My Sibling Is Trying To Control Everything
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Are you participating in caring for a parent? Ever said, “My sibling is trying to control everything?” When it comes to a family caring for a senior, one family member usually takes charge. When taking charge impairs others from helping, you have an issue. What are the issues? How do you address the issues?
Family communication is a Master Technique of Super Agers. We cover it comprehensively here. However, in this article, we talk about the specific situations where a controlling sibling impairs the care of a parent.
Standard Family Caregiving Arrangement
The family member most likely to take charge of caring for an aging parent or parents is the oldest nearby daughter. And most seniors need assistance at some point in their life. Most care for seniors is provided by family members. Estimates are that 65% of seniors needing long-term care rely solely on family members.
The provider of this care, at least the hands-on part, are women. As many as 75% of the caregivers are women. Studies have shown that daughters are twice as likely as sons to provide care, regardless of circumstance. This is, of course, a traditional gender role. It’s also how care has been historically provided to seniors.
Carmen and I start off this section of My Sibling is Trying to Control Everything with this fact to make the point that if it’s the oldest daughter trying to control everything, and she’s providing the care, it may be best to accept this reality. If for no other reason, than it is usually the reality.
Control Freaks & Controlling Siblings
Control freaks are not necessarily bad. Without control freaks much less in the world would get done. And in many cases, what gets done, wouldn’t;t be done as well. The Type A personality is often associated with being a good control freak.
What Is A Type A Personaility?
Type A is a definition of a personality type. This type of personality shares the following positive characteristics:
On the other hand, Type A personalities also have negative characteristics. These include:
Type A Personalities & Stress
Type A personalities often get stressed out. When caring for a parent and trying to manage complex situations among multiple family members stress is everpresent. If the Type A is also working the stress can be overwhelming. This increases the likelihood of negative characteristics emerging. Negative characteristics coming out under stress include:
When Does A Controlling Sibling Overstep Their Boundary
Boundaries are broken when the controlling sibling (aka Type A Personality), or any other sibling personality type for that matter, leads them to behave in ways that diminish the family care available to the parent.
Diminished care can materialize in many ways. Here are the most common.
Fewer In-Person Visits
Seniors get lonely. As we age, most of us pull back from society. We spend less time with others. This leads to isolation and loneliness. Type A’s often break down their siblings. They nag them and berate them. When this leads to fewer children visits, the controlling sibling is doing harm.
Fewer Siblings Willing To Help With Tasks
When the family is optimizing care for a parent, they’re working together. They all contribute. Generally, this involves a number of children and even their children. Everyone is helping out with daily, weekly and periodic tasks. These tasks include things like:
Diminished Financial Support
When families are optimizing their support, a number of children provide financial support. However, there are occasions when a controlling sibling gains control of the parent’s finances and isn’t transparent with other siblings. This lack of transparency may be the result of a lack of skills, anger about having to share something they feel competent about, or they may be using funds for purposes they know their siblings would dislike.
Regardless of what causes the transparency, the fact it exists can lead to siblings withdrawing their financial contributions. Most family members that contribute financially to their parents want strings attached. The most basic strings are how is Mom or Dad spending their money (i.e., our money if we’re helping).
This is a complicated issue. Carmens and I discuss it in more detail in the articles below:
When a controlling sibling behaves in ways that diminish sibling’s financial contribution, the controlling sibling is doing harm.
Swicth From Task Help To Financial Help
When family support is optimized, lots of family members are doing lots of things. Carmena and I have seen numerous situations where a controlling sibling moves in with a parent or is spending lots of time with their parent. In both cases, that sibling is present in the home more often than not.
If the controlling sibling creates a hostile or uncomfortable environment for their siblings, the siblings may stop coming by. Also, they may stop volunteering for tasks that help their parent.
When a controlling sibling creates an environment that diminish their sibling’s task support, the controlling sibling is doing harm.
Working With Controlling Siblings
At CarePlanIt we only focus on getting you through the period when you’re working with family members to care for your parent or parents. The tips below are ways to get through this difficult time and minimize confrontation with a controlling sibling.
If they want you to do something, ask for five or six things that need to be done and tell them you will pick one or two.
Control freaks love to make you angry, that’s a sign they got you. Stay calm, if you feel yourself getting upset, say you need to attend to something else and you’ll get back to them.
Boundaries are the most critical thing you can establish with a control freak. They thrive on breaking down boundaries. That’s evidence of their control over you.
Express your desire to help, but explain your willingness to help needs to fit your schedule. Ask for a list of things that need to be done, and say you’ll select the ones that you can. (It’s always worth complementing the control freak for all their great work, and that you wish you could be more like them.)
Don’t make decisions in front of a control freak. They will try and manipulate your choices.
Other Resources On Dealing My Controlling Sibling
Interesting article on dealing with toxic siblings here.
Great article on interacting with difficult siblings here.