Manipulation And Guilt
During my family member’s addictions, they would often resort to begging for money from me, presumably for alcohol. They’d plead and I’d say no over and over - but sometimes it would be easier to give them a few dollars just to make them stop asking. But when I did give them money, they would frequently quickly forget, so that the next time I said no they’d respond with something along the lines of “but we’re family, you never help me out,” etc etc.
This kind of cycle can really take a toll on you. You feel guilty when you don’t give them money because they make you feel that way, but you feel guilty when you do give them money because you feel that you’re enabling them.
Learning My Lesson
Eventually, though, you have to learn to say no and mean it.
Even now that my family members are in recovery, they haven’t yet fully gained back the responsibility and independence that they need. Sometimes, they still rely on asking others for unreasonable things in order to get what they want. Now, I’m often asked for money for cigarettes. But I’ve learned to say no when it counts. Saying no is often more about the necessity of standing up for yourself rather than the request itself.
Still Being Able To Say Yes
I love being generous with my family when I’m able to, and consistently help them as best as I’m able. But I remember to take care of my needs first, and remember that it’s important for everyone to learn to be responsible for themselves. They may get upset at first, but in the end saying no can be what’s best for everyone.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Intern Maggie
If you have a family member who causes you distress, click on the link below for a free resources to locate addiction and mental health providers near you.