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S/O Money thread: Parents who resent their adult children's financial success?


Aelwydd
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Ok, I have asked this question in private conversations before, in a slightly different form. But, why do some parents seem to want their kids to struggle and/or do the same as, or worse financially, educationally, etc. than themselves? I have had extended relatives, and a few friends, who had one or more parents who seemed to resent their adult kids doing better than themselves, and in one case, when the child has had some serious financial woes, even gloated about it. Mind = boggled.

 

That other thread had a few posters who mentioned, not quite that level of...I guess, competition? Is that the word? Anyway, not quite the level of competitiveness with their adult kids, but they shared how parental disappointment was expressed when they, for whatever reason, had an easier time of it than their parents.

 

This, I do not understand! I hope my son has a way better financial future (and emotional, and educational, and every other category) than his dad or me. Not that I think we have it so awful; but, I guess I see it as a measure of our success in raising him if he is able to do well by himself. Right?

 

Am I missing something? Do others have insight, or recognize what I'm talking about here? This is NOT a rant or JAWM. If others disagree or have other interpretations of this behavior, please share. Thanks!

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My dad is a little like this. I think it's because he feels guilty about the stress we went through as children in pretty deep poverty. While I fully get the implications and limited choices of generational poverty (my mom's side of the family) and such, my father isn't from generational poverty and we were, at least sometimes, mainly in poverty due to a series of ongoing, very selfish, decisions he made paired with his truly awful money management skills. He criticizes my younger brother's and my career choices and such because I think he realizes that he didn't make the choices that were in the best interest of having a family/raising children.

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My mother takes this attitude with my brother and I. I married young, and was a SAHM for most of our marriage. I have my own business now, and dh has always done well financially, so we're comfortable.

 

She's dirt poor and has always been poor. She's always complained to me that I'm wasting my life and downplays any financial success I have. But my brother, who is poor, works and works at a retail job and can just barely afford to cover his rent/bills is constantly praised for being such a hard worker.

 

I don't understand it. Part of me thinks it's a jealousy issue. I know that for me, I'd be thrilled for my children to be financially successful.

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I can't say that I have seen parents resenting their children's financial success but I have seen:

 

1)  Parents who are concerned that their children's lifestyle is beyond what they can truly afford--that the fancy new car is coming at the expense of not saving for retirement, etc.

 

2)  Parents who are disappointed that their children's values are different from theirs--perhaps child moved away from family for financial success, children chose for both parents to work and parents think mom should stay home, etc.

 

 

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I have not seen this.

 

What I have seen is parents who want their kids to have the experience of having to work to get what they want / need.  I am in this camp.  Others may disagree, but I feel that if things are too easy while they are teens / young adults, they may not be ready to rise to the occasion when they really need to work or fight for something.

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Funny this topic should come up.  My mother, who moved in with us, who pays a very small amount toward "room and board", who had just gone to a baseball game with us on our dime because she would not have been able to pay for it, called me stingy the other day.  I have asked her several times what she meant by that, and she can't (or won't) elaborate on it.

 

I think she's embarrassed by her own financial situation.  I think she sees anyone making more money than her as "goody-goody rich people" (meaning anyone making a living wage).  I think she doesn't know the difference between being responsible with money and being not generous with money.  She has never lived as an adult in a financially stable household, and after thirty years of wondering if your utilities will get shut off every month, it is hard to get out of that mindset and not see others without those concerns as "acting above you".

 

Maybe those are some of the reasons other parents act like that, too.  Or maybe it's just how it happens here.

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I do get some guff for working "too hard."  It has quieted down after I made some sort of comment like "obviously I weigh the pros and cons and decide each day that this is what I am going to do.  As long as it is my own choice, I am happy."

 

Some people might have thought my kids would be messed up if I worked "so hard," but now it is apparent they are not.

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My mom was a little like this about education. Make no mistake, she wanted me to go to college and she was mostly very encouraging. But she'd dropped out of school in the 6th grade to work. There were some times when she made some remarks about how lucky I was to not have had to do that. Looking back on it, I think she felt ashamed or awkward when we passed her education wise. She was a brilliant woman in a set of extreme circumstances and truly was battered by her situation.

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I haven't run into this, although of course I do know lots of people who hope their children grow up appreciating the simple things in life, and learn to draw their deepest happiness from things other than material -- I am one of them!  But, I suppose that's not really the same thing.  I would never resent my children for having a financial success greater than our own;  it's to everyone's benefit, as far as I'm concerned!  :)

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I can't say that I have seen parents resenting their children's financial success but I have seen:

 

1)  Parents who are concerned that their children's lifestyle is beyond what they can truly afford--that the fancy new car is coming at the expense of not saving for retirement, etc.

 

2)  Parents who are disappointed that their children's values are different from theirs--perhaps child moved away from family for financial success, children chose for both parents to work and parents think mom should stay home, etc.

 

I know what you are talking about, and while it's maybe related sometimes, it's not exactly what I'm talking about.  In my circles, it's been expressed as, "Yeah, you only had this success because you had x, y, z going for you. You should have had to deal with what I did."   That sort of thing.  It's definitely resentment, but in the cases of my extended relatives, it's not due to anything like abandoning family values, or whatnot.

 

I have a niece whose parents are discouraging her from applying to a nearby private university (there's really no public schools nearby to her), but it's not out of resentment, so much as, "we can't afford that option."  I'm actually working to help her through the process, because she has taken the initiative to do dual enrollment through her high school, and is getting top grades.  She is smart and works hard. I'm fairly certain she would have some good financial aid options available, should she apply to that or a few other schools (also private). But, again, it's not that her parents don't want her to succeed; they just really don't know the process, not having gone to college themselves, and they feel it's not a priority necessarily for her to go. 

 

The stuff that totally makes me have facial tics is the former situation, where the kid is doing well, not breaking any laws or doing anything immoral, and just happens to have some better opportunities and results. But the parent is angry it happened that way; like, "Life is for suffering! You haven't suffered enough!"

 

Maybe they are angry they didn't get the same breaks in life? Who knows?

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My sister is a bit like this with her dd, whose husband is an anesthesiologist and makes a lot of money. My sister worked hard for a long time, and so did her husband, only to have him get offered "early retirement" and make quite a mess of her financial plans for her at present and future. She doesn't struggle, as in she gets what she wants, but has to pinch to get it. I think it's hard for her to accept that her dd will never have to do the same.

 

One of my sons-in-law makes a very nice living. It isn't more than we make, but it's more than a lot of people in our area make. I am so happy for my dd that she has a husband who can provide a nice home, and is financially responsible and secure.

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My mom was a little like this about education. Make no mistake, she wanted me to go to college and she was mostly very encouraging. But she'd dropped out of school in the 6th grade to work. There were some times when she made some remarks about how lucky I was to not have had to do that. Looking back on it, I think she felt ashamed or awkward when we passed her education wise. She was a brilliant woman in a set of extreme circumstances and truly was battered by her situation.

 

That's a good point. Insecurity may be fueling some of the negativity I've seen.

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My parents always seem to think I make a lot more money than I do.  They actually think that of most of their kids.  In some way, I think that they think our "successes" somehow reflect positively on them, and no matter what we're doing, they always make up stories to make it seem even better.  It KILLS her that I won't just tell her my salary.  She tried to figure it out by asking my tax bracket.  I wouldn't play.  She also guessed an amount once and it was literally double my salary, but I would neither confirm nor deny, which frustrated her even more!  

 

On the other hand, my mother flat out told me that she thinks everything has come easy to me, specifically, as if I've never had to work hard for anything, and I do feel like she's a bit resentful.  Except...ummm....come again, mom?  That's completely and utterly delusional.  

 

Also, she is a total champion of my brother, who can't keep a job to save his life, or really any of her kids she thinks is somehow an "underdog".  I'm not quite sure how she makes those assessments.  Does she have a formula she's come up with in her head?  I don't know.  It's weird, though.  It's like she wants us to do well financially, but when we do (or, she gets it in her head that we do)  it's somehow only because everything has always come easy to us?  I find it bizarre.

 

 

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I know what you are talking about, and while it's maybe related sometimes, it's not exactly what I'm talking about.  In my circles, it's been expressed as, "Yeah, you only had this success because you had x, y, z going for you. You should have had to deal with what I did."   That sort of thing.  It's definitely resentment, but in the cases of my extended relatives, it's not due to anything like abandoning family values, or whatnot.

 

 

I have heard comments like that come up when the offspring is getting too big for his britches, perhaps doing a little too much "I'm so awesome" and needing to be brought down a peg.  A reminder that there were factors other than brilliance behind the individual's relative success.

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My parents always seem to think I make a lot more money than I do.  They actually think that of most of their kids.  In some way, I think that they think our "successes" somehow reflect positively on them, and no matter what we're doing, they always make up stories to make it seem even better.  It KILLS her that I won't just tell her my salary.  She tried to figure it out by asking my tax bracket.  I wouldn't play.  She also guessed an amount once and it was literally double my salary, but I would neither confirm nor deny, which frustrated her even more!  

 

On the other hand, my mother flat out told me that she thinks everything has come easy to me, specifically, as if I've never had to work hard for anything, and I do feel like she's a bit resentful.  Except...ummm....come again, mom?  That's completely and utterly delusional.  

 

Also, she is a total champion of my brother, who can't keep a job to save his life, or really any of her kids she thinks is somehow an "underdog".  I'm not quite sure how she makes those assessments.  Does she have a formula she's come up with in her head?  I don't know.  It's weird, though.  It's like she wants us to do well financially, but when we do (or, she gets it in her head that we do)  it's somehow only because everything has always come easy to us?  I find it bizarre.

 

What is it with brothers?  Seriously.  I think sometimes my mom plays up how "well" my brother is doing to convince herself he's doing okay.  Resentment (or shame or whatever) that I'm doing well, and guilt over the 22yo that had to be taught just last weekend how to do his own laundry, at my house since he still can't afford a laundromat.  Must be difficult to keep all those emotions straight.

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This is not an attitude I've seen personally, though I can see how it happens.  Most of the parents I've known hope that their kids do exceedingly well, and when they do - it's taken as a result of "good parenting" so it's a reason to feel proud.

 

 

 

My mother takes this attitude with my brother and I. I married young, and was a SAHM for most of our marriage. I have my own business now, and dh has always done well financially, so we're comfortable.

 

She's dirt poor and has always been poor. She's always complained to me that I'm wasting my life and downplays any financial success I have. But my brother, who is poor, works and works at a retail job and can just barely afford to cover his rent/bills is constantly praised for being such a hard worker.

 

I don't understand it. Part of me thinks it's a jealousy issue. I know that for me, I'd be thrilled for my children to be financially successful.

 

:seeya: I support your business! And I'm happy that the tiny bit I've paid toward curriculum might contribute in some small way to your life.  You certainly made mine easier by planning out our 5th grade year.  So this is just a tiny, off topic thank you!  

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I have heard comments like that come up when the offspring is getting too big for his britches, perhaps doing a little too much "I'm so awesome" and needing to be brought down a peg.  A reminder that there were factors other than brilliance behind the individual's relative success.

 

I guess that could be so if the adult child in question was bragging or arrogant about success. In the case of my relatives, the kids work way harder than the parents ever did. In fact, the parents are on disability, live with the mom's elderly mother, and in my opinion, are totally leeching off that woman.  Their ds, in particular, has worked since he was 15 years old, and is a manager in a bank.  He couldn't go to college, because he had to work full time.  It's not like he has this huge educational pedestal to look down on, and he's frankly, very unassuming and bragging is not something he does.  It's just his parents resent the hell out of him having a nice house and able to take vacation once a year or so.  His wife is a degreed professional, and is very gracious. They have struggled with infertility and miscarriages for years.  At family gatherings, his parents will talk about how he was just given all these opportunities (not true, he worked his way up), and how it's only because his wife props him up financially (they have both been prepared for her to quit her job when and if she ever has a successful pregnancy).

 

IMO, it's just really horrible of them to say that stuff.  I wish I could say they are the only example I have seen of this, but they're not.  I hope this maybe clarifies what I'm talking about? I can understand if the adult child were gloating or rubbing their success in the parents' face.  But this is something else; the parents act like they want the child to fail.  And I don't get that.

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My mother always said that each generation should be better than the one before it---and she means that not just in monetary ways. She is very pleased with the ways I've "improved" (or should I say "that she has improved me") on her and my grandma and fully expects I'll pass those things onto my children and more so.

 

I have had a discussion with MIL where I expressed a desire that my children have an "easy life." She very much reacted in the tone of wanting her kids to have challenges to develop "Christian character," etc. Guess I've just seems enough to know that opportunities to polish our character will arrive whether we have hardships or not, and I'd just as soon my kids not have to scratch and scrape and not have terrible trials in their lives. But, just the beginning of our philosophical differences. ;-)

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It kind of reminds me of that kid on every sports team (at least when I played) who wasn't that good, and just gloated every time a far better athlete made a mistake.  And if the player didn't make a mistake, he would invent them just to feel like he was just as talented.

 

Or maybe that's a bad analogy.  It's been a long day.

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I've never personally seen this but to some degree I can understand it. I would never feel that way though, I hope my children do not struggle financially and are blessed with stability. DH and I are both better off then our parents were, although we are by no means rich (or even upper middle class). I think both of our parents (especially mine) are glad we do not struggle in this area.

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I've never personally seen this but to some degree I can understand it. I would never feel that way though, I hope my children do not struggle financially and are blessed with stability. DH and I are both better off then our parents were, although we are by no means rich (or even upper middle class). I think both of our parents (especially mine) are glad we do not struggle in this area.

 

I should probably expect that this is a mostly foreign concept on a board of people who are devoted to giving their children the best possible education. :tongue_smilie:

 

We're not rich at all, we're solidly middle class. But, we also have a lot of college loan and medical debt that we're paying off.  We only have one car, and one kid, and one dog. ;) 

 

By dh's and my age, both sets of our parents owned a home.  We have never owned a home. So, you could argue we're worse off than they were. But, our parents are always encouraging us and telling us they are proud of our accomplishments.

 

And our son has told us repeatedly that when he makes the NHL, and is a famous goaltender, I can quit my job and dh and I can just travel around to see him play.  I have not said anything to discourage this. :smilielol5:

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My MIL resented my husband and his work and accomplishments.  She didn't talk to him for three days even though we were staying at the inlaws house when he told them he had joined the USAF.  She didn't like me because she thought I was the wrong class to marry her son (I didn't come from blue collar background although when I met my dh, my mom was a widow and not making much money).  My dh used his family as the anti-example of how he wanted his family to be and he thought that some of my family's values-experiences over material things- parents voluntarily spending time with children-- providing enriching activities for the kids- and more were what he wanted for his future family.  He really realized how odd his family was just this last year at his father's funeral.  He met his cousins at the service and we all had good conversations with them.  They all have joined the modern times while his remaining brothers are still back in the last century.  My MIL had a personality disorder, I am fairly sure, and my FIL was an unmedicated ADHDer who spent the kids growing up years working two full time jobs and spent his one day off drinking with his buddies.  The two of them decided (probably unspoken) that they had messed up raising kids and became very passive with regards to what the older brothers did (my dh was the youngest).  While one spent the rest of his life in a home after attempting suicide, the two others just lived with the parents until they both died.  The MIL did 18 years ago and FIL last year.  FIL was proud of dh but MIL was always resentful and unhappy with dh.  I didn't know if it was because he succeeded where the other brothers didn;t, because he left home for college and then moved on with his life, or what it was exactly.  BUt she didn't like it that dh was different even though he had been different since at least early grade school.  He was just the kid with the least amount of baggage and no mental illness.  The other two had addictions and other mental illness issues.  But to my MIL, who liked playing the martyr, that was preferable to her son who was serving our country and ended up earning a PhD in physics let alone being the only one of the four boys who graduated college.  And it wasn't like we tried to one up her or anything.  I always made a point to admire her knitting and crocheting skills and she did make wonderful afghans. But my dh was the only one who had a family, the only one who had a career, the only one who had an education, and the one she was embarrassed by.

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I encounter this with my mom. The amusing thing is that my dad now makes more money than DH and I ever will, even combined. But it was not always that way, and they struggled most of my childhood.

 

I think there are many underlying reasons. The biggest one, I'm sure, is our choice to have two full time working parents. My mom was a SAHM even when they could really have used her income(and as a BSN, she could have made decent money). This was what they wanted and I am not decrying that, but it was not our choice for our family. I am sure that it feels as though I am rejecting their values.

 

The other part is that I think my mom feels she has nothing in common with me. She and one of my sisters spend a lot of time commiserating on how difficult it is and my mom can give out(good and hard earned) advice on coping with lots small children and a small income. I have small children but am able to afford help twice a week with them as well as someone to come in and help clean, plus I am not stressing over where the groceries are coming from. I think my mom feels that she has no wisdom to offer, and that sometimes creates a barrier.

 

I don't think my parents in any way resent our financial stability. As I said, my dad's company has taken off the last ten years and they are quite well to do now. I just think she looks at my life at the age of 32 with two young kids and a sixty hour a week job, and compares it to hers at 32 with six children ten and under and as a SAHM and homeschooling mom, and sees that I have it much easier--and she feels that she has nothing to offer me in terms of advice or wisdom.

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I know a couple of people who are the family scapegoat and their parents resent them doing well. One friend is doing so much better than her siblings and her step mother is very resentful of the success she has worked her butt off to earn. Especially since my friend was a federal employee making very little money for the first fifteen years out of college. When she became a highly paid political consultant her step mother has started making comments about how my friend was "handed" so much. But it is not true at all. My friend paid for all her own college and worked very hard for very little money for a long time. But in that family my friend has been the step mother's scapegoat since she was a teen, so that is not new behavior. One year the only Christmas present my friend got was a bar of soap because she had been rude to the step mother. 

 

I also have distant relatives who are annoyed that dh and I have done okay financially. I think they made sacrifices to help their own children and are annoyed that my siblings and I have done better than their children without the help. But my siblings and I have a strong work ethic that partly comes from knowing we have no back up. We know that our parents cannot write checks to fix bad decisions, so we have been careful with money and luckily we all married people who are hard working and careful with money too. Having good spouses was also important.

 

 

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I don't think I've seen that sort of resentment.

 

Personally, I know struggle can make one appreciate good times, and not having a lot financially can help one learn to make wise choices. But ITA with the poster who said life offers plenty of opportunity to learn good character lessons; I'd rather my kids not have to struggle to eat or live. That just seems kinda basic--maybe the parents who say kids should struggle really mean just a little struggle, nothing life-threatening or terribly disheartening.

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The other part is that I think my mom feels she has nothing in common with me. She and one of my sisters spend a lot of time commiserating on how difficult it is and my mom can give out(good and hard earned) advice on coping with lots small children and a small income. I have small children but am able to afford help twice a week with them as well as someone to come in and help clean, plus I am not stressing over where the groceries are coming from. I think my mom feels that she has no wisdom to offer, and that sometimes creates a barrier.

 

I think this has a lot to do with dissonance when kids (or siblings, etc.) are successful without your "help." A person may have some very hard times in life, gain a great deal of wisdom, and expect to be there for their kids--then they are not necessarily "needed" in that way. Maybe it would have been cathartic to commiserate with their children while helping them through certain life experiences. Not all parents would be bitter about this, but it may take adjustment.

 

I can also imagine that someone who has been through a lot might not truly believe that their kids don't face the same obstacles--they may conclude all manner of weird stuff in that situation. People who've been through hardship sometimes come out with a skewed point of view even if they have good motives. 

 

Someone also mentioned that their parent expects them to be more generous because they have money. Some of the most generous people I know are very challenged financially. I can imagine someone like that being truly baffled by how someone with more money spends it or doesn't spend it.

 

Anyway, those aren't the same as the OP's situation, but those are things that I've seen people grapple with.

 

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My mom is a little bit like this.  Although she has always worked and their combined income is at least triple ours.  It will range from comments like "Oh, that must nice!" when we bought a new car (my parents are always driving old beaters) to calling me cheap when I don't buy my kids every single thing they want.  It's as though she can't decide.  My parents have always made decent money ( a nurse and engineer) but my mom is a spender.  So they can never "afford" things like a new car or a nice house because she's spending everything they have.  Bills were always paid late and utilities often turned off for a few days until my parents 'caught up' but we had a million toys and clothes and did go to a private school.  I remember my parents fighting about money A LOT!  I think some of the jealousy is that I don't "have" to work.  However, as everyone on here knows, it's obviously a choice and there are many things we go without in order to make this happen.  I think she just has a hard time getting a handle on my marriage in a way because I have lots of say in financial decisions but don't make any money.  DH and I making a budget is one of the best things we ever did for our marriage!

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I have only encountered that attitude a couple of times in real life and thankfully not with my own immediate family.  I think reasons may vary but I agree with upthread, this seems like a fairly dysfunctional reaction.  

 

Old family friend and her husband are both pretty successful.  Not wealthy but well educated and have good careers.  His parents, especially his mother, seemed to deeply resent that son and daughter in law were doing much better financially than either of their daughters and their spouses.  At Christmas one year, friend, husband and kids drove several states in bad wx to be with husband's family for Christmas.  When it was time to open presents all other grandkids plus daughters and their spouses were showered with gifts.  Friend, husband and their kids didn't even get a card.  They were told they made too much money already.  They certainly didn't "need anything else  to stuff their overflowing closets with".  Her children were very young and did not understand why the grandparents gave gifts to everyone else but them.  There was definite resentment and jealousy, for whatever reason.  It was a very unpleasant Christmas.  When friend had a miscarriage she was told it was punishment for flaunting their success by purchasing a new car (even though the car was a low budget model).

 

But I have seen the opposite reaction as well.  I have 2 friends (sisters) from a family with several siblings who had a parent that only seemed to value the child that was hugely financially successful while looking down on the other kids for not ending up as upper middle class or higher economically.  The relatively wealthy one is the child showered with fancy gifts, even when it is not financially wise of the parents to do so, and is heaped with praise while the other children are treated as though they have failed the parents somehow and don't deserve their love and respect.  Either reaction is unhealthy IMHO.  

 
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My mom is a little bit like this. Although she has always worked and their combined income is at least triple ours. It will range from comments like "Oh, that must nice!" when we bought a new car (my parents are always driving old beaters) to calling me cheap when I don't buy my kids every single thing they want. It's as though she can't decide.

I recognize this too. I get the same, "Oh THAT must be nice!" line at times. It's the same line she used in reference to my dad's new anything while growing up (they were never married), and part of it may be that I'm turning out more like *him* than *her*. When laying down certain boundaries about what she couldn't say around our kids, disparaging my father, my kids' grandpa, was the one she was most mad about me enforcing. And that includes the digs at his finances. I certainly don't want to hear it any more, and maybe she's a bit hurt that I'm not joining in the bash-fest.

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What we do see a lot in this area is that there reall are very, very few employment opportunities outside the medical profession that provide decent wages. Many parents of young adults are barely hanging on, and so naturally their kids end up lookingfor jobs, often outside the state, and end up moving away. The parents express disappointment, anger, etc. and are not kind to their adult children because they literally see their kids moving away for a better paying job as their children choosing money over mom and dad. They would rather have their kids close and strugglng to survive, then doing well away from them. Sigh...

 

I know a woman doing everything she possibly can right now to thwart her daughter's move yo MSU because she knows when her child graduates with her degree in environmental science and natural resource management, there is very little chance she would be employed in this area. All that is happening is she is driving a wedge inthe relationship and creating resentment.

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My entire family. I have been accused of thinking I am better than them all the time. Thing is, they all make more money than dh. Like DOUBLE or more.

 

My family was very very poor.

 

It's like a badge of honor. Because you know, it built our character. I guess. No comment on their characters. :/. Or mine. LOL

 

These are the same people who say things like, "Your kids are too well behaved! You should put them in school so they can learn how to act normal."

 

Yeahhh. I don't think so.

 

Frankly, I think it's a case of haters going to hate because of their own insecurities.

 

Some people just can't be happy for other people unless they are both sharing misery.

 

Sad really.

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We mistakenly told my parents we had paid off our mortgage.  They then expected us to pay off their debts.  Dad worked at Chrysler his whole life.  We earn less than half what he took home each year.  We are farmers, no medical, no retirement package, etc.  We had small kids and they expected us to pay off all their bills.   We paid that mortgage off by not going out to eat, living as frugal as we could while the kids were to little to notice we were living as cheaply as we could. I would have considered helping them, but I knew they would immediately go shopping and get into debt all over again.  Honestly, he who dies with the biggest pile of bills does NOT win!  Now, when we won't do something because of the cost we get sneered at.  I'm paying for 4 kids post secondary schooling and funding my retirement, go ahead, sneer away, just do it far away from me!

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I've experienced this. I think it is borne of resentment of those who are doing better financially. I felt very uncomfortable when I became financially secure, because my parents' frequent complaints about snobs, rich people, anyone "born with a silver spoon", etc. I remember being part of a conversation between my Dad and one of his friends, when I realized that he had pretended that he was slaving away to pay for my education. I felt really angry-funding my own education was extremely difficult and stressful and it made me mad as hell to think that he "got credit" for that. And perhaps some jealousy; I definitely felt this when I was younger, and now sometimes. I know my parents mean well. Emotionally, it was difficult to transition to having enough, planning for my kids' futures, saving for college and retirement, because I felt guilty a lot. For me, it really did represent leaving one culture behind and becoming part of another one.

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I think my mom thinks along these lines. I haven't seen it towards her kids but she has a brother who is extremely wealthy. One night at dinner she honestly posed the question asking why her brother doesn't share some of his money with her so she can buy a summer home. Her brother has 4 summer homes so she only felt it fair that he share his wealth. I thought she can't be serious but after I asked her a few questions to clarify, she was serious. I pointed out as gently as I could the idea that it's his money & it's not a common practice to share money but it made no difference in how she felt. I should add my parents are upper middle class & aren't hurting for money. But the fact that her brother has so much more than her seems to really irk her. Some peoples thinking just confuses me!

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I think my mom thinks along these lines. I haven't seen it towards her kids but she has a brother who is extremely wealthy. One night at dinner she honestly posed the question asking why her brother doesn't share some of his money with her so she can buy a summer home. Her brother has 4 summer homes so she only felt it fair that he share his wealth. I thought she can't be serious but after I asked her a few questions to clarify, she was serious. I pointed out as gently as I could the idea that it's his money & it's not a common practice to share money but it made no difference in how she felt. I should add my parents are upper middle class & aren't hurting for money. But the fact that her brother has so much more than her seems to really irk her. Some peoples thinking just confuses me!

 

I have a sister-in-law who whined to my sister, "I know SKL makes a lot of money, but I haven't seen any of it!"  Wow, I did not know my siblings' families were entitled to a share of my earnings!  Funny thing is that I she had seen some of it - I gave my brother money at times and I was always buying her kids nice gifts.  Blah, I really don't care what she thinks.  :p

 

And to a couple of other posters, I used to get "THAT must be nice" from that brother, and I'd get defensive and try to play it down or say how long I had to save for xyz.  Then one day I just looked him in the face and said, "yeah, it IS nice; I worked hard for it and I plan to enjoy it."  That was the last time I heard that crack from him.

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YES! It is my older half-sister. She's had a rough life (very different from my own - that "half" difference mattered!) - high school drop-out, unwed mother at 17, no solid employment/marriage/housing options. You get the picture.

Her oldest son left college after a year to join the Navy. It's been very good to him. He's met a nice girl, they've been married for six years without children, they own a house, a car, and are saving. 

 

But his success? It was "given" to him by the Navy. He didn't "earn" it. She's said before that "well, anyone could have that life if they got a Navy job."

 

It's frustrating to overhear because my nephew works hard for what he's earned. He's just made two or three life choices differently from what she did, and it made the world of difference. 

 

I know she says these things because she feels a sense of failure at her own life choices. She also resents my parents for their lack of intervention in her life. It's a ugly basket full of bad emotions. 

 

Re: educational and parents, I know that at some point my educational attainment became a threat to my mother. She handled it by trying to withhold gradate school from me. Thankfully, I received full financial support for my PhD program.

 

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But the parent is angry it happened that way; like, "Life is for suffering! You haven't suffered enough!"

I think my mom has a little bit of this going on, although not quite as strong as all that. But she grew up in Germany during and after the war, and I imagine that can color the way one views things, and the way one thinks their kids ought to live. And their grandkids...

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YES! It is my older half-sister. She's had a rough life (very different from my own - that "half" difference mattered!) - high school drop-out, unwed mother at 17, no solid employment/marriage/housing options. You get the picture.

Her oldest son left college after a year to join the Navy. It's been very good to him. He's met a nice girl, they've been married for six years without children, they own a house, a car, and are saving. 

 

Some of the stories posted here make me wonder if there isn't a different kind of resentment.  Like in this case, resentment over his being conceived when she was 17, derailing her life, snuffing out her dreams, and then having the gall to realize his.  Of course that resentment would be subconscious.

 

My granny was pretty hateful toward my mom, who was also conceived out of wedlock.  Maybe if it weren't for my mom, Granny would have finished school, would not have married an absolute creep who made her life hell, etc.  My granny really took out her frustrations on my mom every way she could.  My mom was happily married with 6 kids.  One day when she was (happily) pregnant with #6, Granny told her she should have an abortion.  Some people are just all kinds of sad.

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I will say I do have a friend raising his grandkids who has struggled most of his life.  His mother is a wonderful woman and we are good friends.  But she talked her son into dropping out of college when he was 19 and moving across the country with her and her new husband.  He never really had another opportunity or finances to go back easily and regretted it for years and years.  I asked her once why she did that.  She said that honestly thinking back there were a couple of reasons.  One, she was concerned that without family support he would end up struggling to maintain his grades and would end up dropping out anyway.  She wanted to protect him from failing and thought that maybe he would go back later on.  But the other reason, and she was reluctant to admit this at first, was that she was afraid if he actually graduated from college he would see her as less of a person because she had never gone to college.  She was afraid he wouldn't want to acknowledge her as his mother anymore and would be embarrassed to be around her.  She was also afraid that he would no longer fit in with the rest of the family since none of her siblings or parents had gone to college.  She admits she was not consciously aware of the latter at the time she talked him in to quitting but she believes that was definitely a factor subconsciously and feels terrible about it now...

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