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When does helping someone become interference

(67 Posts)
Nellie17 Fri 08-Jun-18 10:26:32

I have been visiting my 94 year old aunt since she was widowed 4 years ago. I didn't visit much before then as her husband was not a pleasant man. My aunt and I have lovely chats over tea and she often asks my advice about money and health matters. I check things out for her and give her the best advice I can. My aunt has a daughter who is single, no children and retired and she lives a couple of hours drive away. There is no other family. Last week when I visited my aunt her daughter (my cousin) was there. We all chatted happily for an hour or so and as I got ready to leave I said I was now going to visit my brother. I was shocked when my cousin said to me: you are going to tell him how to run his life now, are you? I truly thought I was helping and I had no idea that my cousin thought I was interfering. I am deeply hurt and now do not know whether to ignore it all or avoid visiting when my cousin is there or tackle her about it. Fortunately my aunt did not hear the comment but she has often said that my cousin will not help her with things like her paperwork and benefits. AIBU to expect my cousin to at least be polite? I don't want any thanks. I enjoy my aunt's company.

Ilovecheese Fri 08-Jun-18 10:33:37

I think I would avoid visiting when your cousin is there. You think you are helping, she thinks you are interfering. If you tackle her about it, she is not going to change her mind, and you might be putting your Aunt in a difficult position, as she may feel she has to take sides.

I'm not surprised you were a bit hurt, but I would let it go.

Nanabilly Fri 08-Jun-18 10:45:25

Seeing as you did not visit aunt before her husband passed away I am thinking that your cousin is wary of your visits and wondering if you have suddenly arrived on the scene because you are after benefiting when your aunt passes away. I can see where cousin is coming from and maybe you should take some time alone with cousin to explain why you did not visit and also explain that ain't asks You about financial advice and it's not you prying into her finances.
It's a tricky one unfortunately and i would try to get the cousin on your side and not at loggerheads.
Good luck

DanniRae Fri 08-Jun-18 11:05:22

In my opinion you helping out your aunt is making her daughter feel guilty because she doesn't do anything.
If you feel sure that your aunt appreciates all you do for her ignore her daughter's remarks. She can't be much of a daughter if she can't see how much her mum benefits from your visits.

OldMeg Fri 08-Jun-18 11:11:44

I’m with*DanniRae*. Hostile reactions like hers are probably born of guilt. I bet your aunt has been bending her ear about how good you’ve been to her!

Rise above it and carry on.

Greenfinch Fri 08-Jun-18 11:32:52

As you had all been chatting happily,could it have just been one of those sarcastic questions that the daughter thought was funny at the time?
I would just dismiss it and carry on as before.

Mapleleaf Fri 08-Jun-18 12:04:37

I think you would be wise to keep your counsel, as anything you might say could be and perhaps would be misconstrued by your cousin to suit her thoughts on the matter. Better to let sleeping dogs lie on this occasion.

jenpax Fri 08-Jun-18 12:44:57

I think your cousin feels guilt if she’s not being helping her mum and possibly insecure in case mum changes her will? tricky one probably best to not visit when cousin is there. I would be loath to tackle her as we don’t know how she might then be with your aunt! It will be difficult to explain the not visiting before to your cousin as I presume he was her dad and she may feel further offended

jenpax Fri 08-Jun-18 12:45:34

Been not being ?

BlueBelle Fri 08-Jun-18 13:17:05

Mapleaf is right that’s the best way

sassenach512 Fri 08-Jun-18 14:40:00

Sometimes people take you by surprise with their remarks and you end up passing it off when you later wish you had said something at the time. It's difficult to let something go which has hurt or upset you though isn't it? there is still that underlying jab from the cousin you feel will be left festering without clearing the air with her.

I think Nanabilly has the right of it. The cousin is feeling put out that you are doing what she should be doing and she sees you as the one who wasn't around before and now is there all the time. I think that bit of jealousy escaped as a parting shot.

If I was in your position, I would have to ring my cousin and assure her you only had your aunt's best interests at heart as your aunt was in difficulty (anybody else with a heart would surely have helped the old lady out) but that you don't want to tread on her toes at all.
I certainly wouldn't stop going to see my aunt if she looks forward to the visits just to keep cousin happy though.

It's just my opinion but I find ignoring underlying bitterness/jealousy in people doesn't solve the problem, I like to get things out in the open and sort it out and sometimes you find the problem you had with that person, wasn't quite as bad.

Nellie17 Sat 09-Jun-18 08:06:54

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I will visit my Aunt soon but at a time that I know my cousin is not there. Hope that is not too cowardly but I don't want to upset my Aunt at all.

BlueBelle Sat 09-Jun-18 08:14:41

I think that’s a wise move Nellie keep buttoned always best
The times I ve made mistakes in life is when I ve said things without thinking they could be taken any other way that the way I meant then

Eglantine21 Sat 09-Jun-18 08:52:12

Umm, Nellie, you don’t think that will possiblyconfirm her suspicions that something dodgy is going on, as Nanabilly said earlier.

I don’t think for a minute that it is, but I can see how it might look.....

Disgruntled Sat 09-Jun-18 09:06:06

Sounds like the green eyed monster to me. Mother/daughter relationships are often multi-layered, not straightforward, and perhaps she felt the need to say something spikey when she witnessed someone else getting on so well with her mother. Good luck.

Alexa Sat 09-Jun-18 09:06:39

Nellie17 , you are doing very well by your aunt. I think your help is very valuable to her. Your cousin was being defensive. She felt guilty that she was not or not able to help as you do.
I doubt if you can alleviate your cousin's guilt. It would be nice of you could but perhaps it's better to avoid her if you can, unless she changes her attitude.

Nain9bach Sat 09-Jun-18 09:08:14

DanniRae - I agree entirely. Carry on with your visits. It's your Aunt and your concern not her daughter. After all, if things were not right with your Aunt - how's her daughter going to find out. She is 2 hours away.

lollee Sat 09-Jun-18 09:14:32

I am sometimes struggling with the abbreviations used, could someone please explain AIBU? That said, I am ashamed to say I probably would have bristled at my good deed being disrespected in such away. I probably would have smiled sweetly and said something like "point taken, next time she asks for help with (whatever), I will give you a call and you can POP round", knowing full well it takes a couple of hours.

GabriellaG Sat 09-Jun-18 09:28:38

AIBU am I being unreasonable
ISBU is she being .....
If you Google the letters you will see the meanings. It took me a bit to understand but now I Google any I don't know...or ask Alexa. grin

Nannan2 Sat 09-Jun-18 09:49:41

Im afraid im outsooken so would have to say to cousin "well maybe you can help your mum now and again to sort out things?,she did ask you know" then left it at that.maybe you could visit your cousin at home so you can explain better why you didnt go visit when your uncle was alive and try get her to help your aunt more herself now shes retired?then your visits to your aunt can truly be for enjoyment of her company not as a benefits help service.

Nannan2 Sat 09-Jun-18 09:50:10

Ment outspoken.sorry.

Hm999 Sat 09-Jun-18 09:52:38

The answer to your question us circumstances, the relationship between the 2 people involved, the personalities of each of them, and possibly the ages (what might have been inappropriate when one of them was in their 20s may be appropriate when that person us in their 40s).
I suspect when she talks to her daughter on the phone, it's peppered with 'Nellie says...'

nipsmum Sat 09-Jun-18 09:53:30

Just put your cousin's remark down to her being s lonely crabby old spinster. You are doing the right thing, helping your elderly aunt. My sister looked after our elderly aunt until she died as the other nephews and nieces lived further away.

Hm999 Sat 09-Jun-18 09:56:32

Many of us are implying that cousin is not pulling her weight here, there's no evidence for that except she sounds fed up. In my experience that's the sign of one who is trying to do what they can. Having had friends trying to support from 2 hrs away, it's not much fun.

JanaNana Sat 09-Jun-18 10:03:11

I think I would phone your aunt first before each visit, and be tactful, and if her daughter is already there say I will visit you later in the week or whenever ...that way you will be giving your aunt another visit to look forward to without your cousin being present. It does sound like your cousin seems to resent the help you are giving her mother, and maybe feels a bit guilty that she should be doing more for her than she does. If she has never shown this side to her before then it probably is. Try and put it behind you and just enjoy seeing your aunt alone.