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Issues with Siblings


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Hi All,

I am starting to have issues with my brothers. It's to the point when all is said and done, I may not want anything to do with them. I really don't want it to get to that point so I need some advice.

My oldest brother kind of orders me around... It's bad enough that my dad does it but I don't need it from someone who doesn't live in the household. He tells me that I have to do this and that. It's not so bad with my middle brother because he lives here too. We sometimes butt heads but we work it out in the end. My youngest brother calls and says keep me updated after he gets the update. He's very selfish and it has been noticed by people outside of the family.

I had an incident with my dad last night... My dad has a lot of side effects from his treatment and his medications. It is pretty bad at this point. His worse things right now are his radiation burns in his esophagus and low counts. He is also very confused. He has an appt. with the oncologist for follow-up. I have lots of concerns to voice to the oncologist. Here's my thing: My dad went out on the deck and took a fall. He didn't bother to say anything about the dogs needing to go out... He just did it. He fell trying to put one of the dogs down at the foot of the two deck steps. He comes in and says that he thinks that he broke his arm. I get him in the bathroom and work on getting his cut taken care of since he is prone to infection right now. He's complaining because I am working too slow. I was trying to be careful so I wouldn't introduce any bacteria in his bloodstream. In the meantime, my mom is having a reaction to the Percoset she took. She has done something to a rib so it hurts her to cough. While I am tending to my dad, she calls my middle brother or he called and she asked him to call my oldest brother. I got my dad cleaned up and checked over. My two brothers came over. My oldest brother started in on me. I just started crying. He has his own health issues but he manages to work. I can't work and I need to but I can't. He and my middle brother ran to get some medical supplies for me. I don't drive so I have to depend on others to get stuff for me or take me places.

About an hour or so later, my dad noticed that his ankles were swollen. I called the answering service. The on-call doctor called me back and I told him what was going on. He said check his ankle for any redness or purple from possible bruising. I saw nothing. He told me to have dad put ice on it. I told dad that and he wouldn't do it. My dad cut his arm and I put preoxide and neosporin and covered it with a bandaid right after his fall.

My brothers picked up an elastic band so we could put that around Mom's ribs. That has helped her. I will see how she is in the morning.

I don't think that my brothers have a clue as to what I do. I go to every single doctor appt., every test, every procedure. I arrange all the transportation. I try to manage the household as best as I can. I answer the phone the majority of the time. The house needs cleaning but I just don't have the energy to deal with that.

I don't have a social life anymore and my closest friends are very angry that my family does not allow me any time for myself. I was suppose to go out with some friends but had to cancel when all the issues came up this evening. One of my friends was not happy about that at all. I don't blame her. They are very worried about my mental and physical status. When I told my middle brother about my canceled plans, his reply was simply... too humid any way.

I get in trouble for spending too much time at the computer. I flat told my mom that this is my outlet.

My mom does not understand my issues with my brothers at all... She's just like they are watching out for you. My parents went away for a few days last summer. One night I stepped out for a bit. My youngest brother came over to the house because he could not get ahold of me. My friends were like what is this with your family calling all the time? They were not used to that. I felt sooo embarrassed.

Truth beknownst... I am totally overwhelmed at this point and my family is not recognizing it all.

Kristi.... an overwhelmed caregiver

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Hi, Kristi.

I am so sorry you are having to go through all this, and worse yet, go through it alone (clearly neither your brothers or either of your parents even have a clue!).

It's also clear from what you write that your parents' illnesses have exacerbated long-standing major disfunction in your family; i.e., the behavior patterns aren't new, just magnified.

You are going to have to set new boundaries if you are to survive this, and it will probably be impossible to do without outside professional help. In the meantime, maybe you could try starting out by writing down how you feel and printing it out and sitting down with your brothers and asking them to read it?

Dear girl, just remember that you can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself first. That has to be your starting place.

Carole

Life is a Terminal Condition

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Wow Kristi. I can understand your frustration and how overwhelmed you are feeling. You have WAY TOO MUCH on your plate and it is clear that nobody else in your family really understands what YOU are going through.

Carole is right. You need to do things to look after yourself as well. You need a break, big time. If it is at all possible, you should try and get away for a few days, even if to just go and stay at a friends. Perhaps one or both of your brothers could take over for a few days, and get a small taste of what you are going through on a daily basis. Just a suggestion.

I hope you find some way to start to turn around this situation for yourself. Please take care.

Sandra

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Kristi

I am sorry to hear how overwhelmed you are. This is definitely the place to vent. There are many of us on here with major sibling issues.

It seems an illness like lung cancer sure brings out the worst in people. The only advice I can give is - try to take some time out when your brothers are around for yourself-go walk the dogs, go out with friends --even for an hour. My oldest brother has not called or come to visit my Mom but one time since she has been DX-he lives with my younger brother who helps me tremendously - people deal with this illness in strange ways but in the end I know I did everything I can to get my Mom through it and you will know that with your Dad too.

Take Care

Dar

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It seems like I am one of the poster children for sibling issues!! If you don't know my story, we can talk sometime!

Anyway, lots of good advice here already, but the one thing I can add from my own personal experience is to TALK TALK TALK.

Let them know exactly how you are feeling, how overwhelmed you feel, and everything else. Write it in a letter and maybe write it a few times to make sure it conveys what you are feeling- without attacking them or being hostile in anyway. Then say/give it to them. That way, they KNOW how you feel- sometimes our siblings just don't get it. They see what they want to see or they are in denial or if they are oldre they think they know best or everything......tell it like it is.

And then let them know that you need help or take little breaks on your own when they are around. Take care of you.

You can't be a good caregiver if you aren't taking care of yourself. Tell them that too.

And ask your friends and others who love you to help too...don't be afraid to ask. People want to help- you just have to tell them exactly how.

Good luck- I hope it gets better soon.

Keep us posted.

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Hey Kristi,

Boy, do I know what you are going through. I go through the same thing with my mom's siblings not my own actually, they are my aunts and my mother's sisters so they are older then me of course and I have always been taught to respect my elders but sometimes they are just so wrong. Its very frustrating b/c you are living it all out day by day and your other brother who is not there is not. My husband once said about one of my aunts boy it sure is easy to give orders and opinions when your not the one here actually doing everything for your loved one. I know you feel overwhelmed and then to think that loved ones like that would give you support now more than anything else. I really don't have any words of wisdom for this except for what I started to do was instead of volunteering info. outside of the home I would only give out what was necessary information. I know that is a fine line for you b/c he is your brother and these are his parents too. You also can suggest him coming to help with the things you do - not sure if he lives locally or not but I did that as well and those with the biggest opinions started to quiet down. Good Luck and remember you do need some time for yourself or you will tire out and not be good to your loved ones. It is ok to take a break.

Good Luck and Rest Up Yourself,

Marci

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I actually got some good news that will help me out a lot. My aunt and uncle are going to pay for someone to come in once every two weeks to help clean. That just lift a burden off of my shoulders. It's one less thing I have to worry about. Now it is just a matter of finding a reputable company.

Kristi

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"simplyklb" My aunt and uncle are going to pay for someone to come in once every two weeks to help clean....It's one less thing I have to worry about.

That's great, Kristi. As Carole said, it's at least a start.

To expand on what Katie and others have said, I'll repeat a suggestion I've seen in similar topic threads. Make a list of the various tasks that are weighing you down now, things that don't necessarily have to be done by you, but things that you'll have to do along with everything else if nobody else does them. Housecleaning, which seems to be in the process of being resolved, would be one of them. Others could be going to the store for groceries, picking up prescriptions, getting a small appliance fixed, bringing dinner, any number of things which are not such a big deal by themselves but can be that last straw to someone overwhelmed. Then when someone, family or otherwise, says the routine "let me know whenever I can do something to help," you're ready to say, "oh, yes, there is something..." Never let an offer of help go unaccepted! Of course, you may find that some offers are not genuine, but it's just as well you know that now as later...

Aloha,

Ned

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Kristi,

Great news about the help with the cleaning. In my mind I am sreaming at your brothers for you, telling then to get off their lazy you know whats and start helping!!!! I dont know if you have done that already, but it seems someone need to tell them that. The way you describe them, makes them seem like teenagers to me, are they, or at least young guys, who have no responisbilites? Hopefully the social worker will help the situation. Katies idea to write a letter is great too. Sometimes it helps to just write it out. That way you can say what you want with out getting interupted and will be able to remember it all.

Shelli

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I got a response from the coordinator of adult Services at Turning Point here in KC. She's going to send me some information. We are eligible for five free counseling sessions. of counseling since my dad has metatastic cancer. I can do the support for supporters since I am a primary caregiver. I told Kathy I couldn't get over to the office for a bit due to my niece's wedding this weekend and chemo for both Mom and Dad next week.

Kristi

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My sibs truly just do not get it at all... My middle brother just gave me the argument that "I work." when I asked him to handle the disability tag while I got my ID renewed. Well if he is going to be a baby about it, I will ask a friend to help. None of my brothers really respected me when I work (used to complain about my jobs all the time) and now they really don't. Nice. I am going to ask my mom not to give my brothers any info anymore since they just want to sit back and judge. I guess going to nearly every dr's appt. and deciphering all the medical stuff and keep tracking of things here at home all day long are not enough for them. They don't see that their sister is totally overwhelmed. Well anyway I am glad that there are people on the outside that are looking in after me. There's a lot of you here and my friends and extended family members. I appreciate it!

Thanks,

Kristi

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Kristi

Sounds to me like you're giving your brothers exactly what they want: zero responsibility.

Don't forget that your original goal was for them to take on more responsibility, not less!

My own suggestion would be that you hold off making any deciisions until after counseling.

Carole

Life is a Terminal Condition

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Hi Carole,

I want them to have more. I just don't know how to make them understand that I can't do it all even tho I am not working. I made the first move on getting all of us some help even it is limited as far as free counseling sessions go. Maybe they will take pity on us and offer more. :) I call my limited free time with friends my therapy.

Kristi

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I know you do, Kristi, but when you wrote earlier that you were going to get a friend to handle what your one brother wouldn't and that you were going to ask your Mom not to give them any info--well, it seems to me that both of those are ways of letting them get out of this? :?

If you can get them to those counseling sessions (or at least your parents), you'll have a professional representing you, which is a heckuva lot better than trying to take on this mess all by yourself (or even with just yourself and friends). :cry:

The main thing is to Think Strong! You're nobody's whipping post so don't let 'em wear you down (which sounds like their M.O.?).

You hang in there, girl. It'll all work out... just takes time.

Affectionately,

Carole

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Hi Carole,

I was not a happy camper when I wrote that post. LOL

Mom can give them info but they need to know that I am handling things as best as I can. If they don't like how I handle things, they are more than welcome to handle them themselves. :) I would be more than happy to do that at this point.

I really want to meet with a counselor.. I really need guidance in handing out responsibilities to my brothers and to make them understand that I cannot do it all.

Kristi

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Kristi,

Good for you for getting counseling. It will help you to know where and how to drae boundaries. Unfortunately you can' force other people to be caring, understanding, or helpful but you can define your own boundaries and what is and isn't acceptable for you. It sounds like there was an issue with your brothers before your parents became ill and unfortunately the illness only exacerbates the problems that were already there. I'm glad you are getting help with the cleaning. You may have to rely on outsiders more than your brothers, I'm afraid.

I'll be thinking about you,

Susan

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I made a call today for nutritional services for folks. They are eligible for a case of carnation breakfast thru Cancer Action Inc., here in KC. I have three family members who work in the vicinity of the office.. One of them will have the responsibility of picking up the case or cases each month while my parents are in treatment. I also asked about a cane for my dad. They will provide one for him at no charge. I will donate it back when he done with it.

Kristi

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Kristi: I missed this thread and just read it top to bottom. You go girl! Since you started posting you've managed to make things happen--cleaning service help, short term counseling for your family, nutritional drinks and a cane for your Dad. Most of us here know how much effort goes into getting these "helps" in place.

I'm going to ask you to please follow through on the counseling. If no one else will go to the five sessions, go yourself. Also important, take advantage of the support for supporters. I'm assuming it's a group thing and it will probably so help you build on what you've already done. You need first of all to give yourself and get from others credit for the great job you do caring for your parents. Your brothers are stomping on your self-esteem and a group can go a long way to help you not internalize their criticism. Who knows, you could just keep growing until (I predict) one of these days you'll be learning to drive!

Hang in there Kristi, Judy in Key West

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Hi Kristi,

I'm glad to hear that you are reaching out to get some help. As many have said, the serious iillness of one parent can cause upheaval in the family unit, let alone two! I am also in my forties, I offered to quit my job and move in with my Dad but he wouldn't let me do it. In hindsight, I really wish I was in the position to be his full-time caretaker. Your parents are fortunate to have two adult children in the home.

Another suggestion may be contacting your local community action agency. They offer many services for seniors (home chore, lawn care, cna's, respite, financial etc.) or can at least refer you to agencies that can. Most agencies have millages or grants which enable them to offer the services for free. Good luck and try to keep your chin up!

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Real nice... I can't even get someone to go get a case of free nutrition for my folks and they work a mile down the road from the organization. I am sooo sick of all of this. If it were not for outsiders, I would walk away and never look back. If it were not for my best friend, I don't know what I would do. She has gone way beyond the call of duty and she is not part of my family.

Kristi

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Kristi,

Sorry to hear that your brothers are being such a terrible pain for you. I was wondering though, what do your parents say in all of this? Do they feel the same way? Do you have other relatives, (aunts uncles) that can maybe talk some sense into them?

I hope better days are ahead for you.

Shelli

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My dad is very demanding so he does not get it. My mom sometimes she gets itm sometimes she doesn't. Pallative care is coming in tomorrow. Thank goodness! Medicare will cover it since my dad is pretty much housebound. He doesn't go anywhere except to medical appts. I seriously doubt he makes it to my niece's wedding later today. I will be damned if I am stucj at home with him. I feel like a freaking prisoner in my own home.

Kristi

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