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I am the jerk here?


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I am the jerk here?

So my sister and I have had a rocky relationship for the past few years. We have had our fair share of arguments and disagreements, but we have always managed to work things out.

When my father had a stroke and we were deciding what to do in terms of his care, my sister said "my talents are best served not taking care of him/our parent but making money." She is so preoccupied with making money and upholding her image that she wasn't willing to take in my father.

My mother has also had some personal issues and I have been the one to take care of her. My sister always rambles on about "community" and how we all have to help each other but NOT ONCE has she offered to open up her home to help take care of my mother or offered to take her in, nor my father.

But what really grates my gears is that she'll lavish my parents with money and things she herself cannot afford and she comes off looking like the heroic, well accomplished daughter.

She picks up on my dislike of some of her behavior and has told me that she finds it hurtful because she's just trying to live her life and is always striving to be better.  But the thing is, her actions come off as selfish and pretentious. She wouldn't take my mother in when she was ill because she "had to focus on her marriage" and when my father became ill she couldn't take him in because "she needs to find herself and rebuild her career."

I feel like my sister and mother are painting me as the villain in this situation, when all I have been doing is taking care of my mother and father and providing for them emotionally and physically.

Put it this way, my mother was on the verge of death and I stepped in to take care of her, even though I had a full-time job and life of my own but with my sister, she always put everything in her personal life and work life before them. But, acts all fake in front of my parents by just throwing money at them in the form of Kate Spade sunglasses and Fendi purses.

It's easy to look like the perfect daughter when you don't actually do any of the hard work and sacrifice.

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No,  you're not the jerk here.  Your sister is.  She defers to you because she knows you'll do all the dirty work while she's on easy street. 

I commend you for having a conscience and doing the right thing.  You are honorable whereas your sister is selfish and lacks empathy.  She's narcissistic and gaslights you which I'm sure you're accustomed to. 

Your sister won't change.  Someday,  I doubt she'll have regrets for not taking care of your parents.  😒

I have a sister reminiscent of yours. ☹️ I bring my mother's favorite home cooked meals to her house;  sometimes it's takeout or ready made food.  I buy my mother what she needs or something for her house.  My sister doesn't think nor care to think of what my mother would like or need.  I do just like you @yogacat

I feel for you.  It feels like a burden when it's all on you because no one else is willing to step up.

Lavish gifts such as designer items are no substitute for what you do for your parents.  Everyone knows it even if you're not verbally recognized and appreciated.  Know in your heart 🧡 that you have integrity.  You can look at yourself in the mirror without guilt and you can sleep at night knowing you are a very decent human being. 

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I dont think you are a jerk. However I do think you resent your sister. Dont get me wrong, you have a good reason why. Its you who made all the sacrifice why she was the one "enjoying life and working on herself". While you were "left behind".  But you have to remind yourself that you did it for a good reason. You didnt help your mom and dad because ulterior motives but because they needed help. If you didnt do it, your sister certainly wouldnt done it. That is not something to be resentful. That is something to be proud of. If you knew that you are not their favorite child would you not do it? It wasnt really a choice and you are a good person to do what youve done. Its her that was the selfish one. 

And I think you should say that to her. That you did sacrifice a lot from your own life to do it and that you need help taking care of them from her and not for her just to buy them expensive gifts. 

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Thanks.

I absolutely resent her. She always says "oh my sister (meaning me....) just won't let me in..." but I feel like the only way I can navigate my relationship with her is to keep my distance. I feel if I were to say to her what I really think of her it won't be pretty.

So, I just need to focus on how not to be resentful, not for her, bur for me because it negatively affects me.

She wants to talk about my dislike, but I try to avoid the topic because I just feel like it is wasted energy and she wouldn't get it.

I have called her out on a few things but she just looks at me blankly as if with her perpetual "I don't see it, I don't understand what you are talking about"...and so I need to focus on engaging these strategies as often as I can and keep a safe distance while still maintaining a connection with my brothers and my parents.

I'm just so fed up with her lip service about how community means helping each other but in action she's full of hot air. It's always about who she knows and what she can get out of it... she always holds it up as if she's done someone or me a big favor... but there's always some big problem or something that I'm "not doing" when I reject that and call her on her hypocrisy.

I don't know... I just feel like..... she - wants to act like she is an anchor but she's just a toxic anchor.

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Your sister is full of hot air.  She doesn't get it nor will she ever.  Keep doing what you do, @yogacat.  Whatever you say will fall on deaf ears so don't even bother.  Go your own way. 

This world is full of hypocrites,  narcissists and the whole lot.  There's nothing you can do about them.  A leopard can't change its spots. 

Don't allow the bad apples to consume you.  Stay the course and tough it out.  Be stronger than she is and a lot of people.  This is how you triumph.

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You don't get to choose the family you were born into. If you could, I'm sure most of us would have chosen a different one. Nor can you change or control their behavior. What you can control is the degree to much you let them get to you and what you put your attention on.

If your sister wants to be focused on superficial and material things, let her. That's her choice which she is entitled to make. Maybe point out that she is right, money is important but that the money could go to things your parents need like medication rather then fancy bags and accessories. It could be a compromis of sorts.

More importantly, realize that your sister isn't the important one in this. You're parents are the priority. Do they appreicate all you are doing for them? Do they show you that they care and recognize all you are doing? How about your brothers? Do they help out? Don't let the one bad apple spoil everything. In the end, you are being the better person, helping your family in their time of need. That's what family does. Even if you don't always see it, I'm sure all you do is appreciated and no one else is seeing you as a villian. One delusional persons' views doesn't change all the good you are doing.

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I think fair doesn’t have to be “equal” in this situation BUT it has to feel fair. My dad who I had a rocky relationship with - as did my older sister - developed Alzheimer’s quickly - likely it had been masked by his other mental health issues. Very quickly it was obvious he couldn’t live with my mom anymore - you know randomly turning on the stove - like that. 
My sister was 45 minutes away from my mom and doesn’t drive. I was 800 miles away with a young son. Sisters kids were grown. But what worked for us was - I took care of organizing the intense amount of financial and legal work - finding lawyers etc - and also finding people to make sure the nursing home was giving him the appropriate care while my sister was better with the emotional aspects - getting our mom to open up about how she was doing and dealing with this horrific illness. 
I love my mom but during this time my sister just was better than me at this aspect. And my mom didn’t want us to visit my dad and see him this way. 
We - figured this out early on and it felt right. Can you try - even with a third person there - maybe a friend or relative - to talk openly about a plan that would feel more fair to you. Make a list so you’re not tempted to go the drama route or bring up what you really resent about her. Keep it very very specific but decide how often you need a break and what that would look like as far as her filling in with boots on the ground. OR can she use her $ to hire someone you both agree on to give you more of a break ?

I brought up my story because truthfully I likely spent many more hours in my role than my sister did in hers. And I am a person who likes “fair” and feels resentful. But I was able to see how our strengths complemented each other and how much sense if made to arrange it that way. I’m very sorry for your frustration - I get it - and unfortunately I’ve seen this situation between siblings with friends of mine. Take care. 

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My heart goes out to you, YC.

Like yours, my parents have needed care over the years. Mine are elderly, have had surgeries, and like you, I've stepped up because of my own internal motivations to do so. I've found it helpful to keep my focus there, like a laser beam--MY motivations.

Everything else is just noise. Whenever my parents have praised one of my siblings, I recognize my parents' need to feel pride in having done a good job with ALL of us, and I join them in celebrating. And I block my initial impulse to dive down the rabbit hole of comparison. Instead, I place my focus back onto my own motivations. This allows me to feel pride in myself, regardless of who else is capable of joining me there.

You have integrity, you live according to a set of ethics that you have deliberately chosen for yourself, and nobody else can comprehend the peace that this will bring you long after your parents are no longer in need of your care. Nobody can take that away from you, no matter how obnoxiously they might behave in an attempt to repress their own guilt.

Head high.

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Family dynamics are tough around these situations.  You need to accept that she is never going to do the daily care.  Stop beating your head on that rock.  

Instead because she's so self-proclaimed good at making money, tell her the things she can pay for like a nursing home, a home health aide, respite care etc. Sometimes throwing money at a problem can help 

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Yoga! 
 

I’m sorry you’re going through this. Man, what a navigation family can be! And unlike bad friends, it’s much much harder to avoid or ignore them, or divorce yourself altogether! 
 

I can see from what you have said - you have made all the meaningful sacrifices, where as, she has given all the excuses, then tried to mask her lack of effort and care with (pretty useless) gifts. 
 

What I have learnt is - if your parents are fair and decent, fair and decent parents know their children well and know exactly what’s going down! BUT! They have this really annoying thing they have to do that frustrates us, their children - because they have to maintain diplomacy in situations between all their kids. I have seen this myself with me and my sister. Good parents never want to take a side. Maybe you would like your support from your partners on this issue but, because of this diplomacy pact parents seem to have, you might not get it. Just know they probably realise deep down what you have done, and potentially the games your sister plays - even if they don’t ever say it. 
 

I have to second the opinion of calmly sitting down in a family meeting like setting and laying out a plan for the future - what roles of care you both take on, how many hours and what responsibilities. If she can, she really should help in some capacity and I think you need that from her to stay sane? 
 

I also have to agree that going at her will not make anything better. I have, as you know, grievances and major personality differences with my own sister and laying it all out there in a moment of passion brought nothing good! (It made her clear off! But I now feel guilty for making things awkward for my parents!) 

 

If you feel very angry with her, I would keep your distance for many weeks or even months until you think there is less risk of you boiling over. Tensions might get high and I can understand why. But I think you all need a bit of a sit down, potentially with your parents present as well if they are able enough - for mediation and input.

 

All the best Yoga! Just know you are doing the right thing and, the right thing is often the hard thing - but you can go to sleep at night knowing you’re taking a hard but right option. 
 

Try get her to pay for a couple of days a month respite care so you can have some time off! 
 

x

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You are the strong one. She's not strong enough to face reality. 

I totally get your feelings towards her. It's annoying. It's aggravating. It's hurtful. 

End of the day though, you are strong and she is weak. I don't mean that as an insult to her. I mean that as another one of those facing reality moments. 

It'd be great to have that person be stronger than she is so you could do this together. Instead it's Yoga. Doing it herself. 

I admire you and think after this part is over, you will find the resentment passing and a sort of clarity come over you "holy $^$, I am so proud of what I did". 

My brother and I cared for my mom when she was sick, but there were other bad actors that made me feel the way you feel. Grown adults who couldn't do it, couldn't show up, so ..they compensate and find flaws with those who do. Hurt at the time and yet I have zero regrets for my part. Like what said, they were and are noise in situations where it was someone else that really mattered. 

 

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2 hours ago, itsallgrand said:

You are the strong one. She's not strong enough to face reality. 

I totally get your feelings towards her. It's annoying. It's aggravating. It's hurtful. 

End of the day though, you are strong and she is weak. I don't mean that as an insult to her. I mean that as another one of those facing reality moments. 

It'd be great to have that person be stronger than she is so you could do this together. Instead it's Yoga. Doing it herself. 

I admire you and think after this part is over, you will find the resentment passing and a sort of clarity come over you "holy $^$, I am so proud of what I did". 

My brother and I cared for my mom when she was sick, but there were other bad actors that made me feel the way you feel. Grown adults who couldn't do it, couldn't show up, so ..they compensate and find flaws with those who do. Hurt at the time and yet I have zero regrets for my part. Like what said, they were and are noise in situations where it was someone else that really mattered. 

 

Thank you (and thanks everyone for the other comments).

At times I feel so alone in my family, my sister being the one that is basically a Hollywood Housewife (but divorced) that is so obsessed with her image and counting down to her next shopping expedition.

My brother, that while has been very helpful with my father, is going through a phase where all he wants to do is have surface level fleeting wild sex orgies with random strangers. My sister is kind of into it with her lifestyle so naturally I feel like the lone ranger.

My brother stays at the house with my father to help care for him but he recently asked if it was alright to bring a random stranger to the garage late at night to have sex. 

I can't belive I am sharing this but I feel so alone! icky. I told him to draw a line and try to curb events like this while he was here helping with the caregivers of my fathers stuff.

My brother and my sister both look at me at me as this square judgey figure, while I feel like I'm looking at them as little lost sheep with whirlwinds lifestyles. It's beyond frustrating. 😑

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Ugh that is frustrating and completely inappropriate of your brother to make that request. We’re leaving our home city in an hour to head home and spent 5 days at the apartment I grew up in with my mom. It’s very very hard to watch her getting  older. And she actually is in good health. There are constant reminders of the slowing down , the fragility. So I can’t imagine dealing also with less than good health and family drama. Take care and I’m glad you said no to your brother- good example of standing up for yourself. I did so when one of my nieces wanted to visit my mother during the heart of Covid with the kids and be in her apartment etc. it was hard to put my foot down - but had to be done. 

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42 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Ugh that is frustrating and completely inappropriate of your brother to make that request. We’re leaving our home city in an hour to head home and spent 5 days at the apartment I grew up in with my mom. It’s very very hard to watch her getting  older. And she actually is in good health. There are constant reminders of the slowing down , the fragility. So I can’t imagine dealing also with less than good health and family drama. Take care and I’m glad you said no to your brother- good example of standing up for yourself. I did so when one of my nieces wanted to visit my mother during the heart of Covid with the kids and be in her apartment etc. it was hard to put my foot down - but had to be done. 

It is frustrating. Very much so...

I wish sometimes that I could just leave and not have any contact with them. But, I can't because we're all kind of in this together with my parents aging and needing the help. I'm thankful for my extended family that I am close with (aunts, cousins, etc.) but my immediate family, ugh.

My sister is trying to launch a new business about community and helping others. Now, the picture for her group is of her looking very seductive. Anyway, she invited me to the group, asked me to post a video about myself and a picture and talk about in the video how I aspire to help serve my community (I explained in the video that I am going into Healthcare Admin and want to help disenfranchised and poor communities have access to the tools and resources to get help--I mentioned earlier in the video that right out of high school I was making over $100K a year with no formal education working at an ad agency, but that that is not what inspires me to help those who need it most, and so forth).

She removed me from the group and said to me that my video was inappropriate because it "was all about me." I was like ***? 😕I thought we were suppose to introduce ourselves (at least what or who inspires you?). Thanks for kicking me out of the group, and showing me that you use women's bodies to market your business.

I feel like at times she's one complete mind-bleep!

I'm glad you were able to stand up for your mom and not let your niece potentially put her at risk during a pandemic. It's tough standing up to family and their requests/demands so I can 100% appreciate that wasn't easy.

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3 hours ago, yogacat said:

I mentioned earlier in the video that right out of high school I was making over $100K a year with no formal education working at an ad agency, but that that is not what inspires me to help those who need it most,

I hope you're willing to consider that this ^^^ may have been her issue. It's probably not a great idea to flaunt wealth in front of a cause that deals with poverty. It doesn't send the message you may have intended.

I do agree with you that flaunting sexuality isn't any better.

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2 hours ago, catfeeder said:

I hope you're willing to consider that this ^^^ may have been her issue. It's probably not a great idea to flaunt wealth in front of a cause that deals with poverty. It doesn't send the message you may have intended.

I do agree with you that flaunting sexuality isn't any better.

Normally I would agree albeit her vision of helping community is networking and referrals for very wealthy individuals looking to connect with ones also in their social class.  And so her having her body showing in her headshot (along with several other provocative photos, her in a bathing suit, and a few in lingerie with her butt cheeks hanging out) makes me wonder what she was really thinking as she is now helping those in her "echelon."

I honestly thought it was weird and I still think it's odd. 

She aspires to obtain a private jet and when I say spends money 24/7 on her appearance based on her saying "I have to maintain a certain look to be connected to those that have the wealth to support my vision." When she said this I didn't know half of her photos would be near naked--and if so, why are those images necessary at all?

I realized while I was in the group for a few days it overall focus is to help others which I was completely game for.  Not for this ideal that $10,000 for the course to learn how a private jet is going to respond. She asked me to join and post a video describing myself and how I plan to help others, and when she said my video made it seem like it was all about me I was floored.

I wanted to say that with my healthcare admin degree I hope to connect with others that need support regardless of their socioeconomic status. 

This is just one example. She does have various talents and has accomplished goals beyond most, however posting half naked photos on a page that is labeled supporters of community assistance actually brings my stomach acid to once. 

She has initiated this image as a mode for herself for plenty of years, this is an initial image hook for her marketing and as her sister I am unsure what to say. She has on many occasions used seduction as a symbol through her ventures as of late.

I don't feel comfortable in doing so. 

In any event, I said to her recently exactly what I posted earlier "that you always ramble on about 'community' and how you and we all have to help each other but NOT ONCE have you offered to open up your home to help take care of our mother or offered to take her in, nor our father. First you put your relationship above her, then you took off for three years because you had to 'find yourself.' Our father is more than welcome with me for six months, but then it's your turn."

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I'd consider it a blessing in disguise that she opted to take you out of her venture. It doesn't sound in line with what you are about anyways. It's a vanity project.

Try not to get sucked into their distractions. I know, easier said than done. But you have to preserve your mental health and energy, because those are precious and you have enough demands on those already.

 

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23 hours ago, itsallgrand said:

I'd consider it a blessing in disguise that she opted to take you out of her venture. It doesn't sound in line with what you are about anyways. It's a vanity project.

Try not to get sucked into their distractions. I know, easier said than done. But you have to preserve your mental health and energy, because those are precious and you have enough demands on those already.

 

It does appear that way.

My sister suffers from ADHD and mania sometimes so it's hard to distinguish what form of her is her true form and which is not. 

Thanks, that's what I am trying to do.

1st Priority (Personal Health, physical, emotional, spiritual);
2nd Priority (Purpose);
3rd Priority (Intimate Relationships).

I used to kind of like just tend to tasks as soon as they arise out of the blue like I would make it a priority. Now, I'm getting better at asking myself, "Do I really have to or should I put this off and just make this a priority for the next day or so?"

If it's the latter, then I'm able to push it off. So far.

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