Single daughter / "spinster"

I had been living in another state for more than two decades when my father had bypass surgery, and my brother called demanding that he did not have time to take care of dad, since I was out of work, I needed to come home and help him. Four years ago I walked away from all my relationships and moved home with a father I dearly love, but who is different from me in so many ways.


Being single, I was used to my freedom - eat or wait, leave the house at any time, night or day. I had a great social life and worked in ministry (my dad doesn't like "God-stuff.")

I lost all my friendships, and am not available to make new ones. I sit in the living room all day because dad get worried, and watch his TV shows.

My brother, who is a single father of a teenager and lives nearby, working only weekends, promised he would take dad out every couple of weeks. He doesn't.

Instead, he recently called to scream at me on the phone that I wasn't working hard enough to clear up dad's 80 year old constipation. He has also expressed anger that it took me a month to clear out my relationships and move across the country.

Recently, dad had a heart attack and is wheelchair bound in rehab. We have been told that we should look for assisted living, as dad will need someone with him 24/7 when he returns.

My brother is thinking that he will move back home, and I will stay with him - that way, the "inheritance" doesn't get used. (My brother is the "money guy" in this picture.) He said he will come over sometimes so I can get out.

I feel so guilty; and he is not afraid to use that guilt against me. I could care less about the money - I don't want to wait any longer to start getting my life going.

I feel as though my brother sees me as nothing more than a resource for his financial planning.
I do not have a place of my own. Leaving the situation now would mean I would have to find one.

Am I being unreasonable to say I cannot take on this burden? Is it being unloving toward my father? What can I tell my brother?

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setting boundaries with siblings later in life, is never easy
by: Anonymous

yet, many times it has to be done. And again, it is rarely easy, nor is there any guarantee of success.

(I have no professional experience in counseling, only some real life experience as the local caretaker with distant siblings)

The number one reason, a sibling abuses or takes advantage of another sibling is 'because they can'.

You've already made a good start, of outlining the issues that are not acceptable:

- screaming at you on the phone

- not honoring his word, on taking your Dad out

'promised he would take dad out every couple of weeks. He doesn't. '

'My brother is thinking that he will move back home, and I will stay with him - that way, the "inheritance" doesn't get used. (My brother is the "money guy" in this picture.) He said he will come over sometimes so I can get out.'

Consider just calmly and matter of fact, call him out on this - ask him 'why will it now be different - you've promised this (taking Dad out) in the past?'

'that way, the "inheritance" doesn't get used.'

did he actually say this? If so, counter that that is not the only concern for this issue

any confrontation, with someone who's been getting a 'free ride', risks a blowup. But besides distress for your father (a valid and real concern), what really, do you have to lose with your brother? You have to make a guestimate/calculation 'what will happen if I dont/what will happen, if I do?' Often (but not always) over time, there is less to lose, with a person who uses you.

And as far as the screaming goes, ask him to lower his voice, and if he doesn't, say 'I'm not going to continue this at this rate, if you wont stop yelling', and HANG UP, if he continues

None of the above, really addresses the issue of your living situation, it just addresses the issues of boundaries, with the person you're negotiating with, which is where you might need to start. The issue of the 'spinster sibling' is one I understand all too well, that your interests can be considered 'expendable', *if you let it*.

All of this is to be taken at your own risk, or with a grain of salt - or both. I cant guarantee that it wont lead to more harm.

(had to take a call from a parent, as I wrote this, something my siblings NEVER do, grrrrrr)

You mentioned that you worked in Ministry, certainly consider running this past any contacts you have in Ministry/and or prayer before implementing. Good luck

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