‘My sister’s behaviour since our dad died has been so embarrassing and selfish’
My father died recently and, in his will, he asked for everything to be split equally between my older sister and me. Selling the house and car, and dividing up his savings between us, was straightforward enough.
However, when it came to items like paintings, furniture and photographs – all the personal stuff with sentimental value – my sister has been totally unreasonable, in fact embarrassingly greedy and selfish.
She basically went into his house on her own and took the things she wanted without even bothering to ask me if it was OK or to have a discussion about which of my dad’s belongings mean something to me.
I honestly can’t believe she’s behaving like this. She never married and doesn’t have kids, and she’s always been incredibly selfish.
It’s like she has a massive chip on her shoulder and believes she deserves whatever she wants because she doesn’t have a family.
I’m so angry with her, but I’ve resisted saying anything so far. I don’t want to have an argument that we can’t come back from in the wake of my father’s death. How do you think I should handle it?
This kind of thing happens such a lot and I think it’s tied very closely with grief. I totally get where you’re coming from – she has been selfish and insensitive to your feelings. But, at the end of the day, they are just things. You’ll always have the memories of your dad and no one can take those from you.
The problem is, when people draw up a will, they often don’t think of the sentimental things and these can be the cause of the biggest rows. But your dad really did think about you – dividing up his assets equally and if he could see you rowing over paintings and furniture, he’d be devastated.
If you can sit with your sister without being accusatory and angry, just say, “Listen, I feel a bit hurt because we didn’t have a discussion over dad’s things and I’d also like something personal of his.”
Try to see things from her point of view – the main man in her life has gone and it’s like she wants to claim what’s left of him for herself. Really ask yourself, if that painting or vase makes her really happy – do I need it? Do I need to fall out with her over an object? No, although it is unfair. Maybe have the conversation a bit further down the line when the pain has lessened.
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