My sister will never grow up.

My sister is in her late 20s and lives at home with my parents. She has a job, but pays no rent or utilities to my parents. Most of her money either goes into her savings account, or gets spent on her buying stuff for herself. She doesn't have to worry much about food, since my mom usually cooks for whoever is in the house. She doesn't have to worry much about entertainment, because her and my mom are like best friends who go on all-day shopping excursions, except my mom picks up the tab. On gas and food always, and even occasionally on the purchases. She drives a new expensive car my dad bought for her. But at least she pays the insurance on it now, thanks to me prodding her to get off mom and dad's plan a couple years ago. She did live on her own during college, in an apartment my parents paid the rent on, and to her, that was the pinnacle of her independence, and the proof that she is capable of taking care of herself. She refers to the cement pad closest to the front door as her parking spot. She gets mad when my wife and I and our son are visiting my parents "too late" (8pm) because it interferes with her ability to wind down after work.

I feel bad judging her, because I know her life has its own challenges. She's never had a boyfriend. I have a wife and a kid and a house and a life. She has my parents and her "fur babies." But I just keep asking myself, when is she going to grow the f*** up and get a place of her own? When I was 8 years younger than she is now, I got my first place 100% with my own money, and I didn't have a wife at the time. She keeps talking about "when she finds a husband" and "when she has kids someday." But I don't see it happening when my parents still have to tell her to clean her room and give her chores to get her to take responsibility. She is never going to learn to be an adult this way, and my parents aren't helping a damn thing by enabling her.

I shouldn't care, because I have my own life and my own finances, so what's it to me if my parents want to spend their golden years coddling her? But logic is useless, it really gets under my skin. I did what kids are supposed to do. I grew up, and stood on my own two feet, and she didn't. She lives every day being taken care of, I pay my own way.

I don't really know what I'm confessing. I'm jealous? Maybe. But also, I'm not. I wouldn't really want to be in her shoes. I wouldn't feel right. Do I want her to get her comeuppance? Yeah, a little. But I want her to get it right now while she's young and still has time to learn from it. If karma catches up with her 20 years from now when it's too late, it will just be sad.

I just wish she would grow up already.

Dec 23, 2017

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  • What you've got there is a 'golden child' situation. I am 56 and my younger sister has always been the favourite. Been like that all our lives. This will never change so I suggest you leave them to it. Not worth the hassle. She sounds pathetic.

  • (Continued from below)

    My advice would be to prod your sister into seeing someone and see if it helps her - people usually don't want to admit they need help, and certainly don't want to admit they have a mental illness. They may not even know - I didn't for years. But your sister's behaviour suggests someone who hasn't matured properly in her thinking. Shaming makes anxiety disorders worse, so try and suggest therapy in a sympathetic way (and try and get your parents on board too). She may need to try more than one therapist - they may seem like a waste of money but given time they can turn you into a much better-functioning person, capable of doing a lot of things you couldn't do before. She has goals yet she isn't achieving them - a good therapist may be able to change that, and allow her to move forward and out of your parents' hair! Just my two cents, but that's what made the difference for me.

  • Honestly, it sounds to me like your sister has a mental health issue. She's in her late 20s, wants a boyfriend/husband, yet has never had a relationship - not even in college. That's not normal. That she can't 'wind down' if you're in the house after 8pm (and has 'tantrums' about it) that suggests she has an anxiety disorder to me. She seems to want a house and a family like you, yet she doesn't seem able to achieve them. Why? You have the same background. I would guess that it's the difference in your mental states that has stopped her moving forward in her life while you've continued to advance.

    I am also in my late 20s, have also never had a proper relationship (despite wanting one), and am still living at home. I was semi-unemployed for several years after college (or university as we say here). Though I'm happy to have my sister over, some relatives make me super anxious and bad-tempered when they come to visit, particularly at night. I do my own shopping and laundry but my life sounds a bit like your sister's. In my case, it was/is because I am mentally unwell, and seeing a therapist (against the advice of my parents) is restoring a normal thinking process. That is now allowing me to begin to make realistic life plans, to get out of the house more & to succeed at work (I got my first full-time job 6 months ago). I was incapable of being a functioning adult before this - my brain just wouldn't let me. I was unhappy living at home, but I was scared to live anywhere else. I needed help. I'm now getting that help, and growing up.

  • She might have a social phobia or something. Your parents could also do what my parents did with my older brother, who lived with them until he was 30, like give him stuff for an apartment for his birthday (e.g., microwave, silverware, plates). That should give off the hint that it's time for her to move. However, maybe they like having her around and don't want an empty nest. I can see that as well.

  • You should be glad... she will have to take care of your parents when they get old. That is how life works.

  • I understand why you'd be concerned and frustrated about this situation. However, it's not your place to say anything to your sister. Your parents have to do it, as your sister is living in their house and not yours. If that's a problem, ask your parents if you could address their and your concerns - about your sister. If yes, you have their blessing and an opportunity to hash things out diplomatically to your sis. But becareful not to let your sister feel like she's getting verbally attacked and ostracised by the entire family. Present the discussion with her like a family meeting and not like a lynch mob against her.

    You mentioned having a family and children. And that your sister doesn't have one, but wants one. You seemed concerned that she wouldn't achieve those dreams. But you also seemed proud of the fact you achieved yours and have something your sister wants, but doesn't have yet. Good for you that you wanted a family and achieved that. Having a family isn't mandatory, it's a lifestyle preference/choice. I chose not to have a family and I feel blessed for that :)

    Good luck

  • I feel it for your parents. They've done their bit and should be enjoying their later years. But then again, whose to say they aren't? Maybe they enjoy feeling needed by your sister. Hence them doing everything for her. Some parents get empty nest syndrome. Perhaps your parents had that and your sister indulged in it. You never know.

  • I'd believe that if I hadn't seen what happened when she went to college. They started spending time together again - it was like they were teenagers all over again. I mean, sure, they missed us kids. But it was more like they wanted us to stay close to home, not stay IN the home.

  • How old are you?

  • A couple years older than her.

  • How many years?

  • Two.

  • At leat your sister works , i wonder what if you had me as your sister i am worse than your sister and little older than her .

  • In some ways, it's almost worse that she has a job, because she COULD get her own place, but she chooses to skate.

    I'd probably feel the same way about you that I feel about her. Which is, I still love her, she's still family, but it's time to let mom and dad be a couple again.

  • You're confessing because it bothers you. It could be a pinch of jealousy but more trying to understand the situation. You and your sister are different. What drives you to succeed is not what drives her. Could there also be things at play like social anxiety or other things that prevent her from living an independent life. The part that you mention regarding her parking space or staying past 8pm seems unreasonable especially in your parents home. Who exactly is making the rules here? What it really comes down to is that your parents have enabled her and her behavior. And if there will ever be any kind of change, it has to start with them. Have you ever spoken to them about your concerns?

  • I have, but talking to them doesn't change much, because they both agree that it's time for her to be on her own, but they think she should be the one to make that decision, the way I did. The thing is, she isn't me. She didn't yearn for independence the way I did.

    My mom wants to charge her rent, but my dad won't hear of it. And in some ways, I think that may only make the situation worse because it would strengthen her ability to act like the house was hers.

    That's kind of why I mentioned her parking spot and her getting upset about our visits. It is just beyond me how she could feel entitled to make up such rules for a place that isn't hers. If my parents had asked me not to come over after dinner, I would have respected it - but it comes from her, not from them. They just want to see their grandkid - and sweep her tantrums under the rug when we stay later than she likes.

    My dad does get upset about her, but it's mostly because she doesn't wake up until after noon sometimes and is generally kind of lazy.

    It's almost as though they disagree on what's fundamentally wrong with their situation with her, which is keeping either of them from acting. Also, they have a great deal of affection for her, and the idea of kicking their little girl out on the street is just too much for them to bear.

    I think they're just kind of expecting her to have some kind of awakening. I keep telling them she's not going to do it on her own. She's comfortable there - she has no reason to change, because it's working for her. They don't seem motivated to take any action, and I'm not going to tell them what to do, it's not my place. That's why I feel so stuck. I have spoken with them, and I feel that's all I have the right to do, so now I just get to spectate. You're right, I don't understand it. I just can't fathom how she would feel ok with it - I would be embarassed if my mom still did my laundry at this age.

  • Your parents need to be on the same page and take back their house without feeling guilty (because they shouldn't be). They have to know that asking her to get her own place is for best for everyone concerned. Your parents deserve to have an empty nest and your sister deserves to learn what true independence is. And if she doesn't want to live alone, find a roommate. But it's time. Your parents need the reassurance to know that asking their daughter to leave is not a punishment on her and they should feel no guilt in asking her to do so. Instead of charging rent (because I see your point) they need make and enforce some house rules. Like if she's staying there, no sleeping past 10 a.m., not telling you and your family or other guests when you should leave and Mom definitely needs to stop doing her laundry. She's making it too easy. Why would she leave? Have you every asked your sister about buying her own place, after all she must be able to save a lot not having to pay rent.

  • It's true, she saves quite a bit, although she doesn't have enough for a reasonable down payment on a house right now. To be honest, I've never tried to talk her into saving for a house. That's actually a really good idea.

    Whenever we talk about her plans for the future, she's always talking about renting an apartment in the big city, or traveling to Europe again. But when she imagines her life, she imagines that she's going to meet a guy and settle down to have kids, and that the guy and her will buy the house together - which is why I think the idea of buying a house isn't really on her radar. She has a certain script in her head for the order things are supposed to go.

  • You nailed it with the script thing. Without knowing her or you.. that could be a very real obstacle that is keeping her right where she is. That and maybe the fear of leaving what she knows, finding a boyfriend etc.. and just insecurity. Change is very difficult for people. When she talks about her plans, does anyone encourage her to do just that? Or offer to contact a realtor and help her look for a place? Get some wheels going in a forward motion? Or just excited about the prospect. Women buy their own houses and still get married..let her know it's okay to have her own property before she finds her prince. Does she date?

  • She tried dating online, but only one candidate was interested, and he was the textbook definition of "red flag". Couldn't arrange his own transportation, couldn't pay for himself, etc. She hasn't done much dating since.

    I talked to her about buying a house today. She said she didn't want to buy a house before she had a husband. I asked her why, she said she felt that in doing so, she would be giving up and committing to being an old maid. So I used my wife as an example, she owned property before she met me, and explained how my wife's house didn't stop us from meeting, or from moving where we eventually settled down.

    I explained that buying a home isn't permanent, you can sell it again if it doesn't fit your plans, it's just a good way to avoid throwing your money away on rentals, because if you get a decent deal, you can get some of your mortgage money back out of it when you sell it.

    She said she wasn't sure she wanted a house because she wanted neighbors so she wouldn't be alone, so I said, condos and townhomes are also an option. Then we got into a conversation about her plans for the future, because I asked her where she saw herself in 5 years. She totally drew a blank.

    I think her real problem is that she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. With no goal to work towards, there is really no reason to take any action that leads her away from where she is now. She is just going wherever the wind blows her, and the winds of comfort blew her back home.

  • I think it's great that you talked to her. Even if she's not interested now, you're planting the seeds. I agree, she doesn't have an idea with what to do with her life and if she did she may be too scared to take that leap of faith. She's comfortable and safe at home with her parents. You could always suggest looking into a life coach. A coach could make some suggestions, but again all the action has to come from her. And if she's not ready or willing then nothing changes. It's a tough spot to be in for really everyone involved. Because the idea of a home and a husband will make her happy (or along those lines)..but getting her to go out and achieve them is another step. Although, it didn't solve your issues with her it sounds like you have some clarity now. And maybe knowing what you know, you can help her. Hopefully, she takes notice and begins to take action.

  • Your parents enabled her to be privileged and she will get her up-comings in the real world.

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