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Care-giving while fighting with adult siblings

Posted Jun 18 2009 12:38pm
Care-giving is made unnecessarily complicated, depressing and just plain difficult when conflicts and disagreements occur between siblings of aging parents. My family (at least the maternal side) is chuck full of history on this topic. I did not know about my family's history until I was in the midst of caring for my dad. I guess family members being uncaring and cruel is something that is not mentioned during Holiday visits!

The last three generations of my maternal family have specifically faced the issue of family members (in particular, siblings) being cruel. And it seems that unless we as adults choose to act appropriately and kindness and compassion, the next generation will continue the embarrassing and senseless family tradition.


My mom brought her mom (my maternal gramma ) to our home to live when I was about 9 years old. Gramma's siblings were cruel to gramma (they told my mom that they did not want gramma - their own sister - to visit or even communicate). Gramma's siblings were also cruel to my now deceased brother (they actually told this young Navy personnel who was on leave near their home to leave their front door or they would call the police). Gramma's siblings would not let my brother into their home! And remember, this was being done while my mom was caring for gramma in our home. Gramma's siblings expected my mom to tell gramma that they wanted nothing to do with gramma. My mom refused. My mom told the siblings (which would be my mom's aunt and uncle) to tell gramma (their sister) themselves!

Throughout the cruel treatment by gramma's brother and sister, my mom's brother was pretty tight with gramma's brother and sister. My mom's brother and his wife visited gramma's siblings and proudly showed off family heirlooms that the cruel siblings gave to my mom's sister-in-law.

That dramatic difference in how the cruel siblings treated my mom and how they treated my mom's brother was a source of great friction for my mom and her brother.

Gramma's siblings called mom and said that they did not want to see gramma ever again. My mom refused to share that cruel request with gramma. So, mom's aunt and uncle disowned mom. But gramma's siblings adored my mom's brother and he was their sole heir under the will.


Sadly, gramma was still alive to learn of the disowning of my mom. It broke gramma's heart and it caused tension between my mom and her brother.

Fast forward a few decades. Mom is care-giving for dad. But I was with mom as she cared for gramma and I did not want mom to do this all alone again. And so my mom and I are a team.

The brothers (mine and my mom's) have been absent for the care-giving. Absence is something that I can deal with. But the absence has morphed into cruelty since I have brought the behavior to light. But I firmly believe that the bickering must end or it will continue for future generations.

It is difficult to care-give and deal with sibling issues at the same time.

Hopefully, the following article will help you. (sorry you may have to cut-and-paste but it is worth the effort)

http://www.caring.com/blogs/caring-currents/reconciling-with-siblings-after-a-fi utm _source=twitter
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