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Old 11-22-2003, 10:55 AM   #1
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Question Sibling problem -- What would you do?

What would you do? I come from a very large family and get along well with all of my siblings until last year. My dad got very sick and had to be hospitalized. He became incoherent and had to be watched 24/7 as the hopsital was afraid that he would hurt himself and they did not have the staff. My mom was desolate and didnít know how to proceed. She asked me (Iím not the oldest) to arrange a schedule of visitations with my family and health care providers so that dad would always have someone there.

It was difficult because there are so many of us but all of them cooperated and were pleasant to deal with. My older sister (the eldest) was very difficult to deal with. One of my sisters wanted to switch a time with her and because I was the scheduler they asked me to arrange it if possible. Note: My sister rarely (Iím not sure if ever) visited Dad alone but always took my mom (who could not drive and it was l0 miles from their home in the country). My mom was fine with going with my other sister that day, so I called the elder. She jumped in my stuff so hard that I didnít know what hit me. She accused me of having motives for changing her time and taking the driving of mother away from her and it was her right as the oldest (it would have only been this once for my younger sister) and for insinuating that she didnít care for dad as much as the rest of us. BTW she told several of us she didnít believe this was dad Ė it was just his body because of his Alzheimers. I never brought this up, nor was it ever even mentioned in this conversation. She was in her late 40s and possibly going through menopause.

On two other occasions in our life she jumped on me about something, and I ended up forgiving and forgetting it as I believed it should be. My husband was there both times and said she was crazy and that I shouldnít keep groveling back to her. She is currently on the outs with three other brothers/sisters. Two have refused to ever talk to her again. What should I do? I really was only doing what my mother wished and didnít deserve to be yelled at and jumped on especially since these were the last weeks of my dadís life.

Our relationship is not the same. I used to be the only one that she associated with because the rest of ďthemĒ had problems (she said) and her social/economic status was higher than most of them, and they had nothing in common. I have turned the other cheek many times with her and feel that it shouldnít have to be me that makes the first move. Why is it that she always believes that she can fly off the handle, be mean, rude and then get forgiven without a word of apology?

Sorry this is so long Ė what would you do?
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Last edited by serenityelf; 11-22-2003 at 11:15 AM.

 
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Old 11-22-2003, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

Is he at home and that is why you have to make up this schedule???
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Old 11-22-2003, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Want 2 B Well
Is he at home and that is why you have to make up this schedule???

No, he was in the hospital. He kept trying to pull out his tubes, get out of bed and was in a panic and the hospital staff could not handle him. They asked the family to make sure he always had someone there because they couldn't provide someone and my mom asked me to handle it. He'* just had a big surgery and the Alzheimer's made him so confused he would have hurt himself. Sadly, he passed away in the hospital within 5 weeks.
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Last edited by serenityelf; 11-22-2003 at 11:13 AM.

 
Old 11-22-2003, 11:52 AM   #4
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

It would be hard but I would just wait for her to make the first move towards you. She's the one with problems. You were the only one trying with her. You were too good to her if others can see the problems with her. If menopause is the problem she may be ornery right now but she'll come back to her old self.

 
Old 11-22-2003, 12:06 PM   #5
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

I am so sorry about your dad!

As far as your sis, well I might be one to just let this one go since it was a very tense and heartbreaking thing.

I agree with cloverberry, let her make the 1st move (if you are OK with that). She may not make a move. Is that OK with you? Really that is the deal. Can you live without this sister in your life. Sometimes the emptiness is worse than the bickering. Only you can know if it is worth giving up.
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Old 11-22-2003, 01:20 PM   #6
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

My instinct was to wait and see if she makes the first move. I just can't keep going back to her to get yelled at when she feels bad about herself. If I make the first move again, she'll just believe she can keep taking out her bad moods on me, just as she've done before.

I've kept it away from my mom who knows nothing about it. Every week I go out to the country to take my mom shopping and for lunch just as I promised my dad I'* take care of her.

When our family meets, we are civil, but there are no longer any telephone calls, lunches or me holding her hand when she has a fight with someone at work. I'm not sure how she is handling this now. Why, in the past, I've even had to cancel dentist appointments for her because she was afraid they'* be mad at her. Funny she never had that problem with me. LOL. I miss her and hope she is okay. She was always so emotionally vulnerable, and I always felt like the older sister. Even when I had cancer, I had to watch everything I said to her because she'* cry and not want to face the fact that I kept needing more surgery. She told me I shouldn't talk about it because that would make it worse. So I didn't. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 11-22-2003, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: Sibling problem ** What would you do?

As you said, her behaviour could be due to menopause, then again, it could be due to the fact that she has gotten away with this form of behaviour for a very long time. How long exactly has she been like this? She appears to not be on speaking terms with most of your family and you say that she has fights with people at her work. You are probably very soft natured and you allow her to get away with a lot of her behaviour, whereas the rest of the family has had enough and has told her where to get off. She knows that she can manipulate you emotionally and you will sit back and take it whether you like it or not.

I don't see many choices. It's either telling her how you feel about this treatment and if she doesnt change, then having as little to do with her as possible....or......just putting up with her.

 
Old 11-23-2003, 01:21 AM   #8
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Re: Sibling problem ** What would you do?

As Dr. Phil would say, "do you want to right, or do you want to be happy?" It just depends on what you want. If you want a relationship with your sister, it doesn't matter who's wrong or right. You have to be the bigger person and reach out to her until she reaches back. She may never respond, but at least you'll know you did everything you could. But if you don't have it in you and don't think she's worth it, then wait for her to come around, and be prepared to deal with the possibility that she never will, and it could be because she thought all along that you didn't want to hear from her. I've found that I'd rather be sorry for things I said than for things I didn't say.

 
Old 11-24-2003, 12:11 PM   #9
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Re: Sibling problem ** What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninispjc
As Dr. Phil would say, "do you want to right, or do you want to be happy?" It just depends on what you want. If you want a relationship with your sister, it doesn't matter who's wrong or right. You have to be the bigger person and reach out to her until she reaches back..

I don't really think there is a right or wrong here or at least that's not what's important to me. I just wanted to know why? It's happened so often before. And we do talk as I said at gatherings, but our other relationship is over. The one where she'd phone or we'd meet and she'd need my shoulder for all the relationship problems/people hurting her, etc. she was going through. I am so sorry that now she is alone - I hurt for her. So many of the rest of the family are not talking to her that I thought if I could just find out why she does this kind of thing, then I could help. I've always forgiven her in the past and just continued our relationship without a word of comdemation or a question. But, you see, this apparently does not work.
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Old 11-24-2003, 12:19 PM   #10
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Re: Sibling problem ** What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audrey-B
it could be due to the fact that she has gotten away with this form of behaviour for a very long time. How long exactly has she been like this? She appears to not be on speaking terms with most of your family and you say that she has fights with people at her work. You are probably very soft natured and you allow her to get away with a lot of her behaviour, whereas the rest of the family has had enough and has told her where to get off. She knows that she can manipulate you emotionally and you will sit back and take it whether you like it or not.

I.
I think you are correct -- I have always just turned the other cheek and let her get away with yelling or being rude at me for not apparent reason other than she was in a surly mood. She'd done this since were were children, and I've always been a mainstay for her because I listened to all her challanges and kept coming back for more. In her defense, I guess I was a little pest when I was a kid. I had such a crush on my big sister, and she, frankly, just found me annoying to be around as I was much younger. Sadly, she went one step too far this time -- even with me because of her timing. I empathize with people who are married to someone who emotionally or physically abuse them - time after time they stay, forgive and try to work it out. Sometimes some people just can't change. I still do have a great love for her, but you know what, I don't think I'm doing any favors to myself sticking around for a closer relationship when she keeps on taking things that have nothing to do with me out on me. Does that make sense? You've been a help. Thank you.
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Old 11-24-2003, 02:08 PM   #11
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

What would you do? [/QUOTE]

Sometimes we lose sight of what's important when it takes second seat to the blame game. Who is right or wrong, taking sides, asigning blame, picking is part of the, I want to be right and you are wrong-movement, when to lose face or risk embarassment is more difficult to swallow than making a heartfelt appology. What is the point of it all when everyone loses. Loss.


When a person believes something is wrong, state it so you are understood. What does it mean, hate the sin, love the sinner? Who is the wheat and who is the weed? If I have a log in my eye how is it I notice a splinter in yours? When someone is blackballed spiritually-it is denying another the good of loveingness. When younger my mom taught me to turn the other cheek. It is not the answer for every situation. Sometimes it can do more harm then good leading to avoidable misunderstandings that could have been resolved had it been addressed in the first place. Turning another cheek is not for our glory. When it is hardest to do is when it is needed the most.


It would seem an oversight and assumption was made that you were not aware of at the time (oops). Everyone makes mistakes. Blowouts should not mean the end of life as we know it-change the tire. Out of consideration and respect the younger sister should have called the elder directly and firstly to ask her if switching or trading a day would have been okay before and instead of asking you to do it outright (putting you in the middle of things). "IF" (a big if) that was one of the sisters that refuses to speak to the elder, she put you in a bad position (one that you accepted) allowing yourself to get in the middle of there controversy. If that is how the scenario played out, then you are partly responsible for her upset. Whatever the two events were that happened prior is irrelevant here-another issue.

The elder sounds slighted, hurt and angry-justifiably so. She inadvertently "shot the messenger". Even with the best of intention things like this happen. That was her slotted time and changes were made without her consideration. If, in your mind you think she wronged you, you need to be direct, speak your mind & state the facts to clear the air and move on. You were in shock at the time as it was sudden. Your reaction of shock tells me you did not realize the potential problem. She needs to be made aware of that. You need to straighten the misunderstanding out. That is what it is.

I am not saying this is your fault but your actions contributed to it-even though not malicious you caught the brunt of it You could correct her and tell her what your intentions were. It was accidental. You did something without considering her but you did not mean for it to come off as it did, but it did. Yes it was your duty to your mother to coordinate visitation but you decided something without considering her. For that oversight you could apologize and that you were doing the best you could under the stress of circumstance. Not all is a plot. You are accountable for what you do and don't do-you seem to be a fair person who looks at all the angles and a peacekeeper. If she is unwilling then I would pray for her. If she wants to be angry it is her choice-don't let it be yours.

Turning the other cheek is a mute point if you keep a mental tab of the wrongs done unto you. Historically with her you let things roll off your back but harbor resentment about it-only to mention it now (all not so forgiven). Not confronting the issue will perpetuate what seems commonplace (nobody speaking to her) and solidify the false thing she believes to be true about you. Don't let her believe something that is not true-Defend yourself. Something 10 years, 10 days or minutes ago has nothing to do with today if you don't let it. It sounds like there is bitterness between siblings. Money and position can be an issue if people let it...Some of the well to do donít share their successes and some of the have-nots share what they have. It's all in the heart. The tin man does not think he has a heart yet is feeling and rusting up about it. Some will give you all the time, some won't give you the time of day. When it comes to family, especially your sister-cut her some slack. I'm sure not all is what it seems. It is easy getting tangled up and lost in it but time does heal all wounds. A simple note to break the ice perhaps.

I think you want things to be better between your sister and yourself and that is a good thing. If you are waiting for her to appologize to you for not considering her, be prepared to wait a long time. It will work out and it does but it takes two so. there is emotion involved and I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my grandmother to Alzheimerís. It does to the mind what cancer does to the body. It is a horrible and a sorrowful thing to see happen especially to a loved one. I remember looking into her eyes calling for her, she was not responsive, totally dependent for care. She was gone in a sense and "lived" that way for years which says nothing for quality of life. I understand that. It may sound cold but it is a truthful statement about what the disease of Alzheimerís does to the afflicted and their loved ones.

Turning the other cheek won't correct this situation. She needs the facts explained to her as you see it so she has the opportunity to reach an understanding. By actions she thought she was dismissed and that would be offensive. When some are hurt they get angry while others cry or cope another way. In your mind you were the taskmaster doing what your mom asked. It got political and sticky. This is not the time to bring up lifeís events you let slide. You can start new by starting now. If you do that the other bad memories you have concerning her may seem less significant. Do what you feel is right in your heart. If she is or was chemically imbalanced she needs help. At the same point it does not justify-undisciplined tyrannical raids. Being passionate about something is different then not making sense or being irrational. If she treats a person poorly and is enabled, it is not her fault. If she treats a person poorly and is told not to and she continues to treat that person poorly don't stand by and let it happen. She is not learning any lesson by people ignoring her. The silent treatment is an old tactic. Nobody wins. Some fights are worth fighting and some you have to let go. This is worthwhile. Who cares who else has blown her off, that is not the relationship you want with her. Healing and dealing. She needs to listen before she leaps and you need to follow your heart and speak your mind and not enable her. Why would she think she has been forgiven again and again if she does not think she has done anything wrong that warrants forgiveness? How could she appreciate your understanding of her with angry silence? Silence in some instances can mean submission. She is vocal. The opportunity to object and correct is still there. If you "let it go" even though you feel wronged-and don't convey your thoughts you do yourself a disservice and not one is the wiser. That is what I would do and have done. Personal growth.


I could be totally and utterly way-off base and if that is the case-please disregard. Good Luck & Take Care, G

 
Old 11-25-2003, 08:16 AM   #12
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Re: Sibling problem -- What would you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemi
What would you do?

It would seem an oversight and assumption was made that you were not aware of at the time (oops). Everyone makes mistakes. Blowouts should not mean the end of life as we know it-change the tire. Out of consideration and respect the younger sister should have called the elder directly and firstly to ask her if switching or trading a day would have been okay before and instead of asking you to do it outright (putting you in the middle of things). "IF" (a big if) that was one of the sisters that refuses to speak to the elder, she put you in a bad position (one that you accepted) allowing yourself to get in the middle of there controversy. If that is how the scenario played out, then you are partly responsible for her upset. Whatever the two events were that happened prior is irrelevant here-another issue.

Answer: I think I must not have explained myself properly. It was decided by my mother and the family that I would do the contact, make the list and post it to the hospital staff. This is a very large family of l0, and it had to be done this way because it became a mess without having schedules made, so it was decided all the scheduling would be done through one person. I never knew it would be me; it just was what happened. As to my younger sister, she never did anything wrong she followed the procedure we (at a family meeting set forth -- decided by all), she called me to make a last minute change. AT the time of the call, she never even knew who had that time, that day because it differered, sometimes, mom went at different times, etc. I spent three - four hours every other day making the schedule, contacting people and arranging changes and things with the hospital. It was a blessing in disguise because it kept my mind off the problem when I was not at the hospital. She was pregnant and her appointment got switched around. All I did was ask my elder sister to make the change -- and I had explained why it was needed and, in fact, that her time was the only one the younger could make that day. If we had not made the change there would have been a three hour slot unfilled and that was not an option. It was necessary for it to be done this way because I had the list, the large list and if the change had not been possible, I would have had to fill the younger's slot with someone else, usually me as a double time. My younger sister did not do anything wrong, I reiterate she followed the plan which worked really well for that terrible summer.

The elder sounds slighted, hurt and angry-justifiably so.

Answer: Slighted...why? hurt and angry - justifiably so. Say What? Did I ever explain myself wrong. Why, we all changed shifts from time to time. No one had anything set in stone. She voted for this at the family meeting and as I recall the schedule and one person in charge was her idea. It was left up to my mom to pick the person. She picked me because of what I do for a living and that I was on holidays.

Turning the other cheek is a mute point if you keep a mental tab of the wrongs done unto you.

Answer: Wow! I am so sorry if I sounded like that. I didn't keep a mental tab as for payback. It was a memory of the many past events that happened. I always dealt with her lovingly and without tablulating past incidents. I just thought it would be relevant on this board so that the replies could have a history of the past. Apparently, I made it sound different than what was my intention. Sorry for that!

I understand that. It may sound cold but it is a truthful statement about what the disease of Alzheimerís does to the afflicted and their loved ones.

Fortunately, my dad only got to the mid stage and was at many times still very alert and "with it" although at the very end (last few days) that changed because of the surgery and complications.

The silent treatment is an old tactic. Nobody wins. Some fights are worth fighting and some you have to let go. This is worthwhile. Who cares who else has blown her off, that is not the relationship you want with her. How could she appreciate your understanding of her with angry silence? Silence in some instances can mean submission. G[/QUOTE]

Again, regrettably, I must have not made myself clear. I have never, will never, did never, and never intend to give her the silent treatment. We do speak - it is the tentativeness with which I approach it and the intensity and frequency of the relationship that has been affected.

My intention by posting here was to perhaps get some insight into why she has had so many difficulties with members of the family and other acquaintances. I can't remember any fights or disagreements between any of the rest of us since we were children. Two years ago, she jumped on my brother and began slapping his face for a comment he made in their education agrument. It was sort of a stupid comment (he thought some teachers did it just for the money - they get paid well here in Canada). My brother did not hit back and just took it, but they have not talked since. She ran from the room after she was pulled off him and began weeping uncontrollably on my parents' bed. I went with my mom to talk to her and she told my mother that she would never come to visit them again if "he" was there. Another event was between her and another brother and it was so bad I don't even want to bring it up as it ended his marriage.

So, what I really wanted was just to find out if anyone recognized this type of behavior and what could or should be done. Is it a condition or is it a personality issue? I had hoped someone might recognize something.

As to your lengthy and thoughful reply, thank you. You went to a lot of trouble to help and I really appreciate it.
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