What to do when you’re responsible for your siblings and your parents?
Our elder admits there’s no easy solution but you’ve got to take care of yourself too.
Hi, I am writing this letter because I don’t feel like opening it up to my family or closest friends. But I feel like bursting now, I need help but I don’t know to whom I will ask. I apologize if there is some grammatical error with this letter as I am not that fluent in English.
I am the eldest in my family with four siblings; they’re in my country and I am working here in UAE, both my parents have no job and my siblings as well, the two of them are still studying, they called me the breadwinner but I don’t think so. Yes, I am providing them allowance and other expenses every month but it’s not enough. I was with my twin sister before, but she has to go back to the Philippines since she got pregnant and I had to carry all the responsibilities now. But because of COVID-19, the situations get worse. Delayed salary, loans, family maintenance, allowance, school fees and other expenses, I can’t carry them all. I have my own expenses as well but my income is almost for them. I’m drained.
I tried to get a new job, submitting my CV but no one calls. I can’t complain that I am doing this because I love them. I want to give them what I can but I don’t have anything. It’s not enough; I know they are having a hard time too, that’s why I can’t tell them how much it drained me. I don’t have a choice but to be strong for them. Nothing seems to matter now. I’m losing hope. Please give me advice to carry on. Thank you.
You are carrying quite a heavy load, not only from an economic perspective, but from an emotional one as well. My heart goes out to you. You are young and should be able to pursue your own interests and independence, while helping your family a bit.
You love your family, so you stay dedicated; however, I wonder… Couldn’t you still love them and transfer back to them their own power to make their own way? My opinion is if you continue on staying exactly on the same path as you are now, you may have a nervous breakdown of your own. And if you do, how will they survive having been totally dependent on you for everything.
The responsibility you have taken on is a bit like parenting, only you are not a parent. Part of the parenting job is to “give your children wings” so they become self-sufficient and can be on their own. It is done out of love too. So again, I wonder through your love for your family, can you find a way to have them help you to help themselves?
I’m sorry to be so blunt, because I really do feel badly for you. They have used guilt to place you where you are, and you possibly have mislabeled that guilt as love. And I want to say I really do believe you love your family very deeply; and you also allow them to somewhat “use” you, because as you say, you can’t speak up for fear of hurting them.
You deserve to be free from them accepting you as the sole breadwinner. No one wants that burden alone – you are a family together, thus you should share family burdens together. Your family is so blessed to have you love them so deeply, and provide for them so well. Your siblings can’t be in school forever, so they can draw up a plan to accept partial and increasing responsibility as they finish – and this way you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, knowing you won’t be alone in providing for the family forever.
Best of luck to you as you determine which path is best to take. I’m sending you peace filled energy across the universe.