Author Topic: drawing the line  (Read 6313 times)

cadamsgis

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drawing the line
« on: August 05, 2012, 03:44:59 PM »
Here’s the story.....
A year ago part of my extended family (BIL, SIL and 2 kids) moved into my basement. They stayed for 1 year just moving out at the beginning of July. (I had been trying to get them moved out since end of March – but there were always all kinds of excuses...  but that is besides the point). I’m just super duper fucking glad they are gone.

While they were actually in the house I had no problems with them paying their bills. But once they actually left my SIL wanted to argue with me about the final bills - claiming they didn't drink any water for an entire month....even though she knew she was lying considering I asked her about at least 3 gallons of water she was carting out the day they moved. I said fine – fine Silvia - we’ll just take this part of the water bill off. I had let it go – decided it wasn’t worth starting a family war over a few dollars.

But since then I have discovered that she took some of my stuff - towels, washcloths, water bottles, etc. Which I can assure you has but a bee in my bonnet. The total cost of all the stuff she took is negligible. Normally I would be like whatever – just let it go. But the thing that burns my ass is that I had nicely mentioned to her about a week before they moved that when she packs her stuff please be careful not to take any of mine (I detest clutter and I really don’t have that much stuff but the stuff I have I have it for a reason – I like it). She says ok – no problem. Well, she still hadn’t packed up her stuff from the kitchen the day before they were supposed to move and I was gifting her with all my old pots and pans (I had bought a new set and wanted to put it away) – so I set them and all of her other stuff on the table.

So since my stuff has disappeared – I was thinking about it she had to physically come upstairs open my closet and storage areas and intentionally take my shit. It’s not like all the towels were washed together and she could have mistaking taken the wrong ones – never in the entire year that they were here did our stuff comingle with theirs. I had almost let it all go in my head - just telling myself that it just wasn’t that important. Well Sunday we are all ready to go bike riding and we can’t find a single fucking water bottle anywhere in the house – she has taken everyone I had. So of course I get all pissed off again.

I understand that I perhaps am being a bit ridiculous because it’s just some stuff. But it’s the principle of the matter. And I’m pissed off. She wants to act like she my best friend but then she is giving me the clear message of fuck you (or at least that is what I feel like). Like she pulled a fast one over on me.

Well, on Friday I had to go to her new place for something for her husband that I agreed I would help with – no problem. After we conclude that business – I saw a bottle sitting on the table. I tell her my water bottles are missing and describe them (because like I said I don’t have that much stuff – it’s noticeable when it’s gone). You should have seen the look on her face – like a kid caught stealing candy at the store. She then goes and gets one of them so then I have to ask for the others, which she then produces... So I ask her Silvia why did you take my stuff?  She just shrugs and says I forgot. Well she didn’t say sorry or I really like these I didn’t think you would mind or anything. I calmly tell her that I don’t like this – this is not good for me.

I would have had my say and never mentioned it again. She could keep everything else –whatever. Made sure she understood that I did not accept this type of behavior. I waited for an entire month – trying to just let it go and not wanting to overreact. I felt if I didn’t say anything it would be condoning this behavior and generally setting up a president that it wasn’t a problem if my stuff walked away.

Which if this was the end of the story everything would be fine –turns out that she needs my help again. Previously I have offered assistance to her and others in the family (mostly paperwork, looking up stuff on computer, translating (my extended family doesn’t speak English), gone to hospital with them when the kids are sick, etc, etc, etc.

Friday after the whole incident after I told her this was not acceptable and I didn’t like it. She didn’t apologize or anything – which is fine she is an adult and doesn’t have to apologize for anything she doesn’t want to. She tells she needs a favor. This favor involves some paperwork she needs that enables her to claim some benefits that equate to approximately 500 dollars month. I said no - no more favors. The bitch should have thought of that before stole my shit and then not even apologizing for it after she was caught.

So now she has called up my husband about how I won’t help her and she doesn’t understand why I won’t help her ....blah blah blah. Which I’m not sure what she thought that was going to get her (honestly I know exactly what she thought that was going to get – because her husband is the boss of her and she jumps when he says jump - she figured my husband would make me do it but we don’t operate like that in our house and she well knows it- which I must admit is pissing me off too) – but then of course now me and my husband have had a fight over it. I’m like look I am not responsible for her and her stuff. My responsibilities include me, you, our dogs and our parents. She was wrong and won’t even admit she was wrong and I don’t have to do a fucking thing I don’t want to do.

Granted she will always be my family but I am not going out of my way for people who treat me like that.... I have noticed that there are takers on that side of the family - major entitlement. they used to always ask my husband for loans and never paying him back (he has stopped doing this as much - which I am glad), I even had one of them tell me the other day that it's not important for my husband to work or get paid back because my husband doesn't need money because he's married to me and I have a good job and can pay all the bills.....

What’s your opinion?

-If someone does you wrong and shows no remorse - do you just keep giving out favors to the takers or do you draw the line?

-Or does it matter the level of wrongness or is it principle of the matter?

-Am I just being petty and mean?

Thanks
cat

arebelspy

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2012, 04:53:38 PM »
At first I thought you were being a little ridiculous, but as I read more and more I got more and more annoyed with your SIL.

Unfortunately, there's probably not a lot you can do besides continue to distance yourself.

Make sure your husband is on the same page, because the line of:
Quote
they used to always ask my husband for loans and never paying him back (he has stopped doing this as much - which I am glad)

Is worrisome to me.  Not doing it as much means he still is sometimes, and if he knows you don't like it, he very well could be doing it more and not telling you, just slipping them some on the side.  Hopefully not.

In this case, it's probably better to help with some paperwork that gets them the 500/mo. benefit, cause otherwise you may end up paying some of that as a never-to-be-paid-back "loan."

I think clear communication with your husband (and not just griping, but discussion) is the most fruitful thing you can do.

Sorry you're in this situation, that sucks.
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Dee

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2012, 05:17:47 PM »
I agree with you there's a matter of principle here. It goes to trust and decency and showing a modicum of respect for others. Your refusing any further favours is not an over reaction -- if anything, it's an underreaction!

cadamsgis

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 05:50:13 PM »
thanks for the response

Actually my husband is the one who told me that he doesn't loan out money anymore because it never finds its way back and he has told at least 3 of his brothers and an uncle the same thing. (I realized once you highlighted it that it sounded like I wasn’t sure if he was still doing it on the sly). He knows we are working towards our 5 YEAR PLAN to be debt free and it totally on board with that (we have paid off about 31K in debts since October 2011).
 
And part of the business concluded on Friday was the repayment of 400 her husband borrowed from my husband last November. But in order to get that money back I had to bring it up when they wanted me to cash an insurance settlement check for them that I’d be happy to help them – when would we see our 400 returned? And the only reason I asked about it is Silvia (my SIL) told me one day in March that everyone knows if you want money just ask Manuel (my husband) and everyone knows you don’t have to pay it back. I was absolutely floored to think that is how they think of him. Her husband is one of the ones who told me that Manuel doesn’t have to work or need money. So since that money is helping with our debt snowball….I wasn’t helping with the check if we didn’t get it back

We do provide money to his parents back in Mexico - which I am totally down with. My problem is that the brothers and uncles (he has 7 of them that live here in the US of which none of them send any money home to the parents) all have tons of shit - like trucks, cars, flat screen tvs bigger then my car's windshield, etc but like to act like my husband is the bank of Maryland. They also have 2 tvs going in each room so the children can watch cartoons and the moms can watch soap operas at the same time – which of course is fine they can do whatever they want. But don’t come to us with some sob story about needing money. If there were true needs - like food, medicine etc we would help but this is not the case.

My husband recently was off work for a month with a back injury and not a one of the brothers or uncles even offered to buy him a cup of coffee (which is fine we don’t need their money and I had brought it up in discussion before about the loans but it really hit home the point to him that it is not a two way street).

Plus I have also had a discussion with family (here in the USA) in the difference between a loan and a gift – I explained in a jokingly manner the difference in the words in both spanish and english. And that we now understand the difference so don’t ask for a loan when you have no intention of ever paying it back. Plus I showed them my little notebook where I have a list of all my debts and I showed them I have a space for loans so when they are paid off I mark them out. I think this has cut down dramatically on the requests plus the fact that Manuel just says I can’t loan you any money because it never comes back.

Which is actually pretty awesome considering how his brothers have just taken advantage of him over and over and over again. Of course he has let that happen too. But he does have an extremely generous heart which I tell him is great but there is a difference in helping someone out and people taking advantage of you.

But he has started developing his mustache and keeps saying thing like – we have to think of our future....

Of course - I'm well aware of my ridiculousness too and as I typed all this it occurred to me that my attitude about the paperwork is mostly likely colored with all of this bullshit too.

What is that old adage – “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”

Or maybe it should be “don’t try and fuck over people who help you by stealing their shit”

thanks cat


gooki

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 06:04:00 PM »
Unfortunately, there's probably not a lot you can do besides continue to distance yourself.

Make sure your husband is on the same page, because the line of:

Agreed.

My flatmates during my first year at university were friends with a serial thief. As much as I liked my flatmates, the best thing I ever did was remove myself from that circle of people. I'm more than happy to share my stuff, but having bicycles  and snowboarding equipment mysteriously disappear, then having to badger the fuck out of them to get it back was way more effort that it was worth.

I'll assume your SIL isn't clinically diagnosed with a mental handicap, so what's stopping her completing the forms on her own?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 06:08:02 PM by gooki »

cadamsgis

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 06:10:37 PM »
SIL has no computer skills and no english

but you know what - they were making it perfectly fine before I came into the picture - they'll manage

"then having to badger the fuck out of them to get it back was way more effort that it was worth" - I'm with you on that
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 06:14:09 PM by cadamsgis »

gooki

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 06:11:17 PM »
Or maybe it should be “don’t try and fuck over people who help you by stealing their shit”

This is one of the biggest pet peeves I have certain members of society. They fail to recognise the harm they do to themselves by taking advantage of generosity. People want to be generous, they want to help you, but to keep that relationship alive you have to respect them. And to be honest it appears you SIL and her husband don't respect your family.

gooki

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 06:11:43 PM »
SIL no computer skills and no english

Ok cool - so she could find someone else to help.

cadamsgis

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 06:20:59 PM »
Absolutely - she can get someone else to help her

I am totally feeling the no respect thing for either me or my husband

I'm sure they will all talk bad about me but what the hell - they most likely do that anyways (considering I am way different than them)

Plus they probably say all kinds of stuff about me wearing the pants in the family since my husband has stopped being the free bank - which isn't the case- it was an agreed upon decision that we both made if we were ever going to meet our dreams and goals of retiring to Mexico in 15 years.

arebelspy

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 08:18:55 PM »
Well good for you.  It'll cause some roughness in the relationships, but is likely the right thing to do, IMO.
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happy

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 02:36:20 AM »
In my experience , if you are in a situation where your good nature is being taken advantage of, when you start saying no, people can be unpleasant about it because they now EXPECT that you will help out.  They expect that you will do what they want, whilst  they may not have the same expectation of others.  So at first it can be even more difficult to say no. Keep practicing saying no, it gets easier and their expectations of you will gradually start to change. 

catalana

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 03:58:40 AM »
In my experience , if you are in a situation where your good nature is being taken advantage of, when you start saying no, people can be unpleasant about it because they now EXPECT that you will help out.  They expect that you will do what they want, whilst  they may not have the same expectation of others.  So at first it can be even more difficult to say no. Keep practicing saying no, it gets easier and their expectations of you will gradually start to change.
This is so true - the worst period is when you first start saying no.  You'll get extreme reactions because the other person is trying to maintain the status quo.  You can never be sure whether they are doing it from an emotional base (fear of poverty, feeling unloved, or feeling a lack of control) or coldly considered manipulation.

However as long as you and your hubby stay consistent, things will calm down and everyone will adjust.

Richard3

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 08:20:57 AM »
If you lend someone money and they refuse to pay you back it was probably worth that price to get them out of your life.

However, "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" definitely applies.

It's harder when it's family (and harder still when it's acquired family) but it sounds like you know a line has to be drawn (especially since you're in debt. When they don't pay you back that's 7% interest (or whatever) you're paying FOR THEM).

That she decided to steal your stuff too is just adding insult to injury. I'd have at least threatened to call the police (and possibly immigration depending on their visa status). But then I don't give a **** if people I don't respect hate me.

arebelspy

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 09:53:05 AM »
That she decided to steal your stuff too is just adding insult to injury.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more the blatant stealing bothers me.  It's a grade worse than a lack of respect, going to total, purposeful disrespect.  I don't understand how some people can take advantage like that.
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Uncephalized

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2012, 10:05:09 AM »
SIL has no computer skills and no english
Um, does she have some kind of disability preventing her from learning the two most important skills for any person to have in modern American society? Unless she is mentally handicapped or elderly (old age makes it nearly impossible for some people to learn new languages and technologies) there is no excuse for this IMO.

Not saying she needs to become a programmer or a novelist, but not even being able to hold a conversation (which is what I assume is meant by "no English"), understand a legal form, use the internet or type up a document in Word means she basically can't interact with 90%+ of the people she meets.

tannybrown

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2012, 10:10:57 AM »
It's tough, by my recommendation is to take the hit and forgive her for the theft and lack of apology.  Deciding whether to help her is another matter but in general, I think you'll be happier if you can forgive.

cadamsgis

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Re: drawing the line
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2012, 06:05:41 AM »
thanks for the responses

cat