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How come my brother is wonderful yet I do everything for my parents and i am the bad guy?

(40 Posts)
FeelingOld Tue 28-Jun-11 12:12:26

This is more of a rant to 'get it all of my chest' than a question i suppose.

Brief background......I am a single parent to 2, i work fulltime and i am the main carer to my elderly and disabled parents.

My dad has parkinsons disaese and prostate cancer and needs help getting in and out of bed, help with dressing etc (carers come in to shower him etc) but alot of the work falls on my mum (who is registered blind but has a small amount of vision), she is there all day with him so has to fetch and carry for him and help him with toileting etc. They do have a cleaner to make life easier. I go round everyday, i do online shop for them, i sort out all paperwork, banking etc and i go round at night to put dad to bed. I clean him up when he has accidents and i do all i can to make their life easier. I cook meals and take them round and make stuff to put in the freezer.I take them on holiday every year.They cant leave the house without me so i take them out whenever i can.

My mum constantly moans at me about my lack of help and about how hard it is for her (i know it is hard for her), if she wants something doing it has to be done now and cant possibly wait, she also moans that i never take her out (took her out monday, weds, saturday and sunday last week). She rings me at least twice a day with things she needs doing which can not possibly wait and i try my hardest to get them done but even if i do she will find fault or the things i did this afternoon needed to be done this morning.

My brother lives an hour and a half drive away, his kids are in their 20's and have left home so its just him and SIL, he visits for the day about every 3 months and after he has been i have to listen to my mum going on about'how wonderful he is and how lovely it was that he found time in his hectic life to visit mum and dad and how nice it was he took them out for a meal (i take them out every other week for tea) and how mum gave him some money to take SIL out for a nice meal sometime because they work so hard and deserve it!!'

My dad is so lovely and appreciates everything i do for him and he just asks me not to say anything to my mum about all of this as he hates any kind of upset or confrontation but its really getting me down. I just feel like packing my bags and running away, just not sure how much longer i can bite my tongue really.

Oh well, rant over, if you made it this far, well done!!

niceguy2 Tue 28-Jun-11 12:31:54

Are you the eldest? My partner & I were talking to some friends last week and we think it's true that the eldest often gets a lot more responsibility whilst the youngest gets away with a lot more. It certainly seemed the case for us.

Plus there's an element of mummy's boy, daddy's girl. I know my ex dotes on our son whilst I think she's very unfair towards our daughter. But I bet if you speak to her she'd say i favoured our daughter more.

colditz Tue 28-Jun-11 12:33:41

Say it. How dare your mother treat you so unfairly!!

fuckmepinkandCALLmegoran Tue 28-Jun-11 12:35:28

I'd say it. But then I'm no contact with my parents because I called them on the differences they were making and I'm refusing to apologise so maybe I'm not the best person to advice sad

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 28-Jun-11 12:35:51

I think you need to point out how unfair they're being.

I'd also suggest that there's a hefty dose of sexism in here - I think many people expect women to care for their relatives and thus take it for granted whereas if a man does any little thing he is praised to the skies.

peggotty Tue 28-Jun-11 12:39:28

That's such a shame for you. Like others have said, has it always been this way in your family i.e your brother being the favoured one? You deserve a bit of recognition for what you're doing. Just because your mother is old, with health problems does not entitle her to treat you like that. What do you say when she starts on about how you never help/ take her out etc?

peggotty Tue 28-Jun-11 12:40:22

Belle, that's so true!!

M44 Tue 28-Jun-11 12:40:45

Feelinold-I totally empathise. Even on my birthday on sunday......my brother and his family were centre of attention. At one point my dh went down the garden as he was so angry and I was left in the back sitting room whilst they went off and discussed bloody chickens. They didn't engage with my kids but doted on my brother's kids. It was horrible really. Every conversation I started was cut dead/cut across or laughed at. Sick of it.
There is no point I suspect in saying anything as mother will take the offended.....denial route...yes?
DOes your mother have alzheimers? The person affected can quite often persecute the main carer ie you....we had it with my grandmother.
Thinking of you....it can be so hurtful. much love.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Tue 28-Jun-11 12:43:38

In your shoes, I would list exactly what I do for them and tell her that she is welcome to ask your brother to do it all instead if she's not happy.

Could she be frustrated at needing help, and just grumpy and lashing out at a 'safe' person?

When she says you never take her out, reply "*Never*? I never take you out? This week I took you to X on such and such a day, Y on such and such a day, z on such and such a day... I have taken you out 'n' times this week. Why do you say I never take you out?"

When she makes any statement that is clearly not true, counter it with evidence that you have in fact done it and ask her to explain why she is saying you have not.

Look, at the end of the day, she's going to carry on like this and you will get more and more resentful and you'll eventually blow and that will be far worse than challenging unfair statements as they arise.

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 28-Jun-11 12:44:03

This probably isn't the place for this but I am often left in awe at the amount of work some people have in their lives and how they cope with it.

I'll try to remember this thread when I'm whinging about having work full time and having one very well behaved little girl to look after.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 28-Jun-11 12:46:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCrackFox Tue 28-Jun-11 12:48:30

I think you need to tell your mum how you feel and that she is pushing her luck also.

Is your mum very elderly? There seems to be something about that age group and their preference for their sons.

Miggsie Tue 28-Jun-11 12:53:46

Hmm, this does sound like a "golden child" and "scapegoat child" situation.

Was you mother always unreasonable? Does you father placate her on everything?

Check out this website and see if it sounds familiar.

katz Tue 28-Jun-11 12:55:09

is there anyway you could get away with your DC for some R and R, that would probably highlight to your mum how much you do do and/or your brother if he comes up to cover the time. Plus you'll get a much needed break.

IslaValargeone Tue 28-Jun-11 12:59:57

My first thought was to echo what belledame said. You sound like the daughter from heaven to me. I know your dad has a lot on his plate but I think it's very selfish that he doesn't want you to say anything because he doesn't want the confrontation. I think you might just have to take the bull by the horns otherwise you will just go pop.
What would happen if you weren't there? would they get extra help from outside carers? I'd be tempted to book yourself a well deserved holiday and give your mum a stark illustration of quite how much you do to be honest.

Snuppeline Tue 28-Jun-11 13:03:46

Can you put your thoughts and feelings into a letter for her? There you can focus on how her criticism and untrue statements make you feel. Surely if she knew how hurt you were by her unfair treatment of you in comparison to your brother she would understand and stop? Just make sure you also state that you like helping them and that you don't begruge them any help from you but that you are hurt and upset. That way they can't turn it into a "she hates helping out" scenario. Hope it can be resolved, otherwise I'd be tempted to wittle down the aid your giving. I am sure you can do a lot with more free time in terms of bettering your own life and that of your dc if you weren't constantly called on to help your parents. Maybe you could put something about what you do give up for them in terms of time, money and effort.

hormonalmum Tue 28-Jun-11 13:05:38

I think your mum is being blinkered - and may not realise she is doing this.
She is probably lashing out at you in frustration at her life - she will know how much you do but as time has gone on just expects it and takes it for granted.

I think you are doing a splendid job and hats off to you

Jemma1111 Tue 28-Jun-11 13:13:30

As other poster's have mentioned it could be that your mum feels 'safe' venting her frustrations on you because she KNOWS she has your unconditional love and support, whereas she may feel if she moans to your bro about how little he sees her and your Dad she may be worried he will just not bother with them at all.

I know it does seem unfair but just try and look at it that way, she knows who bother's and who doesn't

SORNedWoman Tue 28-Jun-11 13:21:37

I think you need to talk to your mum. I don't think you should wait till you pop, but say it as nicely as you can, perhaps when she's out with you for tea (safety in public!), that you feel hurt that she doesn't seem to appreciate all you do for them. I bet she does. For all she's saying how wonderful your brother is, that may just be trying to make herself feel better at her disappointment in how little she sees of him - she has to reassure herself that he'd see them more if he wasn't so busy.

I think you/they also need to find a way of them having some independence from you in "getting them out". I think it's brilliant that you have managed to get them out as much as you have, but from the other side, if I only left the house 4 times in a week, I'd be going stir crazy. I wonder if there might be any "clubs" in the area, that might have minibus to collect, etc?

I know this must sound strange, but a little bit of me envies that you are able to give this help to your parents. Mine are rather similar, although it's dad that has to do the coping. And he is worn out. But I live 5 hours away. My dh would be fantastic at helping them too, if we were closer, and we'd have them round for tea, help out, etc. My brother lives round the corner, and while he's "good" he just doesn't see that they need help with stuff, sees them once a week for an hour or so.

Maybe in all the melee of just coping with everything, maybe it would help if you get the chance to squeeze your mum's hand or give her a hug, and just say, I know it's hard for you, it's hard for me too, but we're here for each other. I can't believe she doesn't appreciate you, you know, you sound brilliant, but I can believe she's ashamed of needing your help, and I can believe she has no idea you don't know how much she appreciates you.

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 28-Jun-11 13:56:43

SORN sad

That was a lovely post.

FeelingOld Tue 28-Jun-11 16:59:24

Thank you all for your comments and observations and for just listening to my rantings!! There are some very wise and wonderful people on here.

niceguy, no i an not the eldest, in fact my brother is 6 years older than me.

M44, oh dear, poor you, that is so horrible for you. Luckily my parents treat all 4 grandchildren the same.

I think a lot of you are right when you say my mum is very tired and frustrated and that she does take it out on me because i am really the only person she can take it out on.
The main reason i have not confronted her about all of this is that any kind of arguments or bad news or similar really upsets my dads health, his shaking gets so bad and he will barely eat for days, he just cant cope with it.

A close friend of my mums who visits them everyweek and sometimes takes them out has had a gentle word with my mum several times about how difficult it can be for me sometimes to just drop everything and do things for her and my mum nods and agrees and for a day or so she is a bit better but then she soon gets back to 'normal'.

A holiday is near impossible, we can manage a weekend away and at may half term we managed 4 days away with the help of my parents neighbours and 2 of my cousins (and lots of planning of meals and leaving medications etc sorted) but i could not leave them any longer than that. I did ask my brother last year if i booked a holiday weds to weds (so a week away) could he come down for a the weekend and see to my parents and he said he would check with SIL (who is a nurse) and then got back to me saying SIL was working that weekend ( i had already had to book my 2 weeks off work for the summer so could not change dates) so he couldnt come as he could not manage them by himself.

Oh and someone asked if my brother had always been my mums favourite and the answer is yes, its been the same for the whole of my life.

katz Tue 28-Jun-11 19:15:57

is there anyway you can plan the holiday in advance - ask brother for a week he is free and then book him in, or give him the choice of october half term, week before christmas or feb half term and say you will be going away and your parents care will be his responsibility. I'm assuming you have school age children.

Bogeyface Tue 28-Jun-11 22:30:40

I agree with the poster above that called you the "safe" person.

Its like when toddlers or teenagers kick off and behave badly for you, but are angels for everyone else, because they dont know where the boundaries are with other people but know that you love them and will always be there for them. Your DM feels safe kicking off at you because she trusts you to look after them and always be there, but she sees your DB so rarely that she doesnt want to rant at him in the fear that he will stop coming to see them altogether. In a way it is a compliment in that she has a trust and confidence in you that she doesnt have in your DB.

But that isnt to say that you should accept it. Think of her as the teenager who is shouting that you are ruining her life and being a bitch, you wouldnt put up with that would you? Your mum needs to know that you understand that her life is hard but that without you, it would be a bloody sight harder. I agree that countering her every accusation with the facts, in a non accusatory way would be the best way to go.

FabbyChic Tue 28-Jun-11 23:20:31

How are you supposed to be a good parent to your children if you have no time for them, your parents should be grateful for everything you do, if they cannot be grateful then they should get another work horse, employ someone to help them out, not be a burden. I'd hate to think in 20 years time Im a burden to my children. You should be living a life not seeing it pass you by whilst caring for elderly relatives.

choux Tue 28-Jun-11 23:33:43

I think that a sick man and registered blind lady need more help from social services. Surely there is another level between just giving your dad a shower and them being taken into care? Can you not speak to them re having someone else put your dad to bed at night and get him up? And the paperwork, shopping etc - if you parents had no children, who would do that? Can't social services help with that?

Your life is severely impacted by the amount of care you give them and you have children to also consider. This isn't farmiing the care of your parents onto someone else, it's ensuring you have enough time to stay sane and look after your children. Could you also talk to brother and wife about how hard you are finding it all and could you agree that he will visit every third weekend (or whatever) and look after them for a couple of days. And when he says wifey will be working and he couldn't manage alone tell him 'of course you can, that's what i do and you could easily get the hang of it. It's full on but definitely not impossible as I have been doing it for x years' with a sweet smile.

Hats off to you for all you squeeze into your life!

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