Brother Rivalry

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Dear Joel,

I’m afraid I’ve accidentally caused a rift between my brother and myself. We’re both in our 70’s and my brother Harry doesn’t get around so good. He was rifling through a stack of papers and got so frustrated when he couldn’t find what he was looking for. So to help him out I tossed a large pile of old greeting cards from a desk drawer. I thought he would be happy with the space. He didn’t say a thing; the look on his face said it all. Joel, I swear he doesn’t remember most of senders. Half of the people passed away years ago. Am I not as important as those greeting cards? I was only trying to help, now he barely speaks to me. Can I fix this mess?


Are you right? Yes. Is what you did right? No. The issue is not the cards, its trust and control. You had the best of intentions, but you did not let him decide. He probably would have probably thrown out the same ones you did, but now he feels like, “who are you to decide?” If you want to fix things, fix yourself first. You have got to not decide what’s best for him…even if you’re right. You have to apologize sincerely, with NO explanations. Don’t say “isn’t is better?” or “see how much space?” Then when you get a task, do it like he wants it done. Trust is built back over time, but you’ll get there.

Joel Markel

Write to [email protected]. His radio show, “Preferred Company” airs Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. on and 1160 & 1310 WOBM-AM.

If you or anyone else is in need of home health care, call Preferred at 732-840-5566. “Home health care with feeling.

Joel Markel is President of Preferred Home Health Care and Nursing Services Inc. serving all of New Jersey in adult, senior and pediatric home health care.”