My mom fell 2+ months ago. I found her and stayed with her throughout hospitalization and home rehab. Sibling made clear she could give only 1X week but each time she would upset my mom. I asked sibling to please be mindful and sympathetic to mom when visiting which did not go over well. Sibling blamed everything else on the situation instead of offering mom an apology. Mom does not want to subject herself to sibling's behavior so is not answering her phone calls. Sibling now texts me it is my fault. I can't change her. I am tired of dealing with her nonsense. I work full-time, live a distance from mom but do shopping, cleaning, dr. visits, etc. Sibling and I are different. I am trying to get back to my own life after staying with mom for 2+ months. Do I need to deal with sibling's issues too? Mom wants respect and dignity and deserves it!

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If mom is mentally competent, let her handle her relationship with your sibling. You need to only manage your relationship with each - not their relationship with each other. Refuse to get put in the middle by either and refuse to gossip about absent people.
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NeedHelpWithMom Sep 2020
Great answer! One way to do that is to say, ‘Talk to them about it. I can’t speak for them.’ That became my ‘pat’ answer when my mom tried to put me in the middle of things with my siblings.
I agree with Countrymouse and Barb. As a rule of thumb, I try not to get between feuding adults. Generally speaking, once you start "passing messages" between the two, after enough time THEY settle their differences and then you become the bad guy for passing messages, when in fact all you were trying to do was make things better.
When either one starts to complain to you about the other, allow them to vent as long as you are willing to listen to it, and then tell them you will not be taking sides, nor passing messages.
Good luck!
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MaryKathleen Sep 2020
notgoodenough, you got it. According to the book Codependent No More, it is called the Karpman Drama Triangle.
Each time one of them tries to communicate through you, refer her straight to the other. Do not stand in the cross-fire. You are confident that both of these women are competent adults - fine, let them sort their own relationship out. You can't do it for them even if you want to.

It isn't that I don't share your feelings about the respect and dignity due to all seniors (whether mentally competent or not, come to that); but don't attempt to take any responsibility for how another person behaves. Short of abuse, it is not for you to correct your sister's manner. You *could* try asking her what she would think if any other person spoke to your (plural) mother in the way that she does, but I doubt if she's in the mood to think the point through.

And if your sister has upset your mother, your mother should address your sister about it, not you.

Are there any *practical* matters which are being obstructed by this (I hope, passing) quarrel?

PS I just heard from a co-worker that a "difficult" son (of a client) who has fallen out with a social worker has taken to placing the client's bins across her long, steep, narrow driveway so that we have to get out of our cars and move them to get to her house. Sometimes the best thing to do with childish but otherwise harmless behaviour is ignore it.

The social worker has offended me, so I will make life difficult for the reablement workers.

My daughter has annoyed me, so I will give her the silent treatment.

My mother isn't speaking to me, so I will make my sister feel bad.

Sigh. Go round them!

How is your mother getting on with her rehab? - much more important :)
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Let your Mom and sister deal with one another. It honestly is not your place to be in the middle of it or to judge who is right. You cannot control the behavior of your sister. Just stay out of the crossfire and let them handle their issues on their own or with a professional licensed therapist. And get on with your own life which is busy enough to be sure, help Mom where and when you are able.
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Step away from any issues between your mom and sibling. Have separate relationships with each, or of you can’t get along with sibling have no contact with sibling. Don’t discuss one with the other, ever. Tell each you’re not involved with their issues or relationship and mean it. You’re very correct, everyone is different and you’re not changing others, acceptance is a gift you give yourself
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In what way did your sib upset mom?

Whose version of these events are guiding your certainty that sib owes mom an apology?

From a stranger's perspective, it seems to me as likely that the problem here is your mom's insistence on involving you in this issue with your sib.
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Steph60 Sep 2020
Barb, Thanks for responding. Mom is 91 but very sharp. Sibling has made clear she has her own life. I have heard her messages on tape showing her lack of respect and patience. The tone of voice is not the way to speak to anyone, let alone your mother. I think it goes back to when my dad passed 18 years ago. Sister seems to think she needs to control mom; that she does not have a mind of her own. Why is sister not able to "assist" mom with her life instead of running it. Everyone needs to feel independent and in control of their own lives, even if they need help. Seems like sister has no clue and/or is incapable.
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"Mom wants respect and dignity and deserves it!" This is what u tell sibling.

Good for Mom, she is setting boundries. What she may want to do is take a call from sibling, and when she gets started, Mom then tells her that she is hanging up and when she can talk to her nicely call back. I know this puts a burden on you because sister's help would be nice but you really don't need the negativity.

No you don't need to deal with sibling. I too would not answer any texts or calls from sibling until the attitude changes. Maybe she needs to talk to someone to why she acts this way. It will only eventually distance you and Mom from her. Maybe that is what you need to do. Be blunt and tell her that if she doesn't change her attitude, she will just push you and Mom away. Its not always everyone elses fault. Tell her maybe she needs to sit down and figure out why she is so angry all the time.
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It never works out trying to be a mediator between family members. Arguments occur. People don’t remain objective. Nor are they neutral. Emotions are at their height ranging from apathy to incredible frustration, even rage.

I feel the best mediators are professional therapists. They do a great job! They remain objective and are quickly able to diffuse nonproductive discussions and get things back on track. I have witnessed this in group therapy.

I was reluctant to even participate in group conversations because of my family discussions that were chaotic but with a good leader of a group it can be an interesting and productive experience.

As far as others in my family, they never participated in any therapy to aid in finding insight. Of course they didn’t due to being ‘know it alls.’

I am not insinuating that you need therapy. My situation with my family drove me to the brink and I decided to reach out for help.

You sound as if you have a handle on things but becoming frustrated by your sister’s interference.

Actually sounds like your mom has a good handle on the situation too by choosing to ignore her calls. Good for her! Most likely the best thing.

Why should your mom allow your sister to dictate what she needs to do? I love the block feature on my cell phone. I found instant peace when I blocked my brothers phone numbers.

Sorry that you are in this position. I would not place myself in the middle of it.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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It sounds to me that you are resentful because sister is only willing to give1day a week and you're stuck with your mom the rest of the time, while working full time. Perhaps it's time for some assisted living for mom so that it gives you a break and your sister isn't obligated. Some people are just not caregivers. You can't fault them for that. I'd be happy with ANY help I got for mom. There's obviously a reason why your mom and sister have a toxic relationship. My mom has always tried to run my adult life. She's upset with me because I don't cave. Then my sister wonders why I don't want to be around mom. Claims I'm not doing my fair share yet I'm over there 2x week but don't do things the way my sister does. Don't get between your mom and sister...let them handle things if your mom is so with it.
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Based on your reply to BarbBrooklyn it sounds like perhaps the best course of action is to hire someone to help YOU help mom and leave this sister out of the equation. My OB has ZERO patience and can be abusive. Long story short, he's out of MY life for good due to this.

Other than needing a little assistance, there's no real indication of what her condition is (sharp minded, but mom appeared to be as well!), so it's hard to really say how to proceed. If you feel she needs assistance every day, hiring someone, if she has funds, might be best - they are more attuned to clients and wouldn't use that "tone of voice"!

When dealing with our mother, OB was frustrated and using that "tone of voice", ordering her around. YB observed this too. She considered herself quite independent and didn't take to his behavior. I've seen him do this in the past with his daughter. The best course of action was to leave him out! Thankfully he lives 2 days drive away and isn't likely to come back. His last trip up included a visit I suggested one morning - bring her coffee and a doughnut, and just "chat" with her. It is hard sometimes because of lousy hearing and because she tends to repeat herself, but he had NO clue how to deal with it. He REFUSED to visit a second time, stating he "didn't know what to do with her."

The ironic part is both brothers got sticker shock when they found out how much MC costs and BOTH said for that kind of money they would take her in! Neither would have been good at caring for her. Neither took the time to learn and understand about dementia. OB had no patience and would have been abusive to her. YB is just clueless about what it takes to provide the needed care, was working full time and had no space for her in the place he lived.

Even now, after over 3.5 years in MC, YB still thinks the facility "takes care of everything." No, they don't. But whatever. I don't really engage with him anymore either. YB and I are designated POAs and all 3 of us are trustees for her trust fund, but I just do what needs to be done and really don't consult with them. Neither has asked any questions or made comments, so I just do what needs to be done. I did consult with YB after a recent stroke mom had, but only to be sure he was in agreement with how to proceed, which he did agree to (no extensive treatments, no forcing her to go to ER.)

Once she passes on, I'll be done with both.
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