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Do all families have issues like this? - Rant


esg

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Its so annoying.

 

I asked my mother if I could go over to my aunt's today where they are staying because I have no internet at my apartment and I have assignments due. My son also asks to see them daily. I was wondering if they would be there or else I wouldn't be able to get in. She said sure. A little while later, my younger sister texts me and asks if I knew our older sister was out of town for the week. I was told nothing at all before that text. This throws my plans completely off for the week.

 

My older sister, because she lives with them, is responsible for getting my sister across town to school. They leave for 7 in the morning to make it by 8. This younger sister doesn't drive nor does she or my mom have a car. I live 30-35 minutes away without traffic or school zones which would not be the case in the mornings. I didn't know it but my mother had already decided that I was going to spend the week here away from my plans driving my sister to and from school. I had no idea my older sister was even staying out of town the whole week. None of this was talked about.

 

So here I am not able to leave, don't have my stuff or my son's stuff for the night (luckily I packed him two changes of clothes in case of accidents) and I'll have no choice but to either spend the next four days here or get up before 6 to get myself and my son to this side of town to drive another hour there to school and thirty minutes home because my sister doesn't really want to spend the night at the apartment.

 

I told my mother last week when I had to pick my sister up from school that I couldn't keep doing it. I wouldn't have gotten home till after 8 (had papers to work on) and that's after leaving home at 5. She essential said there is no other option. I'm never told the week before sometimes not even told till 10 that night that they expect me to drive. I've told her before that beyond not wanting to lose hours out of the day, my back pain is so much worse after long car rides that always include traffic (and sitting and standing in general so I'm not just saying it) and a crying child who doesn't like to do this either.

 

Are all families like that? Make plans for you then expect you to do them? Is it bad that I don't want to do this this week?

 

On the more financial side of it, I always go over budget when I do this.

 

My younger sister gets paid twice a month - the first and last week - and during the gaps between she has no money. I end up footing the gas bill which is larger with all the distance I now drive and it messes up with my finances since I'm not working. On top of that, they almost never have food in the house. This is partly because of control issues on my aunt's side (doesn't like her fridge full) so I end up having to use money to buy food or what I do bring with me doesn't last long with everyone in the house so I have to buy more once I'm back home. It messes me up.

 

I've been limiting our time over here due to the expenses but not seeing family during the week is something I'm helping my son to work on now that they're further away. I'm wanting to set up a separate life for us because who knows we might not all be within distance forever but its hard to do when my week is interrupted.

 

Maybe it wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't have to drive back and forth to my side of town now. Or it wouldn't bother me as much if my mom would take my car and drive her. I don't know why it bothers me so much. Maybe its cause it was decided on for me?

 

So there's my rant. I'll stop now.

21 Comments


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To answer your questions: not all families are like this.  You always have options.  Here are a couple: 

 

1.  Start using the Internet at your local public library.  Stay away from your aunt's house.

 

2.  While online, look up the schedule for the local bus system and the routes and times your sister would need to get to school and back.

 

3.  Print out the schedule and give it to her.

 

4.  Stay home. 

 

5.  Learn that "No" is a complete sentence and start saying it when other people assume you will do what they want.

  • Like 18
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Real quick, but, um...no.

 

Sorry hon, you need to learn to say "I'd love to, however I can't." & leave it at that. No. No. No. They are using you. This is NOT YOUR problem. 

 

(sorry short--wanted to reply, but need to keep the morning moving here!)

  • Like 2
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Ok, so I've had a little bit to mull this over & I can't figure out how to edit my above reply, so here is an addition!

 

From what I'm reading, you are saying that you receive calls at all hours, being expected to drop everything & drive your sister somewhere. If you hadn't decided to go to your aunt's house yesterday, you wouldn't have known about this situation until later in the day when you received a text. It also appears that you are expected to drive, even though you have said you can't. You are allowing them to control what you do & when.  You need to find it within yourself to say no. To stand up, once again, for yourself & your son.

 

How old is the sister you need to drive? Is there a school bus that she is able to take (in our district, you ride for free depending on where you live)? If she is in high school, I'd tell her when you pick her up that this isn't going to work & she needs to call a friend for a ride in the morning & for a ride home. Is there a city bus she can take? Again, I'm not sure how old she is, nor how the school expects her to get there. What does she do from the time school ends to when you get out of work? Plenty of hours for her to either get a ride, or walk even! (again, if possible/safe)

 

If you feel that you have committed to this week, pick her up today after school, drop her off at the door & say see you in the a.m. @ "x". I'm sorry it's extra driving for you, but you need to be setting the guidelines for you & your son. Yes, spending the extra on gas sucks. However, you will be in control of your choices (or mine, in this case--lol!). I'd also let her know you will be needing "x" for gas money. When she says "but I don't have it", let her know that neither do you, so she can either pay you or find another way to school. Her choice.

 

Again, all of this is b/c I feel your sister isn't 7, but is a teenager. 

 

I haven't read it, but it sounds like the book Dave recommends called "Boundaries" needs to be read & put into place by you.

 

I do think other families do take advantage of people all time. In our family though, the answer is no.

 

Off to take my own kid to school :)

  • Like 2
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I agree with the others, you need to say no and let them work it out themselves. You are not responsible for her, you are responsible for you and your son. Go to the library for internet or get cheap internet at home, it will cost you less per month than gas and food does at your aunt's house when you are there.

  • Like 2
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I'm with the others as well.  You need to find a way to use the internet at the library or at home and give yourself some distance from this situation.  I can't say for sure because I don't know them personally, but their behavior sounds manipulative and controlling and toxic.  Keep practicing that anceint word until it becomes second nature (even say it the long way like Dave does if you need to): "nnNNOOooooooo"

 

You could try some of the tips in this article to find free or low-cost internet: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/how-to-get-cheap-or-free-_b_4368774.html

 

Or try netzero.net 

 

There are plenty of ways you can get basic access without breaking your budget.  Good luck!

  • Like 2
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If I'm remembering this correctly, the sister going to school is out of high school and attending culinary school.  Old enough to be taking public transportation or figuring out how to get where she needs to go.

  • Like 1
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Ok, it's a pet peeve, I'll admit it but the "I have no choice" stuff is just a victim mentality and is not helping you.  You are allowing yourself to be treated this way and then claiming that you have no options.  This is simply untrue and until you see that, nothing will ever change.  You can say no.  You don't even have to respond to the text message at all.  Why should your mother inform you that your older sister is out of town?  I don't see why you even need to know.  It's your sister's job to ask for a ride if she wants one, not your mother's.  You guys are so entrenched in these roles that you can't even see it objectively right now.  Your sister is an adult.  Adults take responsibility for their own transportation and if their first plan falls through, they are responsible for finding a 2nd plan.  Your mother is not responsible for coordinating her adult daughter's transportation.  Neither are you.

 

You are NOT "stuck there".  You are choosing to take your sister to school.  I guarantee you, if you say no a few days in a row and STICK TO IT, she will find a way.  At the very minimum, she should be staying at YOUR house for the week if she wants a ride.  When I read your comment where you said she "doesn't want to" stay at your house my head was spinning.  Why are you allowing yourself to be majorly inconvenienced by her whims?  If she doesn't want to stay at your house, then she doesn't want a ride.  Stand up for yourself!

 

And to answer your question, no, this is NOT normal.  It's just your normal right now, because they have learned that you will do whatever they expect. 

  • Like 16
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If your sister is in college (or similar school), she is old enough to get her own ride even if it is a taxi.  My DD who is 19, drives to and from college (usually every other weekend) and it is 2.5 hours away from home.  DR is always recommending the book Boundaries.  I have not read it, but it may help you in this situation.  If you start using the public library for internet, try checking out that book.  

  • Like 2
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Maybe it bothers you because it is a unnecessary stress in you life, or because you are letting yourself get boxed in. Why are you continuing to do it? I just can't figure out why you don't just say no. You never have to do anything, it's a choice you make every time you drive to the rescue.

 

 

Your sister will either make a plan to get there on her own or she will miss class, none of that has anything to do with you. Who cares either way? Not your education, or your life. She will grow up and sort it out.

 

 

I bet you can find a cheap deal on Internet that costsa less then the gas money you are shelling out for your sister.

 

Never mind the extra time your son is stuck in the car daily!

  • Like 5
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What were they going to do about a ride if they barely informed you about it? It sounds like they were looking for someone to rescue them and you just happened to check-in at the most convenient time for them.

  • Like 1
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You must draw a line in the sand and say no. They will figure something else out, busses, taxis, bikes, walking, all available options.

  • Like 1
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To answer your question, no this is not normal.  It seems to me like your mother is still "seeing" you as a child who she can control.  For a long time I had the same issue with my mother, not quite at the same level though.  It wasn't until I set boundaries with her that her behavior changed.  Even for things as silly as her lending out items that were mine, I had to tell her no when she didn't ask me first no matter how silly it seemed, the deeper meaning was important.  She needed to learn that I was an adult and my things were not hers anymore.  Most of the time I would have been more than happy to lend the items to her friends but she needed to ask, not just show up and tell me she was taking something of mine.  One time she yelled at me like a child because I wasn't doing what she wanted me to do at a family event....I was 30 years old at the time......that wasn't okay with me so my response to her in front of everyone was "Do NOT speak with me like that.  I am an ADULT, not a child" and I walked away.  Those are only two examples and both were silly really but I needed to do those things in order to change her behavior towards me.  Now we have a much different relationship.  It's not perfect but she doesn't treat me like a child anymore....most of the time ;)

 

I agree with miranova that you have choices and you do not have to be at their beck and call.  You need to set boundaries not matter how hard it is.  They may yell, kick, scream, call names, say hateful things, talk behind your back, etc but that is their way of manipulating you.  Don't let them!  You have a child, he is your responsibility, not your mother and adult sisters.  I know it's hard.  My mother said horrible things about me at that family event to my other family members but I knew it needed to be said in order for her to stop speaking to me like that.  In the almost ten years since that event, now that things have changed, my family members are now seeing how badly she used to treat me but they didn't see it when I was letting it happen.  It was hard to be known as a spoiled brat for so long but I knew that I really wasn't and I had to let that be enough.

 

Good luck to you!

  • Like 2
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Not normal.

 

I agree on the book recommendation for "Boundaries," if you haven't read it.  It is written from a heavily evangelical Christian perspective, but the advice about behavior is spot on for people of any faith or no faith.  (It's kind of like DR's books...if you don't share his faith perspective you can just skim those parts and/or substitute the idea of "good person" instead of "Christian" in many parts.)  I recommend it to people because it's an easy read on a difficult topic.  Read it!!!!!

  • Like 1
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Thanks all.

I have the book on hold at the library. I could have sworn I did that before but I guess not.

 

My son has been falling asleep multiple times and been a grump today. My poor guy. I know she'll have to figure it out. She's 22.

 

Thanks for the internet suggestions. I was told on Friday that my apartment isn't serviceable by comcast which is the only service besides ATT that could be set up so I've been trying to think of what to do. I was doing starbucks for a while but figured two birds one stone by going to my aunt's so he could see my mom and sisters. I need something for us at home though. I realize now that I can't create our own life while I'm still hanging on there.

 

Thanks. I needed to hear that its not normal family behavior. I think I need to be reminded of this every once in a while.

  • Like 2
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"Why are you continuing to do it? I just can't figure out why you don't just say no. You never have to do anything,"

 

I don't know why either. Or rather, I think I know why. Its because its never listened to. They'll pick at me till I just go ahead so they stop. That's the biggest thing I need to work on.

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If that's the case, then you need to just  limit their access to you.  Be less available. If they've asked you to do something and you've clearly said no, and they try to keep hounding you, get off the phone. Don't answer it and don't check their voicemails until the "crisis" is over.  Seriously, I've been through this.  The only way to deal with people like that is to drastically lower their ability to access you.  They can't pick at you if you aren't picking up the phone and aren't coming over. 

  • Like 2
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Sorry your are going through this once again, you have been given good advice already. It is very difficult dealing with family pressures and expectations. I hope you can find solutions that work out best for you and your son.

  • Like 1
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that is not right!

 

I pan days/weeks in advance for rides far distances (rides under a mile i plan a day or two out if possble).

 

I can not drive (legally blind) i take the bus when/where I can :)

 

They need to ASK not EXPECT.

 

GIve notice :) and learn to use public transportation if its an optoin.

  • Like 1
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Everyone else covered it pretty well.

 

It sounds to me like little sister and/or mom need to learn how to drive and start going about getting their own mode of transport.  

 

Say no, keep saying it, make yourself unavailable and eventually they'll move on.  

  • Like 1
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I had another thought that I don't think has been mentioned yet: don't underestimate the possibility that your little sister is looking at you as a roll model right now.  It sounds like she's just bought into the regular family dynamics and is going along with Mom...but YOU probably looked the same way a little while ago...and look at where you're at now!

 

There's a very, very good chance that she will drink in everything you model about setting boundaries in this situation.  She might even get mad and rant at you, but she'll be paying close attention.  You might be the only person available to give her that example and someday she might shower you with thank-yous.

  • Like 5
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I had another thought that I don't think has been mentioned yet: don't underestimate the possibility that your little sister is looking at you as a roll model right now.  It sounds like she's just bought into the regular family dynamics and is going along with Mom...but YOU probably looked the same way a little while ago...and look at where you're at now!

 

There's a very, very good chance that she will drink in everything you model about setting boundaries in this situation.  She might even get mad and rant at you, but she'll be paying close attention.  You might be the only person available to give her that example and someday she might shower you with thank-yous.

 

I don't think I thought about that at all. That definitely makes me want to continue on then. It also makes me a little sad cause I'm not doing too well at it.

 

I was also thinking that my son is being put out every time. I knew that but I think I looked at it more as I'm a single mom, I have to take him with me instead of I'm a single mom, I have to think about us first. I knew that and I do that but I don't think I ever thought I'd have to do that with my own family members. Do you know what I mean? I consider us our own little family but I didn't think about how much of a barrier needs to be in place, I guess, to keep our little family well. So it really is looking after us two before even looking at anyone else. That's so hard for me.

 

I got the boundaries book from the library yesterday though. I have a feeling its going to get tougher soon.

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