does doing what’s right matter?
from my inbox:
JK: “I have a sister who is three years younger. She is very funny and charming and extroverted; I am very intense and introverted … She is very popular and social. I am, ummmm, not that.
I went to college; she became a blue-collar worker. She married at 21; I married at 31. Although we are different, we are friends and quite close. Her life is not as stable as my life. She and her husband do not make as much money … they do not have good financial skills, lots of phones being shut off, credit card debt, and they actually just left their house one day and moved somewhere else, I’m sure it ended up in foreclosure.
My parents continue to support her and her children financially, and they try to hide it from me … I just found out tonight that my dad is paying for her vacation (we actually canceled our trip because we felt that we didn’t have the extra money this year). Financially, they do absolutely nothing for our family, and I am not exaggerating. They have paid for nothing for me ever in my life since I went to college at 18 (which they did not pay for).
I’m a little in shock and so upset, and I want to drink because it sucks, and why the hell am I even trying to do anything right because it doesn’t even matter. My sister has done some of the stupidest shit in her life, and she continues to get bailed out!… I’m not going to drink, but I’m pissed that guzzling wine is my first thought. Then, I wonder, does doing what’s right matter? I guess I want some type of reward. Like here’s a vacation for consistently making good choices. I don’t even know what I want actually. Some type of sign that I’m doing what’s right.
me: “OK, you can delete this message from me after you read it and you can hate me. but here goes.
There is no ‘fair’ with siblings. Interpersonal relationships are complicated and there is no score card of ‘you get this and she gets that’. If your parents give your sister stuff it’s because (a) she’s a fuck-up and they’re worried about her and the grandkids, and (b) they feel guilty that she’s a fuck-up, like that they believe they did something wrong by her.
Nothing to do with you. someone gets a promotion, you don’t, nothing to do with you. someone gets money, you don’t, nothing to do with you.
You don’t want their fucking money because it would come with strings and expectations and depends and implied criticism and control. if you were your sister, I’d be suggesting that you turn down their money and take care of yourself. which is what you’re doing. you are taking care of you and what your sister does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with you and your husband. this is your family now. your family is the little cool one you built around you.
you don’t email your father and say ‘what about me’. you feel sorry for your sister. she’s a fuck up and everyone knows it. including her. she’s probably super jealous of you. even if she’s loud and you’re not. you have your shit together. AND you’re sober 🙂 you fucking rock.
is that enough swearing? love 🙂 and hugs, me
JK: “I cried when I read this message; I’m going to print it out and carry it with me and read it all the time. You absolutely nailed it; are you sure that you don’t know me in person? I want to say more, but I don’t know how to say the words. Thank you; I felt validated, yet I also understood how it’s not about me. Also, on a drinking note — totally not drinking.”
What do you think? Do you think i was too harsh? What would you say to JK?