advertisement
Question
Posted by: Johan | 2012/04/10

My family thinks I’ m a joke

I’ m a 30 year old male. I feel like a complete failure in life. I don’ t have tertiary education, I work in retail, I don’ t drive a fancy car (in fact my car is literally falling apart). I feel like such a failure compared to my sister (three years younger than me). She is earning a lot of money, traveling, etc. Am I being stupid to be angry at my parents for this?

Since we were little, I was always treated differently. My sister was spoilt (she is the youngest AND the only girl- we have two older brothers that we never see). My dad would take her to go watch soccer  meanwhile I was the one playing soccer in the streets. She always got what she wanted. Moral support, material goods, etc. I am by no means a materialistic person, but it’ s the fact that my parents made the effort that makes me angry.

For my Matric farewell, they rented me a tuxedo and I was driven to school in my father’ s car. My sister’ s dress cost my parents R4000 and they hired a limo for her. My father was very nasty to me, called me things I don’ t want to repeat. They spent the money to send her on courses and things. I was forced to go study at my own cost. I went to the local college where people were getting stabbed left right and centre. After school I told my parents that I wanted to go overseas, they told me I would be an embarrassment to the family. They spend who knows how much sending my sister to England when she matriculated. Those are just a few examples.

I had a big fight with my sister last week. She thinks I am being lame. She told me that they were given the exact same opportunities. I argued with her that if that were the case, why am I still where I am? She said my issues are from when I was a child and I must get over them. I told her it’ s easy for her to say that because she’ s not in my shoes. She said that our father also said nasty things to her, but she chose to be better and better herself. I said despite the fact that he said things to her, he still spoilt her rotten (I mean what 14 year old needs a big screen TV in their room?) and made the effort for her, to get her what she wanted (dancing lessons, swimming lessons, etc). The conversation went on and on, but she basically thinks I am a joke, pathetic, my issues are lame and I am ungrateful for everything my parents have done for me.

When I see them (my parents), they don’ t ask how I am. They just talk about my sister. I do ask about her, because I do love her, but they never ask about me. They never ask how I’ m doing. My sister says they don’ t ask because I’ m not interested in myself and why should they be. She said I’ m where I am today because I made bad choices. My mother discouraged me in everything. When I left one job to go to another because I was promised room to grow within the company, etc, she always told me I was making the wrong choice. Always told me I’ d regret this. And things never worked out. It’ s like she didn’ t want me to succeed. My friend, who works with her, says she never talks about me. When people ask how we (her children) are doing, she just talks about my sister. If someone does specifically mention me, it’ s a one sentence answer. My sister says it’ s my fault, because I don’ t keep my parents up to date in my life (when- when I’ m working 12 hours a day, weekends? When they don’ t stop talking about her for one minute? When I phone them and they don''t answer?). My sister says that it’ s my fault because I never opened up to my parents, never told them what I wanted. I never told them, they were always too busy with my sister and when I did tell them something, they told me that I don’ t need it, or I must buy it myself.

She doesn’ t understand and she’ s made me feel worse about myself. I don’ t know what to do.

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Being spoilt, as your sister apparently was, isn't as good for gher as it might seem, especially not in the long run. Among other unhelpful effects,m it may lead someone to over-estimate their abilities and to unrealistically expect other people to give them special treatment throughout life, which just Won't Happen.
More importantly ( because your life story really doesnt need to be at all influenced by whatever happens to her, good or bad ) is the impact on you. And where it leads to you under-estimating yourself, under-valuing your own abilities and achievements, that can be needlessly limiting.
Stop giving so much power over how you feel to your sister and parents. And if your parents don't ask about how you're doing, then when you meet them, TELL them. That'll place the topic on the agenda and remind them that you also have a life worth considering.
You seem to be navigating through life looking firmly backwards, at the past, which is as safe and useful as driving down the freeway with black paint over the windscreen, and looking only in the rear-view mirror.
Counselling would help. With or without it, start clarifying where you would LIKE to be, and how to get there from here, in small, manageable steps.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

7
Our users say:
Posted by: Lisa2 | 2012/04/10

Hi there,

I know how you feel. I am the eldest of 4 kids, and the only girl. But I struggled through a lot. I completed my degree through a study loan. My dad didn''t think it was worth his while to pay for my studies, because I wasn''t going to eb someone important. I wasn''t studying engineering or bcomm or medicine. He refused to even come to my graduation. Threw my grad tickets in my face &  said he had better things to do with his time.

He drank heavily as well &  I was always the one who had to endure the painful comments about what a failure I am, will never amount to anything, useless, stupid, etc. Would get this every night. My brothers were my parents pride &  joy. My mother would openly tell people she didn''t like girls, but preferred boy children.

After I graduated, I had to go work. I so desperately wanted to study further, but was told that if I wanted to live with them, I have work and pay rent.

So I got a lousy paying job. I tried to study again and took evening classes. My dad had his own business by this time and I asked him to pick me up after classes. Some days he would call me &  tell me I must sleep on campus as he isn''t coming. He would leave me waiting till late at nite on campus, all alone. I didn''t have public transport anywhere close by. He would sometimes come drunk and would swear me all the way home and even drive on the wrong side of the road. I would cry all the way home.

He once asked me to get a lift with anyone I found on campus &  he would pick me up half way. I got a lift to a garage and called him from the pay phone to tell him that I had managed to get a lift. I waited for such a long time. I called home and pleaded with my mother to get him to fetch me. He did eventually come, with a neighbour. But he swore me so badly. My neighbour felt so bad for me and came the following day to see me, to see if I was okay and to tell me to keep the faith.

When I was younger and on campus, I ended up on campus one night, without transport. i travelled with a lift club and one evening, the taxi broke down. I called home so many times to tell them what had happened, but they never picked up the phone. I was so afraid. I eventually called my gran after 11pm and told her what had happened. My last lecture had finished after 5pm, so I could not take public transport home, and would have had to walk far in the dark to the bus station.

My mum''s brother fetched me &  took me home with him. early the next morn he called my mum and said he needed to speak to me about some book he needed from the library. My mum told him that i must have left early because she didn''t see me &  I wasn''t in my room. He asked if she saw me the night before &  she said no, but I went straight to my room to study &  never came out.

Well lots more has happened since those days. Sadly, I suffered a personal loss a few mths ago, &  my family didnt come to the funeral.

I feel very sad. My brothers go on holidays all the time, fly all over the world. They have new cars and my dad recently bought a flat for one of my brothers. The eldest brother doesnt even work. Too lazy to work. Says he will work only if my dad opens a business for him.

I live from hand to mouth. My hubby and I barely get through the month. My brothers have had so many opportunities. They refuse to study. The middle one has now started his 3rd degree. And dad pays for all the studies, etc.

Life is so unfair. I work very hard, I have so for 17 yrs now. I was forced to pay rent when I started work. My brothers don''t pay a thing as they must save their money. They even get spending money to go out.

Reply to Lisa2
Posted by: A SISTER | 2012/04/10

HI THERE
I WAS THE ONLY GIRL AND MY ELDEST BROTHER WAS A SPOILT BRAT.HE BECAME A MARINE ENGINEER AND EARNED PACKETS WHILST I WAS A STRUGGLING LITTLE RECEPTIONIST. I PLODDED ALONG.HE GOT HIMSELF INTO BIG TROUBLE AND BROUGHT THE FAMILY DOWN.HE IS NOW THE SHAMED ONE AND IT WAS ALL HIS DOWN DOING.HE KICKED US IN THE TEETH WHEN WE SAVED HIM AND BELIEVE ME I DID IT FOR MY PARENTS.NOW MY PARENTS ARE DESTITUTE AND I SUPPORT THEM 100% ON MY NOW GOOD BUT NOT EXCEPTIONAL SALARY.I RECKON IT IS INSIDE WHAT COUNTS MATE AND YOU SEEM LIKE A NICE MAN.FOCUS ON YOUR OWN LIFE AND BETTERING IT. FORGET THEM. THEY MAY RUN AFTER YOU WHEN THEY REALISE YOU ARE NOT SEEKING APPROVAL AND HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE.DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOUR SISTER. YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON AND YOU KNOW JUST WORKING HARD AND EARNING A SALARY IS MORE THAN MOST MEN CAN SAY FOR THEMSELVES TODAY. YOUR SISTER IS PROBABLY RELATING EVERYTHING BACK TO YOUR PARENTS BY THE WAY. I SAY INVEST IN YOURSELF AND JUST FOCUS ON YOURSELF. FREINDS ARE THE NEW FAMILY WHICH I ALSO DISCOVERED TO MY TOTAL JOY. IF SOMEBODY DOES NOT BRING ADDED VALUE TO YOUR LIFE THEY SHOULD NOT BE IN IT. ALL THE BEST.

Reply to A SISTER
Posted by: Phil | 2012/04/10

Don''t want to sound cruel. But many people went through bad childhood experinces. And the best advice I can give to you. You can''t change the past  but the future is IN YOUR OWN HANDS.

Reply to Phil
Posted by: Megs | 2012/04/10

Rosco, I''m sure if you were in his position then you''d feel differently, dude. He only gave a few examples, we don''t know what his father said to him, we don''t know what the rest of his life is like. If the world doesn''t care (that includes you), why do you bother to reply????

Anyway, Johan, Maria is more sympathetic but she makes good points.

I know life is tough, I kinda feel like I''m in the same boat! And everything is easier said than done.

Don''t let anyone make you feel bad for, well, feeling bad. You are entitled to your feels and have every right to feel them.

But as you are getting older, I am sure you''ve learnt that, at some stage, you HAVE to do something for yourself.

I know it''s easier said than done.

Have a chat to your folks, let them know how you feel. Stop carryign this burden with you, maybe then you can start getting somewhere in life.

Good luck.

Reply to Megs
Posted by: Maria | 2012/04/10

I can imagine how your parents'' treatment of you must hurt. But you are 30 years old, it is time to let go of this resentment and stop giving them so much power over your attitude to yourself and your life. Stop comparing yourself to your sister and start living the life that you want, rather than trying to impress your family. If you want to study then do so, UNISA is easily accessible. Or take up a hobby, do some volunteer work, get out there and do stuff for yourself.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Rosco Rare | 2012/04/10

Dude it sounds like you had a very great life, they rented you a tuxedo on your matric fairwell and drove you to school! out of 45 to 50 millions South Africans you the luckiest looks like you had normal family life, most of us township kids never had those luxuries, maybe you made bad choices in life but lucky for you is not too late to improve your life, you are a grown a$$ man stop whining the world doesn''t care we had it worse than you.

Reply to Rosco Rare
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/04/10

Being spoilt, as your sister apparently was, isn't as good for gher as it might seem, especially not in the long run. Among other unhelpful effects,m it may lead someone to over-estimate their abilities and to unrealistically expect other people to give them special treatment throughout life, which just Won't Happen.
More importantly ( because your life story really doesnt need to be at all influenced by whatever happens to her, good or bad ) is the impact on you. And where it leads to you under-estimating yourself, under-valuing your own abilities and achievements, that can be needlessly limiting.
Stop giving so much power over how you feel to your sister and parents. And if your parents don't ask about how you're doing, then when you meet them, TELL them. That'll place the topic on the agenda and remind them that you also have a life worth considering.
You seem to be navigating through life looking firmly backwards, at the past, which is as safe and useful as driving down the freeway with black paint over the windscreen, and looking only in the rear-view mirror.
Counselling would help. With or without it, start clarifying where you would LIKE to be, and how to get there from here, in small, manageable steps.

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement