Dealing with resentful feelings towards deadbeat siblings.

Follow
Share

My 90 year old mother lives independently and has been ok with it up to this point with the help of meals on wheels and with my either stopping by daily to help, or calling to check in.


I’ve tried consistently to get my siblings who live far away to make weekly (at a minimum) check in calls, and a brother that lives under an hour away to come up once a week. All are mostly retired with no kids at home and just enjoying life to it’s fullest. I still have minor kids at home and am the busiest one in the family and seem to be the only one who cares about mom consistently. When they do come they never look around and see what little things might be needing to be done (even a quick vacuum run or dust a shelf), they just sit for an hour then on their way - and check that box off until next time.


Some time soon we will have to move mom to some type of assisted living which I know at that point they will all swoop in and be the “experts” on what mom needs. But, until then how do I diffuse my resentment towards my siblings? I do what I do for my mom as a choice because I love her and respect her wishes to be at her home as long as possible, but I often feel the others are doing the bare minimum (to appease their guilt possibly) and are just waiting for her to pass and then swoop in for their share of the inheritance.

Find Care & Housing
29

Answers

Show:
I have been them all in the last 8 years — a resentful caregiver (mom); a shared, overwhelmed, long-distance caregiver (brother); an unappreciated & treated-like-dirt caregiver (FIL); and now a hands-off, you-do-it non-caregiver (MIL). While in the 1st stage (resentful), this forum and a local support group helped me to realize that I can’t expect others to have the same desire, wherewithal, or sense of responsibility that I had. Resenting them was just a waste of precious energy. And it wasn’t my responsibility to plug the holes in her care that I felt were there because my siblings weren’t stepping up to the plate like I thought they should.

Someone here once wrote “”Look after their needs, not necessarily their wants” which was the start of me realizing there was a very big distinction between the two. Heck, we ALL want to stay in our own home until the end. That is normal, just as it is normal for us to try to respect that wish of others. My brother was 600 miles away (he moved there), alone, and battling Stage IV lung cancer. He was adamant about staying in his own home, which caused much stress to the rest of us who had our own lives to live. We were also sharing caregiving/visiting with Mom who was now in a NH. During the last year of my brother’s life, 2 of us would fly down for a week at a time to help him, with the visits getting more & more frequent. For the last 2 months, the 1-2 days between visits we paid someone locally. Was it perfect? No. We did the best we could given the circumstances.

From there we went to assisting FIL who found out he had lung cancer. Since I was semi-retired & had “experience”, his family thought it was “logical” for me to be the primary caregiver/coordinator for both FIL & MIL. With no pay of course but with lots of criticism. The favored daughter who wasn’t working was paid for her little assistance & time though. OK, resentment is now building again! Hubby & I took a little vacation & while we were away, my mom took a turn for the worse. Rushed home to be with her before she passed; 5 weeks later FIL passed.  

In less than 9 months we lost all 3, leaving my NPD MIL left. She moved in with her 2 (divorced) daughters that live together in a very large house & also have 2 friends living with them. The 2 friends do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. in lieu of rent, so it’s a win-win all around. One daughter works FT, the other doesn’t work; yet, they all expected my husband & I to manage everything for MIL but her money.  Money they wanted & MIL freely gave them only thru the years. They expected my husband to project manage the unneeded addition to their house that MIL was going to pay for.  

Which is how we arrived at the hands-off, you-do-it, non-caregiving stage. As someone else here wrote, “If they can’t manage to show you respect, you can’t manage to help.”  

I say all this because going thru the different stages was an eye opening experience. How I thought at the very beginning changed when my role as a caregiver changed. We all have our lives to live and are entitled to LIVE them. I suspect you are at the stage where you want to live your own a little more & can’t figure out how to back off in your caregiving responsibilities so you can enjoy your own life. I know the feeling — been there, done that. I wish you well and hope you figure it out before the resentment eats you up. You can’t force someone else to do something, much as we try.

This also helped my husband & I when it came to my in laws: HELPING is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing for themselves.  ENABLING is doing things for someone that they can and should be doing for themselves. Again, needs vs wants.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to kdcm1011
Report

Like many others here --- been there done that! I call the non helpers, the "tea and crumpets" crowd! One in our crowd would come on Sunday afternoons, bring a HUGE cake, and leave the cake in the frig and the dirty dishes in the sink! : - ((
Finally got a grip and tried to look at the fact that they helped pass the time with Mom.
Please understand, that the non-caregivers will NEVER see the multitude of things that need to be done. The fingernails that need to be cleaned, the laundry, the dishes, the plants that need to be watered, groceries to shop for, etc.
You mention the possibility of an inheritance. Begin to buy services for Mom instead of doing everything yourself. It will save your sanity at the very least. Bring in a house cleaner (with Mom's money, of course). Order groceries etc online. See if there are services available to her, (For example, the Visiting Nurses assoc near me coordinates volunteers for home bound seniors. No charge and they do grocery shopping or friendly visits!)
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to geewiz
Report
Lostinthemix Sep 10, 2018
Exactly! My husband's siblings don't do anything for whatever reason and I don't see that ever changing, but will be there with their grubby hands out when the time comes.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Moms money is for moms care and quality of life, not an inheritance.

Please use her money to get caregivers in place so she is well taken care of and not alone or lonely. You will need to monitor the aids, which you should get compensated for.

You will read how one person handled everything and when the parent was gone, all hands out and you will get the equal share as all of the deadbeats.

This creates a ton of resentment from all I have read and if mom can afford it, you should avoid it by getting paid for services she would have to pay someone else for.

Get a housekeeper and a gardener, if needed, a companion sitter, someone that will cook her favorite foods. This will be money well spent and you can enjoy visiting with your mom.

She may fuss but it is important for her to understand that for her to remain in her home there are things that need to be in place, let her know that you are exhausted with it and can not continue, the help is as much for you as her.

Lay down your resentment towards your siblings, it is only hurting you. They are not going to change one iota, if not being there for dad didn't wake them up nothing will. Their right and loss.

You will feel so much better when you get mom the help in home she needs that you may even forget those old deadbeats.

Hugs for all you do!
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

I have a question for you. Why are you going every day? You are choosing to do that. If she really needs daily care, she probably needs to go to assisted living.

Or as others have said, get some help for her paying for it with her money. Tell her if she only wants you, that you can't do it, If she won't have outside help she needs to go to assisted living. Simple as that. If you want to go every day, that is your choice, don't put your choices on your siblings.

Remember, harboring resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It will only give you headaches and stomachaches.

My brother, the golden child, did nothing for my mother, that was his choice. My mother lived in one of my rental houses, I saw her once a week. We would do grocery shopping for the week. While I was there I Iooked at her checkbook. took her to lunch. She didn't have access to the stove because she would go to sleep and let the food burn. She thought it was broken. It was electric and I turned it off at the breaker box. She had a microwave and toaster oven that had timer on it like the microwave. I would bring beans or a roast or something else that took a long time to cook. The rest was frozen dinners. The house would get dusty, so what? she refused to have someone help her and I realized that dust wouldn't kill her. She could dust and it was good for her to move around. Mom had one of those "Help I have fallen down and can't get up buttons" I insisted she wear (it was that or go to the dreaded "home"). She live alone until 2 weeks before she passed at almost 95.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to MaryKathleen
Report
Kristen246 Sep 14, 2018
Yes, Kathleen you are so right. I am choosing to do the things I do and have not really realized (being in the thick of it) that the need has been increasing little by little to where it is too much. I needed to hear your words and insights and know it’s time to make some thought changes. I feel like my resentment has gotten better just writing it out here, and getting some thoughtful feedback from those who have been there. Thank you for your time and insights. 😀✨
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
Not to defend your siblings, but, just to try to explain, that it can be stressful, monitoring and assisting a love one who is struggling in their home. Plus, the more they hear and see the help she needs, the more responsibility they have to help. So they choose to ignore it.

Also, people just don't get it. They seem to think that things will magically happen. Plus, mom is a trooper and she can manage, may be their mentality. Has anyone been blunt with them? I doubt it would matter. I agree about hiring the services that a LO needs to come in, if she can afford it. It takes a lot to run the household of a senior, when you are working full time and running your own household, it's not very feasible.

I would make sure that mother has her affairs in order with DPOA and HCPOA, appointing someone who is committed to being her advocate, despite other siblings interference. I'd try to build some tough skin if that is you and get ready to stand your ground. I've found that being resentful isn't that productive and I don't have the time for it, either.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report
Kristen246 Sep 10, 2018
Yes, you are right, resentment is a waste of time and mental energy! I’m working on that! When my dad was at this stage of his life it was the exact same scenario with my siblings. But, after he passed away I felt very peaceful and contented knowing I did my best for him. I’m not sure how they felt but, but suspect some probably had regrets. I was sure it would be different with mom!? I will try to reflect on the end result of the care and keep my thoughts positive. Thank you for your words and ideas. You did hit the nail on the head with what I believe their motives are. Out of sight, out of mind, then nothing to feel responsible about. Thanks again for taking the time to respond with some thoughtful words and ideas. I really appreciate it.
(1)
Report
There is nothing you can do to change anyone else's behavior.

Write it off mentally and do what you know to be right for as long as you can.

Thankfully, when you look in the mirror, your's is the only face you must face every day.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to RayLinStephens
Report
Kristen246 Sep 15, 2018
Thank you for that. Amen and amen!!
(1)
Report
You've said it - you do what you do for your mom as a choice. Shouldn't your siblings have that same choice?
They may see you as an enabler of your Mom staying in a lonely and unsafe environment. You've decided that what Mom THINKS is best is actually best and you're expecting your siblings to commit to YOUR decision.
Flip the narrative here and take a look. Apparently, they've decided that Mom should be in a community living environment with socialization all day and constant monitoring of her wellbeing. Why are you standing in the way of their plan?
Mom can no longer live independently. Meals on Wheels and your daily visits are proof of that. So, Mom must have support and once that is the case, she is no longer the sole decision maker. Your commitment to honoring her wishes is understandable, but probably not in her best interest and, apparently, not what your siblings have decided that they are able to commit to.
You're in the thick of it. Try to step back and take an objective look. Using only love as a guide, doesn't always lead to the best decisions.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to IsntEasy
Report
kdcm1011 Sep 13, 2018
bravo — well said .... and not a popular opinion but certainly one worth noting.
(2)
Report
Start spending her, make that HER money now.
If she needs help with the housework, get someone in 2 times a month. More often if it is needed.
If she needs help with the lawn, or other outside chores, hire someone. (or if your hubby does it, pay him but write out a contract so it is "legal")
If she needs help with ADL (activities of daily living) get someone in to help out. If seems as if she needs more than a little help look into AL facilities. Or if she does not need that much help now maybe a retirement community where she can socialize, take a day trip here and there.
If this is the way it is more likely to go get together at a family meeting. DO not do this in your home or Mom's find some place that would be "neutral ground" If your Mom has any thoughts one way or the other take them into consideration but you have to keep safety in mind, is she safe to remain at home alone? and who will determine when she is not?and what will determine if she is not? Will it be a fall and break, wandering, failing to bathe, leaving the stove on, scalding herself when trying to take a shower or wash the dishes?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
Kristen246 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you - those are some very sobering things to think about. I appreciate your time and your very excellent ideas for help, or deciding if it’s just time to move her to AL.

Have a wonderful day, and thanks again.
(1)
Report
Have you tried talking with your siblings?, Maybe they don't realize how stressful it can be, make a list of things that need to be done, when they stop by try mentioning "Hey here is Mom's "To Do List" that she needs help with!!", sometimes people "see" you handling everything and assume you have it all under control. / If that's not the case, Then I'd suggest what my mum did, Have her go through things before she dies and give them out. That way the recipient can show their gratification. Hope things work out for you.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to middlekidleft2
Report
Kristen246 Sep 14, 2018
Thank you!! I love the idea of a “ To Do List For Mom”
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
You might find your siblings are happy to have your Mom’s money pay for her care. That is truly what it should be used for. My mil lives next door and we have caregivers and a lawn service. My husband’s brother always tells us to hire someone.
If your Mom is resistant to outside help, just tell her the care keeps her at home.
The resentment really affects only you. It’s not good for your health and emotional wellbeing. Don’t allow others to put you in that spot!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to caringdil
Report
Kristen246 Sep 14, 2018
You are right. I’m feeling resentment they don’t even know about. I really do need to get on hiring some help for her on her dime. I think she will feel awkward at first having a stranger in her home but I’ve got to just toughen up and let her get use to it. Thank you for your time and response. I appreciate the insights and encouragement. Have a wonderful day.
(7)
Report
See All Answers
Related
Questions