Nearly 20 yrs ago, I provided a home for my mother and life long disabled brother when hers fell into dangerous disrepair. I live 3 hours away. She owned the acreage but transferred title to me when my brothers stated they could not pay the yearly property taxes. I have provided all maintenance, appliances, groceries, vet bills and a multithousand new heat and air system. My mother passed away and a brother moved in to care for my disabled brother. He is finally working and buys their groceries. The only other expense they have is utilities. Though I own it all clear, I never asked for a dime from my mother or my brothers. I regularly send a "care" package to them of favorite homemade cookies, household items, clothing, holiday presents, etc. I sent them a big box of chocolates with handmade valentine. I scheduled my brother's COVID vaccine. My issue? They never call to say thank you, never make an effort to show appreciation or acknowledge that to give to them takes away from my earned retirement. I'm fortunate that my husband doesn't complain, but I'm finding it harder to accept their sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude. I've made it clear it hurts me. I am the oldest and only sister. I know God teaches us to do good acts of love without the reciprocation of thanks, but I want to handle it better. Short of stopping with the care packages, what can I do? They seem to have no concept of how it takes from my life.

hugs lea!! :)

i just want to add a general comment about gifts...
a true gift...

i suppose countless of books written on it.
some people saying: if you leave a gift on the road, is that the purest form of gift? (because if you give it to a family in need, you're still maybe getting something out of it, for example, you might feel good about yourself). or, if you give to someone, for religious reasons, you might still hope GOD gives you something in return - so is that really a true gift?

or for those who believe, is God the only one, who is able to give a true, pure gift?

personally, i think, we human beings (and animals, insects, etc.) give true, pure gifts all the time.

different topic:
some things are simply rude/impolite/bad manners (like not saying "thank you"/"sorry")...and dealing with rude/impolite people is damaging to us. so they're actually GIVING us stress. it's not that their actions are neutral.

so we give a nice gift, and we are given stress. (for example if you're ignored) (being ignored is stressful, causes anxiety).

i wish for us, to protect ourselves :).
think what is best for us too! :)

bundle :)
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Reply to bundleofjoy

dear southern,

i think you're a super kind person.

i think "thank you" and "sorry" are words that are very appropriate sometimes. just a few days ago, i was quite unhappy that someone didn't say "sorry".

i don't know if this is the case with you,
but let me warn:

some people on purpose don't say "thank you"/"sorry", because they want to upset you. of course people know, all over the world, they should say "thank you" (for example, when receiving gifts, help, etc.). (by the way, animals "say" thank you too!! quite a lot of examples: for example a whale saved by humans, gives them a nudge to say thank you...a starving dog, "saying" thank you...).

some human beings totally enjoy upsetting others.

in my case:
i have siblings too, who don't say "thank you"/"sorry".

some people are rude...but more than that, i would say these people enjoy upsetting others.

protect yourself :).
think what is best for you too :).


bundle of joy :)
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Reply to bundleofjoy

Expectation IS the death of serenity. Be generous to yourself! You deserve it and you will appreciate it!
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Reply to Webshaf

Dear Southern Sun,

It seems natural that your material attention to your brothers would decrease as you become more dissatisfied about their lack of appreciative manners. Sometimes grown children and grandchildren can display the same negligence and indifference, so their parents/grandparents grapple with similar dilemmas as yours.

I recommend that you try basing your decisions on your attitudes toward them and toward yourself. We are called to “do unto others ...” , yet we also are called to “cast not our pearls ... “ .

So, you may decide — from time to time — on generosity. At other times, you may choose indifference. Give yourself permission to act according to what feels sensible in the moment. You are not required to maintain a decision for the duration, although a long term plan certainly could develop in your mind, over time.

I wish you well!
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Reply to Educ8r

Good manners dictate a "Thank you" upon receipt of a gift or invitation. It costs nothing to say "Thank you". The longer your relatives continue to not thank you for the care packages, the more resentment will build in you. Stop sending them care packages because it's no longer providing you joy because you aren't even getting a "thank you" in return. Instead, find a charity that will graciously accept your care packages!
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

As a younger woman, my mother had a good friend Stella. Stella was a Jewish woman who lived by a credo that in her faith, she was to do good deeds at least once a year for a family in need. The catch was this: the family she did the good deed for was NOT to know WHERE or WHO the gift came from. In her faith, that was the definition of a true gift or good deed, a 'mitzvah': no recognition whatsoever. If it was thanks & gratitude she was after, then she wasn't giving a true gift at all. So once a year at least, she'd buy a ton of things for a family; suits and clothing and a truckload of food and sweets; all sorts of things; and it would all be sent to the family with a note signed by An Anonymous Friend; Happy Holidays.

I always loved that idea.

I personally think you should stop sending these 'care packages' to your family members now. They are clearly not appreciative of your kindness and the cost is eating away at your retirement funds, so why bother? Unless you can send these packages with no expectation at ALL of gratitude from them, which most of us cannot, then just stop doing it altogether. It sounds like you've already done enough, in my opinion.
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Reply to lealonnie1

In general we teach people how we expect to be treated by what we do for them, and whether we continue to do it despite little or no thanks of any kind. People accept that we do things by choice, as most people DO do things by their own choices.
You are already well aware of what you have done, because you have been able to describe it for us, and you are still doing things for the disabled brother, as is your other brother.
After 20 years I would think that the pattern would now be set as to who is who and what is what, who does what, and etc.
I would say that you have understood clearly what you have given up in life by your choices. Likely it is time to address your own needs now by yourself. Don't expect others to do it; they won't. You are the caregiver. They are the ones getting cared for. The contract is set.
If you wish to make healthy changes in your life, if there are things you wish to do and places you wish to go there is no time like the present. Choose friends who appreciate you. Do things with them. I wish you the best.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

I have learned to expect nothing and be pleasantly “surprised “ by a response. I have also learned to truly question why I am giving my time or tangible gifts. Do I really want this person to have this or am I wanting recognition for being “wonderful?” Think about this. I know this is diving deep. However, it is worth sincerely pondering. I have a relative that has exhausted herself for others in a certain organization. However, she required constant thanking and recognition. Reflecting back, she was doing the “work” for the praise, not the genuine act of service. Of course we all want to be appreciated and noticed for giving, but I think it is beneficial to really ask ourselves “Why am I doing this?” It has taken me years and several life altering experiences to really understand this!
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Reply to Sunnydayze

It's beautiful that you are so giving of yourself to your family, but it appears you have reached a crossroads in continuing or not in what you've been doing. You wrote, “God teaches us to do good acts of love without the reciprocation of thanks”- that sounds a lot like humility. But humility doesn't mean you're a doormat. You've already tried to express to them how their lack of gratitude hurts you. It seems that your siblings live in the world of “me” rather than “us”. In that case you really can't expect either gratitude or empathy. So you have some choices: keep being as gracious as you are, and make peace with yourself for the the lack of thank-yous; continue what you have been doing and maybe eventually becoming resentful of their lack of appreciation, or; stop the care packages and if they ask why, simply tell them they apparently didn't appreciate them. None of those choices are easy.
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Reply to sjplegacy

As the oldest, a girl and having 2 brothers, I know where you are coming from. But, have you ever thanked ur brother for caring for your disabled one? Taking some burden off of you.

I am learning, as I grow older, to not expect people to do things a certain way. You really can't judge someone by how you would do it. I had a friend who just passed. She was not a happy person and one of her problems was expecting people to go out of their way for her. I always felt if she had looked at things differently, she would have been happier.

Since brother is now working and you are retired, I may ask him to at least pay the taxes on the property.
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Reply to JoAnn29

First off, acceptance is a gift you give yourself, and it often comes in stages. Accept your brothers for who they are, lack of gratitude and all. They aren’t changing at this point. Everyone enjoys being noticed and thanked, it can sting when it doesn’t come. There’s nothing wrong with discussing it with them in a non confrontational way, but don’t be surprised if that doesn’t go well. I have a brother who resented every bit of caregiving he was asked to do for my dad. If I discussed it with him I guarantee that he’d be oblivious and completely deny it. It’s been far better for me to let it go, it was only hurting me. If you enjoy the giving you’re doing and it brings you pleasure, by all means keep it up. If it only brings you resentment and annoyance, then stop, no explanation needed. I wish you peace
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Reply to Daughterof1930

A wise person once pointed out to me that if you give someone a gift, it is something they didn't expect, therefore don't expect them to be grateful. You give the gift without strings attached, otherwise it isn't a gift, it's a transaction. I see no moral or ethical problem at all if you cease giving your brothers anything. The definition of anger is "an unmet expectation". You are constantly having the expectation of their gratitude and keep getting disappointed. I realize you didn't say you were angry, but this is definitely where this will end up.

It's possible that due to your generous spirit, your brothers have veered into expecting what you give them. If you wish for your gifts to be appreciated, try lavishing your generosity on someone else, but with the healthy understanding that they may not be grateful either. Maybe search your heart to see if the ONLY reason you give gifts is to get gratitude, or that it makes you feel moral or good. Not judging this, but just saying that understanding your motives might be helpful to understanding yourself. I wish you peace in your heart!
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Reply to Geaton777

Do not ever expect gratitude for what you sacrifice. This is often the case.with family with one person doing the majority. They just do not get it!

Be proud of yourself that you were able to do this. Since you own the property you stand to gain significant assets from the value of the land.
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Reply to gladimhere

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