A bit of history - We built an addition on our house for my parents 12 years ago and I have been responsible for their care ever since. My mother went into a nursing home 2 and 1/2 years ago. I bring my father to visit her almost daily since he does not drive anymore and his walking is not the best. I shop, cook, clean, bring him to the doctor appts., have an another member of the family stay with him when we leave for extended periods. Most of you are all to familiar with this scenario.

My niece is getting married next week. It's too far away for a day trip. At one point we thought we could bring my father but he realized that it was an unreasonable expectation so he decided to stay home.

After a family discussion my husband decided to skip the wedding to stay with my father. All my "kids" are going to the wedding.

I told my sister (the mother of my niece) and she's livid and told me that they are all extremely upset that my husband, who decided to take care of HER father, isn't going to the wedding.
She said that we should have a friend check on him once in awhile. What she refuses to see is that he needs to be checked on throughout the day. Fortunately husband and I both work at home.

Once my father falls he can not get up on his own. It's happened before and we needed to get the fire department to help him out of the tub. Imagine if he was stuck in the tub for an entire day?! He has a Lifeline buzzer but it would be terrible for him to go to the hospital alone. The drama of waiting for help and watching the fire department break down the door would be enough to give him a heart attack.

Did I mention that he is 97 years old?

This not new behavior for my sister. 3 years ago my mother fell the night before our family christmas celebration. She was in excruciating pain so I called 911 and we took turns staying with her in the hospital. People with Alzheimers don't make the best patients.
My sister said that I should have waited till after the party to bring my mother in. Really!?

Do you see what I'm dealing with? I should be fine with this but I still feel like the heel. Which is basically what I've always been accused of being by her. I can't seem to accept that she's never going to like any decisions I make which might have an impact on her life.

I would really appreciate feedback, thoughts, your experiences.

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thanks everyone.

Jeanne: My sister is 5 years older than I am. She is from my father's previous marriage. Because her mother died when she was 3 years old the entire family treated my sister with exaggerated pity.

My mother told me that during her pregnacy my sister was consumed with the thoughts of having a baby in the house. She thought of me as her toy.

As children, there was always an inextricable gap between us. I didn't understand it until I accidently discovered that we were half sisters as a teen. She always feared that I would would not love her if I knew the truth so my parents allowed her to hold the "secret". I believe that controlling the secret set the pendulum in motion to try to control her own sense of identity by manipulating those around her.

I'm just guessing . . I've always been guessing. There was a lot of conflict between my sister and my parents from the beginning so I also had the "peace keeper" role.
I thought I transcended much of my emotional baggage but whenever a situation with my sister arises (which is frequent) I fall back into self doubt.

Anyway . .your post brought tears because it validates my feelings.

You described my sister quite well. Yes, she has some good qualities, like generosity, but even that is tainted by her fear of being unloved. Maybe she and I are not so different after all.

Sure my family and good friends give me a similar perspective and are very supportive but they have the love bias. Thank you so much.

She hung up on me during our phone call yesterday. I'm really nervous about calling her back but I'm hoping to ease her stress (without appeasement) so both of can enjoy the wedding. arrrgghh . . .wish me luck.
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Very good subject and replies. I have cared for my mother since her stroke over 20 yrs ago, the last 13 years she has lived with me. I am the 2nd of 4 kids born to my parents. My brother who is a couple of years older and my sister who is about 5 years younger, are both unreasonable in my never-to-be-humble opinion. There is no doubt that my brother is clueless and puts evil thoughts in my mother's head. My sis tries to be helpful, but it cracks me up when she comes over a few times a year and proceeds to tell me how to care for my mother! I usually just look at her, trying not to laugh, wondering if she is kidding--she isn't! I gave up long ago on either of them being of any real help to me. My brother could help financially, if nothing else, but is too jealous and bitter toward me (probably some guilt involved there) to even acknowledge that I am doing something good; he just tries to find fault and then criticizes whatever he can fester up. My sis is very matter-of-fact, saying that if it were up to her, Mom would have been placed in a nursing home long ago; she apparently finds no reason to help me on any consistent basis. At least outwardly, she seems to be supportive of me, at least not totally against me as my brother. It has been sad watching the deterioration of our dysfunctional family over the years, and what an eye-opener to find how much disdain my brother has for me. Ah well, we do the best we can do, that is about all we can do. May God bless you all. Hang in there.
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Jeanne, I agree. Guilt is a tool to help you fix something you are doing wrong. If you aren't doing something wrong then there's no need to fix anything. You can't satisfy everyone in your life. You have to make decisions and stick to them when it gets tough. You can do it. When you do we'll be here to support you.
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All of my sisters are reasonable, and caring, and helpful. So I can't relate from personal experience. Maybe I can offer observations as an outsider.

It sounds to me like you have a self-centered sister. For all I know she is suffering from some mental disorder and can't help it. I'll skip any guesses about her problem. But the world is supposed to match up to her expectations. She has a certain Norman Rockwell picture in mind of the perfect holiday celebration or the perfect family event. And, of course, these events are all about her and her expectations. Reality tends not to live up to Rockwell paintings too much. Hence she is disappointed a lot. These disappointments certainly must be someone's fault. Looks like she often picks you for that role.

Does that sound like a reasonably accurate view? Give us corrections if appropriate.

OK. So your sister is a self-centered person. Maybe she can't help it. Maybe she has other sterling qualities. But she is definitely not going to win any Family Person of the Year awards.

The puzzling piece to me is why this is any more than an eye-rolling annoyance for you. Sister is at it again. Ho hum. Gee I'm glad I didn't get her me-me-me genes.

But instead of rolling your eyes, shrugging it off, and getting on with what needs to be done, you wind up feeling like a heel. Whoa. What's wrong with this picture?

I don't know how your sister managed to train you to accept that role. Is she older? Did you look up to her growing up? Is she younger and you had responsibilities for taking care of her, which you received a lot of criticism for? I am grasping at straws here. I don't know how Sis got that much power in your life. But my advice is to stop giving it to her. Maybe you coudln't do much about it when you were both in pigtails. You are both all grown up now. Time for some changes.

You are not going to change her behavior. Ever. Maybe she'll change, if she opts for psychotherapy or has a big life-changing event. Maybe. But I'm pretty sure that you aren't going to change her.

Who can you change? You, of course. And it sounds like you have been and are an awesome caregiver to your parents and a sound partner to your husband. You don't need much changing, lady. You are doing swell as you are. EXCEPT, for your sake, you need to stop letting your sister take up emotional space in your head. You are NOT a heel. You are carrying out your responsibilities admirably. You are NOT responsible for your sister's need to have picture-perfect events and you are most certainly NOT responsible for the fact that life is not a Normal Rockwell painting. Your sister's disappointments are NOT YOUR FAULT. You'd be a heel to put off emergency care for your mother for the sake of your sister's selfish expectations. You'd be a heel to leave Dad with inadequate supervision for the sake of your sister's unrealistic desires for the "perfect" event.

That your sister has a problem I get. That you let it be your problem I don't get.

You deserve so much more than feeling like a heel about things beyond your control.
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Been there done that. My sister is unreasonable as well. I really sympathize with you. Your sister isn't reasonable at all. A 97 yo man doesn't need to be going to a wedding out of town and like you said someone needs to be with him all the time or quite a bit of the time. And since your mother was in excruciating pain she needed to go to hosp right away not with until after the party!! My sister is very similar. Right out of the blue she starts accusing me of stuff, like she said in 2008 she had to take Mom to the ER 11 times and she got no assistance from me. Well the reason she got no assistance from me is b/c I had no knowledge of these ER visits. No one told me. She said I was no help to her at all. If I had known I would have helped and gladly done so. And the unreasonable list goes on and on. Brandy.
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