My mother is being financially taken advantage of by my freeloading uncle. This is causing massive stress in our family, and resentments are building up.
Is there anything I can do to help her?
posted by anonymous to human relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Long background (sorry):
My mom has worked incredibly hard all of her life, supporting several kids, giving freely to our community, and doing all of this without complaining. She earns a good salary and tries to invest wisely. Unfortunately, her brother is her polar opposite. He never went to college, worked a series of menial jobs, and has never sought to better himself. He was always a "too cool for school" type, and he has shown a distinct lack of ambition throughout his life. Despite all this, he somehow managed to hold down a job as a retail manager from 2000 until 2007. In 2007, he had a stroke.
My Mom had always thrown monetary gifts his way, but after his stroke, she assumed all of his responsibilities, paying for his medical bills (he was uninsured), his car, his rental house - everything. He recovered from the stroke and returned to work in 2008. In 2009, his store was sold by the owner, putting him out of work. So, on its face, it looks like he's just had some bad luck. And he has.
But what my Mom doesn't seem to understand is that he is a master manipulator. It's almost 2013, and he still has not found a job - he collects disability and claims that he is physically unable to work, claiming he can't hear, can't see, etc. - except he hears and sees just fine when any subject other than work is brought up. He continues to use his stroke and the loss of "his" store as excuses - even though the stroke happened five years ago and the store has been closed for three years.
He lives in a beautiful part of a beautiful state, and if he were on his own, he could never afford to live there. But he refuses to move back to the Midwest with the rest of us, even though he is being 100% supported by my Mom. She is basically paying for his extravagant lifestyle. He has all the latest gadgets, a brand new car with a lease - all this while we live a middle class lifestyle and drive around in 10-year old cars.
As his store was about to be closed, he asked my Mom to "invest" in it to save it (and his job) and claimed it was a fantastic way to make money. There was open revolt in the family and everybody told my Mom not to do it. She decided not to, but got mad at us for trying to look out for her best interests. The place went out of business two months after it was sold. A few months ago, when his lease was up, he shamelessly asked my Mom to buy his rental house so he could continue to live there, and she seriously considered it. We revolted again, and she didn't buy it, but he has now moved to a different rental - on a golf course, no less - and my Mom is naturally "helping" him with the payment.
He is nothing more than a user, and a shameless one at that. My sisters and my Dad have all told my Mom that she shouldn't be supporting him, but she gets angry with us and says that he needs help. I'm of the opinion that the only "help" he needs is a swift kick in the ass. He is so selfish that he just thinks my Mom should support him because life isn't fair, even though she has worked extremely hard for what she has. He rants about Obama and socialism but thinks nothing about using both his disability money and my Mom's innate sense of generosity to be a bum.
And he is so blatant that he says he is not even trying to look for a job - my uncle literally has no shame. One time, in a moment of frustration, I even bluntly asked my Mom, "So what does he DO all day?" and she just responded, "Not a whole lot." But she doesn't seem to want to change this situation. It is absolutely infuriating to me, my sisters, and my Dad. But when we bring this topic up, our Mom just yells at us and defends him. This has caused so many fights in our family - the more we try to point out his ways to my Mom, the more she defends him. And my aunt and grandma consistently take my uncle's side, having the audacity to tell my Mom that he's right and WE'RE the bad guys in this whole thing. I'm mad as hell - my Mom, despite earning a good salary, has almost nothing to retire on. I would estimate that nearly half her income is going to my uncle - she always talks to him in private at the house and sends out envelopes to him, trying to keep her support of him quiet.
I know it's her money, but she is destroying her financial future, all for the sake of someone who shamelessly and selfishly exploits her, living an extravagant lifestyle while the rest of us scrimp and save. My Mom yells at us if we go over the budget at Costco but thinks nothing of sending him a $3,000 check.
It is an absurd situation, and I just want to cry. How can I stop this freeloader? Where do I even begin?
TL;DR: I have tried everything to convince my Mom to stop supporting her shameless, freeloading brother. Despite working hard all her life, her retirement is not secure and our family is being strained to the breaking point by his actions. I am at my wit's end - what can I do?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.