Can I Strangle My Siblings?

Denise
Dear Denise,

I wonder if you can help...

I'm really having a hard time with my siblings. My sister seems more interested in what she'll inherent, rather than actually helping me take care of Mom. She calls my mom to make sure she's getting the good china, the antique clock, you name it, she wants it. I read that you suggested sending e-mail messages to challenging family members. I did try that with my sister, but became so frustrated with her messages (all about her and her problems) that I finally asked her not to write to me any longer.

My brother live nearby--but never helps. When I ask him why he doesn't stop to see his mom, he just says, "Sorry, can't this week. Maybe next week." I would like to strangle him!!

I guess I'm just having a bad day. Sorry to dump on you.

Hello,

Totally understand the need to unload. I hope you feel a little lighter today.

Greed is a funny thing. I've often discovered that those who are most greedy are most lacking. Meaning, their greed stems from an emptiness they believe others (and things) should fill--rather than realizing that they themselves have the ability to live fully through their own power. The greedy can't give because they worry so much about what they'll get. That's a sad way to live, isn't it?

It's great to set boundaries. I think the important lesson boundaries offer is this: We can have a relationship with difficult people in our lives as long as we have boundaries. Boundaries can be phrases we use, such as "I'm uncomfortable with the direction our conversation has taken. I'm hanging up now. I'll call you in a few days to work this out with you." It also could be setting clear expectations: "I think it's important to e-mail you with regular updates on how Mom is doing. Caregiving is so much harder that I ever thought. I find myself feeling lonely and overwhelmed fairly often. I want you to know how Mom is doing. I also would love positive encouragement from you. But, if that's not possible, no need to reply to my messages."

Finally, it's okay to look for help from others other than family members. It would be great if they helped, but if they won't...well, they won't. You deserve help, so check with the agencies in your area (Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Easter Seals, other social service organizations) to find out about programs and services that can.

Hope this helps.

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