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January 30, 2007 / missknowitall

Mom Forgets Being Mistreated

****Just so you know I am not stealing questions, I wanted to warn you about this one.  My mom recently read this question in the Reader’s Digest advice column and she didn’t like the answer.  My mom decided to try a little experiment to see if she would like my answer better.  I have not seen the answer given in the Reader’s Digest yet.  I acknowlege that I have more room for my answers so it can’t be fair to judge the two.  You’ll have to judge for yourselves.**** 

Dear Little Miss,

My sister, an alcoholic, wasn’t taking good care of my mother, who’s 87.  We brought Mom to live with us.  Now she doesn’t remember how my sister took advantage of her and her money.  I want Mom’s remaining years to be happy, but she’s worried about my sister and talks about moving back to be with her, and accuses me of being jealous.  How can I tell her no without running down my sister?

Dear Caring for Mom,

I would be willing to bet a lot of good money that your mom remembers exactly what your sister has done to her through the years.  It is just that, knowing she can’t help or change her, your mother has chosen to “forget” or to disregard your sister’s misdeeds.  Your mother sees all that your sister can’t/doesn’t have because of her addiction to alcohol and is pained by the fact that she can’t give her those things.  You mention bringing your mother “to live with us”, so I assume you have a family of your own.  The accusations of jealousy most likely come from a feeling of, “you have so much that she can’t have and now you want to deprive her of her mother, too”.  You deserve credit for working hard to have the life you have, and for taking on the care of your mother to boot.  Now, I’m going to ask you to be an even bigger person.  Don’t just protect your mother from your sister, but help your mother to help her child in a safe way.  Talk to your mother about setting up a small allowance for your sister.  This will allow your mother to “help” your sister without letting your sister get her hands into your mothers purse, so to speak.  Help your mother set up dates with your sister so that she can see her and still feel connected to her.  Encourage phone calls.  Also, don’t try to convince your mother that her child is an alcoholic who is not to be trusted.  The more you appear to be fighting against your sister, the harder your mother will fight for her.  Instead, talk to your mother about happy memories with your sister, and talk about her as if she didn’t have any problem at all.  You’ll know you’ve done well if your mothers starts trying to remind you of your sister’s problem.  

Soberly yours,

Miss Knowitall        

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