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Money Issues with Dad
June 18, 2009
11:06 am
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Bubups
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Dear Friends in support, I've got an issue I'm dealing with and need your input.

I'm 28 and live away from home on another island separate from my parents. They live together in their own home, mortgage free with my younger brother (17) and sister (11).

I moved away two years ago and I’m now beginning to feel secure in terms of finances and getting myself on track to achieving my goals outside of a my job etc.

Almost every month, I send the equivalent of US 350 for my parents. This in my thinking is to help with expenses related to my brother and sister. My parents both work and earn decent salaries. Dad has however always had issues with managing money and this has therefore put my Mom under a lot of mental stress while we were growing up. I

Anyways, fast forward to last Wednesday. My dad called me to say he’s in a jam and needs some money. I swore it would be like 200 or something. Instead, he says he needed 800 dollars. I said Dad I don’t have access to that amount of money right now. I could hear him go silent. I said I will call the bank on Friday and see if my banking officer would grant me the favour of withdrawing some money from my fixed savings account. I said Friday as Thursday was a holiday.

Now don’t get me wrongly, I love my parents dearly, but was kinda taken aback when Dad called and not Mom. To me that indicated that she was not in agreement with it. I tossed the situation in my head over and over again. Though I have this money in my fixed savings account, I do not have ready access to it as this account is used as security for my car loan. I felt uncomfortable going to the bank and withdrawing money I work so hard to save to give to my father to get him out of a situation he needed not be in the first place. So I decided I would tell him I can’t help him this time.

I called and told him on Saturday. I could hear he was disappointed and he went on to give me a lecture about having money in a place in case they needed it and if I have a certain amount of money to send for them each month I must ensure I do so. This was making reference to the few months I was unable to send money.

I think he is rather out of place and I want to tell him this without being rude and disrespectful. Please help me plan a strategy to have a conversation with my dad.

Thanks in advance.

June 18, 2009
11:28 am
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cancer
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Hi,
BTW is your mom aware of this conversation or do you know exactly why your dad needs this money. Money is a difficult thing to just hand out especially if you work hard for it and have responsibilities, but take it from someone who have experienced money troubles, it causes a lot of problems between family and friends.
If its hard to explain to your dad why you dont have the money over the phone, can you email him your reasons maybe that way it will be easier for you or just be upfront with the truth (sometimes thats hard to hear)there is nothing disrespectful about that.

June 18, 2009
11:43 am
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atalose
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Bubups,

Does your father have any issues such as drinking/gambling/drugs?

I think it’s admirable you chose to send your parents 350.00 a month to help support your younger siblings, but with both of your parents working, that should not be your responsibility. It would seem that your father has become accustomed to that money, dependent of that money and that’s just not how it should be especially if he and your mother are capable of working and are in good health. It sounds like there is more to this then what you have disclosed. I’m not trying to sound mean, maybe your not ready to talk about or face other things right now and that’s ok.

I also wonder where your mother is with all of this and what her thinking is.

I understand you wanting to talk to him to tell him he is out of place but it would appear he doesn’t think he is. As much as we want to we can’t change other people we can only change our ourselves.

Rather then words via a phone call or e-mail how about just using your actions, continue to NOT send money and put that money into an account for YOU to use for an emergency YOU may have down the road.

If your father approaches you about that simple say I need to take care of me and I need the money I work hard for, for me and my well being.

Nothing says that you can’t buy things for your younger siblings and send them. Nothing says they can’t tell you what they may want or need. That way you will know you are giving directly to them and leaving out the middle man who miss manages the money anyway. Most likely your younger siblings aren’t benefiting from your hard earned money to begin with.

You know we can pick our friends but we can’t pick our families. However we can detach with love from them in order to keep ourselves sane and at peace.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 18, 2009
12:03 pm
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truthBtold
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WOW! You already send US$350.00 nearly every month and he is asking FOR MORE when both, as you say work and earn decent salaries AND live in their own home mortage free?

What's wrong with this picture????

To my mind, you are being generous beyond what most 28 year olds are able and willing to do already!

It sounds to me like they/he is taking advantage of your generous nature and trying to (unsucessfully)lay a guilt trip on you.

To address your point about a plan/strategy - I agree with Cancer.

Some boundaries need to be set here.

Being clear, direct, firm and specific as to how much you are able to help and where exactly that help STOPS is key.

Prepare yourself for some possible resistance (sp?) in rocking the boat in standing up for yourself - but hold steadfast to your boundaries and convictions, Bubups.

IF it were a situation in which one or both parents were to become sick and/or laid off from their 'decent salary jobs'...well, that would be another story altogether...but as it stands now, from what you post, it seems like your father needs to step up to the plate and be a man and take responsibility and ownership of why he has to ask his oldest daughter for financial support - you know?

Meanwhile, you may want to consider funneling that $350.00 for your younger siblings to a trust fund account or something that is only in their name as it just might stand to reason that the money you send now may not be going towards their well-being if how he treats his eldest child is any indication. (Just a suggestion.)

Being clear, direct, firm and specific I should think is the way to go in this situation.

June 18, 2009
12:48 pm
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Bubups
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Thank you so much for the support. After posting, I gave Mom a call, we spoke for 23 minutes and she never mentioned the money issue. That alone tells me she is in agreement with me.

You see, I have all sorts of internal battles. I am thinking, am I being ungrateful?

But I don't think I am. Since I moved here two years ago, I have paid for my Mom to come visit me twice and my little sister has also come twice, each trip costed 450US a pop. I also paid for my brother right after me to come visit me here from London and then paid for him to fly to see my parents. I also help pay for my sisters private schooling and when I was home last December I opened and early savers account for her. I have by no means forsaken my family. That is why I am so hurt that my dad has chosen to make those comments. Oh did I mention that in the last 2 years I have gone home 5 times to see my family an taken them on trips etc. while I was there?

It was not until the beginning of this year that I seriously started saving for me. I'm 28, will need to start my own family soon, and I want to have something to bring to the table when I have a partner.

When I say decent paying jobs, I mean decent. Mom is the Deputy Principal at a high school and Dad is a building contractor. He asked for the money to help offset expenses on a job he is doing. That is because he misappropriated funds entrusted to him by person whose building he is working on.

My Dad grew up very poor and I think he tries to make up for it by living lavishly when he gets his hand on money. I also have to consider that he has no savings and should something go wrong with his health, I will get that call. That is the call I want to be able to help with. Outside of that, I believe he must stand up to his responsibilities.

June 18, 2009
4:14 pm
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truthBtold
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Buburps,

"He misappropriated funds entrusted to him?"

"He grew up poor amd you think he tries to make up for it by living lavishly?"

Is this really your thing to deal with and somehow make right?????

Think for a minute that he is not your father and this is a situation being explained to you by a friend of yours about their dad.

How screwed up is this?

You know, family loyalty is one thing. Being taken advantage of your generous nature is quite another!

Seems to me that you ARE being taken advantage of already - and sister - you best cut these apron strings right now before it is too late!

Both your parents are healthy and able-bodied. Not your place to somehow 'make-up' for his poor upbringing.

Not your place at all. As a matter of fact - you probably should not even know about this to begin with!!!!!

That's what real, responsible adults do - they keep their own inner struggles to themselves and figure out their own way - and not dump it unto the eldest child as if something that she has to worry or do something about!!!!!

I tell ya, if you don't cut the strings right now and establish limits - he will just suck you dry - eventually!

Might be hard to read - but I guarantee, based on what you have shared - seems pretty inevitable to me.

An unhealthy pattern that you just have to nip in the bud RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!

June 22, 2009
3:30 pm
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Bubups
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truthBtold, thank you for your honest comments. I can't begin to tell you how heavy my heart feels right now.

I called yesterday to wish him a happy fathers day. As soon as I was done he reeled right into, if I can call back later, there is a business idea he wants to discuss with me. They were with company so he could not divulge at that moment. I have not called back since. This time he said "I don't know if your Mom briefed you when you spoke, but i've got a business idea to discuss with you".

Truth is, I don't want to get into any business. Like you said, I need to cut the apron string. My parents just need to let me be an adult and live and make my mistake and progresses on my own.

Dad uses this talk of "oh, we must work and build life together as a family". But thing is, I am 28 years old. Time for me to start building my own family. I have worked hard since I was a child. We had a grocery shop and at age 13 I was doing things to help that business thrive while other 13year olds were busy having fun and sleeping in on Saturday mornings. I was up along with my brother going to buy goods to replenish the supplies and then coming back to unpack them and start to help in the shop with the build up of customers.

I do not regret these experiences, they have helped to carve me into the person I am today. But my thing is, I have done my part. I just want to be free. I will continue to help when I can, which has been often so far.

Geez, why does life have to be so hard?

June 22, 2009
4:51 pm
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truthBtold
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Oh Buburps,

I am so sorry that you are having a heavy heart right now. You certaintly don't deserve it.

(But if it is any cosulation, please know that this is temporary.)

In re-reading my last post, I hope that it was not too abrasive. It's just that sometimes, there is just no other way to say something but to just let it all spill out in a blunt, to the point manner.

This is really kind of odd in your case, because usually when someone talks about cutting the apron strings with their parents - it's usually the other way around - you know?

I think that you already know what the deal is when you just said:

"But my thing is, I have done my part. I just want to be free. I will continue to help when I can, which has been often so far."

Yes. You HAVE DONE YOUR PART ALREADY!!!! Above and beyond, actually. Time for YOU!

You do what you can, what feels right in your heart and guts and then - well, that's it.

Like I said before though, expect some resistence. Maybe even going so far as as TRYING to push on your family loyalty/guilt buttons BIG TIME, for awhile - which I can tell might be mighty hard to resist, in the beginning, if in fact we still view our parents as some sort of 'authority fugures' rather than on a healthy, mutually respectful, one-to-one adult basis, as it should be.

For what it is worth, I think that you are doing an EXCELLENT job in continuing to maintain your focus on your healthy autonomy and boudaries - and also setting an example for your younger siblings on NOT what to get all caught up in with regard to your parents' agenda....at the possible risk of your own healthy life and future - you know?

Guilt and family loyalty - ahhh yes, these are the cards that some parents TRY TO PLAY BIG TIME!!!! They think that it is kind of their 'ace in the hole' sort of speak....but you are being so strong and clear-headed about all of this....just keep the course, sweetie!

It's NOT the end of the world for you to look out for your own well-being whatsoever! (Matter of fact, if you can believe this, there are actually some FUNCTIONAL family sytems in place which actually try hard to foster in a healthy way....just that!!!!)

Stick to your guns, Buburps - for there are many, many here whom are also and completely 100% "in your corner!!!!!!"

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