OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 21, 2014, 02:19:01 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Dealing with difficult family/home situation as a young adult  (Read 1211 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Gisasargavak
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church - Holy See of Echmiadzin
Posts: 137


Առէ'ք, Կերէ'ք այս է մարմին իմ:


« on: August 27, 2011, 12:00:38 AM »

Hi all, I hope I'm putting this in the right forum. Don't really know where to start, but I'll try to make this as short as possible.

I have a complex, but typically American family situation I think. I am a male now in my early twenties. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and my father moved two hours away from where I currently live. I currently live with my mother and sister who is close in age to me.

There are a few things that are causing problems within the household, and I was wondering if you had advice on how to deal with them in a Christian way:

1. Financial
2. Interpersonal
3. Lack of parental involvement

1. The first problem, financial, has caused me not to be able to attend college anymore as I must work full-time to help pay the bills - our situation is such that we are always being threatened with foreclosure, electricity being shut-off etc. We somehow find a way to manage throughout the month but it is very stressful nonetheless.

I do not necessarily have a problem with this except for the fact that my sister is not expected to act or contribute as I am, even though she is able-bodied and basically the same age as me. She has two jobs, a car, goes to college and will graduate, health insurance but my mother does not expect her to pay any "rent" as I have to, mostly in part because my sister goes into a tirade any time you ask her to help with finances. In fact, I loaned her a significant sum of money to buy a car because of her "tears", but two years later I have yet to be paid back. Me having no car or health insurance find this situation to be stressful on me and it causes me a lot frustration, although I do continually try to "rather be wronged" as Paul says.

2. The second problem is really interpersonal. For example, when I was enrolled in college, I was studying music and classical guitar. This has always been a passion of mine and I showed really great promise. However as of the last two years every time I even lay a hand and start to practice a soft acoustic/classical guitar, my sister will yell and scream at me until I stop. So I just don't practice what has been a passion of mine since childhood, something I thought I would always do. The same thing goes for when I practice church litanies or any type of singing - yelling and tirades until I stop.

Maybe people can't understand this, but it is so disheartening and it makes me feel as if my feelings/wants/desires/needs aren't important - only those of my sister and mother count.

3. The lack of parental intervention on behalf of my mother and father is astounding to say the least. On numerous occasions I have had "meetings" with them to no avail. My father will say, "I cannot do anything because your sister is an adult and I don't live in that house anymore" and my mother says, "I can't control your sister", etc. I have tried and tried and tried and prayed as well, but I am at my wits end.

 I ask my parents for life, financial advice and the like but with nothing more than "figure it out yourself, you're 22 now". How can I figure it out myself when I have people CRYING to me how they can't afford their rent or bills etc. so I am forced to stay and work at home, but at the same time deal with being constantly harassed, abused, and lied to at home.

I have tried to be "patient" and "kind". I even left my study-abroad 7 months early (which was on a full-scholarship) to help my mom pay her bills and deal with my sister. I got a call of my mother crying that my sister was out of hand - breaking things - and I felt bad, so I decided to go back home, only to be yelled at constantly FOR DOING NORMAL THINGS.

I wish I could move out, but then my mother would be strapped financially. I don't know what the Christian way would be take in this situation. Any advice would be appreciated. Please pray for me.
Logged
KBN1
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: EO
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 888



« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 01:15:03 AM »

What are the chances that your mother could live somewhere she could afford?
Logged
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,820


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 02:17:31 AM »

I was thinking the same thing.  Right now would be the time to get a decent place at a more affordable price. 

You can help her financially right now, but eventually you will need to go back to school and even start a family of your own.  The current situation cannot go on long term.   

I know it's a very emotional and touchy situation you are in.  I get the feeling there are no easy fixes.  The one thing I was told once that may comfort you a little is that no situation remains the same forever.  Everything changes.  Eventually, things will work out, but it may take some honest and possibly painful conversation with your mom.
Logged

Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 03:27:53 AM »

While your sister figures in this picture, she really isn't the problem. It seems to me that your life is controlled by the unrealistic expectations of a desperate woman; your mother. No one, not even your mother, should use you as a prop while she continues to not face the consequences of her actions; or lack thereof. I know that it would be terrible to see your mother lose her home, but for someone in such a precarious situation she seems to have little respect for the person who is sacrificing so much to help her. I don't know what the "Christian" way to deal with this situation is. Tough love? Self-sacrifice with you giving up your hopes of a life of your own to continue to support your mother? I really can't say. I only know that I would expect to have some ground rules if I was contributing so much. However, I have the feeling that that horse might have bolted and you might never be able to unravel some of the bad habits that have you ensnared.

Quite honestly, at 22 years old, you are poised on a wonderful threshhold. My advice would be to take a long look at your situation and if you see yourself trapped in it until the mortgage is paid, time for some legal agreement securing your investment in the property. If that isn't possible or if it isn't what you want, then it's time to give the task back to the person whose responsibility it is and set out on a life of your own, following your dreams and passions. Do it!

There's no reason why you can't help out. There's every reason why you should be burdened without due respect and recognition.
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Gisasargavak
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church - Holy See of Echmiadzin
Posts: 137


Առէ'ք, Կերէ'ք այս է մարմին իմ:


« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 09:07:45 AM »

What are the chances that your mother could live somewhere she could afford?

I have talked to her about this to her before, and there seems to be a lot of resistance to the idea.

Even when I talk to her about what exact finances are the problem, there is a lot of secrecy or she will say something like, "I'm too tired to talk about it right now, I worked all day".
Logged
Gisasargavak
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church - Holy See of Echmiadzin
Posts: 137


Առէ'ք, Կերէ'ք այս է մարմին իմ:


« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2011, 09:10:21 AM »

I was thinking the same thing.  Right now would be the time to get a decent place at a more affordable price. 

You can help her financially right now, but eventually you will need to go back to school and even start a family of your own.  The current situation cannot go on long term.   

I know it's a very emotional and touchy situation you are in.  I get the feeling there are no easy fixes.  The one thing I was told once that may comfort you a little is that no situation remains the same forever.  Everything changes.  Eventually, things will work out, but it may take some honest and possibly painful conversation with your mom.

Thanks Salpy for your kind words, any advice helps right now as I feel as if I am constantly reaching out to people within my family (and sometimes at church), and there seems to be little-to-no practical advice to be had. It's usually something along the lines of, "figure it out yourself, you're an adult now." Although I am 22, I'm not necessarily "fully-equipped" to deal with a situation like this, imho.
Logged
Melodist
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: The Faith That Established The Universe
Jurisdiction: AOANA
Posts: 2,523



« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2011, 10:01:24 AM »

Although I am 22, I'm not necessarily "fully-equipped" to deal with a situation like this, imho.

Then that's all there is to it.

I apologize if this sounds insensitive, but human beings have their capabilities and limitations, this includes you. I understand that you want to be supportive of your family and don'y want to turn your back on them, but you can't continue in this situation forever.

If you wish to motovate your mother to move into a more affordable place, tell her two things. 1 Our budget for living expenses is X and if we can't put ourselves into a situation that meets that requirement, then I'm not contributing to a lost cause paying bills that can't be afforded anyway. 2 My sister is just as able (actually more able with her car that you bought her and have none of your own) as I am, if she doesn't contribute, then neither do I. Period. If your mother cries, don't lie to her about the reality of the situation just to make her feel better. If your sister whines about having to carry her weight, tell her to get over it, it's hurting you and your mom.

What is the possibility of moving in with your dad? That might be an option.

One more thing. Don't spend your money going to school for playing guitar. Get a degree that you can use to support any family (wife, kids) that you might have in the future.

I know what Jesus taught, and I know everything above doesn't square up entirely with it and I apologize for the rant. If you find my words to be not what you're looking for, then please disregard everything I said. So here is what Jesus taught...

Luke 6:40
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

To follow Christ and bear a cross can sometimes mean to open yourself up to be crucified by the people you're trying to help.
 
Logged

And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
Aram
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Armenian Church
Posts: 248


« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2011, 10:30:19 AM »


One more thing. Don't spend your money going to school for playing guitar. Get a degree that you can use to support any family (wife, kids) that you might have in the future.
This advice, frankly, is insensitive.  If Gisasargavak has a gift and an interest in music, and has shown promise in his pursuits thus far, telling him to pursue something else purely for the money is unfair, both to his talents and to his aspirations.  Too many people are shoved down the road into vocations they aren't interested in because advice like this tells them money is the only thing they should be interested in pursuing.  Yes, money is important, but so is using the skills and interests we have to build a life we are proud of.
Logged
Melodist
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: The Faith That Established The Universe
Jurisdiction: AOANA
Posts: 2,523



« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2011, 10:41:50 AM »

One more thing. Don't spend your money going to school for playing guitar. Get a degree that you can use to support any family (wife, kids) that you might have in the future.
This advice, frankly, is insensitive.  If Gisasargavak has a gift and an interest in music, and has shown promise in his pursuits thus far, telling him to pursue something else purely for the money is unfair, both to his talents and to his aspirations.  Too many people are shoved down the road into vocations they aren't interested in because advice like this tells them money is the only thing they should be interested in pursuing.  Yes, money is important, but so is using the skills and interests we have to build a life we are proud of.
It may have been. My point wasn't to just give up on dreams or passions, only that reality doesn't always conform to one's desires. But then again, playing guitar might go somewhere good. I don't know the future.
Logged

And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
tuesdayschild
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 971



« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 11:25:08 AM »

Hi all, I hope I'm putting this in the right forum. Don't really know where to start, but I'll try to make this as short as possible.

I have a complex, but typically American family situation I think. I am a male now in my early twenties. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and my father moved two hours away from where I currently live. I currently live with my mother and sister who is close in age to me.

There are a few things that are causing problems within the household, and I was wondering if you had advice on how to deal with them in a Christian way:

1. Financial
2. Interpersonal
3. Lack of parental involvement

1. The first problem, financial, has caused me not to be able to attend college anymore as I must work full-time to help pay the bills - our situation is such that we are always being threatened with foreclosure, electricity being shut-off etc. We somehow find a way to manage throughout the month but it is very stressful nonetheless.

I do not necessarily have a problem with this except for the fact that my sister is not expected to act or contribute as I am, even though she is able-bodied and basically the same age as me. She has two jobs, a car, goes to college and will graduate, health insurance but my mother does not expect her to pay any "rent" as I have to, mostly in part because my sister goes into a tirade any time you ask her to help with finances. In fact, I loaned her a significant sum of money to buy a car because of her "tears", but two years later I have yet to be paid back. Me having no car or health insurance find this situation to be stressful on me and it causes me a lot frustration, although I do continually try to "rather be wronged" as Paul says.

2. The second problem is really interpersonal. For example, when I was enrolled in college, I was studying music and classical guitar. This has always been a passion of mine and I showed really great promise. However as of the last two years every time I even lay a hand and start to practice a soft acoustic/classical guitar, my sister will yell and scream at me until I stop. So I just don't practice what has been a passion of mine since childhood, something I thought I would always do. The same thing goes for when I practice church litanies or any type of singing - yelling and tirades until I stop.

Maybe people can't understand this, but it is so disheartening and it makes me feel as if my feelings/wants/desires/needs aren't important - only those of my sister and mother count.

3. The lack of parental intervention on behalf of my mother and father is astounding to say the least. On numerous occasions I have had "meetings" with them to no avail. My father will say, "I cannot do anything because your sister is an adult and I don't live in that house anymore" and my mother says, "I can't control your sister", etc. I have tried and tried and tried and prayed as well, but I am at my wits end.

 I ask my parents for life, financial advice and the like but with nothing more than "figure it out yourself, you're 22 now". How can I figure it out myself when I have people CRYING to me how they can't afford their rent or bills etc. so I am forced to stay and work at home, but at the same time deal with being constantly harassed, abused, and lied to at home.

I have tried to be "patient" and "kind". I even left my study-abroad 7 months early (which was on a full-scholarship) to help my mom pay her bills and deal with my sister. I got a call of my mother crying that my sister was out of hand - breaking things - and I felt bad, so I decided to go back home, only to be yelled at constantly FOR DOING NORMAL THINGS.

I wish I could move out, but then my mother would be strapped financially. I don't know what the Christian way would be take in this situation. Any advice would be appreciated. Please pray for me.


You're trying to interact rationally with irrational people. Good for you, but you can see that it doesn't get you very far. The thing about "rather be wronged" and being "patient" and "kind" is that it only applies to the circumstances you find yourself in. St. Paul says nothing about remaining in those circumstances. He fled Damascus "let down in a basket through a window in the wall." (Acts 9, 2 Cor. 11)

I think you already know what you want to do, but lacking emotional support from where it ought to come, you're looking for approval from, well, anywhere...even the internet. Okay. You have my approval. Go and do it. If you need any further encouragement, PM me.
Logged
KBN1
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: EO
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 888



« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 11:42:29 AM »

What are the chances that your mother could live somewhere she could afford?

I have talked to her about this to her before, and there seems to be a lot of resistance to the idea.

Even when I talk to her about what exact finances are the problem, there is a lot of secrecy or she will say something like, "I'm too tired to talk about it right now, I worked all day".

In that case, my advice is this:  Don't let other people's dysfunction make you dysfunctional.  Also, you might find this a helpful read.  I have found it to be insightful.  http://lynneforrest.com/html/the_faces_of_victim.html

Quote
Whether we know it, or not, most of us react to life as victims. Whenever we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are unconsciously choosing to react as victim. This inevitably creates feelings of anger, fear, guilt or inadequacy and leaves us feeling betrayed, or taken advantage of by others.

Victim-hood can be defined by the three positions beautifully outlined in a diagram developed by a well respected psychiatrist, and teacher of Transactional Analysis, named Stephen Karpman. He calls it the “drama triangle”, I will refer to it as the victim triangle. Having discovered this resource some thirty years ago, it has become one of the more important tools in my personal and professional life. The more I teach and apply the victim triangle to relationship the deeper my appreciation grows for this simple, powerfully accurate instrument.

I’ve sometimes referred to the victim triangle as a "shame generator" because through it we unconsciously re-enact painful life themes that create shame. This has the effect of reinforcing old, painful beliefs that keep us stuck in a limited version of reality.
Logged
Adela
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 819



« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2011, 01:53:41 PM »

Dear Gisagargavak,

   It seems you are in a rather difficult situation and feel unappreciated.  You are still very young and have your whole, wonderful life ahead of you.  You did not create this situation and probably can't fix it.
   
   There is a book called Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives with the teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Serbia that is quite good, he stresses the need to maintain your inner tranquility.  I wonder if your priest or a man at your church can be good mentor for you, it sounds like you need a strong, sensible male role model in your life.

  I think it is wonderful that you have a gift for music and can play classical guitair.  Wow!  Cheesy This is quite a gift.  Life can be very difficult and it is good to have something like art or music to help deal with all the stressors life can send you.  My family is comprised of immigrants from eastern europe and the message I always got was to only focus on what you need to survive.  Education, food, putting money in the bank.   What was missed, though, was to have something that you love and enjoy that you can do to de-stress. Music is great for that!  Have you ever thought of taking your guitar to the park and practicing there?  Sometimes I seen someone with a guitar sitting in a picnic shelter just playing.   Other times I see people at the park practicing bagpipes, and I have to admit, I would rather hear clasical guitar than bagpipes!   Or, can you go to a nursing home and play for the elderly?  I'll bet they would enjoy to listen to you!  At any rate, it's ok to want to pursue your own dreams!  God gave you a talent for a reason, so go out and use it!  Smiley

As far as your family goes, it seems that you need to detach with love.  If you have to keep explaining yourself and explaining yourself, but aren't being heard, there is a big problem.  You may have to get off of that merry-go-round and focus on getting yourself to a better place.   You may have to learn that you can't fix your family and as long as you keep trying, they will keep using the behaviors that seem to be working.   If people don't want to listen, there is no amount of explaining you can do.   You don't want to be filled with bitterness later if you feel you wasted your life on trying to explain sense. 

Your sister isn't being helped by caving in to her screaming.  If she is screaming at you, you need to detach and walk away until she can talk to you calmly and without abuse.   Don't stay and try to argue back, or even talk sensibly.  She needs to learn that if she screams at you, you will take the car keys and drive somewhere like the library and be gone for a while.  I'm sure you've already decided that you cannot lend her anymore money until she pays you back the money she already owes you. 

Please don't try and use guilt to make them change, it probably won't work.  You need to find roomates or something and go and start working on your own life.   You can find professional societies that you can join now to start working on getting your career back on track.  You can find sensible people at church or support groups or college to interract with to learn better boundaries.   It's ok to want to pursue your own dreams. Smiley
Logged
KBN1
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: EO
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 888



« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2011, 03:12:12 PM »

I think it is wonderful that you have a gift for music and can play classical guitair.  Wow!  Cheesy This is quite a gift.

I have never met a gifted classical guitar player.  I have met incredible classical guitar players that practice their craft for 4-8 hours each day, but I've never met a gifted one.   Wink  Keep up the hard work, Gisagargavak.  Adela's advice about finding somewhere else to practice/play is good.  I know how fast the chops disappear if you are not playing every day.
Logged
vamrat
Vamratoraptor
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Serbian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: New Gracanica
Posts: 7,953



« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2011, 11:43:01 AM »

As far as a Christian solution goes: you're doing it.  Your suffering for the benefit of others will be rewarded.  But probably not in this life.

If I may ask, what percentage are your financial contributions to the household, and what is your sister's age?  You might have to lay down the law, since it doesn't seem like anyone else is going to.  Your pa is right, there is nothing he can do.  He is not in the house, he has no authority.  As much crap as that might be, it's how it is. 

If your financial contributions equal a sizable percent (more than 33% would be considered high, 50%+ would be better) then you have a right to lay down the law.  You should always honour your mother but sometimes getting people straightened out is showing more love then letting them stagnate.  If you are contributing a sizable percentage then practice your guitar and your singing.  Just be mindful of the time.  If it is 5 or 6 in the evening, they have no right to tell you you to stop if you are contributing more than your sister.  And you might need to tell her that.  She is not contributing, she is costing you money to maintain.  She has no say.  Just be respectful and not play or sing when people need to sleep.

If either of them have a problem, then it will be time to sit down and go over the finances.  If they cannot survive without your input then they will have to give you space.

That is my practical answer.  But it might not be the most moral (keeping in mind that "moral" is saintly sacrifice) but you may at some point have to strike a balance.
Logged

Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.
Sauron
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Posts: 844


« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 09:15:48 AM »

What are the chances that your mother could live somewhere she could afford?

I have talked to her about this to her before, and there seems to be a lot of resistance to the idea.

Even when I talk to her about what exact finances are the problem, there is a lot of secrecy or she will say something like, "I'm too tired to talk about it right now, I worked all day".

I am a lawyer works has a creditor's rights practice. In other words, I represent people who are owed money and file lawsuits against their debtors to get them paid. Based on that background,

The text in bold is a red flag to me, and it should be to you. If you are contributing significant income to the household, you need to know where it is going. The situation you describe is one of a household living beyond its means. I recommend that you leave the house. That's my financial advice.

For general advice, you have been guilted into the house of two very entitled people who are blatantly manipulating your emotions and good heart. But, you are not helping them. There is a difference between "help" and "do it for me". I think you have long past the point of charity. I do not believe that Christian charity requires you to stay where you are not welcome. Shake the dust off your feet and leave. (Matthew 10:14) Do this no matter how much they cry and plead. While it may not seem like it, you are actually doing the loving thing by teaching them to live within their own means. If you have the money now to get an apartment, do it. I am a landlord and I can tell you that it is a renter's market. Get yourself a studio and you'll be free. But, don't say "I'm going to move out if things don't improve", because then they will just try to manipulate you into staying. Make your plans in quiet, sign a lease, and tell your mom and sister, "I've rented an apartment. I will be moving in on Thursday."

I agree with Melodist's advice. It is great to have a passion for music (I play myself), but hopefully, you wish to support a family one day. I recommend that you get a degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics). Having a day job doesn't mean you cannot love playing music. A very few number of people get to do a job that they love. If you are one of these, you are blessed. However, most of us don't. If it were otherwise, no one would pick up my garbage because who dreams of hauling away other people's trash? Just because you don't have your dream job does not mean you have a miserable job.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:17:21 AM by Sauron » Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.085 seconds with 41 queries.