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'AITA for not financially helping family and friends, despite being able to?' UPDATED

'AITA for not financially helping family and friends, despite being able to?' UPDATED


"AITA for not financially helping family and friends - despite being able to?"

My son Nick was born with a congenital heart defect 17 years ago. It required a $60,000 surgery in Israel if he was to survive past 12 months. I've spend the first 3 months of his life running around, begging people and searching for money. My parents gave us $100 (they had well paying jobs and guaranteed state pensions).

When I asked my brother for help he mumbled something about needing to save for his daughters college (she never went, by the way. Anyone who met her could have told him that much. They did take regular vacations overseas though). My department of 40 at work donated $30 and a card. At one point I was seriously searching for ways to sell my kidney and liver.

My in-laws sold their apartment for $35K. Best friend gave me another $7K which was all he had. Accepting his help was one of the few times I cried in my adult life. I sold my car and every piece of furniture and electronics that wasn't bolted to the walls. My in-laws moved in, and we've spent the next 5 years living together - 5 people, crammed into a 2 bedroom. Surgery was a success.

As fate has it, I started a hustle and it took off. After years of hard work I moved our HQ to a Central European country to be closer to our EU clients. Even discounting for about 2/3 of my wealth that is tied up in the business I am a multi-millionaire.

My in-laws now have a 4 bedroom house. We pay for them to go on vacations 3-4 times a year (or did before 2020). My son is a hard worker who makes me a very proud father!

I can't say that I hate those who didn’t help back it the day. Hate is a strong word. Rather, I feel like I’ve learnt my lesson and don't expect anything from them. I don't invite my parents for visits - they are welcome to pay for their flights and a hotel room, but I won't cover their expenses like I do with the in-laws.

My brother asked for a loan to start his business 5 years ago. I said the time wasn't right. Two months ago his daughter got into a car accident (drunk driving). Nothing seemingly life threatening, but a lot of nasty scarring on her legs that require a costly cosmetic surgery. I suggested he looks into downsizing as I am focused on helping my kids get good education.

Old coworkers who wanted to join my business once it took off were told to apply through the regular process. Except for my best friend. He's been my partner from the start and I sleep better at night knowing we've got each other’s' backs.

It comes without saying there have been lots of very unhappy people in my life. In our culture you're expected to support your community and family, do favors. Nepotism is very much an ingrained thing. You're supposed to bring over your family if you're lucky enough to root yourself in the western world, help friends emigrate.

My parents told me to my face they are ashamed of me and how the western culture has changed me. I've been called many things, way worse than a-hole and heartless. After hearing my story, tell me - am I though?

EDIT: to those wondering why my parents had a pretty lukewarm response if you can even call it that - the surgery had a 40% success rate. They thought we should let nature run its course and instead try for a new baby. It may sound horrendous to westerners but it's not that cold of a statement to someone in our home country (but obviously wife and I didn't take it well).

EDIT 2: I will talk to my wife about helping our niece. I stand by what I said - it's on her for putting herself in this position and her parents to help her fix it.. So I won't cover the whole cost. But I will ask my wife if we should cover half. The more I think about it the more I'm leaning towards this being the right answer.

This is what top commenters had to say:

Sad_Responsibility93 said:

NTA. Your in-laws sold their 35K house to help you. Your best friend gave you all he had to help YOUR son. Nobody else helped you, or even pretended to help you and your son. Your in-laws deserve everything you’re giving to them because they were one of the only people there for you at your absolute lowest. You were going to sell your kidney for your son because nobody else helped you!!!

Having your old coworkers who did not help you beg to get into your business don’t deserve it, and not only that, but it is 100% fair that they are to apply just as anyone else. Your parents are just angry at you for not sharing your success.

“If you can’t handle me at my worst then you don’t deserve me at my best.” That goes for you and your son in relation to rest of family. NTA. but your parents and old coworkers certainly are.

Pumpernickelbrot said:

NTA. "In our culture you're expected to support the community" they didn't support you when it was a literal life and death situation for your son. You don't owe them anything. Good for you that everything went so well in your live. Keep supporting those that supported you like your in-laws and best friend.

NarukeUzuha said:

NTA. They're not obligated to help you and you're not obligated to help them. Don't help them. But your parents' comment about 'let nature run it's course and instead try for a new baby' like, what the heck do they smoke? Who tells that to anyone? They essentially told you to let your son die and provide them with another grandchild. Should've gone no-contact then and there. Nobody needs such people in their lives.

bcp015 said:

NTA also your best friend is amazing brought tears to my eyes to read that he gave you everything he had that’s a true friend and I’m really glad you guys are successful now

Verdict: NTA.

A few months later, he shared this update:

First, a lot of you did make valid suggestions that I took to heart. I spoke to my parents candidly about why I distanced myself from them. They were clearly ashamed and I think it’s that shame and pride that kept them from reaching out and apologizing years ago. My mom kept her face covered with her hands for most of the call..

She was clearly sad. Anyway I ended up telling them I would never want to see them to go destitute so if they are in poor health or need help with the basic necessities I’m obviously a call away. Otherwise things have stayed the same. Next, about my niece. Here’s where I disagree hard with most redditors. She’s a 20 something girl who made a tremendously stupid mistake.

She took down a pole driving drunk and will pay for that with her physical appearance and health for the rest of her life. It could have been worse, thankfully that’s all it was. I talk to her and as a first step we paid for her initial scar treatment (some silicone dressings/steroid injections to improve the healing).

They can’t do the removal surgery until they heal properly and things settle down so could be another 6 months to a year before they reassess. She asked if I can also help her find a rehab (she wants to pay for it herself). She admitted to having a problem and I won’t go into why she started drinking but I hope none of the haters have the same reason to turn to a bottle.

I also talked to my brother that he’s got a year to come up with half the cost of her surgery. If he doesn’t come through we’ll have a conversation but I think the fire is lit under his ass, and I’m covering half for sure. I’ll remind people we aren’t prosecutors and judges so when it comes to moral judgements we should do what we believe is right.

I stand by my choices to keep my family at an arms lengths but not let them fall into poverty if it comes to it, and I support my niece is her attempt to better herself. Thanks to everyone who commented and offered advice.

Sources: Reddit
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