Feeling angry with family

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nikkers
nikkers Member Posts: 25
Well I don't quite know what to do with myself. My niece that I have wirtten about earlier posts has been told she won't make her 30th birthday in 7 weeks time. I live in the States but am over here in England/Spain for five weeks and am available to the family for any help they might need, but mainly my neice. What is bothering me so much is that my brother and wife are "coping" in such a strange (to me) way. Its almost as though she's already dead.. their whole attention is on her two year old son, but she (my niece) is inconsolable, lonely in hospital and scared, really scared. My brother and s-i-l, just "pop" in to see her for half hour if they have time during the day. My s-i-l is a control freak and she told me that she is now feeling frustrated with the getting better, getting worse yo-yo that is cancer and just wants it to be all over. She wouldn't allow my daughter or myself to see C's son as he wasn't "used" to us and it would break his routine, nor could we go to C's house which is what C wanted us to do, so my daughtrer and I stayed in B & B close to the hospital. She, my s-in-l, has a very cool exterior and is pleased when she hears how "brave" she and my brother are and how well they are coping. I know she MUST be jelly inside and my brother broke down and cried one day, but its back to jollity and avoidance as far as I can make out. C's best friend is a life saver and is there as her champion as much as she can with a fulltime job and is there every day in the evening. My daughter flew over to spend time with Claire too and felt very much as an "intruder" and not welcomed at all by C's parents but C herself was overjoyed to see her as they have almost grown up together and have years of memories of being together - more like sisters really. My daughter left her program (sh'es interning at her local hospital as an ultrasound tech) with their permission, to be with C as we know her time is now so, so short. All her treatment finished and is moving over to palliative care facility. Both my daughter and I alternated staying with C overnight and her friend also joined in - she has kidney bags as well as a catheter, bleeding great clots of blood from her bladder which is now also cancerous (along with the colon, peritoneum, liver, lungs and diaphragm) -C is terrified plus they are having difficulty managing the pain - she needs to wake seeing a loving face beside her, but her parents are "taking care of themselves". I honestly thought when I spoke to them from the States that they were truly overloaded, but the truth is that though their own personal life is disrupted as they are away from their own home on alternate days, their grandson is in daycare all day or his father takes him and that's it! Perhaps I am callous to their needs and I do counsel them and listen but I can't understand why they aren't more there for their daughter who needs them. I hate being judgemental but find that's what I'm being.

My daughter has now returned to the States and I am going back to England on the 20th as C has asked me to be there and her friend and another who flew over from Australia to help are exhausted from being with Claire 24 hours/day and need someone to spell them. They've begged the mother to take over for a night so they can rest and leave for a while which she is doing quite grudgingly it seems. Her life, my s-i-l's, has been very easy up until now, but she is constantly under pressure to do everything she can in every moment of her day, the clock ticks and she never gets all she planned done so feels overwhelmed constantly. My mother used to say that all her stress is self imposed and that's true and I do feel sorry for her. I thought this would be a life lesson for her I suppose where she would realize that some things in life are more important than rushing around in a tail spin, but its all too much for her.

I don't know why I'm going on and on here, but I fear for my future relationship with my brother and his wife. I know they'll need my support after Claire has gone, but their treatment of her and of my daughter when she arrived infuriated me and I'm going to have trouble forgiving them.

Thanks for listening.
Nikkers

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  • RobinKaye
    RobinKaye Member Posts: 93
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    WOW
    I don't get into too many conversations, mainly just read but this really got me. I don't know how you're keeping from losing it.

    Some people would say one doesn't know how they would react/feel unless in a situation...I know how I would react if that were my child. I would be there every single minute of every single day. I also know that there is a fine line we walk all the time and something like this would probably send me over - I'd crack up.

    Your brother and sil are either two of the coldest people I've ever 'seen' or they are losing their minds over the thought of losing their daughter. If it's the former I doubt your relationship will survive and if the latter you'll figure that out in time and be there to help them get through all of this. You have a right to be infuriated, just keep doing what you're doing for your niece.

    I'm so sorry about your niece.
  • nikkers
    nikkers Member Posts: 25
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    RobinKaye said:

    WOW
    I don't get into too many conversations, mainly just read but this really got me. I don't know how you're keeping from losing it.

    Some people would say one doesn't know how they would react/feel unless in a situation...I know how I would react if that were my child. I would be there every single minute of every single day. I also know that there is a fine line we walk all the time and something like this would probably send me over - I'd crack up.

    Your brother and sil are either two of the coldest people I've ever 'seen' or they are losing their minds over the thought of losing their daughter. If it's the former I doubt your relationship will survive and if the latter you'll figure that out in time and be there to help them get through all of this. You have a right to be infuriated, just keep doing what you're doing for your niece.

    I'm so sorry about your niece.

    thank you so much for your
    thank you so much for your response - I agree if it was my daughter (God forbid) I would be there every minute (she had colon polyps found after my niece was diagnosed) and so I have told her. I struggle with my brother and his wife's inability to be there for Claire at this time - they've been through a lot the past year, but this monster seems be destroying more than their daughter, my sweet niece. Thanks again.
  • annalexandria
    annalexandria Member Posts: 2,571 Member
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    This is such a difficult situation,
    and horribly sad for everyone involved. When my sister was dying of cancer at the age of 44, my mom only went to see her about once a week. It wasn't how I would have handled it, but I have a very different temperament...my mom isn't a bad or unloving person in her own way, but she is kind of Asperger-ish, and doesn't handle emotional situations well at all. My dad was even worse...I think he made the trip of two hours to see her once and skipped the funeral as well (although they talked about a week before she died, and she told him he didn't need to come because she knew how hard it would be for him). I don't know what the underlying issues are with your family, but I do wonder if you would be able to talk to them about this situation, or at least to your brother. If your niece truly wants them there, and hasn't been able to express herself to them directly, perhaps you could gently act as her advocate. Sending strength your way-Ann
  • janie1
    janie1 Member Posts: 753 Member
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    This is such a difficult situation,
    and horribly sad for everyone involved. When my sister was dying of cancer at the age of 44, my mom only went to see her about once a week. It wasn't how I would have handled it, but I have a very different temperament...my mom isn't a bad or unloving person in her own way, but she is kind of Asperger-ish, and doesn't handle emotional situations well at all. My dad was even worse...I think he made the trip of two hours to see her once and skipped the funeral as well (although they talked about a week before she died, and she told him he didn't need to come because she knew how hard it would be for him). I don't know what the underlying issues are with your family, but I do wonder if you would be able to talk to them about this situation, or at least to your brother. If your niece truly wants them there, and hasn't been able to express herself to them directly, perhaps you could gently act as her advocate. Sending strength your way-Ann

    So sorry
    Family can be so difficult......
    Wondering if there are other people you could bring in to talk with her......clergy, certain volunteers, etc. that are trained to deal with end of life. I dont know if she is religious, but I would want loving, gentle, people around me.
    I would hate to see her missing out on some beautiful things while trying to plead with the family.
    I would hate for her final weeks be so hard dealing with family stuff.
    I hope there are a number of wonderful people who will devote their time and expertise to something so important.....really doesnt haveto be family. There are so many caring individuals out there who would be honored to help.
    I know that i am so amazed at what perfect strangers are willing to do. And, it works both ways......it does something on the inside of these people.....it transforms them.
    Will be thinking of you..
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
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    Wow
    This would be a point of no return for me, I think. Comfort that poor girl and ignore the idiots. You probably will have to resign yourself to not having a relationship with your brother in the future. *shakes head* I'm so sorry.

    *hugs*
    Gail
  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
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    Hi
    Family dynamics are difficult to understand and even more so when there is a critical situation.

    If the relationships were strained before (Claire and her parents, you and your bother and sil), then Claire's illness may not change the underlying issues.

    People respond to crisis in different ways in order to cope. Some will particularly back away if they see someone else is willing to take the lead.

    You are doing what you feel is needed for Claire and that is what is important. If Claire is truely wishing for her parents beside her, then relay that to them. Otherwise, just give the love that you are to Claire and leave the rest of it to be sorted out later.

    I understand your concerns. I understand that you are upset about the treatment of the girls. But don't spend your time or energy on anger at this point, as it will make no difference.

    Wishing Claire peace and no pain.

    Hugs,

    Marie who loves kitties
  • nikkers
    nikkers Member Posts: 25
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    Hi
    Family dynamics are difficult to understand and even more so when there is a critical situation.

    If the relationships were strained before (Claire and her parents, you and your bother and sil), then Claire's illness may not change the underlying issues.

    People respond to crisis in different ways in order to cope. Some will particularly back away if they see someone else is willing to take the lead.

    You are doing what you feel is needed for Claire and that is what is important. If Claire is truely wishing for her parents beside her, then relay that to them. Otherwise, just give the love that you are to Claire and leave the rest of it to be sorted out later.

    I understand your concerns. I understand that you are upset about the treatment of the girls. But don't spend your time or energy on anger at this point, as it will make no difference.

    Wishing Claire peace and no pain.

    Hugs,

    Marie who loves kitties

    I've needed tp read through
    I've needed tp read through your responses twice because there is so much experience and sage advise here. We are actually a very close knit family - at least those of us who are directly related and even my s-i-l has become part of the family so this has completely thrown me as well as my "sistyer-cousin" who has been doing the best she can to be there as a support, but has felt brushed off by my brother and sister-in-law. They want to handle this themsleves and my s-i-l can become territorial. Fortunately for us, C's best friend has become the go-nbetween and has enormously helped everyone to connect, but she is becoming over-used.
    I loved Anne's advise and recounting of her own experiene with her sister and her parents and I do agree thatI everyone handles things differently and in their own way. It doesn't mean they are unloving, just I suppose overwhelmed when they seem so absent. I'm doing my best to understand and thank everyone for taking the time to read my spouting... you have all helped me so much with my struggles.
    Nikkers
  • danker
    danker Member Posts: 1,276 Member
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    family
    We have no choice in who is our family. All of us are disfunctional some way. Glad to see you are doing the best you can. Isn't it nice that we can select our friends? Incidentally, many cancer sufferers have survived much longer than predicted!!!
  • herdizziness
    herdizziness Member Posts: 3,624 Member
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    Sometimes
    Sometimes in my family I come off as uncaring to wounds and hurts, I am not, I feel their heartache and pain so very deeply, however, I tend not to show it to them, because if I face forward and not dwell upon the bad things that are happening, then I have something to look to, feeling that the pain will go away, and the future will be as it is meant to, without pain, without loss. It isn't a beloved attitude to have among family, it's felt that I am ignoring what is, I just chose not to feel the pain at the moment, the pain and heartache will come way too soon so I rather not deal with it at the moment, so I just think and talk about the future, such as it is.
    However, I realize that it seems as if I truly do not care, but I just find myself at loss of words to speak how I feel. When a death comes, it takes me so long to respond, if I do. Why? Because the pain is too deep and the words do not speak the depth of my sorrow. Sometimes, our actions belie our feelings.
    Winter Marie
  • nikkers
    nikkers Member Posts: 25
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    Sometimes
    Sometimes in my family I come off as uncaring to wounds and hurts, I am not, I feel their heartache and pain so very deeply, however, I tend not to show it to them, because if I face forward and not dwell upon the bad things that are happening, then I have something to look to, feeling that the pain will go away, and the future will be as it is meant to, without pain, without loss. It isn't a beloved attitude to have among family, it's felt that I am ignoring what is, I just chose not to feel the pain at the moment, the pain and heartache will come way too soon so I rather not deal with it at the moment, so I just think and talk about the future, such as it is.
    However, I realize that it seems as if I truly do not care, but I just find myself at loss of words to speak how I feel. When a death comes, it takes me so long to respond, if I do. Why? Because the pain is too deep and the words do not speak the depth of my sorrow. Sometimes, our actions belie our feelings.
    Winter Marie

    Reflection has been my friend and I have had time to think, assimilate all your kind comments and realize that I can work on this so miuch more myself. There is more to understand here than a knee jerk reflex. I was so bewildered, as well as angered, by my brother and his wife and, well, that's how judgments are made... people don't think and react the way you would so they must be lacking in some way, but of course feelings can not be judged by the superficial appearance and thank you Winter Marie for your insight about that.
    I'm flying back to England on Sunday, my brother is meeting me, my sister-in-law has offered me to stay at C's place rather than a B&B, my neice is in a hospice and I will be able to be with her (her request) there and stay overnight to spell her friends who are with her constantly. So... though my brother and wife are absent from her side a lot of the hard times, the rest of us are and can bear that load and I will do my best to do it without judgement or prejudice to the best of my ability.
    Thank yoiu all so much again.
    Nikkers
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576 Member
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    nikkers said:

    Reflection has been my friend and I have had time to think, assimilate all your kind comments and realize that I can work on this so miuch more myself. There is more to understand here than a knee jerk reflex. I was so bewildered, as well as angered, by my brother and his wife and, well, that's how judgments are made... people don't think and react the way you would so they must be lacking in some way, but of course feelings can not be judged by the superficial appearance and thank you Winter Marie for your insight about that.
    I'm flying back to England on Sunday, my brother is meeting me, my sister-in-law has offered me to stay at C's place rather than a B&B, my neice is in a hospice and I will be able to be with her (her request) there and stay overnight to spell her friends who are with her constantly. So... though my brother and wife are absent from her side a lot of the hard times, the rest of us are and can bear that load and I will do my best to do it without judgement or prejudice to the best of my ability.
    Thank yoiu all so much again.
    Nikkers

    good
    good for you Nik....in a situation like this, anger uses up way too much energy and creates more pain.

    love to you and your dear niece..

    maggie
  • steved
    steved Member Posts: 834 Member
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    nikkers said:

    Reflection has been my friend and I have had time to think, assimilate all your kind comments and realize that I can work on this so miuch more myself. There is more to understand here than a knee jerk reflex. I was so bewildered, as well as angered, by my brother and his wife and, well, that's how judgments are made... people don't think and react the way you would so they must be lacking in some way, but of course feelings can not be judged by the superficial appearance and thank you Winter Marie for your insight about that.
    I'm flying back to England on Sunday, my brother is meeting me, my sister-in-law has offered me to stay at C's place rather than a B&B, my neice is in a hospice and I will be able to be with her (her request) there and stay overnight to spell her friends who are with her constantly. So... though my brother and wife are absent from her side a lot of the hard times, the rest of us are and can bear that load and I will do my best to do it without judgement or prejudice to the best of my ability.
    Thank yoiu all so much again.
    Nikkers

    You sound like having had some time to be away from the situation and consider it from outside has helped you to understand and cope with it better which is often the case. Once you are enmeshed in these kind of dynamics it is hard to see what is really going on and removing yourself for a brief period is useful. People's comments above are wise and eloquent and I have little more to add.
    We all cope with this situation in individual ways and one thing I have leanrt is to forgive people for their reactions. At first I used to begrudge people reacting by being overly caring, under caring, too distant, too close, too sympathetic etc. It was only once I had time to reflect that I realised that I'm not sure how I want people to react and so how can I expect others to know. EAch person copes in their own way that partly acts to protect themselves and that sounds like what is happening in your situation. IT doesn't mean their reaction is any more 'right' or 'wrong' than any others.
    Take time and focus on what you think your cousin needs now. Leave the family dynamics to sort later and avoid conflicts in this important time for you all- they are unlikely to help anyone when emotions are so raw.
    I hope you find a way in amongst all this to enjoy a little of England while here too.
    steve