My Sister's Resentment Makes Her Mean

by Susan
(London, UK)

I live far away from my family due to work. My parents are in the decline of their lives. My Dad, with cancer is so good, doing so much to care for my Mom, who has mobility issues, and needs a lot done for her.


My sister lives in the same small town. She drives them to their doctors appointments in the city, about an hour away. My parents regularly give her gas money. I have another sister who lives in the city, but can't help due to health issues, and her husband won't help.

My brother, who also lives in the city, doesn't help. My sister who lives in the same town as my parents resents her role, and sometimes expresses her anger at being the only sibling doing the driving.

She is vocal about it to my parents too, and her behaviour is sometimes snapping, and hostile to them. I hate this so much. I send money, and arrange for paying for a senior service to take them to the city, when she can't do this, or so she can get a break, but this does not seem to stop her tendency to express herself toward my parents in this hurtful manner (I think it's abusive actually).

She makes them feel that they are a burden...I tried to talk to her about it, but she is impossible to discuss this with; she tells me it's none of my business how she interacts with our parents. She behaves in a way, that makes me feel she could easily, out of anger, refuse to help my parents, or cut me out altogether if I try to push a discussion.

She thinks she is doing nothing wrong. I hate it that my mom and dad are subjected to her anger. When I talk to them on the phone, I see how hurt they are by her when she acts like this. They are always grateful for her help, tell her this frequently, and give her money to try to contribute (they are on very reprinted incomes).

They can't help what is happening to them. I can't help that in my life, that finding work means I have lived so far away. I understand she has her own life interrupted, but she does not have a job, she does live right there, so yes, it is somewhat easier for her.

She had their support and help a lot because she lived near them, for all of her life. And yes, they did a LOT for her, BECAUSE she was so near them. Being away my whole life, has meant everything I've done and been has been on my own, without the assistance of family.

It is not all one sided, this business of being the sibling who is/ has lived nearest. Those are facts. Her resentment is hurting my parents. I don't know what I can do. I help out financially; there isn't much else I can do from this distance.

I love my parents; I feel I wish I was free of a job, and lived near them, so that I could help them during such a difficult time in their lives. I often lay awake at night and worry about them. Yes she is being the one who is needed and available right now.

It is not a life sentence. I understand it interferes with her own life, but maybe she needs to see how she is hurting vulnerable elderly people here.

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I feel for the Sister.
by: Anonymous

I'm in that same situation. My siblings help but I can't get a job because my Mother always needs help. My husband supports us and I desperately want to go back to work.

It's so consuming that no one understands unless you're in that situation. My Mother isn't married so we have to do everything for her and it really can wear someone thin.

My siblings & I are always arguing about whose doing more and whose turn it is. People that " care from afar" really don't understand what it's like to give up your life and put it on never ending hold so you cal always be doing something to help. It's brutal.

Your Sister probably feels consumed by this and it can make people resentful even under the best circumstances. Your Sister needs more help because she's obviously suffering from burn out.

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I am in your sister's position
by: Louise

I am sorry, but I have to say, I know how your sister feels. In my situation, my elderly mother saves up all her emotional, as well as practical problems and issues, for me.

This is, she says, because I am female, because my brothers work etc. The reason I don't work, is because they refused to help look after her, when she became house-bound. Your sister probably gets all this too.

My Mum plays on my emotions and is very manipulative. She adores my brothers and is all up beat, when she sees them. My brothers have been brought up as 'little gods', where they are always right.

Especially, they are quite sure they know more than a mere woman. Your sister cannot be expected to be a saint. If you were the constant care-giver, you would know how it completely consumes you and you would also realise that your parents are possibly more difficult to deal with than you think. Familiarity DEFINITELY breeds contempt.

If you want to stop the situation, do this. Free up your sister from all caring duties, other than possibly the practical ones. Buy in 'meals on wheels', cleaning, shopping, if you can.

INSIST to your parents, that is is you who, from now on, will deal with ALL their emotional needs and worries. Ring them everyday. The relief your sister will feel will be incredible.

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I get it..
by: Anonymous

I get it, as well. I live in the same city as my 86-year old mother, and will leave, once she is in assisted living.

Although I know that I am helping her and my sister does her share, it feels like a burden. I want my life back.

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Your sister is right
by: Anonymous

Sorry, I side with your sister and share her resentment at having to care for my elderly mother while my siblings go on with their lives in cities far away from here. If you care so much about how they feel move nearby and physically help out. Anyone can send $.

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Sister Seems Mean, But I So Get This
by: Anonymous

I understand your sister's resentment in a way that you, as on observer, cannot. I'm an only child so there were never siblings in my equation.

By default I'm the go-to, fully responsible 65-year-old child of a frail, dotty, and often-difficult mother. I can tell you without hesitation or embellishment that it's a huge, mostly thankless task.

Sometimes people will say, well, they took care of you when you were young. There is absolutely no comparison. Caring for a child is nothing like taking care of an elderly person.

And if I had siblings who weren't interested in sharing this burden (yes, that's what it becomes) due to lack of interest, distance, whatever, I would be resentful too. Doing that job can make a younger person age quickly.

You have the NHS, and your sister should take advantage of every service they offer to give herself a break.

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