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THIS MONTHS DILEMMAS ~ September '00 page 1



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bragging..

Dear msX ~
My cousin and I are very competitive and whenever we talk to each other we brag, "I got this", "I got a new boyfriend", etc.. I don't know what to did about it. I try not to brag or anything, but I can't just let her think she is better than me...Should I just let her get the bragging out of her system? Please help

msX says~
She obviously doesn't believe that she's better than you if she feels the need to brag. Neither do you. Why not try responding to her bragging with a nonchalant, "Oh, that's nice." If your attributes speak for themselves, there's no need to respond with one-up-manship. Singing your own praises is unnecessary if you are secure in who you are.
Ms. X

Conflict with a sibling

Dear msX ~
I am desperately in need of some advice from anyone who has faced a similar circumstance. After a childhood chalked full of abuse, I was booted from my parent's home at a young age and on my own ever since.

I remained estranged from my family for many years and only established limited contact with my parents by my mid-twenties. My two brothers, one older and one younger, made no attempt to contact me until three years ago. At that time, my younger brother convinced me that I was needed and wanted. At first I was reluctant, but I soon welcomed him into my life.

Two years ago I took a job much closer to my family - 2 hours away by car. I spoke to my brother periodically and saw him a few times a year. Things seemed to be going okay for a while, then my mother had a crisis about 9 months ago. My father was badly in debt again. When I was growing up I knew there were lots of money problems, but eventually my parents inherited estates from both sets of grandparents. They were living a comfortable lifestyle and appeared happy and normal. My father's father left well over a million dollars, which my parents blew in about 6-8 years!

Apparently my brothers have been putting up with the burden of my parent's behavioral and financial problems for the last 6 years. I just learned, in a roundabout way, that my younger brother resents me for not "doing my share". My parents never asked me for money. They don't even want me to know their situation. Even if I kicked in my meager life savings, I don't see where my brothers' solution of bailing them out every time there is a crisis will help my parents in the long-term to take responsibility. My brothers want to handle "M" ers as quickly and quietly as possible and can better afford to come up with the dough than I can on the earnings of a military spouse and civil servant.

I've asked my brothers why they don't insist that my parents pare down a bit on their lifestyle, sell their home and take control of their finances instead of throwing money at them to keep them out of debt. My older brother, who is well off and owns a 9000 square foot home, replied that it wouldn't be good for his image in the community to "not properly take care of" our parents. My younger brother, too, thinks it is our sworn duty as "family" to assume responsibility for my parent's problems.

My younger brother's hostility towards me and my husband has become increasing evident over the last year. He spews his venom to his wife and other family members saying that I am selfish, self-centered and irresponsible. He remarked that I am not to be considered a family member until I take on my share of "responsibility".

I am weighed down with emotion & guilt and don't know how to handle the two situations: my brother and my parents. Initiation to "Club Sibling" is higher emotionally and financially than I can afford. Moreover, Iím not sure I like the rules of engagement: I do as my brothers tell me, bleed my resources dry, help them maintain their image as martyrs, make my parents dependent on yet another family member, and never be effective at solving the problem. My parents have been bailed out for the past 45 years; only the names of the bailers have changed. Why should this approach work now?

What do I do? Help, please.

msX says~
Difficult situation. You're not going to change anyone in this scenario, accept that. You are not here to teach your parents responsibility. Nor are you supposed to deplete all your resources to help them. What your brothers choose to do to help out is their own determination. If you are doing what you feel is right, stick by it. State your case, if you want, but once, and firmly. You cannot control their reaction to what you say or do, but you can, and are entitled to, choose your own course.
Ms. X

I missed us being close

Dear msX ~
I have a question on my relationship with my ex. I broke it off about a month ago and we still wanted to remain close, but lately we have been arguing and I called to apologize about it and he said he was tired of being the one who always fixes everything and then told me we should think about our relationship and he would talk to me later and hung up. But I had been thinking about it and I missed us being close , what can I do to make him understand me? Iím actually kinda scared to talk or even see him again. I need help.

msX says~
Just be yourself. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, then maybe you should accept that it wasn't meant to be, on any level, and move on. Not all exes can remain friends. Just be who you are and let him like it or lump it.
Ms. X

Unwanted Attention

Dear msX ~
HELP!!! There is this guy, Jon, that I dated on and off for a year. We dated on and off for a year and not things have gotten really messed up. You see originally I started dating him to make my ex jealous, and because he was interested in me. We first hooked up about 2 years ago, and . . well this is all kinda hard to explain . . Well our FIRST dating relationship consisted of him asking me out, us dating for about 3 days, then him dumping me, his reasons were that he couldnít handle a relationship, that he was too young (I was 17, he was 15), and that he had alot of stuff going on in his life. . . but he still wanted to be friends with benefits. So we were basically friends with benefits even though I knew that it wasnít right but it was basically because (to be perfectly honest) I was horny, and I didnít think I could get anyone better. After a while I told him that I didnít feel right about sneaking around, and that since I wasnít seeing anyone, and neither was he, we should just date each other exclusively. And he agreed, but the relationship once again lasted about 3 days. Well we continued to be friends with benefits, and after a while I told him that we couldnít keep doing that. So we hooked up for a third time, and once again he broke up with me 3 days later. Well the next time that he wanted to fool around I told him that I didnít want to fool around without some sort of relationship. He said that he wanted to be with me, and that he would change (which is what he had told me the previous two times) but I told him that I couldnít trust him, and that I didnít want the same shit to happen again. Well He stormed off pissed and wouldnít talk to me. Well I left for College that September and when I came home for winter break he called and told me that he missed me and wanted to be with me. I told him that there was another guy that I was interested in, so that all I could be to him was a friend. Well "J" never called me back, and I went back to school. Fast forward to the end of the year and the beginning of the summer. I am at a church function and I see Jon, we start talking and that night he calls me. He tells me that he missed me, that he has been thinking about me all the time, and that he wants another chance. I told him that I was flattered, but I wasnít interested in anything but friendships with guys. I told him that I would be his friend because I did care for him, but I didnít want anything more, that I was donít with all the games that guys play. Well he didnít take that well. He would call me and tell me that he wanted me back, that he was older and more mature, and ready for a relationship with me. I didnít want to hurt him, but at the same time he wasnít getting the hint. Well one of my guy friends told me to tell "J" that I was going out with him. So I told "J" that and he got really really upset. Well just today I found out how upset. It turns out that "J" is telling all my friends that I took advantage of him when he was at a really low point in his life. Which is the furthest thing from the truth, and from who I am. Now I just donít know what to do. I do care about "J" as a friend, and I know that right now he need friends, but I donít want him thinking that him telling people that I used him is okay. What should I do??

msX says~
Just move on. You didn't want him. He needs to offer a public explanation to defend his ego. Just because he tells people things doesn't mean they believe him. Go back to college and get on with your life. You don't need to explain yourself to anyone.
Ms. X

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