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Mina
Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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Im 26 years old. I have three sisters that are 5, 8, and 10

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Im 26 years old. I have three sisters that are 5, 8, and 10 years older than me. My dad is 40 years my senior and my mother is 32 years older.
My first sister is bipolar and lashes out emotionally and hasn't had a job ever.
My second sister has a worthless husband and is now pregnant with her fourth child. She makes lots of money as an attorney like my father and has moved back to the hometown and lives less than a mile from our parents.
my youngest sister also has a JD but can't pass the BAR exam. After a failed engagement she is now dating someone who is almost 60 (she is 31) and he has an 18 yr old daughter. My parents refuse to meet him.
im finishing my last year of law school and thought i was going to begin working with my family but now everyone is so hostile and disappointed in my sisters poor decisions that i don't feel like im getting a fair shake at things.
We come from a very wealthy family but im the only one who has had to take out student loans for school (150,000) and when i was given inheritance from my late grandmother (everyone in my family did) I was cut off and told to use that for my living expenses.
How can i show my parents that im NOT my sisters and should be treated differently.
My second sister is soooo hostile, martyr for being the work horse of her family, judgmental, and a straight bitch that none of us can live near our hometown or be involved in the family business.

What can i do? More specifically should i take the Idaho BAR exam so i can help my family when the time arises or should i cut all strings and move on to a different state and begin my own family away from them?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mina replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting us.

I am sorry to hear about what you are experiencing. It sounds very frustrating not being able to be taken seriously by your parents. If I understood correctly your father is a lawyer and you have all studied law perhaps with the thought of working with your dad. I understand that although most of you studied law no one has actually worked with your dad, which is interesting. I also get that you feel rather isolated in the family, possibly rejected and you do not know why exactly. I feel that you need to ask yourself about what you want from your life and what you want from your family. Have they asked for your help?Have they asked you to take those exams with the idea that you are going to work with your dad? and if not why? It sounds as a tricky situation for you as you do not understand their feelings towards you but also what they think of you.

I believe that you owe it to yourself to have a serious discussion with your parents about all these feelings that you have. Focus on you and not your sisters so much. Tell them what you want and need in terms of your relationship with them and ask them what they would like from you. Tell them about these thoughts that you have about feeling like treated unfairly and that you want to know where you stand with them. By discussing things with them in a proper manner, you will show to them that you are different and that they need to take you seriously. Prepare for this chat and keep notes of your thoughts that you want to share with them.

However, you also need to think about your different options, e.g. would you feel happier if you worked with your dad or would you rather have your own office? how has your relationship been with your parents all these years. I assume that there have always been complicated dynamics in your family. What do you think that you may achieve from staying away or close to them? these are some questions that you would need to find the answers yourself. However, a serious discussion with them may clear some of these thoughts if your parents engaged and gave you some insight into this situation.

Please feel free to share any feedback on these thoughts.

Thanks

Mina

Edited by Mina on 11/22/2010 at 5:12 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I've tried asking them and seeing where my" place" in the family is in a very logical and non emotional way but they were emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive when we were young. So, now if we bring up anything about critizing their decisions today or try and express how unhappy i currently am my mom simply state, "i am just a horrible parent." And play the passive aggressive game. So, now the problem is compounded and its my fault.

Maybe my original question should i have been...when should i give up on my family and start my own life?

Expert:  Mina replied 4 years ago.
I see. Well, I think that you have described a very difficult upbringing and relationship with both of them. It sounds like you have made efforts to discuss seriously with them but you feel that they cannot overcome their own difficulties and engage in a healthy relationship. It seems that you do not feel that you can have normal conversations with them and that means unfortunately that you will need to have different and less, if any, expectations of them. I feel that you have no reason to feel guilty about following your own life as they have not shown any commitment to keep you in theirs. Their passive aggressiveness or manipulation tendencies can "drag" you in if you are not careful and I feel that the anger you feel is justified and understandable.

Therefore, I would definitely suggest that you followed your dreams and plans even if this means moving away and starting over. This may be a healthier option for you. You should not feel that you are "giving up" on them (this sounds more like them saying this). On the contrary, you could still maintain contact with them as long as you feel that you can set boundaries so you do not allow yourself to be affected by them. This, however, you can also learn through seeing a psychologist in the future when and if felt needed to explore these difficult first relationships in your life and their effect on your current life and future relationships.

I hope that this is more helpful.

All the best

Mina
Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience: Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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Mina
Mina
Clinical Psychologist
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Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults