Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking for Space to Breath

Question: Hello, I have an Issue here and I would love an advice.

I am a 23yr old Muslim girl, I live with my mother and siblings my father moved to UK a year ago for business, him and my mother are still married. I finished school and found a great job I like down at the city. Soon after I got the job offer my mother decided to make everyone in my family including her move to the city with me, My other sisters were all working and going to school at that time they had to quit their jobs and school for the sake of moving. Anyways now that we are all living together in the city I'm sort of having a hard time finding a time and space of my own, I cant have a room of my own, I cant have friends over, I cant sleep outside of home and I cant even come home late. So I started thinking of getting my own place I started saving up, but since I am the only working member at home my mother started questioning me where is the rest of my money I tell her I'm saving it up but don't tell her for what. so since I'm moving out soon it hurts me to think that no one will be able to pay any bills at my mothers house

(keeping in my that I have other sisters that have jobs but never bother to help my unemployed mother) My mother never asks them for anything and she has excuses for them and expect everything from me.
I really don't want to lose my relationship with my mother and since my mother will influences my father, other sisters and brothers I might lose relationship with everyone in my family just for moving out secretly and not paying bills.
PS: I also like music and might move to Jersey for it but that's a whole different story ;) (which I will confess about later)
Mina says: Wow, interestingly I can relate to much of what you're going through, needing your space and independence but also wanting to be there for your family, and not feel like you're abandoning them--this is something I've grappled with at various times through my life. And I have to take my hat off to you for being so supportive of your family! This is not to be underestimated, you will be blessed, for you're doing a MAJOR service!

I apologize for the following questions but its hard to comment without knowing--I'm curious why your mother had everyone move with you? Was it for financial reasons, or because she wanted to keep an eye on you? In terms of your sisters contributing, are the same sisters that have jobs the ones that live with you--if thats the case then you're not the only working person in your home correct? Could the ones making money realistically support themselves and your mom, or are you making significantly more income then them (and thats why you're "the chosen one") ?

Have you thought about finding a less expensive place for yourself and still sending a portion of money over to your mom and sisters (providing your sisters chip in to cover the rent/bills) that at all possible?<--this would be ideal!

Realisitcally, if its impossible for them to live without your income, I wouldn't suggest you leaving them hanging--as FRUSTRATING as this is, because the other option may be more devastating, and as you've already alluded to, would you be able to sleep peacefully knowing your family is having serious financial struggles? Probably not...So if the above options wouldn't work, I suggest a compromise, where you could continue to provide financial support, and a home, but you set some Non-negotiables for your new home.

 Two things must be done immediately: A) The first task is addressing your sisters and their lack of help--I know with families theres always complicated dynamics that make certain things the "norm" but its worth getting to the bottom of "why" your sisters are not being made to pull some weight. It will take courage to ask questions and have this talk, but its necessary so that you're not spreading yourself too thin. It's only logical that if they're making money too, they should contribute.

You HAVE to talk with your mom and sisters (the ones that live with you) and let them know its impossible for you to pull ALL the financial weight and not be able to have a little more freedom and control with regards to your space. It sounds like having some alone time is important to you, as it should be, and I can relate! this is a non-negotiable in my opinion. Sometimes you have to be unrelenting when it comes to demanding this, as I've learned. It's gotten to the point in my house where my family now knows and they make amends.

If your sisters AREN'T contributing financially, THEY have to share the room! LOL, Im sorry, but if YOU pay the bills --->you should get your own room. And then in having this space, at least you can make it into a "home" within your home. Where you can have alone time, have people over to your room, meditate, read, or whatever else you like to do. You may have to settle for losing certain things, like the ability to throw a party--but its not the end of the world, if you wanna throw or attend a party, move it to a friend's house.

B) It sounds like there could be more to the story that we're not aware of, Again I'm not certain if your income is a NECESSITY or not, and this makes all the difference. But sometimes circumstances occur beyond our control and we have to do whats moral, even when its annoying or frustrating. When this is the case, its importnat to remember that ATTITUDE can make or break you. I've heard it said that situations don't change, but people's reactions or perceptions can CHANGE the way a situation looks and feels. So I urge you to claim peace and try to work through this from a place of peace and humility. When I wanted to move out, but was unable to (because I chose to be provide a service for my family) I tried to make peace with the situation by calling to mind God says in The Qur'an "give charity to the near of kin", and I would look at it as charity. Interestingly, whenever God mentions charity in The Qur'an He speaks of giving to Kin first and foremost--I think this is significant. Our family bonds are of the upmost importance, and God surely blesses those who seek to preserve them! But it IS give and take! And you cant do for anyone else, if you dont demand certain things for yourself.

Nad says: Salaam, dear
I can tell that you're really feeling pulled in both directions. That's an uncomfortable feeling.  It sounds like you've somehow fallen into the position of family provider. Are you the oldest? That sometimes happens to eldest children. Regardless of your position in the sibling lineup, it's obvious that you have more on you than you'd like.  I applaud you on handling the situation delicately. Some people would move out without hesitation. That you think about your family says something about you.
I believe there is a way for you to speak what's on your heart without losing your relationship with your mother. Families are there to help each other out, and it's obvious that you need some help. You said your parents are still married. Does/could your father help out financially? You said he moved out of country for business, so I'm assuming he has steady income. Have you talked to him about the situation? Your other siblings also have jobs. Let them know you're strained. Supporting your mother is one thing (we owe the world to our parents), but supporting your siblings that are also bringing in money isn't necessary.
From your post, it sounds like you are a "giver." That's beautiful. Don't ever lose that, but be careful not to give so much that you've nothing left for yourself. This may sound selfish, but there must be some "take" if there is to be balance in your life. If you're hesitant about talking to your mother, start with your siblings first. Tell them you feel you're doing too much and that they have to start sharing the responsibilities of the household.
Since your mother is the one setting the rules, you'll have to talk to her about this one. Of course, we always treat our parents with the utmost respect (especially mothers), but there is a way to address this issue with her without being disrespectful. Your mother may not know how unhappy you are. Have a heart-to-heart, and tell her you're feeling smothered. You sound like a responsible person. That is to your mother's credit. She's done her part to raise you. May she be rewarded for it. Now she has to move over and let you take the reigns. This can be scary for parents who fear their children (who aren't exactly children anymore) may be swallowed up by this crazy world. Reassure her that's not the case. You're not a 16-year-old trying to sneak out the house. You're an adult trying to step out on her own and establish herself on her own terms.
If you don't have this conversation now, it'll come back up sooner or later. When you get married or when you move to Jersey, you're going to be moving out at some point. See this as practice for that day. Something tells me that finding your voice has probably been a issue in other parts of you as well. Addressing this now will give you some insight into how to address other issues later.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let us know what's on your mind.