I’m so different from my brother. I’ve always been the one who believed in working hard to take care of myself and my family, but my brother comes around mooching off others, especially Mom and Dad, every chance he gets. He works just enough to barely get by.
I’ve tried talking to our parents about how they’re not really helping him when they listen to his hard luck stories and hand over cash or groceries or loan him their car because his is broken down. How do I deal with the resentment I feel toward him and also toward my parents for giving in to him?
Any situation where you have no choice but to accept the behavior of others, especially when their behavior does not align with your personal values, is incredibly vexing. You value hard work and value making your own way. Your brother doesn’t seem to have a problem accepting help from others. In his own mind, he probably doesn’t see himself as a mooch. Your parents may be giving in where you think tough love is in order. Such is the fodder of life challenges that make us grow in character.
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Every year that goes by, I realize more and more that I have no, nada, zero control over the actions of others. Thankfully, each year that goes by, I learn better ways of coping with resentments of the type you mentioned.
Here are my TOP 3 METHODS FOR ACCEPTING that you CANNOT CONTROL OTHERS:
First, realize that you cannot control anyone else, you can only control yourself.
To help you do this, make a list of what you can do to set up your own personal boundaries with regards to this situation and implement your top three. Keep them respectful and considerate, but use these as your personal guidelines for the tough love only you have control over implementing.
Second, reset your thinking.
This is a crazy notion, but how might you feel differently about your brother if he won the Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot? He wouldn’t need a handout then and you may even find yourself going to him for money? How would that change your perception of him?
Try and see the situation from your brother and parents’ perspectives. Why does this “moocher” relationship work for them? We all make judgments based on the values we believe in, but our values will not always align with others. We’re not all cut from the same mold, nor would we want to be.
Third, accept what is.
Accept that you have zero control over the actions of your brother or your parents. Harping at them may get results, but at what cost to your relationship?
Give yourself a break from the negative feelings this situation evokes. Work on controlling your negative thoughts and attitudes through fostering an attitude of acceptance.
Good luck, I’ve heard this story from many people and know how hard this particular challenge for “character building” can be!!
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• What can you do to feel better about this situation?
• How will you reset your thinking?
• How can you put in to practice an attitude of acceptance?