Can We Talk?

Both of my parents died within the last few months, and my brother and I are going through the things in their house in preparation for selling their house. The problem is that my brother argues about who should get almost every single item.  It’s so frustrating! How can we get beyond this and do what we have to do?

If he’s arguing over almost every item, there’s probably something bothering him that has nothing to do with the division of household objects. Maybe he is having a hard time with the loss of your parents and needs to talk about that. Maybe the process of going through the things in their home is emotionally upsetting for him, and this is his way of showing it. Or there may be leftover issues from your childhood that are getting in the way of your moving forward together harmoniously now. Try taking the time to sit down and talk with him about what he thinks is the best way to proceed, perhaps asking for his ideas about what would be most fair and equitable. (Asking him his opinion doesn’t mean you have to agree with him, but it may help clear the air, and create a more cooperative environment.)

If this doesn’t work, maybe you can at least agree to do all the sorting and getting rid of the things neither of you wants  first—saving the most difficult part of the task for the end.

JH

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