By Jody Valley
Q: I just graduated from college this June. That’s a good thing, I know. But, somehow, my “good things” always seem to not feel that good. The reason for this is that my little sister, “Bobbie,” is an incredible non-achiever. It’s worse than that – she doesn’t achieve. She seems to always end up on the short end of the stick about everything and anything. I’ve never been quite sure if she’s the problem or that she is just one of those people who things always happen to, like she was born with a cloud hanging over her head. She never achieved in school though her IQ is surely high enough to warrant good grades. (My parents had her tested because they thought that might be the problem, but it turned out that she has a much higher than average IQ.)
Bobbie has been in counseling for years, but that doesn’t seem to change things either. She can’t get a boyfriend or keep one if she does get a fish on the line. Something always happens to her love interests, the guy is usually a real ass, or she finds fault with the guy, or the guy just leaves. (She’s het.) Anyway, relationships just don’t take with her, that’s with friends, as well; she just can’t keep a friend. All these relationships always end up in such a drama.
Then there are all the jobs she loses. It seems that she gets all the wrong jobs and places to work, as they too end up not working for her. She either has a co-worker who is intolerable, a horrible boss, or a job she just can’t stand. Either way, she ends up quitting or being fired. Her only time that called for celebration was when she graduated from high school; she was second to last in her class, but she did make it.
I tell you all this so that you will get the picture. All the drama ends up at my parents’ house when Bobbie returns home because of what has gone down. I’m so glad I’m out of the house because I just can’t stand to see the pain my parents go through because of her. (I feel so very guilty just saying that!) Each time she ends up back home due to her “sky falling,” my parents do all that they can do to get her back on her feet again. But nothing ever changes and I know each time she’s put back together again, it’s only for a time – she’ll be back!
Now, back to my feelings. As I said earlier, I graduated with honors and have been offered a good job. That should make me feel great, but it doesn’t. I don’t think that it exactly makes my parents feel that good because they don’t even say much about it. They have never gotten that much into other achievements of mine, either. They came to graduation – and maybe it is just me – but they didn’t seem to be all that proud of me. Bobbie came, too. She talked most of the time about how the good things all happen to me, and she was the “bad luck” child. This is the common theme that runs through our family.
I have to say, it is certainly not good to be the “bad luck” child, but it certainly isn’t all that wonderful being the “good luck” child, either. I don’t write to you thinking that anything can be changed, it just that I needed someone to talk to and reading your column every week, I feel like you are someone who might understand my feelings. Thanks for listening.
The Good Luck Child
A: I do understand why you feel the way you do. And your life isn’t about luck; it’s about your hard work. My guess is that your parents don’t want to make your sister feel bad about her life by acknowledging your achievements; it’s not that they aren’t proud of you. Nevertheless, you don’t get what you deserve and need. Your family has a real dysfunctional dance going on; everyone has his/her part in it and no one is happy. Your whole family needs help leaning how to deal with this situation. What’s happening now is not working for anyone, especially Bobbie. The rest of your family may not be either willing or ready to do family counseling, but that should not stop you from getting help dealing with this situation. You deserve to feel good about yourself. Please seek professional help!