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Family drama

March 21st, 2015 at 03:06 pm

So I did call my dad yesterday, pretending it was just a random call, and he said he was "feeling better," so I had a reason to say why, what's wrong. He admitted only to a "bad cold" and said he was on his way to pick up the antibiotics and get lunch.

Perhaps it is just a bad cold or maybe it's pneumonia as he feared; in any case, I'm glad he got some meds and I will call again in a few days to see how he's doing. He doesn't like people fussing over him.

My mother is home from the hospital after calling 911 due to pain in her hand. Turns out she had colitis, which is a bacterial infection, so she, too, is on antibiotics. I will check in with her later today after I shovel myself out of the driveway.

Then my sister called last night since the nurse at the hospital called her, too, about my mother. My sister was speculating about something that was a moot point since she didn't know my mother had colitis, not the usual pain due to arthritis.

Since she called me, I told her that with Easter coming up, i really didn't want to repeat what happened at the birthday lunch we had a week ago, and that it is very stressful to have to sit through get-together after get-together when my sister is so nasty, short-tempered, irritable and snaps at my mother. Being in a restaurant didn't stop her for doing that again.

Without a doubt, my sister uses her anger to control and intimidate my mother, and it works on me too. We are both a little afraid of my sister. She is only like this, as far as I can tell, with me and my mother, although she is still generally short-tempered and very impatient.

Of course my sister got angry when I said all this and said I was putting her on a guilt trip. She acknowledged that her anger issues have nothing to do with me, but with my mother. Well, I'm there every time she sees my mother so of course I can't just ignore it.

I asked her to control herself and rise above it, reminding her my 81-year-old mother has Alzheimers and really can't help how she is, regardless of the fact my sister's issues with my mother were there years before the Alzheimer's surfaced. My sister 2 years older than me and in her 50s. She's not the type to see a therapist.

So I told my sister, why bother showing up for these family get-togethers since you are obviously so unhapyy about being there, and since you make everyone else unhappy, and why do you bother since you never lend a hand with mom? To that she replied well then I won't bother showing up. I said fine, and that was the end of the phone call.

Honestly, I'd rather not have someone like that in my life and since she's never helped out with my mother or taken any responsibility for her, I don't think I'm losing anything except a whole lot of unneeded stress and aggravation.

I vented to a friend of mine after that but it's still extremely upsetting. I didn't even bring up with my sister one more thing I know that she doesn't know I know...that's she invited my 82-year-old father who is shaky on his legs to live in her 2nd floor walk-up (outdoor stairs) loft apartment. I'm pretty sure her motivation is so she can collect some rent. And my dad's the only person in the family that she gets along with.

I already tactfully told my father I didn't think it was a great idea because of the stairs, and I even mailed him 2 listings for some very nice ranch homes, comparable to what he has now in south Jersey, but these homes are in the town my sister lives in, which is also just 15 minutes away from me.

I'd love to see him live closer to us so that I, for one, would be able to better look after him, but moving in to my sister's apartment I think is a very bad idea. If he became afraid of using those stairs, I could see him becoming very isolated in that tiny apartment, and he has no friends or other connections in Connecticut besides my sister and me.

Right now he has a beautiful ranch he's greatly improved over the years that is perfect for his needs with a large sunroom, a wood stove he uses all the time (no stove/fireplace in the apt), a small garden, a renovated luxury bath and buddies he meets at the diner every morning. He's just 2 blocks from the water and he enjoys being near the ocean.

He bought that house when he retired many years ago, but he is isolated down there as far as family goes. My 2 half brothers (from his 2nd marriage) live about 1.5 hours north of him in the Rutherford NJ area and as mentioned, my sister and I are even further north here in CT, so it would be difficult to help him in any sort of emergency medical situation.

I only found out about the planned move for my father after calling my half brother to wish him a happy birthday. He knew, but neither my sister nor my father had told me about it. My sister is always very secretive and doesn't share much about her life, so no surprise there, but my father? Perhaps because he knew I might disapprove.

Oh well. I won't say another thing about this unless my dad brings it up. People make their own decisions and I have enough on my plate already.

This morning since I was out of almond milk I tried out a recipe I'd clipped from Better Homes & Gardens back in October 2009! It turned out great...a pumpkin pudding with wheat berries (instead of rice)and I used coconut milk and topped it with soaked dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and sliced apple. Really good and quite filling. It did also include 3 eggs and I'd like to try it again with just 2 eggs and not the 1/3 cup sugar the recipe called for. It was pretty sweet.

Today and tomorrow are the usual assortment of errands including groceries, gas, checking in on my mother, etc.

12 Responses to “Family drama”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    Did you give up on being vegan and switch to vegetarianism?

    Sorry things are so bad with your sister. I cut mine out of my life for ten years because she was so caustic. When she came back into it again she was a very different person. I am shocked at how decent of a relationship we have now. But we could never had had it if I hadn't cut it off when I did.

  2. Dido Says:

    I'm sorry to hear about the family drama, but glad that both your parents have seen doctors and have meds so that at least you don't need to worry as much about *that* aspect of things.

    I can see how having a place that he likes and companions that he meets with regularly would make it hard for your father to move. The second floor apartment does sound like a very poor solution given his mobility issues.

  3. Bluebird Says:

    I'm so sorry about the issues with your sister, but you did the right thing. I've had to cut ties to the bare minimum with my mother because she is such a negative, hurtful person. It's for your own health that you limit toxic people in your life.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Lucky Robin, I haven't given up on being vegan, but I feel I can say with certainty I am vegetarian whereas the vegan thing is still a work in progress. I would love to hear more about your own sister experiences and how you think cutting her off made her change.

    Dido: Well, guess what? My mother is refusing to take the antibiotics now because she read the warnings on all the paperwork they give you. I told her she would end up back in the hospital and that the infection would come back but she doesn't listen to me. Short of physically forcing her to swallow a pill, there's nothing else I can do. I'm exhausted trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

    Bluebird, "toxic" is the perfect word to describe my sister. Despite the fact we live just 15 minutes away from each other, for years I've only seen her on someone's birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. I always have thought that these awful relationships are unique to my family, and it always startles me to hear someone else talk about something similar in their own family.

  5. snafu Says:

    I'd like to reassure you that toxic relationships exists in about 75% of families. There is an old saying that you can choose your friends but not your relatives! With a 50% [and climbing] divorce rate, family members often decide to support only one person's decision and toxicity builds on each get together. So many children don't yet understand a parent has begun down the road of some form of dementia and the frustration of seeing parents do self destructive things causes harsh words.

    Is there any way you can ameliorate the info slips that accompany your mom's prescriptions? She is taking 'possibilities' as probability or worse... fact that will impact her in particular. The pharmacist needs to take an active role and explain that he has verified all her RX work safely together...he's the expert authority figure. It's part of his job description to assist clients. A clerk can count pills and type the label if that was all that was needed.

    I wonder if your sister has looked into the topic of anger management. Do you see her behaviour as long term or more recent, possibly hormone imbalance?

  6. frugalredhead Says:

    I can join the "toxic relationship" club! My mother is the most self centered narcissistic person I've ever known. She uses guilt to manipulate people into doing what she wants them to do, and is rude and disrespectful to those around her. We went 9 months without speaking in 2013, and then she wanted to "make up" and I told her that I was making no more of an effort to have a relationship with her, and that if she wanted one with me and my kids, she would have to show it. Nothing has changed - I hear from her every few months and that's it. When my grandma died a few weeks ago (her ex-mother in law, she divorced my dad 20 years ago) I got a text telling me how she was having a harder time grieving than me because she wasn't in town and had nobody to talk to about it. I didn't even respond to that. I know she's my mom, but having her in my life makes it worse and more stressful than it needs to be. It's a shame, but sometimes that's just the way it is!

    God luck to you, I know how it is, and I will say that the more I am open about my terrible relationship with my mom, the more I realize I am not alone, and either are you!

  7. Kaycee Fisher Says:

    If your Mom has Alzheimers, who is she living with?

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    Snafu, it's not a hormone imbalance. She's been hateful for years. It goes back to my parents' divorce when we were little. She blames my mother, who divorced my father, and about 50 years after it happened, she's still punishing my mother for it.

    To Bluebird and Frugalredhead, I am so sorry. No daughter should have to go thru life without her mother's support.

    Kaycee, my mother was diagnosed with "early" Alzheimer's less than a year ago. She has refused to take meds that could slow down the cognitive decline, refused to take the driving test that the neurologist advised until I had him write a warning letter that her license would be revoked if she didn't. She also refused to have an aide come to her condo to check in with her and refused any talk of moving her elsewhere. She still lives alone in her condo. This is what I'm up against. What am I supposed to do? Physically drag her into a nursing home? Because that's what I envision happening. She will fight me tooth and claw, which is so ironic since she is the one who insisted my grandmother had to go to a nursing home many years ago.

    I feel like what's going to happen is that some medical emergency is going to force her hand. When something serious happens where the hospital doesn't feel she can return home if she's alone, she will then wind up in a nursing home to recuperate and probably wind up staying.

    And that could happen very soon. As I wrote in a later post here, my mother called 911 on Friday due to pain in her hand. It turned out to be cellulitis, a bacterial infection. They gave her an injection of antibiotics and sent her home with a prescription, but now she is refusing to take them because she read the warnings in the paperwork. I got into a big argument with her, telling her the infection will return and possibly spread (sepsis) if she doesn't take the meds but she refuses.

    Now I have to go over there to find out the name of the doctor who prescribed them on the bottle (they won't give me any info at the hospital over the phone when I called) and then call him to see if they can talk to her. There's a visiting nurse scheduled to come over I believe on Monday, but that's Monday, and the more time that lapses with her not taking the antibiotics gives the infection that much more a foothold to make a rebound.

    This is why I'm up at 12:41 a.m. typing this. I thought I was tired but now I can't sleep thinking about this stuff.

    Time and time again, it comes back to this: How do you help someone who doesn't allow you to help them? She may have AZ but she still thinks she's the parent and gets to decide things. I really don't know how others deal with a parent like this.

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    I'm not sure that me cutting my sister off changed her. I think life beat her up a lot, her kids' father died of cancer (they had been divorced just before the diagnosis), her kids were off living their lives after that, and she lost her job and her apartment because of it. She had nowhere to go and she ended up realizing she needed the support of her family members. She came home humble and moved in with Mom while she licked her wounds. It took me a couple of years to actually believe the changes had stuck and start building a relationship with her. It will never be a super close one, but it is there and we can talk and be around each other now. And when my mom seemed to be losing it, she was the one I called for help. (Mom went off a certain medication and has been clear as a bell ever since).

  10. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    PS - I'm so sorry about what you are dealing with regarding your sister and your mom. I'd like to know the answer to your question myself .. how to help someone who refuses any offers of help? Very frustrating.

  11. PNWMom Says:

    So sorry to hear about these stressful times....just know you are not alone...I've got drama in my own family and some days it's bewildering. Hang in there...hope both your parents are feeling better soon.

  12. CB in the City Says:

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. It's true that you cannot help someone who won't let you. You are certainly trying, and that's all you can do. As they say, you are responsible for the effort, but not the result. As for your sister, it sounds like she has no interest in staying connected and only provides drama and pain. I'd let her go. For the record, my sister, who is 71, is still angry about things my father did when she was a child. He died almost 15 years ago! I think she has a need to be angry at someone so she can avoid taking responsibility for her own failures.

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