Problem: Christmas has come and gone and this year was one of the most stressful. I am not sure what part I have had in the whole thing. My aging parents needed more help this year and I have siblings that just did not care to participate in taking care of them. I have heard stories time and time again how one gets most of the work caring for parents.

It does not seem fair and for the most part I could not do a thing short of begging for them to come and do their part. I did not feel that I wanted to do that. Maybe it was pride, but it was too much to keep calling and asking for help. The sad part was that my dad passed away and when the calls were made, a great sadness was their response. How could they be so cold as to feel bad, when they could have done so much for their parents? I do not get it.

I do not have a lot of compassion for them at this point, but I am not mad. I think I am disappointed. I just want to get past this year and move on. I am not sure how to include my siblings from here forward.

Discussion: I don’t know if you have read “The Four Agreements,” but the second agreement seems to speak to your issue. If you did a good job with your parents and did your best, good for you! The second agreement in the book I mentioned is something like: Do not take what others do personally. This is such a hard thing to do because you have to get to a place of objectivity. If you look at the situation and ask yourself what kind of person does the kind of behavior you describe, what is your answer? None of us were raised by perfect parents and some of us grow past that, or not. So the why of anyone’s behavior is personally their own. We cannot know anyone else’s mind but our own. We cannot know anyone else’s experience or what is going on with them either.

You sound like a responsible person who thinks others should be equally as responsible. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were true, but not everyone grows into who they are meant to be, with nothing but good qualities. We probably all go kicking and screaming or resisting growth along the way. It is inevitable that we grow as people, or what would be the point of this lifetime? So being forgiving is part of growth and maybe you could do a bit of that. Forgiving others because they have not grown enough to do anything different is a big piece of growth on your part. It seems like we are called to do different because we know different. If we remain the same and do nothing that is on us. It could be that is all your siblings know.

The Four Agreements:

Be impeccable with your word.

Do not take things personally.

Do not assume.

Do the best you can.

It seems like we could grow through life following these four lessons for living.

To submit problems, contact Juanita Sanchez, psychotherapist, by email at or contact High Plains Journal.

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