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What advice to give a friend

(70 Posts)
Beckett Sat 11-May-19 11:25:25

I am at a loss at how to advise friends. Their son is in a band and they have supported him since he left full time education at 17 - he is now in his early 40s. They bought a property which he lives in rent free and they pay all the outgoings. They have now retired and feel they can no longer support him to the extent they have been. They spoke to him and suggested he get a part time job so he can make a contribution towards the outgoings of the property. He immediately went into a melt down and accused them of trying to sabotage his career as he needs to be free to do gigs (he does one or two gigs a year usually in Germany and the cost of getting there is barely covered by what he earns). He is refusing to speak to them, although he did turn up at their house and dump his washing in the middle of the kitchen before stomping off again!

My immediate reaction was that he is a spoilt entitled little shit however my friends obviously love him and are at a loss as to how to proceed. So I am turning to the wiser heads on GNs for advice

silverlining48 Sat 11-May-19 12:15:11

Trouble is he feels entitled because your friends have always let him get away with it. He needs to get a job and pay at least something if not all, towards rent and bills. He’s a middle aged man not a child. It’s not helping him if they allow this to carry on.
Dirty Washing should be put back in a bag and left outside and if he doesn’t speak to them, he will if they refuse to give in. He
Agreeing with you Beckett. Enough is enough.

Sara65 Sat 11-May-19 12:20:11

We have friends in a very similar situation, it drives their other children mad, well I say children, they’re all in their fifties! But the man in question has just been diagnosed with a potentially serious illness, so I’m sure he’ll just go on taking, till there’s nothing left to take!

fizzers Sat 11-May-19 12:20:11

At age 40+ he should've been fending for himself years ago, not reliant on ageing parents, they have to get a back bone and tell him enough is enough.

Blinko Sat 11-May-19 12:26:35

This should have been nipped in the bud at least 15 years ago. Time to put a stop to this over parenting. The son's taking the proverbial!

ninathenana Sat 11-May-19 12:27:19

I would definitely dump his washing outside. Bringing your washing home to mum and asking nicely is bad enough at his age but to dump and run is beyond rude and would be the clincher for me.
As silverlining says he feels entitled. I would tell him, enough is enough. We have done all we can for you, now it's time you started behaving like an adult.
He may well distance himself (in someway he already has) but as their relationship isn't good anyway would that be preferable to the stress and drain on their purse that he is at the moment.
Sad really.

Charleygirl5 Sat 11-May-19 12:36:16

What is he going to do when his parents are no longer around to pander to every whim? As for the dumped washing, that takes the biscuit. Does he have any siblings?

NanaandGrampy Sat 11-May-19 12:38:43

If I was being flippant I might say they are getting off lightly if he does not speak to them !

I have never heard the like of it - a grown man in his 40's being totally supported by his parents....I wonder if they would like to adopt me ???

Quite frankly , this man/child needs to know that the gravy train has stopped, don't worry about a part time job- get a full time one like people do who have to support themselves. Charge him and rent and give him his laundry back !!

Tell your friends love is sometimes tough and its time they showed their child some. They will not always be around and he needs to stand on his own 2 feet.

Nannarose Sat 11-May-19 12:38:51

I'm sure we had this scenario before (maybe there's a lot of entitled musicians out there....)
I do think one issue is 'notice'. If someone has, however unreasonably, been supported for years, of course they are going to be annoyed when it is withdrawn!
So so I'd advise your friends to give notice - enough time for their son to find a part-time job or similar. 1-3 months sounds reasonable - and no nagging during that time. Then put up with the tantrum that belonged 20+ years ago.
I book acts for our local music festival - I know how little musicians earn, I know how grateful most of them are to family who offer 'back up' and I also know the part-time jobs they do to survive, and the difficult decisions they make (one fabulous band won't be returning because they couldn't make a living and have gone back to the day jobs, with only the occasional local gig)
As for you - just remember that your friends may just want to moan and not actually want advice!

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 12:40:35

Some people like keeping their children from being independant in this way. Don't assume that the situation is not mutually beneficial in a twisted dysfunctional way

I know parents like this, in one example one of the children did leave the paid for home (10 mins from parents house) and moved away to give a proper career a good shot. A really good shot. When it failed the AC was devastated but the parents were positively gleeful! Excitedly talking about how they would "get them back"

I have also seen it cause marraige problems in other families when one side uses money to keep a level of control and involvement in the couple/young family.

Another friend I know has one sibling out of 3 that the parents "support" like this. But what they have actually done is cripple and enable him. The other two were super independant and IMO they compensated for this by tightening their grip on the one they kept at home. The money they give him gives them a hold over him. Its actually really sad. I would go so far as to say its almost like a form of controlling emotional abuse: his mental health has deteriorated over the years but I remember him when he was a young man, he was capable but very easy going, he sort of slipped into the habit of staying home and it suited his parents at the time. Years later they decided that he was a problem and tried to get his siblings to take over his "care". They refused as he is an intelligent and amiable man, just stuck in an unheathy co-dependancy with his parents

It can be a form of control, you know. Funding someone in this way.

So your friends have suddenly decided they want out but they did create and maintain the situation in the first place!

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 12:49:11

They have done him an injustice too.

Just because he was the one taking the money doesnt mean they werent taking other things from him. Some people need to think they are needed, and some parents who are that way inclined struggle to step back when AC are adults, and like to think their AC cant manage without them so create this self fulfilling prophecy.

It can be a drip drip drip knocking away the ACs confidence to manage alone. Ive seen it happen in both the examples above. Setting their AC up to fail almost, then being there poised to swoop in and rescue them, often when they dont need it, but if the people around you keep telling you you cant manage alone, it sinks in and you begin to believe it!

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 12:52:58

I think the washing thing suggest the parents are as needy as the AC. Who does their kids laundry for forty years unless they are struggling to let go of their role of carer once their children reach adulthood?

My children managed their own laundry loads from 10! But then I do not expect them to be my companions and my occupation when they themselves are adults..

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 13:02:33

They spoke to him and suggested he get a part time job so he can make a contribution towards the outgoings of the property.

See. They don't want him to be independant . A part time job to help him stay in the co-dependant situation they created but can no longer afford to maintain is VERY different to encouraging him to be independant. They are not asking him to move out or contribute fully... just to do enough to maintain the status quo now that their income has reduced

I bet you they do not want him fully independant. They have created and maintained this role for themselves in his life and I bet they dont want to lose it!

Stay out if it. They dont want advice. They prob just want gushing praise about how good they have been to him and how grateful he should be. He is indebted to them that is for sure, but that doesnt IMO actually reflect that well on them as parents at all!

annep1 Sat 11-May-19 13:02:40

I'm sorry. I can't take this situation seriously. They can't be that stupid.

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 13:12:29

I'm sorry. I can't take this situation seriously. They can't be that stupid.

If anyone is a bit dim it's probably the son. He sounds like their pet project.

Sara65 Sat 11-May-19 13:14:42

I don’t think it starts that way, I agree with everything already said, but I think it begins because they want to be supportive, and once they start paying rent, doing washing, in the instance of our friends CLEANING THE FLAT!!! It’s hard to back track.

Their son also had a short relationship, and has fifteen year old twin daughters, they also feel responsible for them!!!

Lily65 Sat 11-May-19 13:16:52

It's too late. They have created an entitled man child. They should sell up and live in Spain.

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 13:25:23

It does though Sara

With these kinds of parents, when the ACs express that they are looking to move out and houseshare with friends etc, the parents arent IMO being "helpful" when they refuse to sit back and let them figure it out alone. They are being selfish. They dont want to not be involved.

E.g. when friends brother wanted to move out with mates, the parents sourced a family friends house that was for rent, then told their AC it would be rude to the family friend to not chose that one as it was all already being sorted.... they kept their fingers firmly in the pie so when it inevitably wasnt the fun houseshare with mates their son hoped it would be, they packed him up and brought him home.

It was all about them not wanting to be "redundant" as the parents of adults. Never about his needs IMO.

I have known him since childhood and his siblings share my view

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 13:28:23

The OPs friends dont sound worried about having maybe enabled their son to be so dependant on them. They just sound worried about how they can keep this dysfunctional situation going now that they are retired and cant afford to run two houses!

That sounds more about msintaining their interests than a normal caring interest in their son IMO

Sara65 Sat 11-May-19 13:39:57

I know what you’re saying notanan, and mostly agree, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about control, I think they just get into situations they’re too nice to get out of!

I think the adult children are pathetic, and really need to grow up, and stop taking advantage, but without a massive boot up the bum, that’s not likely to happen

So , unless the parents are ready to end this very one sided relationship, it’s more than likely to just drag on

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 13:59:43

I just don't think that you could slip into doing a non disabled child's laundry for forty years unless it was partially motivated by not wanting to let go of the more active type of parenting that you do when you have a small child!

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 14:03:34

I dont think it is one sided either. Both sides are having dysfunctional "needs" met. On the parents side it is remaining paternalistic and feeling indespensible.

If he suddenly didnt rely on them I think they would struggle with not being needed in such an involved way..

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 14:06:27

I think OP should just nod and make the right noises and think no more about it

Daddima Sat 11-May-19 14:07:05

Like Nannarose, I’m sure I’ve read about this scenario before. If he doesn’t have a job, can he claim Jobseekers’ allowance as a musician? I doubt it.
I wouldn’t worry about how to advise friends, I’m sure if this situation is real it either suits them or they know exactly what to do!

notanan2 Sat 11-May-19 14:10:44

Anyway, they want to continue with the set up, they just don't know how to afford it..