- 5 years ago
This might be a bit long and I’ll try to pare it down, but could really use your advice on this one! Going anon because I don’t want Darling Husband to see me asking about this.
DH’s family has money problems. His parents are divorced. His father was MIA for 10 years of his life due to drug addiction and eventually his mom took him to court and he was ordered to backpay for years of child support. However, the number was a random number that she made up and did not need to be substantiated. At this point, his father has been back in his life for approximately 6 years and currently still pays back support and current child support as the daughter is still in college. He has no education and goes from job to job and is constantly ‘woe is me’ and doesn’t take ANY accountability for the life choices he’s made. He constantly complains to Darling Husband about his money problems and the problems with his mother even though Darling Husband has flat out told him, repeatedly, not to talk to him about those things.
His mom lives in the house she grew up in, which was paid off. She received substantial life insurance policies when her father died. She doesn’t manage money well and cashed out bonds in her sons’ names that were intended for their education to pay bills (She was a full time tenured teacher). The last two years that Darling Husband lived there he paid $250/mo in rent, and bought all his own food. He was the only one of 3 siblings paying rent. Every income tax he would give his mom an additional $1k to help. She recently needed to buy a new car and took out a $60k home equity loan to buy one and make some repairs to the house. Every. Single. Phone call is about how strapped she is for money (she is no longer working but receives a small pension, disability, occasionally receives child support [father usually works under the table] and has medicare). Last month, Darling Husband gave her $1k. Now she is saying she has to pawn some items, in an attempt to get him to offer to give her more money.
It’s to the point that he doesn’t even want to talk to his mom or dad anymore, which he feels terrible about, but he feels that their money troubles are not his problem to fix. I agree. His whole family guilts him into it being his responsibility though, because he makes more than any of them.
At this point he has finally convinced her to sell the house that is too big to maintain and will move her into a garden style condo, but the house is in such awful condition it will likely sell for 25% of what a house in that neighborhood would sell for. I’m concerned that she hasn’t been honest with her debt situation though, so who knows what she’ll even be able to afford with the profits. I also fear that once she moves, it won’t be long before he starts receiving phone calls asking for money again. Just to clarify, he has only given her money from HIS established savings account, not from our joint account.
I feel like I have to be very careful about how to respond to him and I mostly just let him vent, but I really want to tell him to just stop talking to them because it really dampens his spirit. I can always tell when he has talked to them because he goes from being happy and cheery to sullen. Obviously, easier said than done and I don’t honestly feel he should stop talking to them….but nothing seems to get through to them.
I was curious what the consensus is. Do you think it’s the child’s responsibility to take care of the parent? Have you ever cut yourself off from a parent? She is in her 50’s, so I’m not talking about an elderly parent.