Post # 1
Need a little advice regarding my littlest sister and a situation she’s in. She’s 21 and youngest of 5 – all the older siblings are married and have careers. She’s struggling fairly hard with things. She’s been with the same guy for 2 or so years and they live together. She works at a call center for tech support for Apple products. He recently lost a call center job with Comcast. They had to move out of their 2 bedroom apartment and move to a much cheaper basement apartment.
My dad is super conservative and hates the fact that they live together. Initially, my dad was pushing for them to get married and then saw that they probably weren’t ready based on the lack of ambition or plan for their lives. He told my sister that if her boyfriend asked to marry her, my dad was going to “beat up” on him about getting things together before that happened. He didn’t mean physically beat up but either way it made my sister mad.
Now it seems that out of concern, everyone in my family has been offering her advice about how she shouldn’t get married to this guy. I have nothing against him, but I know very little about him. He’s nice enough, but seems a tad controlling. I can’t judge their relationship from the interactions I’ve had with him. I have shared that I know she’s not happy and how she might dig herself out (make a life plan, get a career…) but I have generally not offered advice on her relationship.
My sister occasionally does this thing where she drops off the face of the earth and nobody can reach her or find her, which she is currently doing. Her phone is disconnected (probably couldn’t pay the bill), she just moved and wouldn’t give anyone the address, the previous number we had for her boyfriend is wrong, and now she’s deactivated her Facebook – that’s the one that gives me a pretty good idea that she’s intentionally blocking everyone out.
I’m worried about her safety and her general well-being, as is everyone in my family. But I think we just need to leave her alone and let her go about her business. It’s hard because we all care so damn much about what happens to her. If something bad did happen, I would feel awful. Do you think we should just back off and let her know we care without being too involved in her life? I’m not sure my family would agree with me though and I think the more she feels like people are nagging her, the more push-back she’s going to give. Any advice?
Post # 2
ColoradoGirl: Do you think we should just back off and let her know we care without being too involved in her life?
<div style=”overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;”>Yes, that’s exactly what your family needs to do. She’s 21, an adult who can make her own decisions. Just because you and your family expect her to have her life sorted out at 21, doesn’t mean she will. Everyone’s path is different.<br /><br /></div>
<div style=”overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;”>Also, why is your dad even involved in pushing for them to marry, then deciding he doesn’t want them to? If my parents did that to me, yes I would ignore/back burner them. Once your children become adults and are financially independant from you, you no longer have a choice in what they do. You can either choose to support them in their decisions or not. </div>
Post # 3
It kind of sounds like however well intentioned, your family is pushing their morals onto your sister and she needs space to figure out what she actually wants. I htink you need to give her that space and respect that her life decisions and what’s right for her may be entirely different from what your family wants or expects. If you want her in your life you’ll have to accept her for who she is as an adult. Your father has absolutely no right to tell her who or when to marry, the day where that was acceptable are long gone, thankfully.
Post # 4
leembee: I agree.
As a family you need to step back and give your sister some space. She is a 21-year-old woman who can make the choices that she thinks are best for herself. No offense, but what adult wouldn’t get sick of the constant nagging/advice/opinions about their personal relationship by all of their family members. It may not be the best or healthiest relationship, but if your sister is a smart girl, she will figure that out in time and get herself out of it. By “helping” her, your family is going to drive her away, maybe for good. Give the girl some space to figure things out for herself. It’s okay if her life doesn’t follow the same path as yours/your siblings. She’s a different person.
Post # 5
I have a brother who is also pushing his family away. However, he is doing so because of outside manipulation (His girlfriend/wife/whatever she is is manipulating him).<br /><br />My advice is sad, but simple. You cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. You cannot make her not marry this man, you cannot force your morals or beliefs on her.
<br />Someone who doesn’t want to be found will do this. Just let it be — There is nothing you, or anyone else can do, plus your family has no right to tell her what to do with her life. She is an adult.
Post # 6
leembee: Songstress_7: My dad is an overly-involved parent who had a hard time moving from parent-of-a-child to parent-of-an-adult. He makes me mad with how involved he wants to be. He cares but doesn’t know when it’s appropriate to back-off. I had the same problem, but had a better way to deal with him than cutting everyone out.
My worry is with my family. I have no problem letting her do her thing – it’s her choice and her life. But I know my family doesn’t want to back off.
We’re a very close-knit family and see each other often. It really hurts my parent’s when she doesn’t show up without notice. It would be nice to find middle ground, like normal adults, where she’s not nagged but she still keeps in contact. My niece was born 4 weeks early last year and nobody could get ahold of my little sister and she never once got in touch with my older sister or even went to see her.
Minor detail – we all live pretty close to each other. I’m the furthest out at 45 minutes away from everyone. The rest of them live within 15-20 minutes of each other. So it’s never an issue of being too far away that my little sister doesn’t come.
Post # 7
ColoradoGirl: I totally understand. It seems like she’s going in the extreme opposite direction for a while. Usually if you give people more space as hard as that is, they come around sooner. Maybe have a talk with your family about how you feel they are impacting her and causing her to push further away. It’s a delicate topic but if you do it repsectfully and appeal to how much they love your sister, you might get through to them.
Post # 8
Songstress_7: I really like this idea. I feel like we all need to be onboard for things to get better. Everyone wants the best for her and the help she needs right now is support when she asks.
I’m just hoping she’s acting this way on her own without pressure from her boyfriend.
Post # 9
Obviously you all love her very much, becuase if you didn’t, you wouldn’t care enough to try talking to her. But has anyone in the family considered that maybe she is happy and just wants to be left alone with her choices? Just because they are having job issues and had to downsize doesn’t mean they are in trouble or unhappy. I can’t say I blame her for pulling back, since from her point of view, she must feel like your dad absolutely hates her boyfriend, and everyone else keeps badgering her with unsolicited advice about her relationship and her life. She probably thinks you are all super disappointed with her. I think at this point, your sister is giving a clear message that she wants to be left alone. Let her come back when she is ready, and talk with the family about not pestering her or saying anything about the boyfriend the next time she comes around.
Post # 10
You guys definitely need to give her some space. Everyone needs to try putting themselves in her shoes — she KNOWS she’s not doing well right now. She knows that things will need to change. She doesn’t sound like she’s oblivious to it. But, with 4 older (successful?) siblings and overly-involved parents, she probably feels like she can’t so much as breathe without everyone telling her what to do or how to fix her life.<br /><br />Let her figure her shit out without everyone trying to intervene. It’s her life, and your family needs to let her learn to be an adult. As it is right now, everyone is still babying her.
Post # 11
ColoradoGirl: I think you all shoild be less judgmental and negative and more supportive. That way se won’t block you out at a time she probably needs you most.
Post # 12
It sounds like you have the best attitude. Your sister is avoiding your family sometimes, and being rude at other times, and this is probably something that will continue for some time. She was the youngest, so she has had many years of other people knowing what is best, and telling her. This was essential when she was growing up, but now she needs to stand on her own. It sounds like your family has the attitude that her life — her job, her boyfriend, her living situation — are not good enough. What if she always has a job at a call center, and her boyfriend is in and out of jobs his whole life? No one wants to be treated like a loser. I think it is rude of her to avoid you, but she may grow out of this avoidance as she trusts you and your adult relationships more and more. Let her do what she does, and let your dad do what he does. They’ll either learn to get along better, or they won’t. Most families have someone who is not as excited to be in close contact as they are; enjoy the people who want to hang out with you, and trust that when she wants to see you, she will reach out. She sounds very passive-aggressive. She can’t win an argument against your whole family, or even just your dad, so she makes sure no one can find her to start that argument.
Unfortunately, just like you can’t control her, you can’t control how your other relatives perceive this behavior. You can stand up for her, or you can say that you won’t listen to anything negative about her, but that’s really all you can do.
Post # 13
marie_antoinette: Funny thing is that when we are together and she’s there, she complains non-stop about her job and how they have no money and she doesn’t know what to do. So she gets advice. My older sister has tried to set a great example by just not saying anything and I try to do the same, but sometimes I speak up. I try to stay out of the relationship talk because that’s between her and her boyfriend.
I know for a fact that she needs the time and space to make her own mistakes. But I need to get my family to back off and realize that they are making the problem worse. My siblings are relatively easy to talk to but my parents are less so.
She’s got it rough – my parents constantly compare kids to each other to the point where I think we do it without thinking as well.
Post # 14
HBanan: I was in a similiar situation when I was 19. Dating a guy that I shouldn’t have been and making decisions my family didn’t agree with. I had a rocky relationship with my family for a long while and finally I just told them that it was my life and to stop nagging me. My dad didn’t stop for a long time, so I just learned to ignore his comments and make my own decisions. But I also realized how important the relationships were with my family and that damaging them was the worst thing I could do.
There has been tension between her and my family for a long time. Her relationship with my brother has always been pretty terrible and it breaks my dad’s heart. She didn’t show up at my brother’s wedding because she said she forgot and it caused even more drama.
Post # 15
ColoradoGirl: Ouch. I have had some similar situations in my own family, and my parents have just decided they aren’t going to try to mediate any of the sibling relationships or listen to any complaints we might have about each other. It has helped quite a bit, actually. The “one big happy family” thing doesn’t always work so well, but it can get better.