Dear Fox Foxerson,
I lost my job. After months of unemployment, I moved in with my parents. About six months later, my sister also moved in for the same reason. It was good and I was hired soon after, but nowhere near the same salary. I stayed a little longer. Since I was working and my sister was still unemployed, she asked me to help her with her car payments. I agreed, with the understanding it was temporary. Well, she still hasn’t found a job. In fact, I learned she wasn’t even looking anymore. We started arguing. My parents are taking her side. They’re retired, and can’t offer my sister help beyond room and board. They feel I should continue to make her car payments as it’s hard to find a job without a car. So I’m the villain. The whole atmosphere has changed. I want to find my own place, but can’t while paying for her car. What to do?
Dear Feeling Stuck,
You’re not the villain. Your sister isn’t even the villain. I have a friend who would yell, “Capitalism!” So, I guess capitalism is the villain. Your sister may be going through a depressive period because of not being able to find a job, or the shame associated with moving back with your parents.
Moving in with friends or family to survive this harsh world is nothing to be embarrassed of. In fact, pooling resources is smart. It’s really smart if you are all contributing to the fight for survival. If your sister has given up on finding a job, she is no longer pooling resources.
With all the arguing, it would be better if you get the hell out of Dodge. Your folks probably enjoy you two being around, but it won’t be the case if the fighting continues. It doesn’t sound like anything is motivating your sister to get a job. Why should she? She has room, board, and a car for the mere cost of watching television. The fact of the matter is: We live in a capitalist society.
So, find an apartment or a roommate. Make the great escape. Be prepared for the fallout. If you think you are the villain now, wait until she has to sell the car or it’s repossessed. Explain to the fam that you will support your sister, just not financially. And that staying will be more uncomfortable for everyone, even sis. She may actually find work if she feels she needs to, to keep her wheels.