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What am I doing wrong? I am homeless, pregnant and I think the other women in the shelter do not like me

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health, Pregnancy, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 May 2015) 10 Answers - (Newest, 1 June 2015)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

Am a new immigrant.

Came to live in the u.s with my sister 3 months ago but she kicked me out onto the street after facing the realities of a pregnant woman..i.e throwing up and bring generally slow and demotivated.

She knew I was pregnant before I came so it hurt me much more to see her behave this way. She has no children herself and is 35 years.

Anyway I now live in a shelter since I have no relatives or money.

It's a shelter for only pregnant girls, headed by catholic nuns.

The girls were good to me at first. I would say half are black, the other half are Latina. I am black. The latinos dont speak english so we don't talk most of the time. So I spent more time with the black girls.

Most of the conversations were gossip or complaints about the shelter food and conditions which honestly to me is all ok.

Anyway being an artist, I got lots of work from the nuns.

Just small assignments..design birthday cards, decorate the rooms, draw and cut out doves, small but frequent 'gigs'.

Quickly I started getting remarks from the girls about me doing work.

Saying am kissing ass.

Then one girl in particular started trying to pick fights, spreading lies about me to the rest and humiliating stories about me I simply could not defend.

I have been the topic of conversation during dinner and a laughing stock and joke. All because of rumors I can't defend.

The nuns here and there have confronted the girls for breaking rules but the thing is the girls strongly believe that since I do projects for the nuns, then I tell them about the girls and the rules the break.

They reason, who else would it be and single everyone out and am the only one left according to them who would do that.

So currently am facing severe hostility. Jeers. Laughs.

Rejection and am alone with no one to talk to apart from the nuns sometimes.

The truth is that I have never said anything about these girls to the nuns. I have been nice, kind and helpful to both parties. God is my witness.

But now am wondering if there is something wrong with me.

Most girls never warm up to me or become my friends. No matter how much I try to mind my business I am hated. Openly hated. Talked about.

I don't even know why am asking u guys to tell me what am doing wrong coz u all don't know me.

Am just so hurt.

What can I do?

Ignoring all this has made me look like a weak loser to everyone.

The times I fought back I got more aggression. Please advise me.

View related questions: kissing, money

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A female reader, deirdre Ireland + , writes (1 June 2015):

I reckon they are either jealous, or being petty and spiteful because it helps take their minds off their own depressing selves/situations. They may see you as different and they may have very little in common with you, or feel insecure. In any case it isnt acceptable and you dont deserve this. There may also be an element of racism to their bullying.

The others here have made good suggestions, try speaking to the nuns regularly about what is going on because it could get worse if these girls see that you are ignoring it. Some help with being assertive would also be ideal.

Im sorry for your situation, I cant imagine how difficult it is for you. Try to find out about all help available, WIC, medicaid, food stamps, work programs etc. Before your baby is born. Maybe try giving some of the less nasty girls cards for occasions like birthdays or when their babies are born, it might help them realise their behaviour is unnacceptable. Feel free to come back with any questions and I wish you the best of luck with everything x

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 June 2015):

pregnant mama stealing the show ...

all those girls are jealous darling cos you can draw and be useful and you upset the balance.

They probably want to snipe at the nuns and laugh and be a bit naughty but they worry you'll be too upfront honest and spill the beans to the nuns. That means sneaking out the back,kissing boys and smoking cigarettes are double trouble because they could get booted out,if found out.

But you are fragile right now.

Your sister didnt want to put you up and i should think a shelter is a reasonably good start..have you checked out the basics like keeping your child with you,not being pressured to adoption,not taking forced contraception, how you pay future rent and food bills and where youll move to next.

Those are the real problems and probably on everyones mind.

you could start there, by finding out what these girls expect from their lives. Anymore trouble at mealtimes and you could throw a wobbler, standing up and yelling " I did not comehere for you to be spiteful..i came here to get a start in life" dramatic hand waving etc or just think "who gives a damn..ive got a baby to look after and a future independent life to lead."And keep that thought tickng at all times.

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A female reader, AnnaSalenaz United States +, writes (31 May 2015):

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/html/housing/housing.shtml

Maybe this will help :)

I don't know much about nyc as I am from Nevada but I found that information online.

Best of luck :)

-Anna

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 May 2015):

Thank you everyone. Sorry for the tough times some of you guys went through similar to mine, and thank you for the encouragement. Am very grateful.

I hope u can all have a great week. Thank you for your time..:)

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 May 2015):

Thank you both for taking time to respond to my question. I feel much more encouraged and hopeful.

With my sister it is a severe issue of control and dominance.

Am a clean and hardworking person. I love cooking. I cooked, I cleaned..it wasn't enough. No matter how clean her place became after I moved in, my family praises me for my organisation skills and cooking, she was never happy.

I assured her of my temporary stay and was looking for jobs and apartments while I waited for my greencard and social security card to be mailed to me but still.

She wanted me to run when she told me to..or to smile and put on a pleasant face for her friends, or just up and go out at anytime to eat things I found repulsive in my state. I hate control, and she is very controlling.

When I was truly physically unable to do what she wanted one day, I needed 30 mins of rest, she wanted us to go and visit a friend she badly tries to impress, she told me to leave.

Said whatever happens she doesn't care as long as I leave. I did.

I was truly happy here and preferred to be by myself most times in blissful peace and sort of independence but nooo.

There's nothing I haven't tried to do to make peace with the girls. But I believe the problem they have with me is that I try to walk in truth.

I have deeply offended them a few times when I answered honestly to things they said or did. Nothing in regard to their secrets at all. Just general stuff like yeah Jessica was in the shower just now...after water is found sprayed around the place.

Different scenarios but all not requiring me to lie or pretend I don't know.

Am not perfect or trying to come off as that at all but I have had no reason to hate on and disrespect people I just met..in fact my mind has been more occupied with job searching and my parents at home. But the hatred and anger towards me has me wondering if there's something about me am not seeing.

Thank u again anyway. For the links I live in nyc..thanks anyway.

Let me try to press on.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (31 May 2015):

chigirl agony auntThis is a passing time, this will not go on forever. Keep that in mind when it becomes hard, that this is a hardship that is only temporary. You will get away from these girls eventually, you will find people who care for you and who treat you with kindness.

Make a plan for yourself, things you want to do, things you can do, for when you're leaving.

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A male reader, CMMP United States + , writes (31 May 2015):

Being pregnant is tough, even when life is otherwise fine. A lot of guys joke about their wives (or girlfriends) going crazy when they're pregnant.

In saying this because you're living in an environment full of homeless pregnant women, and I think you have to take that into consideration. If you're accurately describing the situation it sounds like you're not doing anything wrong except being in the wrong place.

Fortunately I don't think you'll be there for too long. Just tuff it out and you'll be okay.

I wish you the best of luck!

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A female reader, Abella United States + , writes (31 May 2015):

Abella agony auntHi, I am very sorry that you had a falling out with your sister as she would be the best option for you to have someone you know to give you some support. It must be very lonely indeed for you.

I am especially sorry that you have had to suffer humiliating stories. Such nasty behaviour reflects very poorly on the person spreading this rubbish.

Your own actions and your own behaviour will, in the end, prove her wrong. All that you can do is continue as you have - soundly refuting that any of that is the truth.

The one who is making the most noise about the so called "telling the nuns" is likely to be the person making the most noise about it. Because the passive-aggressive coward's way is to do the nasty deed and then to be outraged and indignant about "who they alleged did the telling" - when all the time the sneaky person was themselves. It is a smoke screen to deflect any blame away from themselves. It is devious and nasty.

Pregnancy is not a reason to be slow and demotivated. Though the last three months are tiring. It may be that you were depressed about your situation and thus you did not feel like doing much. Your sister might have felt annoyed and thought you were not helping with things like washing the dishes and keeping your things tidy.

Can you write her an apology for your lack of motivation back then. Tell her about your art work and how that has been good but also about how the other clients in the centre have made you so unhappy. Ask her if she will please allow you to return and promise to observe any rules she wants to put in place.

but be prepared for your sister to say no. She is 35 and has no children. Perhaps she sees children as disruptive to her lifestyle. Perhaps she is scared that she will be burdened with babysitting while you are out socialising after the baby is born. Assure her that your aim is to secure accommodation for after the baby is born.

So you also need to consider some other options.

first and foremost I think the other clients in the shelter are jealous of you, because you have a skill that they do not have. Offer to make them a card or two. Maybe they can be encouraged to offer you a small amount to cover materials.

Don't hide from these nasty girls, do greet them with a smile. compliment them where it is warranted (such as a different hair style) or give them a nice word if they are kind to some one.

They are ganging up on you and that is classic bullying.

Deliberately choosing to not talk to you is called Ostracism and that is another form of bullying.

Do not let them get you down. Their resentment and jealously tells you that you feel like a threat to them, irrational as that is. I wonder if they think the Nuns will favour you due to your art work? Illogical, but them bullies treat everything as a threat to themselves and are easily spooked. Especially by a capable person.

If the problem persists speak to one of the senior Nuns and tell them that you appreciate how kind it was of the Nuns to take you in but that as you are being bullied is there another shelter you could go to, in the hope that no one will bully you in the next place?

If the Nuns deal directly with the bullies and tell them to stop - but that may only make it worse for you in that shelter.

A better way might be a training session to identify what is bullying and why does it happen and what things can be done to stand up to bullying. Because the girls themselves may also face bullying at another place and need the skills to identify that no bullying is ever justified.

does the centre have a written policy on bullying? If not them it is needed.

Could you attempt to learn the language the Latino girls speak? Starting with please and thank you and baby? With sign language see if they will give you words for face, hair, ears, mouth etc. Learning their language with them may break the ice.

Maybe you could offer to make small cards for the girls to post to family announcing the name, birthdate of the baby born? Making sure that the spelling is correct each time. Perhaps the Nuns could help out with a sheet of 300msg paper to be cut into small cards to hand out to the girls. Some pinking shears (yes, from the Nuns) would give each card a nice edge. The Nuns could keep the pinking shears when you left and before you left you could show others how to make the small cards.

And through all this at the shelter? There is NOTHING wrong with you. You are NOT TO BLAME for all this nastiness. It is NOT YOUR FAULT that you just happen to be sharing a space with a ring-leader of the abuse and the hangers-on who follow the leader. All the BLAME GOES TO THE BULLIES. They are the disruptive nasty ones.

If it means that sometimes you have to keep busy and keep yourself occupied and keep your distance from them, except to be pleasant. If the throw an insult your way then smile at them and wish them a nice day and walk away.

As you have seen being aggressive does not work.

Get acquainted with more assertive ways of replying to people. That does NOT mean aggressive.

What it does mean is that if X makes an abusive remark then reply with an assertive remark.

X says 'your hair looks greasy and dirty, don't you ever wash it ?

You: "Hi X ,I used a new conditioner this morning. X when you make personal comments that are designed to hurt me I feel humiliated by your nastiness.

Next time you see me I would prefer that you either say nothing at all you cannot think of anything positive to say. I never make snide remarks designed to hurt you.

Learn as much as you can about being assertive.

You are not aggressive, rude nor abusive in your style of communicating. That is a very good way to be.

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” by J M Barrie

And here are some links that may help. Since I do not need to know your state I have included a link that will help find other support facilities in the state that is yours

http://www.homelessprenatal.org/get-help

http://littleflowerhome.org/blog/other-places-to-stay/california/

http://littleflowerhome.org/blog/other-places-to-stay/texas/

http://littleflowerhome.org/blog/other-places-to-stay/oklahoma/

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A male reader, DRAGBOY United States +, writes (31 May 2015):

DRAGBOY agony auntI am 13 yo and know what its like to have people spread rumors about me and me being Asian, I am made fun of because im not smart at times in public, but here I am, giving the most I can about what you can do.

Its their business if they break rules. the times you stood up for yourself was the moment of time where you released your feelings therefore making you feel lighter and slightly happier although people may make fun of you for being allegedly "kiss ass" you decided to help nuns.

that is a great thing to do if it makes you happy. or they are being nasty because you just made it into the country of America. although you shouldn't give a care if they give you a hard time.

since I dealt with this kind of treatment for the whole of my life but the jokes or sum of the racist comments, just think about how it would be funny and laugh it off.

although if they get aggressive using touch as their resource, then defend yourself and your kids life.

and your sister? sorry for saying but I advise don't put a lot of trust in her as she would TURN you DOWN AND PUT you ON THE STREETS DURING your PREGNANCY. honestly since she's your family, give her random moments to redeem herself for trust.

so just shrug it off.

I think its their fault if they don't see the person standing in the same home with them is trying to have people be nicer.

but its the sad part of life you got to live with...

although people are strong enough to brave though life like a lot of people did before but don't realize it.

again, their fault.

i hope this made you realize a lot of people are bats inside a bucket hoping to be freed.

but you got to work for it.

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A female reader, AnnaSalenaz United States +, writes (31 May 2015):

Sorry for your troubles.

my advice is could you possibly look for another shelter?

Or even a job? To earn money to where you and your baby could have a better life, you could get your own place.

And about the females, I don't have many female friends either, I can't stand the drama and gossip that most girls bring. I don't think it's really you, maybe they are just threatened by you for some reason, either they think you're prettier or something like that?

I hope things get better for you :)

Best of luck :)

-Anna

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