• How can I support my caregiver (helper) when they express anger over being excluded from appts and feeling like a doormat.

    Asked by Bjsj69 on Friday, January 18, 2013

    How can I support my caregiver (helper) when they express anger over being excluded from appts and feeling like a doormat.

    My sister and a friend of mine help me with care when I need it. My sister is called on only when I absolutely need her because she is a single mom who lost her husband in a vehicle accident 3 yrs ago and is busy with a teenager and 5 yr old. We used to be very close but it was my unspoken choice to limit her involvement so to protect her from the added stress. My friend takes me to all my appts and treatments because he is more available and keeps notes for me. He knows the docs and all details. I have two sons, 18 and 19 yrs old, who help out a little but they are both in school and/or working. Recently my sister expressed anger, feeling that I don't think she is good enough or smart enough to be included in the appts and details. I thought I was doing her a favor and have apologized several times for everything and also told her I was clueless about her feeling that way. She doesn't seem to believe me and is also upset over things happening with/between our kids. What to do?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • carm's Avatar

      It is never easy in situations like that. It seems that where your sister is concerned, you both are trying to accomodate each others needs, and yet I can understand her feeling of omission as much as I can understand your need to put any undue stress on her. I live in Illinois, and yet most of my patients are spread across the U.S. They want me to hear what their test results are as well as any recommendations. Some of them put me on speakerphone during their appointments. I mute my phone so that they can't hear my dogs or any other background noise. I take notes and when their doc leaves the room for a minute, they usually ask me what questions to ask or they might ask me to clarify what he said. You can ask your oncologist if they mind if you put your sister on speakerphone during your visits because you want her actively involved. You might also consider videotaping your appointments or audiotaping them. If you tell your oncologist that want to keep a video or audio journal of your cancer experience for your family, most docs will allow this. These are just a few suggestions that might satisfy both parties involved. Best of luck to you, Carm.

      over 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Well, if your sister wants to be more involved, then try to involve her. I know that you weren't because of her other commitments, but she's saying that she wants to help. The two of you might get together to look for ways she can help. And, be sure to tell her that you love her.

      over 4 years ago
    • planogirl60's Avatar

      Something I tried to tell a friend one time, is that it is not just the person with cancer going through this, family and friends are affected as well. You are all battling together, if they chose to, you don't have a choice, you have to fight. You also shouldn't be made to feel guilty for making choices. Give her your schedule and if she can and wants to and more importantly is responsible let her and your friend work out the details of who can get you where you need to be, when you need to be there. I'm on both sides of this I WAS the Cancer patient and I WAS the caregiver for my Mom.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Try thinking from her point of view. She lost her life mate and now you, her sister, are the closest peer she has. Your intentions are to depend on her only when absolutely needed on order to protect her, which to her translates as a last choice or last resort and that you don't think she is good enough or strong enough, which is a pretty logical interpretation on her part. As you yourself said, this was your unspoken choice and that you and she use to be very close. You have pushed her away without telling her why, and she has had to make her own set of assumptions as to why. I think you may need to come to terms with how you really feel about your sister first and then convey them to her honestly and openly. You intent to protect her is admirable only if she needs protection from you, not because you don't think she is worthy or capable of helping you.

      over 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      As the saying goes, "you can't please everybody". I can understand you wanting to limit the stress your sister has to deal with but at the same time, if she is willing to help, you should let her. But the important thing is this situation is YOU. You're the one going through treatment for cancer. She need's to understand that and not make the issue worse by riding your XXX about feeling left out. Maybe you should divide the time between both your sister and your friend. If I were in this situation and I apologized to my sister and she "doesn't believe me". That's her problem. You've done what you were supposed to do by apologizing. She can either accept it and get involved or she just be upset. Her choice. Hope things work themselves out for you.

      over 4 years ago
    • BLBragg's Avatar

      The whole situation is difficult for everyone involved. I would imagine fear is playing a role in her feelings, after losing her husband she realizes just how precious life is and I imagine is now fearful of losing you. Talk to her. I have found that communication is the key to any successful relationship. Then there's you. Don't you have enough to worry about? Maybe you should (in a very nice way) express your feelings of fear and anxiety. Maybe if your sister sees that you have enough on your mind, these feelings of hers will lessen. Invite her for a visit where neither of you have to go anywhere or "do" anything but spend some time together without anyone else around. Good luck and have faith, families eventually come around.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      This is a difficult situation, your sister wants to help you and you want to help your sister. You should speak with her and explain your reasons, and ask her what she would like to do, and see if you can find ways that work for both of you. DH and I had a similar issue when I first started treatment. He wanted to be at every appointment, infusion, etc. I felt that he was being stressed, and treating me like a child. We finally agreed on which appointments I needed him at, which ones he could miss and when he only needed to pick me up and/or drop me off.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Siblings................my sympathies.

      over 4 years ago
    • Bjsj69's Avatar

      I just want to thank everyone for your answers/responses. This was so very helpful and I wish I had joined this support network months ago after being diagnosed. There is so much support and love to be found here, more than I could have imagined. Thank you all for your unconditional help!

      over 4 years ago

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