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Hey guys, I’ve been having this problem for over a year now, and I’m really frustrated and lost on how to solve it. My cousin from China has immigrated to Australia to come and live with my family and I in order to have a better chance at getting into university (there is a lot of competition in China for university places). She is one of those people who gets excellent grades, has good looks, good communication skills – everything my parents and other family members praise her for and admire. She’s one year younger than me.

Ever since she has come to live with us, however, I have felt increasingly uncomfortable at home, as my cousin and I don’t really have much to talk about to each other (have grown up in different countries) and I can’t speak Chinese well enough to converse anyway. Also, I began to lose my self-esteem – my parents see absolutely no faults in her and always as me, ‘why can’t you be more like her?’ Not only that, my cousin is kind of obsessed with losing weight and slimming down (although she already has a pretty normal body shape). It especially seems as if she wants to surpass how skinny I am, and always discretely looks at how much food I put on my plate before putting food on hers, making sure to eat less than me. I think it’s this part, and the fact that my parents don’t notice any of her actions (and blame me for thinking too much) that upsets me the most. My cousin also acts very ‘girly’ and kind of superior around me (which, of course, goes unnoticed as well by my parents), which really irritates me. I mean, why can’t she just do her own thing, and stop being so competitive? She already achieves good marks in school, has good looks, etc. so why try to surpass me in every single other aspect?

My cousin stays at our house for free, and I can understand that, since it would be a bit awkward for my dad to accept money from my uncle for her to stay here (despite my uncle being quite rich). Another thing I have found very frustrating was the fact that my aunt had originally told us that she would be coming to Australia as well to find another place where she and my cousin could live, and yet did not come out as she promised, and so told us to give her another few months, but even then, she did not bother to come. My cousin explained that aunt ‘didn’t want to come to Australia because she doesn’t like it’, as if that would let her off the hook. Does that mean my dad, who has three of his own children to take care of, should also carry the responsibility to also take care of my cousin for more than a year? He has to do 12 hours of gruelling labour work every day!

Okay, I guess I wrote too much, so I just want to ask this. I have already (kind of) accepted the fact that my cousin has to stay here to live with us. But I just can’t stand the way she wants to surpass me in every aspect, especially for wanting to become slimmer than me and using the treadmill in our house to do so. Also, she keeps a close watch on what I do to slim down, and my parents tend to tell her everything I do, such as using the treadmill. So, when she moves out, they’ll probably blurt out that I use the treadmill almost every day (I haven’t used it for a year now since I feel uncomfortable exercising with her in the house), and so she will probably get a treadmill herself and exercise so the next time she sees me she’ll be skinnier than me. Yes, I know, this seems pretty paranoid, but this is just how I feel. Doesn’t anyone think that she and her parents are too unreasonable?!

Sorry guys, after reading what I wrote myself, I can’t help thinking I sound like a paranoid, selfish person. But I can’t think a way out of my situation :( Any advice, any at all, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance. 

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