Controlling sister

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Holly 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #55760 Reply


    My mom just started chemo for stage 4 cancer. We all live within a few blocks of each other, but my sister has really jumped into the caregiver role. Which is great, except for that she won’t give the rest of us any information. She’s setting up appointments and not telling us about any of them, but then she’s so upset that we’re not there to go with mom — how can we know if she doesn’t tell us?

    She keeps saying she doesn’t need our help, even though between us siblings and our older kids someone could be with mom 24/7 no problem. Instead, my one sister is taking it all on herself. Now when one of us goes over, my sister acts like we’re intruders. There’s no need for her to be a martyr. And, frankly, we all deserve this time to be with our mom.

    My other siblings think she’s trying to go after the house. I don’t think that’s it at all. I think my sister just wants to feel in control. But it’s hurting all of us and it must be hurting her, too.

    There’s likely only a few months left, so I need to figure out how to address this ASAP.

  • #55771 Reply

    Joy Johnston

    This sounds like a tough situation. It does seem like your sister is using control as a means to deal with the situation at hand. That is fairly common, but as you said, you and your siblings of course have a right to spend time with your mother.

    I am no expert, but if there was a neutral third-party who could have a family meeting, where everyone’s feelings and thoughts could be heard, that might help. And spinning it so that you are offering to help with caregiving duties so that your sister doesn’t burn out may be another option, if you haven’t tried that yet. Make it about her for the moment, that you so much appreciate all that she has done but that you are concerned about her health, well-being, etc.

    I hope you and your family are able to work something out. By all means, do try to get that quality time with your mother. It is precious.

  • #55777 Reply


    Joy is absolutely right! Have a family meeting, explain to her that she can’t carry the burden of all the responsibility ( I’m sure she does this to keep her mind busy so that she doesn’t have time to think about what it will be like when your mother passes). Let her know that all of you want quality time with her as well as going to her doctors appointments.
    Have the family meeeting with this agenda: 1.) a schedule of who will stay with your mom so that everyone can have time with her (of course, this doesn’t mean any of you can’t stop by for visits any time you want, this IS your mother)! 2) make an updated list of her medications and when she takes them so that you all know when each of you are there exactly what her medications are and when she should receive them. 3.) make it understood that all doctors appointments will be related to everyone and that ( if possible) two of you will go with your mother, that way someone other than your sister can ask some questions. In fact, it would be good if your sister did not go to some of the appointments so that she can see that the burden of care is not completely on her shoulders. 4.) each of you need to get a list of her doctors (if for some reason she doesn’t tell you, look at her medication bottles for the prescribing physition) and call the doctors to ensure that you have the correct times for the next appointments and you could also get copies of her medical records so that you could educate yourself on what has been done. And finally, make sure your sister knows you appreciate her, want to help and mostly want to spend time with your mother. If she takes offense or tries to block you, you and your siblings may have to enforce your rights as your mothers children. During this difficult time I pray that this can be peaceful and a time that you can come together as a family. My prayers are with you and I am so sorry for what your family is going through!

  • #55811 Reply

    Lynda Lee

    Sometimes sharing all the details as well as the doing is overwhelming. My family set up a shared calendar — you can do it through Outlook, Google Drive/google docs… and it’s huge. Everyone is responsible to read and keep up, as well as support one another in the work to be done.

  • #56005 Reply


    Sometimes you just have to push people to accept help. Don’t offer, tell.

    I use Tyze to keep track of everything. Sounds like it might help you:

    Good luck!

  • #56871 Reply

    Sheryl Decker

    Last year my brother started controlling everything about my Mom. He talked her into leaving her home in Michigan of 50 plus years to move to their house in Arkansas. All within 6 days. My oldest granddaughter and I went to AR to see Mom shortly after the move. My brother and his wife went to church every Sunday, alone, so they wouldn’t leave Mom alone. I am trained as a Certified Nurses Assistand and Certified Medical Assistant. Both Mom and I told them to go to church, together. My 15 year old granddaughter and I could take care of Mom for 2 hours. My brother adamantly said ‘NO! They did not allow us any private time with Mom the 4 days we were there. They took that opportunity from us. I am very, very resentful of them, Mom passed away 2 months later from sepsis. They even went so far as telling me hospice was being called in. My comment was “Mom is dying”. They actually told me hospice was just bringing a hospital bed, she wasn’t dying. They forgot where my training was. Mom passed away 5 days later. They texted me to tell me. I am dealing with a lot of anger. The control my brother exhibited was far fetched. Mom’s final wishes was no service, cremation and burried in the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Michigan next to my step dad. It has now been since February 21, 2016 and they haven’t done it. I offered to take Mom and lay her to rest and the answer was No, we’ll take care of it. When? He is 6 years older than me, there are 3 other siblings. This has just torn the family apart. Maybe I should also let you know 4 weeks before Mom passed, he talked her into aa quit claim dead on her house and land. He paid her $1.00. I hurt so bad. Help. I am seeing a therapist every two weeks. He has helped with the grieving process. Thanks for reading. Sheryl

  • #56886 Reply


    Family splits over the care and dying of a parent is difficult. I live and take care of my mother full time. It is a descision that my mother, brother and sister came to one day after I buried my husband! My mom because she was already living with me and my husband. My brother and sister just because they didn’t want to upset their lives. I pointed out I needed to go back to work because I had no income. ( I was 53 ) in shock from the sudden lose of my husband, discussing this in front of my mother before her memory left her, not wanting her to be hurt by thinking I didn’t love her, I gave into my brother and sister. I sold EVERYTHING I owned and moved mom and me back to her place. Fast forward 11 years, I’m broke, I have no outside contact except quarterly Docters and nurses. I made the mistake of asking my brother and sister to help me and mom out financially each month, (200.00 each) and now they think I’m under too much stress to care for mom.
    Before you judge why me alone, Mother made that choice years ago when we were all young. I was the child that has always taken care of her, I bathed her, seen her naked, changed her diapers, washed her when she’s had accidents; all without robbing her of her modesty or dignity . Being a sick older woman is humiliating and is hard to share. So before you blame a sibling of not “letting” you help, the descision is not hers, it is your mothers. If your sibling acts like you’re a bother when you do come over, let me ask, do you vacuum, take out the garbage, bring prepared food, do the dishes…. or are you coming over to visit? Are you acting like company?
    I’m sorry is this is harsh, but I’m on the other side of this. I’ve cared for my Mom for so long. She has had severe dementia for about 5 years, it is very lonely not be able to have a conversation with the person you share a living space with. My siblings only want information from me about mom’s health, they have lives. They don’t want to chit chat with me they are busy, it never crosses their mind that I’m busy 24/7 taking care of OUR mother. I need and want conversation , I’m tried of talking to the TV and Facebook!
    I think both side, the caregiver and the caregiver’s family , do the best they can and despite that, splits happen because the stakes are high and the hurts are deep, and feel like betrayal.

  • #56905 Reply


    Went through the illnesses and kisses of both my parents within the past year, so I understand the stree and concern of your loved one. I have two sibs and we split duties along with hired caregivers. Sister may in her mind think she is doing you all a favor. That caregiving work is exhausting and nothing to not want help with. I don’t know what the dynamics are in your family, but perhaps she doesn’t have as many obligations with family as you all do and she sees it as helping and not controlling. But you mentioned her complaining about y’all not helping her so I may be wrong about that. Whatever the reason, it’s a process to evolve into caregiving roles between sibs. Start off diplomatically by you all going in together to get her a spa day, flowers, whatever she may enjoy as a luxury. When giving her the gift … everyone there at the same time … thank her for app she has done and explain (don’t ask) that you each will now assume a duty and keep it charted who is doing what. Don’t feel intimated and leave on frustration if she tried to take the upper hand. She cannot stop y’all from showing up to help. Best of luck to you and I am so very sorry about your mother’s declining health.

  • #56906 Reply


    I apologize for above typos! My phone won’t let me see full screen to correct!

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