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To say something to DSis AGAIN about the way she treats our parents?

(29 Posts)
RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 21:27:48

Okay, strongly suspect I am going to be told YABU, MYOB etc.

But, here goes...

DSis is 21 going on 22. Our dad has a horrible temper (is emotionally abusive, pretty much) and as the youngest, she was subjected to him more than the rest of us after us older lot left home. She was also bullied at school, so her teen years were pretty rough.

She got really into conforming and being accepted at school, I suspect to compensate: went from being against drinking in principle to going out every weekend, having lots of boyfriends, bunking off schoolwork etc. She also put on a lot of weight, to the extent that it's giving her health problems (I don't judge, but I am worried about her).

So that's the background. Last week she came home from uni. Since then, according to my mum, she has a) not made any attempt to get a job despite the fact that my mum is under financial pressure; b) socialised every single day instead; c) asked my mum for money to do so; and d) not been to see my dad ONCE (he lives 0.25 miles away) despite the fact that he has just had a double hip replacement and is funding her degree.


I get that she's had a rough time. But IMO, you don't not-work and expect other people to fund your social life. And you don't take thousands of pounds off someone to fund an optional degree if you are then going to ignore them. In the past, when I've talked to her about this, she has agreed with me but not really done anything about it.

AIBU to try again when I see her being so disrespectful to my parents, who have health/ money issues?

maddy68 Mon 27-Jun-11 21:34:46

she is young, young people finish uni and find it hard to get out of the student mentality. she will learn.
maybe suggest that she might not want to be draining mum of her finances? just be tactful

maddy68 Mon 27-Jun-11 21:35:17

oh and its early days, she has only finished a week ago!

SinicalSal Mon 27-Jun-11 21:35:47

Well, she's only home a week. It's not unreasonable to take a bit of time off after exams and such.
BUT once her 'holidays' are over - this week, say- she needs to get her act together. Why doesn't your mum feel she can simply say to her 'Adults must contribute' ? Nothing unreasonable there. Maybe a word in your mum's ear letting her know that, though not a rant.

Don't know about the Dad situation. That's a little more personal to your sis, I would be there for her if she brought it up but not instigate it.

meditrina Mon 27-Jun-11 21:40:23

Support your parents - help them stick to their guns if necessary. Speak to your sister only if you can find an agreed script with your parents.

But do not tell your sister off. She is an adult now and you are not her mother.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 27-Jun-11 21:40:43

It really is up to your parents to deal with this and to take it up with her. I would not interfere - the other side of the argument is that your Mum is letting her get away with this behaviour by funding her social life.

Not sure about the Dad situation - maybe she feels he "owes her" for all the abuse she took as a teenager. Not saying that is right - but again your Dad should take it up with her if he feels he is being used and abused financially, rather than you.

SamsGoldilocks Mon 27-Jun-11 21:41:34

My bil is in a similar position re finishing uni and needing cash - my MIL is really sad he doesn't see her as anything bar a cash cow and a conveneint form of free transport.

I think i was probabaly the same at that age and it is only with maturity and wrinkles on my side that i ahve the head space to care. Actually that's bollocks I've never asked my folks for help at that age - it never occurred to me, but my sister always did. I think some people are just wired differently and either don't see the problem or don't want to see it.

Considering your sis relationship with her dad i'm not surprised she doesn't want to see him but it's only just the start of the holidays.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 21:44:47


You say your dad was emotionally abusive ... but it's your sister whose behaviour you're choosing to judge? When she is 21 and fresh out of university? hmm

LoopyLoopsBettyBoops Mon 27-Jun-11 21:48:05

What LRD said.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 21:49:12

LRD I judge my dad too, but we suspect now he is on the ASD spectrum. He was horrible to me when I was younger - e.g., when I had my first boyfriend he was me I was 'shit in the gutter', 'a prostitute', and that he would prevent my seeing my younger sisters in case I 'pimped them to my new "friend"'. But he is old, and frail.

Also, I've chosen to continue the relationship with him, so as long as he is treating me okay now, I am not going to take from him and not give back.

Sorry, also, not to drip-drip, but the other thing is, while my mum will keep funding my DSis, my dad will possibly not. Privately, my other sisters and I suspect DF is on the point of cutting off her uni funding due to her attitude.

Am not sure if he is right or it's just his unmanageable temper again! confused So this is also about protecting DSis from consequences.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 21:49:40

he told me I was

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 21:53:53

You''ve chosen to continue your relationship, yes. But that's your choice. Your sister has her own choice to make. If he is emotionally abusive, no matter if he's got ASD or is old or frail - she's well within her rights to decide she doesn't want contact.

Giving money is a pretty easy way to control someone. Your dad didn't have to give your sister the money, did he? She, OTOH, was presumably 17 when she applied to university and sitill livign at home ... not eactly a posittion of power for her.

Icoulddoitbetter Mon 27-Jun-11 21:58:40

I'll only comment on the dad issue. My father was a total shit to me when i was growing up and this has had a huge impact on my life. He's funding her degree, it's probably the least he can do to even slightly make up for his behaviour to her as a child. I don't blame her for not going near him.

Snorbs Mon 27-Jun-11 22:06:29

Your sister is an adult. It's not your job to protect her from the consequences of her choices.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 22:09:10

Yes, I know she has her own choice. I fully respect that. What I have said to her in the past is, it is fine (well, not fine, but legitimate) to cut someone off if you feel they are toxic. But what I think you cannot do is say you want to continue a relationship and then take lots of money off someone.

She was living at home when she applied, but was 20 - she took time off before uni, which my DPs also funded. Not a position of power, but old enough to support herself if she really wanted to.

But there is also the issue with my mum, my dad quite aside... AIBU there?

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 22:10:05

You don't have to answer any of this RP .... but I'm wondering, why is your sister's relationship with your parents such an issue? Did your dad fund your studies too, or do you feel as if she should be taking more of the burden of keeping in touch with him, as she's had the money?

I'm just trying to understand because it seems an odd dynamic, to me anyway.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 22:13:37

Sorry, cross-post.

I don't really see why she shouldn't take money if it is offered. It may be (as someone said) that she sees it as recompense for the way he treated her, but not grounds to forgive him. I do think if he has offered the money, it is between him and her - did he put conditions on it?

I think you are being fair enough about your mum - your sistere is being a bit selfish to take money off her. But criticizing her for not havin got a job after a week is very harsh, imo. Does she even have her degree result yet? She may not feel able to apply until she's formally graduated.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 22:14:55

He did fund my studies. I was in my first year when he made those comments to me that I cited above.

tbh - this is going to sound v cowardly/ self-promoting - I had just got into Oxford. I could not afford to stay there on my own. I argued with him about those hurtful comments, but I did not want to leave, as I was not sure if I did the principled thing and left to support myself, that I would ever get back in. But I did understand that as long as I was willing to live in his house in the vacations and take money from him every term, that there were certain civilities and duties, at the very least, due to him.

Like bothering to stick your head round the door after someone's had major, painful surgery to check that they're alive, at least....

Do you not think? Or am I crazy & brainwashed? confused

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 22:15:57

Sorry LRD she has come home from uni for the hols, she is not graduating yet.

mercibucket Mon 27-Jun-11 22:22:08

no reason for her to go and see your dad if he's a twat, just cos he's paying for her uni fees. maybe you are a bit jealous cos she's doing what you wanted to but didn't choose to do
she's only been back a week!
up to your mum and dad what they choose to put up with. time for big sis to take a step back?

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 22:24:52

Ouch. That is tricky.

Sorry if this sounds rude, but it sounds as if you made a decision based on finance that you didn't really want to make. And now you want your sister to validate your choice by doing the same.

Honestly? If your dad is as you say he is, neither of you owe him anything. he offered the money - he didn't have to do that. Yes, normally, it's a moral obligation to care for your parents (money no issue). I think it's revealing and a bit worrying that it's the money that you're focussing on - half your reasoning sounds as if your dad bought your concern for his health, the other half stresses tht you're doing the moral thing.

I don't want to come across all amateur shrink - not least because I'm not blameless myself in a similar situation to yours - but it does sound awfully as if you really, really want your sister to make this decision because you have made yours.

I mean ... you say he was emotionally abusive. At what point do you stop taking into account the money a parent spends on their child and start acknowledging that abuse is abuse and an abuser doesn't deserve contact? If your dad hadn't paid for you two at university, is it not possible you'd be saying 'well, he brought us up and paid for x for us, we owe him'?

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 22:28:13

Also ... and I'm really not trying to be mean, but saying this because I think it says a lot about how you're approaching this - what has Oxford to do with it? Is the implication your sister went somewhere less prestigious? If so, do you feel it was more important for you to take your dad's money?

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 22:33:27

Sorry LRD wasn't sure how to phrase that. blush Where I went to uni mattered because I really, really wanted to go there. If I had dropped out and supported myself, and then reapplied under my own steam later, I was not sure I would get back in in another year. I think that is a realistic fear. I also think it is really important that DSis should not drop out of her uni, because in this climate, she will have zilcho chance of getting a decent job without a degree, I fear.

The money matters because my dad is a pensioner and funding my sister's degree from his (goldplated final salary) pension. Yes I think it is a moral choice but there is obviously a financial dimension to it - and I do think it is different taking money off a man with a good job to taking it off a pensioner.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 27-Jun-11 22:39:46

Again, sorry if I come across as rude. But.

You think it's different to take money off a pensioner - are you sure you wouldn't have found another way to rationalize ift if your dad were working a job? It's just it sounds as if you have found reasons to keep in contact with him that are suspiciously neatly tailored to his precise circumstances. You don't say she should stay in touch because he's been good to her - it's this specific, most-recent thing of the money for university. I don't know you; I don't know your situation, but that just sounds more like guilt and resentment than anything else.

I take your point about how hard it is to get to uni - I only brought up the Oxford thing because I think sometimes if you have unpleasant parents, it can be easy to get into a competitive situation - but that's obviously not you. smile

RevoltingPeasant Mon 27-Jun-11 22:44:04

No don't worry, I appreciate the advice smile I am 10 years older than my DSis so I don't think I am competitive with her. Am I resentful about my dad - I have arguments with him in my head about twice a week.... Do I resent DSis? - yes, because I can see the stress she causes my mum in particular.

Thanks for your thoughts - think I will leave the thread now - but it is useful to see that maybe I need to keep my trap shut around DSis. Can do smile

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