Tag Archives: sister

How to Be a Good Role Model?

My sister is depressed. She’s seven years younger than I am and working on her final internship prior to college graduation. I feel like it’s my duty to be a good role model for her, to somehow be able to say that it all gets better, that life is hunky dory, that our parents didn’t f us up so deeply that at 30 I still need weekly therapy and spend hours lost in introspection over how much I suck at just about everything. But I can’t, because I’m no good at lying, and I’m not sure that would help either.

In terms of how we got to our depression, our stories are quite different. Our parents were the same, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. But as much as they told me on and on that I was not working up to potential (and thought I was some genius who clearly was not performing to my own abilities to spite them), my sister had a learning disability and therefore was lauded for every tiny achievement while also overhearing many discussions regarding her inability to succeed. Both of us, needless to say, grew up with confidence issues and major anxiety problems.

Listening to her go on about her own insecurities is a frightening reflection of my own. We both struggle in relationships with other people. She’s good at memorizing data and organization while I’m good at writing and being somewhat creative. She’s an ISTJ and I’m an ENFP — polar opposites with similar problems. I’m worried for her. I’m worried for her because my parents will support her staying in the house should she not be able to obtain a final internship or job. While I don’t at all want her forced onto the street, having such backup is not at all motivating to just do something. But it’s having parents that don’t require you to work growing up that lead to this, where one graduates from college with only a few hours of work under their belts at best, and nothing to show for it.

She needs one long internship to graduate from college, as all of her coursework is complete. I’m trying to help her apply for programs but ultimately she will have to complete the interviews, should she be called for any upon her application, and she’ll have to be able to convince someone else that she’s the right person to hire for the internship role. But without any confidence (and a sincere disinterest in working with people or leading anyone) her opportunities are greatly limited. Especially due to her major which has to do with, well, people. (Long story that I shall leave out for reasons of anonymity.)

But the frustrating part is that she does have a lot of abilities, it’s just challenging to align these with a role – internship, job or otherwise – as many of the types of positions she’d be suited for (such as research) require masters-level credentials. She really doesn’t want to have to get on the phone and talk to people, though, as she suffers a severe case of social anxiety (I guess mine is only minor compared to hers — though my backlog of voicemail would say otherwise) and what makes it harder is she has problems speaking properly due to her jaw placement. She’s definitely a little strange in that she isn’t the typical enthusiastic young employee, but she’s super smart and I believe in the right role would excel. Again, she’s best suited to research, but even that requires some level of interactions with other people. What can I do to help her — esp when I’m dealing with my own level of feeling like I’m not good enough for any role, and I’m past 30?

Like me, she’s seeing a therapist. But I know therapy alone won’t get her out of the funk. She needs a lucky break, to find a job where she really feels like she’s doing something productive and is seen as an asset to an organization, versus someone who doesn’t belong. And she needs the opportunity to meet other people her age who are not complete alcoholics to become friends with (unfortunately her few high school friends decided to defriend her because they’re assholes, but that’s another story also.) I really want to be the good big sister I never was but I just feel helpless. She knows I’m there for her. But that can’t kick her ass out into the big bad world. She’s deeply depressed and I know what it’s like. I’ve never really escaped my depression but it goes in waves. There are some days I know EXACTLY what she feels like. How can I tell her that it gets better?

All I can think of to tell her is that making money is important. She can live at home for a while but eventually she has to pay for her own life. To be happy, or somewhat happy, she’ll need her independence, which requires moving out. I’m helping her apply for internships away from home. She lived away from home for college but spent the whole time focused on studying because she struggles academically due to her learning disability but is an amazingly good student. She didn’t have time for friends, but now she’s home from school, moping around, lonely, and, well, moping around some more. My parents who have constant shouting matches are no help. I don’t know what to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing Down Wealth From Generation to Generation

My father is dying of cancer and has a short time left to live. While his health is ok now, his medicines will stop working at some point over the next few years and from then on the cancer will take over and he will get sicker until he passes.

This post is not about my father’s health, but it’s important to note to put this into context.

Previously, many of my readers have left comments offended by a post I wrote about expecting an inheritance. A conversation I had with my dad this weekend over the phone continues this topic.

He told me how “I” need to get my mother to understand that she needs to live off the interest on the 401k. They get $7000 a month and there is no reason that they can’t live on that. (My mom is a spendaholic.)

My dad went on to tell me how he spent his whole life building wealth for the family so it could be passed down to his kids (me and my sister) and that we could pass it down to our children. Both him and my mother grew up in the lower middle class and did not have wealth. Their parents will not be passing down a great deal to them. So he wanted to build wealth up for our family, for the future. He wasn’t trying to make my sister or I rich, but he did want to make sure we didn’t have to worry about not having enough funds to get us through life. Once you have wealth, living off the interest becomes feasible. It’s not about luxury, but it is about having a lofty security blanket for your family – as in – your children and their children and so on.

But it makes me sick to my stomach to think about how in the future, I will be in such an odd spot — when my father passes, it will be up to me to try to make sure his dream lives on. Yet that dream is for my sister and I to obtain an inheritance. My sister has a learning disability and while she can comprehend some of this she is also younger and I don’t think she will understand a great deal of the financial situation (other than wanting the money.) My mother will want to spend it all. I understand finances, saving, living off interest – I could probably teach my mother to do this, but ultimately it would be so that I could get money after she dies.

My mom didn’t work once I was born, so all of the money in savings is from my dad’s years of working many hours to build this wealth. On one hand I feel the responsibility to make sure that the reason my dad worked so hard his whole life (probably causing unnecessary stress and part of the reason he gained so much weight and got sick) lives on, and part of me feels like this isn’t really my business at all besides making sure my mom doesn’t spend everything too quickly – she does need enough money to survive for many years. She’s in her mid 50s so hopefully she’ll be around for a long time.

I do want to make sure my mom doesn’t go crazy with spending, but she could very easily live a luxurious life and spend every penny if she wanted to in the future. And who am I to stop her?