Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sometimes...I Just Don't Know.

Being the daughter in the family sometimes sucks.

Or, just the "other child."

It means that I've lived in my family for 23 years, and I know what happens when things aren't going well, but it means that I don't really have any "power" to help. I'm pretty much useless. I don't have the authority to put my foot down on anything. In some cases, I can give input sometimes, but I just can't do anything to help, or to set limits.

For the sake of others, I'll keep the details short, but I have a family member who has had difficulties in his life. Things have been genuinely hard, and a lot of doors have closed on him. But it's really frustrating when this person doesn't do anything for himself (including cook, or clean, or do his own laundry), and then unequivocally refuses any help when others see that he has difficulties (with anything). He refuses assistance with school work, with job applications, with his emotions...pretty much everything. And you know what, it would almost be best to let him go to learn his lessons and figure things out, except he doesn't learn. He doesn't learn and then he stops doing pretty much enything because he sees that he's not succeeding.

And what's happening is that he's slowling becoming dependent on others for sustenance. He has difficulties coping with adverse situations, and he's slowly becoming that person who never leaves home...molly coddled for the rest of his life like a manatee in the zoo let go that can't cope in the wild, so they just never let it out.

Pretty much everyone reading this knows what I'm talking about. Whatever. It's one of those afternoons where everyone in my house in on edge and upset and will eventually take their frustrations out on other people in a varying ways. People are feeling angry and sad and upset and scared (not for their safety, but hiding so as to not be party to others' emotional conversations) and just wrong today.

It's one of those days where I could be reading or typing completely out of the "path of destruction" but get sucked in because someone was upset and decided that they were not upset because I'd left some shoes or some knitting in the wrong spot.

So now that I've written this and you have an idea of how messed up my family is, I'm going to accept a friend's invitation to partake in some photography this afternoon. I need to get out of this house.

I'm imagining being back here. Virgin Cove, Upolu Island, Western Samoa.


  1. Obviously I understand what you mean (in a slightly different fashion, but nonetheless..) And I should remind you (and hope that you are comforted by this) that he's 19. And he's a boy. The way you and I were at that age.... probably at least 5 years advanced than any normal male of that age as well. Granted, he's probably also set back a little bcause of the circumstances, but he's still a teenager, and that's still more or less the norm.
    He will figure it out, and he will learn. Any organism needs numerous trials to figure it out, some more than others. He'll grow up, and he'll figure it out. He'll know how to ask for help, he'll have a set and determined goal, and all that good stuff.
    Now don't take this the wrong way. I do it too. I think, since you and I (and everyone else who has a family) grows up with specific situations and confrontations, that we all start to react as we usually do, and many times unfairly. If I feel a confrontation coming on, I get short with my dad, and beat him to it. I'm sure the same thing happens with your family. A possible example would be when your car died at the gas station. We thought, "oh cool he's getting in there and trying to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it" and you sorta got exasperated and rolled your eyes at him alot and told him he couldn't fix it, etc etc. I do this too. It's really hard to become aware of it and change it. I've started trying to just each day, tell people something good either that i appreciate them doing for me, or that i've noticed they've been doing for themselves (like if my dad changes my oil, or if his pants fit better cuz he's been biking to work, or my sister started styling her hair differently, or she paid for dinner the night before...) The list could go on forever. Maybe it's not that he doesn't want to ask for help, but that he's embarrassed that he needs it. Any household is stressed to the max living with a 19 year old male, regardless any other situations.
    Give it time, and he'll find where he wants to be and he'll involve you in it :)

  2. oh man, you know what I mean, but there's just a lot that you don't. I'm not putting you down in any way, but to live with someone is totally different that hypothesizing how he *does* live. The BF can attest to how backward things are after he spent two solid weeks with this person. The thing is, we're all scared that he *won't* learn. He'll learn that he'll be perfectly taken care of at home, and there's no reason to leave. He'll accrue debt because people aren't quick to make him pay back, because he doesn't have a job because he hasn't been able to get one (by his own fault, or by the economy, or whatever), and then things never move. Then there's the whole issue of responsibility, and poor anger management, and straightforward courtesy to others. Someone who yells at you because they ask you to cook some hotdogs, or because it's their job to put away the clean dishes at the end of the night and doesn't "feel like it" isn't someone who is acting 19 at all. That's acting 12. People like Dave were weird at 19, but they were good people who were courteous to others and took at least a modicum of responsibility for himself. They were still figuring themselves out. This person just isn't doing anything. When anything goes wrong, it's another person's fault and takes their anger out on them. I shouldn't go on. There's too much to write about that could hurt others and I'd rather not.

    I just hope the best for him....

  3. I think you have some good advice in general here Tori, however this specific situation may be a little more substantial than you're aware of.

    Though it does seem like her worries might be magnified by exasperation, what she's saying is actually very literal and significant.

  4. That was a very nice response. Well put - and I'm glad to have your support.

    To this: I actually successfully helped him with writing a coverletter today, which he took to the job in person. I haven't talked to him about it yet, but I think he might have a shot...