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Invisible siblings - an ultimatum

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Some of you might now that I care for my mother (living with her) but don't get much support from my siblings. Sister S is great but lives 200 miles away so no practical help. Sister N and brother A live locally but don't do a thing for my mum.

Can't believe it but have just posted an ultimatum on our private Facebook page (the only place we communicate) letting them know that I will be moving out of mums next April (this bit is true - I am going to get a place with my boyfriend) and that unless they start giving some assistance then I will be stepping back from the carers role altogether.

My heart is hammering waiting to see what they say. I'm not sure I really could step back from my mums care (I'd feel so guilty) but I want them to believe I would. Not sure if this is the right thing to do or if its going to blow up in my face but well, couldn't carry on so I've gorn and done it now. God knows what's going to happen. Eek!
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
4,219
0
Midlands
I am very much in the same position, don't live with mum but am 5 mins away- gave up my life to move here and care for her despite my brother living 10 mins in other direction.

I care for mum 24/7, 5 calls a day + 2 carer calls.

They do every 3rd weekend, Friday teatime >> Sunday teatime.I say they....S in Law doesn't go near .

Suddenly they cant do even that ( only done it 3 times AND I book them the carer for extra calls so they only do 2 calls each day).

I texted brother who is on Annual leave this week -'While you are off , go look at the two local homes, I have had enough, cant do this any more, exhausted''

I have no reply.

Like you, for the world I cant walk away. Its so unfair, so unjust and not just for me, but for Mum too.

Commiserations, and ((hugs))
 

RobinH

Registered User
Apr 9, 2012
264
0
London
Hi

Again and again here I see that the problem exposed by dementia in a parent is that the family is badly broken.

As dementia becomes more and more common, it's got to make sense to fix the family - if you do that, they could care for the parent much better, & by the way, lead better lives themselves. Has anyone ever heard of family therapy for adults? Thought not.
 

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Amazing that they seem to be able to put the whole issue in a box labelled 'not my problem' isn't it? I truly cannot understand it. It feels so personal as well as here we are saying 'I'm miserable, I need help' and they don't seem to care at all. How can we be dismissed so easily?

Sometimes I think that when this is all over (as it inevitably will be one day) that I never want to see them again if they care so little about me (let alone our mother) then what possible benefit could I have from continuing my relationship with them?

I can see that Brother A has read my post already. No reply yet. Oh god!
 

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Hi

Again and again here I see that the problem exposed by dementia in a parent is that the family is badly broken.

As dementia becomes more and more common, it's got to make sense to fix the family - if you do that, they could care for the parent much better, & by the way, lead better lives themselves. Has anyone ever heard of family therapy for adults? Thought not.

It's an interesting idea RobinH but I really cannot see it happening. Our dad died young - when my brother was 14 and he has obviously had rage and other issues since then. It has been suggested many times that he goes for some kind of counselling but he never has. If he can't face that then I think family therapy would be a no-no for him as well. He's a big influence in the family being the only bloke and the one that shouts the loudest and without his participation I would question it's usefulness. Having said that I've never considered it before so will give some thought to whether it could be workable as I don't feel the current situation can continue.
 

Mamsgirl

Registered User
Jun 2, 2013
635
0
Melbourne, Australia
Ah comrade, your siblings' behaviour, like my own siblings, is morally indefensible.

Full credit to you for spelling things out, they can never again plead ignorance of your Mum's care needs. Realistically, are they going to change, or would you be better off arranging carers to do what you're hoping to share with them?

As long as your Mum's needs and as many of her wants as possible are covered, and you get to embark on an exciting new phase of your life, does it really matter who does what? Rhetorical, the answer's no. Do your very best and grab what joy you can IMNSHO :)

Good luck,
Toni
 

Onlyme

Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
4,992
0
UK
Amazing that they seem to be able to put the whole issue in a box labelled 'not my problem' isn't it? I truly cannot understand it. It feels so personal as well as here we are saying 'I'm miserable, I need help' and they don't seem to care at all. How can we be dismissed so easily?

Sometimes I think that when this is all over (as it inevitably will be one day) that I never want to see them again if they care so little about me (let alone our mother) then what possible benefit could I have from continuing my relationship with them?

I am in the same situation and feel confused, sad and furious in rotation.
 

MReader

Registered User
Apr 30, 2011
191
0
essex
I hope you find that the ultimatum works - it did for me (but in a smaller way)

My husband has mixed dementia (about mid going into late stage) and I am his carer.

It is our second marriage & his 3 grown up children (all in their late 40 and early 50s) have him for one day a weekend occasionally.

I need a break and his middle son has been telling me since April that he would take his dad away for short break - which I agreed to pay for.

Although the promise was re-iterated every time I spoke to him, nothing was ever arranged. So I told him last week that I was booking his dad into respite care in a local care home asap.

Within 15 minutes, he came back to me with a firm date that he could take off work & suggestions as to where to go.

They go tomorrow until Tuesday - hallelujah!!!! :):D

So ultimatums do sometimes work!!!
 

SWMBO1950

Registered User
Nov 17, 2011
2,076
0
Essex
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

This subject always makes my blood boil! I fully understand all your frustrations.

Your ultimatum may/may not work (probably thinks you're bluffing) but I think the point has to be made. Caring is a relentless and often thankless task (due often to the lack of communication from the caree) which unless you do it you cannot possibly understand.

My sister is in Australia and now cannot even pick up the phone to call her mother and as she really annoyed me with her attitude about 6 years ago I do not speak to her (in fact as far as I am concerned I am an only child). The non communication on my part is a self preservation thing.

I know I have written this before but my sister was always the favourite and where is she now in my mother's twilight years (Mum is 99 next month)?

Of her 3 children only 1 bothers with his Grandmother, I appreciate with the distance it is difficult but he does keep in contact with me regarding his Nan's welfare. Although he has never said so I think he is quite disgusted with his mother.

I am not religous (lapsed Catholic) but my sister is now apparently 'born again' and I hope she gets due judgement from God as that seems all that matters to her.
 

Noorza

Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
6,542
0
Just to say I can relate to everything said in this thread and my heart goes out to the carers. I too have had to come to terms with "losing" a brother and a sister, I'll never bother with either of them again. I have two brothers left and while they don't help I do get their moral support.
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
4,219
0
Midlands
I am not religous (lapsed Catholic) but my sister is now apparently 'born again' and I hope she gets due judgement from God as that seems all that matters to her.

Are you talking about my s n law? You could well be.... Church and her ''other family, my church family'' are So much more important than her living breathing real family!

Sad thing ( or a I just bitter? ) my bro saw mums will when dad died- mirror wills - he's down for half of everything ( everything being 'quite a substantial estate') . Doesn't matter what he/they do/don't do, they get half.
I hope they enjoy it with a clear conscious when the time comes
 

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Been so snowed under that I didn't have a chance to post to say what happened. Well, guess what? No response whatsoever other than Sister N suggesting its time for her to go into a home. I do understand why she thinks that way. She's 200 miles away and doesn't see mum often so from her position looking at the situation from the 'outside' maybe that's a logical conclusion. Trouble is that mum is, I think only just going into the mid stages of AD and I know that it's the last thing she wants. They keep suggesting to me that she doesn't know what's best for her so we have to be decisive and make the decision for her. In the case of Sister N I know that she truly believes that. She would always make what she thinks is the right decision for mum not make the decision from selfish motivation. Wouldn't trust the other two though. They would take whatever they see as the easy route.

I feel so confused. I know I deserve to live my own life as well especially (after many years of kissing frogs) I've met a fantastic bloke who is totally supportive and kind and lovely and I will do anything to make sure it works with him. At the same time though, I really feel my mum needs me more than ever. She and I have never got on that well but these days she's a different person anyway. It's no longer my mum there- just a little old lady who needs me. I feel like I'm being split down the middle.

To hear all your other stories (while I feel sad that so many are in the same situation) makes me feel that at least it's not just my siblings who behave like this. Judging by my siblings response and all your experiences I does rather look as if I need to let go of the notion that I'm going to get any help from them. It is unfair but that's the way it is and I suppose I'll jut have to go on with it without them.
 

Jaycee23

Registered User
Jan 6, 2011
383
0
uk
You know what, the only response you are going to benefit from is your own responses to the situation. Like you and many others I have detached myself from my threatening siblings for my own sanity. Reading this post I think you should keep hold of the happiness you have found with your fantastic partner and do your best for your mum which does not mean you have to carry the load that your siblings refuse to do. When we have parents suffering this most awful disease it makes you start thinking about how short and precious life is. I met and married a wonderful man four years ago and the first year we married (I had both my parents at my wedding) my dad became ill with cancer and my mum showed signs of dementia. My life came crashing down from my jealous siblings and Brother in Law even when my mum was asking me for help they were spiteful and resentful thinking that they were going to lose out on something as they never bothered to do anything for them before other than visit when they wanted something. My husband was bewildered with their behaviour and I have had it all my life but did not have to deal with them after getting married the first time. Please concentrate on you own life and not theirs and get help for your mum and love your life as best you can. I am numb to feelings when anyone asks about my siblings. The care home asked me about my brother as they had not seen him since the fight he caused when I last visited and he was asked to leave. I just say "who?". I think even if you give them ultimatums, if they cared they would have done something. You are just better than them, simple :)

Been so snowed under that I didn't have a chance to post to say what happened. Well, guess what? No response whatsoever other than Sister N suggesting its time for her to go into a home. I do understand why she thinks that way. She's 200 miles away and doesn't see mum often so from her position looking at the situation from the 'outside' maybe that's a logical conclusion. Trouble is that mum is, I think only just going into the mid stages of AD and I know that it's the last thing she wants. They keep suggesting to me that she doesn't know what's best for her so we have to be decisive and make the decision for her. In the case of Sister N I know that she truly believes that. She would always make what she thinks is the right decision for mum not make the decision from selfish motivation. Wouldn't trust the other two though. They would take whatever they see as the easy route.

I feel so confused. I know I deserve to live my own life as well especially (after many years of kissing frogs) I've met a fantastic bloke who is totally supportive and kind and lovely and I will do anything to make sure it works with him. At the same time though, I really feel my mum needs me more than ever. She and I have never got on that well but these days she's a different person anyway. It's no longer my mum there- just a little old lady who needs me. I feel like I'm being split down the middle.

To hear all your other stories (while I feel sad that so many are in the same situation) makes me feel that at least it's not just my siblings who behave like this. Judging by my siblings response and all your experiences I does rather look as if I need to let go of the notion that I'm going to get any help from them. It is unfair but that's the way it is and I suppose I'll jut have to go on with it without them.
 

Noorza

Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
6,542
0
I agree with Jaycee I had to learn the hard way that I cannot change another person's behaviour I can only change how I react to it. The invisibles don't help, it's not up to them to decide what is best for your Mum, you are the one who sees her day in and out, who sees the changes and who manages the inevitable problems.

Don't waste your emotional energy on them, as others two of my siblings are of no relevance. Their opinions are immaterial, and if I find my brother financially abusing my mum again, I will treat him as I would if it were a carer or stranger who was doing it and I'll call the court of protection and the police.

A counsellor once did an exercise with me where we imagined the worry, stress, anger and other negative emotions that we have taken on board were all contained in a ball. He threw the ball at me and I automatically caught it, it was the natural thing to do but then he said we could chose to catch the ball, or to let it drop.

It may sound mad, but when I feel the negative emotions creeping in, I just say to myself to let the ball drop.

While I've been stressing on how to stop my brother taking mum's savings, he's not bothered he's had holidays in Wales, London and Bournemouth. For me to waste my time worrying about his behaviour is wasting my life and taking my happy time.

I had to let it all go, it took a while but I've lost that brother and a sister now. I am doing the practical stuff to stop him doing it again but I refuse to stress over it any more.
 

marsaday

Registered User
Mar 2, 2012
541
0
While sister N has suggested a home, and that is the only option when no one else helps and you are at the end of tether, that doesn't make it easier for you. You, being the nearest and dearest and most involved, will have to cope with that. Getting her there/visiting/ dreading the visiting etc will all fall on you. In other words it's easy for her to say. Knowing you need to put them into care and actually doing it and coping with it are very different.
My Mum's just moved into a new nursing home from a lovely supported living environment. I had to get her there- the worst thing any one ever has to do for a parent. I have to visit. I have to listen to her begging me to get her out of there. Brother No 2 hasn't even phoned to see how the move went. I am very cross. I don't even expect him to visit as he couldn't possibly cope with that, but a bit of support for me would be nice. Thankfully other bro does his bit, hard and all as he finds it.
So I know where you are coming from.
Hope your e-mail gets a response.
 

Jaycee23

Registered User
Jan 6, 2011
383
0
uk
Well said Noorza, could not have put it better myself. Its enough dealing with the stress of your loved ones having dementia than to take on your siblings spite and greed.

I agree with Jaycee I had to learn the hard way that I cannot change another person's behaviour I can only change how I react to it. The invisibles don't help, it's not up to them to decide what is best for your Mum, you are the one who sees her day in and out, who sees the changes and who manages the inevitable problems.

Don't waste your emotional energy on them, as others two of my siblings are of no relevance. Their opinions are immaterial, and if I find my brother financially abusing my mum again, I will treat him as I would if it were a carer or stranger who was doing it and I'll call the court of protection and the police.

A counsellor once did an exercise with me where we imagined the worry, stress, anger and other negative emotions that we have taken on board were all contained in a ball. He threw the ball at me and I automatically caught it, it was the natural thing to do but then he said we could chose to catch the ball, or to let it drop.

It may sound mad, but when I feel the negative emotions creeping in, I just say to myself to let the ball drop.

While I've been stressing on how to stop my brother taking mum's savings, he's not bothered he's had holidays in Wales, London and Bournemouth. For me to waste my time worrying about his behaviour is wasting my life and taking my happy time.

I had to let it all go, it took a while but I've lost that brother and a sister now. I am doing the practical stuff to stop him doing it again but I refuse to stress over it any more.
 

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Such sensible advice from everyone. Letting go of the resentment seems to be the way to go. Easier said than done though. Going to have to work on that one.

Good news though - Sister N has been in touch and offered to either visit mum on Sundays or help me with the myriad number of jobs that have built up. She's a teacher and head of her dept despite only being a teacher for a couple of years so I know she is busy. An afternoon a week is not a bad offer though so I am quite pleased. No word from Brother A though and to be honest I can't imagine anything will be forthcoming.

Feel heaps better though. Great that I feel I am getting somewhere but annoying that I had to go to such lengths to get help. There I go again with the resentment though - must work on letting that go!!
 

Noorza

Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
6,542
0
Arty it is not easy, don't be hard on yourself, for me it was like going through two bereavements, two people I thought I knew I didn't know at all. When you are left to deal with it all and others who are also siblings don't give a damned it can and does feel personal, it's hard. There is no shame in feeling hurt, none at all.

Letting go isn't easy, it takes time, well it did for me. Be kind to yourself and just take comfort in knowing you have done the right thing.
 

ripley

Registered User
Sep 12, 2013
13
0
Hi Artyfarty,
Families really are funny things, for what it is worth I believe you have done the right thing in throwing down the gauntlet.
Lets hope your siblings are half the person you are and do the right thing.
Ripley.
 

Katrine

Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
2,837
0
England
"Sister N has been in touch and offered to either visit mum on Sundays or help me with the myriad number of jobs that have built up." This comment makes me wonder whether you have been specific with your siblings about the help that you want? I am not excusing their lack of support, but it might be easier to get some assistance if you tell them exactly what needs to be done. Then they can choose from the list! ;)

If you've got a stack of repairs to be done then you could ask for help with these. Perhaps the blokes would be happy mending hinges or painting, or carting stuff to the tip, or whatever, rather than the embarrassment of personal care or engaging in conversation with a relative who scares or bores them. :(