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Can you help me with how to put this to my DD? I'm still failing miserably.

(81 Posts)
DowntonTrout Wed 26-Feb-14 12:51:50

On going issues with DD. I have posted about our problems before. This is long so I will apologise now.

DD and her DH have a baby. They live at the opposite end of the country. They struggle financially and she struggles with emotional support as there is no family around them. When she gave up on college and a future career at 18 to get married and have a baby we did not see eye to eye. We were NC for a while.

Yes things have improved since my GC was born but she still puts constant emotional pressure on me.just little things like posting on FB that she's so ill and just wants her mummy. When mum was dying last month she attempted to make it all about her. We have given them over £700 since December, one thing or another. I do try very hard to be non judgemental, or at least appear non judgemental. The truth is I do judge. I am still reeling from when she put us through hell and left us owing thousands without a backward glance. It is very hard not to say I told you so. Everyone said "give her a chance, this could be the making of her." But I feared it would be like this, and it is.

She has just asked for more money. The dog needed to go to the vets. They now have no money and the car needs work. She has not received an outstanding payment from her previous employer. It goes on and on. We were away last week and so all these texts started up. The cynic in me feels it is because we were away. I've just had a conversation about prioritising their money and of course she's flipped out and said I need to speak to her DH about it. Well, I don't, do I? It's not for me to do. I'm not emotionally strong enough to deal with her at the moment.

I always make sure they have enough for the baby, I will not see him going without, we managed to get through their extended stay at Christmas without too much drama and I stood firm then. But I dread the phone ringing, I have done too much picking up the pieces for her over the years and I hate that she makes me feel guilty for having a nice life when she has so little. I'm feeling very down right now, recently bereaved, the holiday was to have a bit of respite and just relax but I've come back feeling stressed and under pressure. She's just been crying on the phone, I'm all kinds of wrong and don't understand how hard it is apparently. But I do. I've been there. So now she's texting, "right I won't ask for anything again." The only thing she wants to hear is "yes, how much?"

Badvoc Wed 26-Feb-14 14:15:53

Listen to cog.
She is sort of a genius smile

DwellsUndertheSink Wed 26-Feb-14 14:17:28

downton, I have followed your story for a long time - this is just more of the same really and you have to disengage from her.

Id say, to the next request for money, that you send her a small amount and then tell her that you will not loan her any more until she has paid back what she owes you already. Do not get sucked in to a debate about the baby or the vet or the utility bills.

By all means put anything you get back (ha ha ) into a savings account, so you can dip into it again in future.

You might suggest that if they are getting into financial difficulties, then they should seek budgeting advice from eg the families officer, or from the CAB and live within their means.

Beastofburden Wed 26-Feb-14 14:18:44

Ok, well my sense is, she is clueless with money and doesn't know how to manage it. Her only strategy is to get it off you.

And she is still young and self-indulgent and making poor choices. Students her age at Uni are just as crap with their cash but it only affects them, they have a fortnight on baked beans and that's the end of it. But she has a more complicated life.

So I would say that you will commit to helping her financially as part of a five-year plan that sees her through to her course and getting qualified and maybe working again. But you can't cope with all this off and on requests. So will she please come with you to talk to a money adviser at somewhere like the CAB, and together you can draw up a budget for the family which can include the amount you can afford to lend/give her on a regular basis. And you are doing this because you love her and you want to support her through to the point that she is self-sufficient and happy, but could she please respect the fact that you only have so much to give her.

DowntonTrout Wed 26-Feb-14 14:33:39

Yes. It is more of the same.

All good advice about money. I will offer £100 and make it clear she needs to pay me back, even if it's £20 a month. They need more than that for the car but I feel as if I'm funding the dog as that's why they have no money.

The emotional stuff is more difficult to disengage with. She catches me when I'm down. It was easier when there was no baby. We managed to step away then. But I do want to have a relationship with him and it's very hard to separate the two. Whatever I do or give, it's never enough. It never will be.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 14:37:19

Realistically, you don't have a relationship with your GS if he's a baby at the other end of the country. That you send money doesn't mean you'll have a relationship in future. If you have a relationship at all it'll be the sort where Mum and Dad tell him 'you ask your gran for the money this time.....'

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 26-Feb-14 14:37:26

Lightbulb moment - If you are the poster I think you are, I remember the dramas your DD caused a few years' back so I am sorry things haven't improved between you. She is still trying to control you through emotional blackmail.

When/if your son in law is deployed, do you think will she ask to move back in with you? Unless she is now in an abusive relationship, I suspect when she directed you to discuss money with him it was another little-girl ploy to dodge any kind of responsibility, "Talk to him don't bother me with the details".

If it weren't for your grandson I think you would now invite her to stand on her own two feet. You have her younger sister still at home so whether or not DD1 feels aggrieved at 'preferential treatment' I don't think you should feel guilty at thinking DD1 might at last have grown up.

Next time she moans and complains suggest she talks to other wives and partners, contact the welfare team and look into homestart.

JackyDanny Wed 26-Feb-14 14:38:30

Ask her what she can agree to pay, to set up a standing order for repayment and evidence this, then lend the money.

Otherwise, it's just more words and doing the same thing will get the same result.

Johnogroats Wed 26-Feb-14 14:40:01

I think you need to let her stand on her own 2 feet.

My SIL was always bailed out financially by her parents continually. They were still giving her �500/ month until quite recently. She is utterly hopeless with money and has continually overspent...her DH set budget after budget, and she ignored all. Despite him earning a good wage c�100k (she wanted to be SAHM) they are in financial do do. She says he is controlling (well, he tried but failed), and is having an affair. They are getting divorced...

There are many many issues here, but the fact that her parents never taught her financial responsibility is a large factor.

By the way, being ex forces myself, and having been married to a serving officer for about 15 years, she will find it difficult to do courses, have a job, unless she stays put and he travels. Not always easy, esp with the army. We stayed in one place, and DH was away on ships, in Scotland, the Middle East etc. I managed to have a successful career once I left...wouldn't have happened if I'd followed him.

HavantGuard Wed 26-Feb-14 14:46:53

She could still be living with you but she chose not to.
She could be in full time education getting financial support from you but she chose not to.
She could be free from any responsibilities but she chose to have a child.
She has taken money from you time after time and is still asking for more.

She has very much made her bed and now she has to lie in it.

DowntonTrout Wed 26-Feb-14 14:50:50

donkeys yes! I think it's me you are thinking of.

I think she will want to come here when he is deployed. We know when he's going and she has dropped many hints. But, there is the dog, she can't bring him here. And she would have to fly.

I know how difficult it will be for her to have much of a career John even if she can get through the course. We saw all these problems coming. She couldn't/ didn't care.

I know I can't have much if a relationship with GS cogito not at present.

DowntonTrout Wed 26-Feb-14 14:52:40

I'm popping out for a while. If I don't reply, I'm not being rude.

I'm going out to drink wine, in the afternoon. I know it won't help but the offer is too good to miss.

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 26-Feb-14 14:54:14

I've been on your threads before (I think on a previous name). I'm sorry its ended up this way, but its her choices which you tried to save her from making, and she needs to live with the consequences.

Presumably your GS is currently at the age where he only really costs milk and nappies and won't notice if mum and dad are counting pennies? It will only get harder to stop when he reaches an age of noticing things that cost money.

Jess03 Wed 26-Feb-14 14:56:21

My sister is like this, she's in her 30s now and my mum is constantly put upon, and shouted at/called names when she doesn't get her own way, she has never taken any responsibility for herself. Having a dog you can't look after and you paying the bills is prolonging the cycle of bad decisions. Dog needs re-homing, she has to sort that with DH. She needs a sensible career plan. None of this will happen with you being a crutch for her irresponsibility.

badbaldingballerina123 Wed 26-Feb-14 15:19:53

I would not give her a penny more . Seriously .

Look at the reality , her husband is in full time employment , if he's in the services I presume there on low rent . She will get child benefit and possibly working tax credit . They have a car and a dog.

Many single parents on jobseekers live on just over 400 quid a month.

She is abusing you both financially and emotionally , she is horribly entitled. She will continue to abuse you until you establish appropriate boundrys . You are enabling her , that's not fair on anyone least of all your grandson.

I know you want a better relationship with her but that will not happen while you enable her . Let her wave the threat of loss of relationship over your head . As cog says you have none with baby anyway due to distance . You'll find she needs you a lot more than you need her.

She would get help with childcare with working tax credit .

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 15:30:05

"We saw all these problems coming. She couldn't/ didn't care. "

As parents and as older people we can anticipate the consequences of mistakes and it's tempting to want to protect DCs from them. That's OK when they're small but, as adults, you can't live their lives and shouldn't try to.

All you're earning by giving her money etc is contempt. You are the soft touch, the sad old lady, the one that can be treated like crap and still coughs up the dough if we turn on the waterworks and cry poverty. That's not love.

TemperamentalAroundCorvids Wed 26-Feb-14 15:43:20

Everone said "give her a chance, this could be the making of her."

But I am afraid by giving her money you are witholding that chance.

I have recently been having words with DS(25) who owes me money - so I know how it feels, in a mild way. He is in work now, and doesn't ask for money, but I was dismayed to find that his attitude to repaying this longstanding debt to me was somewhat cavalier. I think it's sorted now...

cozietoesie Wed 26-Feb-14 15:58:27


I can think of two parallel cases in my own extended family and in each (although to a greater or lesser extent) the real problem was not the relationship between the child and their parent but between the child and their partner.

In each case, parental attention and money was was used eg to bolster self-esteem which was not being supported otherwise and to keep the partner happy by minimising demands on them. (Plus all sorts of other things.) And in each case, I'm afraid, the child did nothing concrete to help themselves or their family until the parent withdrew completely and finally.

Does this ring any bells?

LtEveDallas Wed 26-Feb-14 16:01:18

Hi Downton, I'm so sorry she is still giving you trouble.

I could tell you how much he is earning, I could tell you how much he pays in rent/council tax etc, but tbh I expect that would make you feel worse if anything - I promise you, they are on a good enough wage to live.

I they really are struggling, if they have debts etc then he could approach his Regimental Admin Officer or AGC Detachment Commander for financial counselling - RAOs are not allowed to give financial advice, but they can go through debts, make management plans, financial repayment plans etc (I do it for some of my guys). Do you think he would?

Oh love, it must seem never ending. I hope you are enjoying your wine - have a day off worrying, she will still be there tomorrow.

Much love.

Dutchoma Wed 26-Feb-14 16:13:59

I've got one of those Downton. Not quite as bad as she is a single mother and in employment but she is still a bottomless pit where money is concerned. She does not ask outright for money and she certainly does not berate me when she doesn't get it, so I think that is the very first thing you need to stop.
As soon as she says anything nasty you put the phone down and you ignore nasty FB comments. Block her if necessary. You know it is emotional blackmail, so stand up to it.
Then make up your mind that you will not give her money for the dog or accept that he has to come when she comes back to live with you. I'm not even sure that it is a good idea for her to come back to live at home when her husband is deployed overseas.
Seems a recipe for disaster to me. It always affected my husband adversely too when she was in trouble...again.
Army personnel do get paid quite well, so she is not managing her money very well.
So it seems a good plan to offer £100 and say that is your final offer.
I gave up 'lending' my daughter money as, like with yours, it never came back. So this is a gift, if she wants it, or nothing, if she prefers.
But don't put up with any nastiness any more. Tell her once that xx amount is the final offer and don't give it if she 'kicks off'.
And maybe suggest she joins one of the online budget plans and learns some financial management.

AliceInSandwichLand Wed 26-Feb-14 16:20:47

Just a thought - if you are not sure what actually happens to the money you give and do still want to give some, I expect a garage would take a payment directly from you by phone and know that the vet almost certainly will (am a vet and this is surprisingly common). I am not implying that you should do this, just it's another possible route to limit how you help without not helping at all. Agree with others who think she won't grow up till she has to, though sad

turnaroundbrighteyes Wed 26-Feb-14 16:42:24

Going against the grain here, but if you can afford it I would give her more than she's asked for with no strings then make it very, very clear that it is a one off, you will still be there emotionally, but from now on she has to stand on her own two feet with no more money, ever!

Then stick to it! That will be the hard part, but speaking as someone who's DH has a mummy just like you, much as you think you are helping her you really arent.

The baby might go without expensive new things, they might have to eat more cheaply, they might get into debt and have a long slog to work their way out of it, but better now than when the child is older.

Carry on as you are and how will she ever gain the self confidence and life skills she needs to be successful in life?

ceecee32 Wed 26-Feb-14 17:15:54

I have to say that I agree with LtEveDallas. If your son in law is serving in the forces there will be plenty of help available for him.

He will be earning a sufficient amount to be in a position to support his wife, child, dog and car. They need to be taught to manage their finances and the forces will help them.

He can either speak to his RAO or the Welfare Officer.

Your daughter will be able to obtain assistance herself from the Hive.

Please do not give them any more money - like another poster I have been there and until the ready tap of money ended I didn't face up to things.

pausingforbreath Wed 26-Feb-14 18:03:20


Reading your post has made me feel so sad for you.

I was the 'younger sibling' of the situation in my family with my older brother much as your younger daughter is within yours .

It's horrible .

His situation was different to your daughters - but essentially the emotional abuse of my parents was the same.
Growing up , watching him twist his problems so that they became my parents obligations was horrible.
The older he became , the better he became at making them feel responsible the harder it was for me to witness.

I was also asked to walk on egg shells , keep quiet so as not to 'upset him' and god forbid if he found out if they treated me to something nice and he found out - he used to go mental.

Because it wouldn't be fair then would it , my parents time and their money spent on someone other than him - he was the 'special child' ( in his eyes ) & everything should of revolved around him and he should always be put first , even before my parents - hell no !

I'm afraid , you more you placate her , reason with her the more reasoning she will find to make you feel obligated , guilty etc and give her some money.

I'm afraid you have to be cruel to be kind - otherwise this is the way it will stay forever .

You may of noticed that 'my story' is written in past tense. Yes , it no longer happens . My brother is still entitled. But sadly in the last 10 years I have lost both my parents. His abuse of them happened until they both died and he could no longer ask them to bail him out.

This is why I plead with you to sort it now and not let it carry on,
For your younger daughter's sake. As much as for yours.

Everything in your older daughters life is down to her choices. Everybody needs to be responsible for their own choices - or at least be given a chance to be responsible for them. My parents as they always ultimately bailed out my brother denied him the chance to show himself as being responsible - why did he need to worry , when they did the worry for him?

Regarding the dog - it is nobody's 'right' to have a dog ; they are a luxury. Luxury costs - to take on a dog a responsible owner needs to be able to afford the luxury of one. Including food, vaccinations, worming, insurance for or vet bill costs etc.

Again it comes down to choice - if you did not make the choice , you are not responsible for the costs.

Although, I do see she is your daughter . She is no longer a child that you are obligated to provide for.
She is a married mother with her own child - one that she & her husband (and no one else ) is obligated to provide for.

I may sound very hard nosed , I'm actually not.
I would of loved to of seen my brother with a 'healthy' relationship with my parents . That's why I have responded to your post - I'm sure you would love a healthier relationship with your daughter too. But it's going to take some 'hard' work on both sides to get there.

I wish you luck & happier times.

Apologies if I have gone on.

DowntonTrout Thu 27-Feb-14 08:01:54

Thanks all. I have read your posts carefully.

LtEve he has some debt from before they married. They have been paying a ridiculous amount of bank charges instead of dealing with it. That has put them on the back foot every month. I will PM you, if I may,

Pausing your post struck such a chord. I've been aware of how much this has affected my younger DD all along. Not just her, although she is my priority, but my elder DS, who has never asked for anything, and me and my DH. Honestly, our heart just drops when we see DD1 is phoning us. I've talked on here before about a possible personality disorder. I've spent so many years rushing to her side, trying to protect her, probably have been the worst kind of helicopter parent. It has become force of habit and it is taking a great deal of breaking. I feel overwhelmed by it at the moment.

cogito I know you are being deliberately harsh for a very good reason. The truth is, she frightens me. When we went NC she ended up making a suicide attempt and in a psychiatric unit.

moonriverandme Thu 27-Feb-14 09:45:38

My heart goes out to you. I think you have to stand up to your daughter and refuse any more financial help, she has to learn to manage her income.She is relying on the fact that you love her and your grandson and do not want to lose contact. I think the time has come to be firm with her and tell her no. I understand how hard it is for you. I don't know if I would be strong enough to take my own advise, .but hope that I would for everyone, or she will continue to treat you in this way.

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