Married Sibling is off the Hook

This is my situation: I am single and have no kids. My sibling is married and had children late in life so her kids are very young. She has not helped out at all for the last 4 years and rarely helped before that because she was too busy with her husband and their busy agenda.

She lives at a distance so I cannot depend on her even in a pinch. She only comes down once in a while for a social visit. When she comes down, my mother acts like the Queen of Sheba is making a visit, and I have to cook and clean and entertain everyone in my house because my mother's house is unsuitable for my sister and her husband.

For the last 7 years, I've had to put my life on hold to help our elderly mother when her health started declining. She is totally in her right mind and still lives alone. She is strapped financially so there is no money for outside help nor does she want any.

I have a demanding full time job and commute. After work, I stop in to check on my mother and take care of whatever needs to be done. In addition, I take her to various doctor appointments and must use vacation time to do this. I spend Saturday mornings doing my own cooking, chores and errands and then I take her out food shopping and then to church in the afternoon so the entire day is shot.

Sunday is my only real free day but even then I have to stop in and check on her because her health is not good and any day I could find her on the floor. I haven't had a vacation in 7 years. My sister will not come down to watch my
mother for me when I am away nor will my mother agree to any outside neighbors or friends to come in and I can't force her to accept any. She also refused to go to my sister's house for a few days.

The other day I had a miserable argument with my mother about my sister not helping out. My mother got agitated and upset and tried to twist it around like I am the problem and not my sister. She said my sister is busy and has kids so leave her alone. She then twisted it around into me perhaps not being willing to help her.

She said horrible things like how she doesn't want my help anymore and that she will take out her own garbage from now on and other mind games like that. I was flabbergasted.

Here I am, doing the best I can to help her, without a vacation for 7 years now, not getting any breaks because my sister, and then my mother crucifies me like I am a bad person for even bringing up the lack of help from my sister! I felt so low last night that I went home and cried. On top of the caregiving burden, there is also an emotional burden. By the way, my sister has also used mind games on me in the past when I tried to speak up about certain things and she threatened not to communicate with me anymore.

I don't want that to happen. I want to be at peace with my family and not have resentments. I just feel like I am in a no-win situation in my family. Whenever I try to speak up for myself and request help, they all jump on me and try to shut me down. Does anyone else go through this?

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I Agree Totally with Your Post
by: Anonymous

I think sometimes siblings use the excuse that since they are married and have children that they have no free time. This is nonsense. People do what they want to do.

If an individual had 20 children and wanted to visit their folks, they would. It's unfortunate that we have people in our society where it is all about them. I understand how you feel because I am in a similar situation. What is really annoying is that when my sister does visit (only on major holidays) my parents view it as being really special, and she gets the red carpet treatment.

The only thing that I am sure of, is that when it is time to collect the inheritance, my sister will have suddenly found more time.

Avoid the Pain!
by: Leasa

Wow, I know from experience from what I am going through now, if you don't put your foot down now, when it comes time to put your mom in a hospital or long term care facility it will all fall on you and yes, your mother will blame you for all her ills, and your sister will make 'suggestions' from afar.

I wish I had more advice for my own situation which is playing out now and making my heart hurt. If I had to do it over,, I would have insisted the responsibility be shared with my siblings way back when problems first started cropping up. My brothers are wonderful and would have helped if I had involved them more before and let them know more often how things really were. You have to be firm now with your mother, don't let her guilt you. Or it will get much worse, believe me!

Start by when your sister does visit that it is in your mother's house and not yours. Don't be guilt-ed into rolling out that red carpet. Your sisters kids and family have no bearing on this, they are just a handy excuse. If you want to have any chance at having your own life without all this stress you have to get tough now. Good luck!

You are not Alone
by: Anonymous

Your situation sounds very familiar to me. My younger sibling hasn't helped a bit except for the occasional drive to a doctor visit, maybe twice a year or less.

She also has younger kids, while mine are grown with kids of their own. I have two elderly parents and a brain injured, wheelchair-bound sister. My other two sisters help, one comes once a year (for a week or so) and the other a few times a year for four days at a time. I haven't had a vacation in forever, ever since my sister's brain hemorrhage almost six years ago, yet I have to hear about what they are doing.

It's as if they are only expected to do "what they can, when they can" and I can do all the rest, all the time, because I am nearer. When I expressed my anger toward my siblings, my father said that my attitude was "disappointing." I was incensed because he found fault with me, rather than with them for doing next to nothing!


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