10 Ways to Get Even With the No-Help Sibling

Denise
fever-dress-807849_640Next month will be the year anniversary of my oldest sibling (Sibling) removing herself from helping our parents.

She stopped helping because really got angry with me and one of my brothers. She's mad because we expressed concerns over a decision she made about our mother's care, which became a nightmare of a situation I ultimately had to resolve. I'm not sure why being angry with me means she must sever her ties with my parents. But that's how it's been.

It's so easy for one year to stretch into another and another. I feel the caregiving fate is sealed for ourselves and for her. I just can't imagine her positioning herself to be back in the fold to participate in our family, much less help our parents. I can't even imagine her calling my parents or visiting my parents or joining us in a family celebration. Visiting my parents does not present a hardship for her -- she lives five minutes from them and she works out of her home. And, yet, she drives by their apartment without a call or a visit. My younger and sister and I discuss whether we will be invited to in her family's celebrations, like a wedding. I hope so but I'm just not sure.

Once in a while -- not often -- I do get caught up in the idea of revenge. Once I even suggested to my parents: "Are you sure you want her to inherent that money you worked so hard to earn?" My parents, wisely, ignored my idea. I recently had the thought that I should write my name on a piece of tape that I attach to the bottom of my parents' possessions so she doesn't get what I believe I deserve. I stared down that temptation, though. Who am I to sit and judge the distribution of my parents' salt and pepper shakers?

So, I guess I'll get even this way:

  1. I'll love her children. Our fracture has affected my relationship with my nieces -- I haven't seen them since December. I'm going to change that, though, and make a much better effort about keeping in touch and getting together (if they want).

  2. I'm going to sleep well tonight. I'm not perfect. I'm impatience and often times harsh with my words. I am, however, still fully present with and in our parents' care.

  3. I'm going to continue to carefully craft the legacy I leave to the next generation. I hope my actions will create a legacy I will feel proud to leave behind. I often think about the legacy Sibling leaves for her children and with us. I wonder how that legacy will take shape when Sibling needs help. And, will our memories of Sibling be the memories she really wants us to keep?

  4. I will treasure the relationships I have with my three other siblings. They are so kind and compassionate and supportive. I want to take care of those relationships because they mean so much to me.

  5. I will let go of who I think she should be because that's not possible for her. I'll let go so when I see her next (which could be at a parent's funeral), I will be gracious.

  6. I will learn from this situation because I truly understand how important it is to admit when I'm wrong and then move on. Because everyone else has. When I don't, I just turn one wrong into a road built from a ton of wrongs that leads to bitterness. And, everyone else will wonder what in the world has gotten into me.

  7. I will love her, no matter what, even though I hate how much pain she causes our parents.

  8. I will be sure to absorb and document the stories my parents tell me about their childhood, their marriage and our childhoods.

  9. I will choose kindness as often and as much as I can. Kindness keeps life sweet.

  10. I will put a priority on peace because turmoil simply turns a day into a nightmare. When peace remains my top concern, I listen when others tell me I'm wrong. I don't start a war just to prove they're wrong.


The best revenge? Knowing I stayed because I know how easy it is to just leave. Or, maybe I now see how easy it is to leave and hard it is to live with yourself once you do leave. Sometimes our choices become the cement that hardens our heart so much that even a summer heat wave can't melt them.

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