I am Ready to Walk Away

by Hopeless Despair
(Pennsylvania)

I am the eldest. I have two siblings. My sister is a prescription junkie, but my parents prefer to say she has mental issues (she was in a major car accident.) However, her desire to self-medicate preceded any accidents. Her lies about me, attempts to ruin my reputation, both in business and personally preceded any accidents. Dad worked many hours and hasn't a clue of all that occurred during the years with my sister, and I've told him as much, but it doesn't matter.


I am the daughter that has always been told I was honest to a fault. I was told I should be a bit more tactful and diplomatic. That has come with age. What I learned, more importantly, from my mom, was to pick and choose my battles. So please understand, for me to write this, this is one battle that won't go away. It's one that I've tried every way I can think of to deal with, and I have run out of solutions.

Dad and I care for mom. I have had no relationship with my sister in over 15 years, despite the fact she lives very close to mom and dad. i live further. Holidays are enough to give me a heart attack as no one knows what will happen with my sister. When she is around, I totally ignore her. Basically, so does everyone else. They just all talk around her.

Btw, since mom's problems, I'm the one that has all the holidays, birthdays, etc. We used to have a very close family, but my sister has become the suffering middle child and convinced my parents, particularly my father, of her mental condition; pulls on their heart strings with "nobody likes me, everybody picks on me; they like her (me) better. Stuff you would deal with children. She's 52 years old?

Holidays, and what used to be happy get togethers are dreaded by all and have become an obligation. This breaks my heart as my children are now adults and soon will be having their own families. I do not want to subject my grandchildren to my sister.

Mind you, no one else has been informed of exactly what my sister's mental condition is, and it should be noted that my sister proudly, if you can imagine that, tells everyone about the 12 step program she's in (of course that's on days when she isn't drugged and calling everyone in the phone book, filling their heads with nonsensical stories), and regaling them with her stories of how many Percocets and Xanax she was on at any one time.

When mom had her first stroke, I took approximately five months off from work. I am a single parent, not wealthy, with my own business, and had children in college. My brother works full time and has two small children. He comes around when he can, and usually they bring a couple of meals.

My sister has never worked and has grown children. My sister has contributed nothing more than a dish of left-overs, approximately 5 times in 2.5 years. She doesn't even come in and spend time with mom. She writes her notes with symbols, believing that mom couldn't possibly read a note. Mom can.

Mom's stroke was two years ago. She had a subsequent major stroke a year later. During that time dad and I were with her around the clock, got her back on her feet, and essentially she is a walking miracle. Yes, she has many, many issues, but she is here, and she seems to be happy.

The problem: My sister still does anything and everything to get attention, even bad attention, (and nothing to help). Whatever she does is "excused." From trying to give my mother chewable Rolaids in the hospital (when she wasn't even able to swallow), to bringing her Canoli's, and other sweets, knowing we were doing all we could to keep her sugar in check. Most recently, mom was put on diabetes medication. We kept the sugar in check for over two years, but lost the battle this week.

My sister brings over jello. I ask: Is that sugar free? Mom went on diabetes today. I'm told yes, it's sugar free. You guessed it. It was not. I have flat out said to her in the past: What are you trying to do, kill her? The result? My father said that he would handle it from now on. Well, nothing has happened. Nothing has changed.

Most recently, I told my father that I was left a "nasty gram" on my phone from my sister and that he needed to talk to her about it as I have too much on my plate to deal with her. His response was: That's because you don't call her and let her know what's going on. He told me he's tired of this ** between me and my sister. I tried to explain on numerous occasions that there isn't a sibling rivalry or anything of the sort between us; that I will not deal with someone who has systematically tried to destroy me, my business, my life, AND I don't have the time of day for anyone that chooses to do drugs.

It does no good. I even said I resent the fact that I'm being told this is my fault when I have been fair to her where my parents are concerned, and have always kept her in the loop as to their condition, including giving her things to do in order to prepare for my mom coming home; and that the only time i stopped answering my phone is when she would call my business line 50 times a day in a drug-induced stupor, leaving rambling, incoherent messages. It did no good. Dad chooses to believe that this is like a sibling rivalry thing, and that I must be "picking on her" or implying that I'm just being a bitch and not including her.

With that said, I sit back and I realize for my sister, the excuse is "she has mental problems." For my brother-in-law who yells constantly and is constantly miserable, the excuse is: "oh, that's just the way he is." For my brother, who sometimes can come off with a short answer: "well, he didn't mean it that way." But for me? There is never an excuse. I don't get to have a bad day. I don't get to have a say. I just get to do everything and shut up.

Now, is there somewhere deep down inside where I think: Well, dad is like this with you because he knows you'll shrug it off, make an excuse that he's stressed, and he knows you'll be back tomorrow, even if you're mad at him? Yes. Does that make it right? No.

Now I am at the point where I feel like a doormat. I resent him. My parents know that come hell or high water, I will always take care of them. I deal with the doctors, question everything, research everything. If I'm not working (I have a flexible schedule - and if scheduled to work and there is an appointment, I usually take off), I am there as soon as possible, usually by 3 p.m. Mom doesn't usually wake up until 1:30 or 2. Dad gives her her morning medications and makes her breakfast. Mom naps at four and is up at six and usually by that time I've made dinner.

Sometimes I've made dinner for three days by the time she wakes up. I give her her evening pills and leave by eight or so, after I get her snacks, and she and dad watch TV until dad goes to bed at about 10;30. I clean the house, make appointments, go to appointments, take their cats to the vet, keep track of everything, send dad out on errands as much as possible to get him out, about and moving, and then go home and work until approx. 3 a.m. every morning. I have been able to take one day out of the weekend to try to catch up on work as the bill collectors are at my heels.

My head is saying: My parents would do this for me. But my heart is saying now, after this last episode with my sister and father: Every day it's all I can do to put a smile on my face, fill myself with energy and optimism and do what needs to be done. To have no one back me up, to have no one take a stand has left me weak and tired and hopeless. I have no breaks. I have lost all contact with friends.

I truly do not have time to go anywhere or do anything due to my schedule. I get heart palpitations just having to deal with my sister and have to grab 1/2 of a Valium from my father just so I can breathe. Holidays I have anxiety for two months prior. We have all agreed, when mom and dad are gone, we're cutting all ties with her.

No one in our family - my children, my brother, his family -- want to deal with her, but no one will say anything but me, and regardless of what I say, how I put it, it is always my fault and seen as just another problem between sisters. I'm tired. I feel taken advantage of.

I feel hopeless, and I am very sad. There is no counselor to see. There is no time to see one. There is no insurance to see one. I feel like a doormat and that isn't my nature. Ive tried to talk to my father, and it was useless. He, too, has a lot on his plate. His sister is dying, his brother just recently died.

That doesn't mean I won't do it. My mom needs me. And so does my father. And frankly, I have to keep him healthy so that I'm not taking care of two parents.

I thank God for my children, but I can't even be a part of their lives as much as I would like because of my schedule. Of course, they understand. But honestly, is there anyone else out there with the same problems? How do you deal with it? I''m truly at wit's end. Understand, I am ok with giving up my friends, a social life, etc. They would do the same for me. So I guess my questions are as follows: How do I keep my promise to both mom and dad that I will take care of them? How do I get into the right mindset to continue? How do I deal with my sister? How do I get past the feeling that I am so alone, taken advantage of and basically thought of as a liar by my father? How do I get past my resentment at him that he can't see that I've done all I can do to deal with her, and do it fairly; that I've done all that I can do to keep the family in tact, the way my mom would want me to; that to ask me to have any other relationship with my sister would force me to walk away out of self-preservation?

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