How I Cope
I have been care giving for almost 6 years with no help from a sibling. I have come to find peace after a long period of resentment and anger (although I still battle it occasionally). Here are some ideas on how I personally cope with care giving and not having any help. A lot of people might not agree with my methods but these are what work for me:
1. First, I do not listen to advice from the advice-mongers out there who try to tell me that the deadbeat sibling is in her right not to do anything and that I need to get strangers and paid services in order to cope. I have found that listening to the peanut gallery is upsetting and worthless and not worth my time. It is better to wipe these clueless people and their advice off my slate and to figure out within my own mind what is best for my parent. I take care of all of my parent's needs with no help from anyone not my sibling nor outsiders, and it works. The main thing is that my parent is happiest without strangers or paid services and I am happier when she is happier. Also I have found that it is too stressful to involve outsiders and paid services.
2. I have found that social opportunists put too many demands on me and I have wiped them off my slate. That is not to say that I isolate myself because that is not true. I pick and choose carefully a few kind friends who I occasionally see for dinner. The social opportunists want to drain my only free day (Sunday) in order to give them a warm body to go out with. I don't have time to go out all day on Sunday! I have also found that social events tend to make me feel worse about my life because everyone is talking about all of their trips and vacations which I can't relate to. I have wiped off my slate such things as Superbowl parties, showers, picnics and barbecues with coworkers, and other inane activities that don't help me feel good about myself.
3. I pray a lot. I go to church to pray for strength. I have found that this has pulled me through. People are fallible and will disappoint and drag me down but God never fails me.
4. I spend a lot of my free time doing simple, quiet things rather than mindless activities which waste my time and don't contribute anything positive to my life. I have wiped stupid movies off my slate. Also crime and trashy TV shows and novels. I focus on positive things like going for walks, reading uplifting books not depressing ones, watching wildlife, gardening, and sitting with
5. I have built up a strong, positive relationship with my parent. I have found that this is one of the major ways to cope with care giving and not having a sibling's help. Not having the sibling around created a major opportunity for me to get to know my parent. I allow my parent to reminisce, to talk about fears and regrets, and we enjoy eating together or watching old movies or cooking shows on TV. I have found that building a strong relationship with my parent has made my care giving much easier in the long run because my parent no longer fights me on certain issues. My parent has started showing me a lot more appreciation and gratitude, is thanking me more and more and showing me more affection. This has only developed gradually over time and by being there for her.
6. One of the major ways I cope is to work on plans for my future. At some point in time, my parent will no longer be here and I will be freed from my care giving. I have started to downsize my possessions and have started to develop some plans for my future. I have ideas on relocation and plans for certain activities that I want to explore. This gives me a big shot in my arm when I am feeling trapped and when I am resentful at my sibling. I have come to see that my life is NOT over because I will have a good many years in my future to enjoy life. I work on researching career choices and job opportunities. I have gotten road maps together for a road trip across the country. I have sold some of my knick knacks and am building up my savings so I can take some time off from working after my parent dies. This all helps me cope.
7. I do not bother trying to talk to the sibling about not helping. IT IS A WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY!! THE SIBLING WILL NOT HELP!! IT WILL ONLY MAKE THE SIBLING DEFENSIVE!! I have come to the conclusion that the sibling is clueless and is in her own world so why bother with her. She will get her judgment and will also find out when the parent is dead that she made a mistake. I have also figured out that not having her help is actually better because I can figure out on my own how to handle various issues and don't have to put up with her drama and chaos at the same time. I have come to see that not having her help is actually a positive thing. Sometimes 2 siblings clash a lot over how to handle something and I don't have to deal with that.