Author Topic: Giving 14k gift back?  (Read 11513 times)

kosh525

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Giving 14k gift back?
« on: July 19, 2013, 07:45:59 AM »
I'm in a very sticky situation and I need some serious advice.  Earlier this year, I was given 14k from my parents as a gift after graduating college.  I've put it away in my account to eventually purchase a house in the next couple of years or so.

Since this time, my relationship with my family has been terrible.  I've been guilt tripped into doing everything they ask, and I feel like it's hard to say no to them considering they just gave me 14k.  It's almost as if this 14k came with a certain terms and conditions contract that I have to follow.

This s@#$ really hit the fan last night.  My fiance and I moved into a new apartment this week (small and one of the cheapest rents around, and surprisingly well kept).  My parents live a few towns over and their power went out during a heat wave.  I get a call from them demanding that they stay the night.  At first we didn't know if we had enough room, we have boxes all over the place since we just moved and it's also a tiny little one bedroom.  We figured we have enough room after moving some boxes around.  I called my dad to tell him they could stay the night, but then they demanded that the pets come too.  I told him I couldn't accommodate the pets (these are  little dogs that spend most of the day alone in the house with no air conditioning) and then they got all pissed at me.

I learned my brother picked them up for them to stay the night at his place, and I got a number of texts from my mother and sister telling me how much family is important and that they needed help and I didn't help them.

I can't really deal with the guilt trip anymore, and as much as I appreciated the 14k they had given me, it has come to a point where it's so unbearable to keep that I want to give them the money back.  It will set us back on our goal to purchase a house, but I don't want to feel like a puppet with strings anymore.

Has anyone every been in a similar situation? What advice can you give?

aaronpct

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 07:58:42 AM »
I've been in a position where siblings have asked for money over the years, one in particular just keeps asking every time there is an emergency (which is all the time).  He lives paycheck to paycheck with his SO and his son so they are both financially immature and irresponsible.  The end result being, I love them because they are family but for the most part I don't want to have anything to do with them (because they still ONLY call when they need something). 

Now being your case, I would just give the money back.  Although that amount is a blessing for a new graduate, it seems like subconsciously it is causing them to continue to treat you like you are living under their roof and under their rules.  They need to start seeing you as an adult, and it seems like they are blinded to that.  They should RESPECT your decision NOT to have the pets over when they invited themselves over (and be grateful for it!) instead of getting a hotel room for the night.

Unfortunately you can't choose your family, and find comfort in the fact that a lot of us have some crazy ones in the family.

 

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 07:59:23 AM »
Why do you think that the $14k is related to them asking you if they can stay at your place? Have they done anything else? I'm not sure that returning it is going to help. It sounds like there might be something else going on?

cerberusss

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 08:03:12 AM »
The expectations of you and the rest of your family are different. I don't think the money is the cause of that.

You feel like it's hard to say no. Do you think giving back the money will make it easier to say no?

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 08:06:04 AM »
My Mom always had gifts with strings, so I know where you are at.  Honestly, I'd continue to stand up for yourself, and if they continue to be overbearing, I would have a conversation with them, about boundaries.  If they aren't getting it, during that conversation, I'd give them the money back.

I would give them a chance to see how their actions are affecting you, and maybe change. 

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 08:18:32 AM »
Why do you think that the $14k is related to them asking you if they can stay at your place? Have they done anything else? I'm not sure that returning it is going to help. It sounds like there might be something else going on?

In reality, it really shouldn't be related at all to the situation at hand.  A gift is something that you give without expecting anything in return.

Here's what happens though, at least with my family and I'm sure some can relate, they bring up past gestures and gifts as reasons for you to do something for them. They make you feel guilty for the fact that they had helped you out and bring it up to get you to do what they want.  In this particular instance, it's the 14k I received.  How can I justify saying no to helping them when they've helped me so much already?  It's honestly very manipulative and puts a strain on your relationship with your family.

I love them, and I do my best to help as much as I can.  If I help, I want to do so on my own conditions and terms, and feel good about it.  I don't want to be guilt tripped into helping them out and feeling terrible about it in the end.

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 09:03:11 AM »
The expectations of you and the rest of your family are different. I don't think the money is the cause of that.

You feel like it's hard to say no. Do you think giving back the money will make it easier to say no?

I've never really asked them for much in my life.  I've always been quiet and have just done my own thing in life.  When I've done something for them, it has always been from my heart and something that I've wanted to do.

I feel like it's tough to say no to them now that they've given me this money.  I also feel a bit latched on to them with this money, like I am still dependent on them to survive. 


Frankies Girl

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 09:12:17 AM »
My Mom always had gifts with strings, so I know where you are at.  Honestly, I'd continue to stand up for yourself, and if they continue to be overbearing, I would have a conversation with them, about boundaries.  If they aren't getting it, during that conversation, I'd give them the money back.

I would give them a chance to see how their actions are affecting you, and maybe change.

Same here.

I cut off my mother for around a year, and my husband's only contact with his own mother has been cards at birthdays. MIL thought because she birthed DH, that he owed his very life to her, and expected handouts and for him to drop everything to do things on her schedule. My own mother did all of that plus the angry/guilt trip thing, and I stopped taking even gifts for my birthday/x-mas from her since everything came with a price. I even tried joint counseling with my mom - and she stopped going as she decided that she was still in the right and everything was my fault no matter what the counselor said. I kept going, and it helped me immensely (DH went separately for his own family issues).

Give the money back. It wasn't a gift - they were purchasing you as an indentured servant. Your self-esteem and relationships with them and with your fiancee are worth more than $14K. You need to tell them that you are an adult and that you love them, but you can't be at their beck and call and that sometimes you have to say "no" to them - it's not something you do to hurt them, and they need to understand and respect your boundaries. Treating you badly and getting angry at you are only going to worsen the relationship.

The money was being used as a manipulation and a way of hanging onto you. They know that "gifting" that amount to you was going to push your obligation buttons - and if it was a gift truly given with no strings attached, then there would not be any feelings of guilt or obligation from your end... it's a classic "I did this, now you owe me" move, and one you're probably very familiar with if you stop and think about how you grew up.

Something that might help - there are lots of really good books out there, but two that I loved were "Toxic Parents"  and "Emotional Blackmail" both by Susan Forward (you can find them at the library or cheaply used).

« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:30:52 PM by Frankies Girl »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 09:21:38 AM »
Wanted to add...

If you can start working past the feelings of guilt and obligations, then you can be up front about any gifts - tell them that you would be happy to accept something given with love and affection, but it's not going to be something later held over you. And then do so.

I feel no guilt over small gifts any more, and my mother understands that I give and receive with love - not obligations.

Plain speaking is important when you're dealing with passive/aggressive or manipulative people.

You have to teach people how you want to be treated sometimes.


Forcus

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 09:58:41 AM »
I feel bad for you, my mother was queen of the guilt trippers until I stopped responding to her. I agree with others that unless the 14k was specifically mentioned it is probably more likely to make the tension WORSE by giving it back because you'd be rejecting a gift. In any case, sounds like you have some work to do with them if you want to maintain a relationship.... (I had to move and have limited contact with my mother, and disown my father, to get peace, but that was my situation...)

Megatron

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2013, 10:11:02 AM »
Please don't get offended. I'm just going to play devil's advocate here and say shouldn't you have helped out though? I mean if it's just for a night or two and you have room. Are you or your fiancee allergic to pets? Maybe I'm not fully understanding the dynamics you have with your family from just this one example. Also I think family is probably the most important thing for me in life. And I guess I have this idea that you have to pick your battles. My mom uses guilt tripping Jedi magic all the freaking time on my sister and I but sometimes if it's not too crazy of a demand I usually just do it cuz it's mom. As a child of poor immigrant parents who came to America with literally nothing, I've seen how much they sacrificed for us. So crashing at my tiny apartment for a few nights because their electricity went out doesn't seem like that big of a deal even with pets. I guess my perspective is different because I grew up in a one bedroom apartment with my parents, little sister and my (paternal) grandparents in the city of Chicago until I was about 4th grade.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 10:11:37 AM »
I would probably give the money back.  But I'd present it in such a way that if they need help and must rely on you for the sort of things they are asking for, that perhaps the gift was too much of a stretch for them and you'd like to return it.  Don't point out the guilt trip part, that's just poking a bees nest. 

Or, you could keep the money and use it to help accommodate their requests.  When they ask for a place to stay, say that the dogs aren't welcome but you would be pleased to spend some of your savings on a hotel room for them.  You don't have time to prune that tree of theirs but you'd be very glad to use your savings to hire someone for them if they need help.  You'll have effectively given it back that way too, but without the drama of giving it back in one event.     




Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 10:18:43 AM »
Please don't get offended. I'm just going to play devil's advocate here and say shouldn't you have helped out though? I mean if it's just for a night or two and you have room. Are you or your fiancee allergic to pets? Maybe I'm not fully understanding the dynamics you have with your family from just this one example. Also I think family is probably the most important thing for me in life. And I guess I have this idea that you have to pick your battles. My mom uses guilt tripping Jedi magic all the freaking time on my sister and I but sometimes if it's not too crazy of a demand I usually just do it cuz it's mom. As a child of poor immigrant parents who came to America with literally nothing, I've seen how much they sacrificed for us. So crashing at my tiny apartment for a few nights because their electricity went out doesn't seem like that big of a deal even with pets. I guess my perspective is different because I grew up in a one bedroom apartment with my parents, little sister and my (paternal) grandparents in the city of Chicago until I was about 4th grade.

This is also the way I'm leaning. If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place. If they did ask but my place were too small, I would help to find them a comfortable hotel and offered to take their pets if the hotel wouldn't accommodate them. If I were allergic to their pets, I would still be trying to figure out a resolution that showed them that I care about their well being. I know that they would do the same for me.

My mom used to guilt trip me all the time. I'm not sure what got her to stop. Usually it was about me visiting, but when I moved to within 3 hours of her I started guilt tripping her to visit me more. I think that's what stopped her guilt trips! Anyway, I haven't heard a guilt trip in a long time or her comments just don't make me feel guilty anymore. But sometimes a guilt trip is all in our heads and not the person who is dropping the hints.

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 10:21:41 AM »
I feel bad for you, my mother was queen of the guilt trippers until I stopped responding to her. I agree with others that unless the 14k was specifically mentioned it is probably more likely to make the tension WORSE by giving it back because you'd be rejecting a gift. In any case, sounds like you have some work to do with them if you want to maintain a relationship.... (I had to move and have limited contact with my mother, and disown my father, to get peace, but that was my situation...)

Well, my fiance recently just got a text today from my sister saying how ungrateful we are because they helped us out with giving us 14k and how we couldn't let them sleep in our place for one night.  It brought her to the point of tears because it's making her, and I, feel like bad people.

I think a conversation is a wise decision, I am speaking to my father later tonight.  I'm concerned with how it will go.  He may still be emotional about last night.

It's just so different compared to the family dynamic that my fiance has with her mother.  Her mother has never asked us for any help and doesn't expect it.  Never once has her mother tried to manipulate us in any way.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 10:30:33 AM »
Kosh, you went out of your way to accommodate them, moving boxes around a 1 bedroom house.  Dogs are another matter.  No one is obligated to accommodate animals.  If they are bent out of shape about that, they should take charge of their situation and find a place to stay where dogs are welcome.  Like your other sibling, or a hotel.  Sheesh! 

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2013, 10:39:46 AM »
Please don't get offended. I'm just going to play devil's advocate here and say shouldn't you have helped out though? I mean if it's just for a night or two and you have room. Are you or your fiancee allergic to pets? Maybe I'm not fully understanding the dynamics you have with your family from just this one example. Also I think family is probably the most important thing for me in life. And I guess I have this idea that you have to pick your battles. My mom uses guilt tripping Jedi magic all the freaking time on my sister and I but sometimes if it's not too crazy of a demand I usually just do it cuz it's mom. As a child of poor immigrant parents who came to America with literally nothing, I've seen how much they sacrificed for us. So crashing at my tiny apartment for a few nights because their electricity went out doesn't seem like that big of a deal even with pets. I guess my perspective is different because I grew up in a one bedroom apartment with my parents, little sister and my (paternal) grandparents in the city of Chicago until I was about 4th grade.

To be honest, I tried to accommodate as best as I could.  Last week, I drove my mother to the airport at 3:30 am to catch a flight, and on the same night as the power outage, picked up my sister from the airport while I was stuck in traffic and did not come home till much later that night.  I didn't eat dinner till around 10 pm i think?  I've also been job searching and trying to unbox all our personal belongings in the apartment

I don't mind helping them if it comes from my heart.  Doing something for them because I choose to do it is a much better feeling than having to be manipulated to do it.


velocistar237

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2013, 10:48:20 AM »
I only had this kind of experience while dating, but I do feel your pain a little bit. I hope this can be useful:

The book club is going through Predictably Irrational this month. There's a chapter on mixing social and market norms. Even the mention of money can mess up a social dynamic, and it's really hard to put things back the way they were.

The example in the book is about parents picking up children late at daycare. There was an expectation, a social agreement, to not be late. When the daycare enacted a fine for late pickups, parents no longer saw it as bad to be late, there was just a monetary penalty. Late pickups became more common, so the daycare removed the fine. What happened? Late pickups didn't go back down. Once the market norm was established, it stayed.

It's hard to say exactly how this applies to your case. It could be that giving you the money changed the relationship. It could be that giving you the money was fine, but bringing it up in conversation made people think in terms of give-and-take. One thing I think is likely: giving the money back will not improve the situation, at least not for a long time.

velocistar237

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2013, 10:51:04 AM »
To be honest, I tried to accommodate as best as I could.

That's what I understood. They made demands, you accommodated and worked to make it happen, but then they turned you down.

Have they even seen your place? Does your lease even allow dogs?

Jamesqf

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2013, 11:03:50 AM »
If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place.

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why a simple little power outage is reason for the parents to have to pack up themselves & dogs and drive some distance to crash with the kids.  Are they on life support or something?

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2013, 11:06:51 AM »
To be honest, I tried to accommodate as best as I could.

That's what I understood. They made demands, you accommodated and worked to make it happen, but then they turned you down.

Have they even seen your place? Does your lease even allow dogs?

They do allow pets.  We have a dog and a cat, but they are actually still in my fiance's old place (mom's house basement) until we get most of our stuff put away.  We've been in the apartment for four days, they haven't even seen it.  We don't even have our pets there, yet they wanted to bring there's in.

velocistar237

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2013, 11:09:13 AM »
If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place.

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why a simple little power outage is reason for the parents to have to pack up themselves & dogs and drive some distance to crash with the kids.  Are they on life support or something?


It's not just you. Maybe not life support, but yes bedpan and catheter.

To their very slight credit, the house design probably relies on A/C. Almost no one designs houses for passive cooling (orientation, insulation, air sealing, shade trees, external window shades, cross-ventilation, white roof, etc.) these days. I wouldn't be surprised if the indoor temperature shot up to 100 deg and they panicked.

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2013, 11:11:04 AM »
If you can start working past the feelings of guilt and obligations, then you can be up front about any gifts - tell them that you would be happy to accept something given with love and affection, but it's not going to be something later held over you. And then do so.

I feel no guilt over small gifts any more, and my mother understands that I give and receive with love - not obligations.

Plain speaking is important when you're dealing with passive/aggressive or manipulative people.

You have to teach people how you want to be treated sometimes.
+1!  Beautifully stated :).

For many people, gifts always come with strings attached-it's a form of control.  Once you teach them they can't control you, even if it means returning the gifts, they will hopefully stop trying to manipulate you.
Good luck!

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2013, 11:12:46 AM »
If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place.

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why a simple little power outage is reason for the parents to have to pack up themselves & dogs and drive some distance to crash with the kids.  Are they on life support or something?

Not at all, and that's what I was trying to convey to them last night.  I told them at first to wait it out for a couple of hours if the power went back on (I am pretty sure it went back on around 12 am last night and I called the power company to see what was going on) and if it didn't come on to give me a call.  They insisted they had to move.  It felt more like they were in panic mode.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2013, 11:16:50 AM »
It is really shitty of your mom to text that to your fiancÚ. My MIL and I had some growing pains when my spouse and I got together. We found a way to mitigate some of it without telling her what we were doing and also came out and told her some of the behaviors that were really damaging. In fact, just yesterday she brought something up about her DIL and I told her straight up that she should not be so passive aggressive and just tell her DIL what is on her mind. She is your mom and I think you have a responsibility to both her and your fiancÚ to address this with her before it gets even further out of control. Hopefully it will set them up for a better relationship going forward.

That said, I hope that this is all a misunderstanding because your parents have not seen your new apartment. I hope that, when they see your apartment, they feel really embarrassed about the way they acted. Invite them over for a quick visit, soon!

kosh525

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2013, 11:20:42 AM »
If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place.

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why a simple little power outage is reason for the parents to have to pack up themselves & dogs and drive some distance to crash with the kids.  Are they on life support or something?


It's not just you. Maybe not life support, but yes bedpan and catheter.

To their very slight credit, the house design probably relies on A/C. Almost no one designs houses for passive cooling (orientation, insulation, air sealing, shade trees, external window shades, cross-ventilation, white roof, etc.) these days. I wouldn't be surprised if the indoor temperature shot up to 100 deg and they panicked.

They live in a very old house, made around the late 1800s - early 1900s.  That being said, the orientation of the house puts it in a position where it has the sun beating down almost the entire day.  Due to the humidity of the area, the heat can be sweltering.  I will not use A/C if I don't have to, and I tend to delay using the A/C as long as possible. When I lived there, I would use a tower fan in my room and have the windows open at night to circulate as much air as possible.  At some point though there's no way around it, if you want to have a comfortable night's sleep, you have to use some A/C in that house.  It's supposed to hit 100 degrees today with the humidity making it feel closer to 110-115 degree.

KingCoin

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2013, 11:47:52 AM »
I'd additionally suggest that giving the money back doesn't really solve your problem. If anything, it's likely to be construed as a bigger rift causing F-U than respectfully declining when they unreasonably impose on you. Your parents will always have something to hold over you if that's the angle they want to play (helping you through college, attending all those soccer games, missing work to feed you chicken soup when you were sick, squeezing you out of their birth canal). You simply need to change the dynamic by being firm and not getting sucked into their guilt, drama, and head games.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2013, 04:09:31 PM »
Well, my fiance recently just got a text today from my sister saying how ungrateful we are because they helped us out with giving us 14k and how we couldn't let them sleep in our place for one night.  It brought her to the point of tears because it's making her, and I, feel like bad people.

This is the point I would have gone to the bank, withdrew the $14k, drove to wherever the parents were, and gave them the cash. They'll try to refuse it, just drop the wad of cash and run out.

Next time they ask you to drive them to/from the airport, tell them to hire someone with that $14k. Ask to crash at your place, tell them to find a motel with that $14k. If you're feeling particularly generous, you can even find a cheap-ish airport shuttle, motel that accommodates pets, etc.

They'll give you the cold shoulder for a while. Probably talk bad about you (which'll make no sense...how can you be bad for accepting the $14k gift, and also bad for returning it?). Might feel that your fiancee is the one causing these issues, since you used to be such a good boy (even if they don't think it, it'd definitely get sympathy from others). Over time, they may realize that guilt-trips don't work on you anymore, and the relationship may be able to progress to something better. Or, they may really ramp up their efforts (if a little bit of guilt didn't work, let's try a mother-fudging TON of it!). Could have to end up cutting off all ties.

Guess I'm saying...I'm not that great with family relationships. If someone wronged me and brought my wife to tears, and demanded that "I" apologize, well, I'm not going to have anything to do with them anymore. If someone is genuinely nice and kind toward me, I'll do anything I can to help. I have a pretty good relationship with one side of my family, and no relationship with the other side (the person who's part of both sides, it's a little awkward). So, perhaps you could do something similar, but worded much, much, much better than I would.

I like the idea of paying for whatever they need. Keep all receipts. When they ask you to drive them to/from the airport, hire a car service and keep the receipts. Need a place to crash, just book a motel room for them and give them the details (if they then refuse...say "but, you needed a place to stay...it was urgent...I found a place...wtf??"). Feel free to explain that you're using the money they gifted you (I dunno the best way to approach that, or to word that, but something like "Well you helped me out so much with that $14k, I thought it'd be rude to not use that money to help you out when you needed it"). Once your receipts hit $13k, the next request should be met with a "sure, but just so you know there's only $1k left out of that money you gave me." Once it's all gone, feel free to keep helping out, but I'd just want to make absolutely sure that they knew that what they had "gifted" you had been used up in its entirety, and they couldn't hold it over your head anymore. If they even thought of saying "but that time we gave you $14k" you can whip out all the receipts and say "yeah, but that time I paid to get you to the airport, that time I paid someone to pick up your medications, that time I paid someone to take your dog to get their hair cut, that time I paid for a motel room, that time I paid for...you know, this is silly, let's talk about something else. How about that weather?"

A mom

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2013, 04:47:46 PM »
I just went through a hugely painful situation with my brother, and I've come to the conclusion that different people have different norms and that can cause a lot of hurt feelings even when no one was in the wrong.

It's possible that your parents, regardless of the money, just feel like family members unquestioningly offer shelter to others when they need it. You felt like that shouldn't be the case if it were too inconvenient. Both positions have some validity. It's possible that your mother's feelings were hurt when you were not eager to have them over. If so, she still reacted very badly by texting your fiancee in that way. But still, EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT IN THE WRONG, I would start by apologizing for not being able to host them and the dogs. Tell your Mom you love her. If that doesn't help the relationship, and there continue to be unreasonable demands then further steps suggested by other posters, such as discussing ground rules  for the relationship would be necessary.

Daleth

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2013, 06:12:10 PM »
Next time they ask you to drive them to/from the airport, tell them to hire someone with that $14k. Ask to crash at your place, tell them to find a motel with that $14k. If you're feeling particularly generous, you can even find a cheap-ish airport shuttle, motel that accommodates pets, etc.

A similar approach might be, keep the $14k but when they need help and it's inconvenient for you to provide that help (e.g. a place to stay or ride to the airport), buy them that help out of the $14k. I'd be interested to see how much $$ is left after a while! If not much, then they're overreaching, expecting too much of you. If plenty is left, then all parties should be happy: you got a gift and they got the help they needed.

Oh, I just read the rest of the post and saw this:

I like the idea of paying for whatever they need. Keep all receipts. When they ask you to drive them to/from the airport, hire a car service and keep the receipts. Need a place to crash, just book a motel room for them and give them the details (if they then refuse...say "but, you needed a place to stay...it was urgent...I found a place...wtf??"). Feel free to explain that you're using the money they gifted you (I dunno the best way to approach that, or to word that, but something like "Well you helped me out so much with that $14k, I thought it'd be rude to not use that money to help you out when you needed it"). Once your receipts hit $13k, the next request should be met with a "sure, but just so you know there's only $1k left out of that money you gave me." Once it's all gone, feel free to keep helping out, but I'd just want to make absolutely sure that they knew that what they had "gifted" you had been used up in its entirety, and they couldn't hold it over your head anymore. If they even thought of saying "but that time we gave you $14k" you can whip out all the receipts and say "yeah, but that time I paid to get you to the airport, that time I paid someone to pick up your medications, that time I paid someone to take your dog to get their hair cut, that time I paid for a motel room, that time I paid for...you know, this is silly, let's talk about something else. How about that weather?"

Yes. Chime to that!

marty998

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2013, 07:02:34 PM »
If my parents' electricity went out, I'd wonder why they didn't ask if they could crash at my place.

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why a simple little power outage is reason for the parents to have to pack up themselves & dogs and drive some distance to crash with the kids.  Are they on life support or something?


It's not just you. Maybe not life support, but yes bedpan and catheter.

To their very slight credit, the house design probably relies on A/C. Almost no one designs houses for passive cooling (orientation, insulation, air sealing, shade trees, external window shades, cross-ventilation, white roof, etc.) these days. I wouldn't be surprised if the indoor temperature shot up to 100 deg and they panicked.

They live in a very old house, made around the late 1800s - early 1900s.  That being said, the orientation of the house puts it in a position where it has the sun beating down almost the entire day.  Due to the humidity of the area, the heat can be sweltering.  I will not use A/C if I don't have to, and I tend to delay using the A/C as long as possible. When I lived there, I would use a tower fan in my room and have the windows open at night to circulate as much air as possible.  At some point though there's no way around it, if you want to have a comfortable night's sleep, you have to use some A/C in that house.  It's supposed to hit 100 degrees today with the humidity making it feel closer to 110-115 degree.

Kosh, I hope things work out for you. Fighting over money is a horrible situation to be in.

Amazes me how a minor power outage can upset the applecart and cause such a drama. This is an unfair statement for me to make but I walk past a lot of homeless people on my way to work each day who would love to have a roof over their head, regardless of the temp inside.

I suggest your parents' next holiday should be to South East Asia. You never know, they could come to appreciate how good they have it in climate controlled North America.

SMMcP

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2013, 07:36:08 PM »
Your post reminds me of a book I read recently called "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward, Ph.D.  There is a chapter in it titled Controllers: They use guilt, manipulation and even overhelpfulness to direct their children's lives. I'm truly not saying that your parents are toxic and I am sure they love you very much.  However, some parents use gifts of money, effort, or time to try to maintain control of their children's lives.  Gifts of money followed up with guilt trips are a means of manipulation and only you can free yourself from it and take charge of your own life.  I wouldn't expect this to happen overnight though as it will be a gradual process.  Only you can decide if you need to give the money back to make this happen. 

dragoncar

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2013, 07:47:46 PM »
I'd additionally suggest that giving the money back doesn't really solve your problem. If anything, it's likely to be construed as a bigger rift causing F-U than respectfully declining when they unreasonably impose on you. Your parents will always have something to hold over you if that's the angle they want to play (helping you through college, attending all those soccer games, missing work to feed you chicken soup when you were sick, squeezing you out of their birth canal). You simply need to change the dynamic by being firm and not getting sucked into their guilt, drama, and head games.

Yeah, is there any indication that giving the money back would change their behavior?  Or would it just make the OP feel better?
Well, my fiance recently just got a text today from my sister saying how ungrateful we are because they helped us out with giving us 14k and how we couldn't let them sleep in our place for one night.  It brought her to the point of tears because it's making her, and I, feel like bad people.

This is the point I would have gone to the bank, withdrew the $14k, drove to wherever the parents were, and gave them the cash. They'll try to refuse it, just drop the wad of cash and run out.

Honestly, I'm not sure you can go by something the sister says.  Might there be some sibling rivalry when parents give money to a child?  Is the sister a good indication of how the parents feel?

I know if I was in your situation, I'd just keep the money.  But then again, it wouldn't make me feel guilty.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2013, 08:25:50 PM »
Dude, you are on the fucking MMM forum. Very soon, if you are not there already (because you are early in your career) $14 K will be what you save up in a couple good, disciplined months, and the amount you charge to put up with people's guilt and manipulation will, naturally, go up.

I say: establish that you don't need an allowance, however generous and well intentioned it might have been. I'm sure your parents just want to help, but it will be forever difficult for you to demand an adult relationship of equals (which you deserve) if there is an ongoing financial hold. I vote for giving the money back if this really is an ongoing problem.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2013, 08:31:12 PM »
Honestly, I'm not sure you can go by something the sister says.  Might there be some sibling rivalry when parents give money to a child?  Is the sister a good indication of how the parents feel?

I know if I was in your situation, I'd just keep the money.  But then again, it wouldn't make me feel guilty.

Personal bias again. I've watched similar things go down with my wife's side of the family, and the sister wouldn't just text that out of the blue. The parents were bitc....er..."discussing" the situation with the other sibling, talking about how bad he was for not doing something so small, so infinitesimal compared to that $14k that the parents lovingly gave him. How family should...yadda yadda, heard it all before. And if you call your parent and talk for a while, within 2 minutes they'll be on the phone to their other child, going over every single thing you've said. Gossip, and not the good kind.

Of course, I could be wrong. If this is completely out of the blue, then perhaps a frank discussion can clear it up. But due to how the parents reacted, and how the sister was involved (and texted her brother's fiancee, dragging her into the argument), I'm pretty sure this isn't a one-off misunderstanding. Me, I'd nip it in the bud pronto. But that's just me, and like I said, I don't have a great track record when it comes to familial relationships.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2013, 08:38:11 PM »
My agreement with the general consensus about giving back the money wasn't for the parents or to change them somehow (not that it wouldn't be super if that occurred). I agreed as the OP feels beholden due to the "gift," so therefore to remove the guilt/obligation part of it, giving back the money will maybe make it easier for her to maybe assess the requests/demands without the "well, they gave me all that money" hanging over her head each time.

I do think there is an argument for keeping the money. It's just that currently the money is the huge elephant in the room, and every time something comes up for quite some time, any request/demand from her parents will have that guy weighing in instead of thinking rationally about each situation.

I think if the OP can work through the guilt/obligation part, then she should keep the money, and call her parents and sister each and every time they attempt to sway her decisions using that as a stick to beat her with. It was supposed to be a gift, instead it is a hugely attractive bug zapper-like trap. Money is always nice - but if you can't say no without feeling really bad about it, then it wasn't a gift; it is a burden.

I call my family on guilt trips and passive/aggressive behavior. They might get mad at me for calling them out, or they sulk and bitch at me more. But you know what? I am fine with their temper tantrums (and usually just laugh at the childish behavior now) since I know it is just another way they try to justify their own shitty actions that I am calling them on. If I can help out and it's not going to put me or my immediate family to any trouble, then I'll do it since I do love the crazies, but I'm not going to accommodate being manipulated any more to do things that are going to upset the harmony in my own life. If it was a real emergency, I'd drop everything (and have) but in general none of that crap usually is.

So Op - keep the money, work through your family dynamics a bit and stop letting them take up all that space in your head. I would have a sit-down convo with them that you understood the money was a gift. If it was actually meant to make you feel guilty and beholden to them to do things at the cost and comfort of you and your fiancee, then that isn't a gift you want to accept. Tell them that you love them, but sometimes you have to say no and that's not something you should be have to explain or defend. Tell them that if something was an emergency, obviously you'd drop everything and help out, but they have to start respecting you as an adult with a life and obligations of your own.

You tried to meet them more than halfway on them staying at your apartment. If they had enough money to give you $14K out of the blue, they had enough money for a hotel/motel for a night or two. You just moved, and the apartment was probably a mess and crammed with stuff all over waiting to be put away... that is insane that they thought you should let them to come stay (with their animals) just because the A/C went out for a few hours. If it had been a few days? Maybe, but they were doing like my MIL - I call her "Chicken Little" - and panicking about nothing.

The sister's is acting as (as it is called it on another board) a "flying monkey"  - the wicked witch (your parents) sent their minion forth to do their dirty work and get that guilt trip really going. In this sitch, you tell the sister that this is between you and your parents, and that her opinion is neither asked for, nor wanted. If you want to be nice, you say "oh, well that's ONE way of looking at the situation" and get off the phone/leave.

Those books I mentioned upthread really helped me get my head straight and helped me to start standing up for myself. Sometimes it's a "well, duh!" kind of thing, but when you've been raised in a dysfunctional family - screwed-up is your normal... ;)
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 03:17:19 PM by Frankies Girl »

dragoncar

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2013, 11:36:00 PM »
Honestly, I'm not sure you can go by something the sister says.  Might there be some sibling rivalry when parents give money to a child?  Is the sister a good indication of how the parents feel?

I know if I was in your situation, I'd just keep the money.  But then again, it wouldn't make me feel guilty.

Personal bias again. I've watched similar things go down with my wife's side of the family, and the sister wouldn't just text that out of the blue. The parents were bitc....er..."discussing" the situation with the other sibling, talking about how bad he was for not doing something so small, so infinitesimal compared to that $14k that the parents lovingly gave him. How family should...yadda yadda, heard it all before. And if you call your parent and talk for a while, within 2 minutes they'll be on the phone to their other child, going over every single thing you've said. Gossip, and not the good kind.

Of course, I could be wrong. If this is completely out of the blue, then perhaps a frank discussion can clear it up. But due to how the parents reacted, and how the sister was involved (and texted her brother's fiancee, dragging her into the argument), I'm pretty sure this isn't a one-off misunderstanding. Me, I'd nip it in the bud pronto. But that's just me, and like I said, I don't have a great track record when it comes to familial relationships.

LOL, my personal bias also.  I can imagine if my parents gave my slacker brother $14k, and then he refused some simple request (likely in a bratty way), I might give him what-for even though my parents would probably just roll with it.  I'm not saying the OP is a slacker or bratty, just that siblings can have their own agendas.

limeandpepper

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Re: Giving 14k gift back?
« Reply #36 on: July 20, 2013, 01:34:55 AM »
I can sort of see both sides of the coin. I think it comes down to different expectations too. If the roles were reversed, would your parents have happily let you stay with them? If so, then that is probably why they feel wounded that you wouldn't do the same for them... whether they should have these expectations, is another thing. The other possible consideration is, I don't know how bad the heat wave was, but depending on its severity it can be quite damaging to the very young, and the more elderly. At the end of the day, however, in most cases, I don't think a simple power outage is that big a deal, but I don't see having my parents crash at my apartment for one night as that big a deal, either. Of course, this is just one matter, if they've been guilt-trippping you and asking a lot of you in addition to this, which you have implied, then I can see why this could've been the straw to break the camel's back.

I also feel it was inappropriate for your sister to meddle and text your fiancee. Unless the two of them are super close, if she really wanted to say something, it makes more sense that she says it to you.

If you think the $14k has caused you more grief than pleasure, and giving it back will solve the issue, or at least ease your sense of obligation to help more than you think is necessary - then return it and tell them why you're returning it. It'll  probably cause quite a rift but it sounds like that's happening already anyway.

I suggest your parents' next holiday should be to South East Asia. You never know, they could come to appreciate how good they have it in climate controlled North America.

That could backfire, because in Southeast Asia it is also not uncommon for families to share small spaces together (and not just for one night) and see it as perfectly fine and normal. ;)