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Are there any caregivers out there who still have healthy, mutually supportive relationships with their siblings? I sure don't, and soooooo many others in my situation do not either. My sister and I have become strangers to one another. She has made it plain that she will not help in the day-to-day tasks ("too busy with a stressful job"--well, I have a stressful job too) and so I have pretty much shut myself down, and ask the bare minimal amount from her; doing otherwise only causes antagonistic, bitter arguments. She despises my husband and he despises her.

I strongly, strongly feel that once dad (95, living at home with husband & I as live-in caregivers) passes I will have nothing much to do with her at all.

Why does this ugliness have to happen? I've cried so many tears over it.

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What we say to our sibs who claim we are toxic depends on what the truth is. I would readily admit to being toxic right now - in fact, that's a key reason for choosing to remove myself from the caregiving situation. I'm no longer friendly with my mother - I do my "chores" silently and get the hell out as fast as possible. My anger and resentment towards my siblings has poisoned my relationships with them. Not so much for not helping, but for not caring the least about the loss of my plans and hopes and dreams and what I wanted to do with my life. I'm toxic for sure, and I need to get away from all this to detoxify.

Most people who are toxic will just deny it, so there's no point telling them. That's a big part of their toxicity - they dismiss other people's feelings and have no regard for the truth. You're only asking for a nasty confrontation if you point out any of their faults, wrongs, inconsistencies, etc. I wouldn't bother.
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And VENT when we need to!
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Nothing. We stay strong, ignore their onslaughts, and do what we do best! It is part of the job.
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I think we need a new question asked, "what do we say to our siblings who claim we are "toxic"?"
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I think this website would become totally worthless if we were reading about two or more side of sibling dysfunction all the time. We are not here to judge but to support one another. My siblings too would charge me with being the toxic one. What value would that be to anybody on this site?!
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Well, if my sister were to post here about me, she would call me toxic, greedy and totally unreasonable by way of failing to communicate with her in the last year or so. I call that projection and self protection. I think each of us is more entitled to call a sibling or other family member toxic than any of us are entitled to call one another that or suggest anything similar. We don't know all the dynamics of someone else's family situation, but we can chose, or not, to judge others here.

kthin - in retrospect, my sibling relationship was never healthy. A psychiatrist confirmed that there were problems that were not of my making, It has taken me many, many, years to truly accept that. Mother's decline has brought out the worst and I have basically cut contact. I agree it is sad. (((((hugs)))) to you.
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I know when we all get to Heaven there's going to be the Big Reveal and LOTS of stuff each one of us thought was SO important, is going to instantly be deflated. The Internet age will no longer exist in Heaven, and that will be so Wonderful! plus, our aged parents will once again be young, and we ourselves (and our siblings sweet and toxic) will be waiting for us on the other side, cheering our arrival. All that will remain of our old lives is what Love Light and Music we choose to commit unto our hearts for the sake of God and Heaven. I look forward to that Eternal Day of Brightness.
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2ndbest, I don't know that mallory8 is THAT far out of line...that's pretty harsh. There may be something to be gained by imagining what the "toxic" sister would post if she were posting on here, however far out of line it might be.

Carl Jung said the best way to understand the darkness of others is to understand our own...it can be hard to do that; I made it my Lenten discipline this year to try though, and I think to some point I succeeded in being less judgemental....Well in any event, I can tell you are hurting a great deal and that you are a caring person. You tried to do something you thought was a big positive and it was ill-received, due to unintended consequences (aka the bane of most people's existence, especially if they are trying to write legislation) and that always stings; but looking at the "other" perspective might still help you enormously.
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Heaps of thanks to you, malloryg8r, for your very biased and judgemental response to my post about the problems in my family. After reading some of your posts I can see that you are nothing but a hypocritical windbag. So go be "cheerful" with someone else and I really don't care to read any more of your "helpful" posts, thanks.
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My sibling relationships have all gone down the drain, except for one, which at the moment seems to be circling. The problem in my family is that nobody wanted to take care of Mom, and nobody was in a good position to do it. Most of the siblings live far away and so had a ready excuse for not helping/not visiting. Plus three of us were local (in my case, only because I moved to be closer to Mom when she started needing help), so the others thought that we had it covered.

Once I realized how long Mom was likely to live with her disabilities (probably at least 10 years - I had initially assumed 2-3 years) and how demanding and difficult she was going to be, I knew I couldn't make a long-term commitment. I immediately tried to enlist my mother and the local sibs in finding other alternatives for her. Paid help, senior apartment, assisted living, therapies, assistive devices, other family members. No dice. They had me and they were not prepared to let me go. One of the local sibs stepped up to help with some of Mom's needs - the other has been a lot of excuses and an occasional guilt-trip. My relationship with my mother and all sibs except the one helpful one are now fractured. I have put my life on hold indefinitely for the benefit of a group of people who don't give a damn about me. I am merely the family drudge.

Eventually I realized that as long as I stay here, nobody will investigate or consider any solution that does not require me to be here 24/7. So, I've made plans to move back up north where I came from, and let them figure it out without me. They'll find out when it's too late to try to guilt me out of it. With family like this, I'll take my chances among strangers.
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In my opinion, the siblings that do not help/visit their aging parents (if they clearly have the time and live in the area) should step up to the plate and do the honorable thing and tell their elderly parents that they (the non-helping siblings) would understand entirely if they were left significantly less, or none at all of the inheritance. Unfortunately, from what I have observed, the non-helping siblings have very strong feelings about not helping out, yet paradoxically they also have very strong feelings about getting their share of the inheritance.
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Jeanne your tone is so positive, and that must be why your family is all working well together. Being cheerful and thinking the best of everyone goes a LONG way towards having good working relationships, whether in family situations or elsewhere. Sometimes siblings use derogatory terms about each other ("toxic") and how that is helpful in reversing a crumbling situation, I cannot understand. It is good to vent-- like I have done here on occasion-- but venting and never achieving a clearing and a healing of bad relationships, is just gathering steam and preparing to boil over. It's always better to get some resolution, and get on to the good things in Life, like enjoying family, appreciating each other's gifts, and, since this is a website devoted to our elders & their caregivers, a very important way to Enjoy Life is to respect our elders in their choices of caregiver (and that extends to our elder's choice to compensate their caregivers if they are fortunate enough to be able to do so). There is just so much pain surrounding siblings (who aren't involved in daily caregiving) who play games like, thinking they are due an inheritance and that is more important than mom paying for her own needs (even if one of those needs happens to be a local child who performs caregiving ). The non-caregiving kids need to Get Over It. Mom's funds are her own to use as she sees fit. If she is enjoying one of several children "more" than the others, everyone has a choice in their "reaction" to that-- you can stamp your feet and have a tantrum, or you can be adult and respect your mom's choice, and Be Happy. Generally speaking, being accepting, respectful, appreciative, and Happy is going to serve you much better than the alternative choices to be intolerant, disrespectful, vindictive and suspicious. Everyone, please do something GOOD for your folks today, AND think good things about your siblings. I dare you to!
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I do consider myself lucky. I assume that my situation is the "norm" overall, but not, of course, on this forum. That is totally understandable. People tend to come here with problems, and siblings can certainly be a problem!

I am also extremely fortunate that while caring for my husband, our entire blended family supported me. I have seen in my support group that stepchildren can be worse than siblings for stress and criticism and backstabbing. My two sons and my three stepdaughters told me often what a great job they thought I was doing and how glad they were that Dad had me.

There are plenty of caring, functional families, including blended families, in this country. I am truly sorry that so many on this forum do not have that experience.
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I would sure like to hear the other side of the story from 2nd best ' s "toxic sister" (to use the name she has been given, by her sister ). In 2nd best's other posts, and here, there is enough venom and ill-will to conquer North Korea. Nobody can live a long, healthy life and continue to spew that much negativity--2nd best, I hope you will reconsider your choices, and seek a way to regain Balance and Light and Love in your Life. There is something really wrong going on, but it is not your sister.
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I am always boggled, not so much by jackass 'famblees', but by the victim caregiver who seems to want to go snuffling after them as if they are desperate for 'famblee'. Where the family works, as in some of the examples here, it is tremendous. A strong unit. Dysfunctional? Some here have the sense to turn their back on 'famblee' and go on with their lives, leaving the sob's behind.
I have 'famblee' out there, distant, very distant. but have not had contact nigh on half a century. Why? they were out and out ba**rds involving a relation of mom. I called her aunt, but she was further than that. As many here, the 'famblee' did nothing to help, didn't even visit, save for one 'unc' who dropped in once or twice in the time we had her in our house. After she died? All the ba**rds came out with a lawsuit which the judge thankfully tossed out of court. Have not seen, heard anything from the mf's. Good riddance.
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Sounds like your mom and mine are the same when it comes to their hate for technology, vstefans !! To answer your question, I wasn't there when it all hit the fan, so I'm assuming the bill had accumulated over a few months since she never called to change the billing address. Also it's possible that she made a long distance call and forgot to turn off the phone afterward. Her plan included 500 in-network minutes per month. I checked with all relatives and all but one had the same cell service as hers, so figured she wouldn't use very many non-network minutes. It was my brother's son's cell account, and he is always teetering on bankruptcy. So my thinking was that if he failed to pay his bill the account would be closed, leaving my mom without cell service until she could get to the phone store herself. Plus the inconvenience of having to deal through him if she wanted to make any changes, get the password, etc. She has no use for data and can't even use email. So there was no question about her not needing the data plan. I emailed both my brothers about the changes in detail but of course they both played dumb when my sister questioned them about it and threw me under the bus. We did what we did for all the right reasons, but no good deed goes unpunished apparently. I won't make the same mistake again. I will visit her and just not get involved in anything. Hey, easier for me and keeps everyone happy.
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Babalou, your family sounds like they are functioning together in a coordinated way to help your mom without all the burden falling on any one person. That is an ideal situation for both your mom and all your siblings, and a great way to keep the family intact. The problem in my family is my mom has put my toxic sister 100% in control of everything - medical, legal, financial - absolutely everything. And my sister keeps it in her own little world - no transparency. So my mom has set herself up for exploitation because none of the rest of us are included in the decisions or handling of her affairs. The one person she has placed all her trust in is the one - out of us four siblings - that is totally untrustworthy. So it is what it is. It has been a good lesson for me to learn how I will approach my care when I am elderly. I will never let one person - either of my kids - have all the control over my care without input and inclusion of the other. I will never pit them against eachother making it a competition for my approval and affections. It is just a good safeguard to prevent abuse and exploitation to have more than one person actively involved in your care. You mentioned self-respect and respect for eachother - that is vitally important, along with trust. When you're dealing with a pathological liar (like my sister) you never know what is really going on. Sadly, it only takes one sibling that has ulterior motives to destroy the harmony of an otherwise functional family.
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Wait a minute. 2ndBest how did mom run up $600.00? Late fees? You tried to save her $20.00 a month, on an account that brother could manage and pay for, and it ended up costing a lot more than that! Maybe brother was going to try to send her pictures on it, hence the data plan....and maybe she really could not learn to use it. I was sad when my mom could no longer use even a Jitterbug style phone - I had tried to get her a CEIVA for grandkid pix but she sent it back, she really hated technology. Maybe you should have done the address change with her or for her beforehand, and who knows why nephew did not do it once she was back there with him.

You did try to communicate what you did after the fact, and you are not a monster, but it seems like maybe you did throw a monkey wrench into the system, or you were taken for a ride by the salesman who should have unlocked the password and then left well enough alone. That's probably what upset the sibs.
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I have a similar situation to Jeanne's just with smaller cast of characters. One brother and SIL (he's poa) are 10 mins from mom's nh. They visit throughout the week. I'm 75 miles away and mostly visit weekly. Sil does finances, brother does legal and i do medical. Youngest brother lives 4 hours away and does not visit much but also doesn't interfere. If my sil thinks she has an idea about something medical, i look into and don't "defend my territory". Same for financial. We all respect each other's expertise (sil's a cpa, brother is an engineer). We all have secure jobs and a healthy respect for ourselves and each other. I assume that anything they want to do comes from concern for mom, not self interest.

My mother has never talked about us to each other. I often see parents who foster competition between or among their children. Not a good thing.
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You are so fortunate, jeannegibbs, to have siblings that cooperate in a loving way to support your mom and her husband. It makes a world of difference. In my case, we only have one bad apple, but she spoils the whole bunch. Because her agenda is to get all our mom's money she has turned her caretaking into a competition only she can win. Anything I do for my mom is subject to her criticism and scrutiny. Here's an example: My husband and I were visiting my mom for a week and she was complaining about her cellphone. She had 11 messages on it she couldn't access - the phone had a password on it but she didn't know what it was. My nephew had added her to his phone contract and was charging her about $50/mo for phone and data. She had no idea even how to use data. He was giving her his old phones and using the upgrades for himself - great deal for him, but not so good for my mom. So we took her to the phone store and the agent first called my nephew to get his permission to unlock the phone and get the password. Well, nephew said he didn't know the password, so the agent went ahead and unlocked the phone so she could retrieve her messages. He advised us that she would be better off getting her own phone service and save about $20/mo so with her agreement we went ahead and had him set up a new account for her. He looked up her long distance usage and felt the account would allow plenty to cover her out of town calls. Well, all hell broke loose after we returned home. Over the next 2 weeks I called her 15 times and she never returned my calls. I wanted to remind her that she had to call the cell provider and change her billing address or the bills would go to her old address. When we set up the account she had moved so the address they set the account up with from her driver's license was her previous address, but she would have to wait 24 hrs for the account to show up before making the change. So I tried repeatedly to remind her but no luck. I emailed both of my brothers explaining the situation, the changes to her account, and asking them to remind her to do the address change. I finally mailed her a letter explaining the details of the account and to remind her to call the cell company with her new address. A month or two later I get a nasty email from my sister, cc'd to my brothers, demanding to know what we did and saying that my mom just got a $600+ bill from the cellphone provider! Toxic sister was livid and demanded to know WHY we had her account changed. So I sent a reply calmly explaining what we did and why. I'm sure what she wrote in her email was only the tip of the iceberg as far as unleashing her hellish vile criticism of our actions to the rest of the family. We were only trying to help my mom, but she used it against us and twisted it into some kind of ill-intentioned conspiracy. So it seems every time we try to contribute help out of the goodness of our hearts we are painted out to be some kind of monsters. My sister has always been a problem for me as far back as I can remember, but I guess I had thought at the age of 60 she might have outgrown it. I think her jealousy of me just keeps boiling up and apparently grows over time. But you can see how we tend to just back off and let her be in charge. It isn't worth the hassle to even be involved. So consider yourself very lucky to have the siblings you have. Some of us didn't fare so well!!
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Jeanne,
Will you be my sister? My experience through this, with the exception of about the first four months with one of my sisters, has been completely the opposite. Both live within 10 miles. This haa been a complete nightmare with the two of them. The dysfunction began when we were young and never stopped. Now we are going on four years and Mom is in the process of being placed because sibs have to sell the house to pay Mom's attorney fees. It has been one very ugly battle after another that would have been so much easier with just a bit of support, or if they would have just left me alone. The easy part has been caring for my Mom and her hubby.
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Are there any caregivers out there who still have healthy, mutually supportive relationships with their siblings?

Yes. I have three sisters and three brothers. During the years I took care of husband with dementia, our mother's care was mostly in the hands of the 3 sisters and 1 brother. I supported them by phone and by occasionally taking her to appointments, etc. When Mom could no longer live alone, one sister took her into her home. One sister and I each had her for a weekend each month and the other sister visited her weekly. The helpful brother (the one who isn't married) helped out

Now mother is in a nursing home. When the caregiving sister tearfully and regretfully said she could no longer meet Mom's needs, the rest of us did the research and helped move Mom. No accusation or threats or complaints. Now the four of us girls and one brother visit at least once a week each. We email each other with a report of our visits. The brother who lives farthest away and his wife both have difficult health problems (including cancer) and come infrequently for that reason. They have never been the least bit critical of decisions we make. That leaves one brother who seldom visits and I have absolutely no idea way. That puts a little strain in that relationship.

My sisters are my best friends. I love my brothers. I cherish the nieces and nephews and now even some great-nieces/nephews.

I am glad to have healthy, mutually supportive relationships with my siblings. I am truly sorry for individuals who do not have that, or had it and caregiving issues have ruined it.

Hugs to you all.
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Malloryg8r......Our families must be related!! LOL! My siblings make me sick! That's exactly how mine are, always expecting to receive and never give....SELFISH! I hope my sister's kids do the same thing to her when she gets old.
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trinity, yeah, I hear you! my sibs would rather go to Hawaii, a cruise, Vegas, and shopping in Paris.....all of those are really quite inexpensive, aren't they? YET, when they come visit their own mother, they want to be reimbursed for Travel Expenses!!!!!! gawd!!!!!!
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Sounds exactly like my siblings....LAZY....and always making it as though their life is just so important with all the important stuff going on it as if I have nothing going on. Could you believe my sister actually said that to me on several occasions? "You have nothing going on, that's why you focus your mind so much on mom"...."How about NO, you selfish b**ch, I have a lot going on and I am stressed and I do it b/c I could not leave mom to fend for herself b/c I f*ck**g care about MY mother!" Sorry for the vent....lol! Meanwhile when I ask for help over the phone even, she says she is busy shopping, getting her hair done, going to the nail salon, etc. Give me a f'n break! SELFISH!
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Love in action: after reading over this post and all the responses, I felt moved to go to mom's house on way home from work, picked up her favorite Thai noodle stir fry with shrimp, and my own dinner, and shared a meal with her. Then I got her out of the house and just went for a drive down a major historical district nearby, which she loves to do, and then to the 24-hr prayer chapel so she could say her rosary. Then we went for ice cream. We got back to her house and I checked her mail (she can't walk down the block / hill to mail boxes) and there was a letter from her cousin overseas. So very special, to have this time with my mom. (And sadly I also felt I needed to take a few photos, just in case I have to "prove" to my siblings that I have done some good things for and with mom). I'm sure the out of state sibs would stamp their feet and complain, "But that's EASY for you to do that, you do live right there a mile away".....to which I wish I could tattoo my response to each of them: I have a thousand other things I could be doing (like my taxes....) but I sacrifice those, for mom, and can you please remind me, what have YOU sacrificed, for mom? You all are so stubborn and lazy, you REFUSE to sacrifice ANY time or any of yor pet "projects" because YOUR STUFF is always ALWAYS more important than coming to visit your own mother. Yeah its "easy" for me to spend a few hours with mom. I do this weekly, in addition to all her Financials, bills, household repair needs, doctor appointments (weekly), prescriptions, church, plus keeping track of her paid caregiver. She has not paid me for any of this until recently when she insisted on paying me $15 for doctor appts. If I lived in Florida (as one sibling does) she would have been in Asst Living at least 5 yrs ago, and by now penniless, on Medicaid. As a result of my individual sacrifices, she is able to continue to live in the family home, safely. If she can stay there forever, I will work to make that happen. If she wants to pay me $15 for a doctor visit that is reaaalllly cheap. The siblings have NOTHING to complain about, and my conscience is free and clear.
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It was just an idea to ease the emotional burden on you. I would tend to say, to h-e-double hockey sticks with what the others think if you know the truth, especially the others for whom you have lost respect and presumably lost respect for their opinions anyways.

I'd let your mom off the hook for trying to hide the extra $$ to sis...it sounds like she has some idea that there are big ugly rivalries going on. It is generous of you to realize that she perhaps should have been given more if she did much more of the hands on caregiving. Sad story, and you are to be commended for taking the high road and doing what you can truly feel will leave you with no regrets or shame later on.
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2nd best, I appreciate your thoughts. In my family the problem is the siblings just don't care to visit. The former poa in my family kept things pretty well hidden from all of us. And he did some suspicious expenses that benefited him & his family, not 150 ,but mom didn't know if was being spent. Once I showed her the withdraws on her account, she changed poa to be me. And of course the 4 sibs all called her up and yelled at her, all except the former poa who knew why it was changed. But none of them ever apologize, and the monies were never returned to mom. So sad that bad situations like this occurs and then the "whistleblower" which is what I was, gets the shaft! I hope your situation can improve somehow. But in reality, I have precious little time to spend worrying about what my siblings think--I am too busy with mom issues (and my own family & job).
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The dysfunctional family post seem to always draw large responces. I too have horror stories about my sibs. They both died not long ago and honestly, life for myself and my elderly parents has been much easier. Years ago I had to become self contained and not count on help from the sibs. I've long gotten over any guilt or sadness about them. I'm sure it's difficult for folks who once had close relationships with siblings when eldercare, money etc. destroys it. But all you can do is move on, get comfortable in your own skin and forget them.
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Oh I know all about that with my family. We are a large family and no one helps and god forbid you ask for anything, they bite your head off. They have every excuse in the world as to why they can't help. I have cut them out of my life and only have minimal contact with some of them for only things that concern my mom. When my mom passes, I plan on having absolutely no contact with any of them. I've asked myself why would I even want to.....if I ever needed help with anything, they wouldn't help me, so I decided to spend time with people who would actually help me, true friends and the family I get to choose. Blood means nothing....unfortunately. I'm ashamed of my family, especially because of how large we are.....and the excuses and nasty attitudes sicken me. You're not alone!
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