Joined the forum just to vent (and maybe seek some advice?)
From the time I first met my SIL, she has been in a constant state of crisis. Initially I felt sorry for her (since it seemed she had had some bad breaks) but I quickly realized that her “bad breaks” were the direct result of making some incredibly poor choices. Background: her parents paid for her degrees (bachelors and MBA) and supported her until she was married. Her husband is employed, but makes a relatively small salary, and both SIL and her husband live beyond their means (WAY beyond). Whenever she is in financial trouble, she immediately calls my husband (i.e. her brother) to bail her out. My DH is a physician and is generally regarded as being “the successful one” in his family, so she basically treats him as though he is an ATM she can get money from whenever she wants. If he refuses to give her money, she complains to her mother (i.e. my MIL), and MIL calls DH and demands he give SIL the money. If DH still refuses, then MIL will give SIL the money, but then MIL will call DH asking for money, saying she is broke because she had to bail out SIL. (Then he usually caves, because MIL/FIL are retired and on a fixed income.)
Just a few highlights from the past 8 years I have known SIL:
- Quit her job while pregnant, saying she felt too sick to work, then constantly complained of being broke and needing money for the baby’s things. Once the baby was born, had a full-time nanny come in to look after the kid while she did absolutely nothing all day.
- Did not get another job for about 5 years, citing post-partum depression. Non-stop requests for money. She had to move several times during this period as rent was too high or some other issue; always needed money to move, buy new furniture, etc.
- While still unemployed, she decided that she wanted to live in San Francisco. Note that neither she nor her husband work there (her husband’s job is a work-from-home set-up, so it could be done from anywhere). Also, neither she nor her husband have family there, they just want to live in one of the most expensive cities in the US because “they like it”.
- Then she decided that they “needed” to BUY a townhome in San Francisco (!!!) This place costs more than DH’s and my house (in the Midwest), and our income is many times what theirs is! Guess who they wanted to fund the downpayment?
And while all this is going on:
- Trip to Paris (spiritual necessity to visit some shrine there)
- Trip to Tuscany (I don’t even know the rationale for this one)
- Multiple trips to the Philippines (where MIL and FIL live)
- Many additional trips to Disneyland, Las Vegas, and various locales along the California coast.
- Regular massages and various other therapies and treatments (necessary to reduce stress). Also needs many supplements, essential oils, etc., “critical” for health reasons.
- Organic everything (the only healthy choice).
- Designer clothes, shoes, purses etc. since she needs to look her best or she might fall into a depression again. (Note that she spends more on clothes to be unemployed in than I do on clothes for my $100K+ office job). Same goes for her husband and kid – only the best.
- All the latest technology (iPad, iPhone, etc.) are necessities, since she “may” need them to look for and apply for a job at some point. Same for her husband and kid; all gadgets are necessary. (Also, her husband spends $$$ on comic books, Xbox, video games, etc, because “hobbies are so important, they help relieve stress”.)
But then: PLOT TWIST! She DID get a job, at a bank. (I am as surprised as you are!) Finally, I thought! Things are turning around! My elation was short-lived though, as she was recently fired for malingering. (This is another story altogether: she continually insists that she is suffering from various ailments that prevent her from working (but not from shopping or going to the spa or what-have-you).) At the same time she announced the firing she also announced she has 20K+ on her credit cards that she can’t pay.
So, I’m certain that she won’t be getting another job for a while (if ever); surely she will need time and all kinds of stress relieving treatments/purchases to get over the trauma of being fired. Maybe a trip to Hawaii or something too, so that she can relax and get over the stress of that incident.
I don’t know what it is that bothers me the most: the fact that she takes zero responsibility for anything that is happening in her life (attributing all her problems to “bad luck”, while apparently my DH’s and my relative success in life is due to “good luck” and nothing else)? The fact that her working assumption in every situation is that other people are supposed to take care of her, and that my DH has some kind of moral obligation to continue to support her ad infinitum because she’s “family”? The fact that she feels completely comfortable sitting on her a$$ and blowing all this money on her various “needs” while my DH works long hours at a difficult, stressful job to earn said money (and BTW, DH had a heart attack last year at age 45)? Note that she has never once (in the 8 years DH and I have been together) called DH to say something like “Happy birthday!” or “Sorry about your heart attack!”, etc. Every single call is a request for money. She apparently feels no guilt. In fact, her attitude towards DH is almost hostile, like: “You have money, I need money, why are you not writing me a check right now?! Why are you not getting this?!”
Honestly, this has caused a lot of conflict between DH and myself. I really feel he needs to cut her off and tell her how disrespectful it is for her to behave this way. But he does not want to upset his parents, who also see him as having a moral obligation to support his “poor” sister. I am truly afraid we are going to be supporting her for the rest of her life. I sometimes experience She-Hulk-like rage when I think about the fact that, despite my lifetime of frugal, debt-free living and saving to achieve my goals of early retirement, college for my 2 children, traveling the world, etc, the reality is that I am likely going to end up working longer because of the amount of money that is being siphoned off our household income to go to her. I mean, in some ways the money that was meant to support DH’s and my early retirement and world travel is supporting HER (current) “early retirement” and world travel! Seriously, sometimes I will be sitting there clipping coupons or something and a wave of fury will wash over me as I consider that all the money I’m working so hard to save is going directly to someone who has never clipped a coupon in her life (and would never consider doing something so “beneath her”). GAH!!!
Sorry for the super-long rant, just needed to get this off my chest!