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Posts Tagged ‘family issues’

“Why haven’t you called?” “I want to be independent and live by myself.” “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.” The push-pull of caregiving can send you into an emotional whiplash. Yet, it’s what we do–as family. We send mix messages. Caregivers feel guilty that they’re not doing enough, and then get whapped with “Back off, I don’t want you all up in my business!” What’s a caregiver to do?

It’s tough, but the healthiest thing a caregiver can do is to stay present in their own lives and refuse to get tangled in the emotional web of someone else’s volatile unpredictability. What would you do for your loved one if you could step away from the guilt, resentment, worry, and fear?

Some of us are afraid we’d just walk away. Some of us can’t even begin to imagine a life without these negative feelings driving us. Most of us forget to start and end our day with a sense of calm presence realizing that the only person we can truly give anything to–is ourselves. Until our own cups are full we have nothing true and good to give.

We can’t drive a car without gas. It simply can’t be done (not counting electric, of course, and even they need charging regularly). When our tanks are empty we’re stuck. In the end, we sputter, panic, and then find ourselves stranded on the side of the road. That’s what it’s like when we continue to give and give without adequate sleep, without renewing our joy, without taking care of our own health. We sputter just before we burn out.

Most of us enter adulthood with a complete set of emotional baggage. Our parents got us to do what they wanted mostly by fear tactics: stay in bed or the boogie monster will get you, make good grades or you’ll be grounded, don’t get pregnant or you’ll be disgraced…from little things to big we learned to live in fear. Fear of failing, fear of displeasing those we love. It may have worked (temporarily), but there’s a price to pay for living in that much fear. We either cower or rebel. Or…we learn to stand up for ourselves.

The challenge is to stand up and say loud and clear, “Wait a minute…wait just one darn minute. I’m tired of being afraid all the time. I’m tired of trying to please everybody else, even when it’s not good for me.”

And that may be the irony that comes with caregiving. It gives us yet one more chance to grow up. To really grow up. We no longer need to cower or rebel. We can speak in love, and stand in our own truth. We choose to no longer be controlled by fear. We can love because we choose to. We can give, and at times, even sacrifice our time, money, and energy for the good of someone else, but it’s with clarity and choice, and often short-term that we step into that place of sacrificial love.

We learn to say no. We learn to stay present in our own lives first. We learn to allow someone else to feel anything they want to feel without dragging us into their vortex.

It’s one of the last and greatest gifts our parents/loved ones can give us. The opportunity to revisit old issues with new eyes.

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Caregiving kicks up family igivssues. It just does. We can think we’re over them. We made amends. Asked forgiveness-forgave–and then we find ourselves back in that vortex of anger and hurt. Are we truly able to let go of a grudge?

We don’t like to admit it, but we like our addictions, and yes, a grudge (hurt) can become an addiction of sorts. We grow accustomed to, feel comfortable and safe with our dramas. Why? Because people fear the unknown. Even when the known isn’t so great.

Grudges. We all have them. Hurts from the past. Times our moms or dads weren’t there for us. Times when our siblings belittled us, took something we wanted for their own. Some wounds are profound. Some of us have been molested, raped, endured physical or verbal abuse. It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult. These are valid. They were and in many ways are knife slashes to our soul. And when it comes time to be a caregiver, these grievances resurface and can get in the way–not only of giving care, if we choose to–but get in the way of our own personal growth and healing.

5  Keys to Letting Go of a Grudge:

  1. Admit you have one.
  2. Admit you’re tired of having one.
  3. Stop negative words from coming out of your mouth–mid-word.
  4. Crowd out those hurtful thoughts. When you catch yourself mulling over the hurts of the past–crowd it out with something else–music, go-online and read some jokes, or call an upbeat friend.
  5. Give your grudge a ceremony. Create a campfire and write your hurts on paper and then burn them, or write them on rocks and place them in a rock garden, do something that signifies that you’re letting go of this hurt–and when you start to say or think about that grudge, remind yourself of that ceremony and tell yourself it’s a done deal. That’s why weddings and funerals are a part of so many cultures–they signifiy new beginnings and bitter-sweet ends.

I was watching the film, What the Bleep Do We Know,and I was reminded by one of their neuro-scientists about the power of our frontal lobes. Human beings have a highly developed frontal region, and this region is our seat of reason. We can decide, change our minds, examine, ponder, and observe–all from this vantage point. If our frontal lobes have been damaged, our ability to decide–anything–whether we’d like toast or a biscuit for breakfast is hampered, if not downright halted. 

Deciding what to do with a grudge is a choice.

Have you ever had something, thoughts that consumed you for years–that are no longer a part of your every day life? That means you’ve moved on–and if you did it once–you can do it again. Somehow, you started to choose to view that hurt (grudge) differently. It lost its “umph” as my mother used to say when a Sprite no longer held a zing.

Grudge sounds so negative–sounds like drudge or dredge. Let’s just call it a hurt we’ve been holding onto for a while. I’m not belittling what has happened to you. I have had some pretty decent size  traumas in my life, so I’m not immune to this topic. I take it very serious. It took me years, years to deal with my hurts. Did you know that sociologist’s have found that it takes about 15 years to work through the issues that come with severe traumas such as dealing with a suicide, murder or rape? That’s a lot of time, but if you’ve ever experienced any of these, you know the physical and psychological toll it took on you.

Why do some people absorb their pain, use it in some  way for the good, incorporate it into their being, and in essence, “move on” when others seem stuck in anger, regret, and seething pain for the rest of their lives?

I don’t know the answer to that.  I don’t think it’s because one person is better or stronger than the other.  I do believe it’s in part, a choice–even when they don’t realize it. I think it’s because the light bulb (understanding, revalation) hasn’t been turned on–yet. It’s part of their journey, and I love the saying, “If I’d-a known better, I’d-a done better.”

But I do know that people are capable of change–great change. Sometimes the shackles that had us so pinned down one day simply fall to the ground. 

For me, I think I wore out my anger and hurt. I got  sick and tired of being sick and tired as Oprah says. My angry, pitiful story of how I was hurt was no longer a story I wanted to tell. I started to observe that people didn’t want to be around me when I was complaining. I could taste my own toxins and I was turned off by what was rolling around in my thoughts and falling off my tongue. 

I began to want to be well. I started by controlling what came out of my mouth. Not easy. Lots of start-overs.  I wrote down my hurts, said a prayer, sometimes burned them on pieces of paper, ready every self-help book under the sun. My awareness and desire to change was at least a start.

There were times when caring for my adoptive mother (who had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) was difficult. Buttons got pushed and at times, I felt right back in that quagmire of the anger and pain I thought I had dealt with years ago.  But I found that I chose not to stay there, in my complaining, nasty, negative self. I didn’t want my grudge any more. I didn’t identify with that part of my past. It wasn’t that “we,” my mother and me were completely fixed and all was magically erased–it wasn’t, and I didn’t want it to be. I could accept who we were, what we had done to ourselves and each other, and I could see that we were no longer those two same people.

If you’re reading this, then maybe you’re ready to let go of some of that back of the closet crap you thought for some reason you had to hold onto.

It’s a new day when our grudges no longer bring us comfort. A new self is emerging.

~Carol O’Dell

Author, Mothering Mother

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It doesn’t matter your cultural or religious background–it doesn’t matter if you’re wealthy or just barely getting by, there are three concerns at the end of life most people share.

They’re heard by chaplains, hospice workers and volunteers, and by family members who gather around those they love and try to make the last weeks, days, and hours of a person’s life as comfortable and as meaningful as possible.

 

Here are the three biggest concerns at the end of life:

  • I don’t want to be a burden
  • I don’t want to be in pain
  • I don’t want to lose control over what’s done to me

I don’t want to be a burden.

As a speaker/facilitator in the field of caregiving, I hear this concern all the time–and it starts long before the end of life.

In fact, I heard it from my 25 year-old daughter. She said she’d rather go into a care facility when she’s older because she doesn’t want to be a burden. It’s a sad reflection on society to think that growing older or needing help to get around is equated with being a burden. (I didn’t teach her this, by the way :))

There’s a lot not being said here:

I don’t want to be dependent. I don’t want to be vulnerable.  I don’t like others telling me what to do. I don’t want to be in the way. I don’t want people to resent caring for me. I’ve dealt with the elderly and infirmed and I don’t want someone to have to do, to sacrifice what I did. I’m scared. I

But what if you’re not a burden?

What if caring for you is viewed as a privilege?

What if you plan enough ahead of time and arrange for the added/needed help so that family members do less physical work and can simply “be” with you–enjoy your company?

What if you do all that you can do now–health wise–to be strong and mobile and live longer in good health? (there are no guarantees on that one).

What if you have something valuable to offer–even in your last years and months?

What if even your dying is considered sacred and something to treasure?  (even if it is hard)

What if, by allowing us to witness your end of life, we learn how to handle our own?

Who else will teach us?

I don’t want to be in pain.

No one does. Certain diseases cause more pain than others.

I can’t promise you that you won’t be in pain.

I can’t promise you that the end will come quick or be sweet–or even meaningful in the sense that sometimes we romanticize certain events and imagine them in a glowing, fuzzy cinematic light with all of our loved ones gathered and all getting along and tears and smiles and kisses and we can be coherent and see them all and hold this wonderful moment for all eternity…and it isn’t always like that.

I can tell you that hospice in particular will do everything they can to keep you pain free.

Palliative care is better than ever–there are all over salves that numb you, take away the aches, meds to reduce fever and chills–but many of these medicines will gork you out. You may sleep a lot. You may not be fully aware of time or of your loved ones coming and going. You might be pain free, but there might be a trade off.

All I can say is that by knowing this now, you can come to some level of acceptance. That’s all I can offer you–or me. I can’t say how I’m going to go–whether it will be many years from now or any day.

I can’t say whether the end of my life will be peaceful or tragic. I just have to trust–and do all I can to attract peace.

But I do know that whatever I believe about the hereafter, eternity, heaven…it will be that I will not be in pain. I will be in peace. I will not carry the pains, hurts, and sorrows of this world onto the next. And that brings me comfort.

I don’t want to lose control over what’s done to me.

Isn’t it amazing that one of the last questions/concerns we have before we leave this earth is about trust?

This teaches me one thing–I better get to dealing with my trust issues now.

Trust is the underlying factor that determines the success of any relationship–marriage, friendships, communities–it all boils down to, “Can I trust you?”

The answer isn’t “Yes, I can,” or “No, I can’t.”

Trust isn’t about finding people who won’t ever let you down.

Trust is knowing they will–in some way or another–and being okay with that.

Loving them any way. Trusting any way.

Choosing and then living in trust. Not trust in others. Perhaps it’s trust in yourself.

Trust that you’ll be okay. Trust that you don’t always have to be in control.

It’s also about trust in something bigger than you–in God, faith, the universe, the good–whatever you choose to call it. Trusting that goodness will come your way. Trusting that the universe is out to help you.

In the end, we all know that death will come. Perhaps there will be pain. Perhaps I won’t be able to say when it will happen, where I’ll be, who will be around me, what care I will or won’t get. And that somehow I can still believe that it will be all be okay.

 

But there is one more lesson here…

There is a lot you can say about the end of your life–but you better say it now. Talk to your loved ones. Write your ethical will. Fill out that living will. Say what it is you want. Appoint that guardian or family member to speak for you when or if you can’t.

Say all the I love you’s now. Go on those dream trips. Make memories. Laugh, cry, make love, sing, dance.

You want to not be a burden?

Start now. Invest in your relationships. Call your loved ones and listen to their day to day problems. Spoil them with your time. Go for walks and hold hands. Tell them how very proud you are of them, of the kind, good people they’ve become–then they won’t think you’re a burden.

You want not to be in pain?

Don’t dwell on pain now–physical or emotional. Live “pain-free” by practicing forgiveness, letting go and laying old issues down. Pain thrives off tenseness, tightness, and focus. Pain therapists use many techniques to help their clients manage pain–laughter therapy, engaging the mind on something bigger, more interesting, acupuncture, yoga…by letting go of pain today, we don’t attract it tomorrow.

You want to not be hung up on control?

Start trusting today. Take a risk. Fail. Laugh it off and try again. When you feel like a knotted fist inside your gut, recognize it and choose to trust. Give someone a chance. Give them a second chance. Give yourself a chance. The person we least trust is ourselves. We mistrust our own goodness. We are our own worst critiques, our own biggest doubters. Start with small affirmations–say them out loud in the car or in front of the mirror:

“I trust my own good heart.”

The biggest concerns of life are no surprise–they’re our biggest concerns every day–when you come to think about it. Every day, we’re given a chance to face our fears–to see our own good–and the goodness around us.

If you’re a caregiver, and you’re with a loved one who is coming toward the end, reassure them–let them know repeatedly that they are loved, that you will do all they can to make sure they’re not in pain, that you will honor their wishes, you will be there–steadfast. They will not be alone. Each time you say this to someone else, you say it to yourself.

I know as a caregiver this time is scary.

You don’t know how. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve faced death in an intimate way–with a family member this close. I was just like you–my dad died in hospital–and I was facing the death of my mother in my own home. I worried if I’d be okay–if I could handle it–emotionally.

IYou will find your strength and resolve.

You will keep your loved one safe–and honor their life and their death.

You will give them the dignity they deserve.

Even though you may feel like running, you will be brave. You will be there for your loved one–and it will change how you perceive life–and death.

~Carol D. O’Dell

Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

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No, you’re not.

Bad caregivers don’t seek out blogs on caregiving.

They don’t attend caregiving seminars and workshops.

They don’t worry about how they’re treating their loved ones.

Bad caregivers feel completely justified in their actions.

So, lay that aside.

If you lost your temper, it’s okay.

Make a plan on how to avoid it in the future.

Make a plan on how NOT to let your loved one push your buttons.

You were probably sleep deprived, exhausted, hungry, your back hurt, you were tired of dealing with all the layers of responsibilities that caregiving brings–and your loved one manipulated you, goaded you, or refused to cooperate. Still, it may be time to assess where you are–if you’ve picked up any bad habits. Verbal abuse is the most common, and it’s an easy trap to fall into. We all get frustrated.

How do I know when I’ve taken it too far?

Once or twice is an isolated incidence, but can you look back over the past three or four months and realize your tone, your demeanor has taken on a different slant?

Would you be embarrassed to have anyone hear you or see how you treat your loved one?

Are you so isolated that no one is around to see?

It’s time to make a plan.

You grabbed them too hard. Gritted your teeth. Threw something. Let that go now.

Say you’re sorry and mean it.

These were warning signs, so heed the warning. 

Do you need more help? Do you need respite–a weekend off?

It’s no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity–it’ll save your health and your relationship.

You might even need to put them in a care facility. You might be at the end of your rope. That’s okay if that’s true. You’ve done so much already. You’ve really, really tried and this is really really hard.

My mother had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, so I know. I went to my bitter edge. And yes, we had some rough times. One time, my mother dug her nails into my arm. I had to pry each one back–while I was in excruciating pain–and she was screaming her lungs out–and I was bleeding.

I thought I’d lose it that day. 

I thought I would, but I’m blessed that I had my daughters in the house. I couldn’t. 

I couldn’t go ballistic. But I also knew that I couldn’t keep this up.

I couldn’t let this happen–to me–or to them.  So yes, there are times when you simply can’t manage your loved one at home any more.

This doesn’t make you a failure.

Some diseases are monsters and they take our loved ones from us.

Abuse of the elderly is a serious problem–close to a million cases are reported each year, and many, many more are never brought to light. While family abuse does happen, many times, abuse is by those who are in the elder-care field. 

Let’s face it, this isn’t a high paying field, and it’s easy to prey on someone who is physically or mentally vulnerable. This is why it’s so, so important to stay involved with your loved one’s care.

It’s crucial.

Most people don’t realize this, but for some positions in the elder field, employees can have a certain amount and level of past criminal charges. This is a legal and a widespread practice.

I am all for rehabilitation. I’m just not sure that placing someone with a criminal background in an environment with little supervision, dealing with vulnerable people is such a good idea. It’s sad that we pay sports demi-gods huge salaries while caring for our children and our elders gets so little remuneration–or respect. Don’t get me started.

Someone who is abused may act or show signs in the following ways:

Signs and symptoms of specific types of abuse

Physical abuse
  • Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two side of the body
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly (a prescription has more remaining than it should)
  • Broken eyeglasses or frames
  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
Emotional abuse In addition to the general signs above, indications of emotional elder abuse include

  • Threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior that you witness
  • Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself
Sexual abuse
  • Bruises around breasts or genitals
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
Neglect by caregivers or self-neglect
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
  • Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
  • Being left dirty or unbathed
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions (no heat or running water; faulty electrical wiring, other fire hazards)
  • Desertion of the elder at a public place
Financial exploitation
  • Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
  • Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
  • Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
  • Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
  • Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although the elder has enough money to pay for them
  • Financial activity the senior couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions
 
  • Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device
  • Evidence of overmedication or undermedication
  • Evidence of inadequate care when bills are paid in full
  • Problems with the care facility:
    – Poorly trained, poorly paid, or insufficient staff
    – Crowding
    – Inadequate responses to questions about care

I share with with you from the Elder Abuse site at http://www.helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_neglect.htm

If you feel pushed to the edge, ask for help. Pick up the phone.

Call your local Alzheimer’s Association, Hospice Associtation, Council on Aging.

All of them have a list of local resources to assist you.

No one wants to take your loved one from you.

They want to help. 

Having a momentary lapse in good judgement due to stress is absolutely normal, but don’t simply hope that it stops.

Losing your cool is your body’s and mind’s way of saying, “I need some help here!”

I hope this list helps you protect your loved ones. Be careful who you leave them with. There are reputable companies and organizations who have a system of checks and balances. It’s better to go with someone who is licsensed and bonded–who has something to lose if one of their employees gets out of hand.

Stay close. Drop in. Vary your schedule. Check for signs and symptoms. Be vigilent.

~Carol D. O’Dell

Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

available on Amazon

www.mothering-mother.com

Family Advisor at www.Caring.com

Syndicated Blog at www.opentohope.com

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In most families, there is a primary caregiver no matter how many siblings there are. Some try to divvy up the responsibilities, but it’s rarely equal distribution because of differing people’s lives—jobs, distance, abilities, etc. In many families, one sibling gets the brunt of the responsibility.

 

And even if you agreed to it, over time, resentment can build.

 

I know of so many families who are torn apart because of this very issue.

Why won’t they help out?

 

Here are a few reasons why siblings won’t participate: they live further away, they can’t (or won’t) quit their job or cut back on hours to help, they have other responsibilities such as children and already feel overwhelmed, they say you’re controlling and they’ve just given up, they’re scared and don’t know how to help and think you’re more qualified/competent, they’re lazy, selfish and just don’t want to be bothered (or so it seems).  

 

While any or all of those above reasons may apply, you still need—and deserve help.

 

Where are you? 

 

  • How do I get my sibling to help?
  • My sibling refuses to help and I’m mad as hell.
  • My parents still favor the uninvolved sibling over me.
  • My siblings say I’m controlling and they don’t like my decisions, but they’re not involved enough to help me work it out.
  • My loved one is gone and I can’t get over this hurt and resentment. our relationship is ruined.

 

 

How do I get my sibling to help?

 

 

SAY you need help. Be specific.

Ask them to do one thing at a time.

Tell them this isn’t fair and that distance, fear, raising a family isn’t an excuse and there are still ways to pitch in.

Give them one “job” at a time, it gives them something to focus on.

Use your controlled anger to INSIST they find a way to help out—monetarily, by hiring help, by buying groceries or your parent’s meds—anything tangible is a start.

 

Or, realize your anger is only hurting you and learn to accept them “as is.” Consider your role as a caregiver while exhausting and frustrating, a privilege, and those who choose not to participate are missing out on something really profound.

 

My sibling won’t help, and I’m mad as hell.

 

Use your anger and say loud and clear what you need, or use it as energy (jet fuel) to do all you need to do in order to survive. But know that at some point, you will need to let it go. Anger is jet fuel, but if you drink it, consume it, steep in it, it will poison you. Do you really want to spend your precious time on earth mad as hell? This isn’t what caregiving is meant to do. It’s meant to heal, teach, and guide us.

 

My parent favors my other sibling.

 

There’s a scene in Meet Joe Black that I love. The man who the devil is going to take is having a lavish, over the top birthday party given to him by one of his two daughters. It’s clearly obvious throughout the film that he favors his other daughter—the one not giving him the party.  He asks his daughter (party giver) why she loves him so much?

 

She answers: “Everyone has a favorite, and you happen to be mine.”

She had made peace with this. She loved freely and easily and didn’t demand exact reciprocal love. She gave it as a gift.

 

Can you imagine loving that freely?

With no expectation—or need to have it returned to you in exact measured form? We have no control over what others do or feel, but we do have control over our own choices. I so hope I can get to this place.

 

My siblings say I’m controlling…

 

Are you? You probably are. I haven’t met a caregiver who isn’t—including myself. You have to be, look what you’re doing? It’s a bowl full of fishing hooks and if you try to pull apart if you became controlling because they wouldn’t help—or if you were controlling and bossy all your life—well, it’s a useless argument. Let them know that yes, someone has to be in control, and it’s kind of fallen to you—but you will listen.

You do want (and need) to value their input even though there will be times that you may need to feel you have to override that if it’s something you have to deal with and no one else is around. Also realize that you may have overstepped your bounds, you may be really bossy and fussy, and want it all done your way—and you may need to listen to at least some of what they have to say—and try.

 

I know you don’t want to hear this, that after all you’ve done you feel like I’m beating up on your too. Just realize I am you. I was that bossy control freak caregiver. And in some ways, I make no apologies—it got me through—and I truly didn’t have anyone rushing down to help me take care of my mom, but…I still had things to learn, and I needed to tone it down at times—and listen.

 

My loved one is gone now, and I still can’t get over the hurt and resentment…

 

Ask yourself why you need to hold on to this. Why does it matter any more? Can you not move on because it would be admitting that mom, dad, spouse, sister is truly gone? Are you obsessing about how everyone just left you, abandoned you, and how wrong that was, how cold that was, how you almost killed yourself and they did very, precious little…

My sibling is selfish, lazy and just doesn’t care.

I suspect this is the case–for a very select few. If it is, then let it go. Love them “as is” and perhaps even love them from afar. You can’t fix every relationship. They have to own their part. Concentrate on you, on getting help and resources you need. There are church groups, community organizations, senior resources that can help tremendously–and they want to. You want help from people who willingly give it. Let’s face it, there are a few totally self-centered folks out there who won’t even extend a hand for their own family. Sad, but true. You can’t let that eat you alive.

 

Do you really want to spend your whole life in this vortex?

 

Even if you sever ties, it’s not enough if you haven’t let go of the resentments. I know people who haven’t seen their sibling for years and years and yet when they talk about their rift, you’d think it happened that morning.

 

I’m telling you, it’s not good for you. It’s not worth it. And it’s no way to honor the passing of your loved one.

 

Even if you don’t have to see them—ever again (not that I’m recommending this), I promise you, this won’t go away unless you make conscious decision. Whatever juices you’re stewing in—resentment, anger, hurt, you will eventually absorb, and it will eventually become a part of who you are on a cellular level.  

 

Let the bitter thoughts go. Move on. Fill your life with new and good people and new journeys. Wish your siblings well. Understand they were scared, lost, felt awkward, missed an opportunity. Feel sorry for them, if you need to. They’re the ones that missed out on all you’ve learned, how much you’ve grown.

 

Also know that people change. I know of siblings who missed out on one parent’s care—for a variety of reasons—but then put in time and half on the next parent—or with another sibling—or a neighbor.

This isn’t tit-for-tat. Stop looking for payment or recognition—I hope you get it, and I hope you put up a big fuss and get others involved—as much for them as for you.

I hate to harp on the law of attraction thing, but it makes sense here: the more you focus on what you don’t have–in this case help from your siblings–the more you get just that. No help from your siblings.

But I also hope that you can love them beyond their limitations and fears. It doesn’t mean they’re not good people. That’s not our place to judge, and who knows what small act of kindness they do, what ways they reach out to others.

 

By loving them when they don’t deserve it, we bring out the best in ourselves and act the most like our creator. I know there are countless times in my life when I’ve screwed up, missed the moment, acted stubborn, selfish, and was no where near the person I aspire to be.

 

We all need a little mercy.

 

~Carol D. O’Dell

Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

 

Available on Amazon

www.mothering-mother.com

Family Advisor at www.Caring.com

Syndicated blog at www.opentohope.com

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