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(63 Posts)
celebgran Sat 22-Dec-12 10:11:13

Got to get this off my chest, I befriended a girl when I was at college 4 years ago who I did not realise was an alcoholic,sadly her mum died (she was adopted) and of course I supported her all I could.
She was not able to finish the course, due to drink problem etc.
She is single mum.
The council have given her a lovely 2 bed house, but she allowed her partner to live there so benefits were cut not unreasonably.
We visitted yesterday with voucher for little boy and presents.
I felt awful yesterday due to panic attack ref our sad situation overnight.

To my shock she had not even written us a xmas card, did not offer us a drink and I felt she just wanted us to dump presents and leave, I do not wish her any harm, but it will be the last time!
While we were there:
Social worker called with money for her and a hamper of goodies, excuse me her partner is working full time!! I just felt embarassed for her that she could lap up all these freebies!
before social worker visit she was showing us an expensive food parcel she had orderd for her Dad.
I guess it is a classic case of funds being misused!
I have tried my best to support her, even attending case conferences with her when her son was at risk, but think time to draw a line!
I do feel for her little boy.

MrsJamJam Sat 22-Dec-12 10:29:59

What a difficult situation for you. On the one hand you want to do the best for the little boy who is growing up in less than ideal circumstances, but on the other it certainly looks as if his mother is taking whatever she can lay her hands on and is not thinking of anyone but herself.

Probably keeping your distance is a good strategy, because your first responsibility is to your own health and strength.

The world seems to be divided into the givers and the takers.

Movedalot Sat 22-Dec-12 10:47:18

Oh celegran you have helped her and done your best but just been used. MrsJ is rightsad I saw a girl on the news last night who was being given a food parcel and I wondered how much it had cost her to have her long afrocarribean hair straightened and blonded. Perhaps enough to feed her child for a week?

A food bank is about to open here and I wondered what reaction I would get if I offered a pamphlet with recipes for feeding a family very cheaply. DH said it would not be acceptable but there is the old saying 'give a man a fish...............'

gracesmum Sat 22-Dec-12 12:03:27

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give him a fishing rod and with luck he'll be away all weekend?
Sorry, not being flippant. Celebgran you have been kind and alas found out that there are some selfish exploitative people out there. This family will survive and you won't change them.
I am sorry you have been let down, but you need to move on. It is a hard lesson and can leave a bit of a bad taste, but save your kindness for more deserving people. flowers

Movedalot Sat 22-Dec-12 12:09:49

Hadn't heard that one grace like it! grin

Some of us go through life being trusting and then get trodden on time and time again but I prefer that to being suspicious and cynical about everything. Don't change celebgran stay as you are, a lovely person. smile

petra Sat 22-Dec-12 12:11:13

I was like you for years. Giving strangers a bed for night, giving homeless people a warm coat and many many other examples. I was sometimes given a kick in the teeth.
My DD would go on at me and tell me not to pick up every waif and stray. I learnt my lesson some years ago and now I look at people differently and take a step back before I rush in. And I have to say: I feel better for it.

vampirequeen Sat 22-Dec-12 13:21:30

You've done the right thing but it's now time to pull back for your own peace of mind.

Many people with drink problems are takers. They don't see that they're doing anything wrong.

Helping people is all well and good but you must protect yourself first.

Grannyknot Sat 22-Dec-12 14:49:24

Oh dear. I read a bit out the paper this week to DH which said if it wasn't for a food parcel the single mum in the article's Christmas lunch for her and her family would have been beans on toast (actually I was saying to him, I don't believe that's true). DH drily replied "I bet she has a mobile phone and a flat screen TV". Which then set me off reminiscing about the fact that I grew up without a telephone in the house. If we wanted to phone anyone, we walked to the "tickey-box" or we would walk to my grandparents' house, who did have a phone in their later years, and politely ask permission to use it!

vampirequeen Sat 22-Dec-12 15:17:43

When I first escaped a friend gave me her portable tv. It was small but served it's purpose for around 3 years until I could afford to replace it with a bigger but still budget version.

When I told the children in my class that I was excited because I was going to get a 26 inch flatscreen they looked on me with obvious pity. It was just before Christmas and that year several of them were getting 40+ inch televisions for their bedrooms some even plasma (I still don't know what that means lol).

Expectations of possessions seem to be far higher these days.

nanapug Sat 22-Dec-12 16:06:12

Sadly I think the youngsters of today think they are poor when they truly are not. I can remember when we had to sell the lead we had taken off the roof when it was re-tiled, just to feed the family 'till the end of the month (we got £5 for it) but we didn't think of ourselves as poor. I was happy to buy children's clothes from charity shops, and I certainly never had my hair done or nails etc. I cut my OH's hair (and still do) and we managed just fine, in fact we were very happy. Neither did it enter our minds to claim any sort of benefit.
I know I sound "old" speaking like this, but compared to the war years we were very well off and my Mother used to tell me so; so I suppose things change each generation

POGS Sat 22-Dec-12 16:40:18


Perhaps now you will judge such people and their stories with a little bit of caution. That is so sad as you are obviously a decent person. Remember you are not the one with the problem. People become very crafty and are not in the least bit ashamed to do what they do. They know how to play the system and I'm sorry to say play on others emotions to their benefit.

I do think a reality check every now and then is not necessarily a bad thing. It sounds as if your 'friend' is getting plenty of help from the system so I would try and let go knowing she is well and you have no reason to continue contact with her.

I would urge you to stick to your guns because at a later date she may just try to involve you in her life again, that's what people who use others do I'm afraid. I've been there, done that and got the t.shirt as the saying goes.


glammanana Sat 22-Dec-12 17:32:40

Earlier on in the year DD joined a group of young mum's at the local community centre with the view of showing them how to cook meals etc from scratch and to budget their money,DD has always been good in the kitchen and always fed the children homemade meals and cakes.
Of the dozen or so girls who first turned up for the course after 4/5 weeks there where only 4 left who showed any interest,and the stupid thing was that when they first started the classes the girls where about £20/25 a week better off by cooking from scratch they obviously could not be bothered to continue.
celegran I think you can only help people so much then step away there are givers in this world but an awful lot of takers seem to be appearing and they know the benifits system inside out.I would just keep a quiet eye on the little boy if possible and let your friend fend for herself from now on,and don't forget to take care of yourself.

celebgran Sat 22-Dec-12 21:10:58

thank you ladies, very sound advice!! I am f book friend with her so will keep subltle eye open, but my OH AND ME still reeling from her attitude of take take take!!

I did know what she was like but was fond of her and tried to hope she would settle, I tried to tell her about having her partner living there and she lied to me and said was above board. Quite a few of the other Mums at school are on to her and do not hesitate to grass her up I feel that is vindictive, but must admit she probably asks for it.

I am keeping a distance now!!

We gave her our 3 piece suite when we got new one so at least the little one has comfy chairs, I have been good support to her, and in her own way she has tried to be kind to me but this last year has been take take take, agree is time to step back"

POGS Sat 22-Dec-12 21:17:59


I feel sorry for you but you know your right. [fwine]

carol123 Sat 22-Dec-12 22:23:56

when I grew up my mum had food and toy parcels from the Salvation Army, the Catholic Church and the Welfare lady (social services) every Xmas. It was a godsend to her as she was really poor living on National Assistance money as it was then. My dad had left and she was bringing up 3 children on her own. Now that was real poverty not like they think of poverty today. Our clothes came from jumble sales, we didnt have a fridge or a washing machine and tea was often banana sandwiches or mash peas and gravy. Shopping was on the book til payday at the corner shop. But my mum did save enough for a week in a caravan every year for us to have a holiday.

Deedaa Sat 22-Dec-12 23:01:46

I used to have a friend about 20 years ago who had 5 children and no husband. She lived on benefits and did some part time work too. She was in the habit of buying fridges, TVs and washing machines on HP then she would make a few payments and then stop. When the items were repossessed she would replace them from another shop. She always assured us that no one would put her in prison as she had small children - and no one ever did. The thing that annoyed us was that she kept on boasting that she was raising all her children single handed - our feeling was that she was doing it on our hard earned taxes!

CHEELU Sun 23-Dec-12 00:08:22

Celebgran you as a human being have done your best, you have been very kind to the girl but she has not appreciated it...alcoholics do get themselves in bad situations and become bad people, maybe that is what has happened here. As others have said its the poor little boy that I feel sorry for, bless him..

CHEELU Sun 23-Dec-12 14:34:09

The Benefit system is not really a good one IMHO, people that need it don't get it and people that are healthy and could go to work do..our friends neighbor had to apply for Benefits after becoming seriously ill, when he was assessed he was told that he was not entitled to any help, he later died just weeks after being refused help.. that man paid NI all his life..

There used to be a man sitting begging near a shop I use and one day I asked him why he was not at work, I said to him you are a young healthy man you have something to offer the world why do you choose to sit and beg, I said to him I am 50 but still I work.

I no longer give money to beggars because they spend it on bad things, They I will usually just buy them a sandwich and give them that instead of cash..

FlicketyB Sun 23-Dec-12 16:59:08

Some people are just leaches. About thirty years ago my aunt and uncle befriended a young family at church. My A&U were childless and somewhat other worldly and as there were 6 children in the family and they had a simple stripped down lifestyle my A&U mistook this for poverty despite both parents being teachers. Over about 15 years my relations bought the children clothes, paid for courses, even gave them money and, despite being non-drinkers always kept a bottle of the father's favourite whisky in the cupboard, which I was expected to get duty free for them when I went to France.

Being same age as said family DH & I could see through them. They lived in an expensive house that suggested a very large deposit or a very large mortgage and their 'simple' living was more style than poverty. After my aunt died, when my uncle was struggling on his own, they never went near him. When he became ill and needed to go into care I had a lot of contact with his neighbours, all asked whether this family had been near him and when I said not, all confirmed what I had long believed, that they were leaches who recognised a good opportunity when they saw it and just cut my uncle out of there lives when they realised the gravy train had stopped. I estimate my A&U probably spent well over £30,000 on this family over the years, money that would otherwise have gone to a local charity.

terryb Thu 23-May-13 13:22:29

I used to work at a local factory, that shut down in 1989, I went out and got another job (less money and more hours) and trimmed my lifestyle accordingly , however my 'Friend' refused to take a job for less than he was earning, and went on the social.

As he was renting his house and had 2 children living at home, he asked for (and got) benefits, over the years (he has never worked again), he has boasted about how easy it is to 'Milk' the system, and he runs a car, has a holiday every year, and always seems to be able to go out for a drink.

A while ago, speaking about living costs, he told me that I was a MUG for working, and looking around, I think he may have been right!.

I am now retired,and because I have always looked after my money, apart from my government pension, I am not entitled to any benefits as I have 'Too many assets'.

Am I a Mug- Yes - I believe I am.

glammanana Thu 23-May-13 13:29:05

terryb you may think yourself a mug but at least you can hold your head up proudly I know that doesn't help you financially but I know who I would rather be.

whenim64 Thu 23-May-13 14:21:46

terry you remind me of bentley and Frank/hunter. Do you all know each other by any chance? You three men write about the same money, benefits, housing, pension issues.

FlicketyB Thu 23-May-13 16:59:36

whenim64, I think you are being less than fair, terryb's comments reflect the tone of other of other postings on this thread and his attitude is not gender driven.

I had a friend who worked all her life to get from a disadvantaged childhood to a secure and well paid job. However around 2002 she was made redundant four years short of retirement and simply could not get another job at a comparable pay. As she still had a mortgage she decided to sell up in the south and buy a house for cash in a northern port city she knew from many decades before. She could then take any work that kept body and soul together because she had no mortgage or rent to pay.

Unfortunately her new next door neighbours were the same age as her and hadn't worked since the man was made redundant from his job as a docker in the late 1970s. They too just milked the system, which can be done. They too thought she was a mug for working and continuing to look for work even after she drew her pension. She in her turn, reached a state where she couldn't even speak to them because she found their state of complacent welfare dependency so repellent.

Goose Thu 23-May-13 20:24:18

It's strange finding this thread today as I've been seething over the situation I'm in. I was asked by a friend if I could temporarily take in his son and girlfriend for a while because the shared house they were going to live in fell through.
Neither of them work - he's 35 and she's 24. They've both been on benefits of some sort virtually since they left school, and are currently claiming long term Incapacity Benefit for depression, amongst other benefits.
They've been here 4 weeks (thankfully they go this weekend) during that time they haven't done any washing, cooked anything in the gas oven (everything's cooked in the microwave) dirty crockery's left's like living with a couple of moody teenagers. They claim they're too poor to pay me anything, yet can order delivery pizza's (which I wouldn't dream of doing). The icing on the cake came last week when they mooched off for an hour, victoriously returning with a large cardboard box of food from the local Food Bank - non of yer 'value' stuff either, it was more tin salmon that Pot-Noodles! This was after sending out for a pizza the previous night (costing around £12). I get less money than they do but in all honesty wouldn't dream of using a food bank...but I wonder what the criteria of these Banks are? I thought they were for families, not single, childless people.

shysal Thu 23-May-13 20:33:24

Goose, you are a saint! They have such a cheek, it is time they had a reality check and grew up! What a shame your friend could not have fed and entertained them, just asking you to let them sleep at your place if he had no room. You will breath a sigh of relief next weekend (all being well). sunshine