Red Responds: Getting Away From the Little Terror

Fran in Bancroft writes:

I moved in with an older friend, she is 85, to keep her company.We share her daughters house. The daughter and her family come up every other weekend and stay in the house with us. I knew this was going to be the rule when I moved in.

I didnt realize that their son, who is now 12, was going to be beyond spoiled and would have complete control over everything, when he is here. I have been totally insulted by this young lad on numerous occasions. I have been told to shut up when he is talking, he is a very big boy 170 lbs. and is 5’7″. He runs around the house naked, has the flithiest mouth I have ever heard and is beyond rude. He is still sleeping with his parents… he says he is too afraid to sleep by himself.

I have been putting up with this for two years because I truly care for my friend. I am 67 and my health is getting worse, I have developed blood pressure problems among other things. I have found an apartment for myself, and will be moving in another month. I am happy to get out of this situation, but I feel really guilty leaving my friend. I wonder, am I making the right move?

Dear Fran,

It is sad and unfortunate that you have to leave your friend, but the current situation isn’t the healthiest environment for you, or your friend. At least you have the choice and ability to change your circumstances. Your friend is rather stuck.

I know that this was a hard decision for you, but you have nothing to feel guilty about. Our bodies have this nasty habit of aging, and health issues tend to pop up. While that is a natural process, stress exacerbates physical issues. Fortunately, we have the ability to control at least some of the stressors in our lives. Less stress often leads to better health, and happier life. That is something you owe yourself.

Just because you will no longer be living together doesn’t mean that your friendship will falter. The two of you will keep in touch, and you will visit. It will be different, but she does understand. She sees that her grandson is a terror, and her daughter’s parenting style is rather… umm, interesting… but she isn’t in a position to effectively create any changes when it comes to these visitations. It’s just how it is.

Right or wrong, she is at the mercy of her daughter, and her daughter’s family, in many ways. Fortunately, you are not. Because it is not your place to interfere with her family matters, you have little choice but to move on. You aren’t betraying your friend, you are simply doing what you need to do in order to take care of yourself.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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