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msh's avatar

What should you do if a family member is dating someone who will cause the downfall and ruination of them?

Asked by msh (4255points) September 9th, 2015 from iPhone

Every family member, including their grown offspring, their best friends, etc. have told this particular family member to run- not walk away from this relationship.
This ‘beloved’ person is morally corrupt, really nasty and a mean, controlling individual. (I could go on.) But this family member is getting in so deep with ‘schnookums’ that they are turning a blind eye to some of the illegal activity going on all around this family member in the house where they live.
This awful person’s underage child, the child’s boyfriend and all the extra illegal and unethical activities the kids are also into, add more fodder for trouble.
This family member does NOT participate in these goings-on, but does not believe that just by being present- they will be charged also if a problem gets really serious. This family member was not raised to act nor be around such people. They have never, ever, acted this way before.
Any suggestions? Buy them a bigger shovel to make the hole they’re digging themself go faster? Ship them off for a stint in the French Foreign Legion ” to forget”. Or just watch on the sidelines and bite one’s tongue? This is so upsetting and frightening to all of us. Jellies?

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28 Answers

Magical_Muggle's avatar

Tell them… I honestly can’t think of anything else I would do, I would tell the person who is in the bad relationship, what you think… Sort of like Mr Darcy I am obsessed at the moment

BosM's avatar

This will create an uncomfortable time in your relationship but you need to educate them on repercussions of how this illegal activity may affect them. If the activity involves drug dealing could their home be seized? Will it endanger the occupants due to addicts showing up at all hours of the day or night like this?

Mimishu1995's avatar

I personally don’t know what to do, but I’ve witnessed (and am still witnessing) something like that right in my family. I have that cousin who was blindly in love with a classmate. It was clearly apparent that she wasn’t someone to be around with: her family led a lifetime of crime, they had no stable home, she was even around other men… The whole family knew that. But for some mysterious reason the cousin claimed that there was nothing wrong with her and they would make a perfect couple for life. He even quoted her mother, who claimed to have the ability to see the futute, as a proof.

Everybody except for his mom strongly objected to their relationship. Everybody actively tried to point out the truth and the consequence of the relationship. He ignored everything and soon even shunned anyone who spoke foul of his love. His mother was blindly supertitious and believed everything her mother told. The two eventually got married, much to the disappointment of the family.

And everything the family pointed out has been true: she talked him into some illegal business which doesn’t even profit at all, as an excuse to get all his money (the police busted them once but somehow he was the only one who took all the fall, nothing happened to her). He and his mother are constantly short of money and have to turn to my grandma everyday. He is now suffering from a disease but still clings onto her mother’s “prophecy” and use her handmade drugs. Still they don’t think it was their fault and actively protect the wife. The only thing my family can do is to shake their head and watch. My family has tried their best to pull him out of that relationship, but he’s just too dull to realize it himself. Some people are just too stupid to see logic.

Judi's avatar

The person is an adult. All you can really do is to be there to help pick up the pieces once they’ve been all used up and cast aside.
If they’re over 65 and you think she’s being taken advantage of you might be able to call a Adult Protective Services.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Unless you are god, you have no right to screw around with someone else’s life.

Cruiser's avatar

MYOB unless you want this person to hate you for butting in.

jca's avatar

I agree MYOB, unless you see that a child is being abused or neglected, then I’d call the authorities, or if an animal is being neglected (when I say neglected I mean abused or neglected), then I’d call for intervention from authorities. Otherwise, nothing you can do, really.

Silence04's avatar

I’d imagine this family member is fully capable of making their own decisions. Besides expressing your feelings about the situation, I’d let them live their life how they choose.

keobooks's avatar

The problem with cases like that is many times, the more people tell the person the guy/girl is toxic and bad for them, the more they will cling to them. I don’t understand why this happens, but for some reason, the more they get told that it won’t work out, the harder they will try to make it work.

I’d just be neutral, but draw boundaries like, if the person is obnoxious to your family members, don’t allow him to come over to your house, but don’t go into detail why they can’t come over. If the family member starts complaining all the time about their bad treatment, tell them you don’t want to hear about it unless they want help leaving the relationship. Don’t give advice otherwise.

Be careful. You don’t want to make your family member cling tighter to this bad person.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Exactly what was said above. I had something like that going on in my family and all you can do is warn, inform and explain and then back off. The person involved has to see it with his/her own eyes and nothing anyone else says will awaken him/her. The more you say the deeper you dig the roots in. Hopefully their good upbringing will guide them in the right direction. I do feel for you, it is like knowing a house is on fire and your family member is inside but you can do nothing to help.

Coloma's avatar

By insisting this person take your advice you are being controlling as well.
We must free people to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Let it be, the more you push the more the other person will rebel. Everyone is free to make their own mistakes.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Like a train wreck, it is better to watch from afar than to be an active participant.

Everyone has stated their case.and the advice was ignored. Now it’s time to sit back and watch the fireworks. Stay far away so you don’t get hit with any fallout.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Since you said everyone has tried to talk to her already, and she isn’t listening, all you can do is stand by. Don’t rescue her more than one time, though.

Judi's avatar

It’s important not to alienate them so they feel safe coming to you when they need a way out.
When my sister was 16 she found herself pregnant. This was in the early ‘70’s and she basically had a shotgun wedding. When things got really hard and abusive in her marriage she felt like she didn’t have any place to turn since she had “dissapointed” the family.
Don’t be “that” family member. Be her safe place when she needs you where she won’t get “I told you do.”

SmashTheState's avatar

You and the rest of the busybodies can keep your fucking nose out of this family member’s affairs. If it’s a mistake, then it’s his or her mistake to make, and to learn from. It’s arrogant, selfish, and obnoxious to insert yourself into someone’s social life, unsolicited, and attempt to throw spanners into it because you deem it unacceptable.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”C.S. Lewis

Judi's avatar

I never heard that quote before. Awesome.

Zaku's avatar

Illegal activity? Time for anonymous tips? While I appreciate SmashTheState’s (and C. S. Lewis’) sentiment, there are some behaviors which impact others. I don’t know the details, but I’ve been in relationships where other people’s family and their crazy relationships were causing horrible effects on everyone’s lives, particularly the young people. So, I’d say it really depends on the actual details of the situation. Hurting yourself is one thing, and may not be others’ business, but messing up an entire family (and others) is something else.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It could be this person is ignorant of the possible consequences of being around illegal activities. They probably won’t listen to a family member, but maybe if you could get someone from the Public Defenders office or the DA’s office just to talk with them so they’re informed. They might listen to someone from one of those offices. Otherwise, you’ll just have to be there to help pick up the pieces when reality strikes.

JLeslie's avatar

If you say something, I suggest saying, “if I was dating someone who <fill in some of the bad crap the person does> what would you think of the relationship?” Try to get them to step outside of themselves and be more objective. If they can’t do it, then just leave it alone probably.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Don’t preach or give advice, because your family member wants none of that, won’t listen, and will just get angry and defensive. Be there when everything falls apart, and be the best friend and relative ever. When the time comes, refrain from saying, “I told you so,” because that’s the last thing he/she will want to hear. “I told you so” is the verbal equivalent of rubbing salt into a fresh wound.

rojo's avatar

Before you jump into the middle of this you need to heed the words of Lazarus Long: “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes you time and annoys the pig”.

Haleth's avatar

“Nasty and controlling” could easily turn into abusive. If you try to get your family member away from their S.O., they may only dig in their heels further. Controlling and manipulative people will often try to distance a partner from their family while chipping away at their self esteem. If you warn the family member about their SO, the SO may use that as ammo. “See, I told you @msh doesn’t trust me. S/he doesn’t understand what we have, etc. etc.

It’s hard to get someone away from an SO like this. The best thing you can do is tell your family member- repeatedly- that you are there for them, and ready to help them if they ever want it. When your relative is ready, they will take you up on it.

wsxwh111's avatar

Literally NONE of my business. It’s their life, they deal with what they want to do and what comes in return.

wsxwh111's avatar

I care about them. But telling them who should they be with? OMG. No one in the world can do that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If it were only that easy.

JLeslie's avatar

@wsxwh111 Sometimes it does become the families business when it’s bad enough that they need money, or a place to stay when everything falls apart, all sorts of shit can disrupt the family when one member makes really bad choices.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly. Or they have kids, helpless kids, who you love dearly, in the middle of that god awful mess. It’s just not that easy to say, “Meh. You’re on your own.”

JLeslie's avatar

Typo: family’s not families.

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