Sick of mom’s user siblings

My mom’s brothers and sisters are just using her for money, and I can’t stand it anymore.

Tread carefully, says our elder — it’s her problem, not yours.

Dear EWC

My mom is a really good person. Too nice that a lot of people take advantage of her kindness. It’s hard for my mom to say no sometimes. It’s getting to the point where even her siblings are using her. They only call her to ask for money and just tell her how much they are suffering. They never call her to ask how she’s doing or even on her birthday. I’m so sick of tired it. I really just want to say something and tell them to stop calling. Once my mom gives them money, they never call her again until they need more. They are all grown people, they are married and have kids! My mom works hard to earn her money and they just take it all away. It’s getting to the point where I feel ashamed to call them my family or even talk to them. I don’t want to be rude or mean to them but I can’t help to feel this way. I feel like my anger is just getting bigger and bigger. I’m starting to hate my cousins too because of their parent’s poor choices they made. It’s not our fault that they are suffering, they made their choice to be that way. They should make us suffer too. I don’t want to be selfish or be this way but I can’t control my feelings. I want to let all my anger out on them and give them a piece of my mind! Please help me.

Askmae replies

I can see that you love your mother so much and all you want to do is protect her from being used and manipulated. However, the issue is not yours to deal with. The relationship is between your mother and her siblings and not you and her siblings.

Have you asked your mom how she feels about her siblings? Have you asked her if she feels used and manipulated? This is the first thing that needs to happen; you need to sit down and have a serious conversation with your mom all alone that is not confrontational, because these are her loved ones (and you do not want to make her have to choose between you and them) and you need to not come across as though you are attacking them.

However, you can bring up all the topics you mentioned in your letter, just let’s rephrase them just a bit. After dinner one night, tell your mom you would like to talk to her about something that has been bothering you for a long time now and so it doesn’t escalate, you just thought the two of you should discuss it. Explain that you don’t want it to be a confrontation, but just a conversation between the two of you, who may or may not agree. Let her know that it will still be okay, because in life, people can disagree and still maintain wonderful relationships, so you are not looking for an argument, just a discussion.

Then you can start with your concerns and listen to her opinions. Here is how you should phrase the comments in your letter:
I feel as though your kindness is not appreciated by your siblings as much as it should be. I watch and see them calling you only when they need something and then never again until they need something again. I feel as though they are using you, don’t you ever feel that way?
You are such a wonderful sounding board for all of your siblings, yet I never see any of them reciprocate the same for you. This hurts my feelings. Doesn’t it ever bother you?
I feel bad when your own siblings don’t call you on your birthday, because that’s usually what siblings do. Don’t you ever feel slighted by this, mom?
I know that this is between you and your siblings, but I feel so angry sometimes that I want to say something to them all, yet I know I have no right to do so because it doesn’t personally involve me. But I really love you so much and I hate to see people using you like this. Please help me understand why you allow them to treat you this way.
I really need to know, because it is affecting the way I feel about everyone in our family, including my cousins, simply because of the poor choices their parents keep making. I understand it’s not fair, but I can’t control my feeling any longer and that is why I needed to talk with you, so we can figure out what to do together.
I think with this type of dialogue your mom and you will be able to help each other through this situation.

I do have to warn you that she may simply tell you that she is perfectly happy the way things are and then you are going to have to learn to accept her relationship with her siblings as is, because it is just that; it is hers, not yours. You only have control over your relationships.
You can, however, decide not to have very friendly relationships with any of them because of the way they treat your mom. That is your decision and your mom will simply have to accept that. Because if it were my mom and that would be her choice, I would probably have a very cool relationship with the rest of them. I could definitely be in the same room with them when necessary, but unless we were celebrating the holidays together, I would probably be absent during any visitations on their part. Just because she wants to accept them in her life that way, does not mean you need to, but she is your mom and there is some level of respect you should show, but only to a certain degree (such as the holidays, as I mentioned).

I hope this letter helps you find some balance and peace of mind with the situation you are presented with in your life at this time.

If you need to speak with me more on the subject, or any other, please feel free to write again. I would love to hear how things turn out for you and your mom.

Letter #: 428645
Category: Family

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