So I know everyone has family problems, and those that say they don’t…really do but they just aren’t to the extent of complaining about it yet. I can’t say that mine are any worse than anyone else, in fact I’m 100% sure that someone has it worse than me…
But I can say that I feel like things are super unfair right now.
I’m 22 and I live with my parents because I can’t concentrate on working and college at the same time. They aren’t normally a problem. Sure, we have some squabbles, but it isn’t anything serious. The problems come from my extended family (mostly on my mom’s side). And, normally I can handle those problems by just avoiding everyone. It isn’t exactly the best coping mechanism, but believe me, the drama I avoid is worth it most of the time.
So, like I said, things seem pretty unfair right now. Actually, they’ve seemed this way for about seven months — give or take.
My uncle died in October. And it kind of turned everything upside down. He was the guy who babysat me as a kid, and pretty much taught me everything I could want to know. My parents used to work a lot to support us, so I stayed at the house he shared with my grandmother during the days until I was about 18. So, I’ll save the emotional grieving bit because I’m not ready to coherently type out my thoughts on that death. It’s everyone else’s reaction that has caused more trouble.
I’m a silent griever, in the fact that almost no one would know how much it shook me up. My grandmother, who lived with my uncle for 15 years, is the opposite type of griever. She pours out enough grief and tears for everyone, and it hasn’t let up since he died. She also can’t be alone. Not that she’s incapable of it. She’s perfectly able-bodied, but she emotionally will not be alone.
My mother spends much of her days at my grandmother’s house, in the same fashion that I used to as a child. But a few weeks after my uncle’s death, my grandmother decided that it wasn’t enough. So she moved in another aunt, but that didn’t work out. Then she finally settled on a suitable replacement for the role that was missing in her life, and moved my cousin in.
My uncle was a wonderful person. He was a year younger than my mother. He had no children of his own, and had been divorced since I was a baby. He lived with my grandmother because he wanted to. He was a nurse in a ward for infants, and most of the nurses there adored him. I won’t tell all the details about him, because it’s difficult to. Just that he was single, childless, and lived at home (although it was all out of choice).
So, skip to my cousin. He’s 10 or so years older than me, and he is also unmarried and childless. Although I believe this is more from the fact no one would be able to stand him long enough to marry him. He isn’t the same type of loving human that my uncle was. He’s more cowardly and selfish, and I honestly am not saying anything that I haven’t already told him or said about him. He has a victim complex, like everyone in the family owes him something because his mom is horrible. I’m sure most people today have a victim complex to some extent. But most don’t use it to get a free place to live, a new car, and handfuls of cash each week…
I know all of this is scattered, but I needed to say it to something that would listen and apparently a blank text box is just that.
We used to be friends, my cousin and I. I used to think he was cool and I looked up to him. I looked up to how he would let me drink, even when I was underage. Or how he’d slip me pills when I just needed to forget everything. I know now, as an adult, that those were the wrong reasons to look up to someone for. And I’m not proud of my teenage self or her actions, but I accept them as my own. He…won’t accept his. He denies ever being this way. He was totally an enabler for whatever bad habit of the week I picked up — whether it was rebelling against my parents, helping me sneak out late at night, sneaking into bars, or even getting dates with older men. He helped. And I resent him for it, because all those actions — while partially my fault — would have been harder to initiate without adult help.
My mother knows these things happen, and she believes me. She remembers the times I was caught on different wrongdoings, and I would take the blame myself. She finds it very hard to actually be mean or ignore people though, no matter what their faults are. So she still associates with my cousin, even if she knows it is distressing to me.
He’s kind of…I don’t know how to explain it. Being near him now sets me off, I feel uneasy. I get choked up. I want to cry or flee or yell or scream.
Honestly, I probably could have overlooked most of the high school enabling, but there was more to the story and it has made it impossible for me to trust the man. Maybe sometime I’ll explain it all or at least admit everything to myself. All I can say without becoming more upset is that he’s betrayed me, at almost every chance I’ve trusted him.
The last incident was at my uncle’s funeral. I was making a tribute video, I guess. A collection of memory photos and music, just for people to remember him. It was something I felt I needed to do, to try and find some resolution in some way. My grandmother suggested I let my cousin help me (because he went to school for IT stuff, so obviously that means he can do everything with computers). And when I tried to say no, it just made her cry. So I put up with it. The day for the viewing came…and I had finished the video after a lot of crying and worrying that it would never accurately represent the man who was one of the few positive role models for me when I was younger.
But…it didn’t happen. My cousin had sabotaged the viewing so that he had made some video himself with fancy tiling transitions that clipped every second and that it was the only one allowed to be showed. He had his dad pretty much tell the people at the funeral home not to allow me to show mine, and because I’m this dorky looking dark-themed chick…they believed him. Like I was going to dishonor my dead uncle’s memory or something.
And that was the first real public breakdown I’ve ever had. I don’t remember it, I just remember feeling like the world was falling apart. My boyfriend and mom both say I blanked out after crying and hyperventilating in some remote corner armchair of the funeral home. That I became unresponsive and that my boyfriend had to support me to get me to the car.
That was the final trust breaker. I know, I probably should have stopped giving him chances ages ago. Just…everyone reminds me that it’s family so I should be nice.
Why do I have to be the nice one? Why do I have to forgive him over and over when he never even apologizes?
I don’t have to, and I don’t owe it to anyone. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. And so I try to avoid any contact with him, which also means avoiding my grandmother’s house more often than not.
The reason I say things are unfair is because he manages to manipulate everyone into trusting him. I try and I try to be the perfect daughter, perfect granddaughter, perfect human being I can be. And he messes up time and time again without anyone even caring.
He messed up his car ages ago, so my grandmother just let him use my uncle’s car. At the same time his car was messed up I had been in a car accident. I was rear ended at a stop sign and the whole back bumper and side of my car pretty much fell off. I was mildly injured and had to go through physical therapy for a few months. But, I had finals and I needed to be able to go. So what happens? My grandmother lends him the car because “he needs it” when he doesn’t work, and he only goes wherever he wants to go. I had to bum rides and was late for almost all my finals that semester.
Skip to this weekend. He has been using my dead uncle’s car since she lent it to him, because his car mysteriously can never get fixed. He wrecks it. Because he stopped in the middle of the street with a car oncoming. He wrecked one of the few things that belonged to one of the people that was super important to my grandmother. And what does she do? She doesn’t get mad at him. He didn’t even tell her himself. He had his dad tell her. And he left the car with the police there because he “had to go somewhere” and it ended with half the car just staying in the road until his parents came.
No one sees the problem in any of this though. Instead, they simply start looking at car dealerships to buy him a new car.
He wrecks a car. And doesn’t have to have any responsibility for his actions. And instead, he gets rewarded. My grandmother is buying him a new car. She doesn’t even like his company, as she’ll admit most of the time, and only keeps him there because she can’t seem to live without some kind of male presence at the house. She’s been crying nonstop because my uncle’s car being destroyed reminds her that he’s dead, and it’s like another blow. But…instead of getting mad, or yelling, or even scolding him…she wants to buy him a new car.
It just…destroys the idea that good things come to good people. Apparently he can take advantage of living with her all he wants, and she’ll just keep handing him stuff. It makes me sick, because I get yelled at for not working. But he doesn’t work OR go to school, and it’s fine because he has “issues”. His issues aren’t on a scale any worse than mine. I remember because he told me them once upon a time.
I don’t know how to deal with it other than typing everything to a screen and hoping that someone else sees the injustice here. To know that I’m not the only person who could think the situation is unfair (among other adjectives). I don’t know how to cope with it, and I would rather scream in text because it keeps me from screaming out loud.
Would it help though? Would screaming wordlessly until my voice gave out actually give everyone a clue that things aren’t okay? Would it make them see that it’s not okay to treat him like he’s the only one who can be upset by things?
Tl;dr – I just want to scream at everyone in my family until they shut up and listen to what I have to say.