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Is anyone else the poor sibling?

 

One of my sisters is married. Her husband is some sort of vice president for a telecommunications company. They have no children. They have dogs. They live overseas in an island paradise.

 

My other sister is a research scientist. She is married to a doctor. They have one son, who is five. They have already saved enough for his first year at Harvard. They make more than eight times what my husband makes.

 

Then there's us. I stay home. My husband makes a modest salary. We are happy.

 

But ...

 

Whenever the sisters come to visit, they expect us to go out to eat every night. They plan really expensive outings. They are dressed immaculately.

 

I get tired of having to tell them that we can't afford to eat out every night. I get tired of having to tell them that we can't afford to drop $175 on a trip to the aquarium (maybe if they had warned us six months in advance, we could have saved).

 

The reason I am bringing this up is because I just talked to one of my sisters (the one with the son) about my grandmother's funeral. I don't think I am going to be able to go. It is thousands of miles away, and the best flight I could find was more than $800. I have been working weekends for the past few months, trying to pay down some medical bills we accrued. Going to this funeral would negate every penny I have busted my butt for for the past 10 weekends.

 

My sister acted like she simply didn't understand. She was talking about priorities and the importance of family. Yeah, my priority is to make sure my family isn't in debt when the economy rolls over and dies. She came close, but did not outright say, that she must have loved my grandmother more than I did. *grrrrrr*

 

I finally said to her, "[sister], you know that you have way more money than we do. You also don't have kids with medical bills. If it's so important to you that I be there, then why don't you buy my ticket?"

 

I'm not very proud of saying that, but at least she changed the subject.

 

Does anyone else get tired of being the poor sibling? Does anyone else sometimes feel inferior around their loaded siblings?

 

Tara

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Well, I'm the rich sibling I suppose- and I think your sisters ar rude and inconsiderate. When I go visit db, I pay if I want us all to go to the Aquarium. We don't go out to dinner, we eat in- and I do the grocery shopping.

 

I think you should keep calling them on their rude behavior.

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II finally said to her, "[sister], you know that you have way more money than we do. You also don't have kids with medical bills. If it's so important to you that I be there, then why don't you buy my ticket?"

 

I'm not very proud of saying that, but at least she changed the subject.

 

 

:grouphug:I dunno, Tara, I'm actually QUITE proud of you for saying that! It sounds like it really needed to be said. Now, I don't know what *tone* you said it in and that might be something to work on:D, but overall, WAY TO GO!

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Although we are not rich, I sometimes find myself in the position of being the most financially well off. I would never expect my less well off siblings to foot a bill while we are out together. We either do what we can ALL afford to do or if I really want to go out for supper, I buy. It seems only fair to me.

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I finally said to her, "[sister], you know that you have way more money than we do. You also don't have kids with medical bills. If it's so important to you that I be there, then why don't you buy my ticket?"

 

I'm not very proud of saying that, but at least she changed the subject.

 

I don't blame you at all. If she's going to continue to insist -- and try to play the guilt card -- you had to do something to shut her up. Actually, I've wanted to ask some of the "spread the wealth" people if they'd like to write us a check, too. I think the subject would get changed just as quickly. It's usually someone else who is expected to write the check.

 

I think you did the right thing, by the way. My grandmother died back in May and I was heartsick I couldn't make it to her funeral. But I would have been even more upset if my family couldn't eat or have lights on for a month because I was that selfish.

 

Does anyone else get tired of being the poor sibling? Does anyone else sometimes feel inferior around their loaded siblings?

 

Well, no siblings but other family members They aren't really loaded -- they just look like they're loaded. It's a house of cards waiting to come down on their heads, they're so far in debt. So no, I don't worry about it at all.

 

I have to admit, in your situation, I'd have to wonder how much of it was just "normal" for them, and how much was showing off for you. I mean, seriously, how many times do you have to tell people you can't afford to eat out every night? I get so *sick* of telling people "we can't afford this" and "we can't afford that." I feel like a broken record -- I know exactly what you're talking about.

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I am the rich sibling and in similiar circumstances I used my air miles to get my sister a ticket. I used my miles because my sister is proud and that way I wasn't really paying for her ticket, KWIM?

 

BTW, my dh is the poor sibling. It is all relative (no pun intended).

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That isn't a very considerate sister. She's probably not used to thinking outside of her own reality. As a canine parent (as opposed to childless ;)), she doesn't have the expenses of children's fees, multiple meals each outing, etc. She should offer to pay for a few outings or suggest less expensive alternatives like picnic, board games, etc.

We're the 'wealthier' family, but both our sibs make decent money. SIL (who is arguably wealthy) does act as if we owe extended family money, pay for cousin's meals, etc when we get together. Money is a sticky topic under the best of circumstances. It creates hard feelings when someone feels the others don't appreciate their perspective.

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My sister and I are equally poor but my single, well-off (in comparison to us) brother is always polite about it and always puts up more than an equal share in group purchases. So for our parents 50th birthdays this past year he purchased all of the expensive supplies for the gifts and my sister and I put in time creating the gifts. He has always been a good little brother though and done what his older, bossy sisters told him to.:D

 

I am sorry your sisters are being rude. I think you did fine and I would continue to call them on their behavior. Frankly, your grandmother is gone and she doesn't care if you are there or not. The rest of the family might care, but if they do, they should do something about it. I am sorry about your grandmother too. I lost mine 6 years ago and it still hurts. :grouphug:

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I have found that in general, people who aren't struggling just don't get it.

 

:iagree:

 

To the OP, I think you did the right thing. Although, I know it was not easy...I had a similar situation several months ago. It was very painful but neccessary. I am the "poor" one in my family but only unhappy when others use their money and possessions as a weapon against me.

 

I am sorry for your loss and sorry that this situation has to be dealt with on top of everything else.

 

:grouphug:

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Both of my sisters are young and single, but one is up to her eyeballs in debt and the other is a grad student. What they do have is a heck of a lot more freedom and flexibility than I do.

 

I hauled my rear end up and down the east coast, preparing for my sister's wedding (which was canceled 2 months before the big day), plus spending a gabillion dollars on the travel, dresses, parties/showers, yadda yadda.

 

Meanwhile, dear sister couldn't understand why I would object to changing event A to day 3 and event B to day 14, or why I couldn't travel 800 miles to go dress shopping on a Tuesday afternoon.

 

And this was when I had a child in public school. Not to mention three others, one who was nursing.

 

Some people just don't think.

 

I do have an aunt who is quite wealthy. Nobody has ever asked her for a thing, but she always offers to cover different expenses, including flying my mom to NJ just before my grandfather passed away.

She is a gem.

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she should have been the one to suggest buying you the ticket. I don't get that. Good for you for pointing it out.

 

We've helped my brother travel to see us a number of times. I'm happy to help and I love to see him.

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We're the "rich" family. Basically that means we are very, very average but our deadbeat siblings (think drug abuse, mooching off elderly parents, etc.) have some family members convinced that we got all the breaks in life. We live in an average suburban neighborhood, don't take expensive vacations, clip coupons, rarely go out to eat or the movies and all those other things many people do to some degree or other just to make ends meet.

 

I guess it was a "lucky break" that dh opted to move out of his parents home and get a J-O-B to support himself, or that I chose not to abuse drugs so I don't have a criminal record.

 

Sorry you have to deal with this. Snotty siblings can make life miserable.

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more support for you sticking to your position and saying something. It really sounds like this sister needed some reminding that this travel would cost significant money and that you simply do not have the money.

 

I am the poorer of my siblings, and they are all very gracious towards me in so many ways. Siblings don't have to be rude, but they can! You really don't need her attitude ever, but especially while you are dealing with a family member's death. I am sorry she treated you this way.

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I am the poorer of my siblings, and they are all very gracious towards me in so many ways. Siblings don't have to be rude, but they can! You really don't need her attitude ever, but especially while you are dealing with a family member's death. I am sorry she treated you this way.

 

I'm estranged from my sibling, but I would be considered the rich one, but you know how much we make Tara and how laughable that is.:) Eric's siblings all have advanced degrees and very good jobs. They look out for us and take care of us. We're working our way up still and I love their willingness to help us. I'm so happy to know what a real family is like.

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother and that your siblings don't understand your position.

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Yup, we're the poor folks...but it's a choice that we made long ago for me to stay home with our kids. My siblings both have 2-income families and no kids (or grown kids). They both make really good money. Both of them are really, really good to my kids--and to me. They don't always understand why we've chosen the lifestyle we have but they do see the value in what we've done with our family. (I have great kids!)

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My siblings have a bit more than we do, since they don't have kids, but certainly aren't rolling in cash. My sister is as tight as can be, but doesn't expect anything from us. She just won't contribute extra herself and claims to be poor. The $15,000 she has saved up for an overseas trip doesn't count, naturally. My brother is actually generous with what he has. This is all perfectly ok. We know our sister is a scrooge, but at least she doesn't expect us to fork out for her.

Dh's sister, on the other hand, is absolutely rolling in it, and treats us like a charity case when she's around. Dh doesn't mind, because he has almost no monetary pride, but I hate it! We're not so broke that we couldn't buy a packet of lollies if we wanted it and we don't need her to buy our groceries for us. I think it's the attitude. She really acts like she's doing charity to her darling brother, where if my brother was doing the same for us, which he does on occasion, it's more like "Ha ha! I've got money! Lets buy cheesecake! Hey! Lets get two! Oh yeah, I'd better get us some proper dinner too, huh? Nah, don't worry, I'll cover it." Of course I used to do that for them, back when I was young, single and waged.

Big difference.

:)

Rosie

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Seriously, I'm glad you called her on it. I don't know either of you, but I can't stand it when people do that to others, especially family members.

 

My best pal's parent is wealthy, but my pal isn't. The parent holds money over the daughter's head. Treats the daughter terribly and withholds the purse strings (and love) just to be nasty or to get her own way. Strange family dynamics.

 

I'm rambling now, but I'm glad you stood up to your sister.

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I think that being honest is the best thing--that is how I handle it. Last summer, my brother had a birthday party at a restaurant for my neice. I told him that we wouldn't be there because we are tight right now, and after the gas to drive in, then money for the meal, that we simply couldn't do it. He understood.

 

I've also talked to my siblings about changing the gift-giving traditions in our family at Christmas. That is changing because with things as tight as they are, buying multiple gifts at Christmas is too much.

 

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. kwim? They may get upset, but you have to be responsible with your money and your debt. I know it is hard, but I am glad that you prettty much laid it out there for her.

 

Big hugs,

Tracy

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I'm surprised your sister didn't offer to buy your ticket.

 

I say the same thing to my relatives: We can't afford it. They frequently ask that the kids and I visit them. That is 5 round-trip plane tickets, a rental car, plus a hotel. We can't afford that. They, on the other hand, can afford to buy 1 plane ticket to visit us, but don't. They don't need a car or a hotel because they can stay here and drive my car (or ride with us).

 

RC

 

 

I finally said to her, "[sister], you know that you have way more money than we do. You also don't have kids with medical bills. If it's so important to you that I be there, then why don't you buy my ticket?"

 

I'm not very proud of saying that, but at least she changed the subject.Tara

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My SIL gets $30,000 a month (tax free) in child support!

I want to slap her when she says she can't afford a private school for her kid and so she doesn't know what to do if ex doesn't agree to pay for it.

 

I was a single mom living in the ghetto trailer park from hell just so dd could be in Montessori school while I was in nursing school. I can't imagine getting almost the equivalent of a thousand dollars a day!!!!

 

But I guess when your purse cost a few grand and your flip flops a few hundred......30 thousand goes fast!

 

People with serious money sometimes forget reality.

I like how the subject got changed when you mentioned her buying you a ticket!

 

Sorry about your granmother's passing and your being unable to attend.

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Tara,

 

WHile not rich, we live comfortably and do better than my siblings do.

 

I wouldn't even consider having this conversation with my sister. I'd ask her if she wanted to go and if she said she did, I would mail her the ticket. I really don't understand your sister.

 

Your sister's money is hers and she doesn't have to share it. BUT, she has no right to guilt you into feeling like you loved your grandmother less because you can't afford to fly to her funeral. I don't understand. Then again, money, and the love of it, can make a person quite ugly.

 

Denise

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I'm surprised your sister didn't offer to buy your ticket.

 

I say the same thing to my relatives: We can't afford it. They frequently ask that the kids and I visit them. That is 5 round-trip plane tickets, a rental car, plus a hotel. We can't afford that. They, on the other hand, can afford to buy 1 plane ticket to visit us, but don't. They don't need a car or a hotel because they can stay here and drive my car (or ride with us).

 

RC

 

My in-laws are this way.....

 

Gee, 5 tickets for us to go to a place we really don't have a lot of desire to visit (hence, why we MOVED from there you know?) vs 1 or 2 for them to come here???

 

Because in addition to the money factor - if i actually get to take a VACATION, spending that money on visiting THEM is not high on the list of dream events.....

 

My brother & SIL have money to fly 1st class to Hawaii for her niece's HS graduation.... but can't be bothered to send mine a birthday card. Oh well.....

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For some reason they think that we have money.

I guess they think, since I do not work and stay home with dc. We have money to blow.

 

We were just asked to help out a family member.

I don't mind helping someone out, if we have it.

They are expecting us to give this person money every month!!!

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I guess between my sister and I I'm the poor one...she's a millionaire several times over. But...she and her husband severed all ties with both families, so if that's what money does for people..I'd rather be poor and happy.:D

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Dh and I are the rich siblings....ha! Well, we are I guess, but not by enough to matter. We aren't together enough for it to be an issue.

 

I am however, the poor friend, because I have a very very wealthy best friend. She has been my best friend since we were little girls. She never suggests doing anything that we can't really afford---she is a bit on the cheap side---:) We took our boys on a trip this spring (just a short 3 day trip) and we shared a hotel suite just like if we were both poor. :) We slept in the same bed...just like when we were 12.

 

She has 4 siblings and only one of them is too poor to pay his share of family gifts or to be able to afford to go on vacations. I know his 4 siblings and parents almost always divide up his share so he can be involved.

 

I do see some jealousy among her sisters sometimes...I think they think she could be a tad more generous due to how much she has (and she does have A LOT) but all in all that is just her cheap nature..

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Well, I'm the rich sibling I suppose- and I think your sisters are rude and inconsiderate. When I go visit db, I pay if I want us all to go to the Aquarium. We don't go out to dinner, we eat in- and I do the grocery shopping.

 

I think you should keep calling them on their rude behavior.

 

I agree with PiCO here. I certainly wouldn't say we're "rich", but I'm aware that I have more disposable income than certain family members. I try to keep that in mind, and make sure I'm not assuming someone else can do something (financially) just because I can. I try to be aware of paying for meals out or events that I'm instigating...

 

I think your sister has a choice here. Maybe she *needed* to hear you say that you simply can't *afford* the ticket, and that she could bless you with it. I would *hope* that she would turn around and say, "Huh! I never thought of that, but it's a great idea..."

 

If not, well, maybe you did at least succeed in getting her to "shut up". Sigh. I'm sorry she's not more aware / generous / empathetic...

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  • 2 years later...
Guest txsibling

:iagree:I have 2 sisters like this and then a mother that enables and condones their behavior. I finally had to just cut off all ties with these people. Not sure if your family does all the things mine does but my family is just scary. My sister and brother in law started giving my son alcohol at the age of 12 when he would spend the night with his cousin and taught my son not to tell me. They also would ask me if he could go to KORN concerts and I would say NO and they would buy the tickets and take him and their son and drop them off at an arena from the age of 13 and leave them there with the drugs and alocohol until 1 in the morning by themselves. They told my son not to tell me and to lie to me if I ask. When I found out these things, which believe me there have been many other things, my mother felt as though I needed to calm down and let it go as it was in the past by a month since the "4th" time they had dropped him off at these concerts. Their son has turned out to get in trouble with the law and none of their children work, ages 20 to 28. Trust me, people like this have money and they only care about themselves. Thank goodness that God is still in control and He will take care of them. Good luck to you.

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I'm kind of lucky. I'm definitely poor, but in our age-cohort (i.e., not counting the siblings who are still preschoolers!) I've got one sister who lives on VA disability (she lost her last job because of, ah, PTSD-related behavior problems), one who she and her husband are definitely in blue-collar jobs (she's working fast food, he's a mechanic and underpaid for his skill set), and one sister who's a single mom. None of us are doing so hot in the income "contest."

 

My mom dealt with this, though; she's got one sister married to a civil engineer with a long career with Disney, and another who she and her husband are lawyers. Things weren't so greatly disparate when they were younger--my aunt didn't become a lawyer until she was in her 40's and had years before that as a single mom to her older son; the other one, well, they were young once, too, but were probably stable sooner than either of her older sisters.

 

Anyway, I think you gave her a perfectly reasonable answer. Not having money does not equal not caring about family. Ugh.

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I'm the poor sister. My sister is married to a man that makes much more than my DH, and my sister is a vice principal, with a masters degree. They have a boat, new cars, nice brand new furniture, and eat out every night. We have no car payments, make everything from scratch, and can't afford a boat ride, let alone a boat. But I'm home with my baby and she is about to go back to work after her maternity leave. I definitely have the better deal.

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figure this one out...we are not the poor ones, nor the wealthy ones...but some family members just cannot get their heads around that we DON'T WANT to spend our money on things that they feel are wonderful and that we are cheapskates for not doing so.

 

For instance...they want to go out to dinner every night on vacation...their right. But we are the cheapskates for preferring to cook our own food at the cabin (we like it better!!!)

 

They want to go to touristy crap for entertainment...I'd rather find a free park and let my kids run around, hike and fish. But we are the "cheapskates" for not wanting to waste (in our opinions) our money on that stuff.

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Well, I'm the rich sibling I suppose- and I think your sisters ar rude and inconsiderate. When I go visit db, I pay if I want us all to go to the Aquarium. We don't go out to dinner, we eat in- and I do the grocery shopping.

 

I think you should keep calling them on their rude behavior.

 

:iagree: We're also some of the better-off siblings in our extended families. If someone died, we would immediately tell one of the siblings that we would buy her a ticket to go to the funeral if she wanted. I can't even imagine telling someone what your sister said to you. I'm sorry! :grouphug: My condolences on the loss of your grandmother.

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We used to be the well off sibs. Now, after 14 months of unemployment with no end in sight, we are the poor ones. Dh's family hated us (well, jealous, really) when we were doing well, although we never showed our wealth (we're ants, saving and living within our means) and always helped when asked. And now, they hate us 'cause we're poor or dh isn't looking hard enough (??!!??) or whatever their new excuse is.

There's just no pleasing people, especially relatives.

Good for you, Tara! Your sis was being an insensitive jerk. I hope she saw a bit of the light.

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Yep. My sister is a lawyer with her own practice, making $350 an hour. She has 3 dogs, no kids. For the life of her she can't understand why I can't drop everything to take 2 flights down to her winter house on the beach in Mexico, or why it's a MAJOR big deal to take a 3 day sisters' weekend to Las Vegas. She knows my dh has a start up company and that I'm a homeschooling SAHM. She just can't figure it out. :001_rolleyes: I feel your pain.

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Resurrected by this:

:iagree:I have 2 sisters like this and then a mother that enables and condones their behavior. I finally had to just cut off all ties with these people. Not sure if your family does all the things mine does but my family is just scary. My sister and brother in law started giving my son alcohol at the age of 12 when he would spend the night with his cousin and taught my son not to tell me. They also would ask me if he could go to KORN concerts and I would say NO and they would buy the tickets and take him and their son and drop them off at an arena from the age of 13 and leave them there with the drugs and alocohol until 1 in the morning by themselves. They told my son not to tell me and to lie to me if I ask. When I found out these things, which believe me there have been many other things, my mother felt as though I needed to calm down and let it go as it was in the past by a month since the "4th" time they had dropped him off at these concerts. Their son has turned out to get in trouble with the law and none of their children work, ages 20 to 28. Trust me, people like this have money and they only care about themselves. Thank goodness that God is still in control and He will take care of them. Good luck to you.
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WOW! Well, I come from a large family so I am kind of in the middle financially. I have never had one of my siblings expect that nor would I expect it of the couple that do not have as much as me. I have bought the ticket several times for two of my sisters when we were all getting together just for the fun of it and it was never an issue. We had a blast. I have also told one sister that we can do a, b, or c but we can not do it all. That was the end of the subject.

I have also been the receiver. Last summer when our oldest was so ill, I was unable to work as he is my work and beings he was in the hospital that wage was not there. We were afraid we would loose our home. My brother not even knowing any details sent me a check that kept me going at the hospital for over a month. It was so appreciated.

It sounds like maybe some of your siblings have more money than brains.:lol:(A saying of one of my nieces.)

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We're the poor ones. At least in money!! Out of my husband's 10 brothers and sisters we

 

a lawyer

2 in medical school

3 dentists who own their own practice

1 doctor, not counting the two in school

 

And then us. Twelve kids, a stay at home mom and an income that gets us by. But at least we have a wonderful extended family with no dental bills and no doctor bills once the younger boys graduate! That's a plus.

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My older sister and I pay for our one poor sister whenever we want her around. She lives 7-10 hrs from us so we pay for her plane tickets, meals, portion of the summer/vacation house rental, etc.

 

When my father died, we took from his estate the money to pay for my niece and her dh to fly to his funeral services, prior to splitting the money between the heirs (we, sisters, all agreed to this), because they couldn't afford to attend.

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