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Do we expect too much of family, etc.? - Carers UK Forum

Do we expect too much of family, etc.?

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I was just wondering if we expect too much of family, etc., whether because we behave in a certain way we expect others to behave in a similar way. There are many people on here who we would probably all agree have been let down in their, or because of their, caring role by family, friends, etc. but perhaps we simply have different standards to the rest of society?

What made me think this was the fact that my mother returned from hospital yesterday to an empty home despite the fact that my sister has been staying there for four months, she has gone away for a long weekend. I actually find that I feel guilty for, based on recent past experience, having not anticipated this and made sure that my sister would be there or arranged to be there myself, my mother was quite unwell when she got home and had no-one to greet her or look after her, just a bunch of flowers and some chocolates, perhaps this is sufficient substitute for not being there.

This has led me to wonder whether we place too great an expectation on others, because we act in certain ways are we perhaps too demanding, do we have too great and unrealistic an expectation of our families and friends? I would love to hear what other people think.
hi Annie,

I think the short answer is no; although by the time we come to ask the question we've learnt from experience not to expect too much !

I imagine that most people on here with siblings are much like my sister and myself - we were brought up the same - to have respect for ourselves, our parents and others. we were taught that family is everything and that at the end of the day you should always be able to rely on family. My Father always took care of his parents and also of my maternal grandmother; ensuring that their bills were paid and that they had enough to live on - right up to her death he gave my widowed maternal grandmother an allowance just to spend on herself even though she had two other married daughters. He was one of seven children (5 boys and 2 girls) and all took turns in caring for their mother and father - but then they were Italian and Italians have a totally different attitude towards older people; more respect for one thing.

My Father taught us that you do not bring children into this world with the intention that they could look after you in old age - but it was something he could never have envisaged not doing; it wasn't just duty there was more to it than that.

But having said that how is that two children brought up identically can have such different attitudes towards caring in adulthood ? I know I am the elder, single and childless and therefore have fewer (??) responsibilities than my sister who is married with children and grandchildren; but in our society it seems to be the accepted norm that the child in my position is the one that is expected to bear the brunt of the caring role.

I have a cousin who is gay, he has two brothers (married with children) but when their parents needed to be cared for it was my gay cousin who had to put his life on hold to do the caring; the ones that were married abdicated all responsibility - they just didn't want to know. Eventually, after his Mother died and only the father was left, my cousin snapped, told his brothers that he had enough and it was their turn now - he then moved to Thailand with his partner and made a new life ! The broohaha was incredible with neither of the two remaining brothers willing to take their father on - in the end it was the wife of the one nearest who took on the responsibility of ensuring that her father-in-law was looked after with the help of her daughter and social services.

Where there is more than one child or an extended family situation I do not think it is unrealistic to expect everyone to 'muck in' as it were to help out, but in this materialistic, everyman for himself world we live in I think the reality is totally different.
AS usual iam about face i have told my family that we dont want any help they have far to much to do for themselves bro Stan has disabled wife and is seriously ill himself when he looks at me iam sure he has eyes on me liver or part of it - so he cant help, young Stan & Becky have a young child who has also been ill ok now, Lizzie has 2 kids and a man to look after he works down at m/bro so she cant help anywho when i started to care for STAN i told them that what ever happened with the care load i did not want anyone else having to look after STAN if i was unable to care rest/care home would be the next choice even though we did not like them no way would i want anyone else to go through what i have as a carer it aint an easy life .
I think you just thought your sister would be there, based on your knowledge that she had been staying there for the past four months

I think we all naturally assume that other people will act/think in approx the same way we do. It's natural or instinctive for you to act in a certain way, so it seems natural to you that other people would act in the same way

Perhaps it shows you have a fundamentally optimistic view of mankind - a view which is to be treasured. Much better than the alternative - the view or expectation that people are essentially 'bad' and will act out of selfish or base motives. Chris (who I have spoken about previously) believes people are essentially bad and he believes they have a kind of eternal struggle to be good. I think that is such a bleak view of mankind

You raise a very interesting point, though, about whether it is right to expect others to act in the same way as we would . I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks....
NO - I don't think we do ask too much of them, they're FAMILY just as much as we are. It's the exact reverse, THEY ask too much of US.

They can't cope with things, but totally expect us to take things in our stride and be happy.
I was brought up to respect the older generation too,as were my sister and brother. When my late mother was terminally ill, it was my husband who was driving her to appointments, while I was working, and me and my husband doing the garden, which my Dad didn't care about(it was always Mum's garden, she loved it). When Mum died, my brother immediately became involved, asking my father(within an hour of her death), to give him the car keys so that he could sell the car. Luckily my husband was around and told my brother to shut up. My poor Dad had just been through the worst day of his life, and drunk most of it away in distress, while watching Mum's sisters and daughters taking over those final few hours of care and love.

My sister and brother have never been around when my Dad has been rushed into hospiatl, or when he has been ill and needed attention. I certainly don't think it is left to the child who has the least responsibilities, as throughout these years, my husband has lost his sight and needed several major operations, as well as having a slight stroke and other health problems. Plus my children have also needed a lot of care and support, with the two boys having varying needs themselves.

I think perhaps it is just in our natures to be supportive. I know I have been taken advantage of by my father and siblings because of this. I do regret some things I have supported with, as my own family have missed out over the years. I tried to talk to my Dad a few times about it, and he just told me to grow up!

My father still criticises, if ,say, I have my hair coloured. He doesn't criticise my sister, he wouldn't dare. And a couple of weeks ago, I had a nasty cold sore on my nose, and he commented on it looking ugly. If he spoke to my sister or brother like that, they would never go back, so why do I do it?I keep thinking that he would never have anyone visit, if I didn't go up there, and then the guilt kicks in.

A couple of months ago, I was talking to my Dad about my childhood, as I was writing a few of his memories down. His mind is as active as it ever was. He told me he couldn't remember anything about my childhood, as he was at sea when I was born, but he could remember everything about my sister and brother.(He was still at sea for the both of them, too)I was so upset by that. I thought that Mum and Dad had given us such a wonderful childhood, but it must have been Mum who did everything. (the one memory he did have was a time when I was not on my best behaviour.)

When my maternal grandmother was dying, my mother, her two sisters, a friend and my female cousing all helped with the care.I had just found out I was expecting my first baby, and none of them would let me lift(even though I was working as a nurse and lifting all the time anyway).I could not do any less for my loved ones, than my mother would have done.

How many of us would change the way that we are?Even when we do resent or get angry with our siblings, and oter family members?
Buggins turn comes into it... I am one of six myself.
But I did more than my fair share for my own father in law and son ...whilst some of my siblings have never been carers, so maybe now it is only fair they do their bit for my own parents. But life isn't fair... ever. Circumstances...timing, variables..
...and you can share the same genes and have a very different outlook on life.
Family and friends. People are all unique. Some can understand and genuinely want to help; others say they will but don't and many just cannot handle it - that could be because they can't get their head round the concept of spending time on other people or are selfish, or because they have their own share of problems etc.

I had no concept of caring really until my cousin developed MS and I started talking with his wife about getting care workers in to help her. No one else in the family has helped, but in fairness, my cousin is quite remote from them.

Last year I got involved with helping my mum who had a stroke and is now badly disabled. Before that, a good friend of mine spent several years caring for his wife who had arthritis. I feel a bit guilty now of not having really understood his dilemma at the time because I was wrapped up in a busy life, running a business, being a husband and Dad, and socialising etc. Now I’ve been involved in the caring world myself, I can better appreciate what he went through.

A close friend of my cousin hasn’t been to see him since he developed MS; I understand that’s because he simply couldn’t face it. A good friend of mine just doesn’t want to talk about any detail of my cousin and mum’s plight. At first, I found it hard to believe that some people just don’t want to know. I still find it frustrating sometimes when you’re trying to get a listening ear but you can see from the body language of the person you’re talking to that ‘the lights are on but there’s nobody at home’! Now, I guess I’ve come to accept that you weigh up the reliable family and friends support that you do have (if you’re fortunate enough to have any at all) and work with that. If you can get others involved, then that’s a nice bonus. Who was it that said: “There’s nowt so queer as folkâ€Â
i dont expect anythng from any one, then when i get it its a nice supprise Image

My mum is good, better nan than she was mum, but she doesnt understand the worry and stress i have at times (or the logs lol)