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Uncooperative Siblings Long Term
I read this message board frequently, and I have a good one
for all of you. I have a question that I
haven’t seen discussed.
Here goes…I am the POA for Mom. I have 2 brothers that rarely participate in
Mom’s care and many activities required to keep Mom in her home. I have moved away from being angry with them
because I have learned that holding on to the anger only hurts me. However, I do strongly dislike my brothers
for walking away. I, too, have a life that
I would like to enjoy and young children that I would like to devote more
attention to, but Mom and her needs tend to be the priority most days.
When this journey is finished, I intend to disburse proceeds,
if any, then be done with my brothers. I
don’t intend to have a relationship after the passing of my Mom. For those ahead of me on caregiving Alzheimer’s
path, is this reasonable? Possible? What happens on the other side with unhelpful
Welcome to my world. My sister & I are going through this right now tonight. One brother (the one with Parkinson's) went over with his so-called caretaker and then my other brother (who'd lost his son earlier last year as well as our dad) called my sister (I'm currently staying with her to hide out) to complain about how we put mom in assisted living and didn't inform him quickly enough (mom had called him complaining that we had taken her car & house) - and said that mom was all upset and ranting. Um, yeah, welcome to the trip, dude. The other brother wants to have all the medical info because apparently Parkinson's makes him a freaking genius with medical stuff. The other brother went to one workshop on "ageing" and now he thinks he knows everything and is so completely in denial that he can't accept mom's diagnosis and just thinks we're horrible sisters.
As far as shutting them out - well, one brother is already blocked on my phone (and his caretaker) - and the other brother doesn't even call me anymore because I snapped at him once. They both still call my sister but she's reaching the end of her patience as well. We will do a split four ways when mom goes - but that will probably be the end of a lot of conversation with them.
MacyRose is correct, POA doesn't allow you to shut them out of the will, only being an executor/executrix will. But since my dad just died and I was the back up POA for him and also the back up executor, I'm probably the same for her will. For my own sanity and peace of mind, I will abide by what my parents want, no matter how I feel. It'll suck, yes, but I am now doing what my mom and dad want years ago and that's what I'll continue to do. Will I resent it? Yes. Will I probably have a damaged relationship with my brothers? Yes. But I will do it with a clear conscience knowing I did what my parents wanted me to do.
Hang in there. Do what you need to do as POA and don't overstep - once you know what the will contains, you can follow the wishes your mom set down and feel good about yourself for doing what your mom wanted, despite your own feelings. Then, cut ties and be done. Move on and be free with a clear conscience.
There are alot of different ways it can go. Your relationship with them before the uncooperativeness, how you feel about it. And you're allowed to feel about it however you want to feel about it.
1. In some families, everyone may write it off as "uncooperative sibling wasn't prepared, couldn't handle, etc" and the caregiver basically ends up sweeping it all under the rug, and life carries on. If you value that family relationship, and you can sweep under the rug without subsuming yourself, that might be reasonable.
1a. The same scenario except the uncoop sib apologizes, says they are sorry for how they acted, can you forgive me? Makes it easy to carry on, if that's what you want.
Hahahah. That doesn't happen much but I guess it could?
2. You decide you don't want to continue a relationship afterwards. That's reasonable. And it doesn't have to necessarily be dramatic ("I'm done with you because reason reason reason reason") but just a general falling off of contact.
So dramatic ending or ghosting.
We will and have ghosted - blocked my SILs number, communicate with her rarely as needed (she gets an allowance from the family trust), will inform her of her mother's death (we are moms POA, mom is in AL currently) and continue with blocking and non communication. We have moved past anger and disgust into a more temperate "looking forward to when we don't have to communicate with her, don't want her in our lives."
We don't owe her an explanation. She has reached out a few times and mom tries to play matchmaker - you can't act like that, and then be like "i want a relationship with you but that requires you to pretend like I never did anything wrong and we just act like the last five years never happened." I don't owe you reasons. I don't owe you anything. We are busy. Voicemail. Block. Read about the "gray rock technique" - it's very useful.
Mom has fantasies of us all getting along and repairing - we are not and won't ever be interested. Some of this is just self preservation - over time we realized, when she is involved or when we are in contact with her, she is more a roadblock than a help. We prefer to just do the work and keep her out of it. But there are consequences to that.
You can decide. There may be people in your life who will say "but faaaaaaaaaamily". They can suck it. I don't need family like that.
SusieL - I would caution in deciding to write anyone off at this point. This is a long disease for most. You didn't mention when your Mom was diagnosed, but you probably know she could live another decade or two after diagnosis. In that time, your brothers may grow up a little more, want to reconnect with your Mom, help you both in some capacity. As the disease progresses any help I can get is whole-heartedly accepted even if my personal feelings about the one offering are less then thrilling! Your brothers may come around, or may not, but keep your mind a little open in case they do!
I say yes, if you feel that way when all is said and done it's your choice.
My siblings and my husbands siblings are worlds apart.
My siblings are I were faced with this dreaded disease with our mother and we all took the crash course in it, as well as many other health issues after our father died suddenly. I am eternally grateful for them and that we all agreed----when we didn't, there was a civil discussion. Wise move that my parents made the youngest and smartest child the POA. He did a tremendous job of holding it all together while grieving.
My husband has 3 sisters and 3 brothers. Currently, my MIL is in a facility, and right before she moved my husband said to me that he can't wait until this is all over and I don't have to deal with any of them anymore. I feel it's unfortunate, however, having taken part in some caregiving for my MIL and step FIL, I now totally respect his feelings. They're not a family and never were. Thankfully the good folks here helped me through all this. Best wishes to you.
This is a topic of frequent re-occurance - dig some more, you'll find plenty of threads.
Everyone can feel this way - but the fact that you are 'planning' this is a little off. You really haven't let it go. Stewing this much about it now may mean caregiving is consuming you down to the bone - be careful, esp. since you have kids. Kids first before dementia. If keeping her in her home is tilting things this way, take a closer look.
Have you: Verbally asked for what you need and been denied? ie I need you to each pick sick days during the year, either Sat. or Sun, the first week of everymonth, to watch Mom? Take her to a neurologist appt? Give me money to hire respite?
Too many people stew in their own juices over this stuff. It still is awful if they don't come through, but generally, unless they have done something beyond terrible (abused Mom, stole all her money, beat her up) that doesn't warrant writing them off for life.
The unexposed to dementia are truly clueless. They can come through in other ways after she is gone, so to have an advance decision to write them off is not a good idea.
My sporadically there, generally unhelpful sibs have rallied at odd times. Now, there is really no one left in my family except us. Are we uber close and talk all the time? No. But there is comfort in sharing memoriess now that a few years have passed and while they were not always there as I needed them, they have come through in other ways. No relationship has all the situations covered.
No blueprint for everything. Once you do something like this, it can do you far, far, more damage than any possible good.
The posters here bring up some very good points - which is probably why we have chosen to go dark gray rather than have a big dramatic good bye forever! discussion. In our case, she has stolen alot of money, lied and so on. As this disease teaches all of us, who knows the future?
There is no need to decide anything now - you have alot on your plate and its good to focus on your LO and what you have to do.
Everything will sort itself out over time. There is no need to make any decisions now - or even worry about any of that now, it will just stress you out.
Unfortunately I can completely relate. My siblings used to be involved in my Mom's care, but through devious and deceitful means pressured my Mom into selling her home (against her will.) They threatened many things, including shutting off her water, and closing down her checking account where her Social Security and Pension are deposited, if she did not comply. (True story, you just can't make this stuff up.)
Since then my Mom has allowed me to step in and I am now her POA (Medical and Financial.) Mom no longer will talk to any of the siblings and they have removed themselves completely (after a bitter battle and threatening to sue them to cease and desist.)
So I understand the not wanting to have siblings involved and "cutting them off."
However, it is not my role even as POA to decide what to do with my Mom's money -- that is her choice. She has requested to have her will updated, which I've asked her to wait a bit to allow time to hopefully create time and space for a decision.
It's hard -- but my first priority and responsibility is to my Mom, if that means I have severed ties with my siblings then so be it (which is very hard because we used to be such a close, tight-knit family.)
Good luck -- as I wish you peace on this journey.
Chiming in since I've been through the before, during, and after. I'm with Lickety, which means I haven't written off my sister, but I have my own boundaries. While I'm not actively angry, I find myself with a simmering resentment that I have to deal with or it will hurt me and stop any possibility of healing my relationship with my sister. We have seen siblings come on this board and find out what others were writing about them, so I've been careful, just in case.
I believe there are people who can't handle "bad". They choose not to learn about the disease, they choose to put their own wants first, and sometimes they don't realize the burden their lack of participation causes the principal caregiver. Sometimes they just don't care.
When mom moved in with me, within a week I was overwhelmed. I was calling my sister every day, keeping her informed and asking for help. At that time, she was calling me, too, so I felt some support. But she didn't physically visit for 5 months because of her own life and schedule. She had the right to make that choice and the responsibility to accept the consequences.
Fast forward to a few weeks before mom died, sis asked if I would tell her about any decline. I think her goal was to plan one more visit when convenient. I asked what kind of decline she meant, and if she had done any research on the disease or its stages. Nope. I explained that every day was a slow decline, and that I really couldn't be responsible for determining the point of decline that should cause a visit. She was welcome any time. Boundary.
I called my sister after hospice called me to say the end was near, and sis couldn't drop what she was doing at work because her backup was on vacation. While she didn't put it in these exact words, I think she was hoping I could tell her when mom would pass so she could arrange her life.
Same with the funeral, sis asked me to delay it to make it more convenient. While my first thought was to sarcastically say "sure, I'll just clean out the freezer and store her until spring", I actually said, "Perhaps you will think this selfish of me, but I need this to be over. I will push it to Saturday but no later, because I have a job, too." Boundary.
Moms death was hard on sis, perhaps in part because she'd done so little. I hate that she is living with guilt, but it's of her own making, not mine
Now sis wants me to visit in May. I'm not going. Boundary. I'm open to visiting someday, but not yet. My sis is funny, loves her family, and has a lot of great aspects, and we share so many memories. But I'm not ready. I've built the fence (boundary) to keep my pasture safe for my own cattle (needs), and if I open the gate to let her sheep in to eat all my grass, I have no one to blame but myself
I'm fortunate I don't have the problem of fighting over money.
I did what I did for mom so that I could live with myself. Not to get other people's approval, involvement or make them feel guilty. Every time my sister texts she mentions how she did nothing, apologizes, and thanks me for doing everything. I hate that. Either step up or don't. I did what I did for me and for mom, not for sis.