I live with my parents and 6 siblings in a very small apartment as we are very poor and cannot afford a more suitable home. There is little to no privacy and almost every single one of my siblings are very irresponsible and inconsiderate. I’ve learnt to accept that as I love and adore every single one of them too much, especially my mother, but their bad behavior and negativity have doubled ever since my father moved in to live with us a few years ago; he’d been away for a decade and his sudden return into our lives drove us all apart, and drove me into severe depression. He is a very toxic person and his toxicity has spread onto all of us, especially my mother. She transformed from a sweet, kind, and happy person to a depressed and inconsiderate pessimist. I can’t even remember the last time I’d seen her smile, she just constantly yells and cries all the time. It is obvious that my father is causing a lot of distress but there is nothing we could do about it, we can’t ask him to return to where he’d come from because he is very ill and cannot take care of himself, he has no where else to go.
I’ve also been transformed, I used to wake up with a smile on my face and look forward to the day, but now I’m always angry, depressed, annoyed, and resentful. I get easily angered and constantly tend to say mean things to my mother that I instantly regret. I’d do anything for her but I seem to always say hurtful things to her whenever we have a conversation; as much as I love her, she gets on my nerves with her negativity and I just cannot stand it. The only thing that brings a smile to my face are my cats whom I adore very much, but even that has been sparking fights and arguments between my mother and I. She was the one who taught me to love and care for animals, especially stray cats. I’d taken in and took care of more stray cats than I could count and my mother had always been proud of me for this. But now, she just complains how the cats make the apartment filthy and she wants them all gone, eliminating my only source of joy. But in reality, the lack of tidy and clean environment had always been the result of my siblings’ lack of responsibility and carelessness, which my mother knows very well. I do what I could to help around the house, but my efforts are always in vain due to my siblings’ carelessness.
I’m just sick and tired of being surrounded with so much negativity. Caring for my cats and spending quality time with them, something that used to make me feel very happy, now makes me feel guilty. I have a year of college left ahead of me, I used to look forward to graduating, but now I don’t have a will to get out of bed and attend my lectures, I’m on the verge of losing my good grades and it makes me feel hopeless and unmotivated. Moving out of my family home is not an option, although I wish it was. (age 21, from Jordan)My Family Is Suffocating Me with Negativity
My Family Is Suffocating Me with Negativity
You and your family are in a difficult situation on many levels. Sharing a small living space with lots of people, even people we love dearly, can become draining and trying. And although you can all feel good about taking your father in at a time of need, it sounds like his presence has pushed everyone to their limit and is straining what used to be positive relationships.
If you really feel that you cannot move out of the family home, I would suggest that you at least try to spend less time there. If you push yourself to go to class, possibly even spending extra time on campus, as well as look for other hobbies and interests to occupy your time, being at home may be more manageable. You may need to change your attitude about home and look at it as somewhere to sleep, eat and fulfill your obligations, but otherwise get your individual needs met elsewhere.
Furthermore, if you have only one year left in college you can look at this as a transition period into being on your own or finding other living arrangements for you and your cats. Focusing on the future and your goals can help give you patience and strength to get through this difficult time with your family. Stress can change us, but both you and your mother are still the same positive, loving people underneath.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts