Question: Dear Luise: My family and I don’t seem to get along at all. For years they have looked at me as the spoiled one. Even towards my children, for sometime when I was living with my mother. Well, almost 18 months ago I lost my husband. It been very difficult but I am again staying with my mother. I am 38 and mother of three and raising my niece. I ask myself what have ever done to them to think that of me. I would do anything for them but check this out …I have a sister that’s 41 and she is a compulsive liar. A brother that has father 7 kids and can’t seem to get out of the rut he has gotten himself in and another brother that chooses to be without work instead of helping his wife. It seems that instead of a family I have a bunch of strangers and let’s not forget another sister whose daughter I’m raising. She has a teenage daughter with a child but can’t seem to stay out of relationships. I just wonder what kind advice you would give someone like me? All I want is to have a family like everyone else but I guess that’s dreaming, huh? Anyway I hope at least you can help. Thank you so much. O.
Answer: Dear O.: It does seem that some of us were raised without learning how to be responsible adults. It is probably understandable that it could be a family trait. The transition from child to adult is a very difficult one and there are a lot of choices that we can make that don’t serve us, or our new families, well.
Unfortunately, there are many families out there like yours. And so, in a way, you do have “a family like everyone else.” Marriages take place and children arrive where there is no substantial or reliable maturity lever to support those occurrences. As a result, things go from bad to worse.
No one wants to have to move back home but sometimes it’s the only answer. If you are seen as spoiled because that happened there is nothing you can do about that and their opinion doesn’t make it true. The jealousies of childhood are often carried on into adulthood. What you can’t expect from the siblings you described is any level of understanding and support. If they can’t cope with their own issues, they are not going to be sympathetic with yours.
The truth is that you have lost your husband, you are raising your own children and a niece alone and your mother is giving you a hand. It is my guess that you are doing a good job in difficult circumstances and deserve the help. It’s a waste of energy to spend much time wishing those around you were different. They are how they are and if they don’t measure up to your expectations the best thing for you to do is to try to cultivate friendships with people you have more in common with outside your family. Blessings, Luise