Cuckoo in the nest

My brother’s girlfriend moved in during the pandemic and now I feel miserable in my own house. It doesn’t help that my mom is close to her.

Start by having a heart-to-heart with your mom, says our elder. We all need to be extra patient right now.

Dear EWC

I am 17 and a junior in high school. My brother is 18 and a senior and so is his girlfriend. My brother and his girlfriend have been dating for two years. She used to come over all the time, which I really disliked because I like having privacy in my own home and dislike having company over too frequently, especially without any notice. It was not uncommon for her to be at our house almost every day, all day long. Because of corona, my mom told her she either needed to stay at our house or not come over at all. She chose to stay at our house. This bothers me because she still goes home to visit her family, which completely defeats the purpose of her choosing one house to stay at in the first place. I know my mom gave her permission, but I wish it would have been discussed or at least brought up, but I had absolutely no say.

His girlfriend is nice for the most part, but not a person I would want to be friends with. As I have gotten to know her I’ve noticed that she is very two-faced. Around my mom she is very sweet and innocent, but when it is just the two of us she is much different and not for the better. She talks badly about all her “friends” and it makes me wonder what she has to say about me behind my back. I also struggle with her relationship with my mom. They seem very close and my mom is always buying her things or doing things with her. It’s hard to see when I feel like all my mom has to say is negative things about me and always seems to be annoyed by me. To make matters worse, when we argue my brother’s girlfriend will give my mom a look as if I’m being childish and they are a team. Also, sometimes when I say things she will roll her eyes, make a face, or scoff at me. I hate feeling like an outsider in my own house. I really wish she would go back to her own family, but I know if I said that my mom would say that I am being selfish and my brother would be mad at me.

I really don’t know what to do because I feel like it’s not really my place to tell her to leave, but at the same time I can’t help but think how much better things would be without her. It might not be my place, but I do think I at least have the right to feel heard and not be miserable in my own house. I know it is selfish for me to put myself above her, but isn’t it selfish for her to do so? She knows that I am unhappy because I have distanced myself from her. At first we got along OK, but now i really dislike her being here. She sent me a text saying that she wishes we could hang out together again, and I sent her a text addressing everything I’ve been feeling. She never responded to my text, and she has completely avoided seeing me in person. At this point all I want is to be able to escape this house and not have to be around everyone where I constantly feel belittled. I don’t want things to be awkward between us and I want to have a good relationship, but I just really dislike her living with us. What should I do?

Loving-Grandmother replies

You are most definitely in a difficult emotional situation and I’m so glad you wrote to ElderWisdomCircle for input.

I think the main takeaway (for me) from your letter is that your relationship with your mom needs work. I think all the negative interactions you are having with your brother’s girlfriend is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. Yet the issues with your mom seems even more problematic and I suggest we start there.

Have you been honest with your mother? Have you tried to have a heart to heart conversation with her? Tell her how you are feeling? That you feel belittled and that she and the girlfriend are teaming up to make you feel bad in your own home? I believe that would be a great place to start. Sounds like you sent an honest text to your brother’s girlfriend and that hasn’t worked out to improve communication, but rather, it’s had the opposite effect. I’d like to suggest that you don’t text either your mom or brother’s girlfriend. This level of communication needs to be in-person.

Your mom is likely feeling that you are being unreasonable and negative toward your brother’s girlfriend. You cannot control the fact that your mom likes this girl. So, you need to accept that and do your best to be mature and accepting in your own home. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your own home and with your own family. So, please consider an honest, non-judgemental, non-anger filled conversation with your mom and your brother. You are all part of a family and you all should want to get along and be loving to one another.

The girlfriend does sound pretty immature when you state that she talks badly behind people’s backs. Of course, you are wondering what she says about you! That’s only natural. But, she might grow out of such immature behavior and become a good person. It seems like she wants to get along with you and if you would not feel so negative about her, maybe you could be friends. It’s worth a try. I’m just saying to have honest and open conversations with all the people in your home so you can relax and feel comfortable in your own space. It is unhealthy to dislike people and situations, especially in these tough times, when we are stuck living together in close quarters. I know personally that one of my roommates is kind of driving me crazy. So, I just try to let go of my negative feelings, knowing that she isn’t trying to annoy me, and she is just coping the best that she can.

I think during these Covid-19 times of isolation and social distancing, we all need to be extra patient and kind toward one another. Maybe that’s a good opening for a conversation with your mom, brother and his girlfriend. Admit that you’ve been feeling negative and hostile but that you want to be more positive and helpful during these trying times. Who wouldn’t appreciate that approach? I hope you can find some peace in all this and that your relationships with your mom, brother and his girlfriend all improve immediately. Best of luck.

Letter #: 458181
Category: Family

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