Dear Snarky – Manipulation is on the Thanksgiving Menu 🦃

Dear Snarky,

I don’t think I’ve been this disappointed or mad in my entire life. I’m 29 years old, have worked my ass off to get where I am professionally, and I just got taken advantage of by my family.

My stepbrother (almost 40) lost his job at the end of September. He has a wife and 2 daughters and my mom and my stepdad and then my stepbrother begged/guilted (he even cried) me to loan him $10,000 so he could pay his mortgage for a couple of months while he finds a new job.

I’m not adverse to helping out my stepbrother but 10 grand is a lot of money. Yes, I have money invested and in savings but again for me at my age it’s a big ask. But my mom and stepdad were relentless and made me think that his daughters would suffer if I didn’t do this.

After some thought I agreed to it but made sure I had my stepbrother sign a short-term loan agreement so there would be something in writing about repayment plans etc.

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mother about Thanksgiving plans and she drops the bomb that my stepbrother and his family won’t be at Thanksgiving because they just left for a three-week European tour of Christmas markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.


When I asked how in the f’ing hell they could afford a three week vacation to Europe when I was told they would be barely surviving without my ten grand my mom told me that my stepbrother decided this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for his family to spend three weeks in Europe due to him being not “being tethered to a job.”

I totally lost it. I asked my mom if this was his plan all along and the money he got from me was really a vacation fund and did she and my stepdad know this when they approached me for money.

 Then my stepdad got involved and tried to say the money was a gift and you can’t dictate how someone spends a gift. My mom just hopped on the gift idea and then they both tried to make out as being a huge Scrooge and a bitch. I would have talked to my stepbrother, but I can’t reach him due to the fact that’s en route to Europe. 

I told my mom I wouldn’t be attending Thanksgiving dinner because at this point I don’t want to see her or my stepdad and hung up the phone. Now my mom is calling me petty and telling me “to grow up.”

Do you think I’m being petty or do you think taking a hard pass on Thanksgiving is reasonable behavior? I feel like I’m totally justified to do this and I was invited to a Friendsgiving which sounds a lot more fun than being around my extended family.

Signed, Not Petty

Dear Not Petty,

Frankly, I’m still processing the fact that your stepbrother, a man 11 years older than you who cried to borrow money, is now on a three-week jaunt all over Europe with his family. Are you kidding me??? Also, I find it very odd that no one mentioned that to you until your stepbro and his family were out of the country. Hmm, shady much?

But as I marinate in rage here’s my short answer. Your family is a bunch of a holes and you should have zero guilt and stand firm in not spending Thanksgiving with them. Consider this step one is setting family boundaries.

Step two is letting it be known far and wide that you are out of the money lending business so no one moving forward should so much as ask you for a dollar to get something off the McDonald’s value menu.

Step three is enforcing the loan repayment plan you set up with your stepbrother. I would even have a lawyer send him a letter to that effect stressing that he signed loan papers thus rendering any suggestions that the money was a gift null and void. Do this asap because your step brother sounds like he has a long history of being a manipulative liar.

Step four is that you should start putting yourself first and go and have a blast at Friendsgiving. I also suggest that you might want to talk to someone about how your family dynamics have/are affecting you. Because I’m sure this isn’t the first time that your mom, stepdad, stepbrother etc have taken advantage of you. This needs to stop now and saying buh-bye to a family Thanksgiving is a giant stride towards better mental health and boundaries.


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