FAMILY FREELOADERS- PART 3
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THE FAMILY FREELOADER
16 WAYS TO SPOT A CON
Schnorrers and freeloaders are very astute, lifelong students of human nature. They are extremely observant of any little “tell” in your behavior that will let them know that you are a potential target. They are adept at figuring out just how to approach each situation to make it pay off for them, and how to push your buttons to get you to give of your time and money. Schnorrers also have common traits that we can be alert for:
1. Whatever the problem is, if it is not an outright lie, then it will be greatly exaggerated. They will tell you they have a fever of 105, but, strangely enough, they will not go to the doctor, much less the emergency room where anyone else with such a high fever would go. If you tell them you’re going to call an ambulance for them, they will suddenly and miraculously start feeling better.
2. If you ask a straight question, you will never get a straight answer. You will get plenty of vague, evasive answers, diversionary tactics, and contradictions. Before you’ve been enlightened, you might give them the benefit of the doubt and not pursue your questions. But once you know enough to look for it, nothing ever seems to add up or make sense.
One week they will tell you the doctor said something drastic, and the next week they will forget what they said the week before and tell you the doctor said something completely different. One week they will tell you they have to go for a biopsy, and then when you ask how the biopsy went, they will look at you as if you had two heads, and tell you it was “only” an MRI. If you wait another week and ask how the results of the MRI were, they will again look at you as if you were crazy, and tell you it was “just a bloodtest”. Their attitude will be that YOU must have misunderstood, not that THEY ever said something different.
3. Many schnorrers are what we laughingly refer to as “Toppers”. No matter what problems you have, they have even WORSE problems. If you’re getting tested for cancer, they will have the same symptoms, or worse. If YOUR headaches are migraines, THEIR headaches are from a brain tumor. They’re notoriously poor listeners and have absolutely no empathy for others. No matter what crisis you might be going through, as soon as you start to tell them about it, they will always change the subject back to themselves. It’s automatic, a conditioned reflex.
They’re so used to whining about themselves that they’re almost incapable of having a conversation that’s not about them. Ask for prayer, and they won’t even hear you. They’ll just start talking about their own problems and how they had, or have, the same thing or worse. When they’re “sick”, you will be guilted into calling, checking on them, babysitting or picking their kids up at school, maybe even dropping off chicken soup. But when YOU’RE sick, they will conveniently ALSO be sick- too sick to even pick up the phone and see how you’re doing. They will always be SICKER than you, and they will always be POORER than you.
4. Be alert for the veiled threat or implication that you will regret it if you don’t bail them out. When a normal, hard-working, self-supporting person says “I don’t know what we’re going to do if we can’t pay these housing prices. Aunt Sally says it’s so much cheaper in her state, but I’d hate to be that far away”, you can take it at face value. But when a schnorrer says it, he’s blackmailing you. He’s implying that if you don’t either subsidize his rent or let him move in with you, he just might have to move out-of-state, and then you’ll never get to see him, or your grandchildren, again.
5. Schnorrers are great at hinting. But if you fail to take the hint, they rarely give up. They’ll just word it another way and try again. Notice repetitions of the same basic complaints, although they might be presented differently. Be aware of someone who is constantly kvetching about something. One week it might be the price of oil, the next week, having no money for food, the next week, being worried about the overdue electric bill. The list is endless. By repeating various versions of the same sob story, over and over again, the schnorrer is CONDITIONING you to believe it, and to respond.
6. Putting on a great performance is crucial to the ability to live off other people indefinitely. A freeloader will have a wide variety of approaches when it comes to making you aware of her needs. One week the broad hint might be accompanied by a shrug and a smile, the next week by a worried frown. It might be a direct statement, or it might be very indirect.
At a gathering, the freeloader might sit in a corner with her eyes half closed and her shoulders slumped, yawning every now and then (This is her throwing out the hook). When you mention that she looks tired (Uh-oh, you’re taking the bait), she will tell you she hasn’t been sleeping well lately (Giving you a little line). Trying to show a little Christian concern, you will ask why not. Gotcha. (Yikes. Have you learned nothing yet? You’re burying yourself, here!) And then she will reel you right in. Her eyes will fill with tears as she tells you they’re about to turn off her power, disconnect her phone, and repossess her car, and she has no idea what she can do….(Sigh, meaningful look, long silence…….)
You will feel terrible, and reach for your wallet or checkbook. She’ll protest, “No, no, that’s not why I told you. You don’t have to do that….” But you’ll insist, and she’ll sweetly thank you. And then that night she’ll go out and buy herself a new laptop, and stop at Starbucks on the way home for a $5.00 cup of coffee.
7. A schnorrer can be downright depressing to be around. You’ll be afraid to greet him normally and ask “How are you?” or “What’s new?”, because you will get laundry list of complaints, ailments, and sob stories. You’ll avoid letting him know about anything you might be going through, because he’ll either blow you off or add to your stress and depression, instead of being encouraging, helpful, and uplifting. Even if you’re feeling well and happy, he’ll bring you down. A schnorrer is a real buzz-killer. He will force you to avoid him just to keep your own spirits up.
8. Your relationship with a freeloader will always be one-way. When she needs a favor, she will ask outright, or hint pathetically till you take the bait and inconvenience yourself for her. When you need a favor, she will be nowhere to be found. Her phone will be off-the-hook, because, of course, she’s not feeling well, and spending the day in bed. She’ll ignore you, or change the subject back to her sad-sack stories and tall tales. Or she’ll look at you with genuine shock, stunned that you might actually expect her to return a favor and help you out for a change. You must have misunderstood. She doesn’t DO favors. She doesn’t GIVE, she just TAKES. What are you thinking? You should know this by now.
9. Freeloaders use emotional blackmail. If you don’t take the hint, they will become resentful, start being cool toward you, and maybe even stop calling you for awhile. They might DEMAND that you bail them out, or never come right out and ask, instead , just telling you what their “needs” are and maneuvering you into OFFERING. They are manipulative, conniving, deceitful, needy, suffocating, negative, draining physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially, and will suck you dry but never give anything in return. Not unless there are strings attached.
10. Watch out for contradictions. You may spot an incongruency between what they say and what they do. With a schnorrer, things just don’t add up. One week they might tell you they don’t have enough food in the house to feed their kids, and yet the next week, they’ll sign up for premium cable and buy a new high-definition TV.
Freeloaders usually do not work actual jobs, or at least not full-time 40-hour weeks. They “can’t” work, because they’re SICK. However, they don’t seem to have a problem playing sports, traveling all over the place, having hobbies that require some amount of physical ability, or getting pregnant repeatedly and running around after four or five little kids that they supposedly can’t afford and don’t have the energy or health to care for. They only have a problem with WORKING.
11. They do not freeload off of just one source. They have numerous ways of getting money without actually earning it. They will systematically work their way through everybody in the family, and then start in on neighbors, friends, and church folk. They play the system, researching and studying every little in-and-out of unemployment, disability, workmen’s comp, welfare, social services, WIC, and anything else that will give them FREE money, rent, food, or medical care that YOU paid for via your taxes. Then to add insult to injury, they will hit you up for even more money. Brushing away tears, they will tell you how they had to send their daughter off to college with no money for emergencies, how they cannot afford Christmas presents for their children, or how they can no longer afford to keep their home and will have to move or be out on the street. Then they will repeat whatever crock they tell you to a few dozen other people they think they can score from. On second thought, maybe I should take back what I said about freeloaders never holding down full-time jobs. Done professionally, freeloading IS a full-time job.
12. A clever schnorrer will be sure to mention when someone else helped him out, even if it was decades ago. He will be so humbly grateful to that person and God that he just has to give credit where credit is due, and let you know about the other party’s generosity and kindness. But showing appreciation to the other person isn’t the freeloader’s true motivation. He is playing to the “herd mentality” in human nature. He knows that everyone wants to be part of the “group”. Giving the impression that others view him as a legitimate charity case or a worthy cause gives him credibility, and makes YOU more likely to give him money or do favors for him, also.
Think of the little girl selling way overpriced gift wrap for her school fundraiser. The first people to put their names on her list and “buy” from her are her parents. They realize that potential customers are more likely to buy when they can see that other people bought first. Think of passing around a petition. Those who have the most interest in it and wrote it up will be the first ones to put their names at the top of the list, knowing that you are more likely to sign, too, if you can see that you are not the first, and that others also support this cause. If other people think the schnorrer deserves to be “donated to”, then you’re going to look like Scrooge for not agreeing.
13. When you give advice or suggestions to help the schnorrer avoid or solve a problem, take note of how you’re received. Are your ideas welcomed? Does she listen and take you seriously? Does she act on what you suggest? Or does she blow you off without even considering it, and give you a million lame excuses why your advice would never work? If a good, honest, hard-working, responsible friend is out of a job, and you tell him you heard that the local mill or restaurant is hiring, he’ll be down there first thing in the morning to fill out an application. But a schnorrer won’t even bother. He’ll ignore you, tell you why that job won’t work out, “forget” about it, or even pretend that he took your advice and applied for the job, but wasn’t hired. The last thing a freeloader wants is to get a job. That would ruin everything.
Even though you think you’re trying to help, a freeloader will never listen to anything you say. He does not want you to give him ADVICE on how HE can earn a living. He doesn’t want your suggestions on how he can make wiser choices, cut corners, or save money. He wants YOU to GIVE him the money. He’s cutting out the middleman. Why should he get off his rear and work hard for his money, when he can “putter” around the house all day, wasting time, and get the money YOU worked hard for? If you think the freeloader really wants you to help him finish his education, find a job, or cut his expenses, then you haven’t been paying attention. He wants your MONEY, not your advice.
14. Be alert to “needy” relatives who are secretive and hiding their true lifestyle. These people will go without certain things to make it look to outsiders like they are suffering. They might drive an old wreck, but somehow be able to afford yearly ski trips or exotic vacations. They pretend to have no money for food, and then you overhear them admit that they never cook at home- not that they can’t afford it- but that they eat out in restaurants or get take-out almost every night of the week. Or better yet, they pretend to be too poor to buy food, but have no problem spending thousands a year on beer and cigarettes, and maybe even lottery tickets. They claim not to be able to afford clothes or dental appointments for the kids, but it turns out they have no problem playing golf twice a week. They tell you every other sordid detail of their pathetic lives, but THAT they don’t tell you. They try to hide it. They might slip up after a while, or you might catch them, but otherwise you’d never know.
For appearances sake, they will keep up the act- riding a bike because they “can’t afford” a car, not painting the shingles or keeping up with the yard work, maybe going so far as to wear old clothes. They will whine about having to enroll their children in Head-Start because they can’t afford the local preschool. But when September rolls around and the kids are not going to Head-Start, you’ll find out that they’re not going because they’re NOT eligible, because their parents HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY. Someday, you might even find out the REAL reason they ride a bike is that they got their license revoked for DWI and CAN’T drive a car. Con artists don’t tell the truth. They’re always lying, hiding things, and covering up.
This is why they will hint around to be invited to dinner or for a holiday at your house, but they will never reciprocate. Their blinds will be drawn all day and all night, so if you happen to be standing on the porch, you will not be able to see inside. If you knock on their door, they won’t answer, or they’ll peek out but won’t invite you in. They won’t be “dressed” in the middle of the afternoon, or they won’t be feeling well. If you call first and make arrangements, perhaps to drop off something for them, they won’t even make you a cup of coffee, and they’ll be visibly uncomfortable till you leave. They don’t want anybody looking around inside their home, because they are HIDING something.
15. Keep an eye-out for inappropriate or excessive defensiveness. If they dress well and wear nice, new clothes, they will be sure to cover it by telling you someone “gave” them that dress (and all their other dresses), or that they bought it in the thrift shop for $5, or that they got their income tax return just in time to buy some new shoes before they would have been forced to go barefoot. They can be very quick to try and explain away anything new or nice you might see them with, because they’re afraid you’ll stop believing their hard-luck stories. If you compliment your schnorrers, do you get the kind of response you would get from normal people who have nothing to hide, like “Thank You”? Or do you get a wacky, nonsensical, pre-rehearsed explanation tailored to avoid giving you the “wrong” impression- which in this case, is really the RIGHT impression- that your relatives CAN afford everything YOU can afford. Clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, cars, hairdresser appointments, and everything else normal people treat themselves to. But, hey. Why should they pay for it themselves if they can fool YOU into paying for it?
16. Their “problems” will never have a solution or come to an end. There will never be a time when they get on their feet financially. Their mysterious illness will never be cured, their vague injury will never heal, their doctor will not believe them or not be able to help them. Everybody will always “be against” them, or continually “misunderstand” them. Whatever the problem is that’s supposedly preventing them from being able to carry their own weight, support themselves, and take care of their own responsibilities, it will be chronic and ongoing, with no end in sight. Unless you put a stop to it, you have every reason to believe that you will be supporting them forever.
A HEARTWRENCHING DILEMMA-
WHY DO THEY PUT US IN THIS POSITION?
There is nothing quite as distressing as being taken advantage of by someone we love. When a family member puts us on the spot, it is painfully difficult to say “No.” And our schnorrers know it, too, which is why they keep targeting us.
The guilt of turning down a loved one’s request for assistance is tremendous. Our freeloaders can make us feel as if our family loyalty, our character, and our very Christianity are in question. With family schnorrers, we have to prove ourselves over and over. If at any time we ever turn down a favor, suddenly we will no longer be the kind, caring, generous, good person we always were. Now we will be a selfish, miserly, greedy, mean-spirited, tightwad. How could we refuse to devote time and attention to the narcissistic sad-sack who always has all these problems! How dare we keep the money we worked hard for all to ourselves, instead of sharing it with the family bum!
Nothing we do will ever be enough. Once the freeloader pegs you for a soft-touch, she will hit you up for cash or favors on a regular basis. You will literally be subsidizing her lifestyle, even if you have to sacrifice your own needs to do it. It will never end. I know people in their 60s who still live off other people. The schnorrer will never grow up and stand on her own two feet. She will never learn to solve her own problems. She will never set goals for her life and work hard to reach them. She will never learn responsibility, self-control, or self-discipline. She will never set the alarm, get up every morning, get dressed, whether she feels good or not, and go to work for a full day, five days a week, to support herself, like everybody else does. Until we stop the gravy train, she has no need to.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR VERSUS SUPPORTING A BUM?
THE SLUGGARD’S CRAVING WILL BE THE DEATH OF HIM, BECAUSE HIS HANDS REFUSE TO WORK….Proverbs 21: 25 NIV
GO TO THE ANT, YOU SLUGGARD; CONSIDER ITS WAYS AND BE WISE! IT HAS NO COMMANDER, NO OVERSEER OR RULER, YET IT STORES ITS PROVISIONS IN SUMMER AND GATHERS ITS FOOD AT HARVEST. HOW LONG WILL YOU LIE THERE, YOU SLUGGARD? WHEN WILL YOU GET UP FROM YOUR SLEEP? A LITTLE SLEEP, A LITTLE SLUMBER, A LITTLE FOLDING OF THE HANDS TO REST- AND POVERTY WILL COME ON YOU LIKE A BANDIT AND SCARCITY LIKE AN ARMED MAN….Proverbs 6: 6-11 NIV
I WENT PAST THE FIELD OF THE SLUGGARD, PAST THE VINEYARD OF THE MAN WHO LACKS JUDGMENT; THORNS HAD COME UP EVERYWHERE, THE GROUND WAS COVERED WITH WEEDS, AND THE STONE WALL WAS IN RUINS. I APPLIED MY HEART TO WHAT I OBSERVED AND LEARNED A LESSON FROM WHAT I SAW….Proverbs 24: 30-32 NIV
Scripture is very clear on what is to become of a bum. No where does it say that we should bail him out. It says that he will pay the price for his laziness. Sluggards will get exactly what they deserve- nothing!
Of course, God wants us to help the poor, the sick and the disabled. The Bible is full of instructions to be charitable and generous with those who are disadvantaged. Kindness and a loving heart are things we want to cultivate.
But who is really poor, sick, and disabled? Who is really unable to take care of themselves? Who really needs help?
Take an afternoon and visit the cancer ward of your local hospital. Bring some joy to the patients, and while you’re at it, learn what someone who is REALLY sick looks like. Check out the Alzheimer’s ward in your local nursing home, or the rehabilitation ward for amputees or brain-injured veterans in your nearest VA Hospital. Learn what someone who is REALLY disabled is up against.
Want to learn about people who are dealing with true disasters? Take a little jaunt through post-Katrina New Orleans, or any of other the numerous areas all over the world that are hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, and floods every year. Or check them out online. Think of what it must be like to have no drinkable water, no place to go to the bathroom, no medical care or medicine. Look at the grief and devastation on the faces of those who lost their entire families, or those who can’t find their children.
Want to see some REALLY poor folks? Next time you take a vacation, plan a road trip through Appalachia. Take a good look at the houses people are living in, many without electricity or indoor plumbing. Look at the children, who don’t even have shoes to protect their feet. Or go to any big city and focus on the homeless people, who sleep in doorways in the rain and snow, often go to bed hungry, and have no shelter where they could be safe from the risk of violence, assault and death .
Yes, sisters, THESE are the people the Lord is talking about when he tells us to help the poor, visit the sick, and feed the hungry. He is NOT talking about your perfectly healthy, well-fed, nicely dressed, lazy good-for-nothing brother with the wide-screen TV, cell-phone, lap-top computer, and $135 monthly premium cable bill, who is living above his means and thinks he’s so special that he shouldn’t have to work, and that you and everybody else should pitch in and continue supporting him in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.
While most of us are familiar with Scriptures that instruct us to help the unfortunate among us, not everyone realizes that the Bible also addresses the issue of malingerers and those who are idle. They are not looked on too kindly, and we are certainly not told to help them remain idle and useless. In fact, Paul tells us that if a man will not work, he shall not eat. No mollycoddling there!
Proverbs 31 describes the traits of a wife of noble character, and most of the verses refer to how hard-working she is: SHE SELECTS WOOL AND FLAX AND WORKS WITH EAGER HANDS. SHE IS LIKE THE MERCHANT SHIPS, BRINGING HER FOOD FROM AFAR. SHE GETS UP WHILE IT IS STILL DARK; SHE PROVIDES FOOD FOR HER FAMILY AND PORTIONS FOR HER SERVANT GIRLS….SHE SETS ABOUT HER WORK VIGOROUSLY; HER ARMS ARE STRONG FOR HER TASKS. SHE SEES THAT HER TRADING IS PROFITABLE, AND HER LAMP DOES NOT GO OUT AT NIGHT….SHE OPENS HER ARMS TO THE POOR AND EXTENDS HER HANDS TO THE NEEDY. WHEN IT SNOWS, SHE HAS NO FEAR FOR HER HOUSEHOLD; FOR ALL OF THEM ARE CLOTHED IN SCARLET….SHE MAKES LINEN GARMENTS AND SELLS THEM, AND SUPPLIES THE MERCHANTS WITH SASHES. SHE IS CLOTHED WITH STRENGTH AND DIGNITY; SHE CAN LAUGH AT THE DAYS TO COME…..SHE WATCHES OVER THE AFFAIRS OF HER HOUSEHOLD AND DOES NOT EAT THE BREAD OF IDLENESS………..Proverbs 31: 13-15, 17-18, 20-21, 24-25, 27 NIV.
Notice that the wife of noble character is expected to give to the poor. An interesting question is: Does our freeloading relative ever give to anyone else? Isn’t she expected to give to the poor? Why does she think these scriptures only apply to us? How many checks does SHE write to charity? How many favors does SHE do for other people? How many times does SHE visit the sick or help out someone in need? How come she thinks WE HAVE TO DO what she herself is not willing to do?
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul tells us what is expected of us, and that he is teaching the people a good work ethic by setting an example with his own behavior: IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE COMMAND YOU, BROTHERS, TO KEEP AWAY FROM EVERY BROTHER WHO IS IDLE AND DOES NOT LIVE ACCORDING TO THE TEACHING YOU RECEIVED FROM US. FOR YOU YOURSELVES KNOW HOW YOU OUGHT TO FOLLOW OUR EXAMPLE. WE WERE NOT IDLE WHEN WE WERE WITH YOU, NOR DID WE EAT ANYONE’S FOOD WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT. ON THE CONTRARY, WE WORKED NIGHT AND DAY, LABORING AND TOILING SO THAT WE WOULD NOT BE A BURDEN TO ANY OF YOU. WE DID THIS, NOT BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUCH HELP, BUT IN ORDER TO MAKE OURSELVES A MODEL FOR YOU TO FOLLOW. FOR EVEN WHEN WE WERE WITH YOU, WE GAVE YOU THIS RULE: “IF A MAN WILL NOT WORK, HE SHALL NOT EAT.”
WE HEAR THAT SOME AMONG YOU ARE IDLE. THEY ARE NOT BUSY; THEY ARE BUSYBODIES. SUCH PEOPLE WE COMMAND AND URGE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO SETTLE DOWN AND EARN THE BREAD THEY EAT. AND AS FOR YOU, BROTHERS, NEVER TIRE OF DOING WHAT IS RIGHT.
IF ANYONE DOES NOT OBEY OUR INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS LETTER, TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF HIM. DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH HIM, IN ORDER THAT HE MAY FEEL ASHAMED. YET DO NOT REGARD HIM AS AN ENEMY, BUT WARN HIM AS A BROTHER…..2 Thessalonians 3: 6-15 NIV.
Wow. There’s a switch. Freeloaders try to make US feel guilty and ashamed, for setting limits on them and not giving them the money or help they ask for. But Paul says that THE IDLE ONE should feel ashamed, for not earning his keep, NOT US. We are told to warn him, and then to avoid him and not associate with him.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, WE URGE YOU TO WARN THOSE WHO ARE LAZY. ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO ARE TIMID. TAKE TENDER CARE OF THOSE WHO ARE WEAK. BE PATIENT WITH EVERYONE…..1 Thessalonians 5: 14 NLT.
WHATEVER YOU DO, WORK AT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, NOT FOR MEN, SINCE YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE FROM THE LORD AS YOUR REWARD. IT IS THE LORD CHRIST YOU ARE SERVING…….Colossians 3: 23-24 NIV.
SIX DAYS YOU SHALL LABOR AND DO ALL YOUR WORK, BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS A SABBATH TO THE LORD YOUR GOD. ON IT YOU SHALL NOT DO ANY WORK, NEITHER YOU, NOR YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER, NOR YOUR MANSERVANT OR MAIDSERVANT, NOR YOUR ANIMALS, NOR THE ALIEN WITHIN YOUR GATES. FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, BUT HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY…..Exodus 20: 9-11 NIV.
The Ten Commandments don’t say to rest for six days, and only work for one. They say to WORK for six days a week, and only rest ONE day out of the week. God himself worked six days and only rested one day. Why should our lazy relatives rest all week? Are they better than God?
Of course we should help out family and friends when there is truly a need. But we have to distinguish between someone who has a real crisis or a genuine hardship that couldn’t be avoided, and a chronic malingerer. Unlike truly poor or disadvantages folks, schnorrers create their own problems, because they’re spoiled, narcissistic, conniving, lazy bums. And they can un-create them, too, if they want to badly enough. Hey, we ALL have aches and pains. That doesn’t make us too “disabled” to hold down a job. Enough, already! Go take an aspirin and get to work! We should not throw good money after bad by repeatedly giving it to someone who has no intentions of ever working an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s pay.
LETTING IT GO IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER
BUT IF ANYONE DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR HIS OWN, AND ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD, HE HAS DENIED THE FAITH AND IS WORSE THAN AN UNBELIEVER…..1 Timothy 5: 8 NKJV.
Well, that seems pretty clear. It is NOT our responsibility, after all, to support the family parasite and HIS family as well. WE are NOT supposed to worry about feeding HIS children. HE is. Schnorrers are to provide for their own. WE are not the ones being “un-Christian” when we refuse to support SOMEONE ELSE and their household. The freeloader is the one who has DENIED THE FAITH when he does not provide for his own.
There are over 2000 scriptures which mention WORKING, earning one’s keep, and providing for one’s own family. We’ve all heard the old saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” In the Bible, idle people are looked down on, admonished, and shunned. The people in the Bible worked long and hard to earn their keep. It was expected of them. Hard work was respected and desirable, and hard workers were admired. This is the meaning of the phrase “Protestant Work Ethic”. There’s nothing wrong with doing an honest day’s labor for your pay. It’s not a BAD thing, it’s something to be strived for and attained.
We need to set limits on our freeloaders, and use tough love. We need to grow a backbone, completely ignore their hard-luck stories, and develop a talent for pretending that we never even heard their broad hints. This is the only way to teach them not to expect anything more from us. We need to let go of the guilt they try to induce, and just shrug it off. No matter how pathetic the story, no matter how miniscule the amount of money they want, no matter how insignificant the favor seems, and no matter how Oscar-worthy the performance, we need to get in the habit of saying “No” to absolutely EVERY request coming from those who use us and take advantage of our good natures. No exceptions under any circumstances.
The best way to do this is to train yourself to become immune to the schnorrer’s hints and pathetic performances. Learn to see it coming. From the very first instant the conversation starts to turn toward the schnorrer’s problems, force yourself to flip off that switch in your head that’s telling you to pay attention to her. Whenever she even starts to mention money, food, babysitting, or favors she needs, condition yourself to mentally blank out, and to keep your wallet and your mouth shut. If you want to continue being hit up forever for money and favors, then you can take out your wallet or checkbook, or agree to do whatever she asks of you.
But if you’re ready to take a stand, you must MAKE NO MOVES toward your purse, and you must NOT acknowledge that she expects you to bail her out again. DO NOT give any helpful advice or make any suggestions. She is not going to do anything you suggest, anyway (She never has, has she?), because she doesn’t WANT to solve the problem. She’s getting a lot of mileage out of it. Also, when you make suggestions or give advice, it implies that you are still willing to take ownership of HER problems and the responsibility for coming up with solutions to them. That’s sending the wrong message. It is not YOUR job to solve HER problems, and that’s what she needs to learn. You must not take the bait.
Taking a stand calls for a different mindset and different reactions from us. We also need to prepare in advance and rehearse ahead of time some “Oh, well” responses to the pity ploys that will inevitably come up in our future relationship with our family parasite. We need to retrain our own thinking, so that our first response is no longer sympathy, and we can fight off the urge to jump in and help. Start by repeating these affirmations to yourself every day, and especially before you know that you’ll be seeing your schnorrer:
1. “It is not MY job to solve HER problems.”
2. “Failure to plan ahead on HIS part does not constitute an emergency on MY part.”
3. “By jumping in to help, I am doing more HARM than good. I am actually HURTING her, because she is never learning to deal with life’s little setbacks on her own.”
4. “HE creates all his own problems, and HE CAN fix them anytime he wants to.”
5. “If he needs gas money, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he needs a place to stay, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she needs somebody to babysit her kids, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she is too “disabled” to work, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she can’t afford heating oil, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he can’t find a job, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she wishes someone would give her the money to send her kids to private school, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he wishes somebody would invite him for Thanksgiving dinner, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she’d sure love it if someone would do her chores or errands for her, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he needs a new car, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he can’t pay his electric bill, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If he needs surgery, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
WHATEVER the problem is, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”
Once you have mentally prepared yourself to be in the presence of your schnorrer without automatically feeling responsible for solving her problems, you can rehearse a few noncommittal, neutral, and not particularly helpful responses for when she tries to drag you into her latest sob story. If you just can’t bring yourself to say “No”, or “Sorry I can’t help you”, then practice the same type of vague, indirect response you get from HER when YOU ask HER for something:
1. Smile vaguely and put a sympathetic and understanding expression on your face.
2. Nod your head as if in agreement with whatever it is she’s complaining about.
3. Open your mouth and pick one or any combination of the following:
“I know what you mean. We’re having trouble making ends meet, too.”
“Yeah, times are tough for everybody. I sure hope things get better soon.”
“Yep. I remember when our kids were that age (Or “I can only imagine what it must be like to have kids that age”.) They sure can be a handful.”
“Don’t worry, it can’t last forever. Things will start looking up soon.”
“I know exactly how you feel. We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun, that’s for sure.”
“Sorry to hear it. But I’m sure you’ll work something out.
“You know, I’ve always admired how you always manage to land on your feet. I know you can do it again.”
“Well, you’ve been down this road before. I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do.”
“I have complete confidence in your ability to handle this.”
“Oh, that must be so difficult. We’ll be keeping you in prayer.”
4. Repeat as necessary, but DO NOT show the slightest interest in HELPING. If the schnorrer persists, say “Excuse me, I have to go”, and hang up the phone or leave the room.
Whenever you feel yourself weakening and feeling sorry for your family freeloader, remind yourself sternly that you are being CONNED. We owe nothing to someone who repays our love, kindness, and generosity by playing us for fools.
Copyright 2002-2013.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues.
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships. We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.