Daughters who feel like they’re the ATMs of their families
I’m 49 years old, single, and I own a profitable business—but I’m not happy. Being the eldest, I became the breadwinner for my six siblings when my father died and my mentally ill mother was confined in a hospital.
I was an OFW for 15 years. I supported my siblings through school; four became professionals who now have good jobs. But the other two didn’t do well. One brother is an unemployed alcoholic and the youngest sister is always “barefoot and pregnant.” She has five children and is pregnant again, while her husband is unemployed due to a bad heart condition.
She relies on me for everything—kids’ education, her husband’s hospitalization, etc. Now, my alcoholic brother has to go to rehab as well.
I never had a real relationship and rarely dated. I’m tired of being the ATM of my family. I want to enjoy my life, get married and have a child. Don’t I have the right to be happy?
—THE UNSELFISH SISTER
Can’t ask your other siblings to share your financial burden?
What’s with this unemployed brother-in-law and his bad heart? Strong enough to make babies, but not strong enough to look for work and support his family? There are jobs that don’t entail heavy lifting or running miles on foot, just his brain. Does he ever complain about the work involved in chewing his food?
Then this alcoholic brother and rehab—that’s like throwing good money after bad. If he can’t turn his life around without expensive help, what makes you think rehab would do it for him?
Yes, you’re primed to enjoy life—now. You’ve fed them and schooled them, so enough already! Time to cut the umbilical cord from these parasites. The time for coddling has lapsed—though not soon enough to reclaim your lost youth!
I’m a 35-year-old married woman with four children. I have a stable job and a loving husband. Out of the blue, my French father—who abandoned my mother and me 20 years ago when I was only 10 years old—called me to ask for money. He is sick, he said, and has a problem with his liver.
He was abusive toward my mother, who died of cancer after he abandoned us. I was raised by my mom’s relatives, who gave me a good life.
I told him I need to take care of my family first. A few days later, someone claiming to be his wife texted me. She accused me of being selfish for not helping my father. Really? He left us 20 years ago and now he wants me to give him money? I’m not an ATM and don’t have money to spare.
My heart wants to help him, though I’m still angry with him for what he did to us.
He may have been vile, but your shared blood ties is tugging at your heartstrings to help him. While your anger makes you want to slam the door to his face, regretfully he is half of what you are.
Let a little kindness seep through without it leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Otherwise, guilt might consume you at how you turned your back on a drowning man without even offering a stick to help him.
Afterward, quietly close your mind to everything about him and banish him again to oblivion. Like you’ve done the last 20 years?
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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