I don’t know how I found your page, but I am glad I did. You are the only one who hit it on the money.
I am taking care of my mother, and trying to let things roll. I also have siblings who want to compete with me about her. It is very trying. They are older; I am younger. How do I make it clear I am not in it for competition? If you have no answer to that then I understand. But thank you so much for being totally honest about the aging parent. (My worry is about her weight loss. She has done that too much. I hope to get her weight back up though. She will be 79 years young in October.) Thanks again John.
Dear Person Who Wrote Me This:
What can you do to prove to your siblings that you’re not trying to compete with them for your mother’s affections (or money), beyond telling and showing them that you’re not competing with them for your mother’s affections or money?
What can any of us ever do to convince people who think we’re mean or crazy that we’re neither?
You state your case; you state it as patiently, kindly, carefully, and in as many different ways as is reasonable; you do it a few thousand times more, because you want to live the rest of your life knowing that you did everything possible to make peace and promote harmony; you lovingly let everyone know that your door is always open if ever they’d like to talk; you feel sad that things came to such a sorry state; you suck it up, essentially kiss them good-bye, and continue on with leading the most honorable life you know how.
That’s it. That’s what you do when people you care about insist that you are … well, someone not worth caring about. That’s all you can do.
Explain; show love; move on. Those are the three big stones you walk on to cross that particular sort of raging river.
People have to be who they have to be. And a lot of times that means them insisting that you are a person they need you to be in order for them to keep being who they need to be. For their own (unhealthy) emotional purposes, they choose their Bizzaro version of you over the reality of you.
People cling to few things like they do their crazy. And few people are crazier about anything than they are about the whole emotional miasma that’s forever churning around the Bermuda Triangle of the relationship between themselves, their sibling(s) and their parents. The whole parent / childhood / “You’re Dad’s [or Mom's] favorite!” thing is just … ground zero for human kazoinkerness.
So you’re suffering from the Eternal Family Knot we all get tied into. Bummer for you.
If she’s capable of doing it, ask your mom to talk to your siblings; perhaps she can assuage their concerns. By all means, invite your siblings to help you care for their mother in whatever way they’d like. (It’s been my experience that people bitching about one of their siblings taking care of their mom or dad stop bitching—or at least stop directly bitching—the moment it’s time for them to actually give up any time, money, or effort. What they’re usually really reacting against is their own deep-seated guilt for not doing what they think they should do relative to the care of their parent.) Always let them know that you’re willing to share the work of taking care of their mother.
Hang in there, friend. You’re doing the right thing taking care of your mom. Life’s a long time; it’s likely that at some point down the road one or all of your siblings will appreciate what you’ve done. If not, then it’s their loss. And a terrible loss it is, for it means them choosing resentment and animosity over love. Hopefully, the love you show will guide them to the place of remembering just how much they love you, their mother, and each other.