breaks my heart to see her getting older and more feeble, but at least I know that I am doing my very best to take care of her.
Be strong and ignore the rest.


Forgive me for being so blunt, but your post doesn't add up.

At the beginning of your statement(s), you make it sound like you're passing by your own home; as if the only place to track you down is your mother's nursing home. Later on you say "If wanting to have a few hours in the evening of private time makes me a bad person, then so be it."

It seems to me you don't want to be bothered, so why make a fuss about your "enemy" not visiting your mother enough or not being available for help?

Now you're here, now you're not. ... Here's my phone #, but don't call. ... Your help is appreciated, but I don't need it. ... What is it going to be Bella? Do you blame this other person for being so indignant?

A colorful, "I'm Sorry" card won't be enough, so I suggest you pick up pen and paper and write a letter from the heart to this anonymous female that you love very much but makes you so mad and guilty at the same time. Or leave a message in her voicemail and invite her over for a cup of coffee ... and a few tears.

It's time to put an end to all this long-term bickering and "she said-she said" that makes it seem like you both need drama to function, is not making your mother feel any better, and convinces me that every now and then there's no correlation between physical and mental age.

Please end this; for your mother's sake.

-- ED

I'm not sure I understand exactly what the problem is, but if this relative was that quick to jump on you, then she's had a burn on for some time now. So, if all the other relatives didn't get mad at the letter you sent them, then forget it. It's her deal not yours. And I realize you love your mom and all, but why are you killing yourself going to see her constantly? Can't you pick every other time and call her instead? Did you put these rules on yourself that you have to visit so often or is it your mother expecting the visits? Just asking.

bella, welcome back. I wish I knew why we all have at least one family member who is despicable. If there is one subject on here that gets hashed and rehashed it is the one about the useless family member who torques us off. Or the fact that we do all the work and everyone else tells us how to do it.
I know it is so frustrating but try not to waste to much energy on it. Don't let the despicable one's attitude become your problem, throw it right back on them. Keep your energy focused on yourself and your mom. Take care.

My apologies for any double posting or spelling errors, folks. I'm on dial up and sometimes the 'puter gets cranky. ;)

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