Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: North Wales
Longstanding family issues & Xmas
I haven't visited RYL for a long time despite being a regular user in my 20's, so I hope you don't mind me calling in. I'm now 35, so deemed the veterans board appropriate, but I guess many age groups may relate my predicament. I'm not sure if this is the right site for this post, but I couldn't really find anywhere else. Please bear with me as this will be lengthy!
As the title suggests, I am struggling with the dynamics within my immediate family. I am happily single but do have a very safe, casual relationship on the go, just a bit of fun. I do not want marriage or children. I happily live on my own with my lovely dog in a house that I own outright. I am extremely lucky in this sense and would never not acknowledge this.
A search of my history on here will reveal that I have suffered with severe depression and SH in the past. The SH is now thankfully a thing of the past, but depression does still rear its ugly head every now and then, often due to chronic pain caused by spinal problems (three surgeries thus far), which also mean that I can't partake in some activities which I enjoy and also make work difficult as this exacerbates the pain.
I'm feeling a glum and conflicted at the moment, not because I don't like Christmas - I'm indifferent but don't hate it - but because I am struggling more than ever with the dynamics of my immediate family; Mum, Dad, and older Brother. We (well, I say "we", Mum and Dad officially, and myself by association) have been invited to my brother and sister in-law's place for Christmas Day this year. They live locally so no travel involved. A huge part of me really does not want to go and I don't see why I should go along and play happy families, but another part of me feels bad about this. I also have nothing in common with most people present on each side of the family, therefore donít really enjoy the day.
Thereís 4 years between my older brother and I. When I was growing up I saw him being able to do things that I was not purely down to age. BUT, these things continued into adolescence and adulthood. My parents own and run a business and have always worked exceptionally hard (especially my Mum) and made many sacrifices over the years, therefore have always tended to have nice cars.
When my brother passed his driving test at 17, he was immediately insured on my Mumís brand new BMW, and ever since he has been insured on all my parents cars, and was allowed to drive them without supervision (often like a fool). When I passed my test at 17, first time just the same as my brother, I was excited about potentially being able to drive their cars. But no. I was not allowed to do so on the basis that they apparently could not insure me. Curiously, they could insure my brother despite the fact that he was fined for speeding at 18, wrote off a car in an accident that was entirely his own fault at 19 (thankfully he was unharmed) and also managed to insure him at a time when boys were automatically more expensive to insure that girls. My Mother finally added me as a named driver on her car last year. I was 34 - no accidents or convictions, ever.
While weíre on about car insurance, my brother had his paid for by mummy & daddy until he was 30 years old. They did pay for my first yearís insurance, but at the age of 18 I got my own policy. I also obviously pay for tyres, servicing, MOTís and such like out of my own pocket as most people do, but my brother has always had these expenses covered. Why? He dropped out of Technical College at 17 and was subsequently appointed Junior Manager in my parents company, which also came along with the additional perk of an Audi A3 and a mobile phone, for which he has never paid a bill in his life Ė be it personal or professional use. I have always had my own contract since I was 18.
I struggled so horribly with my mental health as I was growing up and as a young adult, and now to an extent as a Ďproperí adult. I had to watch my brother being able to do things that I was not allowed to do, being given my parents absolute faith and trust in a way that they would never give me, and having opportunities that many people can only dream of. I did my A-Levelís and commenced a foundation degree in Art & Design with a view to going on to do a more specialist degree, but had so little confidence in myself and my ability that I dropped out. I was 18 at the time, and in contrast to my brother bring offered a junior managerial position (shares soon followed, too) in the business, I was stripped of my mobile phone (which they did in all fairness pay for as I was still in education), took away my camera, and gave me two weeks to find a job or they would kick me out of the house. I did find a job Ė around 300 miles away! That didnít work out in the end, but it was nice to give them the middle finger.
I returned home and the brown stuff eventually hit the fan at around 23. I couldnít take any more so my GP signed me off work and I claimed ESA of about £44 a week. I obviously could not afford to pay the rent my Mum was charging me (not expensive, just a contribution) or anything else for that matter and so we agreed that I would not pay for a while. I did not tell my Mum why I had been signed off, I just couldnít given our relationship. This probably pissed her off. The night before I took an OD of a substantial number of tabs, she laid into me. It was vile. She shouted at me about everything and anything, I canít remember exactly what by now but I do clearly remember that she demanded I paid her the rent (even though she could very much afford to forgo it), said she was doubling the amount, and that she was going to march me down to the cash machine the very next day. The was literally nothing in my account. I remember crumpling to the floor, crying, and not fighting back, which was unlike me. She did have the audacity to eventually (my dad and brother came as soon as they found out) visit me in hospital, but to this day I wish I had asked the nurses to keep her away from me.
I had no privacy living with her, which is probably why I like living alone so much. She used to blatantly go through my room all the time, and once found a notebook I had been hiding away. I couldnít talk to anybody about my brain pain so used to write things down. She found this when I was about 18 and absolutely flipped. ďWhy are you doing this to me?Ē she exclaimed. She then further searched my room and confiscated any such materials.
Believe it or not, I now work in the family business too. In all fairness, a job was essentially created for me by my Mum while I was still struggling MH wise, but doing better. Even though I enjoy most aspects of my work by now having changed roles, I (the runt) am always very much kept out of the Ďtrioí, and deliberately so. Important meetings, discussion, decisions, Iím kept out of the lot and if I ever question it Iíll be fed the most absurd excuse and/or be peppered with obvious lies that I see through in seconds. Itís always the three of them and me, yet I am expected to join in and play happy families as required.
Now that my parents are stepping down, it is of course natural that my brother takes on more responsibility. And he has, but he has also elected to outsource a large proportion of work, or delegate to someone else so that he can leave early on Thursdayís and Fridayís, can take longer lunch breaks than everyone else, and doesnít have to open up the office of a morning, at all. My parents have of course not thought of asking me whether I would like to take on more responsibility as they think I am an utter moron. I did hand in my notice earlier on this year, but ended up staying under the premise of improvements and better pay. The latter has at least materialised.
My brother inherited a house (which albeit needed a bit of work) with a couple of acres of land years ago. He has by now built a lovely house there largely through further inheritance on my sister in-laws side and large handouts from my parents and loans from hers. He is not the least bit grateful or humble for this and the opportunities and lift he has been handed. He can be arrogant and always thinks heís right.
This is clearly turning into more of a rant than anything, but itís what I needed. I canít and donít really talk about this too much as I am wary of being branded a jealous little sister or whatever. A part of me thinks that my Mum has perhaps behaved abusively on occasion, but that at the same time feels dramatic. Does anybody understand why I donít want to spend Christmas with them again this year, just like every other year? Or am I being unreasonable? I donít know, itís hard. I am getting increasingly fed up with the three of them, but I do love them.
Sorry, verrrry long ramble, but this has been doing my head in for so many years. Thanks for reading.