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Friend’s Constant Need For Help/support

Discussion in 'Friends & Neighbours' started by ATI, Oct 10, 2020.

  1. ATI

    ATI Silver IL'ite

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    I have a friend who is always in crisis. Every month 2-3 terrible things happen to her. I am not exaggerating .... she is in a bad marriage , primary bread winner, her ILs are terrible and dependent on her, she has health issues, was in a car accident, her parents had health issues and recently passed away etc. She makes things worse by constantly eating junk food (emotional eating) , not exercising, believing every guy that talks to her is in love with her, taking vacations without her family (several times a year she goes on trips with her girlfriends and expects others to help her husband watch her kids) etc etc.

    I have been trying to be as supportive as possible - taking her out for dinners so she can get girl time, taking her kids during the weekends so she can work or rest , making my H talk to her H when they have a big fight . Recently I feel like she is taking me for granted. She is assuming that I will take care of her kids every weekend. She will message me and ask if I want to take her kids on Saturday or Sunday. I have tried to make up stories like we have plans and she will immediately tell me about the latest crisis in her life, start crying and asking me to help . Like she has a project due on Monday, her boss is going to fire her, her ILs won’t watch the kids and her husband has gone to a meditation camp that weekend!!! So then I am forced to take her kids. Frankly i am ok with it - I feel bad for her and the kids. She is in a bad place taking care of everyone and I think she wants someone to take care of her and that someone is now me. But my H is mad about it. I don’t blame him. Her kids are a bit wild and they break things, they shout and scream, still have potty accidents (5&6 years old), they lie a lot ( I think the toxic atmosphere at their home is hurting the kids).
    To give you some example
    - One time their 5 year old son opened the freezer , took out the ice cream, and the left everything open and outside. When I came down everything in the freezer was melted and running on the floor . I asked who had done it and all the kids said it wasn’t them. Then I calmly explained that I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t going to tell on them but I expect the person who made the mess to help me clean it up. Immediately this kid said he did it and asked me to promise I won’t tell his mom and dad because they would be mad and yell at him. I felt so bad for the kid :-(

    - Last weekend they broke our music system . I actually saw the boy drop it, then kick the pieces under the couch and walk away. When I asked him what happened he swore he didn’t do it. I told my friend and she didn’t care much - just oh no sorry about that . It’s an expensive music system and I told her it cost $$ and she didn’t offer to pay to replace it or fix it or anything. It still works but the cover has shattered and the front of it falls off so I had to tape it. She always tells me she doesn’t have enough $$ because her husband doesn’t have a steady job.

    My DH has told me he is done with it and I need to cut back on helping her. Part of my is annoyed because DH doesn’t do anything when they are here - I am the one who entertains them, feeds them etc. but part of me understands that Dh feels like we don’t get family time on the weekends anymore. Also, our kids are really good friends with her kids so they will feel bad if I cut ties completely, I am not sure what to do. She just messaged that she is going on a weekend trip and can I take care of her kids Saturday and Sunday (with over night stay at our place). I don’t know what to say. If I say no she will call and cry . I know she is having a bad fight with her husband so this trip is likely a way for them to patch up. Her ILs live with her so they have no privacy in their house to patch up. But her ILs won’t help with the kids. She has gone to the point of divorce once already so I feel like I should help but there is no way my husband will be ok with it.
    Any ideas? I have tried explaining to my H and he says everyone has their problems and she should just deal with it.
     
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  2. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    You can ask her to hire nanny instead!
    Tell that you are also very busy with life and have your own share to deal with life.

    You can’t expect your DH to help your friend’s family always. There is nothing wrong with what your DH is saying.

    Genuinely speaking if she goes on trips every weekend, there are chances that she might catch Covid and also pass on to her kids and in turn your family too!! You can give this reason and also tell your DH is very much concerned about Covid and wants to avoid contact with others.

    When she has so much money to go on trips every weekends and long trips with girlfriends, I think she would be capable enough to hire nanny on weekends.
    Or instead she can also take her kids to trip on weekends.

    She knows that you will help her no matter what so she is over-utilising you and taking you for granted.

    Moreover, it’s her responsibility to take care of her kids not yours.
    She can’t just leave her kids at your home every weekend.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
    joylokhi, meepre and MalStrom like this.
  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    “No” is a complete sentence.
    Your friend frankly sounds like a user. Just firmly decline next time she asks you to take her kids. You don’t need to justify or make excuses. Simply say that you’re sorry but it won’t work for you.
    What you’re doing is not fair to your family. Why should your husband have to sacrifice his weekends taking care of your friend’s kids? Do this a couple of times and see if she still remains as friendly with you. My guess is she’ll move on to the next person.
    If she can afford to take that many vacations then she can afford to hire help.
     
    joylokhi, SunPa, meepre and 3 others like this.
  4. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    You seem to be located in the United States. Firing an employee is not easy. For a missed Monday deadline, definitely not.

    You make it sound like divorce is something to be avoided at all costs. Getting fired or going through a divorce etc. are part of life. Friends help with getting through these phases. It is not a friend's job to prevent things like divorce or a job loss.

    Like MalStrom said, "No" is a complete sentence. Help her with some time on the phone and some money if ever that is needed. Your weekends, your family's peace and your relationship with your husband are non-replenish-able commodities too precious to be squandered on people like her.

    Nothing dire will happen. If she loses her job, she would have lost that anyway with or without your babysitting help. If they divorce, it might be better for all. If you lose her friendship, it will be good-riddance. If your kids stop being friends with her kids (very low probability), they will get over it. It will prepare them for many such separations coming up in life. Start saying No, start cutting down on the reasons. She will get used to the new you. Try it. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly humans adjust and adapt to changed conditions. Chances are she will even come to grudgingly respecting you for asserting yourself.
     
    joylokhi, Thyagarajan and MalStrom like this.
  5. ATI

    ATI Silver IL'ite

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    I would do what you all suggesting if I believed she is using me. She is really in an abusive relationship. I have known her for a long time (interestingly she was friends with my husband before she became my friend , so it’s not like I am asking H to help with my friend. I met her after my marriage). She wasn’t always like this. But the last 5 years of marriage have been hard for her and I can’t bring myself to ditch her when she needs help.

    To give you an example - one time my friend was in the hospital and I drove her MIL over to visit her. During the drive the MIL tells me “ I hope she has her life insurance paid up otherwise we will be in trouble. She is very irresponsible”... this is the person she lives with everyday. She pays for all her ILs needs . They moved here 5 years ago after her FILs last business went under and they had to sell everything to pay his loans. And still they say such horrible things about her.

    If she were posting on this forum we would all tell her to divorce and move on. But she has no other family. Her parents are dead and she has no siblings. Her relatives are all in another country and she is not close to them. She is truly alone in many ways . What’s the point of a friend who will ditch you when things are hard ?

    so this weekend trip is funded by her husband... apparently they had a fight 2 weeks ago because of his job situation (he wants to quit his job because there is too much stress and he doesn’t have another job lined up. Last time this happened he was unemployed for 2+ years) So last weekend he asked her to go for dinner and she thought he was trying to patch up . She left the kids at my place and went. Afterwards she told me that her husband took her to some restaurant she doesn’t really like , he ate very little, let her eat her dinner, packed his dinner, got take out for his parents, came home and had his dinner with his parents. Her FIL asked them why it had taken so long to go pick up their dinner. That’s when my friend realized that her husband never meant to take her to dinner - he was going to get food for his parents and just asked her to drive him there. She came to my house and was crying all evening. After that she decided to separate from her husband and when she told him that, he asked her to go with him on this trip to work things out. They live in a 3 bedroom apartment with her in laws. There is 0 privacy. Her ILs fully support their son’s desire to quit his job because they want him to pursue his dreams. They say he can’t be successful if he can’t do what he truly wants to etc. It’s absolute nonsense. How can I say no to watching the kids under these circumstances?

    They can’t have a nanny because her in laws are there and they are scared about COVID. She knows we are super careful and her kids are the only friends my kids interact with. She also says she doesn’t want to ask anyone else to watch her kids because then they can’t visit us . Things weren’t so bad before Covid - she had other friends who could help with her kids so it wasn’t always on us. And they had a nanny but they had to let the nanny go because of Covid.

    Many of you ask why she is going on trips with her girlfriends etc - this I agree with. She is a bit self destructive - eg: she has diabetes but she will sneakily try to eat sweets. She has very little money but she will go on a trip to Vegas. She says if I don’t spend the money my husband will. So I might as well have some fun too. I think she is very depressed and this is her way of escaping from her problems. She has 0 support at home


    I keep telling my husband this is short term. But if covid goes in for another year I don’t think we can do this
     
  6. ATI

    ATI Silver IL'ite

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    @rihanna - the job fear is because her company is downsizing and she isn’t performing at her best working from home with kids around. I totally understand because I have the same problem. But my job is more secure than hers right now. Also she is the primary bread winner in her home so it will be very hard if she is fired

    i do think she should leave him but she is scared. She is not an independent person. I feel a bit guilty advising divorce though so I am keeping quiet. I feel it’s not my place. She asks me all the times if she should leave him. I can’t help her make that call. She says she has no one to talk to. Etc . I advised her to go for a counselor and she was doing that for sometime and then stopped because she said it didn’t help
     
  7. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    You can't.

    We can't help you unless you want to help yourself.

    When you really want to say No to your friend, you will find the reason and the strength to do so.
     
    joylokhi and MalStrom like this.
  8. DDream

    DDream Finest Post Winner

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    You can't live her life. She has to find ways to face issues in her life. Its her responsibility. If its abusive marriage she can try separation with joint custody, so that her spouse can watch them,when she is away.
    I agree with others. You have to learn to say No. Stick with it and be firm. See how it goes. Feeling sorry for her. Why those grand parents can't take care of their grandchildren. What will happen if she leave her kids with grand parents.

    I agree with your husband. Dont spoil your own life. You should support your friend. But babysitting her kids every weekends is not a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
    joylokhi and shravs3 like this.
  9. ProudIndian

    ProudIndian Gold IL'ite

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    Op

    I must admire you to give support to your friend in need. This world need more people like u. It’s sad she is not independent and strong to tell her in laws and husband. She should put her foot down and tell husband and in laws if they don’t take care of kids she is going to loose job.
     
    Hopikrishnan likes this.
  10. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    This is quite foolish in my opinion. Rather she can invest in something useful without his knowledge.

    Only you can decide whether your DH and your kids are important over friends family.
    Later your relationship with your DH might get affected if the same thing keeps happening.

    When he himself is not much worried about his own friend and giving importance to his own life and family then it’s upto you to decide whether to help or not.
     
    joylokhi likes this.

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