Let me just start by saying that I really am as practical and no-nonsense as it sounds. When my family was going through a divorce, and we ended up homeless because Daddy Dearest wanted “his” money, even though most of his money went to beer and being out of work… and sweat equity to barter labor in exchange for lots of my medical expenses.
Learning to tell the difference between the self-justifying pity parties we throw ourselves and what it takes to stand up and suck it up has been my reality.
When we were out for lunch on Friday, a friend’s husband was talking about his dysfunctional parents, and that he liked living in an orphanage in the 1950’s / 1960’s because it was more stable than being at home. I can absolutely empathise.
My former boss, and the wife of the couple, was talking about how many thousands of dollars in debt they’d had to bail their children out of, and the topic came up for me that money was a sore subject in our house, and that everyone worked and contributed. No one was “entitled” to anything because they helped out around the house. Money and work were kept very separate from household chores. And, any money loaned was always recommended to be money that one could afford to “never see again” as there was never a good time to be mixing family and money.
If one needed money for a legitimate cause, apply at the bank first, as they were the best weather flags about whether or not the loan was too risky to make and the likelihood of being paid back.
People, on the other hand, lead with their hearts. If you can’t afford to help someone, then you don’t do it as you lose both your money and your friendship / family member respect, etc., so you just don’t go there.
My baby sis, the one who is refusing to talk to me because I’m trying to fix my baby brother’s grave site – a brother born before her, and who she never knew – is angry because she’s decided that Jimmy’s grave dispute doesn’t matter in today’s reality. That the promise I made to my Mother to try and fix the grave ownership doesn’t matter. Well, it’s not her call to make. Because I’m saying, “stay out of it”, she’s not talking to me. That’s her privilege, and not something I can control.
However, I tell you all that to tell you this… she’s crazy. Sad but true. She has the same entitled viewpoint of our father, and re-writes reality to suit her version of events.
Our father was kicked out of the home when she was 4 years old, and while I understand that she has abandonment issues, Baby Sis has got them because she never turned the mirror of self-analysis on herself to figure out if she liked the person in the mirror or not. To find out if she had the courage to face herself, warts and all. She’s still battling the fact that everyone leaves her, so she must not be “good enough”. Nonsense. We grew up and went on with our separate lives. We all love her, just not enough to sacrifice ourselves on her viewpoint.
I get it. I truly do. I think she’s great as a person, even if she has a few wobbly spots (hey, we all do. Me, specifically).
But, I can’t help her with her issues. Each of us has our own bags we packed, and each of us cleans up our own mess at our own rate. So, I love her. I miss her. But, I don’t chase her.
This sibling has accused me of terrible things (like theft of our Mother’s estate) even though the estate was 75% mine (and I got stuck paying the taxes as the money was first paid out to me, before I, in turn paid out 1/3rd to my brother and 1/3rd to my sister). I stuck to the terms of the will, and not the terms of the “beneficiary” line listed on the assets and divided everything equally.
When our Aunt was living with me, I paid my own way (heck, it was my apartment), and any money I took from Auntie was reimbursement for stuff she had me buy her – believe me, I know my family, so I kept an accounting, including receipts (and it’s clear that any charges for fruits, veggies and the like were no way my expense, LOL).
However, in Baby Sis’s mind, I’m evil, so the narrative is that I also took $60k from Auntie even though Baby Sis has nothing but stories to lay that blame at my door.
Auntie may have spent $60k moving from FL to CA and then running away to NV. Auntie spends an average of $60k to $120k per year in expenses and blown money, so spending $60k while living with me is not a surprising amount of money. And, eminently provable, if one wants to do a forensic accounting of Auntie’s bills and look at the receipts I provided along with a spreadsheet. But, logic has no place in Baby Sis’s view of life, so I’ve stopped trying to make her see sense.
I get it, money is Baby Sis’s god. Again, not something I can help her with, as there are none so blind as those who refuse to see, to read the accounting logs of income and outgo. Whatever.
But, this sibling also defaulted on a loan to our mother (getting back to the original theme of the story) and left Mom holding the bag as a co-signer on a loan that she would have never signed for the rest of her children. Let that sink in. She stole from our mother, justified it to herself as “reasonable” because she was a young mother with a baby, going through a divorce. But, I’m the bad guy.
Unfortunately, Mom had huge guilt regarding this youngest baby. She was self-hating herself as a failed mother and a parent for this youngest child because she kicked our father out for his philandering. Mom hated the fact that she could not give her child the dual-parent home she thought she failed to provide, completely failing to see that it takes two to have a healthy marriage, and that the childhood provided to our older brother and myself was not without it’s challenges as cheating and mental abuse was a huge factor in how Daddy Dearest operated.
But, I tell you all that to tell you this. Baby Sis is chasing the father who abandoned us, leaving sickeningly sweet things on facebook that drive me crazy (and I know I shouldn’t even look at his profile, but I do get nosy). He rarely if ever responds.
He won’t give her the time of day and feels justified in claiming that he’s been abandoned by his children, when it was he who left us after the divorce. He stripped our house of any assets. He auctioned the house out from underneath us. And he refused to pay child support (my Mom was too proud to seek alimony). He is who he consistently was, and it is he who is still leaving the one daughter trying desperately to reconcile with him.
At any rate, I tell you all that to tell you this – my boss’s husband, the man who was shown zero care by his own parents, and who thought an orphanage was a great place to live, found it hard to believe that my Mom had her theory about not loaning money, and that I – a woman – was ok with that view of life. Even though I moved in with her to care for her during the last year of her life, and paid $900 a month in rent (exactly what I’d been paying for rent in CA, and exactly what she needed to afford her medicines without stressing over finances). He found it funny that my Mom was ok with me paying rent.
At the end of the day, people are amazingly resilient, and it takes all types to make this world functional. Absolutely no answers here.