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I'm the mother of a 10 year old child with special needs &

I'm the mother of...

I'm the mother of a 10 year old child with special needs & for the last 18 years have also been the caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer's who passed this May. Over the past 18 years, my husband & I have hosted my sister & niece for the holidays. They live out of state and come stay with us. She divorced years ago, but remarried about 9 yrs ago.Nearly all of the caregiving/advocacy for my mother's care fell to me, which I was glad to do. My sister did nothing, my father some. My question has to do with the holidays. Each year when my sister comes, she does nothing to help, neither does my niece or brother-in-law. My niece is now 22. My mother passed this May and my son just started college. Every Christmas, I've tried to ask for help, but I only get insults and criticism from my sister about trying to do to much. I don't. I don't try to overdo Christmas gatherings, I'm just trying to manage my daughter (10) and her needs, let alone while my mother was living I would be caring for her as well, while hosting my sister & her family. This has resulted in me being sick over the holidays about half of time, my husband and I working overtime to manage & host, and frankly, stress and chaos in our home. I've tried to explain this to my sister who sees it with her own eyes, but for some reason doesn't accept it, but feels entitled to be in our home over the holiday and demands that she be. I've told her that the holidays are not the best time for a family visit and due to our changing schedules with my son's college schedule. I offered to get together another time during the year, but she's still angry. This situation is almost ridiculous. With my daughter's needs alone, trying to host is very difficult, but regardless of the many conversations over many years conveying this, it falls on deaf ears. My sister barely makes herself available to even talk on the phone the rest of the year, doesn't often return calls or texts, but insists on coming during Christmas. I know it's nostalgic for her to come because she likes being back in her home state for a "white" Christmas (she lives in a warm climate.) But frankly, she doesn't see the connection to maintaining or desiring relationship the rest of the year or the fact that it is difficult for us. Two years ago, I attempted to talk to her about this specifically and she listened, but not much has changed. I realize not hosting may seem like turning family away. However, she has a family and her husband's family live near them, as well. On a side note, she and her husband have never hosted a holiday dinner for his family. His mother does it each year, every holiday, and my sister & husband don't even bring anything. She's critical of their holiday, as well. I just don't think she recognizes the difficulty of our specific situation.

Expert's Assistant: The Etiquette Expert will know what to do. Is there anything else the Etiquette Expert should be aware of?

No, I think that about sums it all up. Thank you.

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Answered in 8 minutes by:
11/17/2017
Olivia Kent
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 3,588
Experience: Executive Director at Neurogenx Nerve Center of Princeton
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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I’ll be happy to help you. It’s exhausting, isn’t it - doing everything for everyone else? Generally it IS a thankless job – but when you find yourself doing it for adults who are able to pitch in and help you but are seemingly oblivious to your needs It’s incredibly frustrating. You have a couple of choices: 1. You can grin and bear it and just tolerate your family for the holidays. Or 2. You can
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Or 2. You can write your sister a heartfelt letter telling her that you will not be hosting Christmas this year and would prefer a low key holiday - but she is welcome to visit after the holidays.
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The reason I suggest a letter is because a lot of people get really flustered trying to explain things to family members who are overbearing or just have more aggressive personalities. Plus, a letter gives you a chance to think about exactly what you want to say. And then finally, you’ve said that she doesn’t answer the phone or respond to texts very well anyway. Well, this way you will not be subject to her whims. If she shows up for the holidays – well, I have yet to meet family that just showed up when they were explicitly told not to. I hope that answers your questions :-) I’m here if you need anything!
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate your advice about the letter. It makes sense. Thanks!
It’s my pleasure. Please reach out if you need anything at all.
Olivia Kent
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 3,588
Experience: Executive Director at Neurogenx Nerve Center of Princeton
Verified
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