We were generous financially, equally, to our three children, for weddings, down payments and gifts.
After we lost our business, we suffered years of financial difficulties and health issues.
One daughter and son-in-law stepped in to assist.
Our other children said, “We’re busy... hire help; we don’t lend money to family."
We kept quiet to keep the peace.
Recently we received a small inheritance. We treated our daughter and son-in-law to a long weekend in a nearby city.
We wish we could pay back all their financial help, but we cannot.
When our other children learned about the trip, they yelled at us for being unfair, insisting they also deserve trips and threatening that unless we give them equal value in money, they’ll never visit us again.
We cannot let them continue bullying us. What do we do?
Respond firmly and finally.
Example: “You denied us help when we needed it. Your sister and brother-in-law spent far more than that trip cost to provide that help.”
I’m usually all for family harmony. But these are selfish and uncaring adults. They’ve shown that their only interest in you as parents is in any money you may have, no matter how little.
If there are grandchildren involved, add this sentence:
“The example you’d set by not visiting us, will teach your children to be just like you when you need help one day… by turning away.”
Sadly, it’s obvious that if you don’t take this stand, they’ll be even less caring if you need help when older, looking only toward what they might inherit.
I have a severe cat allergy, which doesn’t respond to allergy medication. If I’m in a room with a cat, I get severe asthma, and, eventually, anaphylaxis (i.e. my throat closes up and I can't breathe).
I also cannot go anywhere a cat has been, unless the room has been cat-free for at least one or two months (verified by my family doctor and an allergist through testing).
My husband's adult sister (the “baby” of the family) has a pet cat, which she occasionally brings to my in-laws' house for cat-sitting. She also brings the cat to the family cottage.
My husband has repeatedly asked her not to do either (she got upset with him) and also asked his parents to ask her, too. He’s even offered to go to his sister's home to cat-sit.
However, his sister insists that she’ll continue, and my in-laws say they like having the cat over. Both parents are skeptical about my cat allergy, and always ask why I won't go to the family cottage (Thanksgiving included).
We’d love to go to the cottage and my in-laws’ house. I’m angry with them for their insensitive behaviour. Neither they nor my sister-in-law will “sacrifice” anything for my needs.
My husband has forwarded them online medical information on cat allergies. I’ve stayed out of the fray, as he’s taken up this fight. I’m not even sure that telling them all off would be helpful.
Deathly Allergic with Uncaring In-Laws
Tell them off. You have nothing to lose.
Currently, you can’t visit them or enjoy the cottage. If your sister-in-law’s clothing carries whatever’s dangerous for you from the cat’s constant presence, and if her parents have been near the cat, it’s also too risky for you to have them at your place.
Your husband should speak up plainly: They’re choosing the cat over his wife… and therefore him, too.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the divorced man who’s terrified that the next woman will again deplete his finances (July 14):
“I’m a woman who agrees with him.
“I’ve known many women who’ve "taken (a guy) to the cleaners" after divorcing, usually with no children involved.
“I know many women who own homes, not from their own finances, but by divorce or common-law breakups.
“One ex-friend is waiting to divorce her third husband, after his father dies beforehand so she can get that inheritance.
“Meanwhile, she’s kicked the husband out of his home, filed several police reports on him, and receives a monthly income from him (under the advice of his lawyer!), while waiting for the father's money.
“I can understand why this letter-writer is leery of marriage or co-habitation with a woman. But so many men are just plain stupid in the face of divorce. So give this man some credit for knowing the score.”
Tip of the day:
Dealing with uncaring and insensitive family? If explanations and peace making don’t work, walk away. You’ve already lost them.