Nothing makes me angrier than this.

Seeing Red by cosmohibdon, Deviantart.

This came up in the comments section of my last post.  Nothing makes me angrier than people who tell you, “why don’t you ask your family for help?” when something bad happens and you mention you are in need of financial or emotional support.

I’m not in that situation right now, by the grace of God, but I have been.  Many times.  And I could never ask my family for help, either emotional or financial, because they’d either (a) say no; or (b) tell me all the reasons why I was being “entitled” and put me on a guilt trip for asking.  And the answer would still usually be no.   If it wasn’t no, there were always strings attached.  But that was as rare as blue diamonds.

Whenever I’ve asked my family for support in the past, they made me feel about 2 inches tall, like how dare I ask for help at my age.  At my age, I should be self-sufficient and never have to rely on family for anything.  I’ve taken care of myself my whole adult life, and have hardly leaned on them more than I absolutely had to.   I avoid asking them for anything and have not in years, even when most people would have.   The shame involved in asking is too painful.   Even if, say, I was about to become homeless or was terminally ill, I still wouldn’t ask them for anything.   I’d rather die first, and that’s not an exaggeration.  I doubt they’d care much.  Once I turned 18, their responsibility to me was done.   No one even paid for my college education, though my parents were far from poor and could have afforded it. I had to work full time and take out student loans. I didn’t  even qualify for grants because I wasn’t living at home with my parents.  They wouldn’t allow me to.

I remember when I was temporarily homeless during my divorce, and my mother told me to go live in a homeless shelter.  With the kids.  That’s how “caring” and “loving” these people are.   She also sent an email to my father talking about how “she never learns from her mistakes” but she accidentally sent it to me!   When I confronted her about her “mistake” (I think it was intentional), instead of apologizing or attempting to explain (of course there was no good explanation for this), she laughed and said “well, maybe it’s for the best you saw that.”   She laughed!  Talk about no empathy.  Another time she told me I should become a nun and go live in a convent and get my needs met that way.   She wasn’t joking.

Yet, oddly, she was there for me when my kids were born, helping out when I was recovering from my C-sections.  She seemed genuinely caring and concerned too, and was wonderful with the babies.  I appreciated her help then and actually believed she might have changed.    But soon after I returned to work, it was back to business as usual.

Now I’m No Contact with her, I still hear about how she badmouths me to her other relatives (I’m a “loser” who “never learns from my mistakes.”)  If I died, I bet she would blame me, saying things like, “well, she never could get it together and just got what she deserved.”   She always found a way to take everyone else’s side but mine, even for things that weren’t my fault.  She just always assumed it was me at fault and never gave me the benefit of the doubt, no matter what the situation. She’s a terrible human being but I still don’t hate her.

Maybe people who assume you can go to your family when you need help are well-meaning, and because THEY have supportive, loving families, who always have their back, they assume everyone else does too.  Well, that is not the case, not everyone does.  Especially when you’re the family scapegoat.   People should realize that and not ask.   It’s rude.

When people ask me why I don’t ask my family for help or support, I just look them dead in the eyes and say, “my family’s all dead.”   That usually shuts them up pretty fast.

I hate tailgaters almost as much as people who tell me I should rely on my family for support, but not quite as much, and that’s saying a lot because I think all tailgaters should be lined up and shot.

13 thoughts on “Nothing makes me angrier than this.

  1. More than rude, it’s stupid – and intrusive.

    Do they really believe you wouldn’t have thought of asking your family for help without their suggestion? If it were remotely possible, don’t they think you would have done it? Is it any business of theirs WHY you don’t ask?

    Do they EVER think before they comment? Sorry for the make-wrong, but It makes me angry too.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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  2. My father filled out my application for a student loan, demanding the largest about he could get, claiming money spend on clothing I never saw. One day, I figured out my scholarships covered my entire tuition and the loan just went into his pocket. When I confronted him, he went ballistic, asking why I didn’t want to “help out.” If I didn’t like it, I could move. I figured out I would have had to take out a loan if I lived on my own anyway. So I stayed and let him pocket all the money which became my debt. He was working as a lawyer at the time and had to pay rent whether I lived there of not.

    When I was on my own, Vicki and I went through a very difficult period during the Reagan years. Vicki wanted to get SSI and we stood on a line to apply for two hours. On the line was a woman on crutches. No shit! I asked. my father who was remarried for help. He and his wife acted as if I was the lowest parasite on earth. “Why should it be on our backs,” she cried. One year, we ate beans for Thanksgiving.

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  3. After my parents threw me away at the age of 14, I never asked them for anything. I knew better.

    One time only, I asked a relative for a small loan. The year was 2006 and my husband and I were struggling to the point where we were selling our plasma to buy food. My baby grandson had died and my son, the baby’s dad, was crying on the phone, saying he needed me to be there for the funeral. But I was living almost 2,000 miles away at the time. So I swallowed my pride and asked my aunt, my mother’s sister and the “nice one” in the family, for a small loan, just enough to buy gas to drive to and from Pennsylvania.

    My aunt and uncle lived in a lovely home right on the bay in Fenwick Island, Delaware. My uncle had recently retired as President Emeritus, after 15 years working as the college president. Plus he was actively working as the paid minister of a large United Methodist church that served a wealthy congrregation. He also served on the board of directors for the Bank of Delaware which I assume was a paid position.

    So, my aunt and uncle weren’t broke, by any means. They definitely did not have to sell their plasma just to buy food. But my aunt’s answer to my once-in-a-lifetime request to borrow the gas money to attend my grandson’s funeral, so that I could be an emotional support for my son, was: “I’m sorry, we don’t have any extra money.”

    I have seen my husband give part of the money he just earned from selling his blood plasma, to a homeless man. But my aunt and uncle could not lend their neice the gas money so I could drive to my grandson’s funeral.

    And, like I said, my aunt is the “nice one” in my family of origin….

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    • We did make it to the funeral, by the way. My husband went to his weekly PTSD support group for combat veterans and he told these guys, most of whom were struggling like we were, how terrible he felt for not having the money to take me to my grandson’s funeral. My husband was just sharing his feelings, like you do in a support group, he did not expect these men, most of whom were also Vietnam veterans, to give him money. But they immediately pulled out their wallets and gave him enough cash to get us to the funeral, and they refused to ever let him pay them back.

      I was about to hitchhike there, that’s how desperate I was.

      Like you, Lucky, I would literally rather die than ask my “family” for anything, ever again.

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  4. I can understand how terrible of a position you were in. This is why my folks and I never ask for help from our extended family; my parents were homeless with me as a newly born baby at one point and there was absolutely no support or empathy from our extended family. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Also, forgive me, but this line: “If I died, I bet she would blame me, saying things like, “well, she never could get it together and just got what she deserved.” made me laugh out loud. I don’t think you intended it to be funny, and it’s absolutely horrible that this is the kind of awful relationship you’ve had to endure, but just the way you framed it-the absurdity, the callousness, it’s hysterical.

    I wish you strength!

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