Monday, August 29, 2011


I don't mind helping. I don't do it for money, gifts, or glory. I don't don't do it for the "thank you". I just do it because I have to. If I see someone who needs help, how could I just walk away?

When does helping someone become too much?

Recently, my family asked for help. Except, well, they didn't stop asking.

Ever since my mom divorced my dad, he had moved in with my grandma. She already was living with her youngest son. My dad and uncle hate each other. Well, my grandma used to be the ONLY person who didn't hate my uncle, but now even she sees the light. He's an overgrown child, refusing to mature even tough he's turning 40. He's a gold digger, he's spoiled, he will steal from others rather then earn something himself, ect, ect, ect.

A few weeks ago, my grandma learned that my uncle, rather then earn a living for himself, has stolen my grandma's credit information and got a couple of credit cards in her name. He hasn't paid for those cards, and now because of him, my grandma's perfect credit rating is ruined.

So, my grandma and dad decided to move away from my uncle. They need a new apartment. That's where I came in. They called me up and asked me to help them search.

I drove around, writing down phone numbers for apartments for rent. Then, they asked me to call those numbers and make those appointments. Oh, and dad has to hang out with his new friends, so I have to take my grandma to those apartments (she doesn't drive). So, I did just that. I made appointments for my days and times off. I got my grandma to those apartments. None of them fit her and dad's needs. That one's too close to an expressway, that one is not close enough. That one's too big and that one's too small. That one's too pricey and that one's too cheap.

On top of that, dad decided that if I'm willing to help with this then I should be willing to help him with other things. So, he asked me to loan him some money (I refused as I don't have any), then he asked a several other things. I started to realize that he can't do anything for himself.

For two weeks I didn't have a life of my own. I would come home from work and have to call a gazillion numbers, set up appointments, take grandma there. I've probably seen every single apartment for rent in the Chicagoland area. None of them were good enough.

I finally found a great apartment for them. . . They don't like the street it's one, it's too quiet. Seriously? I had enough. I blew up at them and told them I was done being their personal apartment finder.

Funny how people still end up falling on their feet, just like cats. Within a day of me saying I'm done helping them they managed to find a place for themselves. Although this apartment is too close to an expressway, and it a bit too small, and too pricey, and has dark kitchen cabinets (another thing they complained about in other apartments) this way was good enough.

When do you stop helping someone and let them find their own way?


  1. Sounds to me like you've done everything you can to help, Angelina. If I were you, I'd draw a line in the sand: 'If you can't find something by X date, I'm afraid I won't be able to help.; -- or something along those lines. I thijnk if you don't set boundaries, they're going to push you waaaay too far.


  2. Good question. I think by now most people know my boundaries so I usually don't have people over-staying their welcome.

    You were more than kind to your relatives. I'm glad you stood up to them.

  3. Good question. Thankfully not one I've had to face with family.

    It's called tough love. Good luck!

  4. When it comes to family, I rarely help. My mom only asks for it when she absolutely needs it so I always jump in then. But that is rare. Dad never asks for help. My little ALWAYS wants help. He and his wife have dug a financial hole for themselves. They bought a house they couldn't afford and then furnished it. We used to give them money or pay for their Christmas for my nephews sake, but there's nothing more frustrating than paying the electric bill and getting them completely up to date (to the tune of hundreds of dollars) only to go over there and see a brand new flat screen tv. We don't even have a flat screen tv. So they don't get any help. They had a kid when they couldn't afford one, bought two cars they couldn't afford and a house they have no business living in - they can figure it out. Unfortunately, my mom pays for everything for my nephew because she's a sucker. :-( Which has jeopardized her comfortable retirement.

  5. Hmmm...unfortuantely, it isn't until you get fed up that you realize it's time to let the person help themself or wallow on their own. Been there done that with a few family members and they know better now.

  6. Wow! Sounds like you are learning the hard way. Good for you for finally standing up to them. Tough Love Baby! I'm a fellow campaigner from your pnr group, so Hi!

  7. I'm glad you put your foot down and did blow up before it was too late. I never really had family or close friends so I'm not used to anyone ever asking for help. I'm sure I'll learn when the boys are older...

  8. I've dealt with family members like this (your uncle sounds like my uncle, only mine is over 60 now and STILL behaving this way!!). I try to follow the "teach them how to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime" philosophy, but it's easier said than done sometimes (whereas with the uncle...I no longer speak to him at all).

  9. That's such a hard decision to make, but for your own sanity (and let's face it, forcing them to take responsibility) it was time to make the move to say you'd done enough. My dh and I have had to step up and help with his family quite a bit, and it's hard to say no sometimes--even when they are capable of doing it themselves.

  10. That's a tough one. And yet it's amazing what people can accomplish when they're forced to do it themselves.

  11. Hi fellow campaigner.

    Sorry to hear about your family drama. I sympathize, believe me. Finally made the decision to cut off my brother after numerous discussions with my husband. Sometimes people won't learn to fend for themselves until forced to do so. I still love him and support him, but I had to draw the line.

  12. Thank you all for commenting and understanding. You all had such great input.

  13. EEeek! Horse to water-make him drink ordeal, eh? It is tough when someone asks for help, but really what they want is to have their own way be made easy. Not much you can do, except put down your foot! Tough love, yup (just scrolled and saw that mentioned). Maybe five years from now you can have a chuckle at their expense... *grimace/smile*

    Fellow Short Story Campaigner here; nice t'meet ya; good luck with the fam!

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