Living in The Philippines > Philippine Culture, Filipino Family Relationships

Does this mean I'm a Scrooge?

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The one big aspect of the Filipino culture that I have trouble dealing with is family members turning up uninvited to stay at our house. I'm the kind of person that likes my personal space and privacy, and likes to be able to choose when I have people over to stay or not.

I don't have a problem with people popping in to visit for a couple of hours. But our in-laws coming to stay, generally speaking, really gets on my nerves.

Perhaps its the lack of privacy - granted, our house at this point is small-ish and when there are visitors over it just seems to fill up quickly and everyone just feels in my face. One time we had a death in our family and I was really upset, and they were just there, noisy as ever, their kids slamming the front door when they went in and out, and it was just hard.

Perhaps it's the behaviour - many family members, when they are here, spend all their time gossiping about other family members and basically trying to stir up trouble. They don't control their kids - and the kids mess up our CR by squatting on the toilet, leaving it filthy and muddy, and never flushing their number twos. I have to lock away our important stuff or it gets messed with or goes missing. Also, people just act like they own the place when they are here - they randomly walk into the kitchen and start cooking stuff, doing their laundry, cleaning the house their way whether I like it or not, doing stuff to the garden...

The idea of one of them wanting to come and live with us and having to deal with that is my worst nightmare. And on normal days, I dread the idea of any of them turning up to visit - and they do, at any random time, and they come in and put their stuff on the bed which means "they're staying". No permission, no phone call in advance...

If I want my personal space (which I know is very un-Filipino), and I would rather not people come to stay uninvited, does that make me a mean old scrooge? Or just a normal foreigner who can't adjust to this difficult aspect of the culture?

On the one or two occasions when we have refused someone to enter our property (one when I was unwell and another when the guy who wanted to visit was drunk), we were bad-mouthed to the whole family. That kind of thing concerns me because I don't want enemies here.

How have others who feel like me dealt with this problem? Can I deal with this without causing world war 3 in the family... or turning every one of them into an enemy?

Why on earth are you tolerating such behaviour ?

It is NOT normal, and it is not acceptable.

You need to tell your partner that.

It seems to me that you have got off very much 'on the wrong foot' with the family. 

I tolerate it, HOWEVER, I get along great with my entire family.  There are normally 10 to 15 people in the house (no joke).  Having said that, they are here because they are welcome here, I am not a super private person and dont mind the family here at all.  When I want quiet I just go to my room. 
You really need to have a talk with your wife/gf and give her some ground rules (understanding her side a little as you move along in that conversation).   Family is everything here, but you are entitled to your privacy, and some of the behavior you mentioned is total bs and nobody should put up with that.

Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am:
I don't have those problems anymore ever since we moved far away and bought our home in a gated subdivision where no one gets in without our permission. It's just I, my wife and her teenage newphew living in our home. I like it just fine.

I grew up in a big family with 3 older sisters who ALWAYS had people over.  It was crazy.  But, my dad took it but didn't really enjoy it.  Thing is, he always had "his" room and also his and my mother's bedroom to go hid away in if he had too much.  Each how "his" room changed from a family room to a den to a workshop and so on.  But he could escape.

I am like my dad.  I can take it.  I don't enjoy a full house.  Just me.  And I told Tina that and that under no circumstance is she to invite a large party over or even more than one friend without talking to me.  Family is the same as friends to me.

Like you, it's the kids that are the worse.  Always looking for something to take, even if not proper.  When I first got here stuff was always disappearing because of those kids, even the family ones.  So like you I got sick of hiding things to keep them safe.  That is when I ended that.  Told Tina that when she invites her friends/sisters...that does NOT include their kids.

Where I grew up in Michigan...this did not happen.  I NEVER went into a friends house just to hunt for stuff that is not mine with the intent to play with it or steal it.  Who raises kids like this?  These are animals, not kids.  Same with the destroying the toilet.  There is one public bathroom in our house.  One of her sisters, the one that destroys toilets the worse walked into our bedroom with full intent of using our bathroom.  I stopped that right away.  She played dumb.  "But I need CR." I respond "Is there someone in the one off kitchen?" Still playing dumb points at our bathroom "I need CR" and starts walking towards it again.

Finally Tina got after her as she heard the conversation from the living room.

Two things my dad hated and warned us about when we bring friends.  They better have manners and be well behaved or they won't be invited back.  I acted as my dad expected me to act.  Mannerly and well behaved.  I'm not saying there are no kids like that here.  I now a few business owners who are very hard on their kids to be mannerly and respectful.  But they are the rare occasion here in my experience.

You are not a scrooge and you probably have put up with far, far more than I would ever put up with.  It's your house.  If your guests do not respect it, they do NOT respect you.  Ban them till they learn to respect you and your house.  That's what I did with a couple kids and one of Tina's friends.  (Tina didn't mind, she was more of a work peer.)


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