Category Archives: family

Match Point: Bringing Up Equal Girls, Boys

Are strong girls or enlightened boys more at the disadvantage? Raising Cain and April.  — BadWitch

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! CHINESE NEW YEAR OF THE HARE

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — What an interesting blog you have. My question is this. Is it better to raise strong girls or enlightened boys? My friend and I debate this a lot and I think you’re doing a boy a disservice in our society if you raise him to be too sensitive to women’s equality. I’m not an anti-feminist, just the opposite and a die-hard since the 60’s. I don’t know if this matters in the least, but we’re both 64 and looking at our grandchildren. Power Nana

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Dear Power Nana,

Hmm, you’ve confirmed my previous suspicions that this is a generational thing. I was really surprised when I first heard this being debated in my early 20s, and it still surprises me as I’ve been afforded the ability to sustain my delusion that things have changed for the better in our society for both genders. My main suggestion is that you not project your own stereotypical gender biases on your grandkids.

Tow your (what I perceive is your real albeit conflicted) own line consistently, that both genders are better served when males are made more sensitive by being enlightened to other people’s challenges, and that independently strong girls are made even stronger when there are enlightened males around to attract and work/live with. They sound like Yin-Yang to me, as in physics, you can’t have one without the other. I don’t mean any of this in an idealistic Nirvan-y sort of way, but purely as (if you’re going to (attempt to) raise them with your consciousness) a logical extension of this thinking.

Raise them all up,

BadWitch

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Dear Power Nana,

I’m interested why you believe raising boys sensitive to the issues women face with inequality would be a disservice. To who? Listen, in this case you’ve got a boy that is sure to be popular with the ladies, may later lead an important charge regarding paycheck fairness or the equal rights amendment (that has yet to be ratified) and sees the world through the glasses of balance and respect. Where’s the issue?

I do believe that raising boys to be too overly sensitive, i.e. overly coddled is not at all a good thing. There is a great book called “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman that talks about the issues for children unable to experience life’s little disappointments who later are unable to cope when big issues like job and family are on the table.

As the adults raising children it is important to instill them with the very qualities we hold dear. Our job is to help them become the incredible people they can be by giving them all the guidance we can—especially where it comes to fairness, equality and respect for all.

Teach them what you know. There future girlfriends and spouses will thank you for it.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Out of the Closet: Unwanted Makeover

Your mom’s just trying to be helpful but she’s messing with your closet/your head. De-cluttering how to tell her to stop before it becomes your dirty laundry. — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I come home and my moms “reorganized” my entire closet Now there’s one shoe downstairs and one upstairs. She turned my whole closet upside down like that! That was 3 weeks ago, and I’m still searching for my things every day. What can I do about this?  — Closet Case

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Dear Closet Case,

What a great question about setting appropriate boundaries. And whether you’re 13 and your mom is all up in your grill, or you’re 45 and living with a senior mom who requires your assistance — doesn’t matter. Same relationship dynamic thing, different time. Moms who need to do your thing their way, is…classic.

You know your BadWitch wants you to tell her like it is (but keep in mind that for you, her action was annoyingly intrusive, while to her, just helpful), but I understand that this may be both difficult for you to say, and for her to actually hear (whether because of big ego or legit cognitive reasons — if the latter (which your searching up and downstairs for stuff alerts me to), immediately get her under a geriatric physician’s care). Still, together you should set down some rules for happy co-existing in this house.

Whatever your age, calm the heck waaay down and then ask you mom why she felt she needed to help you get organized. Ask questions to hear past “it was messy”-type responses to what her perception is about your organizational skills, how you live. If any of it resonates with you, think then act to improve yourself. Thank her! If it doesn’t feel true for you, then try substituting her “you” statements with your proper name and repeat them out loud. If most or all of it still doesn’t feel true to you, then consider what is actually important to you a la values, and then calmly set enforceable boundaries. Remember, one huge lesson living with people we love can teach us is how to reasonably compromise.

Setting boundaries: Let your mother know clearly that you respect her, but that you and your territory must have her reciprocal respect, too. Just because it works for her, deosn’t mean it does (or has to!) work for everyone on the planet. Find the most effective way to say it so your mom can hear it. Find a way to enforce it (expectations > consequences). If you don’t, you can expect that she will repeat this closet makeover episode (in one form or another) and that will be on you, later. In the worst (and last case) scenario, put a lock on your door.

Lights on in that closet,

BadWitch

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Dear Closet Case,

OMG!!! And I mean that! I don’t know what’s more horrifying, the idea of your mother seeing every nook and cranny of your inner wardrobe or the idea of someone else reorganizing the items that should very specifically be categorized by the wearer. Shocking.

Well, first and foremost you must sit down with your mother to discuss this fiasco. In a loving (which means practice A LOT before the face-to-face), calm voice (A LOT) let her know in no uncertain terms that though you believe her “helpfulness” in regards to your closet was born from the most loving thoughts and ideas, in truth it felt like a disrespect for your privacy. You know that was not how it was intended (see why you have to practice?), but in fact reorganizing someone else’s closet without their prior notice and consent is best left to parents of small children not yet capable of organizing sweaters together, etc.

Let her know that you are still searching for some much need items. In truth, though you two are so similar, your organizational styles are very different….and, well, it makes life more difficulty when getting ready for (school/work/obligations).

Be clear before your bathroom cabinets are reorganized and those much needed daily products disappear! This is an important opportunity for you to set boundaries like an adult. Show her what you’re working with. But show it with love and respect. She birthed you. She deserves heaping helpings of both.

Also, your mom may be somewhat bored. Is she older and needing to get out to the local centers to play with people her own age while you are at work? Or maybe the stay at home mom is discovering a latent passion for interior design. Whatever the root cause remember compassion—not anger—will get you the respect you crave.

Good luck (sincerely),

GoodWitch

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Image: Touchstone Pictures

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Divvying Up Splitsville

Equal piece of the pie. The spoils of war. Everyone wants theirs. But in the division of property, is winner takes all really the goal in a war of hearts?   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I finally did it!!!! I broke up with my assh*** long term (relationship). Now we’re divvying up property. The fights are starting all over again. Help! — Fractionator

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Dear Fractionator,

It sounds like congratulations are in order for successfully completing one cycle in your lessons. The trick for you two (and individually) is not to repeat the same trial-and-error homework but to repeat the successful outcome — in your case, a mature ending of something that was no longer serving you. Do the same thing with your things. After all, they are only as potent and valuable as you your selves assign and infuse them with. Keep the power you give freely to the things low, especially as to your emotions they represent (i.e., “That CD you bought me on our first date is mine,” but only because you are still attaching the old sentiment of his taking care of you to the plastic disc, etc. Fill in your own actual emotional ties). Set up rules before re-visiting this property division task (involve an impartial third party, if necessary). Agree to divide things fairly by BR and AR dates (Before Relationship and After Relationship), receipts, and/or any other empirical, pragmatic data or reasoning you can agree to.

Lastly, the other grey-area items should be put in the middle of the living room and “auctioned” for (I’m suggesting reasoned (vs. argued in the aggressive sense) for; best rhetoric prevails) in front of a pre-determined, mutually agreed upon impartial third party. All decisions final.

Lighten your spoils to move on fully,

BadWitch

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Dear Fractitioner,

Congratulations on standing up for you! Don’t stop now! Parsing out property is no easy feat!  There will be times that you must lay down a firm boundary and stake your claim and others when you will need to concede. The key to successfully “divvying” up the property will be your own presence with yourself and what you refuse to let go of and what you are ok with handing away.

Before your next “splitting up the goods” meeting, write out a list of property and star those items that you believe will be contentious creators. Decide ahead of time what your best outcome would be. BE FAIR!! Do not decide you need the thing you know your partner wants most. That will only cause more contentious moments. Decide what items you need to move away or be paid for giving away. For backup, create a second list of negotiating items—those items which you know your partner wants, you don’t care about that you can hold back as bargaining chips to negotiate for the pieces you really want.

Remember, in the end you would be better off walking away from a bunch of property littered with negative associations than putting yourself through hell for CDs or an arm chair. You are more important than any store bought item. In the end, you could just ask for a payout for the bulk of items and start fresh.

You have already started the process of taking care of you. Keep going!

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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First Time Job, Earner’s New Costs

We all had one: a first time job. What we all don’t have is the exact same views on money, responsibilities and how those things go together. Figuring out the “new allowance.” — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My mother reads your blog so I’m hoping she’s reading this. I’m 16 and just got my first job, and she’s already making me pay for gas and my cell phone now! Does that seem right to you? I’m ok paying for my car insurance so I drive more responsibly, but she makes me pay to get to work and come home. That seems seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t she want me to want to go to work and make money to begin with? — First Time Worker

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Dear First Time Worker,

That you share your mother’s interests enough to know to come here and try to “sway” her is…ehem, your work skills showing. I do, however, appreciate your understanding about the cause-affect relationship of your paying for your car insurance. This shows you do understand how things work.

Now take those mad skillz to the next level, and have a meeting with your parents to figure out what items you should be paying for by discussing to understand each other’s priorities. They will include: cost-to-use, time and money, prioritizing values, and your safety. Maybe it is valuable to them to pay for all things school related. Maybe only you can afford that $350 bat to keep playing, etc… I’m going to keep this one very short because I believe just having this little pow wow will open your parents and your own eyes as to how the other actually sees the world…and mmoney and responsibilities.

Time spent together is time well spent,

BadWitch

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Dear First Time Worker,

Congratulations on your first job!

So now that we’re done with niceties, let me give you the down and dirty truth of life as an adult. Life costs money. Gas, car insurance, car payment, tolls—all cost money. The roof over your head costs whether in mortgage, rent or upkeep. Clothes, toiletries and toilet paper all cost and we’ve not even discussed lights, heat, water and garbage.

Your mother has been covering these costs. Now that you have a job she is asking for your help. She’s not even asking for you to cover living expenses, just the gas you need to go where you want to go and the cell phone you need to set up those play dates. In other words, she’s having you cover the cost of your play and travel to and from work. Really, not a lot in the grand scheme of the many hundreds of dollars needed to survive.

Of course, one hopes that these costs do not take the entirety of your weekly check. Now is the time to start the lifelong habit of saving some of your income for a rainy day (or Cabo Spring Break).

You have the opportunity now to create new lifelong habits that will serve you in the years to come. Yes, life comes with bills to pay—and we also have to pay our fair share—but it also comes with compounding interest. Read (or listen to) David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. Don’t bemoan paying for the life you live. That’s life. Be grateful for the opportunity to have money coming in that helps your mother and helps you live the life you enjoy. These days, not everyone is as lucky.

New responsibility will often chafe, but it will not choke if approached with level head and grateful heart. Realize that your mom’s burden is heavier than you have bothered to note, but now you have the opportunity to help, where it is appropriate.

Blessings on a bright future,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Trust (GW)

It is almost impossible to trust any human completely unless you have learned to trust yourself. And self-trust is an uphill struggle on a greased slip and slide for many of us. Trust in one’s own judgment. Trust in our own abilities and trust in our own vision. Tricky.

Map your life. Where have you been? What were he critical junctures? Remind yourself of the critical decisions you got right. The ability you have shown. The determination to survive you’ve demonstrated. The people you have loved who love you. Apparently, you did some things right. Yes, there may have been mistakes, but that is what makes you human. Divinely human. “Don’t be upset, it’s just a milkshake.”

Trust is built on history—a history of recognized decision-making, adapting, living and loving to the best of your ability. Making decisions for your best interest and the best interest of those you love. Map your history and learn to trust. Namaste — GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Trust (BW)

What is trust? Why trust? And why is it so hard for some people to do it? Trust, like all other deep ways of being in life, is informed and imprinted early on. A gallon of nurture beaten into an ounce of nature. Add salt to taste. Let stand 9-12 years. Serve frozen or warm. It’s hard to be trusting if you were abused or abandoned (in their many forms) as a child — but not impossible. It just takes realization, information, and consistent will to make this change for the better. But you have to want to learn to trust. I’ve often been stumped by some people’s seeming inability to adjust (at their own pace) their thinking and attitude when it is revealed later that their trust was warranted, after all. And it is this latter bit that I see as people keeping themselves down (in relationships of all kinds, by life circumstances attracted) because a relentless inability (or distrust) to learn to be more open and trusting when warranted evolves into a cynicism (worse than just jaded) that is hardened to expect less of life and for one’s self.

Learning to appropriately trust when it’s earned leads to better relationships and a more expansive life. Trust is possibilities. Possibilities are freedom. Freedom is a responsibility that must be consistently tended.

Is trusting easy or difficult for you to do? What life situations do you find yourself less trusting than others? What small steps (or tips) can you take towards becoming more open more often? — BadWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Job Offer Relocate or Reject & Stay?

When partners can’t agree on one’s job offer that affects both, the job at hand is to choose the best compromise.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My wife has a (lateral) job offer from her firm that necessitates our relocating across the country. We know no one in that state, its job prospects for me are on par with most any other state, we could buy a lot of house there by selling ours here, and we have one preschool child. Here’s the kicker, I want her to pull the trigger more than she seems to want to. She seems satisfied with her work but I think they’re trying to save her job with this offer. I fear she will stay and then get laid off and we need both salaries. We’ve talked and talked but just can’t come to agreement. Suggestions?  Worried Hubby

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Dear Worried Hubby,

Since you say you’ve both talked it through so much, let’s not debate the merits of your wife taking this job as you’d like. Let’s have you two honestly explore your individual fears around both her scenarios: accepting and rejecting the offer.

It sounds simple but I like a good pro/con-type list for such quandries, and especially if I’m in one with someone else. Writing it out will help you two see your own and each other’s underlying fears more clearly and completely, and that allows you both to connect the dots to your actual line items of financial impact, realistic stability of her company/current job,  your age(s) to starting over elsewhere, the tax benefits between your current versus a more inexpensive home, and so much more. I am suggesting this list be developed and written as objectively as possible, and using different color pens will help you see each other’s points all the clearer.

Your primary challenge is not to be right, but to untangle the emotions from this situation, to make the best decision for your family together you know how.

More teamwork, less worry,

BadWitch

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Dear Worried Hubby,

There is more to moving than the bottom line. I get what your concerns are, and they are valid. However, I think you may be overlooking your wife’s concerns.

Yes, you can have more house, but your salary in this new place is not guaranteed. And the amount of that salary will probably be commensurate with the state, as opposed to what you are making now where you are. Also, you will have no support.  That may not seem like much now, but no one to ask for last minute help. No one to invite over for pizza, beer and communing that you know you can let down all your pretenses with and just hang. Babysitters, schools, friends will all have to be vetted again in the hopes of carving out a niche in a community you can really feel at home in. You are ready to make this leap, but my guess is, your wife may not be as ready to be cut adrift in a strange new place.

Perhaps you two can work out how you are both feeling about your options in a couple of lists. One lists is your pro and con list on moving, another is hers. The next list is ideas for making it work if you stay and she gets laid off. Another may be lists of possible job opportunities and starting salaries in the new state. Get a better sense of all the factors. Do you know % of joblessness in the new state vs. where you are? Do you know whether there are more jobs in your wife’s field or yours? Who will have an easier time finding new work?

Both of you should start applying to jobs—she should look where you are now and you should look in this new place. See who starts to get positive feedback. Maybe she finds work where you are now, doesn’t have to give up her community and you two don’t need to incorporate the chaos of moving into your lives. Or maybe you get some great results from your new job search and spark her interest. Seems like you both need more real world research to know what the best choice is.

I know you are worried and looking for the best possible outcome for your family. Trust that your wife is as well. Now, investigate so you can make decisions based on real world opportunities rather than unrealized fears. It’s the best way to put that worry energy to good use and limit regret.

Mantra: We both want what is best for the family. We will not react from fear, but from knowns. If we act together, we can make it through whatever changes are ahead because we are a family.

Happy researching,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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House Remodeling a Home Wrecker

When putting a pretty face on is deconstructionist, you need more foundation work than spackle to hold it together. Building needs strength, not dominance. — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My partner and I are remodeling our house. It’s a wreck and I’m seeing how it’s showing the cracks in our relationships too. We started out with the same ideas and now when the contractors are around, there seems to be a power struggle. The most recent one cost us $3000 more than budgeted. Help us! He doesn’t know I’m writing you so don’t publish my name.Seeking One Roof

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Dear Seeking One Roof,

I hope we answer you in time, but remodels never finish on schedule (and, in fact, feel endless), so I’m sure your issues are still standing…!

What a great non-question question. To push your building metaphor, you hit the nail on the head by pointing out your power struggle as the issue. Oh, and money is such an underscore. Privately (not in front of contractors or other workers, most of whom already need aligned management) set some boundaries by mutually assigning tasks to each other’s strengths: design, color, budgeting, architectural details, and managing contractor relationships, to name a very few. No need for redundancy on single projects (or rooms). But if you both feel your strengths are too similar to split up tasks/responsibilities, then do as I said and split “ownership” by rooms. Each of you should be accountable to meet the budgets for your assigned task or room. Also, a weekly progress and accountability meeting will be highly productive to keep you on track and “honest” with each other, as well as yourselves.

Just because this is about your home and personal finances, there’s no reason not to treat this like any other business project and handle items accordingly. If anything, it sounds to me like your personal business will benefit from some professionalism.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling

BadWitch

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Dear Seeking One Roof,

Who’s causing the power struggle over budget? What I mean is, is your contractor playing you two off each other, pushing buttons for more line items on the job? Or are you two not on the same page about what you actually want the house to look like (read represent) after this remodel?

It sounds like you two need to sit down with an art pad and list of house fixes and go through one by one describing your blue-sky, no limits visions. Allow each one to take it to the farthest reaches of imagination. Write these descriptions out side by side, and then compare. Are you two trying for the same end vision? Now, realize, blue sky is not reality. It is just a chance to see where each of you would be headed if there were no limits, restrictions or financial obstacles.

Now, if you want to create an ode to travel that inspires the urge to pack and explore, while your partner is creating the ultimate lounge spot that inspires burrowing and all the creature comforts that mean you almost never need to leave the house, well, you can see how the visions for the house and the relationship are no longer on the same page. Find out if your big visions are compatible.

If they are compatible, figure out how to express your needs and your partner’s needs in the real 3-D, boundary-driven world we live in. For instance if your partner wants more built in shelving to store sports equipment and you want those same built in shelves to store your bottle collection, see if you can either have two sets of shelves or devise a new way to store sports equipment or a new cabinet for your bottles. Maybe the shelves are split in half between your needs and his.

What I’m saying is, don’t let unbridled growth in what may be two separate directions cause you to split the house in half. Check in with each other on big vision goals and dreams. Realign that vision. Then work out compromises so everybody’s needs are met. When and if the power struggle starts, remind your partner that you are on each other’s team. That you are willing to support you partners dreams, but your must be supported as well. Smooch. Remember why you love each other. Then work it out.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time for couples counseling. Power struggles can led to the end of your relationship if you let it. But remember, it takes two to tango. Doesn’t mean you should just roll over and obey, but it does mean if you refuse to participate your partner will be left to work with you or have a tantrum.

Mantra: A power struggle requires to people pulling in opposite directions. I choose to work with my partner to find solutions. We are one the same team.

Look for the middle way,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Money, Irresponsibility & Angry Siblings

When adult siblings view responsibility and money differently, someone can end up eating an angry, bitter sandwich.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I know I’m a shit but I can’t take it anymore. My sister is a total loser and left everything for me to do with our aging, frail mother. I love her and wouldn’t not take care of her! All her life our parents helped that family charity case out, and now she’s nowhere to be found, but mom always asks me if she’s ok and needs money!!! I have to do every f**g thing by myself and I already know she’s going to get at least half of all of it when mom dies. Should I seek legal recourse? Mom would never go for it I can already tell you.   Under the Bus

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Dear Under the Bus,

Muffin, I hear ya. Make your own daily life easier (if only by the law), by as early on as the situation makes appropriate, taking control and getting Power of Attorney. It’s tough enough you have to do all the work, it’s untenable to feel or be obligated to get approvals and sign-offs from absent (or even unqualified) siblings. I’m afraid the broad strokes of your scenario are so common as to be stereotypical: the care of aging parents often falls on one sibling while the other(s) very often do absolutely nothing to help and disappear (if they ever scuttled into the light) back into the woodwork. I know. I know. This is life at its unfairest of all, Snow White. Addressing possible extenuating circumstances why a sibling may choose not to help an aging parent(s) can range from super clear and absolutely legit to totally false and lazy — so I will not insult you by pointing out any of those reasons. If I had The Answer to this problem (that will only increase in our aging population), I would have a truly golden inheritance (but I thank the Universe that not all siblings are absent burdens!). Instead, I will just offer you the support that sometimes responsible and fair-playing adults left out in the cold need: despite appearances, you are not alone. If you have one, lean on your belief system that says the just will be vindicated — whether with a heavenly reservation or frequent karmic reward points. I say, don’t focus on people’s shortcomings and their inability/unwillingness, rather work on your own weaknesses, expand your own abilities, willingness in life, and reward own damn self by simply recognizing your love for a parent(s) who likely gave you all they had to give, and possibly sacrificed silently for your betterment over their own immediate gratification, and — this is the trick and the trickiest of all, I find — be your own best parent in the darkest times. [And you know what, BadWitch thinks that aging parents are very probably getting the best choices made for them by the one child who is actually doing all the hands on work, than by a committee confederacy of reluctant dunces, anyway…]

Get out of under & drive your bus,

BadWitch

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Dear Under the Bus,

I wish your situation was an anomaly, but I’ve heard it too many times before. My heart and my prayers go out to you and your aging mother.  Personally, I recognize how lucky I am to have siblings that care as much and work as hard (if not harder) in some cases than I do in caring for my elderly parents. But every time I call a doctor or caregiver about my parents, I hear the shock that a child is following up to help her parents. What?! Apparently responsibility is a virtue some just do not know how to step up to.

My suggestions? Write up a letter of expectations for your sibling. Outline not only the hours but expenses you have incurred in order to take care of your mother. (Yes, I would include gas and mileage, as well as phone costs.) Outline what you would like her help with. Be clear though, she’s not stepping up without some push back. Don’t give her critical jobs (paying caregivers, rent, etc.) But have her follow up with docs and caregivers and report back to you. Sadly, you will probably have to check up on her in some micromanaging way. Yes, even following up with the doctors after she does so you know she is giving you thorough, accurate reports.

This will frustrate you initially and piss you off to no end. But the truth is, you need to treat your sister like a tenured employee with no sense of responsibility. You want to fire her. You want to yell and kick her to the curb, but you can’t. She’s family, not an employee. But in the end if you can show her how to step up and help you, you may have the assistance you want in the end.

However, just in case she continues to be self-obsessed, irresponsible and unavailable, even after you have outlined what’s what, keep a thorough record of your expense and hours of work for your mother, as well as all the times you asked for assistance and her response. At some point very soon, you will have a document, which clearly shows her lack of care in black and white. Then consult an attorney to see if you have any recourse. If yes, time to talk turkey with your sister so she knows to step up or lose out.

The truth is you will never change how your mother babies your sister. A mother can go to the grave making excuses for the ones she loves rather than facing a hurtful truth. Is it really your job to make your mom fee any worse than she already does because her kid’s a flake?

You may have to suck it up. It sucks, but your mom needs care and you can only do so much to make someone else step up to assist you. In truth, my suggestions may still lead to more work, no help and no recourse, but as with all things in life, you gotta try the best you can to make things work out. Not trying will leave you empty, angry and bitter. And if in the end your sister does not step up and help, you just have to accept it because that is what is. The inheritance your mother intends to leave your sister is not because of the work she has or has not done. It is because your mom (for better or for worse) loves her child and wants to leave her part of what she’s accomplished in this life as a reminder of that love.

Your job is not to make your mom see your sister is a flake. Your job is not to try and ruin whatever imaginary, co-dependant relationship they have before your mom leaves this earth. Your job is to do your best to live the best life you can for you, which, yes, includes taking responsibility and caring for your mom. Bottom line: life is not always fair, but karma is. Know that in some way at some point in time the Universe will say “thank you,” for all you’ve done. But whatever you do, do it with an open heart of love and giving. Gifts steeped in resentment can leave a nasty after taste—for you and your mother. Know that you are doing what you do for the right reasons and everybody who needs to know that, really does. Including your mom, whether she’s able to express that to you or not. But you know. Find a way to make peace that you know what you do and you are proud of what you do. I am proud of you.

Mantra: I give because I want to and the giving feeds me as much as those I give of my time, energy and dedication. I cannot compare what I give to someone else, I can only express my best work every day and express my gratitude to myself for doing so. I am at peace leaving the ultimate judgment and tally to karma, knowing all is divinely perfect— even if I cannot see how or why right now.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Image: Jose Luis Merino

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Grief, Loss and Embracing Changes

It’s inevitable that we will all come to lose someone we love dearly, and our world can feel shattered and never the same again. It’s possible that such changes can eventually be positive and self-accepting life affirming ones.      — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I lost my husband a few years ago. I haven’t gotten over it and no one understands my deep, deep grief. I know I’m not the only one who’s lost her husband, but mine did everything for me and now I am completely alone in the world. Even my kids can’t console me. Sometimes I just want to die and get it over with. My doctor already has me on some middle dosage depression meds for years, this isn’t new, but it’s worse than ever.  — Lost Will

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Dear Lost Will,

As you’ve already experienced, depression is a complex and highly individual disorder you should continue to monitor with your doctor. Its causes can be physical, neurological, hormonal. Grief is an interesting animal, and a response to an emotion (usually sadness resulting from loss). Being a response, it isn’t always what it seems, time doesn’t always heal all wounds back to original state, but the good news is that we can change our responses — the grief experience is one more of those life lessons you can choose to learn from or disregard to your own peril.

I feel your pain, am sorry for your loss but encourage you to allow for your own (new and current) life. Being present is not just a goal but the only way towards being fully alive, despite our hurts and fears. But as a close family member of mine experiences her widowhood much the same way you describe, and I encourage her to get back in touch with herself and take joy in her blessed and rich life, I’ve also witnessed how extremely easy it is for you to dismiss these supportive words which probably sound hollow to you, and retreat deeper into the seeming safety of your own mind. I firmly believe we create our own realities, so I will end by holding the space for you to find the will to lean into your family daily and console yourself through engaged action hourly.

Wishing you clarity,

BadWitch

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Dear Lost Will,

The grief of losing someone you love really never goes away, but the sting can fade over time if you allow it. Of course, most times we don’t want the sting to fade, because if the sting fades, they are really gone aren’t they? But keeping the grief alive only keeps the painful separation alive, not the one you have loved and lost.

It has taken me years to get past the cold, hollow feeling of loneliness I felt when I unexpectedly lost a dear friend who was like my big brother. In fact, he was better than my big brothers. He was there. He disapproved of the boys I chose to date. He talked to me into the wee hours of the morning when I wanted to cut all ties with my mother always and forever. He was my rock and he was suddenly gone at 30 years old.

Does the ache go away completely? No, I’m crying as I type this. But I do not let myself dwell there because my life with Dan was so much more than his death. There were years of laughter and silliness, long serious talks and a constant feeling of actually mattering to someone. I know he wanted more for me than I could want for myself. I know he still does. I refuse to sum up our relationship with grief. I choose to stand up straight and make a plan for a better day—each day.

Like everything in life, positive changes will not just happen. You must make them happen. Do you think the man you loved and continue to love wanted you so immersed in grief you could not enjoy the gifts of life he left behind for you? Your children are extensions of his spirit, his love—your time together. Embrace these moments or you will lose them because you have not taken the time to build a bridge to them. If you are so immersed in your grief, who’s helping them make sense of theirs? Do you want them left with the impression that only he mattered? That they are now fully abandoned because you would rather live with one foot in the grave than walk in the world of the living with them?

I know this may all sound a bit harsh, but the truth has its own sting. Wake up! Life is here for you right now and you are here while your husband is gone for a reason. Find out what that reason is. Is it to help your kids grow strong, knowing they are loved and that they matter, so they can have the kind of love-filled relationship you and your husband shared? Is it to help others who live with deep, despairing grief? You are still here. Do you really think your purpose is to sit in depression waiting to die?

Decide to live and make the most of it. Join a grief support group and talk about how much you miss him rather than stewing in it. Learn to meditate, do some breathwork or even learn Reiki—something you can do for yourself to help yourself heal. Your life is still going and there are others who depend on you to keep going. Do you want to mark their lives by grieving for you, their dad and the lost chance of a loving relationship with their mother?

As much as we moms would occasionally like to crawl under the covers, drown in our sorrows and never come up to the light of day again, we haven’t the luxury. We made a choice to bring these souls into the world. It is our job to meet our responsibilities. Not just food and shelter, but love and companionship—a safe harbor.

I feel your pain, but I feel the pain of those who love you now. Don’t let it all slip away because you were too afraid to try again. Take a step into the light every day. It’s time for recovery. It’s time to appreciate the many gifts he left you, not just the fact that he left you.

May your life be filled with peace. May angels safeguard your heart to give it the safe sace to heal and may all the blessings of your world be made more apparent every single day.

Love and blessings,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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