I am Tired of Being Exploited

by So Very Tired

Five years ago, my younger sister suffered a massive brain hemorrhage caused by an AVM. As a results she is totally handicapped and my parents have taken on the main caregiver roles in her home along with aides who come into the home twice a day for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening.

I live nearby and have the sole responsibility for helping my 88 and 90 year old father and mother as well as my brain injured sister. I have three other sisters who live in other states, two as far as a two and a half hour flight and one who lives one and a half hours away.

My entire family has decided that it is my life's work to take on the care of my parents and sister, in addition to working full time and having a relationship with my two grown children and four grandchildren. My parents believe that I should not expect my sisters to do more than they do because they simply can't.

With each passing year, their health is failing and their demands are increasing, too. My sister who lives nearest comes to visit about once every two or three months, to have lunch for a couple of hours, or to drive my father to an appointment, or for a holiday dinner. As for the other two, one comes for two weeks a year and the other comes three or four times a year and stays for four days at a time.

Amazingly, I'm expected to visit with them or work on projects with them while they are here and no one can understand why I have no interest in being there when they are here.

I'm sick of being used by all of them. No consideration has been given to my welfare or my needs. I work about 10 hours a day, I take online graduate courses, I babysit my grandchildren, I enjoy spending time with my children and my friends, and I am very interested in many different artistic and business ventures. None of these interests is of any value to my family. They are only concerned with how their needs can be met. I am sick of this one way street.

When I
tell my sisters that I need them to do things, they simply do not do them. Period. When I tell my parents that I cannot do everything, they say that I should not resent my sisters. Clearly, they do not have my best interests at heart. I understand that my parents are very old, and that they are worried about my handicapped sister. I also know that my brain injured sister would never have helped me if the situation were reversed. She would simply have gone on with her life, just like all my other sisters have done.

I'm not asking for advice or sympathy. I'm beyond that and I've already decided what I need to do for myself because clearly no one else in my family has any respect for me. I have learned that the more you do for people, the less they respect you and the more they demand from you. And the more they demand from you, the more they find fault with what you do for them. While nothing I do is enough for them, the nothing that my sisters do is more than enough. My parents respect them. They feel that my sisters have the right to live the lives that they choose. This dichotomy is fascinating, yet no one else seems to notice. I guess it would make them uncomfortable.

I am looking for a good placement for my sister even though my parents absolutely refuse to permit it because they believe she should stay in her own home with a family member (me) taking care of her. I will let them believe what they want, but I will continue to look for a good place where her needs will be met in a safe environment, so that I will be able to reclaim my own life, no thanks to anyone else in my family. My children, who do love me and want the best for me, support this decision wholeheartedly.

I realize that there are not many decent places available for people who have an extended lifetime ahead of them, as opposed to elderly people who might just be in a nursing home for a few years. It is very challenging, but I will not be daunted. It's my only hope.

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by: John Dillenger

It's called "greed" and "selfishness". If you're the only one caring for your handicap sister and aging parents, then your sisters and other family members are being selfish with their time.

You should not give up taking care of your handicapped sister and your aging parents. Your sisters and family members should be helping you care for them.

You cannot force your greedy and selfish family members to help you. However, you can expose them as being greedy and selfish until they do help you. Even if you were to publish it online for all to see. Maybe then, they will begin to help you.

by: Judy

So Very Tired,

What solution did you find? Feeling the same way. Funny thing the other two siblings live close by.

One sibling is the taker, no job, multiple kids, and on probation. Other sibling barely getting by. I have overheard siblings say "she has a good job, house, and car....she can take care of her".

Burned out. Ready to find her an affordable senior living arrangement and move!!

Oh, and Marty is right. Have seen the caregiver child left less or nothing. Be careful and make sure you are not getting financially exploited.

A Losing Battle
by: Anonymous

I really feel for you. I am in a somewhat similar situation with my demented and controlling 87 year old mother and 90 year old father.

They refuse to leave the home, even though they are no longer able to care for themselves or each other, and they have home caregiver aids coming in on a daily basis. My parents are quite wealthy and they have enabled my 54 year old alcoholic sister and have paid all of her bills for her entire life. The more she has completely screwed things up for herself and them, the more they enable her.

Conversely, the more I do for them, the less they feel inclined to help me; they have decided for whatever reason(s) that they will not give me any financial support other than reimbursement for expenses that I have incurred for their own care, even though I was laid off a year ago and have been afraid to look for work or make any travel plans because of their situation.

I'm afraid of having to drop everything and run to their aid, and I feel like my life has ground to a halt. They do not live nearby, so I have been spending much of the last year driving back and forth across the state. I am 52 and also have a lot of health problems of my own that are getting worse.

"I have learned that the more you do for people, the less they respect you and the more they demand from you. And the more they demand from you, the more they find fault with what you do for them." How true.

I have come to realize that I better expect nothing from them and that even after they die, I will be dealing with the pain, anger, and guilt for the rest of my life.

Wait till They Read the Will
by: Marty

You think you have it bad now? Wait till they read the will. You will be given only minor consideration. After all, they used you in life and why not just keep using you in death. Your other siblings are going to get much more than you and you will fell like garbage. I know, it has happened to me.

Have you heard the saying absence makes the heart grow fonder? Well, you are always there, why should they care about you. Your siblings are actually thought more of than you now.

Get out and have a life. I put my life on hold for my 83 year old Mother and it is NOT APPRECIATED. She can say whatever but when it comes down to it, it is just a ploy to not let you leave.

What If?
by: Christine

What if you chose to - say, take a job not so near to your parents and sister? There's nothing stopping you from doing that except for your own good heart. It's time to take care of yourself.

There will be help available for your sister and parents. They won't like it at first, but will probably come to accept and care for their outside caregivers. You're being a martyr, and that won't help your future. You'll just bury yourself in their reality.

Please take care. I've been there.

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