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Mon, May. 4th, 2009, 06:39 pm

My niece(eighteen? nineteen?) has decided she wants to get married. Sis is all freaked out about that, among other things.

The boy who has agreed to marry her is, in my sister's words, poor trailer park with no prospects to speak of. His is conservative and not brilliant, but at least wise enough to have decided to join the military. My sister things he is not good enough for her daughter.

Now, my niece has pretty much said all she wants in life is a man who will take care of her and let her stay at home and read her novels and cook. She is not the type to care if she lives in a trailer all her life. She doesn't care about her figure, or clothes, or hair, etc. Personally, I am kind of envious. She found exactly what she said she wanted. More power to her. Also, as AgtOrange stated, "even if this is a total mistake and it takes her a decade to figure this out, she'll still be, what, thirty years old?"

So, despite Sis' opposition, I fully support this move. I wish she'd finished high school first, but I suppose it can't be helped. I finished school myself only by the skin of my teeth.

I am concerned about other issues with Sis. She insists on feeling sad because her loser boyfriend dumped her. When I say loser, I mean pill-popping, money borrowing, non-supportive, jealous, paranoid, insecure, jobless, etc. He literally brought nothing to her table. I told her to replace him with a hollow stuffed animal, she could snuggle it and when she got to missing the boyfriend, just dump some money inside it. At least then she'd have the money.

It would be different if she'd been really happy with him, if he had at least brought that for her, but of course she was just as miserable then as she is now. The only problem is she doesn't remember just how miserable she was, the past seems better to her. My sister is terribly codependent.

Growing up, it was implied that all us girls would be happy if we 'just settled down with the right man'. That never worked, and I wish she'd quit looking for another loser replacement until she gets herself straightened out. But I feel like a hypocrite for saying it. See, I went on a 'relationship hiatus' for a year, only about four months into it I met AgtOrange and ended up in a relationship with him that is pretty awesome. We've been living together for eighteen months. But my happiness and the fact that I have settled down and happen to have someone financially taking care of me are no more than circumstantial facts. My illness FORCED me to settle down, and in fact, I have a very hard time trying to be happy without constant motion, without being able to hold down a job and have my independence. It is one of our great points of friction, not because of financial reasons, but because I have an inner need to feel productive in society. Being dependent on someone, even someone who doesn't mind in the slightest and doesn't hold it over me, is a great source of unhappiness in my life. And I know my sister well enough to know she is pretty much the same way. Not to mention the fact that, while looking for some guy to solve all of her problems she a) doesn't get any of her own problems solved, and b) winds up with another loser because those are the only men she likes.

Only I can't say that. Being in a dependent (supposedly carefree) relationship and telling someone it isn't all peaches and roses when I'm at least fairly peachy and rosy makes me sound like the celebrity who complains about being rich and famous. *sigh*

As AgtOrange says, it ain't up to me.

Tue, May. 5th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)

These are exceedingly complex issues. A child needs to be taught/demonstrated about the fine line between independence and the value of relationships starting at an early age. Every argument with his/her friends, and every heartache is an opportunity. I am not Jewish, but events in life often remind me of Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" When she is 18, it may be late, but perhaps not too late. I would say, if you are really serious about it, start working with your niece on your values now, so that when she is 30, she may be ready to make a change. I read from your blog that one of those values is being productive in the society. Being productive is different from being paid, (markets are so inefficient, as we have seen in the last year) so you don't have to dwell on the fact that you are not financially independent.

A side note: It is fascinating to see that you have an understanding with your niece and sister so that you can share their issues with anyone who may be reading your blog. I am convinced that it is a good thing for you, and hope that it is good for them as well. As for myself, I have a mental block that prevents me from talking about some of my family's problems even with close friends!


Tue, May. 5th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Goes with the mental territory

I am a very verbal person. There is a broad range of unspecified mental 'differences' in my family which seem to elude diagnoses. It is similar to Aspergers or Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, but defies neatly fitting into a single box in the Autism spectrum. It makes it necessary to talk about every issue from various viewpoints in order to understand it.

See Dyssemia.

Unfortunately, my family also lives quite far away. I regret not being able to be closer to my family, but was unwilling to move into the Deep South when my sisters did. I found the area where they live backward and racist.

Not to mention it is hard to be a good example when I am not productive in society. Currently I contribute very little, and if it weren't for my boyfriend I would probably be on disability payments (a leech on society in my opinion). I am simply thankful I don't have to be on the government handout with the exception of health care.

Tue, May. 5th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)

I know very well how difficult it is to live apart from your family, although in my case I was the one who left. It is essential to keep those ties alive by whatever means, and it is great that you are able to (or maybe have to) talk about every issue from various viewpoints. Our connections are what make us who we are. And our differences make life interesting. You ARE verbal, and that makes you interesting.

I thought you were saying that your illness makes you unable to earn money, and I was trying to point out the there a many ways to be productive. The noblest ones are actually the least lucrative.