Dear Aunt B,
My sister is 48 years old and is a widow. She receives $350.00/month for a
pension. She will not keep a job because she usually thinks the employer is
giving her a raw deal and has said she does not really want to work for
other people. She does not want a minimum wage job but she has no education
or skills. She has a son living at home who has two good jobs but he
refuses to pay any rent or utilities. The problem is she is about to have
her house repossessed because she cannot pay. I am not rich and make just
enough to stay above water. What should I do besides pray for her,
encourage her to get a job, and point her to local agencies for help in
training for a job or in avoiding foreclosure?
Aunt B said...
It occurs to me, that you are a kind and gentle soul. I would not want to be in your shoes, not at all. I feel for you as well as your sister.
I have owned homes and I have lost them, more than once. So, I know the devastation it can cause. At the same time, I feel like saying that sometimes we need to lose everything, to gain what is most important. This is a tough situation, it really is. I don't know all the proponents of the game nor do I know if you've helped her in the past. Regardless, I think that you need to proceed with care, with caution. I would not want you, to lose your sister over this. Money should never come between family or friends but you are backed in a corner here.
My gut instincts tell me to say to you, that your sister has been so busy being a victim, she has lost touch with reality. I mean, is it realistic for a son to live at home and not help with the bills? You and I know that it is wrong. She is allowing this, apparently. Of course, the son, must have less scruples than genius? After all, if you could work, save money and not pay a dime out, would you not do it? The thing is though, he is doing it to his own Mom which is beyond incorrigible and loathsome. It is the son, that should be helping her, not you. But you knew that. I could almost understand it, if the son didn't have a job but it almost makes it worse because he does, two to boot.
If you weigh it out, which I'm sure you have, you come to a few conclusions. If you help her, financially, you may, just prolong things. If you help her, it may send mixed signals, that all is right with the world as it is and nothing will be gained.
I do not like hurting any one, much less a family member but enabling them is just as bad. That means, your sister is enabling her son and if you help her, in a financial aspect, you are enabling them both. So, is there a solution here?
I think that it is time for your Sister to see the ramifications of her situation. If she needs to redefine her, "Values and Beliefs," now is the time to do it. It's easy to think we are all that and shouldn't pay our dues. It is then, that we will be humbled. I had worked as a Chef for one of the Eastern Seaboards finest restaurants. But when I went to prison, they put me in the dish room. I had to work my way up the ladder to become 1st Cook. Woohoo! My point is that Sis needs to humble herself and realistically look at things. You can bet your butt, I know how she feels. She has a grown son, yet she can't get a good paying job, fitting her life skills. It is humbling. Losing everything, hurts even more, so which shall it be?
Laying down a cushion will not bring around change and in turn, the behavior will continue. Unfortunately, I had to learn this "tough love" philosophy, myself. I have lived in my car and I know what it is to lose everything. I have gone to prison and come out with only the clothes on my back, a plastic cup and spoon and a bit of sanity. But I survived and in turn, I realized that my behaviors are what brought me down. It was a real kick in the teeth. I played the victim. I was abused, beaten and tormented but "I" allowed it. I only tell you this, so you see or know my affirmation with your theory, of steering her in the right direction and fervent prayer. I am a firm believer in prayer. I also believe that God does want us to rely on Him. He doesn't like ugly and he sure has an aversion for stupid and those that play stupid. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss but when we consciously look the other way, God does find a way to wake us up. He'll hold our hand, as we walk through the learning fires and comfort us when it's over. We'll then realize that the finest gold is tempered.
So, if you asked me, I'd say to tell your Sister, that you will pray with her, for her reassurance, wisdom and understanding. You will help her with the leads to agencies that may help her get on her feet, in a subsidized manner. That doesn't mean you do it for her. That means, you might look through the resources available to her and give her the phone numbers.
I think, the key issue that poses itself to me, is your Nephew, her son. She has got to realize, that she is not being the good mother, she thinks she's being. By allowing him to think he's getting over, that he's on a free ride, it has all the earmarkings of an entitlement personality. That is a behavior that facilitates a survivalist mentality. "I do what I have to do, to get along." It is the kind of person that is willing to explain away right from wrong, good from bad. They are best at giving, every explanation in the world, to justify their behavior. He'll make excuses to justify the very fact that he would take advantage of his own Mother, to meet his own trappings. I don't like it but Mom, your Sister has got to put her foot down and stop being a victim here. She's doing no one a favor. She's the one, that's going to suffer for it, while her son moves rosily along. He needs to step up to bat, man up and do the right thing. If he does not, mark my words, Mz.Karma will be calling.
Far be it from me to want to misdirect you. I advise you to pray fervently, for wisdom for yourself and your sister. Somehow, I feel if you can weather this storm and hold fast, not giving in, all the way, she will be forced to take action and do the right thing. The right thing would be, for her to require, from her son, some much needed assistance. He owes her that and it's a sad state of affairs that you, her sister, should even have to worry like this. Sometimes, we have to pray with our soul, a prayer from deep within us for God's will, to be done. Now, is one of those times, I believe, to pray and..."Let Go and Let God."