Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Parents Give My Sister Thousands of Dollars While I Get Nothing”

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Love or money

I recently learned that my parents are buying my fiscally-irresponsible sister a house. Unlike me and my husband, my sister refuses to learn how to budget appropriately and spends more than her husband makes each month. They decided to have a child and, when questioned about how they were going to afford it, given their already strained finances, my sister commented that, “Babies don’t actually cost that much.” Now, in addition to their preexisting debts and expenses, they have large medical bills from their child’s birth that are in collections. My parents are certainly free to do whatever they want with their money, but I feel incredibly hurt that my sister is getting rewarded for her financial irresponsibility while my husband and I carefully budget and make sacrifices so that we can pay off our student loans, in the hopes of being able to afford to have a family of our own. My parents have also made pressuring comments about my husband and me having children, and I have told them that the reason we have to wait is because we can’t currently afford it.

I feel like I should address this with my parents, especially since when they re-did their wills two years ago they informed me that their assets will be equally divided between my sister and me, which doesn’t take into account the considerable financial gifts they have given to her while they are still with us. Just because I manage my finances responsibly doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be incredibly helpful to receive some financial assistance every now and again, particularly since it would allow me and my husband to start a family much sooner than otherwise. I don’t know how to bring this up in a way that won’t result in a huge fight or falling out with my parents (particularly with my mother, who has always favored my sister over me), since my parents have kept me in the dark about how much they are assisting my sister and have not expressed any intention to amend their wills to reflect a more equitable division of their assets.

At the end of the day, I don’t NEED money from my parents. My husband and I work hard and make sacrifices, and ultimately make ends meet more comfortably than most. But I feel like my parents care more about supporting my sister, financially and otherwise, than they care about supporting me. It’s no secret that they love her more than they love me, but giving her tens of thousands of dollars and cosigning a mortgage for her is such an overt display of love and support for her and her family, while I get nothing.

I’m just at a loss as to what to do or how to address this with my parents without making the situation worse, and I’m so hurt and upset right now that I’m worried I will snap at them over Thanksgiving dinner. Advice? — Hurt By Parents’ Generosity

First of all, do NOT snap at anyone at Thanksgiving. That won’t solve anything and it will just make the situation worse.

Basically, you’re very resentful that your parents are helping out your sister and they aren’t helping you, but it sounds like your sister has actually ASKED for help and you have not, right? I could certainly understand feeling resentful if you’d both asked for help and they denied you but gave freely to your sister. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. And it’s unfair of you to resent your parents for “denying” you something you didn’t ask for — or worse, resenting them for providing your sister with something she DID ask for.

It’s great that you are so responsible and have been carefully saving your money and putting off parenthood until you feel better able to afford a child. And it’s a shame that your sister and her husband haven’t shown the same level of responsibility and maturity. And maybe it seems to you that your parents have even enabled such irresponsibility, but put yourself in their shoes for a minute. They have a daughter they love very much who is asking for help, not just for her, but for her baby now, too. Can you appreciate how difficult it would be as a parent to say “no” not just to a daughter, but essentially to a grandchild, too?

Obviously, I don’t know the details of your family history or the dynamics at play. I have no idea why you think your parents favor your sister over you. But if this particular issue is indicative of a larger issue, then it really just seems to be about your sister receiving what you don’t feel comfortable asking for yourself and you equating that thing — financial assistance, in this case — with love, which is really unfair.

It’s also unfair to assume that all things are equal and that your parents are somehow required to share their assets equally with you and your sister once they die. Things are rarely equal and parents often have very good reasons — reasons that have nothing to do with favoring one child over another — for allotting a bigger share of their assets to one kid. These reasons could include, but are not limited to: wanting to help a child who has had an illness that has created enormous medical bills or made it difficult to work; wanting to give an unmarried/widowed offspring a little more financial security; passing along a little more to whoever has more children to care for; passing along a little more to the offspring(s) who have a greater financial need. These reasons may not all be fair. Life isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that some people get sick or some people can’t have kids or some people lose spouses. It isn’t fair that some people work really hard all their lives and die penniless while others are born with silver spoons in their mouths and never know the meaning of a dollar earned.

I guess my point is that we get ourselves into a world of hurt when we start equating money — or, especially the dispersing of money — with love/ the expression of love. Money can certainly buy a certain level of security and it can make things easier. But, as you know, it can also make things harder. It can ruin relationships and create mountains of resentment. It can create a crater between those who have and those who have not. But the thing is, what we believe other people to have isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. And although we may often wish we had what others seem to have, it may not be worth nearly as much as what we’ve already got.

I don’t know, maybe your parents DO love and support your sister more than they support you. Maybe the expression of their love and support is much deeper than the financial assistance they give your sister (the assistance that she asked for and that you did not). And if that’s the case — or even if it’s not but you believe it is, which is hurtful enough — I am sorry for that. I can imagine that’s a painful and lonely feeling. But instead of letting the resentment eat you up, focus on the love and support you DO have from the people who share it freely, and accept what love and support your parents give you in whatever way it’s shared with you, understanding that we all have limits and flaws and overtly favoring one child over another is a huge flaw of theirs as parents and as people.

Also, if you want financial help from your parents … ask for it. It worked for your sister!

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

246 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary November 20, 2013, 9:09 am

    I think Wendy’s advice is great. I would focus on this part of what you wrote though “At the end of the day, I don’t NEED money from my parents. My husband and I work hard and make sacrifices, and ultimately make ends meet more comfortably than most. ” You don’t NEED money and you thankfully make ends meet more comfortably than most. Also, I would not get into the will issue. It’s their money, they can divide it up however they see fit. It just seems really petty to me to be fighting over an inheritence. It’s money you won’t get until they die anyways, which will hopefully be a long time away. Parents shouldn’t have to keep track of which child they help out over the years and then adjust their will accordingly every few years.

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    • avatar

      NavyWife November 20, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Agree with this 100%. My husband has received very little financial assistance from his parents since he graduated high school 15+ years ago. His younger sister, on the other hand, is my age (29) and still receiving money from their folks…her parents paid for her college and grad school, a couple different cars, and they send her $ for incidentals. She’s getting married this year and I don’t know if the Bank of Mom and Dad will close or not… But the point is, we fortunately don’t *need* our parents’ help, and I know it gives my husband a sense of pride and accomplishment that what we have earned what we have–it was not given to us. LW should be proud that she and her husband are self-sufficient.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 6:23 pm

      WHAT SUCCESS?! The LW is so broke they can’t even afford kids and are drowning in student loan debt? Honestly? Can nobody here read with comprehension lately? And I don’t mean to slag the LW here at all, but HELLO people! She was rather clear that she isn’t exactly swimming in wealth…

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 November 20, 2013, 9:31 pm

        “At the end of the day, I don’t NEED money from my parents. My husband and I work hard and make sacrifices, and ultimately make ends meet more comfortably than most.” What part of that says the are so broke or drowning in student loan debt? Good job making things up so you can once again put down the other commenters. You did great reading with comprehension though, can’t wait to see what you make next in reply to this.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph November 21, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Shocking really, I would have expected BGM to be happy that the LW wasn’t trying to be a “breeder” and have kids she wasn’t financially prepared for.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 9:11 am

    What is with people thinking they’re entitled to their parents’ money?!

    “My parents are certainly free to do whatever they want with their money”…goes on to explain why they really aren’t.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary November 20, 2013, 9:30 am

      I completely agree. I feel really icky when people complain about parents’ wills. Like severly uncomfortable because I think an inheritence is a nice *gift* but it’s not something you are entitled to. It’s not your money, plain and simple.

      My parents and I had like a 5 min discussion about their will “everything is split up equally. This person is in charge of finances, this person is in charge of legal, this person is in charge of medical”. Boom, done. I don’t pay any attention to how my parents help out my siblings or me in the meantime.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle November 20, 2013, 9:36 am

        Yeah, I have no clue what’s in my parents’ will, & neither, I’d assume, does my brother, & I don’t. care. Money is great, but I agree with you on that “icky” feeling when I hear people talking about wills. First, it’s like you’re just waiting for them to die—& I realize death is part of life, & an inevitability, & you shouldn’t stick your head in the sand about it, but “how much money will I get??” should not be at the forefront of anyone’s mind.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary November 20, 2013, 9:39 am

        I’m glad we talked about it so there’s no surprises and I know where the paperwork is (if you don’t know this, you should find out! Immediately!). Like I’m in charge of medical decisions if anyone is mentally incapacitated, and I’m glad that’s not going to be a surprise IF it ever happens. Cause that would be a nasty surprise.

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      • avatar

        bethany November 20, 2013, 9:45 am

        I’m the Executor of my parent’s will, and I’m not even sure what it says! I’m about 99% sure that everything is just to be split 50/50 between my brother and me, which is fine. My dad said the other day that he plans on living it up during his retirement, and doesn’t plan on leaving much/if anything for an inheritance, which he should! He worked hard for that money, I hope he gets to enjoy it!

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B.hy November 20, 2013, 10:17 am

        I’m the executor of my parents’ will and I don’t know what’s in it either. I kind of would like to know so I can ask questions if something isn’t clear, (My parents have a lot of assets.) but then I think maybe I don’t. I know they give my brother a lot of money. He needs it. So it maybe it would just upset me to know.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki November 20, 2013, 12:00 pm

        I know what’s in my mom’s will and who gets her life insurance, etc but if I didn’t, I don’t think I’d care. She is the one who decided to tell me so that I would know in advance, but honestly just thinking about her having a will reminds me of her mortality and I’d rather be blissfully unaware. I know what she wants as far as her living will too so that I can make informed decisions based on what she’d want as her medical power of attorney. Same goes for her ex. I’m the closest thing to a child he’s ever had (he’s not my dad), so I know that most of what he has will come to me and that’s because HE chose to share that information with me (while I was driving him to the hospital for a high risk back surgery).

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph November 21, 2013, 1:58 pm

        I agree its super icky. My grandmother was really morbid later in life and when we’d compliment her on things (like a new picture frame or something) she’d say “Oh you can have it when I die.” It got that we’d stop complimenting her things because we were weirded out by that.

        I don’t want to know what my parents are leaving me, if anything. I know that they have a will, and I trust they’re doing what they feel is right. It’s not like I’m looking forward to spending their money when they’re gone or something. I’d rather they hand around.

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    • avatar

      bethany November 20, 2013, 9:43 am

      Seriously. Unless a parent is neglecting a child’s basic needs (like buying drugs and not food, or gambling away all the rent money), it’s really none of your business what they do with their money.

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    • lemongrass

      lemongrass November 20, 2013, 10:26 am

      Exactly my thoughts. My parents started travelling 5 years ago and have taken a big trip every year since then, having not been able to afford it while raising their many kids. I would be so happy if I didn’t get a dime from them and they got to travel everywhere they want to go. This surprised my MIL, not because her kids are greedy but because they are the type to not spend anything in order to give to their kids.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 10:30 am

        I just don’t get the logic really. One of the top things you’re supposed to do as a parent is raise your kids to be self-sufficient, no? So why then plan to make them not have to be?
        This topic always gets me going, because I see crap like this at work all the time. Its just disgusting.

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      • Jill

        Jill November 20, 2013, 10:50 am

        Exactly. My mom said has said to me that they raised us to be self-sufficient, so that was essentially our “inheritence”. Which is great – they are 60, healthy and want to travel. I would never want them to have worked hard and not get to do what they want with their money.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna November 20, 2013, 9:21 am

    The most important issue here is separating your resentment of your sister’s behavior from anything your parents have or haven’t done. I know you think your sister is irresponsible, and you may very well be right about that, but it’s not your parents’ fault that that’s the case. They are trying to help your sister out of what seems like a difficult situation. You can disagree with that, but it’s really not about you. Just try to consider your own relationship with your parents separately from all of that: Would you ask your parents for money in the situation you’re now in if you didn’t have a sister? If so, you can also ask now. If you would ONLY ask in reaction to your sister’s situation, as kind of “being treated equally” thing, try to let it go. This kind of rivalry among sibling is normal, but you’d do better to try and overcome it.

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  • avatar

    csp November 20, 2013, 9:24 am

    So, the will thing is weird to me. God willing, your parents will live a long life. So this will might come into play 30 years from now. My husband’s grandfather just passed at 98, you could live an entire lifetime before that even becomes a factor. I am also guessing that your sister got help with a down payment, not a whole house bought for her, right? They didn’t give her $250k right? I don’t know your situation but it is clear that you have gotten very worked up in your head over this. The Prodigal Son (Daughter) is the so old that it is biblical.

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    • avatar

      EricaSwagger November 20, 2013, 10:29 am

      Lol yes, thank you.
      There’s a huge difference between cosigning on a loan or helping with a down payment, vs. BUYING someone a house.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 November 20, 2013, 9:25 am

    Yeah it sucks, but you really don’t need the money, and your parents probably see that, and are probably very proud that you aren’t digging into their retirement money like your sister is. You need to get over the idea that money equals love, because it is making you sounds very spiteful. Money is just money not love.

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    • avatar

      EricaSwagger November 20, 2013, 10:33 am

      That’s a great point too. Maybe they’re not giving money to the sister because they love her more, but because they feel bad for her and she actually NEEDS the help. The LW here should be happy she doesn’t need financial support from her parents. I’d be a little ashamed to need help, if I were the sister. I’d feel absolutely horrible taking from my parents.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 20, 2013, 9:26 am

    Eesh. I just don’t get this, at all.

    I mean, I’d understand maybe a low-level annoyance, some sprigs of resentment here or there—yeah, it’s frustrating when those who are *not* showing competence at managing their own lives seem to get the most help from others, especially when it’s your sibling & your parents—but LW, it seems like you’ve been ~nurturing~ these negative feelings, rather than (rightfully, in my opinion) brushing them off? And like Wendy said, I don’t know WHY you’re assuming that your sister is more loved, or if that feeling is actually what’s informing your focus on the money aspect, but you need to either 1.) let it go 2.) ask for help, if you, y’know, actually want financial HELP & not just “love”. Because if it’s *love* you want, then you need to disassociate love from money.

    And the will thing is SO petty. You keep saying “equitable” as if your parents are leaving MORE money to your sister, but they aren’t. You say yourself that it’s split evenly. What, you want them to deduct from your sister’s share all of the money they loaned her in the past? No. That’s batshit, & it’s not your business.

    Actually, none of this is really your business. Your parents themselves are “keeping [you] in the dark”, & they are right to do so. As long as they can afford to help your sister out in the way that they do, just forget all of it. Clearly, you need something from your parents, yeah, but it isn’t money. So stop.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 November 20, 2013, 9:36 am

      Yeah it seems the LW somehow equates the fact that her sister is a screw up, and needs help with, oh look my parents love her more, because they bailed her out of jail, and kept her from going in to bankruptcy. LW they don’t love her more, because she needs help, they just are good parents who are making sure their daughter has the best chance of not failing. You don’t need that help, and even if your parents don’t show it you would be surprised how much they really really love you for that fact… until you blow up on them about it.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ November 20, 2013, 2:19 pm

      I can’t help comparing this to so-called “entitlement” programs from the gov’t, like Medicare, Social Security, etc. Those benefits go to those who NEED it, not as a reward, but as a survival measure to ensure a basic quality of life. Like, isn’t it obvious the sister is in need? And yeah, maybe some of the reasons she’s in need are her own fault, fine, but would the LW actually be happier to see her sister, brother-in-law and niece/nephew wallow in misery with no help at all? And is the LW doing anything to help her sister financially or emotionally? or just sitting there being spiteful saying “Well, it’s your own fault, if you were responsible LIKE ME you wouldn’t be in this situation, so deal with it.”

      Also, unrelated – Why do I feel like I’ve read this letter before? Was this in the forums a long time ago or something?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 2:35 pm

        There was a letter similar once, I think about paying for college once.
        Anyway, I thought the same thing about the govt programs. Great point.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I feel this way too! I think it must have been.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 3:06 pm

        But are the parents really helping when they keep their daughter dependent and allow her to never learn to be financially responsible? We have neighbors who have three kids who are basically leaches, all three in their 30s, none of them has ever been independent and the parents lost their house last year while trying to support themselves and all three kids. Now all of them are in a bad situation and the kids still aren’t independent and likely never will be. The father had a stroke recently and now he can’t support any of them and so it is going to get ugly very fast. They had five adults living in one household and couldn’t manage to pay the mortgage, frequently couldn’t heat it and didn’t have money to feed themselves. The LWs parents could easily find themselves in the same position because it is hard to support two households on the income that supported one household and when they retire they will have less money to spend.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ November 20, 2013, 3:40 pm

        They’re keeping her from falling on her ass, aren’t they?

        I’m not saying I’d make the same choices if I were her parents, and do agree that they’re enabling her. If it does get to the point where Sister is leeching so hard that the parents are suffering, well, then that’s the parents’ fault. But that’s neither here nor there to this letter. If the LW has no right to say how her parents’ money is spent, then WE certainly do not.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 3:55 pm

        Yea my parents supported my brother when he was going through a really rough time (alcoholism) while trying to complete a law degree, being extremely depressed, having ADHD, and being really really stupid with his money (living outside his means and spending his student loan $ on stupid shit). I am so grateful they stepped in and provided him with thousands of dollars that I will never see/receive because if they hadn’t who the F knows where he would be now. Where he is though with their support is graduated with a Law Degree and a Masters and recently passed the bar in one of the toughest states on the first try, has his shit together, employed, and engaged. SO guess what, people turn their lives around and learn how to be adults. I am glad my parents gave that money to my brother and could care less that I wasn’t given an equivalent amount and that didn’t change their wills to reflect this (it makes me sick even thinking about that) same as I would be appalled if I received the same amount they paid for my older sister house, or fertility treatments etc.

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      • avatar

        GabbyCat November 20, 2013, 3:43 pm

        Yes, I definitely feel like I’ve read this letter word for word somewhere else. I just can’t think of where.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 9:28 am

    Also, wouldn’t it be nicer to just be happy for your sister that she has your parents to fall back on? I come from a big family and we’ve never done equal. If one of us needs money more than the other, then that’s who it goes to, and we’re all happy for whoever gets the help they need. This is your sister, not some stranger. Take pride in the fact that you don’t need it and just let it go.

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  • kaluu

    kaluu November 20, 2013, 9:44 am

    I suggest you ask your parents if they can help you in any way to buy a house, if that’s what you want. No need to mention that they helped your sister, they already know that you know, right? And if they pester you about having kids, are you very clear ro them that money is the main reason, and if you had more money (hint hint) you’d be having babies ASAP ?

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray November 20, 2013, 9:45 am

    I haven’t read Wendy’s advice yet but had to get my gut reactions out now – oh for the love of god please!! I can’t even imagine harboring those thoughts – calculating what parents have given a sibling while they’re alive, thinking about what you’ll each get after they die, wanting more, resenting the hell out of your parents for helping your sister, being hurt by someone else’s windfall, wanting to be rewarded for doing what you think is right (living responsibly), oh gross this is all so disgusting.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope November 20, 2013, 9:52 am

    Let’s put the financial issue aside for a moment and look at the emotional issue. If you really feel that your parents love your sister more than you, that needs to be dealt with. While they’re still alive. Because once they’re gone, your pain and anger will complicate the grieving process. You need to tell them how you feel now, while you all have the opportunity to work on your relationship.

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    • avatar

      MMcG November 20, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Second this… I think the money is a proxy for a lifetime of resentment. Seems like the LW still has a decent relationship with her parents, she should say something and maybe consider counseling.

      That said, depending on how frequent the requests for additional grandchildren are… I could see that getting really annoying. tell them to cut it out or cut you a check 😉

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    • avatar

      Lucy November 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

      Exactly. I don’t think this letter is really about the money at all. The money is just a proxy for her belief that her parents love her sister more. She should deal with that head on and forget the money. Or if she wants some help with a house or whatever, ask for it. But don’t brood and sulk.

      I will say, though, that I think it’s borrowing trouble not to divide estates equally. Parents often do it because one of their kids is in more difficult circumstances than the other(s), but circumstances change. All it does is breed resentment.

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  • avatar

    bethany November 20, 2013, 9:57 am

    I think the main issue here goes deeper than the money. It sounds like the LW holds a lot of resentment because her parents “love her sister more”. You’re going to need to work that out somehow, because even if your parents gave money equally, you’d still feel that way, and you’d still have a problem.

    As for the money, Wendy is right- If you want money, ask for it. I asked for money for one thing in my life (my wedding), and I got it. Sure, my parents give me $20 here and there, but they never offered to help me out financially, because I never asked. They assumed that they raised a child who can take care of themselves.

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  • avatar

    Steeze November 20, 2013, 9:58 am

    Well, I feel sort of weird here because I can understand why the LW feels the way she does.

    I have two siblings and my parents have helped both of them buy houses. My mother has told me when my time comes the same amount they gave to my siblings is waiting for me. Most parents I know and our family friends do the same. It just seems to me if you have kids you want to treat them all equally with love, support and yes, financially.

    My husband’s parents do the same. They help out his sibling financially but we don’t need the money so what they try to do is give my husband special presents to make it even, be it in the form of a nice watch or vacation…

    I know when I have my own grown kids, I will see how much I have to give and split that among all kids evenly. Favoring one child over the other just seems wrong to me…

    Anyway, LW, talk to you parents. Tell them how you feel and see what they say. Maybe they do have good reasons. Maybe they gave all they could without factoring you in. Who knows. If I were in your place I would say something and then see their reaction. Obviously, you can’t force someone to be generous with you but you can always tell them how it makes you feel. In the end, be thankful you don’t need it and know that you will treat your children differently.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna November 20, 2013, 10:51 am

      I think it’s not favoring if the situations the siblings are in are truly different. For example, I grew up with a brother who needed a lot of help from my parents from when I was a teen till a relatively short time ago. I went from sort of resenting this situation (I was a teen, after all) to just being grateful that my parents helped my brother. Do I also want to be acknowledged? Of course. But I don’t resent the extra help my brother got for a second because he NEEDED it. And I didnt.

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      • avatar

        Steeze November 20, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Yes, of course if a sibling really needs extra help because of major issues/genuine setbacks/health problems/mental illness/whatever, it makes sense to help them more. However, I don’t think that’s really the case here in this letter.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph November 21, 2013, 2:36 pm

      “I know when I have my own grown kids, I will see how much I have to give and split that among all kids evenly. Favoring one child over the other just seems wrong to me…”

      I think in my will especially I would want to do this. I don’t want my favoritism to outlive me in some way, because they would be dealing with that and my death and with me being gone there’d be no chance to repair it. The LW and her parents are all still alive, so they have the chance to fix this, but you have to talk to them LW!

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  • Copa

    Copa November 20, 2013, 10:01 am

    OK. This may be unpopular, BUT…

    …LW, I KINDA get you. Kinda.

    My parents paid for most of my sister’s education (all of undergrad, a portion of grad school, her living expenses through both… she worked a p/t job for a total of 2 semesters in 6 years), while I paid for mine myself through scholarships, working a LOT, and loans. Both of us wound up with loans, but mine were more than double hers. I won’t lie: there is a part of me that sometimes feels resentful that something like allocating money for big expenses for your children wasn’t done in an equal, fair way. My sister is student loan debt-free now. I am not and won’t be anytime soon. I get jealous when I see her spending on things she wouldn’t be able to afford if she had student loans, because I know that if my parents had taken all the money they spent on her and split it in half, I’d be the debt-free one, not her.

    That’s a bit different from your situation, I know, but I do understand the resentment.

    That said, I guess I feel like you’re far, far pettier than I am about it. Does my situation make me sad? I’ll admit that yes, it does sometimes. Do I feel resentful? Sometimes, but more often than not I don’t really think about it. However, I do NOT worry about situations where I cannot control my impulses to snap at my parents about this and I definitely (DEFINITELY!!!) do NOT think my parents’ wills should be altered to make up for what they didn’t give me a handful of years ago. Your reaction to it seems fairly extreme, especially considering you don’t really NEED the money. (Also, I got the impression that your parents just give your sister handouts withOUT her asking? Did I miss something that Wendy didn’t?)

    As for advice, what helps me is knowing how much I have done/can do on my own. It makes me feel better when I’m having a petty moment about this issue. I think to myself, “Yeah, maybe Sister got X, but I worked for it.” “Maybe Sister can buy cool stuff since she doesn’t have to allocate several hundred dollars/month for student loans, but I’m learning a ton of useful budgeting skills for later in life that I wouldn’t learn any other way.” My budget is tight, but it’s not like I’m drowning.

    I think the fact that you can’t let this go and that it has become such a HUGE thing when you’re not in any sort of desperate NEED for financial help from your parents means it’s something way bigger than money, though.

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  • avatar

    Sara November 20, 2013, 10:11 am

    LW, I understand where you are coming from (my younger, irresponsible) sister is my mom’s favorite (she’s told me!) and my parents help my sister and her husband out financially, especially since their surprise pregnancy (but *my* parents didn’t buy them a house!). You can’t control how your parents act or how your sister acts. You can only control how you act. And purposefully being thankful has helped me. Be thankful that you have enough money right now. Be thankful that your parents seem like people who would help you out if you ever needed it. Be thankful that your niece/nephew is being taken care of. Be thankful that your life is probably a lot less stressful since you don’t feel like you “owe” your parents financially. Be thankful that you learned to be responsible with money. Be thankful that you are smart enough to start a family when you are ready, which will be best for your future child. Sometimes, I need to re-remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for when I feel like my parents (er, really just my mom) continually pick my sister over me. But, these feelings and insecurities are OUR problems, not our parents’ or our sisters’.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra November 20, 2013, 10:34 am

    It does suck and it is extremely unfair…but you know what? Karma’s a bitch. Some day this will all catch up to her. Even though your parents are buying her house, she still has medical bills and a baby to support. Some day — probably sooner rather than later — your sister is going to realize that she has no money. She may have to declare bankruptcy. She probably already has credit that’s shot to hell. She probably won’t have a comfortable retirement savings and will have to work until she’s 80. But you will have security. In 5, 10, 20 years, you’ll be secure. I don’t agree with the fact that your parents bought her house, but some day this is all going to catch up.

    My parents have supported me financially much more than my brother because I really really needed it, even post college. My brother got a really hefty salary right out of college in the computer field whereas I’m still barely making ends meet. I feel really bad that I still need their help sometimes, but I’m incredibly grateful that my parents have helped me and supported me when I needed it most. Without that I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    I know it sucks and I know it’s not fair, but try your best not to let the bitterness get in the way of having a good relationship with your family.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 10:38 am

      Wait, hasn’t it caught up to sister already? She’s already broke and needs financial help!

      And why is LW supposed to hate her sister and hope karma gets her? But also not be bitter?

      This is an odd comment, imo. You go from saying it sucks and is extremely unfair and hopefully karma bites her, and then explain how you are basically in the sister’s shoes with your parents helping you and not your brother.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna November 20, 2013, 10:42 am

        Totally, if the sister is really that irresponsible, she WILL suffer from it (and she already has, as it seems). And if she’s super lucky and doesn’t suffer from it too much, then let’s be happy for her.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary November 20, 2013, 10:59 am

      I think it’s sort of odd and unkind to take the opinion of “haha karma is going to bite her in the ass and she’s going to have to deal with these financial issues, so don’t feel sad because you’ll be better off”. I mean that doesn’t help anyone and it just adds negative energy to the situation. No one should feel “happy” that their sister isn’t going to have retirement savings and is going to struggle financially later in life, even if that sister is seemingly being given financial handouts. It just seems vengeful to me.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna November 20, 2013, 11:04 am

        Especially since LW’s niece/nephew, who is totally innocent in al lthis, will very likely suffer as well if this happens.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 12:09 pm

      So… you are essentially saying that karma will also be a bitch to you… right? Because you go on to say that you have gotten a lot more help from your parents than your brother has because you are barely making ends meet. Do you think that your brother thinks this of you? And that it will all catch up to you when you don’t have any retirement?

      I’m confused.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra November 20, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Yeaaaahhhh, my head must have been all over the place when I wrote it. You know when something makes sense in your head? My bad for a poorly executed comment haha.

        My main point is that it sucks to see someone you really care about spend themselves into thousands of dollars of debt. It’s happened to me a few times and I’m actually somewhat grateful when they realize how irresponsible they are and change their ways — karma, if you will. In my situation basically my parents have helped me with moving expenses in the past and they will sometimes give me food if I’m low on cash. They realize I don’t exactly rake in the big bucks and they know I’m careful with my money. If my brother ever needed help, they would give it to him too. However, they would never ever ever spend thousands of dollars on a house for either me or my brother. I can definitely see why the LW was/is upset about that because frankly, I would be upset too in her shoes.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Gotcha, this made more sense. I think I was trying to connect the first paragraph to the second one. 🙂

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 November 20, 2013, 10:35 am

    Letters like this make me grateful I’m an only child. That being said, I’d rather have my parents around for a lot longer than have to live in a world without them. Money ain’t that great.

    LW, you gotta let it go. I know it sucks, and it’s awful, but if you ask and they say no, there’s not much you can do. I hope things get better for you, and it sounds like you won’t repeat your sister’s mistakes.

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  • IDreamofElectricSheep

    IDreamofElectricSheep November 20, 2013, 10:37 am

    I think you should think long and hard about what it is about this whole situation that bothers you. Is it really the money, what it represents (love/support), or truly both? Once you figure it out (I know, easier said than done), work from there. Then you will find it easier to talk to your parents about why you feel hurt. Such as, “I feel hurt that you seem to be more interested/invested in my sister’s life than mine (insert examples, such as they seem to always talk about her problems and not ask about yours; when you have issues you want their opinion on they brush you off; etc.).

    I’m suggesting this because equating your frustration with financial inequality between how your parents treat you vs. your sister won’t make this issue go away. Why? History shows that your sister is unlikely to change. So best case scenario: you talk to your parents, they change their will, give you some money, you feel better. Then your sister asks for more money and they give it to her. Do you expect them to keep changing their will? Keep a ledger? Track the cost of each present given to her family vs. yours?

    If you don’t find another way to approach this, like it or not, once you say “You always give her more money than me”, your parents will immediately think of you as a child throwing a tantrum (“She always gets a bigger piece of cake! She always gets to stay up late!”), instead of a mature daughter who deeply and sincerely cares about wanting to improve the relationship between them and her.

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  • lemongrass

    lemongrass November 20, 2013, 10:37 am

    I have a lot of siblings and growing up in a household like that, not everyone gets equal attention. As a mother of more than one kid you absolutely cannot give equal time and attention to each kid. It’s like triage, if one person has a bullet wound and one has a cough, you treat the bullet wound first. Sorry your life is so good that your parents feel that you can handle it? No, I’m not. I have rarely got my parents attention first and that is because I have my shit together. Do I resent them? No! I put myself in their shoes and I know that they are grateful that they don’t have to worry about me.

    Put your big girl panties on and deal with the fact that fair doesn’t always mean equal. Your parents aren’t trying to give your sister a better life than you, they are trying to make her life as good as yours. And if you can’t get over it then get yourself to therapy so you can grow up.

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    • avatar

      ktfran November 20, 2013, 11:29 am

      My mom actually told me once that she loves all of us equally – i have two other sisters – but she understands we’re different and that we each need help with different things and so she tries to act accordingly. That stuck with me and so when I feel a little resentment building, I remember that and realize she’s doing her best.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 11:30 am

      “It’s like triage, if one person has a bullet wound and one has a cough, you treat the bullet wound first.”

      This is a great way to explain it. And LW, think about the fact that you all have a WHOOLE lot of life left to live. Who knows who is going to need triage in the future, and who will be available to help.

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  • avatar

    Amanda November 20, 2013, 10:46 am

    What a truly bizarre situation. The entitlement issues, pettiness, and jealousy over others financial situations is really strange. LW, it’s none of your business what your parents do with their money. NONE. That you are jealous over your sister’s terrible finances is hilarious though. Can you imagine her credit score? Instead of harboring such negative feelings that only hurt yourself, try to let it go. I would laugh to myself as I looked at my bank account statements and revel in my responsible adultness. 🙂

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  • Diablo

    Diablo November 20, 2013, 10:48 am

    I understand the LW’s feelings, even though I’ve made different choices for myself. My youngest sister is 42 and has worked about 3 to 4 full years worth of her adult life in total. She has a serious illness that has definitely been the cause of some interruptions in her work and education, but beyond that, she has done little to sort her life out. She lost her job last December and to the best of my knowledge has not even applied for anything else since, even though there are jobs around here. She has not completed high school (while i and my other sister have two degrees each), yet she refuses to work retail or food service jobs because they are beneath her (so she says). Right now, my parents are enabling her by paying her to do housework, laundry, etc. My other sister and I have accepted for ourselves that little sister will probably use up as much resources as she can while the folks are alive and will likely be living with Mom within a heartbeat of Dad’s death, whenever that comes. Mom will likely direct the majority of resources toward her in the name of being protective, even though Dad has stated that in his will the estate will be divided equally – we just don’t think Mom will honour this wish, and she will almost certainly outlive dad. Other sister and I have decided to just kiss the money goodbye so that we don’t have to act or make decisions or have a relationship with our parents based on either greed or sucking up for cash. But it is definitely hard not to feel resentful when we have worked hard to become the best we can and little sister has not made the same effort, even in light of her health challenges.

    LW, just put the feelings away. All you can do is make yourself miserable. If you think life isn’t fair, look at what you have and consider yourself lucky. Everyone in the Philippines who works hard just had their life blown to hell. Nothing fair about that. We are fortunate to be able to complain about stuff like this.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 10:50 am

      Diablo, when I first started dating my boyfriend, I asked him whether he’d be willing to deliver pizza if he ever had to in order to make ends meet. Your comment about your sister saying certain work is beneath her made me remember that.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo November 20, 2013, 11:12 am

        Yeah, again, I know it’s petty, but it bothers me because my wife and I and my other sister have all worked hard labour, service industry and other non-glamourous low-paying jobs since receiving our degrees. You do what you need to do to get by, and you learn never to look down on someone who is making his or her best effort. Her snobbery seems laughable: YOU think you’re too good for the JOB? Based on your extensive experience never holding down any job? Whenever i start thinking like that i remind myself to simmer down, and realize she’s hurting herself, not me, by refusing to deal.

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      • othy

        othy November 20, 2013, 11:31 am

        I really hope this isn’t my little brother in 20 years. He’s really struggled with school, and got fired from his first (only) job. He applied to food service management jobs, but doesn’t want to work as a peon because he’s ‘too smart’ for that. I remember last year at Thanksgiving, my whole family got together. And every single person at the table (except him) had, at one point or another, worked fast food to make ends meet. Even though we were all ‘too smart’ for it.

        Luckily, he’s finishing up his associates degree at a community college next month, so hopefully its just that he’s young and will grow out of it. But with the way my mom enables him, I’m not holding my breath.

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      • theattack

        theattack November 20, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Doesn’t it irritate you that she’s also hurting your parents too?

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      • Diablo

        Diablo November 20, 2013, 3:37 pm

        To be honest, this tidbit is just the tip of the iceberg that is her lifelong dysfunction. She has been actively trying to tear the family apart for 30 years, and has about succeeded. Unless a last minute deal can be brokered, my family will not be seeing each other this Xmas. i will get together with my other sister, but may not see my parents at all. We spent 17 years thousands of miles apart, not realizing that this allowed us to idealize a family dynamic that just can’t work anymore, and which began failing as soon as we were all together again. I actually thought about writing Wendy about this, but honestly, there does not seem to be much that can be done about it. it’s very depressing.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 10:49 am

    I hope that these thoughts and the resentment you hold is rooted in the belief you are not the favorite or that your parents love your sister more. I know that that thought hurts and I would recommend you look into therapy for dealing with this, or have discussions with your parents about it and come to terms with while they are still here because I know how harboring this belief can really color the way you view all familial relations and everything your parents do.

    That said reading a lot of your sentiments were hard for me to read and I am not sure I can offer any valid advice except to stop looking at your parents as a bank. Their money is theirs to do with as they please. They have no obligation to change their wills to ensure you and your sister have been given equal amounts of money throughout your lives. Money when had should go to those who need it most. I can say that my parents have helped my siblings out a great deal more than me, in purely financial ways, and that is because they needed it more than me. I have felt grateful to be the least burdensome on my parents financially, and know that they appreciate having a child who is self-sufficient enough to not need their help. I have never once in my life felt resentment for my siblings receiving money. I get feeling upset or angry that your sister hasn’t planned and managed her finances as well, and is therefore a burden on your parents, but that is your sister, and you should come to terms with it. Be thankful you have parents willing to give up their hard earned money to their children when they need it and ask for the help. Be thankful you are responsible and self-sufficient enough to not need help. Be thankful your sister is expanding your family and will be provided for because your parents are generous. Stop seeing your parents are a financial institution and be thankful for all of the things they have provided you throughout your entire life. I agree with Wendy, instead of letting this bitter resentment and anger fester and build, try asking for help. Try being open and honest with your intentions instead of passive aggressive and bitter. It will not only make you feel a lot better, but you may realize you get just what you need.

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  • avatar

    Flake November 20, 2013, 10:50 am

    I wonder why you are so certain that your parents love your sister more than you… They could be feeling something as simple as guilt, because they failed in teaching her proper financial responsibility. They may feel that, somehow, it is their fault that she is the way she is. Or it could be even simpler. They may feel guilty because they dropped her on her had as a baby (out loud, it sounds funny, not creepy).

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    • avatar

      Flake November 20, 2013, 11:31 am

      *dropped her on her hEad :/

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  • avatar

    rieux November 20, 2013, 10:51 am

    What’s weird about this is that the LW is basically saying, “My parents love my sister more than they love me, but what REALLY gets me is that they give her more money,” which… shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    To the LW: I bet it is the other way around, deep down. You’re looking at the money as something that can be changed, whereas love can’t be changed. But (assuming what you say about their playing favorites is true): a) from the outside, it looks like a situation where non-favoritist parents would also be helping your sister more than you right now, simply because she needs it more; b) she is probably this irresponsible BECAUSE they spoiled her, meaning they did you a favor in some senses by not letting you grow up that way, and c) no matter how much money they give you it will never make up for the fact that they played favorites.

    I feel you about parents playing favorites. That’s got to be awful, and I feel really sad for anyone whose parents do this to them and I don’t blame you AT ALL for being angry. But yeah, leave their wills alone. I could maybe, MAYBE see being sad if you knew you were getting less from their wills than your sister, but again, ONLY if that was a symptom of something else, like getting less love, and in that case it’s a lot less icky, though perhaps more painful (maybe that’s why you’re not doing it?), to focus on the love than on the money. But you’re not “getting” (see how gross that word is starting to sound?) less from their will, you’re getting the same amount! It’s icky. Maybe you’re a little unhinged on this issue because of all the other stuff from your childhood, which would be understandable, but take all of our icked-out responses as a sign that you need to recalibrate, maybe?

    Also, I already said this above, but it bears repeating: if your sister is like this because your parents “loved” her more and let her get away with everything, which sounds likely, then she was screwed over by them too. If you’ve grown up into a person who has character and can take care of herself, be proud of that! Don’t let resentment about money that isn’t yours turn you into a bitter and selfish person.

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    • avatar

      captainswife November 20, 2013, 5:11 pm

      I had this situation growing up. My parents have only now started to admit that my sis was my mom’s favorite (my dad traveled constantly). My mom always bought stuff for my sis, and it really hurt when I was younger. However, there are a few things I have learned…
      1. I became much more self-confident than my sister because I wasn’t sent the message “you aren’t capable of making decisions or taking care of yourself”
      2. As a parent…on the petty stuff (gifts that make me think of my kids)…I buy more stuff on average for two of my kids because I know their tastes better, and they are always happy and grateful. Some of my other kids look at my gifts for them and curl their lips in disgust. Honestly? My mom and I are so different that as an immature teen, I probably perpetrated the lipcurl omore than one occasion.

      That said, money does NOT equal love, and I do love my lip-curling children – but I have to show it in other ways.

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  • avatar

    iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 10:57 am

    I can see where one sibling getting a house and the other getting nothing would be hurtful and upsetting, and I think that while it’s wonderful that DW has so many commenters who would have nothing but the warm fuzzies if they were in your shoes, not everyone is so selfless that they wouldn’t be upset by this.

    I’ve been in a similar although not equivalent situation, LW, and the best advice I have for you is this:
    1) You can feel however you want to. Be upset, angry, hurt, however you like.
    2) Recognize that your bad feelings are yours to deal with, and neither your parents nor your sister deserve to have you take out your bad feelings on them. Do not be a jerk to them just because you’re sad. None of the other parties are doing anything actively wrong, even if your feelings are hurt by it.
    3) I think it would be ok to mention one time and one time only to your parents that you’re hurt that your sister got a house and you didn’t BUT this one time can come only when you have dealt with your feelings to the point where you will not be accusatory, mean, guilt-trippy, passive aggressive or hateful when you bring it up. Bring only your resignation to the table. Be aware that your parents might get defensive or upset in return, and while that’s not ideal, it’s also not going to be unexpected. Weigh carefully what you think you’ll be getting out of the conversation and how much good you think it will do for you and your parents’ relationship.
    4) Don’t bring this up with your sister. You know it will not go anywhere you want it to, and what’s she supposed to do? Give the house back?
    4) After that, let it go. Completely put the whole situation out of your mind. I know that’s easier said than done, but practice. This is one of those fake it till you make it things.
    5) The will thing really is kind of petty. Let that go first if you can.
    6) Therapy. It helps with everything.

    Hope this helps – worked for me, although I skipped entirely talking to my parents, because it just wasn’t worth it. Don’t let the judgement of the other commenters get you down, the internet lends itself to a pile-on and people tend to forget that there’s a real person on the other side.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:04 am

      They aren’t buying her a house. They are helping with a downpayment and cosigning a mortgage. Depending on where you live, that’s a difference of several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 11:08 am

        I don’t see where the letter says that, but even if you are correct, look at the description of the LW’s sister and tell me you don’t think the parents are going to be paying that mortgage.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:24 am

        I double checked and the letter does say that, but fair enough. I guess there’s a good chance of that being true.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh November 20, 2013, 11:10 am

      Yeah she does go on to clarify that they aren’t out right purchasing her a house. But, I get what you’re saying as well. I think it can sting a bit to see one sibling, who you already feel is loved more, get more ‘help’ from your parents. But, you do have to let it go. Because while it might feel like it’s about you it’s not.

      I definitely agree with therapy as well. Especially in helping her to let go of the past and forging a new relationship with her parents. She might find that she’s able to accept more of their love in whatever form it comes in when she lets go of some of the past hurts.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle November 20, 2013, 11:11 am

      I don’t think it’s about selflessness— it’s just about knowing what kinds of thoughts are reasonable, & what kind of thoughts (& emotions) are not, & are not worth hanging onto? But you’ve outlined that very well in your post; I just wanted to address the “selflessness” thing, because I don’t think it’s just that we’re all piling on with optimistic projections of how nobly we’d be in a similar situation (which we do sometimes, here, I realize!)

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 11:13 am

        Yeah, that came out a little cattier than I meant it to sound. Sorry I was mean!

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    • avatar

      Steeze November 20, 2013, 12:31 pm

      Ha! Your warm fuzzies line made me laugh.

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    • avatar

      WAPS November 20, 2013, 1:16 pm

      Do you think that she’s truly getting nothing though, or is it possible that she is so blinded by the big-ticket things that she can’t see the whole picture? For instance, my sister has sometimes voiced that she’s a little unhappy that my parents helped me with my first year and a half of professional school, when they didn’t help her at all. I told her that mom goes to her house to be a live-in nanny for her child for at least 1/3 of the year, and she took a step back and said, “oh wait, yeah.” So my parents truly do give each of us what they can according to our needs. It doesn’t always even out, but it’s close enough that we don’t truly resent each other. Sometimes, though, we can forget the things that are given to us or done for us when focusing on one aspect of a parent-child relationship, in this case money.

      That ended up longer than I intended. I really like the list you’ve written out. I would just add to reflect on things that you are grateful for because that can make a big difference in the way you view the situation.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 3:40 pm

        That’s an interesting thought, and one the LW might want to take a good look at, but, honestly, not everyone’s parents are good parents. I’m not in a position to say what other support the LWs parents might be giving the LW that she might be taking for granted, but if the mother has always favored the sister as the LW says, it sounds like there’s a lot more to the issue than just the one that brought this to a head.

        And I totally agree about being grateful for the good things. (Did you ever see the Veggie Tales about “a thankful heart is a happy heart?” It’s cheesy but so, so true.)

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 4:03 pm

        If her mom is anything like my mom, she has only one child that she thinks about, one child that she helps. My mom is so focused on my sister that my aunts and uncles have to ask about the rest (my aunts and uncles tell me this in exasperation, I don’t ask) of us because my mom only tells them about my sister. My mom has told me that when my aunt complimented me she actually was talking about my sister and complimenting my sister even though my sister wasn’t there and my aunt was in no way talking to her or about her. I’ve been sick and then heard my mom telling people all about how rough my sister had it because she was sick even though I was the one who was ill. When I was in college I passed out in a class and was taken to the university health center. They decided I had a heart murmur and so I told my mom because I figured someone should know if it happened again. A year later my mom was telling me about how my poor sister had a heart murmur and I commented “so we both have one,” and my mom lectured me about how rude it was to try to steal my sister’s condition. It turns out that my sister doesn’t have a heart murmur but whenever anything negative has happened to me my mom has always turned it into something that happened to my sister. It can be so bad that if my husband dropped dead I wouldn’t be surprised to hear my mom telling everyone that my sister was a widow.

        It is really warped and hard to believe and hard to explain but there are parents who have a one child mind. Whether this LW has parents like that I can’t say and your question is a good one because sometimes people don’t see what they have, just what they don’t have.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix November 20, 2013, 11:10 am

    So a couple things:
    1)You don’t actually know the relationship your sister has with your parents. You get probably a pretty accurate view of what it looks like, but you have no idea if your parents don’t secretly resent having to help your sister but feel constrained by parental duty. Would your parents really tell you if that was the case?

    2)Your parents, and your mother in particular, might never love you in the way you want. There is no amount of money that will make up for this fact.

    3)As Wendy has said, you can ASK for that love. Whether it be money, or support, or praise you can ask. “Father can we end this call saying what we love about each other,” “Mother when I tell you this good news, I want you to not say anything critical please,” “Father, I really need $X to hold me over for this month, do you think you could swing it” and “Mother are you proud of me?” are all perfectly fine requests. Ask for something concrete. While this may lessen the spontaneity, this does not lessen the sincerity, as your mother could simply refuse.

    4)Have you considered that to your parents “fair” might be both children having a similar position in life? If they want both their children to cross some imaginary life finish line at the same time, which would be fair for some value of fair, then they’re going to give your slower sister some help, because she’s slow. Or have you considered that your parents help your sister more because they want to feel needed. Maybe try asking them advice, that you don’t necessarily have to follow, about some small or big things in your life.

    5)Change you dynamic. If you feel like you are over-engaging in your parents comfort without getting any support back, back off. If you don’t take your parents out once and awhile (NOT Mother’s or Father’s day, I mean just because), then maybe start taking an interest in their life as adults. If your sister or your parents keep telling you what’s happening between them, TELL THEM TO STOP. It’s not really your business and it’s just making you sad.

    Finally, all these things are not really about your sister. This has nothing to do with your sister. This has to due with your relationship with your parents, and the difference between you and your sister is simply the most concrete way you have to demonstrate the lack of regard you feel from your parents. But it’s about your parents and how they treat you. Figure out what concrete things they could do to make you feel better and then ask them for that.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 11:36 am

      Gawd, meadowphoenix… you are ON FIRE recently. <3

      I definitely want you weighing in when I inevitably have to write to Wendy… again….

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix November 20, 2013, 12:24 pm

        That’s really sweet of you to say, Alice! Thanks.

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  • avatar

    Banana November 20, 2013, 11:19 am

    I think the crux of this letter is that she believes her parents love her sister more than they love her. All the resentment about the money and other forms of assistance springs from that. As LBH and other have pointed out, there’s a disparity in lots of families over who gives whom assistance, and how much. Sometimes parents give more to a kid in severe need; sometimes one sibling takes in the elderly parents because they can better afford to; sometimes one sibling bails out another or all sorts of other combinations, but in a strong, loving family where people feel secure in their love for each other (and the love that they receive), for the most part people are focused on being hopeful/happy that the assistance will raise up the person in need, not angry that they’re getting that assistance. Resentment and jealousy, to a certain degree, is inevitable in any family relationship at one time or another, but the level the LW describes here is about A LOT more than the money. I’d really tell her to focus on those feelings — why does she think her parents love her sister more? How does that make her feel? How is her relationship with her sister? What can she do to improve her relationships, or cope better with ones that simply can’t be improved? and forget the money stuff entirely. The money issues are the symptom, not the disease.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:27 am

    Its crazy to me that so many suggest she should just ask the parents for money. I get that a few people meant it different ways, but still surprising to see so many suggest that to resolve this.
    The world would be a much better place if people stopped expecting handouts.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 November 20, 2013, 11:34 am

      Yeah she says she lives comfortably more than most people, so why even ask, and for something you don’t need? Just to make sure you get money from your parents, because there might not be enough when they die? It is a very selfish reason to ask for money.

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    • avatar

      Flake November 20, 2013, 11:35 am

      Generally, I don’t understand when people choose not to ask for help, for whatever reason, and then resent when help is given to people who do ask for it.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 11:42 am

        @ Flake this is the reason I suggested it.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:45 am

        Loved what bagge said.
        I don’t get it either, Flake, but I especially don’t get asking for help when you don’t need it simply because someone else got help.
        And I know iseeshiny thinks its fucked up to judge this LW, but I really can’t help it. Sounds like to her, her parents are a bank. Why not just ask them to kill themselves so you can get your 50% sooner since it seems that’s all that matters.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 11:49 am

        I don’t know if you’re aware of how smug and self righteous you sound in your comments on this letter, and I’m sure that’s not what you’re going for, but that’s definitely how you’re coming off. Especially with that last crack about the parents killing themselves.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:54 am

        haha, no, I’m not aware. If me thinking its messed up to see your parents as a bank, then I guess I am smug and self righteous.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:01 pm

        No, that’s not the part that comes off as smug and self righteous. It’s completely possible to be appalled without being either of those things.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:02 pm

        What part does then? Because that’s pretty much what my comments say.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:06 pm

        The part where you shame her for even having unhappy thoughts about the situation and talk about how your parents do the same thing and you never dreamed about being resentful, while implying she’s a terrible person (who doesn’t care about her parents at all, just their money, to the point where she might as well wish they were dead so she could get her money now) and you’re not. This combined with zero empathy for the LW and only judgement for her unhappiness. That’s the part.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:17 pm

        The way I read the letter, it very much seemed she didn’t care that they don’t love her, just that they don’t give her exactly 50% of their money. So yea, I judge that. Sorry! And yes, my parents do the same thing and I’m not resentful. Sorry for…stating a fact? Sharing my opinion and feelings? Yikes.

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        Banana November 20, 2013, 11:55 am

        Yeah, what got me too was the parents-as-a-bank. That’s why I tried to reframe it by telling the LW to reflect on how she FEELS about the situation, especially how she feels less loved by her parents, and resolve those feelings. The answer isn’t “ask for more money” or even “don’t ask for money,” it’s “stop thinking about the freaking money.”

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 12:38 pm

        Yeah but she doesn’t see that. I mean to her in this moment, the issue is the money. And personally I think if she asked her parents and they said “omg yes, we would LOVE to help you with being financially stable to have children” she would immediately feel a lot better and more loved. So yes, we can see maybe it isn’t about the money and this is a quick fix, but maybe she just needs the reassurance that they do love her and are willing to give her the money. All families work different I know a lot of families where money=outward expression of love; feelings are never talked about, there are never arguments, but parents giving money is their way of showing love. It may not be how my family does it or someone else’s but for this LW I think that asking for the money and receiving it would actually go a long way to restoring her belief in her parents love.

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        Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

        This. In some families gifts and money are the way love is shown, so when one child gets more than another that seems like more love.

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        MMcG November 20, 2013, 12:11 pm

        she says she doesn’t need it, but then she also says that those same parents are putting pressure on for her family to have a kid they have stated they can’t afford… so on some level (since it seems like this is really all a proxy for her feeling like her sister is the golden child and she has been shat on her whole life) it seems like the feeling of not meeting parental expectations is also weighing on her, yet she is too proud to ask for help. Because asking for help would be like being like her needy sister… yadda yadda, vicious cycle and repeat.

        Generally though, while the tone of this letter was off, I see absolutely nothing wrong with asking parents for financial assistance. Bugging them for it after they have said no clearly crosses a line, but what’s wrong with simply asking for some help!?!

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:19 pm

        If you need help, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking. And fair point about them bugging her about having kids. If they feel they can’t til they have more money, then go ahead and ask for $. I just personally wouldn’t think its a great idea to have to get a bunch of financial assistance in order to have a planned kid. But at the same time, sounds like mom and dad WANT her to have kids, so I guess its different?

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl November 21, 2013, 8:32 am

      So, I get where the LW is coming from. I’ve seen the same dynamic play out in my step-dads family. There is a long and extensive history of my grandmother funding 4 of her 5 children’s lives (houseS, education, vacations, handing out undeserved jobs at the family business) while my stepdad has over and over again pinched pennies to pay for tuition, cleaned up the messes at the family business when the others get bored, built by hand and paid for our house. It’s a really long dynamic to explain, but it sort of comes down to two things:
      -Enabling the kid to never grow up. Constantly running to mommy to bail you out of life’s problems…you never learn to be an adult.
      -A lack of gratitude from the receiver of the funds.

      I don’t think the solution is to just ask for money if you resent your siblings for this issue. I think the solution is to learn to let your resentment o and be proud of your self sufficiency.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones November 20, 2013, 11:29 am

    So, WWS and here is what I would do if I were in your shoes. I would approach them and say something like “I understand that you would love for my husband and I to start our families. The truth is that in order to be financially responsible and not incur debt, we need to wait X years. However, if you could help us out with X amount of dollars for X years, we could start having children sooner. We are very responsible financially and we would not misuse your funds. Otherwise we won’t be starting our family for X years.” Or something like that. So ASK and if they get weird and say no, then you can bring up the fact that your sister is receiving more help than you are and has for a very long time and that you feel really hurt and offended by that. Then you have said what you need to say and the ball is in their court. At least it is all out in the open and if you don’t NEED their money, then you are free to live your life without them pressuring you to have children before you are financially ready.

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  • avatar

    starpattern November 20, 2013, 11:40 am

    First, LW, there’s nothing wrong with feeling the way you feel. Just like life isn’t fair, our feelings aren’t always 100% fair and kind. You’re human. It’s fine.

    Reading this, I’m glad I’m an only child and will never have to deal with this. But, my parents are both part of huge families – when my dad’s final parent passed away, I watched his 8 siblings and their spouses fight over dumb crap like old bongo drums, and my mom is the only one of her siblings that has not needed financial help from her parents throughout her adult life. I think your situation is mostly like my mother’s – her siblings all get help… houses, groceries, cars, whatever. Her dad has told her she is the only one not in the will because she has provided sufficiently for herself and none of the others have, so they need the (house/land/money) more.

    So I guess I’m trying to say I get that the situation is upsetting (my mom says she’s proud she and my dad have always been able to provide for their family without help, but has admitted she feels a little left out sometimes), but I guess I’m wondering why you’re more upset with your parents for helping your sister, and less upset with your sister for consuming your parents’ financial resources. Unless your folks are really, really well off, thousands of dollars makes a dent, right? That means mom and dad are giving up big purchases or retirement savings to float your sister money for a house. I think that’s the only valid thing to actually be mad about here – like, if your sister bleeding them of money means that you might have to support your parents in their retirement, or if it means they won’t be able to do something they would have otherwise loved to do – buy a fancy sports car for the first time in their lives, travel, renovate their house.

    Maybe that perspective will help you deal with this better – to think about how much less your parents would have if they ALSO had to help you. By taking care of yourself without help, you are also looking out for your parents. It’s sad your sister can’t or won’t do the same, but it’s out of your control.

    And like Wendy said, if you really do want money from them, ask for it. But if you don’t need it, I don’t know why you would. Maybe you could tell them you want to spend more time with them, or ask them for help in other ways. Helping you build a flower bed or paint your living room or teaching you a family recipe or something, you know? There are other ways to show love than giving money – what other ways can your parents make you feel loved? Ask for those things.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 11:44 am

    Wow, what a crock of shit. Not the letter. But many of these absurdly sanctimonious comments. REALLY?! So pretty much everyone here wouldn’t even so much as bat an eye if their parents showered thousands upon thousands of dollars on their sibling? Yeah right. Is it fantasy land on here today or what? Sorry, I simply don’t buy it. You’re not ALL saints… Thanks for the good laugh though.

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      iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 11:48 am

      This may be the first time I’ve ever thumbed up one of your comments.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:26 pm

        Just this one comment, though. I don’t want to be held responsible when you go overboard.

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      lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 11:52 am

      I guess most of us just like our siblings? And don’t see our parents as banks or that we’re entitled to their money?

      I can only speak for myself, but my parents HAVE given thousands upon thousands to my other siblings and not me. They’ve also cut some of us out of their wills because some of us won’t need the money and others will. Literally the only thing that bothers me about that is that my parents assumed we wouldn’t of course give money to our siblings if they needed it. I don’t think any of that is saintly. I think its part of being in a loving family.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 11:58 am

        Or maybe your relationship with your family is strong enough in other aspects that the money part doesn’t hurt you like it would in a family with a different dynamic. This doesn’t necessarily make you a better person, it just means your parents are doing a better job than the LWs.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I don’t know. Or at least I don’t think it is. All families have issues, and I know mine does too. I think my dad prefers some of my other siblings over me. I mean, I don’t think that he actually doesn’t love me though or anything. I just think that money should go to who needs it in a family. And that its on you to earn your own money and not take handouts. I really don’t think this is some huge, self righteous statement at all.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:11 pm

        Then we should all strive to be more like you, and I’d like to think we’re all at least trying. But it’d be nice if the perfect people remembered that the rest of us are only human, and the path to perfection is a little harder for some of us than others.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:14 pm

        I’m really not sure why you seem to keep attacking me. I’m not being nasty to you. I’m not claiming to be perfect by any means. I guess you have a different opinion on parents’ money than me. That’s really not a reason to act the way you’re acting toward me.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 12:24 pm

        I suspect it’s because your tone is so smug and self-righteous it’s enough to make one physically gag.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:24 pm

        I’m not attacking you, I’m attacking the things you’re saying, because they’re really mean.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:28 pm

        I know! And everything you’re saying to me is very sweet and kind. Clearly this is a topic that is upsetting to you and I assume you’ve been in the same boat as the LW. Maybe everyone’s comments on this letter will give you advice too.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 12:34 pm

        God, sometimes you really can be bitchy, LBH. This is a new low — even for you. So smug. So holier than thou.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

        I guess I’ve learned a thing or two from your comments 😉
        In all honesty though, I think this was the only comment I’ve left today that could be viewed as bitchy. I’m still surprised people disagree with the idea that their parents’ money isn’t their money and that money should go to those who need it.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:49 pm

        @lbh, Again, that’s not the part where we disagree. You can keep misinterpreting what I’m saying if you like. At this point I think it must be deliberate, because I’ve been very clear and I know you’re not dumb.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 1:08 pm

        it makes me sad this has 3 likes.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:38 pm

        Actually, I’ve worked through all my shit and am really happy with my family and its dynamics. Your concern is noted, though, and I’m touched.

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        Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Oh the shade, so much shade

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle November 20, 2013, 12:46 pm

        haha, perfect comment(@ Grilledcheesecalliope)

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:49 pm

        I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t understand what that means.

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      • rawkmys0cks

        rawkmys0cks November 20, 2013, 12:54 pm

        I want to like this a million times! (also to Grilledcheesecalliope)

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 20, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Right? What does shade mean? I’m on LBH’s side in this, although that is easy for me to say, because my parents treat my brother and I the same almost down to the penny. They informed in a few weeks ago that they realized they “owed me money” because they’d given my brother a bunch a few years ago and miscalculated exactly how much they needed to give me for it to be equal. I thought it was ridiculous, but awesome all at the same time.

        I guess it is hard for me to understand where you all are coming from because I do have a loving and supportive family. When my parents did give my brother a large sum about 6 years ago I didn’t even bat an eye. He needed it at the time. I didn’t. They have now since given me the amount gradually, but I had no expectation of it and was honestly surprised they felt the need to even us out. It took them 6 years to do it so it’s not like I’ve spent the last 6 years stewing.

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        bethany November 20, 2013, 2:13 pm

        @IWTTS- My parents are the same way. My mom will spend the exact same amount on both of us at Christmas. She will buy an extra pair of socks or whatever for one of us to even it out!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Iwanna: Hold up. Isn’t is RATHER easy to say this would never bother you when you also just said your parents would never do this to you?

        For the record — my folks are also absurdly Even-Stevens when it comes to my sister and I. But my yes, I must admit I would be irked if my parents were constantly sending checks to my sister — not because she “needed it” (did NO ONE read this letter?) but because she was simply constantly spending more than she earned…

        Frankly, I am amazed so few on here will admit this. I had no idea this place was so filled with liars… 😉

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 3:12 pm

        BGM is right in that the sister doesn’t need this help. She is fully capable of supporting herself. She is spending more than she earns and the parents bail her out but it isn’t because she needs help. If she was physically or mentally handicapped it would be an entirely different situation. Making a series of bad or irresponsible decisions doesn’t entitle you to help or make you more deserving.

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      • lemongrass

        lemongrass November 20, 2013, 3:31 pm

        My inlaws actually have bought my SIL a house, paid for her entire education and much of her living expenses for most of her adult life. We have also received some help but to a much lesser amount. So I am not speculating on how I WOULD feel but actually how I DO feel. And I am not upset or angry at all. LBH, I’m on your side. You don’t have to be a saint to realize that fair doesn’t mean equal.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:47 pm

        Also, no, I think parents’ money is to be spent however they like. That’s not where our opinions differ. I just think that people are entitled to their feelings, and that feeling bummed out about something that feels unfair does not make you a bad person. Shaming someone for their hurt feelings is just a shitty thing to do, and when I called you on it, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you doubled down. So, yeah, I guess we disagree, but not on what you seem to think we disagree.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:57 pm

        Sure, people are going to have feelings, but that doesn’t make the feeling ok. Her feeling, as I’m seeing it, is that she FEELS like she’s owed half her parents money and that if mom and dad give sister $1, she’s owed a $1 too. Sure, you’re right, those are her feelings. I disagree with them. The reason I felt ticked off by this LW is because, as I saw it, she was more pissed about the money than the fact she thinks her parents love her less than her sister. That’s really messed up imo. Its pretty ironic you keep calling me mean while telling me I’m a self righteous, smug bitch. Its just a debate. Relax. People disagree.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Hey, BGM and I are not the same person so please don’t put his words in my mouth. And I was actually really careful to say that what you were saying came off that way, not that you were those things. You chose to take it personally.

        “Relax. People disagree.” <– Really? You don't say.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 1:15 pm

        This is getting annoying. I get it. You’re putting in effort to be very bitchy without calling me a bitch directly. Have a good day.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 1:21 pm

        So disagreeing with you is what’s bitchy? Pointing out where you are being unkind is bitchy? When was this made the rule?

        Jay Smooth has failed me.

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        Lucy November 20, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Her feelings are what they are. There’s no such thing as a wrong feeling. What matters is what she chooses to do with her feelings. She chose to come here and ask for advice, and as several others have pointed out, your so-called advice has mostly consisted of shaming her, repeating the same trope ad infinitum, and getting defensive when anyone else points out that you’re not being especially helpful.

        I don’t often agree with BGM, but in this case he’s right. A few commenters are much more interested in shaming this LW (and sanctifying themselves) than they are in empathizing with her, and I find it extremely difficult to believe that they wouldn’t have similar feelings if they were in the same situation.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Sometimes I have feelings of road rage where I’d like to smash into someone’s car. Is that also not a wrong feeling? Apparently everything I say has a bitchy tone, but this honestly isn’t meant to. I’m trying to say that just because you have a feeling, doesn’t make it a good one.
        Its really a shame so many find it hard to believe that some people don’t feel entitled to other people’s money and are actually happy that some who need it get it more than those who don’t need it. Its surprising that anyone who says that is labeled as sanctimonious/smug. I thought it was the norm. Clearly I was wrong. Weird day on dw.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed November 20, 2013, 2:42 pm

        As long as you don’t act on that feeling of wanting to smash someone else’s car, it’s not wrong to have that feeling.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 2:45 pm

        I guess I just don’t really agree with that. I do think its wrong to have feelings of rage and hate. Do most of us have them? Of course. I just don’t think that makes it ok or right. I know you can’t help your feelings, but you can also acknowledge they are bad, I think.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed November 20, 2013, 2:46 pm

        I think that knowing that you shouldn’t react that way and know that smashing a car or things on that level are unacceptable actions, then it’s fine. Feel how you want.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 2:43 pm

        This, iseeshiny, is what I was referring to when I said you are very good at being as bitchy as possible, without actually calling me a bitch. Read the comment of mine that you replied to here with such attitude. There is literally nothing nasty about it.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Oh, so this comment above is the one where you decided it was ok to say hurtful things. The one where I have an “attitude.” Good to know where your line is.

        Oh, but I’m the one who is attacking you, I forgot.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 12:02 pm

        Oh, the smugness… Look, given all the DRAMA you’ve dragged us through about your sister and her vast endless sea of deadbeat boytoys — do you REALLY expect me to believe that you’d be thrilled if your mom routinely showered them with cash?! Because I simply don’t.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:12 pm

        I get you’re trying to be mean, but I’ll answer as though you actually are curious.
        On one hand, it would bother me if we (me or my parents) were giving her a bunch of money. But not for why you think. SImply because she’s just being enabled then and will never learn that she’s got to earn her own money. However, we (me and my parents) HAVE given her tons of money anyway, because we love her and want her not to be homeless or suffering. I personally cut her off finally, and she’s doing really well now, which is awesome.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 12:20 pm

        I’m not trying to be mean. But come on! You are spouting sanctimonious bullshit here and you know it. Or maybe you don’t. But my, is the bullshit ever getting deep in here. Lord! It’s up to everybody’s knees already…

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:27 pm

        Honestly, I usually have a feeling when a comment I have is one that no one will agree with. I’m really surprised that today’s are. I really didn’t think that my opinions on this were out there or saintly or anything like that. I really assumed most people felt this way. So, I guess I’m just lucky that I’ve never felt that resentment. Idk.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 20, 2013, 12:52 pm

        Wow, I’m really shocked by the attack on LBH here. I said it too – though I was more critical than LBH – I think the LW’s attitude is terrible and I find her whole way of thinking really off-putting.

        There’s a difference between being “thrilled if your mom routinely showered [a deadbeat sister] with cash” (no I would not be thrilled, never said I would, neither did LBH) and the situation here – resenting the hell out of someone else’s help, feeling entitled to your parents’ money, and expecting some sort of reward for living responsibly. I think anyone that thinks like that is messed up. I mean, it’s almost as if LW is only pissed that her sister got something she didn’t. If the sister didn’t get anything, would the LW be just fine and not ask for help? Seems like it. It seems she just wants it because her sister is getting it. What is she, 5 years old? Grow up already.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:59 pm

        Ah, thank you Addie! I’ve had a very confused look on my face while reading all these comments.

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        Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 1:00 pm

        Honestly there are a lot of people who for some reason feel like the less loved child, and so LBH seems to be hitting a raw nerve. I get pissed when someone tells me that I should be less irritated about my sister being spoiled when I had to work for everything. It is a little mean to say the LW is acting childish, and she did say that her sister has been favored for years so it most likely is not just the house.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 1:03 pm

        But I even said I’m pretty sure I think my dad prefers my siblings over me.
        But ultimately, maybe you are right that its not the money or the house, its that she really believes her parents don’t love her. If that’s actually the case, then I feel very sorry for her. It just didn’t seem to be the case in her letter.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 1:05 pm

        I don’t know if you’re talking about BGM’s comment here specifically or the thread in general, but I’ll answer as if you’re talking about the thread. I also disagree with your comment. From what I know of you, you come from a loving, functional family and don’t get what it feels like to be the scapegoat. I could be wrong, but that’s the feeling I get. I didn’t feel compelled to respond because you said it one time and frankly it wasn’t worth the argument. LBH posted several comments, each increasingly critical and edging toward cruelty, and so I voiced my disagreement and, incidentally, concern with the tone of her comments. Obviously neither you nor LBH have fallen into the trap of tying material comfort to love, and that’s great for you and a credit to your parents, but it’s not something everyone has learned and that doesn’t make the LW a bad person.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 2:17 pm

        And even then I only engaged when she mentioned me by name.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 7:20 am

        Sorry I’m late to be re-engaging. I got busy at work and then had a screening after work. *But* I stand by my comments. LW’s way of thinking is lousy and wayyy messed up. Sure, we all have moments that are not our best. And we should make a conscious effort to be better! This LW is having a “waaa, I’m 5” moment and she needs to work on that. But I get it, a lot of people here are harboring similar jealousy feelings and/or resentment that their siblings get more money for reasons you think aren’t fair, and you want your own feelings validated. I don’t know about your situations but I will try again to articulate what exactly my beef is with the train of thought set out in this letter. Here’s an illustration:

        1. A not-lousy way to think about this LW’s situation: “Mom, stop enabling my deadbeat sister. Each time you give her money… you take away an opportunity for her to learn from her mistakes. She will never learn. And you’re being used, I can’t sit back and watch this without speaking up.”

        2. A lousy way to think about this situation: “Mom, stop enabling my deadbeat sister. Each time you give her money….my inheritance is decreased in light of the will being 50-50 and not taking into account gifts passed to my deadbeat sister prior to your deaths. So, the way I see it, you have three choices: (i) you stop giving her money, (ii) you continue to give her money but you make sure to give me the same amount whether I need it or not, or (iii) you continue to give her money but you revise your Will such that the amount we each inherent is reduced by lifetime gifts – this way she will not amass more of your wealth than me. …. Love ya, ma!

        And sure, LW didn’t put it in those express words but those *are* all the issues she has here. Come on, you don’t think the thinking in Scenario 2 is messed-the fuck-up? If you don’t it’s ok; we just have fundamental differences and will have to agree to disagree!

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh November 21, 2013, 8:45 am

        I think the second situation is lousy, but I think the weird thing is that some families are like that. My mom’s family is doing that. Some money was loaned to one sibling and not another earlier in life when it was needed. And it was taken care of in the inheritance so that the other sibling was compensated for it. Which is weird for me to think about because my Mom is so NOT like that. But, what can you do? And her family did that all the time. I mean down to the penny everybody gets the exact same. Actually it trickled down to grandchildren too.

        I can’t really imagine thinking like that because like I said my Mom is now the exact opposite. And so we weren’t raised to think that way. But, it does happen! Hopefully reading this comment will show the LW that’s not how all families work.

        And on the flip side she might be so far down the ‘rabbit hole’ thinking about the relationship side of things and holding on to that tangible thing (the inheritance) that she can’t see how kind of lousy it sounds.

        So hopefully either way it will be a wake up call to realize. It’s ok to have thoughts like I’m jealous of all the help my sister is getting, but it’s not good to hold on to them and stew over them for years! You have to learn to let go. Or you are going to be on miserable person!

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      • avatar

        bethany November 20, 2013, 2:02 pm

        Maybe I’m one of the “Smug Ones”, too, but I don’t get it either.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 20, 2013, 3:46 pm

        I guess its just call a spade a spade.I mean this LW’s wording leaves a lot to be desired. The way it is written is very money is the bottom line. Money is a hugely sensitive issue for people as are parent-children relationships-so its understandable this is a more contested letter. Personally, I don’t think that LBH deserved the flack for saying her personal opinion which in the beginning dealt with nothing more than this one particular LW feeling as though she was entitled to her parent’s money, even though she did not need it. I think mentioning your parents will and being upset they aren’t accounting for all the money they have shelled out to your sister more than you, is a really sad sentiment and not a healthy obsession to have in your life. Yes it could be related to other things-but this is what the LW gave us. If the LW had framed this letter in a different way, I think that a lot of the responses would be very different.

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        starpattern November 20, 2013, 12:48 pm

        Does feeling that way mean that the LW doesn’t like her sister, sees her parents as a bank or feels entitled to their money? I don’t think so. She feels like they love her less in part because they shower money/gifts on the sister, and not her. But she wrote in for advice because she is conflicted about how she feels – she hasn’t blown up on her family or even been unkind at all, sounds like. I think that means she likes them very much – she’s holding her tongue despite feeling slighted. It sounds like your entire family is on the same page and very generous with their money and help. But not every family is as close-knit, or has as good communication about these things – so I don’t think we should imply that the LW feeling this way means she does not like her family. It just means maybe she needs some outside perspective and some ideas about how to improve her relationship with her parents and sister in a way that this won’t bother her so much.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

        Good points. Thanks starpattern.

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    • avatar

      csp November 20, 2013, 11:55 am

      I think most people are assuming that they aren’t buying a house outright for this daughter. They might be helping with a down payment or closing costs.

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    • avatar

      Banana November 20, 2013, 11:57 am

      We’re always either trying to be too nice, or not being nice enough. The only person I see here acting like he thinks he’s a saint is you.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Bitch, please! I’d be mad as hell if I were the LW. So would the rest of you. Only most are simply too delusional to admit it.

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        Banana November 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

        First of all, I don’t care that you play a sassy gay man on the internet, you do not get to call me “bitch.”

        Secondly, you’re not in a position to call other people sanctimonious when the only reason you normally crawl out of your hole to comment is to say something nasty about how everyone else on this forum isn’t as enlightened as you are. Normally I laugh it off and roll my eyes, but I couldn’t ride right past Saint Mark complaining about other people claiming too hard to be saintly.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 1:17 pm

        +1 Just because we are on the same side of this argument, I hope no one thinks I agree with everything he says. BGM I STILL HATE IT WHEN YOU DO THIS

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 1:36 pm

        Ugh. “Bitch, please!” IS an expression ALL over the internet lately…

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bitch%20Please

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones November 20, 2013, 1:50 pm

        Girls, Girls! Knock it off! Don’t MAKE me come over there! Am I going to have to separate you 2? OK no video games for a WEEK! You are both grounded!

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      • avatar

        WAPS November 20, 2013, 2:05 pm

        Doesn’t matter if it’s a phrase, you don’t get to decide if someone else wants to be called “bitch.” The appropriate response here would have been to apologize, not to be condescending and post a link as if people don’t know that’s a phrase.

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        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 2:07 pm

        haha, there’s lots of expressions on the internet. that doesnt mean they are a-ok to say.

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 4:03 pm

        I can’t reply above, Shade is casual but intentional rudeness. It is generally sarcasm or veiled insults. I like to think of it as subtle snark.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Haha Thank you. I actually asked someone. You say throwing shade, right?

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 4:34 pm

        Yep, or you can just say shade in response to something already said.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 20, 2013, 4:46 pm

        I kind of love that expression. I hope no one is over its usage yet. I always get on trends after people think it’s obnoxious. Like fetch.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 4:47 pm

        Stop trying to make fetch happen, Gretchen.

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    • Copa

      Copa November 20, 2013, 12:05 pm

      I think it’s less the jealousy/resentment aspects and more the “even though we live comfortably, my parents should be altering their will for me!!!! and i’m afraid i won’t be able to restrain myself from shitting all over thanksgiving dinner over it!!!” aspects that make the LW harder to relate to. As I said above, having been in a situation where my sister got more, I understand the jealousy/resentment, but her reaction (particularly all the ruminating she’s done over her parents’ wills) is extreme.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 November 20, 2013, 12:12 pm

      I’m not saying I wouldn’t be mad about it, but I think it is good to give someone an outside perspective to see that it maybe they don’t need to be that mad that you have to screw up thanksgiving.

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    • avatar

      Flake November 20, 2013, 12:17 pm

      I don’t think I am a saint. And yes, when my mom gives one of my brothers money for a mortgage payment, the only thing I am is thankful that I don’t need that kind of help.

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    • avatar

      WAPS November 20, 2013, 12:18 pm

      While I don’t blame her for the petty tit-for-tat thoughts (I’ve done it too, in my weaker moments), I do think the amount of thought and emotional effort she’s put into this is insane. It’s not the petty thoughts that are distasteful to me – it’s that she wants to do something about it. She says that her parents’ money isn’t hers, but she hasn’t internalized that enough to realize that if she truly believed it, she’d work on her feelings alone and not bring it up. I think that’s one mark of an adult, realizing when the feelings you’re having aren’t appropriate to bring up.

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    • avatar

      rieux November 20, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Meh, I think most of us understand the resentment over the favoritism in general. It’s the counting pennies of profit that she’ll make off her parents’ deaths that icks me out personally. I agree with iseeshiny that the lions’ share of the responsibility for the effed-up-ness is the parents, not the LW. But she’s the one who wrote in, and she really should stop talking about the death of her parents that way, it’s just like… sad and disrespectful.

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    • IDreamofElectricSheep

      IDreamofElectricSheep November 20, 2013, 12:42 pm

      That’s exactly how it’s like in my family. As in my sister has been given probably an equivalent of tons in cash and a (paid for) house that she lost/spent and is now unemployed with kids and my family continues to give her money. They helped me with my student loans worth about tenth the value (which I appreciated).

      I was angry for a long time because it seemed like I was being punished for my diligence and hard work and my sister rewarded for the opposite. But in the end, I figured out a way to come to terms with it because then I would be mad all the time. All. The. Time. Because it wasn’t going to stop so…I was going to spend my life all pissed off? While my sister was all happy and fine with it? It was like double punishing myself and I just didn’t want it to drive me crazy (anymore). I’ve come to the point where I’m like, hey, that money is not mine and I wouldn’t trade it for my sister’s life or any of the strings that comes along with it (because it always does in my family).

      I guess my point is that I agree, most people would be mad as hell over it. But from someone who is in that position, I had to find a way to work through it. Now I don’t know what my point was. Maybe I’m just making more of an observation. Perhaps as in it doesn’t really matter if people get pissed or not, because neither changes the actual situation? And yes, not being angry/sad about it took a lot of work and I still regress sometimes.

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  • avatar

    FossilChick November 20, 2013, 11:52 am

    LW, please understand that this is a situation you can’t fix. You don’t (and shouldn’t) have control or any say in how your parents spend their money. You don’t want to deprive your niece/nephew because you want to throw a fit about your sister being supported. You won’t actually feel better if they stopped supporting her, because she’d still be fiscally irresponsible (and probably coming to you for money!) and you’d still feel like your parents loved her more than you. I don’t even think you’d feel better if they gave you money, because it wouldn’t compare to the constant support your sister has received and a lifetime of feeling less loved.

    The only thing you can control is your reaction to the situation. I can absolutely relate to the resentment, but being resentful only hurts you. So whatever you do, whether you talk to your parents and ask for money to start your family or decide not to mention this to them, also realize that you need to decouple the practical issues of money and financial support from the emotional issues of sibling competition, unequal love, and judgement that are happening here. The money issue is a symptom, the love issue is the disease.

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  • avatar

    j2 November 20, 2013, 11:53 am

    I didn’t see anyone comment on the grandchildren aspect of this. While there certainly may be exceptions, aging parents really, really want grandchildren. In fact, providing them grandchildren, especially ones they can frequently enjoy, is – in its own real way – “good behavior” to aging parents. I have no idea how this factors in in LW’s case, but it might, particularly as “we” do not know what the conversations were between LW’s sister and their parents.

    Children ARE expensive, and can be as expensive as you want, up to and including live-in nannies or giving up full time employment to stay home. Still, I’ve seen young couples just getting by with several kids and having a great time as they did so, and I’ve also seen couples put kids off until some monetary goal and then stress out over almost everything in their zeal to get child rearing perfect.

    Raising kids may be the ultimate in YMMV!

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    • KKZ

      KKZ November 20, 2013, 2:34 pm

      I for one am so, so glad that my mom has been saying to me for years “PLEASE do not make me a grandmother.” I think I would utterly explode if anyone in my family were pressuring me to have kids because it would make THEM happy.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 12:07 pm

    There are parents who favor one child over others and they usually do so for the rest of their life. I think those who haven’t personally experienced this have trouble understanding those who do because they can’t believe that parents are really that way. Favoritism is a nasty, hurtful thing that harms families.

    The reality is that your sister will probably continue to spend more money every month than she earns and so your parents will continue to pay for her month after month. Yes, this will eat up most of the inheritance so when you do inherit there won’t be much left. It is just a fact of life. Your parent’s money is their money and they can choose to do whatever they want with it even if it is unfair and hurtful.

    You can only control yourself. You can’t control them. Talking to them will probably lead to nothing positive. My experience is that a parent who favors a child makes excuses for that child during their entire childhood. The rules never apply to them for one reason or another. The favored child grows up to be an emotionally immature and financially irresponsible adult who continues to live off the parents and the parents will always have an excuse as to why the adult child needs help. There is nothing you can do about that.

    You can control yourself. You can continue to be responsible. You can decide that you won’t be like your parents and that if you have more than one child you will treat them equally. There are people who adjust their will according to how much money they have given one child before they die. My MIL has done that with her will. Any money she gives to her daughter is automatically deducted from the amount her daughter will receive so my husband will receive a larger inheritance than his sister will. His mom does that because she cares about being fair. My great grandfather did the same. You can make sure you don’t favor any child day to day. You can make sure that you apply your family rules to all of your children equally. You can make sure you don’t make excuses for bad behavior.

    You can be grateful that you weren’t the favored child because in the end you will have the better life. Your sister will likely continue to spend this way until your parents die. Then she will run through the inheritance and then she will be broke at an age where it is difficult to make it better. It hurts now but in the end you will have the better life and you will be glad you weren’t the favored one because it is so destructive.

    The other thing you can control is how much time you spend with your family. You don’t have to spend much time with them. You don’t have to go to their home and watch them favor your sister day in and day out. You can surround yourself with people who treat you as an equal. You can create your own support group and spend time with people whom you love like family. You can limit your time at their home over the holidays or skip their home entirely. You can control how much of their hassle you will tolerate. If you think you are likely to explode over Thanksgiving maybe you and your husband could take a short trip instead.

    Let the money go. It isn’t yours. It’s going to be gone and there is nothing you can do about it. Try to find peace within yourself. Focus on those things that you can control and choose the people who will be in your life based on how they treat you.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 12:35 pm

      I love this whole comment, but the part that resonated to me the most was “…those who haven’t personally experienced this have trouble understanding those who do because they can’t believe that parents are really that way.”

      My immediate family is great, but my extended family on both sides is so incredibly dysfunctional. I remember when my husband and I were first dating and I was trying to explain to him why we don’t speak to so-and-so or why I was worried about my mom going to visit her side of the family without me to the point of panic attacks, and he just. Didn’t get it. Didn’t believe me even, as infuriating as that was, until he saw some of it for himself. He, coming from a relatively happy, loving family just could not comprehend that people in real life would behave in a terrible, damaging way to their family.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 2:27 pm

        My mom has always favored my sister and I thought my husband understood that but from time to time he has been surprised because he really didn’t get it. One example, my parents remodeled some bedrooms and my mom has always saved the larger, nicer one for my sister. Even if we are there for two weeks and she is there for two days she gets the bigger room. Even if there are four of us and she brings herself and one child she gets the larger room. Even if we are there and she doesn’t show up at all we don’t get to stay in that room. When we stay we get worn out pillows but my sister gets new ones. We are usually given worn out blankets but once there was a nice comforter on the bed. What a nice surprise until I pull the comforter down to get in when I was going to bed, only to find that the comforter had a huge, unwashed bloody spot right where it would be next to my face. My mom is really great at making the room look okay if you just glanced in, like my dad might, but having nasty little surprises hidden away.

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        iseeshiny November 20, 2013, 3:05 pm

        I’m so sorry that happened to you, that’s so awful of her and you don’t deserve it. What sucks is that our relationship with our parents, especially when we’re young, informs so much of how we look at other relationships later on. I know it took me years to reprogram all the issues I took away from dealing with my aunts, cousins, and biological father. I can only imagine how rough it was to heal from that kind of shitty treatment from your mother. Moral support for you from me!

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 3:24 pm

        Thanks! I gave up on my mom long ago. I dutifully call her once every other week and send her cards on the appropriate holidays and presents when needed. That’s it, that’s our relationship, all superficial and I don’t expect anything more than that. It would be nice to have a better mother, a real mom, but I’ve got who I’ve got. I have a happy family, with my husband, where I have made sure that I don’t favor one child over the other and my kids really like each other. I had to decide that I wouldn’t allow my mom to ruin my life and I have a great life. I also live 1,000 miles away from her which helps! My husband and I have created our own holiday traditions and we’re happy. In the end, the LW will find that she has a better life than her sister because she hasn’t been favored, hasn’t been enabled to be irresponsible. My sister grew up to be emotionally immature and so ended up with an emotionally immature husband because who else will marry you when you are immature. She is self-centered and doesn’t have friends. It is a sad way to live your life. I know the LW doesn’t feel it or know it yet, but she is the lucky one because she has the ability to live an emotionally mature and financially stable life.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee November 20, 2013, 2:53 pm

      I loved your comment Skyblossom. I’m very happy for so many commenters that they have these very happy, very balanced, families, but I come for generations of favoritisms and it’s really not fun being “othered” in your own family. My brother is the apple of everyone’s eye even though he can’t buy a dime of his own bills, but I’m the worst person in the world for being unemployed two months after graduating college.

      I feel for the LW. It’s really, really hard to get through things like this in your family, and I doubt it’s just about the money, I’m sure it’s the time suck of emotions, helping, and tending to that your sister has had her life that weighs on you. However, it’s much easier to focus on the tangibles like financial assistance, when I’m sure it goes much deeper than that.

      Skyblossom is right that you can only control how you deal with your family and how much interaction you have. Let’s just say there’s a reason I live at least 5 hours away from my family. It took moving away and putting emotional and physical distance between us to not feel like the second best child in my family. However, I’m in a much happier place in my life and I hope you will soon find that peace too.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest November 20, 2013, 3:00 pm

        So I realize I’m beating a dead horse at this point (sorry! can’t help it), but my family isn’t happy, balanced, etc. They play favorites. Parents give to one and not the other. My parents hate each other. I can’t really stand my stepparents, and that’s on a good day. Black sheep. All that fun stuff.
        All that is to say that I don’t think what kind of family you have plays a role in your opinion of this topic. Maybe it does for some, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my opinion, which is apparently very, very different than some of the other commenters.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee November 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Well, I have to disagree with that background experience wouldn’t color the opinion on this letter. Having been through what the LW has to a degree, I would guess that everyone focusing on the money from parents issue, is missing the forest behind the trees. Since the sister is such a mess, it doesn’t seem like she’s just getting money, but attention, time, etc. And I’d also guess this thing with her sister isn’t a new trend, but just how it’s been in their family always. It can wear a person down when they feel like “second best”, especially when it’s silly to feel that way but after years of a certain kind of divide in treatment, you do. When one child drains a parent of all their resources (emotionally, financially, etc), there’s really not much left over for any other child.

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  • avatar

    Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Make passive aggressive statements at Thanksgiving and buy yourself Christmas presents this year. Seriously though I think what you really wanted was some understanding and commiserating. So it sucks when parents don’t make sure to treat their kids equally, it’s painful and costs thousands in therapy (which you will have to pay for because your parents are too busy supporting your sister). One thing I really admire about my fiance’s parents is how equally they treat their 2 kids, they don’t let his younger sister do anything he wasn’t allowed at the same age and they will try to give one child extra presents or take them to dinner if they give the other financial help. My mom didn’t do that and now when she complains about my spoiled and needy sister I make PA comments and say tough shit.
    Be proud of yourself and how self sufficient you are but if you want to get snarky sometimes, or ask for money for therapy go ahead.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Rather than making passive aggressive comments, which will only inflame everything and make her feel worse, I think she should skip Thanksgiving. She could go away for the weekend, or say that her and her husband have been really stressed by work lately and they just want a quiet, relaxed weekend together or say that they want to start some of their own traditions. If spending time with her parents over Thanksgiving is going to be too unpleasant and stressful for her then she shouldn’t go. Also, if she is likely to say things that make the whole situation worse then they are all better off if she stays away. LW is now a grown, married woman and she and her husband can decide for themselves who they will see and how much time they will spend there. They could also spend a short time with her parents, arrive just before dinner and leave soon after and say that they are starting some traditions of their own.

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      • avatar

        HmC November 20, 2013, 3:38 pm

        I think the act of skipping Thanksgiving altogether is passive aggressive itself.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 3:46 pm

        I don’t see it that way. You don’t have to spend a set amount of time with your parents and it isn’t an act to decide it is unhealthy for you to be there and to instead spend your holiday in a way that builds you up rather than in a way that emotionally wears you down. It takes a long time to get over that kind of holiday and then there is Christmas right around the corner and she will be worrying about handling it too. Sometimes it is better for everyone if you just don’t go.

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  • avatar

    Ivory November 20, 2013, 12:15 pm

    I got the impression that she wants to have a baby and money is the thing keeping her from doing it right now (and smartly, she’s waiting until they are financially ready) so it hurts to see her sister get what she wants (a child) and essentially be rewarded by having her behavior enabled. It would be so tempting (though not advisable) next time her parents pressure her about having a child to say “Maybe I should have one even though I can’t afford it, and you can bail me out afterwards. Its worked for my sister”

    I can also understand why she’s hurt. She must feel like every time her parents are writing some huge check to pay for her sister’s life, they don’t ever think “Maybe OP needs some help”. Or even say to her “OP, we are really proud and thankful of the responsible person you’ve become”. I bet THAT would make the difference emotionally for her. Right now to her, it must feel like the only thing that is ever rewarded in her family is bad decision making.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones November 20, 2013, 1:36 pm

      I don’t know, that snarky comment “Maybe I should have one even though I can’t afford it, and you can bail me out afterwards. Its worked for my sister” sounds actually really reasonable in this situation to effectively shine a mirror into the parents faces about their behavior and on the elephant in the room while simultaneously getting the parents to back the fuck off about pressuring LW to go and have a baby before she and her husband are financially ready!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

        EXACTLY! I can’t believe more on here don’t see this point. Her sister is a financial mess. And — as a direct result not only gets to have a baby, but a brand new house as well… How would that not gall most anyone? Oh. Right. Most everyone here is a self-made Saint.

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      • avatar

        marynn November 20, 2013, 9:36 pm

        I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t be THRILLED about it, but, it’s not saintly to get over this kind of thing and mind your own bussiness, it is HEALTHY. If you are so worried about what your sister does with her money, what she gets from your parents that you don’t, you are wasting energy and time. There’s not much to do really, other than open your mouth and ask for something if you really really want it.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Okay I have a semi-off-topic question but kind of related. Anyone else get like, really, really sick-to-your-stomach uncomfortable about the thought of asking your parents for fiscal help? I don’t know if it’s a midwestern cultural thing, or the way that I was raised, or the way that I just am… But… I have a really hard time accepting help, and a really, REALLY hard time asking for help. Especially if it’s not a life-or-death situation. It just feels so… wrong in my gut to me. Sometimes I think that’s a character flaw, because I’m always more than happy to help others.

    My parents are helping pay for my schooling, and whenever I think about it too hard I get really upset and feel like I haven’t done enough to deserve it and that they should be spending it on something else. Even though I know that if I said that I would really hurt their feelings. Even though I know that I would want to help my future children out with schooling as much as I reasonably could. I push fiscal assistance away as much as possible. I think maybe it stems from some self-esteem issues.

    I’d love to hear from people on how they feel about accepting fiscal help from people, especially parents.

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      MMcG November 20, 2013, 12:40 pm

      I have no problems asking for help, but they also offer a lot (not in an enabling way, in a we are still the parents and get to buy you dinner no matter how old you are kind of way) and there are also certain circumstances where I pay them back in other ways. My parents would NEVER accept money from me, and sometimes I would like to give them some given all the support they have given me… so it becomes the sometime extravagant gift/useful item for the house that they can’t refuse. I guess we are just more open… and I have no one to compete with for it so ultimately it will all be mine… MINE!!! (i’m kidding, trust me I’m not counting on a dollar when they pass on, don’t flog the sarcasm).

      it would be different with friends, that could be complicated, and I would feel more awkward asking. Accepting on the other hand… well an elder and wiser member of my family once said “Don’t turn anyone down offering you free money or food (if there are no strings attached)” so I try to live my life that way, not as a mooch, but as a grateful and thankful acceptor of generosity and I like to think I give as well as receive 🙂

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        AliceInDairyland November 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

        I gotcha, MMcG no worries. My parents would also never accept money from me, and insist on buying me what I consider WAY too much for stuff like Christmas. I think I just have a whole lot of guilt about it for some reason even if it was given freely/happily.

        I like your idea of giving something back that’s extravagant that they can’t refuse. I don’t have a bunch of cash, but I do have time and skills so I think I’m just going to dump a bunch of canned goods and knitted stuff on them this Christmas. And then try to just let go of the guilt and be grateful.

        Part of it may be that I have 2 younger siblings and zero info on my parents financial situation. Both of my younger sibs are most likely not going to get a secondary/graduate degree. And I’m worried about it being seen as unfair even though none of this has even happened yet. And we definitely saved a lot when we were younger and I still have the mindset that we are “poor” even though I know my parents’ financial situation is a lot more comfortable now. (please don’t skewer me)

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      • rawkmys0cks

        rawkmys0cks November 20, 2013, 1:15 pm

        I find it extremely hard to ask for help, but its mostly because at this point…I’m better off than my parents are, and I’m 24 years old. I make more money (combined with my fiance’s salary which is higher but comparable to mine) than my parents ever made while I was growing up. They continue to struggle. If it were a different situation I think I would accept help, but I’ve never actually been in that position. I lend my parents about $1000 every so often, without much expectation of it ever being paid back. It’s okay, they are my family and I am happy to help. I think I might feel the same way if the situation were reversed as long as they had the same attitude that I do.

        My parents have said before that they want to take on my private student loans when they are better off, but I don’t really have an expectation that that will ever happen, ha.

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      starpattern November 20, 2013, 1:12 pm

      I feel the same way, Alice. I have a visceral negative reaction when I think about asking my parents (or anyone) for money. Thankfully, I’ve never needed to since I’ve been out of their house, although I have no question my parents WOULD help me if I ever needed it. I think I learned that attitude from them (do it yourself unless you absolutely can’t) and I think for me it boils down to being a pride thing, which – I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but there you go. On the flip side, when they offer things because they want to, I try to take them at their word (that they just want to) and not fight them, because I know it makes me feel bad when people (boyfriend, friends) fight me on buying them something because I just feel like doing it. So buying dinner or gifts is no big deal to me, even though I can afford to buy my burrito, or kitchen table, or whatever. I would never ask my parents to do something like co-sign a house or car loan for me, though.

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    • Copa

      Copa November 20, 2013, 1:32 pm

      Oh man, I don’t think I’d ever ask for financial help from my parents unless I really, REALLY needed it. Not that I’m wealthy by any means — my pay is decent and livable, but I’d still consider it on the modest side, and I have a decent amount of overhead costs (like my student loan repayments) — but I really like the feeling of independence. I love being able to buy (smaller) stuff for my parents now, too, like getting the bill when I’m out to dinner with my mom.

      I also think learning to live without anyone else’s help is something everyone needs to learn, and there’s only one real way to learn it. I’ll even admit I do find myself sometimes judging people who seem to have no desire to become independent.

      So this is my roundabout way of saying that yes, I’d be extremely uncomfortable asking my parents for money, even if I was only asking because I desperately NEEDED the money (though in that scenario, I’d ask). I’d feel all kinds of defeated.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl November 20, 2013, 1:53 pm

      Luckily I’ve never had to ask my Mom for money. She gave me money for my wedding and will give me a small amount in my birthday card but that’s about it. My Mom has given my oldest sibling a large amount of money and it pisses me off because I think her money should be spent on herself, not my loser sibling.

      I would be happy if my Mom spent every last cent on herself and left nothing to me.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 20, 2013, 2:54 pm

        I love this! My parents have worked hard and scrimped for their whole lives… I hope they really get to live it up in their retirement, and I will not be sad at all if they don’t even leave me a dime.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ November 20, 2013, 2:41 pm

      I feel the same (and am Midwestern too). I wouldn’t ask my parents for money unless my life depended on it, and feel kind of embarrassed when they offer it unsolicited. They helped me out last year quite a bit with some medical expenses for my dog, because they were dogsitting him when he got sick and helped with vet visits and stuff. And I was grateful for that, but I would never have asked, and if they’d even hinted that they wanted to be paid back, I would have written them a check right then.

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    • avatar

      HmC November 20, 2013, 3:36 pm

      That’s interesting that it might be a Midwestern thing. I definitely think it’s cultural. Where I’m from and in a lot of cultures I’m familiar/close with, parents support their kids well into their adult life, often providing them shelter so they can save for a house or while they are in grad school and beyond. There’s a way you can do it without enabling, and I think a big part of that is maintaining high expectations and growing up in a background where it’s normal and the kids aren’t selfish about taking help.

      My Indian girlfriend posted on her Facebook “Why do my white friends always act shocked when I tell them my parents still give me money? They pay for my phone now, I don’t put them in a home later. Oh white folks when will you learn?” (She’s a comedian by the way, so not 100% serious). But anyway I get the sentiment… if it’s ingrained into your culture and background that it’s ok to accept help, then normal non-selfish people accept help. It’s contextual.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl November 20, 2013, 12:34 pm

    I do believe that the squeaky wheel gets the grease or in this case, the stunted child gets the financial support. Your sister refuses to grow up and your parents refuse to let her. You may think it’s about the money but it’s deeper than that, it boils down to this…you think your parents do more for your sister than they do for you so therefore, they care about her more.

    I think it’s more about not wanting their child to fail, which seems to be the one thing your sister excels at. Now that she has a child, your parents will maintain status quo because of the baby.

    I know how you feel, my oldest sibling has gotten a shitload of money from my Mom. I will say, I’d rather be in my position than my siblings, because their life sucks because they can’t conduct it successfully. Eventually when your parents are no longer able to support her, she’ll start feeling the pain. Just make sure that you don’t assume their role and start bailing her out, she needs to grow up.

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    • avatar

      MrsR November 20, 2013, 1:02 pm

      I get this, too. My older brother has gotten financial help from my parents and other family members before. However, with my parents it was considered a loan and he and his wife haven’t paid them back. They don’t make great financial decisions and think their problems are everyone else’s fault. My mom and dad have had enough and my dad told me not too long ago that my older brother will not get as much as me and my younger brother when he dies. The difference in my situation and the LW’s is my parents will not give my older brother money anymore.

      I would definitely still want to be in my position in life than my older brother. My husband and I don’t think that the world or our parents owe us anything. I know that we don’t get as much assistance because as of now we have it together. But I do know from experience that if we need help in the future both of our families will be there for us. Although it sounds weird it’s nice to hear from my dad that my husband and I aren’t at the top of his prayer list. I’m happy to hear that my parents don’t have to worry about my husband and I because we are good. So we will continue to make good decisions and be able to support ourselves.

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  • avatar

    AKchic November 20, 2013, 12:38 pm

    LW, I can understand where you’re coming from, having a sister who is much like yours.

    Unless you ask for help, you will never receive it. Your parents may very well think that you have everything in hand/taken care of and don’t need help. You say you don’t need the help, but feel slighted. Honey, remember – they are taking care of your sister because they feel they need to. That she needs extra help and you don’t. This is actually a compliment, however backwards, to you and your husband.
    If you truly need money, ask for it. Just make sure you work out a payment plan, unless they decide to gift it to you.

    As far as the wills are concerned – it’s really none of your business what your parents decide on with their money/assets. My mom had originally left everything to my younger sister because “she can’t take care of herself and she’ll need help”. After my sister grew up a bit (older, not wiser), my mom changed her will to give me everything as long as I create college trust accounts for my nephews. I am more financially responsible and my mom wants to make sure there is money for the grandkids rather than squandered on my sister.

    After a while, my mom started easing up on giving my sister money. She hasn’t cut her off, but she has pulled back. Your parents may do this too.

    Bottom line – don’t pick a fight over something that you don’t know ALL of the information about, especially when you haven’t asked for the same considerations that your sister has.

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC November 20, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Question for OP – do your parents assume you are going to be the one to take care of them when they get old? If that is the case, then I think you can say something. Otherwise, you really can’t tell them how to gift their money. But if you will be their primary caregiver, I don’t think it’s all that out of line to talk to your parents about them leaving you more – because it will be a financial and emotional hardship.

    I am thinking about having a similar discussion with my parents because it’s obvious my mother wants me to move closer now that they are older and having issues. But these are my prime earning years, my sister makes 3x my salary, and it just doesn’t seem fair for me to move to a town I don’t like, make much less money, have the burden of caring for my parents and then have everything split down the middle when they die. Luckily, my sister would probably agree with me and we are close enough I don’t worry about resentment. But I wouldn’t dream of having this talk unless I will find myself in a precarious financial situation from taking care of them. Ugh, good luck.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet November 20, 2013, 12:59 pm

    I haven’t read the advice or comments yet, but UGH I hate how much we FREAK OUT about debt in this country. I mean, LW is looking down on her sister SO HARD because OMG she’s not good with money! Ugh. How about you pat yourself on the back for being fiscally responsible and get over yourself. (Sorry, I’m crabby this morning.) The ability to budget/save/invest/etc will help you out tremendously in the long run and you KNOW this, so stop resenting your sister. You only get one life. If you think it’s incredibly important to get out of debt before having a baby, that’s your choice, but your sister decided it was more important to have a baby while she’s, I dunno, fertile? (I really hope that doesn’t offend anyone who has decided to wait until they’re older to have kids, but it’s definitely a valid reason to go ahead and have a baby before you’re *gasp* out of debt).

    As for your parents giving more money to one sibling, this situation is not unique and it’s certainly not your sister’s fault so just stop with the resentment. Talk to your parents about it if it’s really bothering you, but don’t be a whiny brat about it. Instead try opening up to your parents more about YOUR financial situation. As proud as you seem to be about being financially responsible, it wouldn’t surprise me if your parents have no idea you’re struggling. They might decide to help with the costs of having a baby when they find out that’s the only reason you’re waiting (in fact, they may have been planning on helping you all along).

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife November 20, 2013, 1:29 pm

    My parents used to enable my addict brother and this went on for YEARS. They would give him places to live, money, cars, etc. while my husband and I worked hard. My mom’s philosophy on this was that I “lived with man and so I should be independent.” I never resented my parents for not giving me money because I knew that it meant I was stronger, more able and in their eyes, less of a dependent. These things made me very proud of myself.

    So perhaps, LW, you could use this situation to empower yourself and look at all that you’ve accomplished in your independence. Sometimes when we stop seeing the lack in our lives and realize all the good that we have, better things come our way.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery November 20, 2013, 1:56 pm

    As someone who has to deal with something similar to this, my best explanation is: parents will baby the baby for as long as they act like a baby. If you are halfway intelligent and responsible (at least in comparison to others in your family), they will leave you to your own devices. I guess you can take it as a half-azzed compliment.

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  • avatar

    Beckaleigh November 20, 2013, 1:59 pm

    This will sound harsh, but its none of your business how your parents are spending their money. Also, think of it this way, if you were the one receiving the money from your parents that would mean that you’re not as successful as you are. They aren’t giving her money because they like her better. They are giving her money because she can’t handle her own shit!

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  • avatar

    A La Mode November 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Other people have better advice about how to deal with the interpersonal relationship drama stuff, but I’d just like to offer this note, for when you’re just plain fuming and muttering to yourself during the day:

    You know, from your perspective, it probably looks like your parents are rewarding your sister for being an irresponsible douchebag. But I bet you anything that they are exhausted with her poor choices… and relieved that you are so responsible, and are very proud of you.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson November 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Also, I’m sad I missed this whole debate, I miss all the good dw fights. I love coming back to pick sides though. Now I have to go read all the comments to see if my side is in the majority. If not that’s how you know that sometimes the majority just means all the idiots are on the same side.

    Also, I got to do something really fancy at work today, and to summarize, I feel like a total badass in heels. And now I get to go have a work birthday lunch, and I hope it involves beer.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay November 20, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I’ve been dealing with a bunch of rude students today, so I’m just going to be blunt. You sound like a spoiled brat. Look, the fact is that parents typically spend more money on their children who are irresponsible and can’t take care of themselves. Getting money doesn’t mean you’re loved more, it means that your parents think you’re not capable of surviving as a human being.

    I have a friend in a similar situation. She has a brother who sits on his ass all day, and her parents pay for stuff for him all the time. Why? Because he’s lazy and unmotivated. She and her husband are financially responsible, ambitious, and down-to-earth. She gets upset at her parents, NOT because she thinks they should give her money, too, but because she thinks it’s unfair to HER PARENTS that they are spending hard-earned money on someone who should be supporting himself. I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m much more concerned about my parents being able to fund their own retirement than I am about them showering me with gifts.

    What it comes down to is that you have to realize that money doesn’t equal love. And that it’s much more valuable to be an indepedent, responsibile person your parents are proud of than to get lots of money from them. You say straight out that you don’t NEED their money, so why on earth should they give you any??
    Speaking from personal experience, you should be glad that your parents are in a position where they have a surplus, instead of having to pay their bills for them.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay November 20, 2013, 2:21 pm

      Also, I think people have a weird view of “fairness” these days. It’s not about things being equal; it’s about them being equitable.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 20, 2013, 4:58 pm

        But how, pray tell, is showering one irresponsible daughter with cash and even cosigning on a house even remotely equitable?

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      Grilledcheesecalliope November 20, 2013, 4:28 pm

      In some families money does equal love, or is the only way it is shown. I’m glad that soo many people come from nice well adjusted parents who make sure the feel loved outside of material things.

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    • avatar

      Ammie November 20, 2013, 5:22 pm

      “She gets upset at her parents, NOT because she thinks they should give her money, too, but because she thinks it’s unfair to HER PARENTS that they are spending hard-earned money on someone who should be supporting himself.”

      Bingo. They’re people, too, and the more they have to sink into non-self-sufficient children, the less that’s left to pay for their retirement. That’s what’s worth getting concerned about, not about whether one can finagle money from one’s aging parents that one doesn’t really need, just because someone else is getting it out of them.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh November 20, 2013, 2:29 pm

    One thing I don’t think that has been touched on is parents who show their love through money. Maybe this LW grew up that way? My bil grew up that way, his family didn’t ‘show’ love, but rather ‘bought’ it. So instead of being told I love you or hugged or encouraged, they just bought their kids things. He definitely equates love with money as an adult. Like if he makes my sister upset, he’ll just buy her something and thinks that it fixes everything and that they don’t need to talk about it anymore. Because that’s how his family functioned.

    I do think that this LW needs to stop focusing on the money. It’s not about the will or how much will be left to who. If she feels like her relationship with her parents is not where she wants it to be, that’s where she should focus her energy. It’s hard because I think we all have moments of I want what they have! I want somebody to write me a $10,000 check etc. But, we have to learn to let those just be fleeting thoughts and not take over and influence our relationships with loved ones. And if they do take over, usually there is a reason. As an outsider reading the LWs letter I would say she probably doesn’t have the same relationship with her Mom as her sister and she’s jealous of that. But, it’s easier to focus on the money. Because it’s tangible and isn’t as sad to think about. I could be totally off the mark here, but that’s the feeling I got from reading her letter. I’m actually pretty sad for her, because I have such an opposite amazing relationship with my Mom and reading things like this makes me very thankful for that!

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    • mandalee

      mandalee November 20, 2013, 3:10 pm

      I think that’s a great point jlyfsh! Some families are love buying people. My husband grew up the same way as your BIL. Holidays are not about getting together, it’s about buying gifts of a particular amount. We sent his mother a heartfelt card and called her on her birthday, she wanted to know where her presents were. Sigh.

      Family dynamics are so complicated and I’m sure the dynamic is more than just about money in general for the LW, and more about love as money, lack of attention and affection, etc. I felt really sad reading the letter too, because I can relate to it both from my experience growing up and my husband’s. As you said, it’s much easier to focus on the money, than all the feelings that go with it.

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  • avatar

    NavyWife November 20, 2013, 3:01 pm

    I think that sometimes, parents are inclined to look out for the “weaker” child…not necessarily that they love him/her more, but they realize that one of their kids needs more help. In this case, the LW’s folks see that the LW is self-sufficient, capable, good at managing money, etc., while their other daughter is kind of a mess. And now that there’s a grandchild involved, it’s even more incentive to ensure their assistance.

    We saw this within my grandfather’s family…he was one of 8 children, & the one that got the most “help” (and was cut the most slack) from their parents over the years was the proverbial black sheep. He did not associate with the family, did not help out when the aging parents needed a lot of care, etc. One of the sisters, Ruby, became quite wealthy, and never had any kids. Upon her death, her will divided her assets evenly between the still-living siblings, EXCEPT for the ‘black sheep’ brother. He was left exactly $1 in the will, with the comment, “For all you did for Momma and Daddy.” That is one of our favorite family stories–don’t mess with Aunt Ruby!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 20, 2013, 3:08 pm

      The trouble is that the “help” keeps the weak child weak and doesn’t benefit them in the long run. Aunt Ruby sounds great!

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled November 20, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Our family dynamic seems to be very different. In my family the “least favored” child (ok I don’t think he’s “least favorite” just that he makes my mom the most sad) is the one that has gotten the most financial help. My mom would (and has) dished out financial help to all three of us when we are in need, but she raised us to be independent and self-sufficient so I actually feel better that I haven’t needed as much assistance from my mom.

    Still, I get how the LW could be mad at this inequality, for myself I would split everything in a will the same among my children (unless one needed medical assistance), but you’re really focusing too much negative energy into this. It’s not healthy to be this resentful.

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  • avatar

    ktfran November 20, 2013, 3:29 pm

    So, my mom sent me flowers a few weeks ago because I was depressed. My hair stylist moved to California, my close girlfriend moved to California, the Kid was getting ready to leave, I had a breast biopsy, and I started my effing period, and got a chest cold. I was about five seconds away from sticking my head in the oven.

    Anyway, my sisters didn’t get flowers or anything. They must currently hate me.

    I KID, I KID!

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    • avatar

      lae February 27, 2017, 12:49 am

      …thanks for sharing?

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  • KKZ

    KKZ November 20, 2013, 3:31 pm

    LW, might you consider for a moment how your sister feels about your success?

    I mention this because there’s a little disparity too in my family between the attention and money my parents invested in my younger brother, and what they gave me. Like you, I didn’t really NEED a lot of help or support or attention; I’m independent to a fault. My mom once said of me, “You flew the nest and never looked back.” My brother’s not struggling, but he’s been a little slower to leave the nest. (And I think this is a fairly common sibling dynamic – the first-born being more independent than the younger.) He’s followed a different trajectory than I did, not better or worse, just different.

    But he said something to me this year when he graduated college that struck me. He graduated Magna Cum Laude (second-highest honors) for which the whole family was exceedingly proud of him. During graduation photos, he asked me to remind him which Honors level I’d gotten, and I answered “Summa” (highest). And he kinda snorted and said “Of course you did.”

    That was the first time it ever hit me that he might feel, or have felt, that he’s living in my shadow to some extent. That as the first-born, I set the bar for what was expected of him achievement-wise (mostly re: grades, I was almost all As and Bs and he was more Bs and Cs) and he felt he had to live up to that.

    So maybe, LW, your sister is embarrassed to be living in your shadow. Think about how you’d feel in her position – and especially how you’d feel if you knew your older sibling judged you so harshly for not living up to the same standard she set before you. Think on it.

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    • Portia

      Portia November 20, 2013, 5:07 pm

      KKZ, yes! When me and my little sister were younger, I think we fell into this same trap. My parents did the best they could to encourage us into separate areas and I think that eventually helped us out a ton and we have a great relationship today, but it wasn’t always that rosy. We also almost did the exact same thing after college (one 4 years after the other), but I did something else and I’m glad I did because she had a great opportunity without worrying about being in my shadow. It wasn’t intentional on my part, but I’m happy it worked out.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl November 20, 2013, 7:07 pm

      It is the exact opposite in my family (minus the college degree part). My oldest sibling is a financial mess and needs my Mom to bail him out whereas I, the youngest, have never borrowed any money from her.

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  • avatar

    dcchic November 20, 2013, 4:03 pm

    I completely get where the LW is coming from – it sucks that her parents are enabling her sister’s bad choices with money. She’s trying her best to be responsible and self-sufficient while her sister is digging herself into a hole that mom and dad are filling with cash. It could be a couple thousand or a couple hundred thousand, it would feel the same for her.

    It sounds like right now she needs reassurance from her parents of their love an support (“It’s no secret that they love her more than they love me”) and in my opinion, that’s ok. I would definitely suggest a therapist to help her through the process of either coming to terms with this or helping her figure out a way to talk to her parents about this, change the conversation. My family dynamic is not something I intended to address with my therapist, but it has really helped me in my interactions with my family.

    And man, some of this commenting has certainly gotten out of hand! The “I would never!”s? Replace money with something else (doesn’t need to be a physical thing); I’m sure you’ve all been jealous before.

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  • avatar

    Ammie November 20, 2013, 4:39 pm

    It’s better to be independent than dependent. It’s better to be able to support yourself than to need handouts from others. You have the better end of this deal, whether you see it or not. I’m sure your parents are proud of your self-sufficiency… and so it comes down, to me, whether I’d want their respect or their cash. I guess you have to make that decision for yourself.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray November 20, 2013, 5:20 pm

    I haven’t read any of the comments yet, but I found this letter really whiny. LW, life is not fair. Get over that now, seriously. You make assumptions about the relationship your sister has with your parents, but the truth is you don’t know everything. You just don’t. You have a relationship with your sister, and one with your parents, and as much as you may know things, you don’t know the ins and outs of that relationship.

    I say this having been on the receiving end of a huge settlement of money from my parents. It’s a long, complicated story, but the gist is that I had a trial going on against my parents and my brother for severe abuse/neglect and my lawyers didn’t think there was enough to convict them and to spare me the pain of a trial, they convinced me to agree to a settlement with my parents out of court. I never thought I was owed anything, never would have asked for money. I got money to pay for all my college. I was very young at the time, and if this happened now, I would have walked away from the money too. I won’t lie, of course the money helped me out significantly. My brother had no idea why I was given so much by my parents and complained about them giving me unfair treatment. He had no idea why that was done/or in denial, but frankly, it was none of his business. Things aren’t always fair. People have tried to make me feel guilty for accepting money in that situation, but it’s really no one else’s business what happened.

    I’m not suggesting that this has anything to do with abuse or something similar to my case, but my point is that you really don’t know the whole story. I can’t really comment on whether your situation is “fair” with your parents helping out your sister. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Whining about it and feeling like your owed something from anyone is not going to help you though. This could be a matter of you not asking when you need help. And maybe you don’t want to ask, and that’s fine too. But I don’t think it’s fair of you to complain about something you didn’t ask for or bring up. It doesn’t sound like you want money from your parents or financial help, but that you want *something*. I think that’s a dangerous line of thinking. I would think about *why* you feel you are owed something from your parents? And what *do* you want to make things “fair”? You have your life together, and that’s great, but it seems like you want a blue ribbon for doing everything on your own, and you want acknowledgement of having your shit together. But you don’t really need that outside recognition from your parents. And if you want something, ask for it. Maybe, maybe bring this up with your parents privately, but do not start a family fight about this. It doesn’t seem worth it.

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    Ele4phant November 20, 2013, 7:08 pm

    I think you are completely justified in how you are feeling, particularly if this is one in a lifetime of times your parents have given your sister different or preferential treatment. My family dynamic is similar (although immediately less extreme) and it hurts.

    Now that being said, it will help you feel better to remember what other commenters and wendy have already said, fair isn’t necessarily equal, money doesn’t equal love, and your parents can spend their money however they want.

    Ask your parents for what you need. If what hurts is the emotional stuff, open up to your parents about how you feel you get the short end of the emotional stick. They may have no idea you felt that way. If it’s about you needing financial help, then ask. Nothing will change for the better if you don’t ask.

    And on another note, have you thought about things from your sisters perspective? My younger brother is kind of like your sister in that it has taken him a long time to get it together, and my parents have really given him a lot of support, financially and otherwise. Like you, I came to resent that. During a heart to heart with him a long time ago, he told me he felt like *i* was the favorite because I was the golden child, while he needed constant bailing out. Knowing that has really helped our relationship, and helped our relationships with our parents. They don’t love one or the other of us more, they just love us differently, because we are different.

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    marynn November 20, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Well, I have definitely been in the same situation with me and my sister, only we are a bit younger. We still both live at home, but she is always asking for more money, more stuff, more everything. They bought her a freaking piano she played for maybe a month and is now just taking up space in her room.
    Much like the LW, I feel uncomfortable asking my parents for money, also because I’m the older one. But I have come to realize, that even when she gets the stuff she asks for, my sister is not happy. I eventually realized I resented not because she gets more stuff, but because she asks for more and doesn’t feel guilty about it, and I just can’t bring myself to do that. I would not like for my parents to pay for more than what they already do.

    I think that if it’s for something you really want/need, you can ask them. But not in a “you gave her x amount of money so I want the same” way, just say you could use their help or something. I think, also, in these situations, the best is to look within yourself and find out why this bothers you so much.

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    Milla November 20, 2013, 11:48 pm

    If I’m going to read this generously, I’m going to say that the money here is being used as shorthand for the love, for reasons that people have already mentioned (money being a tangible expression of love, etc.), and I’d venture to say that if the LW was getting the emotional support from her folks she wouldn’t worry so much about things being equitable. My folks are very supportive of me, and will still buy me lunch when we meet up, or bring me a candy bar— just little things that are part of their way of showing that they love me. Amusingly enough, now that I’ve gotten older, sometimes I buy or bake them treats, so we end up passing things back and forth.

    My folks give far more money to my youngest brother, who is a T1 diabetic and needs the help while he’s in school. I’m delighted that they can help him out— he’s a good kid, and I don’t sit around stewing that they pay his rent while he’s in college while I have always paid my own (my parents are ridiculously generous with their kids, and I am so, so grateful that they are). I didn’t need the help, and I don’t care two pence that it’s not “equitable.” But if I need help on a job application, my mom is there to advise. Or my dad brings me chamomile tea when he knows I’m in a rough patch with grad school. I suspect if the LW had more support period, she would worry far less about the money.

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    Sunnybohemia November 29, 2013, 8:26 am

    Can you guys please help me out? I’m in the same situation as the LW except my younger, favorite (of the two adult kids my parents have) is NOT in need financially, has a great job, successful husband, is living in huge home #2 that my parents helped them buy), and is pushing my dad to buy her and hubby a second (vacation) home and he’s actually considering it!! Whereas I am unemployed after losing a long career but looking hard for a job, taking grad courses that I pay for (they also paid for her phd), and live in a one bedroom rental and never ask for or get $ help. Parents just sold their ny home and my sis literally just took what she wanted from the house (had it all sent to her in FL without telling me she was going to.) and my dads valuable collections too. So what do I do? I hurt!

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    BrightSunshinyDay May 5, 2014, 7:58 pm

    Seems siblings who do the “needy for $ help” ploy to parents (whether they truly need help or not) and actually get the $ help, can be viewed as taking away from other siblings, who worked very hard, with diligence, rendering the responsible siblings double punished. For those who had ‘a hard time’ and beg to parents/family/friends/etc , just ponder how hard it is it is to be responsible, and then to see people get handouts. Being equal is the only fair way.

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    Dawn Harris June 19, 2014, 1:03 pm

    My dh and I have a severely disabled adult child and about 15 years ago had to declare bankruptcy due to all the money we owed for our child’s medical expenses that our insurance didn’t pay for. We were too poor to pay the medical bills, but too “rich” to get any help from social services of social security. My in-laws KNEW we were in dire straits financially, but only ever offered to give us money for food. Even when our child needed a wheelchair we couldn’t afford the co-pay on it, so my parents – who were living on a fixed income – gave us the money. My in-laws, at the time, had a healthy savings and were both still working. Fast forward to 5 years ago when father-in-law is retired, most of their savings is wiped out by the bad economy, and dh’s youngest – and the favorite son – decides he’s quitting his job and going to cooking school. He’s married, has a child, and is living in his in-laws’ basement. Rather than going to his very wealthy in-laws for the money, he goes to his parents. And they GIVE him $55,000 of what little retirement savings they have left to go to school – and he hasn’t paid back one penny to them even though he promised he would and he’s been out of school for 2 years. It gets better because his air-headed, lazy wife decided that she didn’t want to work anymore so she gets pregnant thinking BIL will go along with her staying home. Mind you he’s in school an NOT working at all. Baby is born but BIL says she has to continue working because she’s the only one with health insurance for them. What does she do? Gets pregnant again just 3 months after having the other baby. Now BIL has no choice but to go along with her quitting work because what she makes won’t even cover daycare for 2 kids. And the in-laws are now not only paying for clothes and other needs of these two toddlers, BIL and wife are having serious marital problems so BIL comes out every weekend to his parents’ house with the toddlers, leaves them with his parents, then “disappears” until Sunday afternoon when he picks the kids up. His mother, btw, doesn’t believe he’s cheating on his wife and spending the weekends with his girlfriend while she watches his kids. But, my MIL is in heaven because she’s getting to be “mommy” again. My in-laws still don’t do anything to help us out or even offer to help with our disabled child, they can’t even call or come to visit us! It’s been 5 years since they’ve been to our home even though they are only 30 mins. from us and before BIL was going to their house for weekends, they passed by numerous exits to our house going to visit the favorite son and the favorite grandchildren and NEVER stopped to see us in the 4 years they were doing this! The ONLY time we hear from my in-laws is when they want us to do something for them and they NEVER even ask how our child is doing – it’s like she doesn’t exist to them. I’ve already told dh not to expect that I’m taking care of either of his parents, they can go live with the favorite son.

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      OhWell October 13, 2014, 2:25 am

      Wow, that really sucks.

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    howdywiley June 24, 2014, 10:39 pm

    When it comes down to it, LW, what your parents do with their money is none of your business.

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    Lynnie July 6, 2014, 6:53 pm

    I’m surprised at how many people there are who are NOT on the side of the author. I agree that depending on each situation, a parent may have to help a child more than another. However, her parents are buying her a house? That is a huge deal. Why can’t they just help her with some furniture for an apartment? I think the parents are enablers. I guess I just understand how the author feels, as I experience this on both sides of my family. My mom has bailed my brother out of debt several times and he continues to ask her for money. I told my mother I don’t want to know about it anymore. My sister in law and her husband are very similar to those in the original posting….always complaining about money, but having child after child. My mother in law and father in law helped them with the house, baby-sit constantly and pay some of their bills (I know this because they told me and husband). Now, while I like the fact that my husband and I are independent and responsible, I also don’t like to hear comments like “I hope you never need help, because I don’t know if I can afford it”. It also bothers me to see people getting taken advantage of….I mean, doesn’t anyone want to see their parents be able to retire? After a while, it does make a person feel a little resentful when there is such disparities. I think it’s wonderful that a parent is able to help and wants to help, but parents also need to save for their retirement and ensure they aren’t enabling.

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    helena July 9, 2014, 9:41 pm

    I just read your post and so empathize with how you are feeling. I’ve had similar issues with my brother. Your parents seem to be catering to your sister out of a need they have to feel needed, important or liked, but it isn’t out of love. If they really loved her they would focus more on showing her how to be financially independent. By just dishing out money to her they are only making her dependency worse…its like giving a drug addict more drugs…..unless your sister learns to be financially responsible she will ALWAYS have a money issue. Throwing money at the problem only makes the problem worse. And what happens when your parents are no longer here? Have they thought of that??

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    OhWell October 13, 2014, 2:21 am

    I can beat that. My parents give my sister money and spend holidays with her instead of me. Even if money doesn’t equal love, does time equal love?

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    Anonymous June 3, 2017, 9:45 am

    When the irresponsible sister asks for money, the parents need to reply “sink or swim.” She will never learn how to handle money until she actually starts trying. My parents do the same with my sister. In fact my retired Dad put her on his checking account! It is so inequitable. She is stealing from him and could care less that using up all his funds means that he has none left for the rest of her siblings, nieces, and nephews. It’s all about her and her family only. Unfortunately my parents let her get away with it because she tells them a sob story. The absolute worst part is that my Dad left no survivor benefit for my Mom so he needs to be putting money aside in case he dies first. Instead my sister eats up his retirement check every month.

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      Ron June 3, 2017, 9:33 pm

      Obviously your parents love the sob story and enjoy the sense that they are saving your sister. It gives their lives purpose. Many parents can’t stand it when their children become independent, self-supporting adults, who may still love them enormously, but no longer need them. Many parents dread the day when their children will have to take responsibility for them in their declining years and see the opportunity to help a still struggling adult child as staving off that day.

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