General Question

essieness's avatar

How do I let go of this irritation and frustration with this situation?

Asked by essieness (7695points) June 4th, 2009

I’m 28 and back at home after a divorce living with my mom, her husband of 3 years, and his 20 soon to be 21 year old son. Everyone is cool and we all get along great except for one issue: My little step-brother is basically, well… how to put it nicely… useless.

He and my step-dad are very close. Maybe a little too close. My step-brother has been coddled and catered to, and it’s really starting to show as he gets older. He’s never been made to get a job. The excuse is that he works with his dad, but there is no set schedule and no accountability. If he wants a day or a week off to go play, he gets it. He wasn’t made to finish high school until my mom came in the picture and made him get his GED. Now, he isn’t made or even urged to go to college. Basically, he lives the high life. All his bills are paid, he is given money, and allowed to do whatever the hell he wants with zero responsibility. He rides motocross with his dad and gotten to travel and play more than any kid his age that I’ve known. But in the mean time, he is learning no life skills or responsibility.

There is a catch to this story: He will be receiving some trust fund money at 21, and again two more times in the future. He got some at 18 and blew it within a year. It wasn’t millions or anything, but more than enough to be comfortable for a while, had he been responsible with the money.

I guess this scenario bothers me in several ways. First, he is not held accountable or responsible in any way, which irks me because I feel like at a certain point, a person needs to become a contributing member of society. Also, I feel offended if I’m called out at home for not “pulling my weight” because I feel like since I work and go to school and he does nothing, he should pull a little more weight than me. If you have no job and don’t go to school, I feel like your job is to keep the house nice, but that’s just me. Second, I worry that he will be that guy who is 35 years old and still living with his parents because he has no idea how to take care of himself. And what girl is going to want to marry a guy who can’t take care of himself and thinks life is just a huge party? Lastly, I’m afraid this is going to ruin my mom’s marriage. This is the one and only thing they argue about and there is absolutely no leeway or middle ground when it comes to this subject.

So, my question is, how do I let go of this irritation and frustration with this situation?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

Darwin's avatar

Remind yourself that it is your step-dad’s problem and your mother’s problem, but it is not yours. Do what you can to save up enough that you can go back to your own place. Your mom is a grown up and so are you, so you both need to take care of yourselves and not worry too much about other adults.

1) So what if he isn’t pulling his weight? You do the best you can and then get out of there as soon as you can. Don’t be jealous that “somebody seems to like him best.” Actually, you should feel sorry for him in that he was never taught life skills (but not sorry enough to ever lend him money).

2) Why do you care if no one ever marries him? Just don’t marry him yourself.

3) Your mom is an adult and she chose to marry this guy and let his son live with her. There is nothing you can do except offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen if she needs it. So what if she ends up divorcing your step-dad? There are no little children involved who can be hurt, so let your mom deal.

Judi's avatar

You need to find a way to move out.
Have you ever looked into apartment management? A small property (less than 20 units) can be managed by a smart organized person in an hour or so a day, maybe a few more at the beginning of the month when rents are due.
You are going to be frustrated as long as your mom is frustrated, and as long as you are living in the house. You living in the house probably adds more tension because there is the “your kid vs my kid comparison going on.
Good luck!!

Jeruba's avatar

It is hard to have someone constantly under your nose who is getting a free ride while you do what’s expected of you and more. But ultimately this situation has nothing to do with you. You won’t be there for long. Just make sure you don’t inherit him when your folks have passed on.

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Your step brothers a tool, and don’t worry, he’ll get his eventually (Daddy can’t live forever).

I would suggest moving out.

Possibly bringing up your issues with your mother (and maybe your step father too). If you’re blunt and honest with them and tell them what you think (and you’re not alone, I agree with you pretty much 100%).. maybe it’ll cajole them into forcing the shit to do something with himself.

essieness's avatar

@Jeruba It is hard to have someone constantly under your nose who is getting a free ride while you do what’s expected of you and more. You hit the nail on the head.

To make it worse, he made a comment to me one day about spending time on my computer. I almost lost it. I told him that between school and work, I’ll spend the little free time I have however I please. It was all I could to to not tell him I think he’s a huge loser.

Thanks all for these amazing answers :)

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

1. He’s your stepfather’s grown child, he shouldn’t have any impact on you and your mother has chosen the marriage, stepson, father-to-stepson-relationship and all.

2. Your mother might have different expectations of you, having raised you and all. Don’t compare yourself to the stepbrother or what your stepfather provides him, they’re two grown adults with family history together.

3. Look at your situation being there as temporary, do what you feel is most positive for you and take what the the others in the house opine as secondary.

Ivan's avatar

Talk about him behind his back.

essieness's avatar

@Ivan Why do you bother?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@essieness: sneaking on at work and not enough time for edit/adds but I wanted to give you congratulations on having a place to go in order to get back on your feet, it’s a rough world out there otherwise.

Dog's avatar

@Jeruba Said: “It is hard to have someone constantly under your nose who is getting a free ride while you do what’s expected of you and more. But ultimately this situation has nothing to do with you. You won’t be there for long. Just make sure you don’t inherit him when your folks have passed on.”

This is brilliant advice and I would venture to add the following:

It would be best to bite your tongue till it bleeds or just suck it up as any complaint on your end (even if justified) will only draw you deeper into the dysfunction.

If the marriage is going to fail due to this situation it would be infinitely better if you were not drawn in and blamed as a contributing factor.

It may help you to know that nobody lives as a golden-boy forever. Someday the money will be gone and he will awaken to his own peril. But when he does so I would be certain he does not look your way for yet another handout.

Edited to add: If your Mother, whom one would assume is having intimate relations with your Step-father and thus is powerful in his life, cannot remedy the situation then you have absolutely no power. Sad isn’t it?

essieness's avatar

I wanted to add that as far as my mom’s relationship with my step-dad goes, this is the absolute happiest I’ve seen her in years and I’m not exaggerating. I just hate that this is the one problem between them and it’s so huge. Also, my step-dad is not willing to bend at all on this subject. There have been several instances where he has chosen his son’s wants and happiness over his wife’s. As long as his son is happy, all is well; at least that’s how it seems. It bothers me to see my mom upset when her husband puts her happiness second to his kid’s. Especially when she’s the one making most of the money and supporting this kid’s “fun-filled” lifestyle. It would be different if his dad were the one supporting all his fun and adventures, but it’s just not the case.

Darwin's avatar

Oops! Maybe it is a case of like father, like son? Even so, it is still your mother’s problem.

essieness's avatar

@Darwin Very true. I just need to work hard and make plans to get out of here ASAP.

Dog's avatar

@essieness What happened in his son’s life that the father is so destructively trying to compensate for?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Once you move out that situation ids fixed.

In the meantime, understand that his influence on your life is minor and his poor decisions reflect only on himself and not you in any way.

This situation is only temporary.

Also, regarding your Mom, this is a situation she will have to deal with.

Jeruba's avatar

@essieness, I also understand your loving urge to take care of your mother. That is commendable but ultimately irrelevant. If you can see this situation as a threat to her happiness, no doubt she can too. I think you should have a talk with her and just say that she has your support and understanding and that you will do your very best not to exacerbate the situation in any way. Dog is wise to advise you to avoid being a party to whatever comes of it.

The best thing you can do is remain aloof from the conflict while you are there and get away as quickly as you can. Your mother must deal with this herself. Meanwhile, do not let this loafer cause you to conduct yourself poorly. As I used to say to my kids, “If he’s going to act like that, you just let him misbehave all by himself.”

essieness's avatar

Ok, maybe I should add that when my step-brother was 2 years old, he was in a car accident with his mom and dad. His mom was killed. That may explain the relationship between him and his dad.

Jeruba's avatar

The three of them need family therapy with a wise counselor. Maybe you could use your influence with your mother to help guide them that way. You cannot fix this.

Supremely perceptive question, @Dog. Lurve to you.

Dog's avatar

Could keeping his son a happy little boy be your step dad’s way of keeping his mother alive?

essieness's avatar

@Dog That, or he does it out of some sort of guilt that his son grew up with no mother. Either way, their attachment to one another borders on extreme.

ubersiren's avatar

Wow, especially after the computer comment, I respect your coolness about it. My foot would’ve been in his ass after the first word. That shows your maturity. Getting out as soon as you can is the best advice. In the meantime, to not drive you nuts, maybe you can call a family meeting to lay down a few rules. Suggest keeping discussions about any family members’ laziness to a minimum, at least until you leave. Take the higher ground and mention that you know everyone is working as hard as he/she can to earn his/her keep, even if you don’t believe it.

Good luck. This is SO hard to put up with.

wundayatta's avatar

Letting go of irritation is a hard thing to do. You see injustice and pain, and you want to fix it, as most of us would. But, as everyone tells you, it’s not your job, and if you make it your job, everyone will end up hating you.

So, how do you lose the irritation and frustration? Well, for one thing, you deal with people very clearly. What you want or don’t want. No excuses or explanations. If you want him to stay away from your computer, tell him. If you want him to stop commenting about your time on the computer, tell him that. Nicely. No need to be a bitch. “I would appreciate it if you stopped telling me your thoughts about how I spend my time. If I want your advice, trust me, I will ask for it.”

Frustration is a little tougher. You want to help your mom, and it seems like she is the one who is most frustrated. You know that’s between her and your stepdad, but you still want to do something.

The only thing that’s going to help here is knowing what everyone has been telling you. It’s your mom’s problem. You can sympathize. You can offer advice if she asks, but other than that, just step back mentally, because you don’t have to deal with it. You need only deal with your problems, as I discussed above.

Strauss's avatar

@essieness Allow me to join in with the chorus.

1. It’s good for you you had somewhere to fall back and recover.

2. It’s difficult enough when you’re pulling full time work and full time school; to have this kind of stress in your living situation calls for distance. I agree with the others who suggested you get your own situation as soon as possible.

3. Let your mom know how you feel. It sounds frustrating for you, and it also sounds frustrating for her. Be there for her.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@essieness, about all you can do is thank your mom for raising you to be a competent adult. Lots of fathers are guilty about a divorce and try to make up for it by being their child’s friend, rather than their parent.

But other than that, stay out of it. All you can do is be there for your mom when the situation collapses. Your mom and stepfather are adults. Just reinforce for your mom that she did a good job with you, and her parenting instincts are sound.

filmfann's avatar

When I was 18, my dad was getting restless about my not having a job). He complained to my mom, and she said that I would work hard all the rest of my life, and to let me have that time.
She was right. I got my lifetime employment at 21, and I have busted my hump for 31 years. I remember that time fondly, and I have been equally patient with my 22 year old son, who recently got a job as an Ironworker.
Mothers can be really smart.

astrocom's avatar

I think Jeruba’s suggestion is right on the money. Your mom could bring it up to her husband on the grounds of “I’m having a problem with this, and I don’t want it to be a huge problem between us, and doing this would really help me.” Other than that, the only thing you could possibly do to improve things would be to motivate the son to be more independent on his own, but based on what you said, not only do I have no idea how you’d do this, I question whether it’s even possible.

sakura's avatar

So far there has been some pretty good advice given, get saving and move out asap. You mum will have to learn to stand up for herself and thats something I don’t thiink you will be able to convince her to do by the sounds of things. I would just be ther for her when she needs to have a good moan, be her sounding off board. One day your step brother will realise that he has blown a lot of opportunities that he has been given and the regret will hit him hard you can sit back and laugh when that happens if you wish we won’t judge you! Mean while try to take life a little less seriously and relax too! You can have fun as well :)

essieness's avatar

@all Thanks again for all the great advice. This has been a help to be able to vent and get some unbiased opinions.

gymnastchick729's avatar

This is like my family minus like 10 years… hmmm…I wonder what will happen to my brother.

essieness's avatar

@gymnastchick729 Hopefully not what’s happening to mine… Good luck.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther