Dirt poor relatives


#1

I just found out that one of my close relatives is living in a one room shack with her small children and husband. They have no running water (they have an arrangement with a neighbor for toilet use) and use a woodstove for heat. They have a small refrigerator and use a microwave for cooking.

It’s one of those bad situations in which the couple continually makes stupid choices. In particular the husband is very contentious and lacks a lot of common sense. The wife (my close relative) is very, very passive and does whatever he says. The husband has some limitations (he can’t read and has poor social skills–adult ADD), but also indulges in poor morals at times, esp. lying. He also keeps his wife isolated (but, she goes along with it–very passive) and won’t allow her to see her parents or go to a Catholic Church.

I dont know if I should send some money to her in light of their poor choices. Or, if I should stay uninvolved. My primary concern is that if she receives some financial help, it will just prolong the marriage (which is an invalid marriage–second for her, third for him). I just want her to take the kids and go home to mom and dad.

Anyone have experience with relatives in this kind of dysfunction and in poverty?


#2

Yep - a cousin. They've been doing the same thing and getting the same results for over 15 years. It's hard to believe.

I have a question similar to yours - when does "help" cease to be "help" and start to "hinder"? All I can think of is that it can't be wrong to help in any way you can and pray...


#3

sometimes there is not much you can do..... helping with money may only enable and encourage the bad descision making and encouyarge them to stay as they are.

what may help is offering them rides to places where they can get help. such as literacy classes, employment, social services, AA (if needed) and other places where they can take the steps to imporve their lives and condition.


#4

Best to arrange food and clothes, and maybe some toys for the children, to go to them perhaps, so that the money isn't a temptation for waste...?
And prayer of course.
It's distressing though, that your relatives...or anyone...live in such poor conditions.


#5

You might contact a woman's shelter and ask for advice. They have experience with people who stay in conditions that should be unacceptable.


#6

[quote="Orchanian, post:5, topic:179274"]
You might contact a woman's shelter and ask for advice. They have experience with people who stay in conditions that should be unacceptable.

[/quote]

May I also suggest contacting Catholic Family Services in their area? Or Title 1 for the homeless if that state has one. Or either in your own area asking for phone numbers in their area so you can give those numbers to the wife.

And I agree......... clothes, toys for the kids.


#7

perhaps a grocery store gift card? warm clothes?
I'll pray for your cousin's family!


#8

Giving this family hope and some level of unconditional acceptance is one way to help. Seek to build trust. I would provide a simple Christmas for the children and food for the holidays. Plus some clothes for the children and the wife and her husband, just so he doesn’t become jealous of everyone else. Get your relative a prayer book of some sort, even a small one that she can share with the children.

I would offer to watch the children so that the husband and your relative can go out together, even to a movie. See how they handle this. It might be good for you to take the children in to your home in order for this to happen.

If this is a neglectful situation, or abusive, you are required to report it. Also, are the children getting their medical and dental check ups? Those shots are very important, particularly when the children start school.


#9

I agree with Trishie’s words and would just add…
be there for the female relative as an ear to listen.Offer a home to her and her children if things don’t go well with husband and her.
Pray for them all.
It is very difficult I know. I know people in this situation.All you can do is offer prayers and love and “be there for her”.If she wants to talk listen and show love and concern.
Offer to take the children out if you cant afford movies or eating out make some sandwiches and take them to a park or to your home for dinner on a regular basis.
That way you are being a caring relative especially for the children. God bless


#10

I just started reading a memoir called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. She grew up in a family like this. I'm only 80 pages in, but it's a fantastic read.


#11

Help them if you have the means. That is what Jesus would do.

Pay to have the water turned on, work with other groups in town if you need to. Basic sanitation is important.

Help them get signed up for public housing (hud.gov)

Let the kids see what real family love is.

Something.


#12

My relative lives two hours away and won’t give me her address. I send her things via her fil. I went down to see her this summer. I had to meet her in the middle of town in the rain in a parking lot. I tried to get the couple to let me take them to lunch. But, the husband said I could go to the drive through for them if I wanted. I asked her to bring the kids so I couldvisit with them, but she didn’t…

btw, it’s my sister.

I guess I have no power here. I wish I could stop worrying.

The kids are getting their medical care


#13

Wow - I am sure thinking about their living situation is heartbreaking for you. I suppose all you can do is keep trying and keep praying. Will they take grocery store gift cards or anything like that?


#14

[quote="leonie, post:12, topic:179274"]
My relative lives two hours away and won't give me her address. I send her things via her fil. I went down to see her this summer. I had to meet her in the middle of town in the rain in a parking lot. I tried to get the couple to let me take them to lunch. But, the husband said I could go to the drive through for them if I wanted. I asked her to bring the kids so I couldvisit with them, but she didn't...........

btw, it's my sister.

I guess I have no power here. I wish I could stop worrying.

The kids are getting their medical care

[/quote]

Oh my goodness I am so sorry for you.I am so close to my sisters I cannot imagine letting them
live in unfit conditions.As long as you keep on trying by offers of help,you are being a good sister.Are you allowed to be a doting Aunty? You could take the kids out for a treat (even to your house) maybe for overnight/ a weekend.Keep praying for your dear sister who is not seeing things from the same perspective as you regarding her kids and lifestyle.God bless


#15

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