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Dear Wendy

My family DRAMA

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  • #849392 Reply

    Ok I’m really stressed out. My sisters and I are all becoming adults at the same time and I think it’s really hard in my mom because for the last 20 years she’s really had nobody else except for us. She didn’t really hang out with anybody else her age. We were her people, especially my older sister— her and my mom were best friends.

    Now I’ve going to college far away for a year and so is my twin sister. My older sister is at home. None of us have ever been in a romantic relationship and this past January my older sister got her first boyfriend. My older sister has fallen head over heels for this guy. So much so that she hardly spends any time at home anymore and mostly with him. I kind of noticed when I stayed home for the summer and kind of have missed her, but I understand she needs to do her thing. I also like her boyfriend, he’s funny, laid back, and respects my sister.

    My parents, on the other hand, aren’t huge fans of him. My dad is having a hard time, I think, dealing with letting his daughters go, which I think is normal for every dad. My mom, however, is taking it quite bad. She resents my sister extremely for not spending as much time with her anymore. When my sister tries to talk to her about stress in her life, she yells at her and tells her that’s life. My mom doesn’t do the same when me and my twin sister come to her with the same issues. She’s also told my older sister that when she moves out for college (which she will be doing in two weeks), she has to come back at least once a week for dinner on top of getting an internship and finding another job and schoolwork.

    I understand that my mom is being overbearing in this situation and that she probably is just dreading her children leaving, and I sympathize with my older sister on that part. However, I also have tried to make plans with my older sister she either can’t make it or wants to include her boyfriend. This makes me sad because we used to be really good friends as well, so I see my mothers side as well.

    They both come and rant to me about the other. I try to stand up for the other and tell their side of the story but they basically ignore me and carry on with complaining about the other. However, they would never tell each other all the things they tell me because they’re too afraid of damaging the relationship. I’m stressed out from all their ranting towards me, but I would never ask them to stop because more than anything I want to resolve the situation and if I could force them to be friends again, believe me, I would. Right now I’m considering forcing them in a room together and air out every single complaint they have against each other, but again, I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. I just want there to be no drama again.

    #849436 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    Unfortunately, this isn’t your problem to solve. These are more or less normal growing pins, I think. But, your mother and older sister are going to have to work it out between themselves. The good news, though, is that since this isn’t your problem to solve, you don’t have to be in the middle of it. Whenever your mom or sister start complaining about the other to you, say “I know this situation with X is hard on you, but talking to me isn’t going to fix it. You need to talk about this with X” and change the topic. Do it every time. Their drama doesn’t have to be your drama.

    As for doing things with your sister without the BF, I’d suggest either straight up saying you want to just have sister time or suggest things to do that he’s not likely to want to come along, like make a day of getting a mani-pedi or facial or something like that, followed by girls’ lunch or brunch.

    #849439 Reply

    Yeah, I’d just not get in the middle of it. I think telling your sister that you want to spend time with just her would probably be helpful. It does sound like she’s spending a lot of her time with her bf, but it’s kind of understandable when your mother yells at her when she is at home.

    It is a tough transition time when your kids grow up and out of the house. Your mom and dad are fully capable of working through this themselves, though.

    #849441 Reply

    You can’t resolve the situation because it’s not your situation. And letting them vent to you isn’t really going to help resolve it. They aren’t listening to you take the other person’s side because they are talking to you just to vent. Not for advice, not for you to explain things more clearly. By engaging in conversations with them about this, you’re actually making it much more likely that you will be dragged into this and that someone is going to be mad at YOU because they misunderstand what you’re trying to say.

    Tell them that you don’t want to hear bad things about the other person.

    #849449 Reply

    Your mother needs a best friend. It isn’t fair to expect her children to fill that role. That inevitably ends, or at least lessens, as the children become adults, form relationships, and move out. If none of her daughters, all of college age, have had a relationship prior to this, then I think the great closeness to mom has somewhat hindered your social development.

    Your father should be acting as your mother’s best friend. It seems he has used his daughters as a buffer.

    You and your sisters are aging normally. Your parents are just going to have to adjust. Not your place to suggest it, but your mom and dad going to a therapist together strikes me as a great idea. It also sounds like your mom needs a job or volunteer gig to occupy her time and force her to socialize with other older adults.

    #849905 Reply

    This is not healthy. Sure, most parents probably feel at least somewhat wistful when their kids grow up and leave the family home, but sensible parents accept it as a fact of life and don’t try and infantilize their kids who are thinking about moving out.

    That said, you need to stay out of the argument between your mom and your big sister. Your sister’s in a relationship and moving out, so it’s only natural that she will spend less time with her mom. If your mom keeps nagging your sister to visit more often, she’ll probably want to visit even less often.

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