Strange Family Problem

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Strange Family Problem

Post by Dannyboy on Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:31 am

Okay, this will take some explaining, and I'm sorry that I spend so much time here asking for advice, but this whole thing has disturbed me and I want to talk to somebody about outside of my family.

So, here it is. Me and my older brother live at home with my parents. I know that this is pathetic, we're both working but we don't make enough to live outside of the house. Anyway, a few years ago my brother started seeing this girl from out of state, his first and so far only girlfriend. She's pleasant enough, though she doesn't talk much, but she has a huge problem: she's not going to college and she's never had a job in her life, she's 25. About a year and a half ago my brother began to invite his girlfriend over to stay at our house for extended visits (months at a time) after prodding my parents endlessly about it. Their plan was ( or at least, what they told my parents their plan was) that she would come here, get her drivers licence, and get a job, with the ultimate goal that they would move out of my parent's house into a house of their own. Unfortunately, she hasn't done this, she spends most of her days sleeping and playing video games.

So, last night, I was talking to my mom when she suddenly told me that she had had it and wanted my brother's girlfriend to leave. I fully understand this, having an extra hanger-on sitting about and doing nothing of value everyday is not something most people put up with. But I also know that this is probably going to lead to a huge argument between her, my dad, and my brother, possibly ending with my brother leaving or being kicked out of the house. I hate conflict, I've always hated it, and as the middle child I've always felt an irrational compulsion to try and mediate family conflicts and protect my brothers. I'm worried that my brother can't support himself, he's been working a dead-end job at a call center for two years despite having a degree ( a useless pre-med degree, but still).

This also brings up a lot of anxiety about my position in the family. I've felt extraordinarily guilty about still living in my parent's house after graduation, and a part of me has always worried that I'm overstaying my welcome. Every time I've brought this up my parents have assured me that they're okay with me staying at home for the time being because I took out my own loans for college have plans to attend graduate school (online). But recently postponed my graduate school till next fall (I wasn't diligent about financial aid and waited till it was too late). I guess part of me worries that my parents are growing sick of supporting me and my brother and are planning to kick us both out.

Anyway, that's all. Thank you.

Dannyboy

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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Kiskadee on Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:46 am

I'm not 100% sure what you are asking for advice on, but just some general comments? With the disclaimer that since I don't know you or your family it may be completely off-base/useless:

I don't think that your mom wanting to kick out the girlfriend means that she also wants you and your brother out asap. It sounds like she has essentially been adopted by your parents in practice, without them ever having signed up for that, and I guess to me at least there's a world of difference between taking in/living with relatives and living with a complete stranger who you didn't really invite. (I'm not a parent though)

With the price of housing rising so much faster than wages (in America at least), your position is hardly unusual. I've certainly been there for a while, and have moved out by now. So you shouldn't feel guilty about this, especially since you are working on your job/career, as long as you have a reasonably good relationship with your family. I know it can be stressful, though, so good luck!
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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Dannyboy on Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:06 am

Thank you, Kiskadee! Its really nice to get an outsiders impression on this, makes it easier for me to trust the assessment and all.

I agree that, ultimately, this is about my parents and their lack of desire to take care of an adult who's not related to them at all, the whole situation just triggered a lot of anxiety for me. Thanks you for easing some of that.

And congratulations on moving out yourself, no matter how long ago that was. Its definitely not an easy thing to do these days.

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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Enail on Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:52 pm

I don't think it's pathetic in the slightest. Money is tight for a lot of people and housing expensive, and in a lot of cultures it's the norm to live with your parents far into adulthood. The idea that it's inherently better to move out by 20 assumes that adult children can contribute nothing to their parents' household, cannot function as adults without moving out, and that the particular brand of independence our society values is a greater virtue than family closeness, thrift, or mutual support. Which isn't necessarily true at all.  

I agree with Kiskadee that wanting the girlfriend out doesn't mean they want you and your brother to move out, though I can see why it would have you anxious. If your parents aren't happy with the situation with you at some point, perhaps you can negotiate making some extra contributions to the household (paying them a small amount of rent if you don't already, taking on more domestic tasks for them) to work out something that you both feel okay with and that still allows you to pay off your loans and save for your degree.
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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Caffeinated on Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:59 pm

I agree with Kiskadee, there's a big difference between a family member and a not-really-invited-but-sort-of-invited-but-not-following-up-on-what-was-promised stranger. There's also an important difference between a person who is working or going to school, and one who spends the whole day sleeping or playing video games.

I feel for you on being the peacemaker and wanting to protect your brother. But all the parties in this are adults making their own choices, and sometimes conflict just can't be avoided.
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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by kath on Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:15 am

I think you can also pretty much stay out of this. Your parents can deal with it with her and your brother, and if you find it stressful, see if you can plan to be out of the house when it's going on. I'm sure it will still be stressful for you, but that might help make it more manageable for you.

I also agree that having some random other person who does nothing is not the same as having a kid who's doing stuff, even if it's not the perfect stuff, versus some other person who clearly is not trying. I really think that you and your brother are clearly trying, and she clearly and flagrantly is not makes a big difference!
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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by eselle28 on Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:04 pm

I join with the other voices in thinking that your parents' reaction to your brother's girlfriend doesn't mean they feel the same way about you and your brother. Your mother is being pretty clear about where her boundary is. I think that if she didn't want you to live there anymore, she would have said something by now. If you still feel guilty after this situation is resolved (let your parents deal with this issue first), you can always check in with them and make sure that there aren't any financial or labor contributions to the household they'd like you to make.

As for the rest of the situation, I agree with kath that you can stay out of it, and I would suggest that you make the choice to do so. This is between your parents and your brother. I think something like, "You know I love you, but this really isn't my call," would work for any of your relatives. I think you might do better dealing with the situation on an emotional level if you assured yourself that your brother is an adult who has a job and probably can support himself in some fashion rather than the opposite. Leaving your parents' home may means he ends up sharing a not-very-nice place with several roommates, getting a part time job after his work at the call center, going to grad school and taking out loans, or having a serious talk with his girlfriend about her financial contributions to the relationship. People who have jobs similar to his and who don't have the option of living with family members generally manage to keep afloat. Or, maybe he'll agree with your parents and continue living at home while visiting his girlfriend where she lives or ending the relationship. It sounds like this is something that needs to happen, even if it results in unpleasant conflict.
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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Dannyboy on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:07 am

Thank you everyone for your replies on this topic.

The situation has been mostly resolve for now, my brother was confronted by my parents and after some tense conversation his girlfriend seems to be making progress in that direction. Other things were revealed that were slightly more disturbing, but I shouldn't reveal something so personal on here (it doesn't techincally involve me anyway)..

Thanks again guys for your advice and comfort, made the whole issue much less anxiety-inducing for me. Smile

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Re: Strange Family Problem

Post by Kiskadee on Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:15 pm

Glad to hear that things are going better!
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