Posts tagged ‘siblings’

December 30, 2007

I have a problem sibling….

by Rod Smith

“I have a problem sibling. My sister and I spent four long years not talking, much to my mom’s distress, and many other years bickering. We made up, mostly for my mother. It didn’t seem fair to me that I had to humble myself and beg her to let things go (even though the whole thing was almost entirely her fault) but I did it for the sake of family harmony. My children wanted to see their cousin (her son). We are now on speaking terms, but because of distance we only see each other once a year. She drives me crazy, but for that one short visit I just suck it up and smile.”

Congratulations. You are no doubt stronger and wiser for your humility and your enduring acts of reconciliation. As a result of your efforts your mother is potentially less anxious and your children get to see and know their cousin: everyone, including you, appears to gain.

It is not who caused the issue or the division that is as important as who is strong enough to facilitate the healing.

Besides, let’s remain aware: it takes at least two to tangle! (No, I did not mean to say “tango.”)

December 29, 2007

Our mother was upset over our sibling schism…

by Rod Smith

My elderly mother was very upset at Christmas because my brother (32) and I (29) are not speaking (to each other) and so we came to Christmas Day at her house at different times to make it easier for her. We didn’t plan to come at different times: it is something we’ve worked out without actually talking about it. Now she is not speaking to me. Please help. (Letter shortened)

Given your capacity communicate without “actually talking” with your brother, I’d suggest you each also possess the ability to find enduring reconciliation. I will remind you that it is likely that you will have a brother for longer than you will have a mother.

Finding peace with a brother, quite apart from alleviating the pain the schism inflicts upon your mother, is usually a good and healthy thing to do.

When families are split it is the stronger person, and not the guilty person, or the “problem” person, who holds the keys of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Approach your brother in a spirit of humility: it might surprise how open he is to embracing his estranged sibling, and, at the same time, you will each be giving your mother a belated Christmas gift she will not stop talking about.

November 20, 2007

Our brother (almost 60) has ADHD….

by Rod Smith

“Our brother (almost 60) is the youngest of four siblings has ADHD. He treats his family like dirt but his friends with respect. Even our mother (in her eighties) does not get his respect or attention. He confesses undying love for her then ignores her. He will lend money to all his friends but not his family. Hides behind the ADHD label and blames it all on this. He wants us to do right by him but never ever does the correct thing with us. If mother or a sister is in the hospital he does not visit. Family is always pushed aside to make way for wonderful friends. He will not see psychiatrist or get help. What can we do? We still love him but he is always right and we are wrong no matter what. His wife supports everything he does. How should we respond? We know he can never change. Please help us. My mom is devastated.” (Letter edited)

This is probably a character issue, and not a matter of your brother’s diagnosis. I hereby give you permission to relinquish your role as your brother’s change agent, and the family’s scum-half, or quaterback (depending on where you are reading this!). Give it up. Let your mother and siblings deal directly with him. Get out of the way! Playing “piggy in the middle” is never much fun for piggy.