HELP: My brother bosses my elderly mother. I feel stuck in the middle.
Updated: May 22
It’s understandable that you are feeling stuck in the middle. You may feel the need to protect your mother, or your mother is asking you to speak with your brother on her behalf. Chances are this family dance is not new to you.
Looks like your family hasn’t had the opportunity, support, or tools to develop a healthy family dynamic where each member has a voice and is respected. You likely have tried to resolve the communications between your mother and brother in the past and it didn’t work. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to resolve the issue on your own now. It is not your job to play the referee between your mother and brother.
The relationship between your mother and brother was developed by the two of them over the years. This dynamic belongs to them. In other words, it is not your job to fix it. If your mother wishes to change the exchanges with her son and needs help to do so, she can reach out or you can do so on her behalf to an end-of-life doula or other professional. An end-of-life doula is trained to listen to the desires of their clients and ensure these wishes are respected. Navigating complex family relationships are part of the role of a doula.
As an end-of-life doula and life coach, I can support your mother by showing her how to communicate with her son. Should your bother be interested, I can show him how to be a better listener.
You may also find yourself in need of some coaching to extricate yourself from the role of peacemaker. You may often find yourself in this position in other situations. As a life coach, I’ve trained many clients to shift this role to a healthier way of being.
Our last years, months, days reflect how we lived our lives. The relationships we develop with ourselves and others accompany us to the end. While some issues are resolved on a death bed, typically, there is never enough time in the end to fix our relationships, it’s something we should work on every day.