Setting free sibling drama

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: My one sister and I took care of our parents for the last 20 years due to their poor health and dementia. We have another sister who always made promises to our parents to stop by and take them out to eat or make them some of their favorite food, but they hardly ever did that.

What hurts is that this sibling really hurt our parents’ feelings. Now she is on Facebook posting untruths about how she took care of our parents and was so devoted to them during the last years. On birthdays and anniversaries, she posts pictures but cuts everyone out except our parents. They weren’t even there at these events, but they post them as theirs, with no mention of us! When we post stuff, we include all siblings.

This is causing a strain, and I feel it’s probably the end of a chance of a relationship with our sister. I held no ill will toward them because not everyone has what it takes to take care of the sick and dying. But it hurts that now they want to take all the credit and give us none, when we actually did it all for our parents. How can I let go of the hurt and anger and just move on? — Resentful

Dear Resentful: The things that matter most in this scenario are 1. the fact that your parents were taken care of in their final days and 2. the fact that you can feel good about yourself knowing that you selflessly made their health one of your top priorities.

The things that don’t matter in this scenario include: what your sister posts on Facebook, whatever lies or half-truths she spreads to her friends, and the opinions of others.

Focus on what’s important.

By holding a grudge, you are only hurting yourself. Your sister clearly does not care. As Buddha famously said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Dear Annie: Regarding “Disapproving,” whose 19-year-old daughter is planning to wed soon, your response is perfect. As parents of adult children, it is important to know how to guide and let go.

I had a similar situation when my daughter was 19. At the time, I was paying for some of her expenses while she was in school. I let her know that financial support would end — not because I was “punishing” her for wanting to move forward with this relationship, but because marriage is two people joining their lives and they should be able to financially support themselves, barring an emergency. She decided to hold off and it was a good decision. Young love is powerful and can lead to romanticized ideas of marriage and family. — Not Living in a Fairy Tale

Dear Fairy Tale: Your conception of marriage — two people joining their lives as independent adults — is exactly right. I love your practical yet compassionate approach to your daughter’s engagement.


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