How much trouble should you put up with?

@rhinoboy (2129)
December 14, 2006 7:37am CST
My extended family seems do dump all of their problems on my wife and I. They have various serious troubles like alcoholism, debt & finance trouble, mental health issues etc. My wife and i don't have these problems, but only because we work hard and try to live our lives 'right'. We're always the first ones they call because they seem to think that we have some kind of odyllic life and have no problems. We have enough worries of our own and could really do without the added stress of worrying about them, but they don't ever consider that. We have supported all of them emotionally (and financially where possible) for the past 5 years or so, but now have a new baby, huge mortgage, reduced income and professional studies to cope with ourselves. Yet we still don't ask them for support. I feel tempted to tell people to stay away from us, unless they can just enjoy spending time together without dumping their problems on us, but I feel bad for thinking this as we love and care for these people. Have you been in a similar situation? Can you offer any good advice on how to cope with this. I am getting to the end of my tether and don't want to do something I may regret in the future.
5 people like this
37 responses
@krankies (811)
• United States
14 Dec 06
Your family views you as a dependable, stable couple, with their heads on straight. They come to you because they trust you and look up to you. You need to encourage those with problems to seek proffesional help. The others listen to and cut the conversation short. Give no advice, justice listen and agree or knod your head, they soon will find someone else to complain to if your not giving them the respond they would like to hear. Good Luck!
@jeffaim (215)
• United States
14 Dec 06
I agree with this advice, and would possibly take it one step further. Since you have been emotionally supporting them for so long, maybe it is time for you to try to lean on them for emotional support. If they are complaining about money, you can shoot it right back at them how hard it is with new mortgage, new baby, etc. I know that you don't want to "burden" them as they have done to you, but if you do not share your own problems yet allow them to continue to share theirs, then they will never learn that you are NOT perfect, always available for them, and their own personal counselor and savior.
• Italy
15 Dec 06
ok
@Bevsue (251)
• United States
14 Dec 06
One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that your really don't help people by taking care of them. It seems cruel but often the best thing to do is refuse to help them so that they learn to take care of themselves. The more you help them the more you will ALWAYS have to help them.
2 people like this
@rhinoboy (2129)
14 Dec 06
Thanks. I know that this is what I must do. I can't really help much anyway in any practical sense, but it's really hard to watch someone you love so much drink their life away.
1 person likes this
@hizzle13 (645)
• United States
14 Dec 06
You can only take so much negativity before it takes its toll on you. i think you need to gradually distance yourself as much as possible from them, until you are at a level your comfortable with.
2 people like this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
14 Dec 06
you may not feel fortunate however you are fortunate to have a family. It is all about boundaries and perhaps you could maybe after a great, hopefully not drama filled family meal where you are all together. You and your wife and you leading if it is your family take a stand and politely and with familial love tell them that getting together is wonderful however the drama has to stop. You would prefer them to be on their best behavior and for each that will be different and quality time will be the goal. Some can agree and some can't so then the get togethers will have to slowly change. As the family gets healthier and hopeful that will happen then the more difficult folk can be included in the now stronger group! Hope this gives you something to think about, I have heard that this works. Seems a shame however you might be THE one that needs to take charge until this can be done by committee. Good luck!
@mansha (6301)
• India
14 Dec 06
You know family is always family no matter how bad they are.I have been coping with mine for so many years now.I have been loaning them finances for so long and have been rebuked recentlyt that we do it for our own freewill,they could have coped without our help and not long after that there was yet another call to bail them out again.Wanted to really tell them that I am not willing but could not stoop so low to their level so just rushed the money over forgetting about any celebrations this year,still feel like getting something for the kids atleast. will have to have a fight with hubby over this though to make him give some money. He always has some for them but never for us and I get blamed for being so freewilled with money.I think I will just take it in my stride and you do the same.SOme problems never have a solution.
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
16 Dec 06
family greetings - there are alot of families that experience some sort of strife on the holidays, in fact an problems already in existence usually get bigger during those times
Thanks for the kind words, just think people should treat each other right. First off, any chance for a new hostess? Also talk to her if she is ever sober and maybe work something out that makes it seems that she can have more fun with help since many hands make light work and a little less drinking. A new cook could be a good thing. Run interference for the gay relative he will appreciate you for that. Barring any of that maybe rent a hotel conference room and everybody chips in and pays for the drinkers rooms and catering to make it easy for everybody and that neice if she is underage she should stay with adults!!! I hope that things go more smoothly this holiday season. Some phone calls before then might band those of you with like mind together before you all show up and can support each other! Good luck!! Merry Christmas
@TerryZ (22146)
• United States
14 Dec 06
ask your wife If she feels the same as you. If she does then gradually drift away from them. You both have to be in sink with each others feelings. If you tell to stay away that will cause more of a problem for you guys. Just be polite to them when you both speak to them. if they ask why are you do distant just say we have been sooooooooo busy. And change the subject. Soon they will drift into the atmsphere and never to be seen again. Try it wont hurt at all.
• Canada
15 Dec 06
Everybody needs support and has the right to seek it. And you're not moaning to us, you are eloquently explaining your situation to us and asking for our suggestions. That's no moaning! Moaning is "I hate my family, why don't they leave me alone, they are terrible people," etc. You aren't doing that. You care about them, but they are taking a toll on you and you want to know what to do about it _bacause_ you care about them. And if we didn't want to listen, we could have skipped this thread. ;) ~Wyrdsister
@profclark (512)
• United States
14 Dec 06
Practice some tough love. Listen to them, but steer them to find their own solution, and offer no help. If they ask you for help, politely, but firmly tell them no. They might be put off for a bit, but they will figure out a way to take responsibility for their own situations, as you have done for yourself and your family.
1 person likes this
@rhinoboy (2129)
14 Dec 06
I'm tempted to give you 'best answer' just because you used the phrase 'tough love', magic, mate. Magic!
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
14 Dec 06
Yes I have and basically in the End I had to tell them I can't do it anymore and that they have to learn to deal with it all and get on with their lifes as well as possible I think you have figured out my Situation from some of discussions and to be honest I am still trying to deal with all the changes I have had in my Life in 2 Years but I have to deal with it You Wife does not need it either with a new Baby there so I am sorry to Rhinoboy you have to be cruel to be kind and tell them nicely and tell them that they are lucky to have you both as there are other People that have to do it and don't get the support they do Explain to them that you would like to spend time with them and you love spending time and that you know and understand what they are going through and that you love them but that you have things to deal with as well specially now with your Circumstances to I hope this helps you a bit and I hope it gets sorted I really do
@rhinoboy (2129)
15 Dec 06
Thanks Gaby, I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and dish out some 'tough love' (I LOVE that phrase!). We have made a bit of a stand by making it clear that we are having christmas dinner at home with no guests this year, but I think that I'll have to try to engineer some visits where we can enjoy some time together sober.
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
15 Dec 06
Yes that sounds like a good Idea I do hope you get it sorted though I know what you are going through
@susanscs (268)
• Spain
15 Dec 06
I say if they are dumping on you, dump them! You have your own life to lead with all of your own issues to deal with. Family life is hard enough without having to be dragged down by extended family, even if you do love them. You and yours comes first everytime.
@ThulsZ (784)
• India
15 Dec 06
mntn - mntn
any one may not feel fortunate however you are fortunate to have a family. It is all about boundaries and perhaps you could maybe after a great, hopefully not drama filled family meal where you are all together. You and your wife and you leading if it is your family take a stand and politely and with familial love tell them that getting together is wonderful however the drama has to stop. You would prefer them to be on their best behavior and for each that will be different and quality time will be the goal. Some can agree and some can't so then the get together will have to slowly change. As the family gets healthier and hopeful that will happen then the more difficult folk can be included in the now stronger group!
@iluvujoy (311)
• Philippines
15 Dec 06
I am still single and I do not have my own family. Likewise with my brothers and sister. But my mother is the confidant of their family. My grandmother will go to our house and pour out all her emotions and problems to my mother, who is very willing to listen and react. I suggest that you just still listen to their problems but in cases of financial problem, just tell them honestly that you are also in the same boat with them. Just be honest with your eal situation and do not let them assume that everything is okay with you. Still listen to them and react and be honest with your side. God bless you!
@harsh1985 (595)
• India
15 Dec 06
according to above situation you are treated in your family as a stable,responsible person having reliably good income and ofcourse you have them with your highest effort.first i will congratulate you. first you concern with your wife. if she agree with your feelings gradually increase the distance. start to deny help for some issues with respect. if possible explain your limitation. if they understand it they surely accept your feelings but if they maintain their attitude; just break the relationship because such kind of relatives doesn't make any sense and will not help you in your bad patch.
@jal1948 (1361)
• India
15 Dec 06
Your wife and you do have a problem a bigger problem than your extended families because you are their dumping ground for their problems .They want your relationship for what they can get from you on their terms and conditions.They have studied your nature,the fault lies in you putting them and their unending needs before your own. You need to reverse this on a war footing. Tell them in a kind but firm voice that you have your own life to lead and there is a limit to take on thier responsibilities.
• India
15 Dec 06
You can maintain a distance from your family.You can rent a house/flat near your current residence. This may help to reduce your problem.
• Nigeria
15 Dec 06
I must commend your effort on them... since they seems not to understand what you are going thru i think you should let them know what you are going thru. I must just say that you are the causes of it all coz if you had told them that u are financially down at the first place they will have it on the back of thier mind that if they come to you u will not give them a listening ear... now that it is difficult to turn your back agaist them... i will advice you to sit them down and tell them what you are going thru.. thanks
• Canada
15 Dec 06
First of all you need to cut them off financially. I also think you need to be honest with them about what an emotional strain they are putting on you. Set some ground rules, and tell them that if they choose not to abide by them you will have to distance yourself from them. These relationships are not healthy for you. Don't let it come to having problems in your marriage, or life in general. You can love them without being floor mat.
@jayarajgr (818)
• India
15 Dec 06
It is common in todays time to blame all the problems on others. Nobody is ready to take the cause of the problems
@padhukr (2267)
• India
15 Dec 06
trust in god and you will win
@joy139 (58)
• India
15 Dec 06
dude... may b what you shud do is balance things. you are currently running on an extreme of providing care and support for ur folks... start denying support 1 out of 3 times with excuse of some personal trouble. then after sometime, start supporting only for most urgent issues... if financial trouble is a worry, dont hesitate to tell tha you are also in a crunch and cant do anything. one point that you have to remember, my friend is that, once you feel obligated to help, there is no rule that you need to feel that same obligation always.
@beverly1 (1131)
• United States
15 Dec 06
im sorry for you you only take so much
@malsun (1528)
• United States
15 Dec 06
If the situation is beginning to affect you then you must stop turning up with your shoulders to cry on everytime they call you. If you do it a couple of times, they would stop calling you!