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'AITA for exposing my sister's bad financial decisions in front of our whole family?' UPDATED

'AITA for exposing my sister's bad financial decisions in front of our whole family?' UPDATED

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"AITA for scolding my sister in front of everyone while she is going through a divorce?"

Here's the original post:

Myself (29F) and my husband (36M) went to visit both our parents. They live 8hrs away from us by flight and it was expensive but we do it because holidays mean a lot and also to see my niece Rhu (5F). She is my world and I love her to death.

For this vacation her mom, my sister Mila (29F) was missing for most of our family gatherings and was spending time with her boyfriend and doing part time. We have a good relationship but I was really worried that Rhu doesn't get time with her mom and angry that she just leaves her with all of us. She leaves in the morning and comes late. Apparently this has been going on for months.

For a brief context, she is separated from BIL and she wants a divorce and he wants to try. But she came back home (editor: to her parents' house) because they were not compatible and it's messy. So since she is a single mother I send her allowances for her and Rhu and also for other housing expenses directly to her so she can give our parents rent and focus on Rhu and have a smooth divorce.

I send her a total of 10K and my fun money account which she has access to and uses. She sees a therapist and I get charged for this as well. Additionally my husband pays for her divorce lawyers. We both work hard and are not rich but we are good enough. I know it's not easy what she is going through and have never questioned her when there are withdrawals.

But this holiday I was so mad at who she is and who she is turning into. According to mum, Rhu is missing her mum and has withdrawn so much. She has not been giving them rent, and not helping around the house and doesn't even take care of Rhu. Mom works and dad looks after Rhu until mom comes.

They are also old and cannot really actively interact with her. My mum was upset at me for not helping Mila out financially as they are also struggling with 4 mouths to feed. I have never been as angry as I was then.

I observed her for a week and the second week I confronted her privately. She said being a single mum is hard and she is de-stressing. I called BS and asked her what she has been doing with the money, I'm glad she is working part time, but what is she doing with Rhu when she is comfortable and even more angry that none of the money I give is going towards Rhu or helping with her.

She stormed out of the room and said I am ruining the holidays and being judgmental and she is going through so much. I told her how dare she say that after I give her everything even when I don't have money left to buy new clothes for Christmas because I thought it was worth it, and if she doesn't stop and focus on Rhu then the money stops. I was so mad I forgot everyone could hear us.

All our parents heard it. I felt so awful for exposing all this but I was so mad. She called me an AH and so did my brother saying I should have picked a different time. Now that I am calm I feel I am AH for exposing her like that. Vacation has been awkward since.

Do you think she's an AH for "exposing" her sister's bad financial decisions in front of the whole family? Or is her sister the AH for taking advantage of everyone and neglecting her kid? Or both?

This is what top commenters had to say about it:

FlyGuy1922 said:

NTA. But OP stop the money now and give it to your parents instead. You gave that money to her in good faith that she would use it for her daughter but she hasn’t. You didn’t ruin the holidays, she did with her greed.

Manager-Limp said:

NTA. The gravy train stops now. Where is she spending it then if she doesn't help with rent, which I presume should be the bulk? Your sister is an asshole, an entitled moocher asshole.

CheeseAndPasta97 said:

NTA. Stop giving her money right now. She is taking advantage of you and your parents. If you want to help your niece and parents, give the money directly to them so your sister can't use it for other purposes. She needed exposing, and your brother can mind his own business. He is free to give her money to do what she wishes if he wants to.

RedSAuthor said:

NTA. But I hope you know that you are enabling your sister's unhealthy habits. Send that money to your parents. Tell them that X amount is to cover Mila's and Rhu's rent, and they can use the rest on the child and whatever is needed in the house. Your sister is 29 yo. She can get a job and earn herself "fun money" since your parents are covering necessities anyway.

ttnl35 said:

So if I got this right you send lots of money to your sister, including money for rent, and she's just been doing god knows what with it, then lying to your parents that she can't pay them rent and you aren't sending money?

Absolutely NTA and I would be concerned that money is being spent on drugs and partying to be honest. She's got to be having a lot of fun doing something if she is choosing it over her daughter.

People who get exposed for doing bad things (and their enablers) always claim it was the "wrong time" to confront them. 1) Its always the "wrong time", 2) the best way to not be exposed as a liar and a fraud is not to lie or defraud people.

Brainjacker said:

"I send her allowances for her. my husband pays for her divorce lawyers. I told her how dare she say that after I give her everything even when I don't have money left to buy new clothes for Christmas"

This is the definition of setting yourself on fire to keep others warm. She doesn't need to change, because you're enabling her behavior. Either give the funds directly to your parents or stop giving them, but don't expect to keep doing the same thing and somehow get a different result. Almost tempted to say E S H but technically NTA.

Dresden_Mouse said:

NTA. She's been lying and manipulating not only you but your parents and neglecting her own daughter, I'm pretty sure this attitude is the "incompatibility" in the marriage and why she's getting divorce, she's gaslighting you, send the money to your parents from now on, and cut her access to your account.

The day after her original post, she shared this small update:

Thank you for each and everyone of you for perspectives. My family and Mila and the BIL are meeting today for dinner and a discussion afterwards. I have asked Mila to speak to me before BIL comes so she has a chance to tell the truth. Waiting for her to come at the moment. Since there's so much going on I will update you all once things settle down.

Thank you all for giving me courage and words so speak up and clarity. Regardless of whether I am an AH or NTA I reinforced her behavior without actually finding out what's going on. For those asking why I gave her access, because we are close and she is my blood, and I had no reason to doubt her, until all of this came to light.

Maybe I was manipulated all along and seeing a different side to her or more likely she is spiraling after the divorce/separation. This also has not been confirmed and I am this close to loosing my shit too. 🙃 but thank you all for your kind words and advice.

Then, a week later, she shared this major update on the situation:

Thank you for everyone who personally reached out to me and gave me some strength and resolve and all of you for your inputs. You guys deserve an update. But you guys also need to know some information I couldn't put due to character limit.

My sister and I are non identical twins, she had the beauty I had the brains but we grew up equal and loved each other and were loved very much. But I was always the responsible one and due to me being more academic I was able to get a good job and do my masters.

This same period, (5yrs ago) my sister got married and had Rhu, but because I was busy with clinical placements and my thesis I couldn't spend much time with her (hence my guilt) or visit.

She used to say that her husband was mentally abusive and possessive and restricted her from going out and having fun and it was easier for me to suggest marriage counseling for them and over time both of them said they are getting better, but she wasn't as happy being married. She had a fantasy in her head about marriage and kids and it wasn't as easy.

So she turned to different coping mechanisms like clubbing and overspending which we didn't know and her soon-to-be-ex didn't tell us. My reasons were I chose the easier path because I was also trying to cope with me not having kids yet (we are trying) and my thesis and working hours (clinical psychologist) were all overwhelming.

I believe she knew exactly what she was doing and manipulated us all by showing compliance and then when she had her chance she left her husband. (I'll get into this soon)

What has actually happened was, she had been overspending and BIL had to pick up the slack at home and the part time nanny (F47) became full time housekeeper. Her daughter (F25) used to come to babysit Rhu and they bonded fast and so did BIL with Rhu, but he maintained his distance with the new sitter.

Mila grew to resent that Rhu wasn't as clingy with her as before and started to distance herself even more. And then started coming home late. Marriage counseling had stopped by this time due to both BIL and sis not having time. And BIL had seen flirty messages from a guy on Mila's Snapchat and he told her to leave home.

She did but with Rhu, while he was at work. She had also left him a message saying she knows about him and the sitter and will let it all come out soon. (Editor's note- I asked OOP about this. See the comment below.)

BIL decided that he didn't want to continue the marriage and spoke to lawyers and while they were preparing the documents she was with my parents. He used to meet her outside every weekend where Mila dropped her (Rhu) at the park and picked her up in the evening, but she wanted to show us all that he never cared so didn't mention these and had told Rhu not to say a word (Rhu confirmed).

Anyway court dates have been given and we are discussing custody and visitation between our lawyers and Mila broke down and said she needs help. She will be going to do intense therapy with a colleague I recommended and then BIL says we can discuss partial custody.

I, in the meantime am seeing my therapist as well. I have also agreed with my sister that she will not be receiving an allowance, she has applied for a part time job now and will be contributing to rent. I however will be sending my parents an allowance because I want my mom to retire. And for Rhu, her dad will be taking care of her expenses.

BIL is also going to sponsor Mila's therapy sessions since he believes and feels he had a part to play in her spiraling as well. But they both agreed to divorce since it was toxic. I still believe Mila can work it out after she does some therapy, but that is my opinion and I am going to see how she changes.

I am sorry this is not nicely or neatly written but my head is a mess and I am writing whatever that I recall. TIA for all of you and your strength.

Sources: Reddit
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