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Hi all. Here is my situation that I could use a bit of advice with. I am 37 and am an only child. My husband and I live less than 10 minutes from my parents. My mother is almost 73 and my dad is 80. They struggle quite a bit financially as they live solely on monthly social security benefits. My husband and I have always helped them as much as we can, but it has been more and more frequent over the last 4-5 years.


In 2013 or 2014, their only vehicle died and they could not afford to buy a new one. My husband and I had 2 SUVs, but since I work from home full-time, we really only used one of them. One of them we had just finished paying off and the other one we were still making payments on. When their car died, my parents asked if they could borrow one of ours, to which we said yes. We gave them the one that was paid off. A few weeks later, my dad called me and asked if they could borrow it "indefinitely," meaning that it would stay at their house for them to use, but it would still be ours and we could use it anytime we wanted. My husband and I agreed to do this. Well, about 6 months later, while my dad was at a stop sign (it was snowing), when a truck came flying around the corner, hitting the front end of our vehicle, causing significant damage. Thankfully, my dad was not hurt, but the vehicle was a 100% loss. The other driver's insurance paid us what they deemed it was worth, but it was not enough to buy a new vehicle outright. My parents constantly hounded me about getting them a new vehicle, which would mean that we would have to take on a new payment. At one point, my father even said to me, "If your mother and I don't have a vehicle, we may as well just roll over and die."


That spring, my husband and I went out and bought ourselves a new vehicle (we financed it) and gave my parents our other vehicle, which we have been making payments on the entire time. Thankfully, we only have about 6-8 months worth of payments left on it. On top of that, we also pay for my parents' phone service and have them on our family plan. We help them with food also.


The issue now is with my mother and her incessant guilt trips. Last week, she was telling me about how their cable services were going to be shut off because they can't pay the bill until they get their SS checks on the 3rd. Later that day, my mother texted me and asked if we could lend them $50. She said if we could do that, then they could just overdraft their bank account to pay the cable bill. We gave them the $50. Well, a few days later, my mom texted me and said that the check they used to pay cable will actually NOT clear, so they will still be shut off. I said I would see if we could help pay some of it, to which she replied, "Oh, no! Don't you worry about it. We will be fine." A few days later, she texted me in the morning saying, "Hi. How are you? We are just sitting here waiting for our cable to be shut off. We went to the food pantry and all they gave us were noodles and black beans, but don't you worry. We are fine." I responded by saying, "Do you have any idea what it does to me when I wake up and see texts like this from you?" She then apologized all over the place. Then, this morning, I woke up to a text from her saying, "You won't believe what I did. I broke the new coffee maker you got us. I feel horrible. I lifted the top and it got stuck under the cabinet and snapped off. I'm so sorry. I know it was expensive. If you don't want to talk to me ever again, I understand." She then told me how she had been crying about it all morning and said they now have no way to make coffee. I said we couldn't replace it right now, but she said, "No! Don't worry about it." However, I KNOW she wants us to replace it.


She always does this pity party/guilt trip with me.


I can't take much more. She is getting worse and I feel guilty for being at my breaking point, but I am starting to feel resentment. I worry about them enough. Any advice?

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I just wanted to add that there are MANY more examples of my mother's guilt trips (I could probably write a book with all of the material I have from her), but I was only allotted so many characters, so couldn't include them all. She constantly makes me feel bad for their financial struggles and is ALWAYS having a pity party. Almost every morning, I wake up to a "woe is me" text message from her, and that sets a negative tone for my entire day. My husband and I help my parents as much as we can, but we have our own bills to pay. I constantly worry about my parents, but my mother makes it even worse on me. Like I said in my previous post, I am an only child, so I don't have any brothers or sisters to take some of the load off me. My uncle (dad's older brother) used to ALWAYS help them financially as he was pretty well off (retired Air Force Colonel), but he passed away several years ago, sadly. He used to send them a check for something like $1000 a month to help them. He even paid for them to have a significant amount of work done to their home before he died (new flooring, new paint, and other maintenance/upkeep issues taken care of). My husband and I make decent money, but not enough to support both our household as well as my parents. How can I get my mother to stop with these constant guilt trips? I have been very blunt with her at times about how she makes me feel when I had just had enough, but that only upsets her (she is very sensitive). She even got my dad mad at me the other day because she thought I was being sarcastic towards her in my text messages. Maybe I was and didn't realize it, but I just can't take anymore. My mother is getting worse and worse and worse with this guilt/pity stuff. In fact, yesterday she texted me asking if we had a spare tablet that she could have as the Kindle Fire that we got her only one year ago is too small and is straining her eyes. I don't want to hurt her. Really I don't. I love my parents very much. However, at the same time, I need my mother to realize what this does to me. My husband and I do A LOT for my parents, both financially as well as even with luxury items, but we can only do so much. My husband is getting annoyed and says that they are taking advantage of us. We even pay for their cat's very expensive prescription food ($50 for a little 9 lb bag every month). I feel like they (mainly my mother) just expect so much from us now. Believe me, if I could pay off their mortgage and all of their other bills and give them enough money to live comfortably, I would do it in a heartbeat, but that's not something we'll ever be able to do unless we hit the lottery.
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I think your husband is right. I feel the same about my parent, I would do anything for him but unfortunately I have not hit the lottery.
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There are programs that help with heat, etc. Office of the Aging is a great agency that can provide tons of resources to help your parents. Not sure if one is near you but there should be one similar. Can they downsize to an apartment in a senior community that goes by income?
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mudrunner Jan 2019
They already do get heating assistance. They get that every year. They were going to downsize a few years ago, but a move would be WAY more stress than my dad can handle. He has had several TIAs (min strokes) and my mother also has serious back/mobility issues, so they really can't handle a move. I did just have them fill out an application with the same agency who provides their heating assistance to have some much needed repairs done on their home, which they have a program for. They also get food stamps, but it's not nearly enough.
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Oy a veh... nothing like a big dose of manipulation mixed in with a pity party.

You are not responsible to bail them out every time they call and complain.
To me, they are acting like spoiled kids who don't want to hear "no" -but expect you to jump at their beck and call. Do they NEED full cable? Do they NEED brand-new appliances? Do they know what a budget is?

Enabling them doesn't help them or you... it just keeps the crazy cycle in motion.

A book on boundaries might be helpful for you, as well as a great book that changed my life called "The Dance of Anger" ( relationships where there is a crazy cycle of 'dancing' that are predictable responses to each other, and when you begin to change for yourself - they enact all sorts of 'change-back' tactics to get back to the crazy yet comfortable old way of relating.)

You could always say, " So sorry to hear that, mom... we are going through a tight time financially right now, too." Or, " Wow -how challenging. What are you going to do about that?" Or, " I can always look at a thrift shop for a coffee maker for you - as they seem to break so easily for you." Or, "I am glad that you are fine and are handling those challenges so well."

When accused of not loving them or caring, say, " Thank you for sharing your feelings, mom... it helps me to understand you better." ( Don't take it personally - don't enter into the 'dance' by taking the bait offered.. just thank her.)

NOT an easy process, by any means... ( !!! )but slowly... choice by choice... with lots of practice... you will be able to stand as the adult that you are while viewing the situation with a bit of detachment that is healthier for you and for them.
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mudrunner Jan 2019
They have never accused me of not loving them or not caring about them. I think that's a significant part of the problem - they KNOW I care very much for them and would do anything I can to help, but my mother is starting to become a bit suffocating with the constant texts about how rough things are for them. Whenever I offer to see what we can do to help, she always say something like, "No, you can't do that. I don't expect you to do that. You can't afford it." Translation, though, is a little something like this, "Oh, thank you! I knew we could count on you!" I know that my dad handles the budget, but they have such a limited amount of money to budget with. I'm honestly not sure how much they get each month from their social security. I just don't know what to do anymore. They are my parents. I love them and it kills me to see them struggle, but I just can't be their savior for every single little thing that pops up. My husband and I work very, very hard (we both work 60-70 hours a week) and we have our own stuff to deal with.

In fact, my husband and I bought them a brand new 55" smart TV and sound bar for the holidays since we wanted to do something really nice for them. When they found out their cable was going to be shut off, my mother texted me and said, "Do you think you'll be able to come over soon and set up the new TV so we can enjoy it for what little time we have left with cable until we can afford to pay it?" Ugh.....

Just to add, they don't have full cable. It is the lowest package you can get. They have it bundled with their internet and phone. My mother has difficulty just standing with all of her back issues (she's had 3 surgeries), so she does watch a lot of TV. It's really all she can do these days.
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Your husband is right. They are taking advantage of you. The one thing that really sticks out here is you giving them money for the cable bill. Cable is NOT a necessity, it’s a luxury. Don’t pay for their luxuries. They don’t need cable. If they can’t afford it, it should be cut off. If they’ve got internet, show them to how stream TV and movies. You can get Netflix or Hulu or other services for less than the cost of cable.
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mudrunner Jan 2019
Their internet is through the cable company. They have everything bundled through them, so when the cable TV goes out, so does their internet, which means no streaming.
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You mention their 'mortgage'.......sounds like it's time to sell their home and move to a more affordable situation, pronto. You should not be expected to finance anything for them...it's hard enough to pay our OWN bills, never mind someone else's! Suggest she go to Goodwill for whatever she needs, ie: new coffee maker, etc. And they need to formulate a budget & then stick TO it, for petesake! Your parents are taking advantage of you BIG TIME, and the guilt trip is just a ploy to get you to finance their whims. "Gee sorry Mom, that just does not work for me any longer." I think you need to have a 'Come to Jesus' meeting with your folks right away!!

Best of luck!!!
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That says it all ☺, thanks lealonnie1.
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How about "As you seem to run out of money regularly and then have to ask us for help, I am wondering if you have a budget. I am willing to help you draw one up and then monitor it. Then we as well as you will have a better idea of what is coming up". Sticking to the budget then becomes their issue. If they won't agree to drawing up a budget, then "I'm really sorry, but I have enough troubles with my own budget. We can't help you any more if you can't let us know what is going on". If your parents still have a mortgage and bills to pay off, they have probably been bad money managers for a very long time. Also bludgers, from the sound of your Uncle's contributions. 'Helping' will solve nothing. The more you do it, the worse your relationship with them will get. And don't fall for 'sensitive'!
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mudrunner Jan 2019
Having a mortgage and bills does not mean that someone is bad at managing money....
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I wonder if writing this out has made you take a better look at what you are saying? Your parents still have a mortgage and outstanding bills/debts. This suggests that they have been poor money managers for a very long time. The generous donations by your uncle didn’t solve their problems, but it shows that they have also been talented bludgers for a very long time.

‘Help’ from you isn’t going to change anything for them, but it will for you and your husband. You are getting over-exposed to the demands and the guilt trips, your husband is getting angry with the bludging. You can still say ‘I love my parents very much’, but the love will shrivel if you don’t set some boundaries.

Perhaps you could offer to do a budget with them and assist them to monitor it. Fairly clearly, their expectations exceed their financial circumstances. Even talking through a budget might bring reality closer (though I have some doubts, after such a long track record).

One fairly radical alternative might be to encourage them to move into Independent or Assisted Living, where their expenses would be clearer and their expectations and opportunities to waste would be less.

The only other alternative that seems likely is a flat refusal to ‘help’. It will obviously lead to a major drama and probably a period of estrangement. When that is over, other alternatives might come along. Good luck!

PS sorry about posting twice, the computer was not responding and I thought it had vanished, so I kept thinking.
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mudrunner Jan 2019
I don't mind helping them when I can. They are my parents, the only parents that I will ever have. They worked very hard and made sure that I had everything I needed growing up. Helping them from time to time is not the issue for me. In fact, I am happy to help when I am able. It's the guilt trips and the pity parties that I get from my mother that are pushing me to the edge. She may be doing it either consciously or subconsciously without fully realizing what she is doing. My aunt and uncle have said that from a very young age, my mother had a tendency to act "helpless" to try to get other people to do things for her. She was the youngest of the 3 kids and she was babied BIG TIME by her parents, so I'm sure that is a contributing factor to a lot of this as that behavior definitely carried into her adult life. One thing that I can say for certain is that there would never be any "drama" if I refused to help them. There have been times when we have been unable to help them and there was never any drama as a result of that. I am and have always been close to my parents and I would NEVER leave them stranded if there was something essential that they truly needed help with or in an emergent situation. It's the completely stupid things like the coffee maker episode this morning, which resulted in my mom saying, "If you never want to talk to me ever again, I understand" and saying that she had been crying all morning over something as ridiculous as a coffee maker. She acted as if she had run over one of my dogs. That is the sort of thing that is becoming unbearable.
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No is a complete sentence. You can never change someone else's behavior, but you can change your own. Don't give in to her demands. Every time you respond and buy something, you are training her that pity party whining is how to get you to do things.

They don't need cable/internet/phone bundle, as they have a cell phone you pay for. Until they manage to pull together to pay for it themselves, you could buy a wall mount antenna. They can look at that $1k TV on the wall until they decide to hock it.

Your vehicle needs to come home. You don't make payments on a vehicle that your parents drive after they've already totaled yours(no matter who was at fault). I bet you have not updated your insurance policy to cover them driving it either- the insurance company can decline to cover the next wreck they have in your vehicle. What if that one kills someone and your insurance declines?

It's time you put on the big girl panties and say enough is enough. Let your hubby do the heavy lifting if you don't have the heart. But you must say no often.
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mudrunner Jan 2019
Yes, we have updated our insurance policy. It was updated 4-5 years ago as soon as they started driving our vehicle and both of my parents are on it as drivers and are 100% covered. We are not irresponsible or stupid....

As far as the home phone, yes, they do need that. They have a Life Alert button due to their medical issues that will only function with a landline. My mother can barely even walk and watching TV is the only source of pleasure she has these days, so I completely understand that. I plan on contacting the cable company this week to inquire if there is any way of lowering their monthly bill.
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So mudrunner, how much extra does it cost your family per month to supply them with insurance *plus* payments on that vehicle?

And since they need a landline, it's time to cut the cell phones and basic cable. I pay $21 every 3 months for a basic tracphone that works fine. The internet can work on the TV. It's great that you plan to help them lower their bills, but *do not* put your credit card on the account.

I never said you were stupid. I think you have a choice to make: supporting your husband or your parents. There's a biblical mandate to leave and cleave.
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mudrunner Jan 2019
I feel like you are entirely missing the point of my post. How much we pay to have them on our insurance is not the issue and, to be frank, it's nobody's business. However, I will say that the added cost of insuring them is very minuscule and hardly breaks the bank. The same goes for having them on our cell phone plan. We have had them on our family plan with Verizon for about 11 or 12 years now. In fact, they are using our old iPhones, so we did not even have to buy them new phones. Whenever my husband and I upgrade, they get our hand me down phones, so it's not an issue. Helping my parents from time to time is NOT the issue. I DO NOT mind doing it when I am able. I am even HAPPY to do it when I can. The main issue that I have is the GUILT TRIPS that I get from my mother, whether she realizes how she is making me feel or not. She has never once demanded anything from me and, in the event when she asks if we are able to help with something, but we are not in a position where we are able to right at that moment, there has never been any problem. My mother just has a way of conveying things so that they come across as a pity party and it makes me feel horrible. THAT was the original point of my post. How much we pay for this or that is not the concern. We can easily afford what we are paying when it comes to insurance and cell phones.

I have never once put our debit or credit card on ANY of their accounts, and they would never ask me to do so. Also, I do not "support" my husband. He also has a job and works just as many hours as I do.
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Maybe you should take a look at their finances and see if they can cut back on something. My husband and I live on social security and make it every month just fine.
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As your parents age, I think it’s vitally important for you to get a handle on their finances and budget. Tell them your New Years Resolution is to help them get their finances in order. When I looked over my Moms finances I found so many ways I was able to improve her cash flow each month by consolidating debt and other savings. Having the facts in front of you would probably go a long way to understanding if they’re “taking advantage” or if managing their finances is actually beyond their abilities now. Delinquent bills was one of my first signs that my Mom who fastidiously kept her budget ledger was starting to not think logically. If you can improve their cash flow, maybe her pity party requests will diminish.
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I understand what you are saying. Its not the money but the way she goes about to get it.

You've already said that they can't move but they can't keep the house up either. I would assume the help they are getting for repairs means they now need to stay where they are for a certain # of years. It did my Aunt. She got new windows and a heater but had to live in the house ten yrs or pay for the upgrades. If this is not the situation, maybe its time they move. They don't have to do the hard work. Here where I live there is subsidized housing. Rent is 30% of total SS. They have activities and the local bus picks them up for errands and such.

Cable...there are antennas out there for digital. Just like the old analog. They would probably get the same stations they do on Cable. One time purchase. R parents getting Medicaid as insurance? I guess food stamps could be considered assistance. Comcast has a program for people on assistance. If they qualify, they pay 9,99 a month for cable. My nephew gets basic cable and internet for under $35 a month. He has his cell with another provider.

Are your parents paying for a suppliment to Medicare. If income low enough they maybe able to get Medicaid for health insurance.

They get help with heating but what about electric?

Have they looked into discounts for property taxes. Freezing them?Getting discount on water usage? Some people are not aware of what they are entitled to.

Your uncle was generous but did them no favors. Maybe if they had to live within their budget they would have realized that they couldn't keep the house. The proceeds of a sale could have offset the expense of an apartment. Or even rent a smaller place without the hassle of the upkeep.
My Mom had no money to upkeep her home. I now have a house I cannot sell because of all the work needed and as a retiree, can't afford to have done.

Have you been able to sit down with them and see where the money is going? I handled Moms money and if she was still alive, I doubt if her SS and $200 pension would have covered her bills. I wish I had talked to her into renting an apartment and selling her house ten yrs ago. Cost of living keeps going up and those on fixed incomes are hurting.

If Moms problem is lifelong, a learned behaviour, I doubt if you are going to change her. A maybe "Mom I wish you would stop doing that. We do as much as we possibly can but we have our bills and debts too. If you need something ask. I will tell you if we can afford to do it or not."

I may make them realize that the car they have is it. If anything happens to it, they will need to use senior bussing for errands and Dr. Visits. Dad being 80 one day may not be able to drive anyway.
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To me it sounds like emotional backmail! I am not saying that is what your mom knowingly is doing or not, I don't know!

I think rocketcat has a good idea about getting your parent's finances in order!

But I have to say, I am not sure what you want! You say, you can afford and want to help your parents, however, you don't like how your mom plays the pity party. You have also stated that your mom doesn't demand you to buy things or pay their bills, but as a outsider looking in, she doesn't have to, she just guilts you into doing what she wants. There is a fine line to helping someone and being used by someone! I am just putting that out there!

Here is few questions to ask yourself:
Is this a new behavior or has your mom always guilted you to buy things or pay their bills?
Why do you think your mom just doesn't come out and say, "I broke the coffeemaker; I'm sorry! Can you get us a new one?"
Or why she can't say, "our cable will be shut off can you help pay on it?" Instead she goes for the drama of "oh no, don't worry about it, we'll be find," just to turn around and call you and ask you "If they are just waiting to get their cable shut off?"
Have you really sat down with mom and said, "mom I don't like it when you (fill in the blanks). Besides mom, you know I am happy to help you just need to tell me straight out, that's all."

What I am trying to figure out and what you need to figure out is "What is your mom's motive behind all of this?" If you can answer that than you can stop the whole pity party/guilt trip!
Is it for attention? Out of fear? Wanting to feel in control?

Just my 2 cents!
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Shell38314, I think you hit the nail on the head. I loved your paragraph so much I am going to copy and paste it here.

"But I have to say, I am not sure what you want! You say, you can afford and want to help your parents, however, you don't like how your mom plays the pity party. You have also stated that your mom doesn't demand you to buy things or pay their bills, but as a outsider looking in, she doesn't have to, she just guilts you into doing what she wants. There is a fine line to helping someone and being used by someone! I am just putting that out there!"

Mudrunner hasn't asked for ideas to help her parents. She just wants her mother to change a lifetime pattern. I doubt mom will change.

Mudrunner might start looking at her husband who is already getting tired of being taken advantage of. He might just decide he doesn't want any more of this and leave. I would, in fact I told my last husband that if he wanted a family no more money to his mom.
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Mudrunner- I understand the feeling ,guilted into, doing things. My Mom has a good heart. At the same time she knows I will do anything for her I can. I love her dearly. Oftentimes she will say things about something she wants or would like to have or do. Because I love her dearly, I will try and make that happen, with the Lord's help.
I think you are a loving daughter and that is why you do for your parents.
I have been trying to figure out this guilt thing that many caregivers feel. Sometimes I think it just goes with the territory and sometimes I think it must be something within ourselves that we allow these feelings.
I believe that when our parents become reliant on our help, they often become childlike in asking for the help, because it may be embarrassing for them, or whatever it be. It can't be pleasant for a parent to change roles with their child. So it could be that your Mom looks to you for help, as she trusts you and she knows that you will if you can. But, yet she is awkward in her approach because she doesn't like asking.
I just look at it this way, my parents are the only parents I will have, I have already lost my Dad, and one day may lose my Mom. Anything I choose to do for her, whether she asks me or I do on my own accord, is a gift. I do not expect anything in return, not even a thank you. These feelings of guilt, unfortunately are ours to own them and deal with them. We cannot be upset with them for making us feel this way. No one can make us feel this way, it is us.
You are tremendously blessed that you still have both of them and that they do not live with you. I would try and rid myself of the guilt and just love them. Easier said than done I know, I am still working on that. But they are not to blame for our guilt.
I hope you find the answers you need, and May God bless you in this journey.
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I absolutely agree with Shell. Other than the way her mother asks, the OP is ok with providing her parents with whatever money they want.
IMO OP needs to sit down with her mother & tell her this.
Other than that, since it’s ok with OP to supplement her parents’ inability to manage their own finances, that’s all that needs to be done. Talk to mother & make it clear it’s not what she is asking for it’s “how” her mother is asking it. (Texts first thing in the morning would put me off too).

However, If the daughter’s husband is now beginning to verbalize that he feels her mother is taking advantage of daughter’s good graces (while giving THEIR money to HER mother frequently) perhaps it is time for daughter to discuss this with her husband & listen to his issues. Constantly forking over money they both work hard for to her mother because mother can’t manage her money or her carelessness with presents (coffee maker, et al) may be affecting the daughter’s husband’s future financial stability and then, if so, well, Houston, we got a problem.

Its obvious from daughter’s rebuttals to suggestions that she is perfectly fine throwing her parents money for stupid mistakes mother makes. We can go on all day stating our opinions ( those I absolutely agree with and am wondering why her mother feels it necessary to continue to guilt her daughter into supplementing mother’s needs) but the real problem I see is now daughter’s husband is scratching his head and saying “wtf”?

Me thinks husband is not happy and that daughter came here to vent her feelings and find reasons to rationalize her mother’s childlike behaviors.

I am hoping daughter can put the needs of her nuclear family (husband) first & realize how unreasonable it is for her mother to emotionally blackmail her (as some stated). This is not a normal parent/child relationship , mudrunner. It’s just not.

Work on saying “no” to mother and “yes” to acknowledging your husband’s concerns if you want to save your marriage.
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Harpcat Jan 2019
very astute of you and I think you hit the nail on the head!
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Ouch.

Your parents expect you and your husband to subsidise their lifestyle because you have done.

I don't say that their lifestyle is excessively luxurious, or that they even see what you give them as a subsidy. But the fact is that they are living beyond their budget; and if you are to restore to them their self-respect, and to rid yourself of this horrid whiny little gremlin constantly gnawing at you, then what is needed is a review of their budget and a good hard look at how it can be made to meet their needs.

It's possible that it *can't* be made to meet what you all agree are their legitimate expectations, if not their actual bare-bones needs, and other resources will need to be looked for. But it's also possible that there are hidden issues like credit card debt or overdraft interest eating into their monthly income.

Fact is: your parents are making you responsible for their welfare. This makes it imperative that they also share with you the full details of their income and outlays so that you can work together to get this under control. You can make that a condition of your continued support, if you like; but come what may if there are cans of worms around you need to know what's in them.
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To me it seems like your parents have a history of taking advantage of others and have never been expected to carry their own weight so to speak. If you are ok with supporting them that is your business. Your issue is that no matter how much you do, she guilts you to do more.

My first suggestion is that when she drops 'hints'...and that is just what she is doing...ignore them or gloss over them. Every time she hints that she has a problem (like the coffee maker) you just in with a solution. That is what she is expecting without having to ask for it. That is her learned helplessness. Either ignore the next hint or ask her what she plans on doing about it. Put the ball back in her court to figure out. If she doesn't get that instant gradification of your fixing her problem she might back off on the hinting. Maybe suggest she go to Goodwill to get a replacement coffee maker instead of you providing a new Keurig. Just start playing dumb when she hints about things.
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Ouch--
This hits so close to home (not mine, thank goodness) but my sons. His inlaws, in fact, his wife's ENTIRE FAMILY think that my kids are walking, talking ATMs.

Somebody can't make the house payment? Call B&B. Somebody got pregnant by a junkie parolee? Call B&B and demand the $10K that they gave you 7 years ago when this happened the first time. Truck breaks down? Oh, B&B will get that for you.

Makes me absolutely furious, but I keep my feelings to myself. Son is an attorney, DIL is a Dr., so yep, they're making waaaaay too much money. But it's THEIRS, not the whole family's.

My son has put up with this for 16 years--shoot, even when they were in grad school DIL's family would come a-begging. And they were never turned away.

In fact, one time, WE got on the hook for somebody's airline tickets to NY. I only found out about that a long time after the fact.

BOUNDARIES. That's what it finally took--and is taking. Big, ugly, loud boundaries.

We don't live anywhere near them, in fact, they chose to go 1000 miles away for the "real jobs" b/c of my DIL's family. Doesn't matter, they are always up there, staying for a week or a month---

My son is such a little bull dog, but does a terrible job standing up to the inlaws.

I noticed on Christmas that my DIL's mom was sporting a new outfit on FB and was thanking my DIL and my son for all the "generous gifts". What did his dad and I get from them? Not. One. Thing.

This doesn't bother me, as we don't WANT OR NEED their money. But to have them wave it in our faces is hurtful.

My son has learned that "no" is a complete sentence, and his wife is slowly learning that she can't back down to PT work as he kids hit teenager-hood b/c she spent so much of her money on her family.

It's a very ugly dynamic and very frustrating. And none of my business.

If you don't tell mom and dad no--they'll never stop asking, and in your heart, you know that, right?

You're not doing anyone any favors. Help them to establish a budget and possibly get them in the habit of paying in cash, when possible.

Probably sell the oversize house, too. Yes-it's a mess, but you'll find some peace in the end if you deal with this now.

Good luck!
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Mudrunner: it seems like you are annoyed with the responses we've given you, and that the problem isn't the money you give your folks, but the guilt trip mother lays on you all the time. Maybe you should just ask mother exactly how much she needs every month, then write her a check to cover ALL of their expenses/luxuries/needs & wants, adding in an extra couple of hundred $ for unforeseen expenses ie: broken coffee pots, and that may solve the problem. Probably not, though, since your mother seems to enjoy game playing. She wants what she wants, but refuses to accept any responsibility for asking you for it. My mother has acted this way her entire life, helpless.........it's a passive/aggressive type of behavior, where she will only INDIRECTLY ask for something, hinting instead of asking outright. I might say NO, after all, and how horrible would THAT be? Plus, she can never say she's asked me for ANYTHING, which leaves her with a clear conscience, right? I've gotten to the point where I've told her, please ask me for what you'd like and I'll be happy to get it for you. Otherwise, I'm not a mind-reader. If she doesn't ask directly, she doesn't get anything. We're all adults and should be encouraged to act accordingly. Your issue has nothing to do with 'love'......of course you love your parents & would do anything for them. It's all about respect & how you'd like to be treated. Let your mother know what YOU need from HER now.

Good luck!
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You are getting very consistent comments about the need for your parents to live within their income, and for you to walk away from the pity party. However it seems that what you want is advice about how to change your parents, particularly your mother, without you having to be ‘nasty’ and force things. Your mother likes the money and also the emotional excitement. Why would she change?
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Gaea18 Jan 2019
Interesting and new to me term: emotional excitement.
Is this the new ND ? I live with my 91 year old parent that thrives on that and
you are the first to mention the term. More pointers please - thanks !
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mudrunner, It sounds like you love your parents very much and it's obvious you'd do anything for them (I know, I have done the same to my detriment), however, there appears to be several issues going on even though you are singling out your mother's whiny behavior. You say you don't mind helping them out, and yet say you cannot sustain 2 households. It is obvious your parents have a longstanding issue with money "budgeting," for whatever reason. I would then make helping them contingent upon everyone sitting down and cracking open the books. Secondly, your mother is behaving passive-aggressively. You can either go to therapy to help you deal with this type of manipulation or continue to enable her and pull your hair out. Most of us have "been there done that," and we know what enabling looks and sounds like. You need to work on yourself/boundaries, while you help your ageing parents. If you've poked around here, you will notice, it doesn't get any better. Good luck!
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She’s also got an issue with her husband she needs to address—he apparently has a problem with all the financial support.
(10)
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You have received lots of advice.

One comment you made was regards your parents having a mortgage. It is a financial/retirement imperative to not have a mortgage at retirement. And it is a blunder many seniors seem to make, my father included. That and other outstanding debts.

The situation with your parents is causing stress in your marriage. It is personally causing you stress dealing with the texts.

In my situation with Dad, I will not enable his behaviour, my brother does. But due to a complicated trust , tax and property situation I have had to pay $21,000 in 2018 to preserve an inheritance worth $500,000 in the trust.

In your situation, you appear to be upset my Mum’s manipulation through guilt. Your husband is nearing the end of his rope.

What can you do to change things?

You day Mum has been rewarded by her behaviour since she was a young child. Nobody gave her boundaries and she got her way. She has used her manipulation successfully with you and has no reason to stop.

Yoo need to sit down with your husband and decide between the two of you how much you will give them each month. Once you have that number in place, subtract the car payment, the insurance, their portion of the cell bill etc. You do not have to share the remaining number with your folks, but once it is spent, you just tell them there is no more money in your monthly budget.

You will get push back from Mum, but just repeat, I do not have any extra money this month.

Now you said you have no idea how much money your parents have, nor their expenses. If I were your spouse, I would very firmly put my foot down and say, no more helping them until I see a budget. I did this with my Dad and it was quite amazing to see how he spends his money. The credit card interest alone was more than my mortgage payment.

I know you have repeatedly said you love your parents and can ‘afford’ to help them, but is is placing a cost on your marriage that you cannot afford to keep paying. A parent who says no to their child’s wants does not love them less than a parent who gives a child everything they desire.

Many parents expect their kids to get a job, save up the money to buy their first car. Other families are happy to buy their kids a car. It appears your folks are in the second camp, except the roles are switched and you are expected to give them the car, and cover the insurance.

I hear you when you say the TV is Mum’s main activity, but shouldn’t that mean it is a priority when they pay their bills? In my part of the world, you are not cut off for one late payment. How many months late is it? I think it is telling that Mum did not want you to call the cable company.

How do you deal with Mum’s early morning texts? There are different ways, you will have to find the one that works for you, but the thing they have in common is changing your behaviour, so she learns that the old way is no longer working.

Turn off text alerts.
Do not respond until after work or dinner. Just because she sent it early does not mean you have to reply right away.
Block her texts.

As as far as the coffee maker incident goes, ‘gee Mum, that’s too bad, I guess you will have to drink instant until your next pension cheque.’ Or pull the old one out of the cupboard and use it.
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Omg. They dont need cable. Sign up for Meals on Wheels and the SNAP program, if they qualify and I believe they do. They dont NEED a vehicle, they WANT one.
Sounds mean? No, it is Parenting. Yup, you are now in the parental seat. Did you feel guilty when you told your kids No. Think about it.
I took care of my parents. Your job is to see to their safety and well-being. That's it. When your mom calls with one of her guilt trips, change the subject for no more than five minutes. Thank her for calling and get on with YOUR life.
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I think in your comments you have answered your own question. For example, you don't mind helping when you can. Sooo, as others have said, help when you can, say no when you can't. As far as guilt, you are bringing it on your self. Your mother is your mother and she is the way she is and that is not going to change. Change your reaction. How about some humor -- oh mom, you are so funny. you are just adorable. I love you when you say silly things. I can't right now. I love you so much. Have a beautiful day. Call you tomorrow!!!
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lindas12 Jan 2019
Now that's smart! Humor is a great tool! And parents love it and it is a great diversion!
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They both need the talk about moving to an Assisted Living Facility, as a couple. Their income will help pay for their daily needs. The government will help pay the rest. They will not receive any bills, coffee is included, cable is included, and they will not have to worry about paying utilities. And you and your family can visit any time and take them out or sit with them at the facility.
It doesn't have to be a big facility. It can be a home with 3 to 6 bedrooms with people their age. You just have to start with the talk.
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Counseling for you ... right away. In the end, you have to change your responses to your mother's BS. As it comes to the coffee maker, you should say "well, it will still work without the lid, so no harm/no foul." And then don't buy another one to replace it. Start blowing off her texts with "Huh. Ok. Gotta run."
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kdcm1011 Jan 2019
“Oh what a shame”, “I am sorry to hear that”, “I understand” are now my standard responses when other people try to suck me into their Victim Vortex. I have my own monkeys for my circus, thank you; I don’t need your monkeys as well.
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Hi,

I feel your pain, it seems like when our parents get older any type of etiquette or Manor just seems to be thrown out the window. I remember when the phone calls started and it just went into a rant never good morning how are you how are the kids etc etc. I am just wondering how involved you are in your parents medical part of their lives this sounds like when my mother started with this first stages of dementia.we were not aware of it at that time but it definitely increased in the phone calls never see you I don't have any money no one feeds me ... mind you I had a different circumstance my mother can't drive she's in a wheelchair but she would find other things to obsess over . it sounds like you are doing a lot for your parents right now and I know it's hard to get over the guilt but you will for your own sanity. just a suggestion to maybe start going to a couple of their doctor's visits and it might be a point where you take over their finances for them. Best of luck use this forum as a tool it has been a lifesaver!
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Your folks are using you and manipulating you. Which you already know. Next time use your boundaries and say I’m so sorry...end of sentence. As long as you enable them, they will suck you dry. It isn’t your fault they didn’t save money for retirement. They can shop for a new coffee pot at a thrift store. Or get a $10 4-cup pot...they do exist. She can buy instant coffee and boil water. Your post had me making gasps as I read it and made me upset they’re so bold at using you. I would let them use ride share services. What would they do if you were not alive? Good grief! At 73 she is pitiful to be doing this.
As far as cable goes they don’t need it. We cut cable over a year ago and use an indoor antenna for local channels and stream Netflix etc. people live without cable all the time.
Im sorry you’re dealing with this but the sooner you stop and set firm boundaries the easier it will be to live with them as your parents.
Give them a monthly allowance if it makes you live with yourself and level with them and say that you and your husband live within a budget and they must too. Sit down and list their "must have" (not nice to have) categories and total them up and see where they are. Throw in an extra $20 fun money and tell them that’s it. Because unlike them, you are saving for your old age. It’s so sad that you’re having to be the parent. Set boundaries now. They won’t like it but their lot in life is their own making. Good luck!
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Your parents seem a bit old to be driving. I guess it is pretty amazing that your dad still drives. When people get older it is hard for them and your doing a good job dealing with your parents. Parents become dependent on their child(children) when they get older. I only have one son, who is 15 years old now and I hope I do not do this to him. He already complains when I ask him to help me a lot. Everything falls on you and your husband and it is hard to manage this. I know.

My mom is 81 and she has 6 children. I am the youngest of the girls. She use to call me from 3-10 time per day until I put a stop to it. We got into a disagreement and that was enough for her to stop calling which is good for me. She was driving me crazy with her boredom talk. She gets bored a lot because she has nothing to do and likes to take up all my time to entertain her.
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You could tell them yes under one condition, that you would control their finances, pay their bills, give them an allowance, etc. Seems like a fair deal to both sides to me.
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