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My brother, his wife depend on our parents too much

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company worker in my 40s. I’m single and live with my parents. I’m frustrated with my younger brother and his wife because they frequently visit our home and make us take care of their toddler.

We look after their child from early evening to night on most weekdays as his wife works part-time. In addition, they stay overnight at our house almost every weekend. My mother cooks meals and does laundry for them, but is never compensated.

Their child is adorable, but I can’t stand how they behave like guests at our home, as they are idle and make us take care of their child. When I expressed these feelings to my mother, she scolded me, saying, “How can you say such a nasty thing? You’re acting like a typical spiteful sister-in-law. Leave our home if you don’t like it.”

Am I wrong to be irritated with my brother and his wife? I might be being self-indulgent, but I don’t have the energy to start living on my own at this age.

N, Fukui Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

Children always seek to monopolize their parents’ attention, regardless of age — this is what I felt when I read your letter.

Of course, your brother and his wife seem to be overdependent on your parents’ support, but your parents — particularly your mother — don’t feel it to be much of a burden. They are happy to take care of their grandchild and welcome the visits from the bottom of their heart.

You’re upset with their behavior. Moreover, you feel wronged by your mother’s seemingly favorable treatment of your brother and his wife. You may be feeling discomfort mixed with loneliness.

However, your mother probably feels different, as she likely believes you’re also dependent on her. She allows you to live in her house because you say you lack the confidence to live alone due to your age, even though you have your own work and income.

If you want to continue living in your parents’ house, you should stop complaining about their way of doing things and help your mother with housework and caring for the child.

If you don’t want to do this, you probably have no other option but to move out. Whatever the case, I think it’s time for you to become independent.

Masami Ohinata, professor

(from Dec. 29, 2017, issue)Speech

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