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Dad won't stop enabling adult sons - how do I get the madness and money drain to stop?

(22 Posts)
williaminajetfighter Thu 21-Apr-16 17:15:47

My 70+ Dad is a lovely, generous person but I fear he's being taken advantage of (especially financial advantage of) by my two wayward 40-something brothers. I have tried to say something and discourage this dynamic, but my Dad just won't stop helping them.

Both brothers are smart, educated and had successful careers until 10 years ago. That is when Brother 1 one stopped working after a bad patch at a job in the City. He was likely burnt out and needed a break, but he hasn't worked since then. He lives in London and 'hangs out', has used up all his (significant) savings and now my Dad pays his living costs, bankrolling him to the tune of tens of thousands of £s per year.

Around the same time, 10 years ago, Brother 2 stopped working to start a 'consultancy business' which never ever had a client. With no income he eventually used up all his savings and cashed in his pension. Running out of money, he looked for work but was frustrated that he wasn't being offered the high-level roles he thought he deserved. So my Dad stepped in and made him 'CEO' of one of the start-up companies for which my Dad is the main shareholder. Even though the business isn't going well my Dad is sinking huge amounts of money in it, basically because he wants my brother to be a success.

I think the situation is crazy and have no idea why two skilled and able-bodied men can't get a normal job like everyone else. I am cross and angry that they are both taking advantage of the goodwill of my father. I feel it is bordering on abusive.

I have tried to talk to my Dad about the situation but he refuses to engage in conversations about them with me as he considers it 'talking behind their back' and a bit of a betrayal. He won't tell either of my brothers to 'pull their socks up' as he doesn't want to create friction and I get the feeling they make him feel 'needed'. I probably can't do anything about this can I?

I have to admit to an element of jealousy and frustration from my side. I'm a single parent, working full time and struggling financially. My Dad has less interest in my life and I'm starting to get cross that I'm working so hard while he's supporting my brothers (who I no longer talk to). There is also an element to it that feels sexist - eg. he's doing everything he can to support my brother's careers as careers are IMPORTANT FOR MEN! Argh!

What would you do?

Yoursecondbest1 Thu 21-Apr-16 17:22:06

I feel your pain on the sexist thing. Had similar from my family all my life! It's so annoying!

williaminajetfighter Thu 21-Apr-16 17:23:05

Thanks - your second. My dad doesn't even ask about my career - he thinks I should be a SAHM and can't understand that I might have to work to MAKE MONEY!

AnotherEmma Thu 21-Apr-16 17:24:58

I think you should actually tell your dad how you feel, that he is displaying blatant favouritism towards your brothers, more interested in them than you, and supporting them more than you.

If he doesn't listen or respect your pov then I suggest you step back and don't support him (practically or emotionally).

His behaviour is sexist and unfair and it's just not on.

AnotherEmma Thu 21-Apr-16 17:26:17

You could also add up the amount he is giving each of your brothers and ask him to give you the same?

He will refuse, of course, but the point will be made.

williaminajetfighter Thu 21-Apr-16 17:42:12

Another - I've thought about telling him but he will just read it as bitterness. In a way he's become most interested in playing the role of rescuer! As for the money no idea how much he's given them. It'll be a huge amount but again he refuses to say. I HAvE benefitted from his largesse as many years ago he helped me buy my flat. But this is different. My brothers are taking the piss!

AnotherEmma Thu 21-Apr-16 17:47:24

Well, you can't make your father (or brothers) see your point of view or change their behaviour. The only thing you can do is explain how you feel and decide how much you are willing to tolerate. In your position I think I would step back (see/contact him less) and write him a letter explaining why. If you're not willing to do that you have to accept the the price of having a relationship with your father is watching as he gives huge amounts of money to your brothers and nothing to you. You might be able to live with such an unfair situation, personally I would find it too hurtful.

Is your mum still around?

aginghippy Thu 21-Apr-16 18:04:44

My fil does similar with bil (his son). BIL does work a bit, but has been surviving on 'loans' from fil for most of his adult life. Last month he couldn't pay the mortgage and had to 'borrow' more.

I don't think there is anything you can do to stop him. He is an adult, he can do what he likes with his money. We can only feel we have advantages in being normal, financially-responsible, self-supporting adults. I agree with AnotherEmma, taking a step back would be helpful.

Yoursecondbest1 Thu 21-Apr-16 18:07:13

Yes my dad doesn't understand I have to work to make money either, he made a comment recently that I only work for a social outlet away from the kids! Only thing you can do is emotionally stand back as hard as it maybe. It's partly a generational thing, I think he won't listen if you tell him.

theshyretirer Thu 21-Apr-16 18:31:30

I feel your frustration OP. My parents do this with my layabout adult brother, I'd dearly love to ask them for the thousands of pounds he's saved by sponging off them for the last 8 years: rent, council tax, bills, furniture, food, taxis, maid, cleaner etc. However it's not worth the bother as I'll be accused of pettiness and jealousy and told "what are we supposed to do, kick him out to live on the street?" (yes).Oh and I don't need that subsidy because I have a decent job (that's because I need one to live off as I don't blag everything off you ffs...)

I pity him and have stepped back from it all. I don't really speak to him much. A sad state of affairs but they're all adults and entitled ot make their choices however poor they may be.

williaminajetfighter Thu 21-Apr-16 21:36:35

Thanks for all comments. Another - my parents have been divorced since I was 2 and stepmother is fairly hands off.

What's so talking about my CEO brother is that my dad is throwing money at a sinking business and when the business goes under the only one okay will be him as he got the experience he needed to go to another CEO job,the kind men deserve. He really doesn't care if my dad throws away millions trying to help him.

I should also be a bit pissed off that these shenanigans reduce my overall inheritance but I don't think that way - it's not my money.

Agree that I need to step back but it's so infuriating. My dad did tell me last time my brother asked for money he cried about the effect of my parents divorce - in 1971!!! It's total frigging blackmail.

williaminajetfighter Thu 21-Apr-16 21:37:14

Meant to write 'what's so galling' not talking!!

QuinnPerkins Thu 21-Apr-16 21:43:49

The sexism part of this would do my head in.

We have the opposite problem where PIL are handing over cash for houses, cars, pretend university courses etc hand over fist for SIL because she's a girl. The 3 boys get nothing.

Unfairness in families fucks me off no end. You need to be fair to all

QuinnPerkins Thu 21-Apr-16 21:45:57

And fair doesn't necessarily mean equal, I know that, but it should be at least vaguely equal where all are in mostly the same position!

QuinnPerkins Thu 21-Apr-16 21:47:31

And fair doesn't necessarily mean equal, I know that, but it should be at least vaguely equal where all are in mostly the same position!

AnotherEmma Thu 21-Apr-16 23:11:07

"He really doesn't care if my dad throws away millions trying to help him."
More importantly, your dad doesn't care if he throws away millions for your brothers.
I think you're blaming your brothers for being selfish and manipulative when it's your dad who is enabling that behaviour (and his parenting may well have contributed to it as well).
Your father is an adult and he choosing what to do with his money. He is choosing to give in to the manipulation. Maybe he still feels guilty about the divorce, I don't know. But he clearly feels a great sense of financial duty to your brothers than he does towards you.
He is throwing away your inheritance on them, and you should be angry about that. Of course it's his money and he can do what he wants with it, but that's what is hurtful (well, it's what I would find hurtful) - he wants to give it all to them and not you.
Where is your anger towards your father?
He has a duty to be fair to each of his children. He's not doing that.

AnotherEmma Thu 21-Apr-16 23:12:06

Argh typos. Hopefully you get the gist!

kath6144 Fri 22-Apr-16 08:51:23

Op - I feel your pain, as my brother has worked only 2yrs in his life (now 56). I had always suspected that my widowed mum gave him money, she constantly denied it, and only when she was in hospital then respite, 18mths ago, did I find evidence as I was managing her cheque book.

When I tried to speak to her (she had trotted out ' I have never given him a penny more than you' days earlier! 😧), she blurted out a very large sum that she had given him to help buy a house 2yrs earlier. Not only was I kept in the dark, but she had confided in some cousins. I know she was emotionally blackmailed 'give us the money or you will never see us again' and told not to tell me so that she wouldn't be tempted to even things up, thus more money for him in inheritence pot. She did even things up, I didnt want to take it, but equally didnt want him to have half of that money as inheritence.

I did go NC for a while, it was so hurtful, but she was diagnosed with terminal cancer around same time and needed our help (brother lives further away and doesnt drive). She has since passed away, and my sorrow at losing my mum is mixed in with bitterness about how I was treated by both her and brother, the money was only the thin end of the wedge unfortunately.

My only consolation is that within the next few months, when estate is sorted, I will be able to cut ties with brother for good. We have sold house quickly, and probate is well in progress, so fingers crossed it doesnt drag on.

I think you have to take a step back and think it is his money, he can do what he likes, but boy, it is hurtful, and hard to accept you have siblings who are so lazy & money-grabbing - I found that hard.

At least you know about the money - unlike me - I am so relieved that I found out, because there was evidence of the large payment to him in her paperwork, it would have been a shock to find out on her death, and boy would he have gloated. His nature is to try and make me feel small, feel like she loved him more etc, he would have gloated and gloated, rubbing my face in it at every opportunity during this 'sorting estate' phase.

LaPharisienne Fri 22-Apr-16 09:01:47

You have my sympathy, but I don't think there is anything you can do.

In a similar situation I tried to talk to my parents - my sibling was a lot younger than your brothers and I felt like extremely generous financial support was enabling an unrealistic life and expectations and preventing the sibling from setting up on their own and being independent. Nothing changed post me saying something, but my parents were and angry and saw me as "unsupportive" and "unkind"...

Steer well clear! And well done on your independance X

BoboChic Fri 22-Apr-16 09:05:21

It's always incredibly difficult as a sibling when your parent(s) give more - be it money, or emotional support, or in-kind support - to another child. So unfair and so hurtful.

I do think that parents are often somewhat blind to the injustices they perpetrate.

williaminajetfighter Fri 22-Apr-16 10:17:39

Thanks for all comments. Really good to know that the best approach is really to say nothing and sit back because in all likelihood I'm not going to change this situation and I'll probably just be branded bitter if I do. It IS really hurtful and IS really sexist and I am cross at my dad for feeling he needs to throw so much money at my brothers - and it is colossal amounts of money, I mean he is sinking MILLIONS into a business that is failing with my brother as CEO. I'm ASTOUNDED that my brother allows him to keep doing this and doesn't feel immense guilt about it but the fact is - some people are just shameless.

My Dad sometimes complains that my brothers won't get a job and he doesn't seem to understand that they won't because they know he will support them. Stop the tap and they'll be forced to work just like everyone else. I get especially cross that my brothers think they are special, that they shouldn't work and deserve to be looked after but at least I have my independence and some pride, I suppose.

Kath - sorry to hear about your situation. That sounds awful but so glad sorting everything out is coming to an end and you can back away.

JuanPotatoTwo Fri 22-Apr-16 19:16:05

william I remember you posting about the CEO brother a while ago. The reason I remember is because I am a crazy stalker I have a brother who is exactly the same. Well, not exactly as mine doesn't have two brain cells to rub together, but he has lived with, and off, my dm his entire life. What makes it worse is that shortly before my df - not his - (we have same dm, different df) died last year, I discovered my df had been giving him regular sums of money. And, db had tried to forge a cheque for 40k out of my Dad.

Anyway, I digress. Just wanted to say I sympathise with you but agree with others that there isn't much you can do. I have detached completely from them all now - he's welcome to whatever he can get our of my dm. However much it is will not turn him into a decent human being with values, principles and a reason for being here.


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