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.
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.