This is concerning people who board in my house.
When my young brother who is my 3rd child’s age, moved in with my family I had troubles with developing a relationship with him. We’d not been raised together, as a matter of fact, my parents only had 2 children and he was born as a turn of life child when I was 26 yrs old and I had just had my 3rd son. There was really no bond on my end since my family and I were living in separate areas of the country while my parents were raising him.
Now, when my mother became ill with cancer, my husband promised to take care of my 19 yr old brother because it was a big worry for her. He moved to our city and moved in. I feel more like his aunt than his sister and he’s a button pusher. I had my then 14 yr old daughter living there and little brother would have no qualms about talking crudely and sexually (demeaning to women) in front of her. Anyway, this living arrangment lasted 2 yrs, with my nerves on end and with no loving feelings toward him.
After he moved out my husband’s 18 yr old nephew came to live with us. Once again, he came from our hometown to live in the “big city” with us. This young man was a dream to live with! Yes, he ate a ton, and took long showers, but he was respectful, helpful and heeded the house rules completely. He actually behaved as a more like a houseguest with extra priviledges. I was sad to see him leave after 2 years.
Now that you have some history, here’s the present situation.
We now have a boarder who is also my husband’s long time employee. This fellow is a funny and actually a nice guy, but I can’t “love” him as much as I try to. He’s an alcoholic and has never had it so good in terms of being able to get to the end of the month with money still in his pocket. We basically babysit him and dole out his pay at intervals for him, make sure he doesn’t drink so much that he won’t be able to make it to work the next day… stuff like that
He’s been living with us for 6 or 7 months now and has been told the house rules and the little rules that come along as we live our lives. He keeps “forgetting them”. What I feel he does is go against the rule then when he’s caught, he appologizes. I keep feeling that he does these things in a passive-aggressive way… his way of rebelling against our “little rules”.
Examples of the little rules are:
Wash the clothes in cold water (we buy cold water detergent)
No cooking after 9:30 (he used to come upstairs when we would be in bed and start cooking during the night)
The big rules are:
No friends visiting, you must go to your friends’ home instead
No smoking in the house
No drugs in the house, and if you’re going to smoke up, don’t do it on my property
Go to work unless you’re sick
He’s broken all of them at one time or another, and we’ve threatened to kick him out.
Now, I know I have reason to be “unloving” and suspicious toward him, not so much in words, but at least in thought due to how he’s proven himself, but I can’t help but think that I’m too hard on him.
It’s almost as if I’m LOOKING for him to screw up, I always seem to be nagging him or getting mad at him, For example, today, he was digging in the “sock bag” for socks. These are not his socks, these are the family’s odd socks that I haven’t paired up. This annoyed me because this stuff is OURS, and instead of shutting my mouth, I took the opportunity to say " Are you done digging in our personal things?" to which he replied " Some of these socks are mine". He does his own laundry, his socks should not be mixed in with ours.
These are the kind of things that keep nagging about. I don’t ignore the breaking of the rules (no matter how trivial). I want to “lighten up”, I want to show Christ’s love toward him, but my stupid character get’s the best of me each time. If I had my choice, I’d still choose this fellow over my brother anyday, but by golly! My nagging, critical character is keeping from growing in my faith.
It’s easy to love those that don’t push your buttons, but I need to learn to love those that do!
Any practical and spiritual advice will be greatly appreciated