Dealing with my siblings is like walking in a mine field - never knowing when someone’s going to erupt.
We’re five adult children of an alcoholic father (he died at 65), and a passive, repressed mother.
She’s now 88, sweet-natured, but failing in health due to diabetes.
One brother died recently at 64 of kidney failure (from diabetes and alcoholism). He alienated us with his anger and lived alone.
There’s much unresolved childhood trauma and anger in my three remaining sisters.
I’ve been attending Al-Anon for 25 years in an effort to change my thinking and behaviours. I’ve had individual and group therapy.
I have people who love and respect me, but the lack of my sisters’ love and trust pains me.
As Al-Anon suggests, I didn’t want to push it on them. I’d hoped they might notice a difference in me and want to join. That didn’t happen.
As my mother ages, when we get together, tempers rise, assumptions and conclusions emerge. If I try to sort things out, they get angrier.
I’ve been asked by my mother to be the executor of her will. It’s a straight-forward will, but I’m dreading it.
I think I should farm it out to an estate attorney.
But after my mother passes, I fear I won’t have any family who’ll love and support each other in old age.
I’m grieving the loving family I never had.
I don’t know how to help them to find healing for the rest of our time together. Therapy is a non-starter due to cost and attitudes.
Expecting the Worst
You’ve already grieved the family you never had in the healthiest of ways – through healing yourself.
Trying to carry along these contrary and resistant siblings is too heavy a burden. They’ll most likely withdraw further.
Take the will to an estate lawyer who’s recommended by someone you trust. Check that lawyer’s credentials and track record, plus any clients’ comments and critiques.
Then have your siblings regularly informed by the lawyer’s office of what’s in the will and how it’s being handled.
Have it made clear, without pushing the point, what your duties are as executor, especially in case of a dispute.
Carry on trying to stay connected the best you can.
But don’t expect the impossible. Be proud of what you’ve achieved regarding your own state of mind, and protect it.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman feeling she’s being “hidden” from her boyfriend’s daughter (April 18):
Reader – “She needs to remove the focus from herself. If he’s protecting his daughter, it’s out of love and respect for her (she should always be his number one priority).
“If they have no plans to remarry or cohabitate, she has no reason to push or rush anything.
“There are statistics about how many fathers behave when with a girlfriend and how that impacts their children. I commend the father for considering this!
“How could the daughter who hasn’t met her be controlling her father’s behaviour? Give the daughter some compassion! Her life was ripped apart!
“The man needs to manage his father-daughter relationship without interference from someone who could just be a transient partner.
“It's not about demeaning the girlfriend. Women coming into a man's life (when he has children) need to realize they’re not the centre of the world, that it's a sensitive space to step into.
“Maybe he's just being selective about who he brings around this girlfriend. The couple don’t want to marry or cohabitate now, so she needs to manage her expectations.”
Soon after our mother died, my sisters and father used power of attorney in a foreign country to switch title deeds to their names, without my knowledge.
I discovered that, two days before her death, they had her transfer her shares of a corporation to themselves.
It gave them powers to exclude me from land here in the USA, all discovered by me after some research.
I’ve confronted them but am ignored. I’ve been too lenient but it makes me feel sick to turn the matter over to police.
I haven’t spoken to my family for two years. They’ve even deleted me from Facebook.
My loving wife, who knows the whole story, wants me to let it go. She says that “karma” will take care of them.
What should I do?
Get legal advice and discuss with the police. If there’s a winnable case, that’s karma too.
Tip of the day:
When your family history’s rife with sibling resentment and anger, aging won’t resolve it.