How can I be gracious, kind, and supportive when I feel like a fuck-up compared to the rest of my family, particularly my younger sister? Messy wall of text below.
posted by ablazingsaddle to Human Relations (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
About me: High achieving student, graduated from college in three years, worked in TV production, was miserable, left the job, started to try to make it as an actress, currently struggling, single (But still: attractive, smart, very social, healthy)
About my sister: Just graduated from college, got a good job right away, has a nice boyfriend (But I'm not saying her life is a perfect bowl of cherries, and in some ways I have had an easier time getting through life)
I am trying to be good and gracious and kind, but I am feeling really shitty about myself and dreading the questions and comments at a family wedding coming up later this summer. People who aren't in the arts don't know how hard it is to break in, and I get sick of answering the same stupid fucking questions over and over again.
Then there's the issue that my sister and I have a difficult relationship. She's very moody and kind of . . . unpleasant to be around a lot of the time. She obviously is a nice person to her friends, her boyfriend, and her coworkers, but she is still stuck in a teenage mindset in which she can act like a total asshole around the family. My family, including me, caters to her moodiness more than I think is probably healthy, but I want to maintain a relationship with her and I'm not sure how else I should act. Even though I'm the family wildcard working in the arts and living far away, I get along really well with everyone. This is another question for another time, but in general, I think if I had less complicated feelings about my sister, and my family's different treatment of us, I wouldn't feel so . . . competitive? Lacking in comparison?
For the most part, I don't really care about meeting conventional expectations of success. If I did, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing! But I feel pretty sensitive about this stuff around my family. I'm not dating anyone, I don't have a "real" job, and I have no money. Oh, and I am sad and stressed out because my dog is dying.
There are things that you know, and there are things that you feel. I know that life is a long journey and I will figure things out eventually. I know that my sister and I are apples and oranges, and I am proud of her and that she deserves all the success she's found so far. But I feel like such a fuck-up right now and I know that my family, especially my extended family, are like, "WTF?" My parents insist that they are proud of me, but then they say other things that show that they have some very reasonable misgivings about what I'm doing and hope that I'm taking a short detour from life's plan, or whatever.
What are some strategies for being the broke artist who isn't getting married any time soon and getting along with your family? How can I be supportive and loving toward my sister, even when I often feel jealous about her grown-up life milestones and that my efforts to reach out to her are rejected, and I find her kind of a frustrating person to deal with?