I (38f) grew up with my sister (34f) and a single mom (who passed when we were in our early twenties). We were dirt poor and every day was a constant struggle.
I resolved to work hard at school and try to make something better for myself. We grew up in a coastal town and since going to the beach was free, I went there often and fell in love with marine life. I decided to become a marine biologist, and it's what I do today.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not the highest up in my sector and I certainly don't make millions. But I'm comfortable and have financial security. My husband has a good, steady job in teaching and we've got a couple of kids, so all in all I'm satisfied with my life and think mom would be proud.
However, my sister is becoming a problem for us. In the past she's asked us for money, and I've always gladly helped her out. She works as a hair stylist and definitely isn't in poverty as we were in our childhood. She has a lovely home and a nice husband. But she's became far more entitled over time in asking us for money, and it honestly pisses me off.
She asks for considerable amounts of money without telling us what she needs it for. When I ask she rolls her eyes and mutters something like "it's not like you need it anyway."
Another problem is how she acts in my home. She regularly makes passive aggressive comments about our "big empty house" and asks how much certain pieces of furniture or ornaments cost.
Recently she told me she feels I'm too extravagant with my money, and says I'm "flaunting" my wealth by having nice things. She said that it makes her jealous and prompts her to ask me for money. Frankly the way she said it made me feel like she was blaming me, and I got really annoyed.
Unsurprisingly my sister asked for money in the same breath, and I refused. Since then she hasn't said a word to me but her husband keeps texting to say she's very upset (the extent to which he feels the same way as my sister is unknown to me).
Was I right to put my foot down? Have I unknowingly been an AH by showing off? Were there other ways I could have stayed on speaking terms with my sister besides giving her money?
NTA-Your sister is a taker and you needed to establish boundaries. Info: Was your sister’s hubby aware of all the times she took money from you?
NTA-it's you and your family's money. What you do with it is really no one else's business. Not your sister's, your wider family's, your friend's, no one. Your sister has a lot of resentment going on.
Is that maybe something that's carried over from childhood? Was she jealous of you growing up? Might be worth a joint counselling session or two to get to the bottom of it; only if you want to though. At the end of the day, she's TA for the way she's behaving, so not your issue to deal with.
NTA. I grew up very poor. My parents were first generation immigrants. I worked and am now a cardiologist in private practice. I make very good money, and settled down with a partner whose family are several generations of wealthy (due to being several generations of doctors). They have a family tradition wherein children's first homes are bought with an interest-free loan from their father.
We aren't into flashy stuff, really. I ran into an old acquaintance of mine from high school who, when she found out what I do for a living, decided to make a sneering comment about flaunting money because... When she asked if the stones in my gold ring were real I said they were.
It's one small emerald and two small yellow sapphires in my commitment ring. The setting isn't flashy, the ring is standard wedding ring size, and it was my day off so I was wearing twenty year old jeans and a free t-shirt I got at a community fun run.
I drive a quite fancy car, but it's genuinely a professional obligation because patients get nervous if the doctors don't drive fancy cars and the parking spaces are visible from the waiting room. And she didn't know that. Bitter people will find whatever reason they can to pretend they're justified.
NTA. Cut the leech out of your finances. Completely. Sit down with your husband, and discuss this. Your sister is using you and your attachment to her as means to blackmail you into giving her money (emotional blackmail : look it up, it's a real thing).
She is jealous of you and of your success, and is mad that you have "outdone her". By giving her money, you reinforce that belief. She sees it as you apologizing for your mistakes, even though you have done nothing wrong. Therefore she feels even more entitled to your money. Discussing this with your husband will be helpful in several ways:
First, you can clear this situation up. I have a hard time believing that he wasn't just as annoyed at your sister as you were, and maybe even at you for allowing your sister to constantly take advantage of you. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend couple counseling.
Second, he can help you set healthy boundaries and be your support system when you sister/brother-in-law will inevitably come again for another round of "be my cash cow". In order to learn how to set healthy boundaries and build self-confidence in family relationships, I would also recommend individual therapy.
NTA-There’s helping family and there’s being a sentient ATM. Your sister was making you the second option.
NTA and you aren't flaunting. You just have different priorities on how to use your money. Nice furnishings, yes. Loaning money to someone who negs you regularly, not anymore.