My two older siblings and brother-in-law are beyond irritated with me when all I've been doing is minding my own business and forging my path into adulthood. They are never short of criticisms and any attempts at satisfying them are futile. Things got way out of hand this weekend to the point I am either ousted from future family functions or there will be an awkward vibe/fake niceness.
posted by HiphopAnonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in my mid-twenties and the youngest of three; my two older siblings both about 30. After years of screwing around in community college and a long unemployment gap, I hopped back on the saddle with academia and landed part-time work at a large financial institution. I'm in a very serious long-term relationship with a wonderful lady; we've been living together for the past six months in a modest apartment. Meanwhile, my older sister recently found a job that pays well and she and her husband and two toddlers moved to a larger house, while my perpetually unemployed older brother who still lives at home finally acquired a full-time gig. Everybody's working and everybody's happy, right?
My older brother: He's always particularly been antagonistic with me primarily because of our 5-year gap, his insecurities, and his need to assert his dominance over me. He has a history of chronic lying, stealing money from family (myself included), taking out a student loan during his college years while using rent/tuition money from our parents to pay for car parts during the "Fast and the Furious" phase, stealing work for his graphic design portfolio, never holding a full-time job for longer than a year, and years of unemployment gaps. He portrays himself as the epitome of cool: hardworking, creative, gifted photographer with endless design ideas, skilled golfer with clubs and driver craftsmanship, hipster but not really, lover of professional sports, craft beers, and being "the perfect uncle" to our two nieces. I thought our relationship would strengthen once I moved out but he continues to send me the occasional wall of text when he thinks I've done something wrong. For example, my girlfriend and I live in a sketchy neighborhood, and at a recent family gathering at my sister's house, she brought up wanting to get one (for our protection)--so my dad offered one of his from his collection. My older sister and her husband, both shocked and thinking that my girlfriend was out of line, scurried upstairs pretending to check on the kids. As it turns out, my sister texted my brother what had happened, and when I got home I noticed a message from my brother saying, "You guys need to go home now because X & Y need to get up early for work tomorrow. And why is Q asking dad for a gun? Boundaries. She needs to know them." When I explained to him of our living situation, he backed off. While he is rude and short with me, he is extremely kind, giving, and accommodating to my older sister and brother-in-law to the point of nausea (bragging about her on Instagram)--bending over backwards for them, doing outwardly kind gestures or acquiescing to their requests/needs at the drop of a hat. He would never do that for me, and it's always hurt me that he and I will never have that close of a bond.
My older sister: We've been close a good part of our lives after some long rough patches and I've looked up to her as a good role model; she was usually the first person I'd turn to for advice. She's been distant in recent months which I've taken as being busy but after these incidents, I'm thinking she's developed a sour opinion of me and her husband followed suit. She's always been the "frugal super mom juggling family and work with cute crafty hobbies from Pinterest" and has regarded herself as the child who [now] has it all together, despite humbler beginnings with a shotgun wedding from an unplanned pregnancy. In recent family gatherings, she has the tendency to work estate planning into conversations with my parents as if she's waiting for them to croak any minute. Nothing wrong with planning ahead, but she seems so adamant about assigning a trustee as soon as possible (even months ago suggesting her husband be a trustee/POA and giving my parents an estate planner's business card). Our parents are only in their early sixties and they plan to have their finances split in an even three ways; however, I now fear that my limited knowledge of all this will give my sister the opportunity to take advantage of not only myself but my older brother. Meanwhile, my older brother occupies himself on his iPhone...
I've been able to tell for the past couple of years that my brother-in-law hasn't liked me despite starting out on great terms. He tends to show enthusiasm when my brother shows up and pretends to be nice to me out of obligation. When I try making conversation or voicing my opinion, it's almost always met with rejection with, "Well no..." as if he needs to correct me because he's more experienced in life. Last Christmas dinner, I asked how his new job was and what he does, and all I got was a snarky, "Well, management is the same everywhere you go..." In that same conversation, I mentioned in passing of wanting a dog in the way future. He looked at me from across the table and told me, "Don't get a dog. Have fun with your extra chores." I later told him through text that my girlfriend's then roommates got a dog and lighthearted joked that they have extra chores, but he somehow misinterpreted that as my girlfriend and I having a dog and went on to tell my family. The next time I met with my mom and brother for breakfast, they asked us who is watching our dog... so I had to do some damage control.
On Saturday night, I politely declined an invitation to Mother's Day brunch at my sister's house because finals are coming up this week and I need all the time I can get to study at this point, even though I made prior arrangements with my mother to celebrate afterwards, and she was completely fine. Knowing full well that there was a phone/texting exchange between my siblings, I first received nasty texts from my brother ("What do you have going on that's more important than Mother's Day?" "No, really. Explain.") while on the phone with my sister, who asked me why I couldn't spare just one hour the following morning. She began to get preachy, saying I'm ungrateful, spoiled (true, but so were ALL of us), and "mom has sacrificed sooo much for us." I was on the verge of changing my mind and explained to her that by working 4-5 days a week with 16 units of school, I've hardly had time to spend with our mother. Before I could finish she interrupted with, "Oh, BOO HOO. Don't YOU tell ME you don't have time. You wouldn't live a day in MY shoes; you wouldn't survive!" When I told her I didn't want to have a dick measuring contest and asked her what living her life has to do with my "ungratefulness," she preached some more, saying I grew a big-headed since moving out and that I "keep tabs on spending time with mom," thinking that spending a day with her makes it okay for me not to see her for a couple more weeks or so. None of this is true, although it wouldn't surprise me if my brother embellishes the truth or even outright lies about me to stir up gossip behind my back with my sister and her husband. I'm extremely close to both of my parents and have made time for mom whenever possible -- going to school (with a 7AM math class) and work all week + work on Saturdays leaves me with only Sundays to sleep in and study/do homework. But, of course, I'm not a mother of two working full-time... so I don't know what busy really is. ;P
After hanging up on my sister, brother texts me, "You chose Q over everyone." [Blah blah blah you're a bad daughter] "Have fun while she weasels mom into a high risk business: a "restaurant."--my mother, who recently quit her job after 30+ years, is looking to open her own restaurant and the only thing my girlfriend is doing is helping her dream come to fruition. She has been the *only* person helping her. When discussing this entire ordeal to my mother last night, she mentioned she purposely withholding any of her ideas from my brother because of how quick he is to reject anything she has to say. At one point, she needed help with her resume and asked for his help. He threw a mini tantrum, she scolded him, and then he felt bad and agreed to do it. Oh yeah, he's living at home where we all grew up -- rent free.
I apologize for the novel-length post but I felt the details were necessary to paint a full picture of who I'm dealing with. It always feels like if it isn't one thing, it's another... as if I'm always coming up short. How do I handle this? My dad has been living in a different state for work but is coming back for good by the end of this month and we have a family intervention in the works. I really need assistance in figuring out how to compose myself when this happens because I can see all 3 of them unleashing their cannons at me. I'm a very emotional person and have never been assertive, but I want to be composed and prepared. Your opinions, analyses, and advice are invaluable to me, fellow MeFites.