Need advice on dealing with my family - FamilyEducation
Need advice on dealing with my family
06/02/2008 at 01:35 AM

Hi. I'm a twenty year old college student and my family is well off financially, but when it comes to our relationship as a family we are completely dysfunctional. My father is basically forcing my mother to work for him at his medical practice FOR NO PAY. She gets no money of her own. I told her she should at least demand a salary of her own if she wasn't going to refuse to work, but she said she didn't want to do that because if she did she couldn't withdraw money whenever she needed to to pay for my grandparents' medications and other things. As a result of her being forced to work 12 hour days 7 days a week, she has no social life anymore and has lost touch with most of her friends. She can't even visit my grandparents without my father complaining or getting angry. They've had to stop going to church because they work so much, and it seems their values are changing. I won't go into detail because this is post getting long. Also my mother talks behind my back and my sisters to our relatives (sometimes telling them things she has just assumed but doesn't know), but my sister thinks this is a result of her not having anything to talk about besides work. I feel like I could say something to my Dad about the way he's mistreating my Mom and something to my Mom about the way she's acting if it weren't for MONEY. I'm financially dependent on my father, and I'm afraid he would cut me off or something if I confronted him. I don't think I could do well in school if I had to support myself financially, so I can't say anything to him.I don't have anyone I can talk to this about, so I'd really like some advice as to how to deal with this situation. Thank you for reading if you've made it this far.

I can see your dillema and the sadest part is that it seems you don't have open communication and strong trust with your family. We all have burdens and I'm sorry for yours. First of all, I have to say, even though you love your mother, she is a grown woman and makes decisions for herself with regard to how many hours she works and if she does or does not get paid; that is not for you to address. If you feel she is working too much and not spending time with you then that is an issue you have the right to address with her AND your father. I also feel that you have the right to talk with your mother about the conversations she is having about you with others. Keep the difficult conversations with your parents to what it is that he/she is doing directly that hurts YOU. Respectfully explain how you feel to each parent and you might even let your father know that it's difficult to bring up the issue because you don't want to make him angry.

Thank you for your answer.

Your father sounds very controlling, and this in turn has a big influence on you and your decisions. I agree, your mom is a grown woman, so she needs to make her own decisions. Be there for her, but don't try to influence her decisions. Communication w/ your family is key, especially if assumptions are being made about you. Set the record straight right away, and don't be afraid to express your feelings. I don't know how old you are, but if I were you, and if you're 18 yrs +, I'd get a job (if you don't already have one outside of your family) and also my own apartment or something w/ friends. I'd continue to go to school and work hard. I'd also apply for financial aid if that's an option. If you can do all this, I think you will be much happier in the long run. You will also build confidence in yourself and your abilities. If none of these options are doable, try to make the best of your situation at home. Focus on school, and do well. When you're done, then get a job and your own place. You can't make everyone happy. You ultimately have to look out for your best interests. I think in time your parents will gain respect for your decision to be independent. This is the one thing I always regreted in my life. I wish I had the confidence to move out on my own, and support myself, however hard that wld've been. I wish you all the best w/ your family and much success in your future.