Monday, September 27, 2010

Boyfriend, Little Sister, and Rells all frustrate the hell out of me.

If there's one thing I can't tolerate in another human being, it's extreme selfishness. I know I myself can be selfish sometimes, as can any human being. I'm rather used to having my own way, and I'm prone to tears when I'm told no, even though I'm twenty two years old and I know better. It's a method I've used occasionally since I was little, and I only tear up when I feel that getting my own way is really important. Tears don't work if you use them too often, after all. But my selfishness has its limits and I know when to draw the line. I do not allow my selfish, spoiled tendencies to interfere negatively in other people's lives. (Forcing Boyfriend to get away from the console or computer games to take me to movies isn't selfish: he needs to get out, and I consider that a positive influence.)

Boyfriend and I both have extremely selfish, immature sisters who get into trouble time and again and expect everybody else to take care of them.

My older sister Rells is twenty three, and we've both been out on our own since 2007. When I moved out I was eighteen, and I only borrowed forty dollars from my grandparents to help pay a deposit for the electricity. Asking for that much grated on my nerves and it took me three days to warm up the courage to ask. I paid them back three days later, plus twenty for the inconvenience. When Rells moved out, she borrowed three hundred dollars for the moving truck and movers. And she never paid it back. Though she made more than me at her job and didn't pay rent because she lived int a dorm, she spent her money on pretty clothes at full retail, on alcohol, on drugs, and for some unfathomable reason, a diamond ring to wear on her right hand, the result being that she never had enough money to pay her car payment or her insurance or her cell phone bill.

On the first of every month, like clockwork, I got the call begging for money. "Chanel, I need three hundred dollars for the phone bill" or "Chanel, I need fifty dollars for gas" and "Oh, Chanel, I had to go to the doctor and I can't make my car payment. Please give me two hundred dollars?"

Stupidly, though it usually meant I ate a banana and yogurt for breakfast and lunch for two weeks, I gave her the money because she was my sister and I loved her. When she moved out of the dorm I got the call for more money because she couldn't make her rent and bills. When I finally asked her what she did with her money, she said, "God, Chanel, I don't know where it goes. It spends itself and it's gone before I know it!"

Finally there came a time when my cat was sick, and I had to choose between helping my sister, or taking Bellatrix to the vet. Bella was pregnant, getting thinner by the day, not eating, and lethargic. Though I loved my sister, I felt my responsibility was to the cat that I had taken as my own and promised to care for because she couldn't care for herself. I told my sister no, I couldn't give her money. She turned to my Dad, got more than enough, and alternated monthly after that between asking him or myself for money.

One year she was so behind on everything that I gave her my entire income taxes to help her pay off speeding tickets, over due power and water bills, past due rent, and late car payments. Boyfriend, to whom money meant very little as he had so much of it, actually had a rather bad reaction to that act of caring and told me in no uncertain terms that "giving her money would only make it harder for her to care for herself in the future" and after that nagged me every time I helped her.

Eventually, I understood what he meant and I told Rells I couldn't help her anymore. She was furious, but I told her I just couldn't go on supporting my cat and my dog and myself if I was paying for her to live. She actually told me I was being selfish, and couldn't I see that she needed money?

"Rells, can't you understand that I make less than you, have more responsibilities than you, and I'm somehow taking care of both of us? I can't keep doing it." I suggested she stop buying clothes that weren't on sale, suggested she party less. Her reaction? She pawned her clarinet and her class ring and her PS2 and everything she could (but not that pretty diamond ring she didn't need) to continue to hold up her lifestyle. And it was never enough, and she always called Dad to borrow money, and sometimes our mom and grandparents, who rarely had enough to spare.

Around the time that I cut off Rells from my money, Boyfriend's younger sister was eighteen and moved out on her own. And just like Rells, she called her brother every month to get money to pay her bills because she couldn't hold down a job. She also had an inheritance, but it was all kept under Boyfriend's name until she turned twenty one to keep her from spending it too fast. However, Boyfriend has always been indulgent with his little sister and gave her money whenever she asked for it, though she was spending ridiculously and not investing in anything.

The result was that she miraculously ran through her entire inheritance before she turned twenty this year. And rather than be responsible with the money she earned at her job, she just called Boyfriend every month and asked him to pay her rent and bills with his inheritance. Boyfriend never told her no.

Recently, both of our sisters were arrested and taken to jail. Mine for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, and his for being drunk and underage-age and also driving drunk. Dad bailed my sister out and paid for her court expenses, and Boyfriend bailed out his sister and paid for her court expenses. My sister had a rather easy time of it and only got a fine (which Dad paid) and probation.

Boyfriend's sister got a far worse punishment. Texas is extremely harsh on drunk drivers, especially underage ones, and Boyfriend's sister actually told the cop that pulled her over, "I'm too drunk to get out of my car. I can't get out, I'm drunk" when she'd only been pulled over because of her blinker. Her license was suspended, and the judge decided to send her to jail for thirty days, and to come back in mid-October for her official sentencing.

Little Sister didn't care that her license was suspended and drove where ever she felt like going every day, even though she could have gotten a ride from her mother or brother so that she wouldn't be breaking the law or her bond agreement. And what do you think happened? While going shopping for new clothes because she recently stopped eating and went on that awful cleanse diet and lost a lot of weight, she was in a car accident. Broke her arm, totally destroyed that pretty, high end, luxury car she paid in full for when she turned eighteen, and was caught red handed disobeying an order from a judge.

And Boyfriend paid for her to get out of trouble yet again.

Last night he actually had the nerve to say he felt sorry for her.

Sorry for her?

"Why are you sorry for her? She brought it on herself! She deserves to go to jail, she deserves to have to pay all of her fines herself, she deserved to lose her license and her car, and if she'd broken both arms and legs I'd say she deserved that, too. She selfish."

"She's young. She doesn't know any better."

I looked at him like he was stupid. "When I was her age, I paid my own bills and I didn't go around drinking illegally and driving. She knows better, she just doesn't care because she knows that whatever the consequences, somebody will always pay to fix it."

"She wasn't hurting anybody when she got pulled over that first time."

I wanted to slap him for being so stupid. Not hurting anybody? When I was eleven, my mother had a best friend. She was five months pregnant and had two daughters ages five and three. Their car broke down and while it was being put on the tow truck a drunk driver swerved off the highway, went around the truck and struck my mother's friend head on, killing her and her unborn baby five feet away from where her daughters were standing. The driver drove off and it took the police a week to hunt him down. When you drink and drive, you're trying to kill somebody. (I was summoned for Jury Duty a few months ago and immediately dismissed when I told this story because it was quite obvious I could not be objective about drinking and driving at all, let alone being drunk.)

I told him the story, and he said, "Well, that's sad, but my sister wouldn't do that."

"She took that chance when she decided to get drunk and drive. She wasn't just risking her life, she was risking the lives of everybody on that road."

Boyfriend still didn't see the harm.

"Well, what if that had been your mother standing with Little Brother on the side of the road, and she was killed in front of him. What would you say?"

Well, that was quite different and Boyfriend finally understood where I was coming from, and he agreed that his sister needed to learn some responsibility. But he wouldn't admit she was being selfish, but he had no problem telling me my sister was being selfish when she asked me for money. Little Sister was merely "learning to grow up" and "it's always harder for the middle child."

I am a middle child, and I have always paid my own bills, taken care of my problems, and stayed out of the law's way without any difficulty. Little Sister's problems are not the result of "being young" and being "the middle child" any more than my sister's problems are the result of being "the oldest" and "being young" or any other excuses my family can come up with to excuse her behavior.

The fact is that Little Sister and Rells are both completely and utterly selfish girls, and they will never make any effort to curb their behavior as long as they know that they will never have to pay for their actions themselves. Little Sister actually regards her coming jail time as something to look forward to, something along the lines of "it will be so nice not to have to work and pay rent for a while."

Just yesterday afternoon Boyfriend and I went to see her and reminded her that she'd added herself to our cell phone plan and she still hadn't paid her part of the bill, which is a hundred dollars because she "absolutely had to have an iPhone", and she said she couldn't.

Well, I informed her that it wasn't our responsibility it to pay it, and if she couldn't pay it we would have her contract canceled. Boyfriend didn't look like he liked the idea, but he wouldn't contradict me in front of his sister because he doesn't like to disagree publicly.

Her reply? "Well, I know it isn't fair to ask you guys to pay my bill, but it really isn't fair to get mad at me for it. None of this is my fault."

Ordinarily, I don't make a point of being confrontational with Boyfriend's family, but that remark shot straight through my self-control and I couldn't stop myself from saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, did someone hold a gun to your head and make you drink and drive? I was under the impression you did it on your own." And I said it in my most sarcastically sweet tone.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise, but she didn't contradict me. How could she? She knew I was right, and it would have been foolish to argue her case. She did add, however, that she wouldn't be able to pay her cell phone bill while she was in jail.

"Well that doesn't matter," I answered. "I already thought about that. You can't have your cell phone in jail anyway, so we're just going to pay ten dollars a month to have it suspended."

"You're just going to cut off my phone?"

"No, we're going to suspend it. The number will still be yours, but I don't see the point in us paying one hundred dollars a month for a phone that isn't ours that you can't use anyway, and when you get out of jail we can turn it right back on."

"But that's not fair!"

"No, what's not fair is that you're standing here expecting us to pay for a phone you won't be using because you went and broke two laws and didn't care about the consequences." I looked at her hard, and said, "I don't feel sorry for you, Little Sister, and I think you deserve a lot more than a couple of weeks in jail and a broken arm."

"You think I deserve this?" And she looked like she wanted to hit me with her cast.

Boyfriend stepped in. "Well, Little Sister, you have shown poor judgement recently. You have nobody to blame but yourself, and Chanel is right. We shouldn't have to pay for a phone that you won't be using."

"But how will I know who tried to call me while I'm away?"

"That's not our problem," I snapped. And then I was too fed up with her attitude to stay longer, so I told Boyfriend that I had a headache and we really had to go.

Little Sister sent Boyfriend a text message later asking if I was feeling sick or on my period because I was unusually moody towards her and she couldn't understand it. I have no idea what Boyfriend sent back in response, and I don't really care, because her message only proves beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt that she doesn't think she did anything wrong and she believes she's being treated unfairly in this whole ordeal.

At least my sister has learned to pay her own bills recently. She hasn't borrowed any money for almost five months. His sister, I think, will always be stupid and selfish, and if that's the kind of person she is, I don't think I'll want to associate with her much. And I think Boyfriend is making a very stupid mistake by cleaning up after her. I say she's made her bed, now make her lie in it.

EDIT: As a side note, my older sister is also disgustingly shallow and (I hate to say it) stupid, as proven in her latest Facebook status: "what really drives me crazy is when good looking people date ugly people, or when a really ugly couple has a BEAUTIFUL baby!! Does anyone else notice this?"

There are no words that can express how disgusted I am by this observation.


  1. Wow. From what you're saying, I completely agree that Little Sister is never really going to learn how to take care of herself until her family can step back and let her pay the consequences for her own mistakes. (I know that's got to be hard to do sometimes.) Even then, she may never fully understand the full ramifications of what she does.

    I'm glad that your sister seems to be doing better so far as taking care of her own finances, though. Whatever the rest of her attitude towards the world might be, that seems like it's a big step in the right direction.

  2. Yeah, jail really scared my sister. She's decided she never wants to go back, and she's getting her life together on her own now. She should be going back to school this semester, and if she actually does manage to graduate in the next year I'll be really proud of her.

    As for Little Sister, she says she wants to go into the Navy. It's laughable, and I'll be shocked if she actually does it after she gets the DWI and her jail time over and done with and can actually enlist. This is the same girl who can't get up before noon unless you stand over her and take the covers away. It's not that I don't believe she CAN do it, I just don't think she WILL. She doesn't really want to do anything, and that's terrible because she had all the opportunities and resources to do something, and she wasted them. I wish Boyfriend would be less indulgent. Sometimes the most important thing you can do for someone you love is let them fall down and get up on their own.

  3. The navy?!?! That's an interesting choice. We'll see how that goes...

    Hopefully Little Sister will eventually have the chance to fend for herself for a while. It's got to be hard for Boyfriend and his family to watch her struggle so much, I can understand their perspective. However, I still agree with you, sometimes letting someone struggle is the best way to help them. Well said. :)

  4. Every once in a great while I do manage to say something worthwhile. Not often, but often enough to convince everyone that I'm not a complete bookworm with no common sense.

    Their Mother I think is finally coming around to my way of thinking. She's decided to take Little Sister off of her car insurance policy because her DWI raised the rates on her car and Mother doesn't want to pay it when she couldn't even pay it before. So I think she will start to learn quite quickly how much it sucks to pay for her mistakes.


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