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Question
Posted by: Carmen | 2010-02-26

What to do ... ?

I am 32, married with 2 young children. I am the oldest of 5 kids –  3 of us are self-sufficient, one in gr 11(half-brother) and one a student. My parents got divorced when I was 16 because my dad had an affair. He later married the woman and the gr11 boy is their child, living with him. My dad’ s second wife passed away 10 years ago. My dad is a highly qualified engineer with an MBA and has refused to do a proper salary paying job for over 12 years now. He refuses to “ make other people rich”  and is trying to “ make billions”  by inventing something great. He stays at home and spend all his time inventing and building things which he can never sell and time and again, and over and over again he runs into serious financial problems and expects others (family and friends) to bail him out, e.g. pay his bond, buy food, pay the gr11 school fees and so on while he still has DSTV and IDSL lines and so on. He has never done his part to raise any of his children financially. My mom was responsible for all of us –  even for his 5th child after his wife died. So –  now we are at the financial crisis again, once again my dad is depressed about money, does not have money to buy food, refuse to go do a normal salary paying job, cannot pay school fees and stands a chance of losing his house. He is threatening to commit suicide because he does not have money and makes everybody around him feel guilty and pity. However –  this time round all of us have now had enough of this and refuse to try and save him again. I am at the point where I really do not care if he loses his house and commits suicide because I am starting to get angry. Why should all of us go to work each day to earn a normal salary and then support him that refuses to work or sell his huge house, even if he has all the qualifications and skills to be able to support himself. This time round –  no-one is willing to give him money and I don’ t blame anyone. I feel sorry for my little brother and will help him but what do I do about my dad? I have my own family now and I feel they are my first priority and any money I give him is just wasted into this deep hole of debt and this cycle is repeating itself every year or two. Am I wrong to feel this way and refusing to help him yet again? Btw –  my own mom is a psychologist and she says that she believes he is a psychopath.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its sad that one so often hears of people like your dad, with talent, intelligence and skills, who refuse to take a well-paying job, despite their obligations to others, and persist in a magical belief that they will make a fortune as an entrepreneur or inventor despite showing no real talent for that. He's refusing to make HIMSELF rich, not other people.
He has failed to meet any of his obligations to his family and children, and expects others to bail him out.
At least the people around him should refuse, out loud, to feel guilty for the inevitable results of the decisions HE alone insisted on making. And though he may in the end decide to harm himself, he should be told not to blackmail others into paying for his mistakes, but to be a man, get a job and start paying his expenses.
I wonder ( and you'd need a legal opinion on this )whether it might be wise to explore whether he should be declared bankrupt, or incompetent to handle his own financial affairs, so when the large house is sold, the money is invested and used wisely to support his child and pay his debts, and is controlled to prevent him from wasting it.
Isn't it also possible for you and others in the family to help support the poor boy, WITHOUT giving any money to the irresponsible father ? Someone could pay his school fees directly, and get him clothes as eneded. And if the father loses the house and could be homeless, child welfare could be asked to step in, and perhaps attange for him to be fostered, either with kindly strangers or with others in his own family.

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-02-26

Its sad that one so often hears of people like your dad, with talent, intelligence and skills, who refuse to take a well-paying job, despite their obligations to others, and persist in a magical belief that they will make a fortune as an entrepreneur or inventor despite showing no real talent for that. He's refusing to make HIMSELF rich, not other people.
He has failed to meet any of his obligations to his family and children, and expects others to bail him out.
At least the people around him should refuse, out loud, to feel guilty for the inevitable results of the decisions HE alone insisted on making. And though he may in the end decide to harm himself, he should be told not to blackmail others into paying for his mistakes, but to be a man, get a job and start paying his expenses.
I wonder ( and you'd need a legal opinion on this )whether it might be wise to explore whether he should be declared bankrupt, or incompetent to handle his own financial affairs, so when the large house is sold, the money is invested and used wisely to support his child and pay his debts, and is controlled to prevent him from wasting it.
Isn't it also possible for you and others in the family to help support the poor boy, WITHOUT giving any money to the irresponsible father ? Someone could pay his school fees directly, and get him clothes as eneded. And if the father loses the house and could be homeless, child welfare could be asked to step in, and perhaps attange for him to be fostered, either with kindly strangers or with others in his own family.

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