Follow
Share

I've read tons of contributions from people who become the caregiver by virtue of the fact that no other sibling is willing or able to do it. Mom has dual cancer (unrelated) and is quite sick right now. She has gone downhill quite rapidly even though her doctors talk of the cancers being 'stable' and there being treatments available. My dad died following a lengthy battle with cancer in 2015. We're a small family and it's just my sister and I. She lives about 20 mins from mom, I'm about 2 hours away. During dad's illness there was no sign of my sister and though I was working full-time and she wasn't, the caregiving fell to me. No-one forced me into it and I wouldn't do it any differently, but if I'm honest it did grate on me that she wasn't involved. Writing that down makes me sound awful I know - like being with dad was some kind of terrible chore. I just wished she would have given me a break here and there - but I know you can't force people to do something they're not willing to do! At the time mom was similarly unhappy with sister's involvement and encouraged me to talk to my sister about it but that ended with sister getting physical with me and it was not pretty. We've been cordial since but if I'm honest it still irks me. I'm human. So fast forward to mom. She really doesn't want to be a burden and always says she didn't have kids to have them look after her when she got old. Because I knew history would most likely repeat itself I took a break from work because I knew when things got rough for mom I couldn't hold down a job, making sure she was taken care of and a 2 hour commute either side. Sister is married with a small child and works part-time. Because she doesn't really get involved a whole lot it is like the Lord himself came down to visit mom every time my sister can manage to stop by for a half hour! Much like during dad's illness, it's starting to grate on me. And it came to an ugly head of sorts today....with mom. Sister managed to stop by yesterday and as soon as I arrived to the hospital today mom regaled me with tales of the visit and how tired my poor sister was today from stopping by to visit (for perspective I spent 6 hours in the ER with mom last night). I tried to keep perspective and (regrettably!) mentioned that there's two of us kids so it's nice she was able to visit. Well it was just a hoot from there on, mom telling me no-one is forcing me to help her, that she thought I was there because I wanted to be, that I'm not doing anything else anyway and that I could just go home if that's how I felt. So I said I would leave and then she launched at me how I was being horrible when she is so sick, how could I treat her like that, I've always been a moody so-and-so etc. etc. etc. I stayed polite and left the hospital. And now I don't know what to do. My sister could do more but chooses not to, and I have no excuse not to do everything (as I'm not working right now due to career break). Mom could have a day, she could have a month, a year. They don't know what's wrong this time or what the prognosis is, but she is a very sick woman. I need to try and work through this so it doesn't affect things with mom but I'm going crazy.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
A little update - my involvement ground to a halt when Mom was hospitalised with a lung infection and I got the exact same one from being in such close proximity to her. I've had to take a step back for my own wellbeing (and also so Mom heals from it) and have returned home to my own house for the first time in a couple of weeks which feels GREAT! Mom commenced radiotherapy today and I feel bad that she had to go on her own as sister is in the wind as per usual.

The schtick I keep getting, because I'm currently not working, is 'well you're not doing anything else are you' as a justification for expecting me to do everything. Not just from Mom but from her friends and our extended family. 'What do you mean you're going to radiotherapy alone, where's MaryJane' or 'Why has she gone home, it's not like she does anything up there she can't do here' etc. etc. etc. Mom I can forgive for it but I wish other people would just stay out of it.

Mom's pretty sick and never seems to get much better - I hope the outcome of the radiotherapy will be some comfort as it's so sad to watch her slowly giving up. Thanks to you all for your support - you're amazing!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Btw, I am the family scapegoat and little sis is ms golden. Actually, she's in far worse shape emotionally that I am. I'm sure you'll find the same! 😉
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Oh honey. I can totally relate. Family dynamics are ignored until the parents need us! All of us are troubled by the same things! Resentment, unresolved issues, bitterness, jealousy, envy, strife, contention........birth order even!!! It's sad that families don't address these things while/when they happen through the years, because it all blows up when mom & dad need us!
I have one of those sisters, too. We have never been sisters other than sharing the same blood. I sincerely mean this: YOU have to be the one to say out loud, to yourself " I forgive her!" It's a biblical principle that is very misunderstood; we think we're allowing the other to get off the hook, when in reality, it let's YOU off the hook and shames them! I had to do it, and with my personality, it was HARD. I wanted to rip her face off, and my feelings still want that, but need to remind myself, no, I have forgiven her.
If your sister continues to be a jerk, and she probably will, just don't expect anything else from her. If you have no expectations, she won't be able to rattle you.....and, she will begin to wonder why...!
Blessings!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I love CountryMouse's response! Amen! Dear, you have absolutely no reason to feel bad. Concentrate on your relationship with Mom and forget your pitbull sister. Your resentment might also come from doing TOO much and not taking time for yourself. Do something really special for you. Yoga, walk in the woods, whatever. Lastly, and I think a lot of us can relate, the Mary/Martha story in the Bible. The one who did the most resented the one who just sat at Jesus' feet. I know it's hard to not do everything, but sometimes you have to pull back and just enjoy the relationship. :-)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I would take your mother up on payment. Why not?

I also would consider (like someone said) what is reasonable for one of TWO siblings to do. And do that. No more. Golden Sister will just have to step up. Or not.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I've always thought the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son was grossly unfair to the other children in the family! It really irked me.

As a parent myself now, I know I would welcome back a prodigal child with open arms and celebrate the return. But I would continue to hold the other children in esteem, and be glad I had done so all the time the prodigal child was out of the picture. After the initial celebration died down, all the children would be equally valued. There would be no "golden child." At least I hope that is how I would behave.

Making a Big Deal out of your sister's brief visits is galling to you. I get that. But mother's behavior is fairly common, going back at least to Biblical times! Can you forgive her and move on?

One reason that people make unreasonable excuses for others is to spare their own feelings. It is easier to think and say, "She has been too busy," than to admit, "She doesn't care enough to make time for me." or "How did I raise such a selfish person? What did I do wrong?"

As CMouse points out, your mother is not the villain of this piece. She is the victim of your sister's choices. She is trying very hard not to face the reality of those choices, and to save face to herself. At the end of her life, you have the ability to give Mom the gift of peace. I hope that is the option you will choose.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Love all the responses!!!!!!!!   I was thinking sister knows how to play mom too. Pow!! (But she's the kind that would have you arrested and put in jail).
I have seen this situation a lot and lived it too!!!
Keep reading here maryjane88!!!!
Thinking of you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Frankly, I would make a caregiver agreement in writing with Mom. Then, take her up on the payments.

When Mom does pass away, one thing that will make it sting all over again is sister getting a large share of any inheritance.

I am not suggesting you "grab the money". I am suggesting that by getting paid, you will have some social security taxes paid which will help for your own retirement, and it will really help you not feel taken by sister later.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

To be honest, I got as far as

"...but that ended with sister getting physical with me and it was not pretty. We've been cordial since but if I'm honest it still irks me. "

Your mother is not the villain of this piece.

I know I shouldn't be laughing, but... WHY do you feel the need to be cordial towards someone who got physical with you, is too precious to expose herself to the challenges of sickness or dying in others, and is frankly, as far as you and your mother are concerned anyway, merely decorative at best? Civil, surely, would suffice. In fact, civil is pretty good going on your part.

I hope you hit her back...

But let us let bygones be bygones: how do you stop it impacting on your relationship with your mother? That's the important thing.

Well. By adjusting your perspective on your sister.

Imagine for a moment that your mother had a small, smelly, evil-tempered, ill-behaved, farting, snarling, nippy dog. Which, alas, she loved beyond all reason. And even though you like dogs in general, say, this one... ooh brother.

You don't have to love the dog. You don't have to approve of mother's putting little ribbons on its ears, or feeding it crusts, or talking about momma's booful. All you have to do is keep your opinion to yourself, and refrain from kicking it when mother's not watching.

Once you've cut your - let's face it - *useless* sister down to size, you can repair the damage Li'l Nippy has done to your relationship with your mother.

Forget your sister for all practical purposes. Any visits she makes to your mother are a bonus for your mother, and you will just have to take pleasure in the pleasure mother gets from them. Truly, I do know how teeth-grindingly galling this is; but look, if she's smiling does it really matter why?

So that leaves you as the one functioning daughter. Draw a line under what has recently happened; if your mother brings it up suggest you both forget all about it and concentrate on what matters and change the subject.

And, do you really have time or the mental energy to worry about what happens to your relationship with your sister? I put it to you that it has already been torn apart, and not by you.

And read The Black Sheep by de Balzac. Unfair, unequal and wrong-headed treatment of siblings by their parents is as old as time. It can be comforting to know that others appreciate the truth of things, even when your parent is blind to it.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I guess I worry if I don't visit mom every day etc. or go to all her hospital appointments that I'll end up wishing I had. Does that make sense? She keeps saying she's ready to die (she's only 72) and she's been very lonely since dad died. Sister visits, maybe, once a week for an hour, if that. I had been staying at my own home and coming to visit every other week for 3-4 days or so to get her groceries, take her to appointments and such. I'd been with her for around a week this time before she was taken to the ER as she was very sick and sister decided to go on vacation...so when mom was taking about my sister being sooo tired it was because poor sister had only just got back from a vacation and that would wear anyone out (mom's words).

So how do I actually break the cycle of being the go-to daughter? I feel like someone should be for her because she was there for us kids enough times. That's what I wrestle with. I can't change my sister or the situation we're in. So how do I change how I view it? I think it would be awful if she had TWO kids who didn't do very much. She's even trying to offer me money now for the time I spend with her which makes me feel so sad about the whole thing.

I know if I bring it up once and for all with my sister that it will tear us apart. And I 100% know my mom will blame me, 100000%. 
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

How could this not effect your relationship with Mom? Stop beating yourself up because you have a completely understandable reaction to this situation. If you didn't feel that way we would all wonder what was wrong with you.

Tell Mom that you are going back to work now. Your career break could not last very long...as you both knew. So, sister will have to figure out how to pitch in more help. Then, set boundaries and stick to them

As you say, you do not know how long she has...none of us is given that information. Only thing you can do...keep your sanity, keep you career to prepare for your own future, and do what is reasonable for one of TWO siblings both helping mom. If sister will not shoulder her fair share, that is between mom and her.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

From my experience, it's often the adult child who demands the most and gives the least, who is favored by the parents. I'm not sure why. But, it's like that in most families that I see, including my own.

There's not much you can do about it. You can try to show mom she's not seeing things correctly, by holding off on certain things or letting her make do herself, but, in the end, I don't see how those games work. Rarely, will a lifetime of behavior be changed that way, imo.

I'd decide if you really want to make the sacrifices for mom and if so, do it with a giving heart, free from any conditions. Work daily on accepting that sister may do nothing and yet still be held in high esteem. If you believe in the hereafter, you'll get your jewels in your crown in heaven. And, to me, our greatest gifts are things we do when no one is watching. 

Even if we never get thanks or praise, it's still positive karma and we are rewarded eventually. And you really have the opportunity to give your mother the best gift in her last days and that is knowing that her daughters are at peace with each other. I'd stomach if I could so she could have such a wonderful blessing in her time left. If you really can't, it's understandable.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I agree with Kimber, only do what you feel good about doing. You can't change your sister and your mom doesn't get how it grates on you about her lack of involvement.

My mom always tries to say my brother (who lives in another state) "is busy and doesn't have to call her". I do EVERYTHING for my mom (and dad when he was alive) and have for 15 years. My brother's one "duty" is to call her once a week, so I can have a day off. When she starts in on that, I about go ballistic. My brother is retired, married, and no kids. But all he can manage is a 3-minute phone call once a week.

But I learned over time that I had to release my anger against him because it was hurting me and he didn't know or care. So just be concerned about your relationship with your mom. Do what you can but no more than that. You have a right to your own life and happiness. Don't let your mom guilt/shame you into doing more than you can happily and freely do. Let your sister and your mother work out their relationship. Frequently it seems the kids who do the least are fawned over/appreciated/extolled more than those of us slaving away every day for our folks.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Aren't they always the golden child? Take a break,, let her see the truth. That does not make you a bad child..
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Spend less time helping your mother - do a few key and critical things but save your sanity. She doesn't appreciate it and is playing you siblings off each other. It sounds like absent sister is the golden child.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Your mother is playing you two against each other. Next time she wants you to "talk to your sister about" anything, refuse to do it. Your mother is a "divide and conquer" parent and always has been. It happens quite often, believe it or not.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.