Saturday, September 22, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Sibling suspicious of sister's extended grief

Q: How do you react to somebody who you think actually is milking grief?

I lost my mother about 18 months ago and my sister is still acting like we just got the news yesterday. She mentions our "recent loss" to everybody from waitresses to her hairdresser to the checker at the grocery store.

Mom's house currently looks like a shrine to her because my sister is unable to clean it out and goes nuts if we offer to do it without her. My brother and I think part of this is genuine emotion but part of it is that she really likes being a grieving person. My patience is getting very thin.

Milking Grief

A: Can someone "like" being a grieving person? I suppose it's possible in someone who thrives on attention in general — and you'd know whether that was true of your sister before your mother's death.

It could also be, though, that she's stuck. Grief is different in everyone, as most people know, and in running its own course it can also stop progressing and never reach a resolved place.

The Mom's-house-as-shrine suggests your sister might be in that position, because it's hard to see what attention feedback she gets from denying you and your brother permission to clean it out.

It sounds as if you live close to your sister, so maybe she will agree to come with you to a moderated grief support group. If she gets something out of a meeting or two that you bring her to, then maybe she'll start to go on her own.

I realize your sister's being stuck means you and your brother also are being asked to live in the past with her to some degree, and that's frustrating. But please try to keep that frustration from coloring your view of your sister.

Tell her you're uncomfortable with talking about Mom's loss as if it happened yesterday — but take care to approach your sister with more compassion than cynicism. Regardless of her motivations or intent, her choices betray her as someone struggling with poor emotional health.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Bean-counting brother needs a lesson in kindness

Q: My sister owns a few apartment buildings and my mother lives there rent-free. My mother plans to give my sister slightly more in her will. Our brother is angry about this, he wants my sister to just charge our mother rent. My sister thinks our mom...
Published: 09/21/18
Mark your calendar for these Halloween events

Mark your calendar for these Halloween events

13 Ugly Men Halloween PartyThese "ugly" men sure know how to party with three floors offering new tricks and treats, DJ dancing and a light show making the 10th annual Halloween party a "Party with a Purpose." Benefits Beat NB. 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Yborís...
Published: 09/19/18

Tell Me About It: Frequently displaced wife has had enough moves

Q: I have been married to my second husband for 24 years. We have a 16-year-old and I have two adult children.I have moved seven times in 17 years for his job. He didnít have to quit and take another job, but they were opportunities for him to climb ...
Published: 09/19/18
Where to find kid-friendly, not-so-scary Halloween fun

Where to find kid-friendly, not-so-scary Halloween fun

Spare the gore and take the kids to these family-friendly Halloween parties planned at theme parks and attractions in the coming weeks. Creatures of the Night at ZooTampa The weekend nighttime Halloween party at ZooTampa at Lowry Park returns with...
Published: 09/18/18

Tell Me About It: Busy couple seeks ways to downsize for the future

Q: Over a decade, my salary has tripled (Iím quite well-paid now), my work hours and responsibilities have increased, and ó because Iím so frequently tired or short on time ó my "outsourcing" has increased, too. Think: frequent takeout, a dog-walker,...
Published: 09/18/18

Tell Me About It: Parents want bully brother to be his best man

Q: Iím getting married. Thatís awesome. However, my parents want me to ask my brother to be my best man. The idea of letting my brother, whoís spent his whole life being the biggest jerk he can manage, stand up and give a speech about me makes me wan...
Published: 09/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is frustrated by teenís dislike of academics

Q: I have a 15-year-old son who is obviously bright but hates school. My husband and I canít helicopter him to success because (a) we donít want to be helicopter parents, and (b) he has developed ninja-like skills when it comes to evading any attempt...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: In search of ways to stop the family over-talker

Q: During extended family get-togethers with my side of the family, there is one person who does 95 percent of the talking. When I ask someone else in the room a question about their lives, this person always jumps in and takes over the conversation ...
Updated one month ago
Busch Gardens reveals plans for Tigris, Florida's tallest launch roller coaster

Busch Gardens reveals plans for Tigris, Florida's tallest launch roller coaster

Busch Gardens will open Florida’s tallest launch coaster in spring 2019, company officials announced Wednesday. The triple-launch, tiger-themed roller coaster called Tigris will hurl riders 150 feet into the sky, turn them upside down and swirl...
Published: 09/12/18

Tell Me About It:

Mom-to-be decides who will join her in deliveryQ: I am six months pregnant with my first child. Iíve been fixated a bit on who to have in the delivery room with me, I think because itís one of the few elements I can control in this pregnancy. Should ...
Updated one month ago