I am a 40 year old going 14. I have not been able to make a decision because I feel I am duty bound to obey and to be considerate to the feelings of all the people who profess to love me but in reality are exploiting me and killing me inside.
My parents who are in their 60ís and 70ís respective are living under my care because they cannot and are not willing to live with my brothers. I have 2 older brothers both in their 40ís.
The eldest is married with a child. The wife is not working not because he can afford it, just that she is not inclined to work. They live in a maisonette and he has a brand new car. However, the car was put under my name because he cannot get a bank loan. This is one of the source of my heartache and headache. He forks out the monthly payment but certain months, the amount are not in full and I have to top up. Another per peeve I have is the parking summons. I hate to receive letters in red and I have been receiving a lot of them every month. He used to be a considerate brother, I donít know what made him change. He used to have a mobile line subscribed for by my second brother. However, due to the bills not paid on time, his line was terminated. I was asked to help out by getting a new line for him and it has been 8 years since. Pleas to transfer the line over to hisname fall onto deaf ears. I have even sought the help of his wife but to no avail.
My second brother is married with 3 children. They live in a big house and has a car. Both husband and wife are working. This brother has a habit of asking for money but with no intention of returning them. His modus operandi will be to sms and expects the money to be transferred to his account immediately. He will only approach when he is in need. Otherwise, we are nothing to him. His company is affected by the downturn, and he has to take a pay cut in the form of unpaid leave. He was a few months in arrears for his car and his credit cards and the banks were after him. My mom gave her gold bracelets to pawn and he insisted on not giving her the receipt. Now my mother wonít attend a social function at her friendís place this weekend because those are the only bracelets she has. My pet peeve about him is that he will send his kids over whenever he wishes without considering whether our parents will be able to take care of them. Recently, just a week before the exams, he sent his son over for 1 whole week. And the best part of it is I see him on facebook most of the nights, playing games.
My mother is a difficult woman to live with. Both her daughters -in -law had come at loggerheads with her and that is the reason she is not willing to live with them. She has arthritis and it is affecting her neck severely. Just last 2 months, the cost of going to doctors and the medical examinations have cost us more than a $1000. No brothers helped. She insisted on doing her home-based business daily but the work involves looking down most of the time causing her neck problem to get worse. Besides she does not earn much. According to her, her earnings will pay for part of her medical expenses but it will just fall into a vicious cycle as she needs more medical treatment if she continues her work. I'm giving her monthly allowance plus she receives her pension funds monthly which keeps her comfortable because she has no responsibilities other than herself.
My father is a quiet person. I believe he stayed on with her not out of love but because he has no family here. I believe he is the only one who can feel what I am feeling but he is helpless to help since my mother will always bulldoze him to silence.
Since young, I have always felt Iím not loved. I donít have a happy childhood. I canít have friends. Friends I brought over, were never good enough for my mother. She never respects my privacy or my friendship. Once Iíve made plans to go out with friends and these friends came over, but she insisted that I accompanied her to my auntís place. I was so embarrassed, I didnít know how to face my friends. I could only cry inside. I played truant in school ever since and that affected my grades. I had nobody to talk to at that time. I also remembered once in primary school, she came back from work and saw a whole sink of dirty dishes. She asked me to wash but I didnít budge. She hit me with the belt buckle and I had a cut on my eyebrow. The scar has gone but I can still remember that. Since then, I preferred to have her working and not at home and also since then, I disliked the kitchen and anything to do with it.
After my divorce, she was protective and I appreciated her gestures then. But she made me go into a marriage which I was not ready for. And after reading a lot of materials on grieving, I guessed what she did was not appropriate. I was not allowed to cry or showed my temper or expressed my feelings. It made me feel insecure and worthless. I donít hate her and I donít love her either. Guess the feeling is mutual. She kisses and hugs a lot of people but she doesnít kiss or hug me nor my father. She is nice to a lot of people but she is not nice to me nor to my father. My father was a missing in action father when Ií was growing up and he was not the decision maker. Iím only feeling duty bound to take care of my parents just as she feels duty bound to cook for the familyís meal.
I cannot tell my brothers off because as a younger sister I have to respect them. I once told my eldest brother off because there were so many summons and he delayed giving the monthly car installments. She scolded me. I told off my uncle for using our address to apply for telephone lines in exchange for cash. She scolded me. Hopefully this uncle will not turn up in my life anymore. Because of him, I have sat at the same table as the loanshark I repaid his loan but he never learned his lesson. I asked my nephew when he will be going home when he came that week before the exam. My mother reprimanded me for asking. I donít understand her logic. I guessed she loved them thatís why.
I canít feel her warmth so I donít know how to contribute to a relationship. I guess thatís why my marriage failed. I distrusted my husband and I couldnít appreciate his feelings because my feelings have all along been suppressed.
I want a change and really live my life. However, I can't shirk my duty either. But having my parents around, my brothers are exploiting me to prop up their look good lifestyle. They are not helping in cash or kind but adding to my headache. I'm in a dilemma. I don't have anybody except this family. Am I wrong to feel bad about my family?
Have you ever heard about Global Postural Re-education (GPR)? Hmm, I think you should have a try with it. You certainly need a new posture in your life. You need to grow stronger and to be able to say no. GPR could be a useful tool for it.
Consider moving out of your parents' house or otherwise finding another place for them to stay. If you can't afford either, it's essential for you to find more time and space to live your own life - without guilt. You don't have to shirk your duties with your parents, but honestly I don't think you have any financial responsibilities with your brothers. If you don't want to take them by surprise, just tell them when you are going to stop paying for their own expenses, say, in three or four months' time. This is long enough for them to adapt themselves to the new order. I also think it's unfair for them not help at all with their parents. Why should the "burden" be put only on your shoulders? If they refuse to help, I think maybe you should seek the advice of a family attorney. They may find themselves deprived of heritage or something.
Learn to respect yourself in the first place by exercising your rights. Say no, when you need to, and don't look back. Move on.
Olivegal: Your story is heartbreaking. You need to tap into some resources in your area that can give you some help. Start with the town/municipal services. Every town/city has services for the elderly. There are retirement communities and assisted living communities that your parents could probably get accepted into. Do you have a church? If so, ask the clergy for help with this matter. If you don't have a church, find one! You need a support network of people who you can get some counseling from for free.
Your brothers need to fend for themselves. They're wearing you out. You need to stand up for yourself and start living YOUR life not THEIRS! Yes, the economy isn't that great but their problems shouldn't be yours. If I bailed my brother out every time he had a problem he'd never learn to stand on his own two feet and I'd be ruined. It sounds selfish, but they are being selfish as well. They are taking advantage of you - BIG TIME. You are not the local bank. Cut the cord. They will keep doing what they're doing until you start saying no.
It sounds like you've been taken advantage of your whole life and everyone is still expecting you to cater to them. It will be a hard decision to separate from your parents and family but you need some relief before you really reach the end of your rope. You sound like a very dedicated, giving person who hasn't been able to find true joy in life because of these obstacles. Pretty soon you're going to be having other changes going on in your body that are going to add to your stress. You can't go on living like this. Put your foot down and don't give in anymore. It might hurt peoples feelings but that's too bad. What do you think they would do if it were you trying to live off of them?They'd tell you to hit the road. A lawyer is a good suggestion. You can probably find one for a low fee if you search deep enough. The assisted living communities could help you find one as well. You're reaching out to people on these boards for help which is a start, but you need to put your energy into finding out what is available in your community. It's only going to get worse the longer you wait. Good luck and stay strong.
We'll be praying for you.
I wouldn't be making all the changes at once. You need to do this all in two or three parts.
Firstly i'd be dealing with one brother at a time or both if you can handle it. As someone else said, give them a warning in advance and telling them you will be pulling the plug in 3 months time regarding the car, phone and anything else you have set up for them. They are big boys, they can handle it. Don't give them any choices. Even if they say they wont ever speak to you again, don't worry overly as they aren't really doing you any favours at all. They aren't and haven't been acting like family. Totally strangers would treat you better than they are.
As for your mother, don't even worry about what she has to say about your brothers. It will be a 7 day wonder and will blow over in time. Actually, you can tell your mother that the money you save on not having to bail out your brothers you can put partly towards your parent's medical expenses or buy her a new bracelet.
I'm sure your dad can see the whole situation, everything, you, your brothers, your mother, everything!! I'm sure he feels for you and i'm sure you could form an aliance with him. That's what i'd be doing. My own mother sends me bonkers at times and i never thought my dad saw the situation and her and how it all really was, but he did, he only never said anything. Then when i went through my divorce, bit by bit he opened up about his own frustrations, but i had to get the ball rolling first. Now we have a great father, daughter relationship and i think he's glad he did open up. So why don't you make the first move and i'm sure it would be like a ray of sunshine in his life and in yours.
As for your mum, that's a tough one!! I'd leave her for last and work away at her in tiny doses. By this stage you would have your brothers out of your hair and hopefully a friendship/aliance with your father. My own father sticks up for me now when my mother says certain things, he wouldn't have done this before. It's kind of put my mother in her place and made her realise and learn a bit more.
Not that i'm condoning your mother's actions and her upbringing of you, but you just dont know what type of life she had with her own parents. She most likely realised too late that your dad wasn't the man for her or who knows what occured early on in their marriage. There are just too many question marks. I've learnt this from my own parents, they realised too late that they were like chalk and cheese. My mother had issues from her upbringing which she tried to carry over onto me.
The fact is, you may never change your mother, but if you can make the other changes it can improve your life dramatically. You do need a support base outside of home, friends of your own. You also need to show some courage with your mother. Don't allow her to brow beat you or take you away from friends or hobbies. She is fortunate you allowed her to live with you. So like someone said, join a church group or some other group where you can make friends and acquaintences so that you have more and more things to take you away from home.