Why is my family acting weird with me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

my mum, dad and sister laugh behind my back and when i talk to any of them i get rude answers back, e.g mom have you finished cooking? answer: What do you think?.. i get quick rude answers back and also when i am alone with either one of them they would speak to me very nicely as long as none of the other two are listening. At the moment i am without a job which means i am home all the time, although am looking for a job. Also they have started to treat me as a waiter to either get them water or cook them simple meals. Recently my dad has starting singing songs about hate in our language but he uses larger words so he thinks i dont understand, but i do some of them, he sings about a person hating the other e.g. a man told another man never make friends with your enemy (in our langauage) after he finishes singing my mum and sister look at him and start laughing. It is very annoying and painful to see he is singing about hate towards me being my father, this inturn makes me feel my family hates me. I dont know how to deal with this situation. Also my sister is a few years older then me and both my mom and dad look at her when singing or sticking funny fingers of hate behind my back. Do they hate me now? are they sick of me?

A: Without talking to everyone, I can’t make a definite answer, of course. But let me make a guess. It sounds to me like maybe your family is confused about how to respond to your unemployment. They don’t know whether to be sympathetic and patient or if they should be aggressive about pushing you to be on your own. For whatever reason, they don’t feel they can simply talk to you about it. Their confusion comes out in strange and indirect ways, like singing songs and increasing demands for you to pitch in.

Times are hard. Many people are finding it difficult to find work. It might help if you kept your family informed each day about what you are doing to find work. It might help if you asked friends and neighbors if there is anything they need to have done that they would be willing to pay you to do. If might really help if you contributed more around the house – both by paying money when you have it and by cleaning and cooking and fixing things when you don’t

Finding a job is your job right now. Put the same time and energy into your job hunt as you would if you had full-time work. If you don’t make at least two contacts a day, you’re not doing what you could. That means two or more interviews or letters of inquiry or hours of volunteering so that people can get to know you. A job won’t find you. You have to make genuine effort to find one. I suspect if your family saw you doing those things, the indirect criticism would stop.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Why is my family acting weird with me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/02/why-is-my-family-acting-weird-with-me/