My sisters hold grudges for things that happened years ago. Why will they not let things go and focus on what truly matters? - AgingCare.com

My sisters hold grudges for things that happened years ago. Why will they not let things go and focus on what truly matters?

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I have two sisters who married two brothers and I guess I have always been the odd man out. I was on my parents accounts and took care of them for years. Both sisters at one time moved several states away and I always took care of everything that my parents needed. The older my parents got the more I had to do. One sister moved back to our small town but I still continued to care for my parents. She helped sometimes. This sister is a hoarder (just like on the tv show). She lives with 11 dogs in a nasty house that is not even liveable. My mom is 88 and still in pretty good health. My dad passed away two years ago. He had not been gone a month before both my sisters took my mother to the bank and changed everything on the accounts. My name is no where on any account. Not even payable on death. They took her to the lawyers office soon after and she made a new will. She left my sister that had moved back in charge of everything. All bank accounts have her name, she was named executor of the will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and given authority over all medical decisions. THey did all this without my knowledge of any of this. I knew they were acting strange but never thought they would do that to me. Mother called and accused me and my husband and kids of stealing from her. They changed the door locks and did not give me a key. I told her to make a list of the things she thought I took and I would bring them back or buy new ones. She never came up with anything. I went and talked with my sisters and tried to straighten things out.....they both said they were not mad about anything they were just busy in life. Anything I tried to do for my mother was always ruined by my sister. For example, I trimmed her shrubs and cleaned her house one time. My sister jumped all over me because I trimmed the shrubs at the wrong time of year and I pulled weeds out of the flower beds that were not really weeds and somehow I killed a rose bush and I threw away newspapers. The plants were not hurt....the rose bush even came back. I asked my mom for a key and she said she did not have any extra. I tried to explain that if she fell I could not get in to help her. About a week later she fell. She had to lay on the floor for my sister to finally show up with her key. These sort of things just kept going on until I backed off and did not contact anyone for a while. I began having chest pains, shortness of breath and severe asthma and unexplainable pains. I was checked out by several doctors and found nothing wrong with my heart or my lungs. I went to counseling and they told me that I was in a severe state of trauma. After weeks of counseling and figuring out none of this was actually my fault they taught me that I could not change anyone, I could not make anyone love me or even like me. I know I have not done any wrong towards any of them. My sister that lives in my town never contacts me....not even when mom was rushed to the hospital. My sister that lives in another state never contacts me when she comes in for a visit. They will not answer my phone calls or return my calls. I have written letters and they have gone unanswered. It hurts my heart that I have lost my family. They are in charge and my mom is going downhill fast. Nothing is getting done. The bills are at least 2 months behind, house has mice and roaches in it. Mom is not taking a bath so that just adds to the smell. The grass is not cut, the bushes are out of control, and my mom eats sandwiches,TV dinners, chips and cookies. Nothing healthy. Her ankles and legs are huge because of all the sodium. A nurse comes out once a week to check her. They do nothing about any of this. My mom tells me they say she and her house are fine and good. Recently my daughter and daughter-in-law went to help out with chores. They went every morning for three weeks doing yard work and housework. My sister called and yelled at them for using her gloves that were at my mothers house. They did not use the gloves anymore and my daughter-in-law got poison ivy all over her arms then it spread all over her body. I called my sister after I found out she was so mad at my mom, who had nothing to do with it. My sisters husband got on the phone and I handed the phone to my husband. He told my husband he was coming over to kill him. He never had acted in this manner but in minutes he was there. I stepped in between the two of them and my brother in law was pushing and shoving me and told me he would take me out and then kill my husband. The law came and just told him to go home. He said he would come after me and my husband. My sister is mad at my mother for not standing up for her husband. I did not file charges. Now I am taking care of mom and getting things in order until today. Mom and my sister are talking again and now my mom will not even hardly talk to me. I can't continue on this roller coaster. What do I do?

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Your sister and brother-in-law showed their true colors when that altercation occurred. You could have filed charges. It sounds as though there may be mental illness or substance abuse or something going on with them. However, it's your mom and you who matter.
First - I'm thrilled you went to counseling. That was wise and you should try to keep that up. You can't let the anxiety of this situation kill you. Is there some way to get your mom into assisted living where professionals are around to monitor things? Her health would be better controlled and any abuse from your siblings would be noticed. It's too bad the visiting nurses aren't reporting the health problems, but they likely don't know the full story and they certainly don't want to get in the middle of family squabbles.
You could try to get a family mediator to talk with the whole family, but they sound so out of control that they likely wouldn't meet. You may have to turn your mom's situation over to Social Services if you can't get help elsewhere. Please take care of yourself.
Carol
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I agree that it sounds as though there may be mental illness or substance abuse or something going on with your family. Your mother is wrong. What you describe is not just normal sibling spats. This is toxic!

Unfortunately for her and for you, your mother has sided with your sisters. She has chosen to take you out of the caregiver role. That is her right. If you feel that her environment is not safe you can get social services involved as a nuetral third party.

Otherwise I suggest that you focus your energy at caring for you MIL and strengthening your marriage. It is very sad, but you can't force your mom to accept your help, even if you are the only sane one offering it!
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First, you can perhaps have your counselor provide the exact name and number to call at social services, most likely called something like the Department of aging and adult services, a county agency. Also check with your counselor to see if your county's agency has a good reputation. There was, and perhaps still is, an unmonitored situation with the Los Angeles County system. It made big feature story series several years ago.

This is a complex case, and they will probably assign an investigator to do home assessment, interviews with all concerned, mental evaluation of your mother. Although it is costly to your mother's estate, with lawyer appointed to represent ONLY your mother's side, it might perhaps put all parties into the correct relationship. The county might sue for both personal and estate conservatorship, and because the family itself is dysfunctional, they may decide to put her in a nursing home.

Also your right as a daughter to have relationship with your own mother can be reestablished, and a "guard" provided for visits when appropriate (to safeguard your mother, prevent undue influence). If she is in a nursing home then that might even be easier for you to visit, and actually offer her more personal ongoing support to augment activities at the nursing home. Good luck.
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Unfortunately, for you your sister or sisters have held and kept a grudge all these years. They are not going to let it go. Just the fact that they held one for years, says somethings wrong. This is not normal I myself have had the same thing done to me.

It hurts, because I have no Ideal what I could have done to be treated this way. Not only by my sisters but my Mom whom I've done a lot for. You have to learn to let go, and live your own life. I pray every night for my Mother. Every once in a while I'll slip back and wonder why i wasn't good enough to be loved. Bless you and your family, I hope you find peace.
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witycitykity - I understand the issue you are dealing with because I have also dealt with a sibling (brother) who holds grudges over the most ridiculous, petty things and has colluded with my mother to scape goat me as the one who is the problem whereas they are both half out of their minds. What I have learned through all the heart ache and pain and strain on my health is that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the situation. All I can do is change how I react to it. Over the course of the past five years of dealing with my mom's deteriorating health on top of her life long history of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder is I got sick - developed an autoimmune disorder and rheumatoid arthritis and seizures. Many of us fall into the same behaviors we did when we were children without even realizing it and it's great you have sought counseling because that will help you cope with the dysfunction you are describing. But when the other family members are getting counseling and growing and you are, the dynamic changes and most often, it doesn't get better for the family system since they aren't involved in the counseling and growth. So as hard as it is, and believe me, I struggle with this every single day, let go of trying to win a battle that you cannot win. Surrender and recognize that you do not have the power to change these people. You only have the power to change yourself and how you choose to react to them. May God bless you with love from those who know your heart and value you unconditionally.
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I agree with Carol that your best bet is to turn this over to social services, and explain all of the factors just as you have explained them to us. I am so glad you are getting some help with the anxiety and stress issues. I waited to get help and ended up with two mild heart attacks from stress. I am now in counseling, and it is truly helping. The main issues for me have also involved siblings.It is so hard when you know you have done the right thing and that is what hurts us as caregivers. Your mother has a part in all of this, too. Age does not excuse someone from realizing that one adult child is not being treated fairly unless the older person has dementia or other severe health factors. Once my mother received a glimpse of how some of my siblings were behaving toward me ( I am her main caregiver.), she put a stop to it in a firm manner. Have you thought of removing yourself from the situation for a few months after contacting social services ? Try to focus on yourself and your family. Keep in touch with your mom through a few phone calls but start creating a life for yourself. The social worker will not be happy with the death threats from your brother-in-law. Let him or her try to unravel what is going on while you ask for the best living and health situations for your mother. I don't know if this will help, but my cardiologist told me that adult children who continue to grow and mature throughout their lives can be excellent caregivers. However, our siblings who reached their peaks at 18 or in their twenties and have not continued to grow, frequently do not understand what it takes to be a caregiver. It sounds like you are a true caregiver. Don't give up but please take care of yourself.Rebecca
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Wity, are we sisters??? Sounds like my sisters who I call the "Ugly Sisters". but without the violence.. I would have pressed charges, but that part is over with... And I , like the others are very proud of you for getting counseling... I was blessed to be in counseling for other things and learned how to deal with my crazy family... I DON'T, that's what works for me.. but first I had to do some work to accept the situation for what it was... and it did not happen over night... but one of the things I did was look at each sister, the good, bad and the ugly, and see if I just met this person would I want them in my life... the answer is NO... I am very different from my sisters, like you, life is too short to stay upset over things that happened a million years ago... but I had to have help getting to that state of mind.... and sounds like you are taking the high road here and trying to get your life in order..... I realized I needed my oldest sisters acceptance, but not her approval.. But after all was said and done, I realized she is who she is, and will never accept me... that doesn't make me, my life or my accomplishments any less valuable... if she called me a "chair" that didn't make me one... so I pray you continue to get help and get to a place that needing them is less painful, that you realize YOU are fine and good just the way you are...I don't even think of them very often anymore.. I have a full and busy life, friends that are more like sisters than the blood ones, and it is none of my business what others think of me... I no longer let the "ugly sisters" live in my head rent free... I could WISH my life away that things were different, but that was getting me nowhere... they are who they are, think what they think, and nothing you could do will change that... some people are very content in that kind of mentality, sorry it makes no sense to me... and we don't get to pick our families but we do get to pick our friends.... I have wonderful loving supportive friends... I do not stay upset all the time, life is too short... keep up the counseling and get social services involved if you feel your mom is in danger....you would not walk into a "toxic dump site" knowing what would happen if you did, what is the difference here... If it can kill me from stress, then I stay away from it.. Life hands us enough real things to be stressed about.. I wish you well and let us know of your success.. and you are defiantly successful......hugs across the miles.
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Wit, I agree about social services! Your mom is suffering and you are the only one who seems to realize she needs help. Once the authorities step in, it will cause difficulties that will need to be straightened out, but you may eventually be able to become her guardian because of the abuse your sisters are causing. Don't be surprised if they are draining all of your mom's $$. If that is the case, it won't be long before they abandon her and you will be stuck cleaning up the mess, as you see m to be the only one who has a conscience and really care.
You definitely need to talk to a lawyer about options for your mom, or get social services involved real soon!
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I agree with all above. You have been cut out of the picture by your odd sisters. Unfortunately, if you Mom is of sound mind, there is nothing you can do about it. In dysfunctional families, there is often a "power struggle." This happens when one or both parents play the children off one another. Often, the caring, gentle, giving child is the one that is left out by the more domineering, aggressive ones. When we get older, nothing changes.
I agree with jeanne...take a giant step back. Call your Mom but stay out of the fray. Forget mending fences with the sibs...not gonna happen as long as they are grappling over what is left of Mom's estate and they don't deserve you time. So let them do all the work, and you, my dear, take a well-deserved vacation. You have enough on your plate caring for the MIL. Btw, your Mom is the main problem in all of this.
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From what I can piece together from your posts, it sounds like your mother and sisters feel like you were taking advantage of your mother. That's the only reason to explain that you suddenly were shut out of her bank acct, Dr's, etc.
Have you asked your mother why?
In any case, if your mom wishes to continue with not having you as a caregiver and trusted daughter, you would be better off by distancing yourself from the drama and focusing elsewhere. It won't do you any good to keep beating your head against the wall if your mom is going to go along with your sisters.
You should contact your mom off and on and let her know you are there if she needs someone but let her see what it's like without you. Maybe she will see that you are the one that really wants to be helpful.
In any case, I wish the best for you and your mom.
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