Question: Dear Luise: I’m 23, live at home because I can’t afford to move out. I get fed, watered and I’m fine with that but lately my mother had gotten really bad. I am applying for medical school, and for that am taking two exams in a few months to try and get in. I also need to do a lot of volunteer work, and I work. I also have an exam for a postgraduate qualification that I hope will help get me into med school.I ferry my sister back and forth from where ever, help look after both my sisters and take care of the family dog. Yet according to them I do nothing. Most days I do a minimum of six hours of revision, usually its more than that. I earn 600 pounds a month. My mum has said she will let me off paying rent for a while as I don’t earn a full wage and I need the money to fund my medical school exams. Yet I’m considering paying her rent, even though it will put me in debt because of the way she moans about stuff. She reminds me constantly that I ‘don’t have a real job’ – according to her. Its the first job I’ve been able to get after two years of unemployment and hundreds of applications (even though I have honors degree and postgraduate qualifications). She says she is just reminding me, but she says it too often. I have told her how much it hurts my feelings but she keeps on doing it. I think it gives her some kind of power trip. Today within a span of about three minutes she had ‘reminded me’ at least five times that she doesn’t have to have me here in her huge house. That she could kick me out any minute. That she will kick me out any minute if she doesn’t see me doing any work around the house. – she actually said that. I am doing loads. I worked out that without including the chores I do for her I was doing over 80 hours a week. Then theres the jobs for her that she never notices when I do them. This all got really bad quite recently. I don’t know why. She says that since I’ve been set on med school she’s been giving me slack but its just gotten a million times worse. I feel like saying ‘and when could I have done that job you never told me you wanted done? While I was at work? While I was taking your daughter to school? While I was studying for medical school entry? I’m so behind on everything and her being so horrible and putting me down all the time is making things worse. I think I’m actually starting to hate her and I don’t want to do that. How do I fix it when telling her how much she’s hurting me didn’t work? I.
Answer: Dear I.: How much she’s hurting you did work and it isn’t fixable. That’s why you are writing to me. You know that. It isn’t possible to change others…we can only change ourselves, and that’s not easy.
I know you don’t want to hear this but you also know on some level that it is the answer.; you need to move out of that abusive relationship. You are being treated worse than employed, household help. They usually get room and board, some salary, eight hour days and days off. You are being exploited as well as abused. The threats and demands are eventually going to sabotage you and your dreams.
Find a household where domestic help is treated in a humane way, and live there instead. How are you going to meet the demands of Medical school? Are your plans realistic…time and money-wise? Even those who have tremendous financial support find medical shcool grueling. It can be done and it has been but you may need a staff advisor to help steer you through the pitfalls. Blessings, Luise