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Wedding Woes

Does the past justify his actions?

Dear Prudence,

I have a friend, “Melvin,” who used to be my neighbor. Melvin lost both parents by 13 and was raised in a situation where an uncle sexually assaulted him. He doesn’t work, he doesn’t drive, and he manages to supplement his disability income with “under the table” work, which he’s never told me what that is, and I don’t ask, although I have suspicions. He also supplements it by using people around him. I am one of those people. I drive him to the store, have paid for his groceries, buy him dinner when we go out, and give him advice when he asks for it on how to better manage his credit and finances. I watch him spend money he doesn’t have on things he doesn’t need in his obsession of trying to one-up people around him. He has a dog, “Pumpkin,” that he set some social media pages up for and has a sizable following. He’s rented a P.O. box where followers send him money and gifts. This bothered me, but I figured it’s not my business.

What bothered me was when he set up a GoFundMe. The last time Pumpkin was at the vet, he found she had a cyst and a cracked tooth. He couldn’t afford to take care of it and called me to see if he could squeeze money out of me. I didn’t take the bait. I felt bad, but I knew I’d made the right decision. After the surgery, he posted on his dog’s page, “Thanks for donating, now we know who our friends are.” I was so offended by this, mostly because he absolutely had the cash to fund his dog’s procedures himself. He just chose to spend it on his champagne lifestyle instead. Another neighbor recently blocked him because of her version of everything I’ve mentioned. I came to the realization that if she isn’t putting up with it anymore, why am I? How do I extricate myself from this situation with some grace? Melvin hasn’t contacted me in several weeks, but I’m trying to prepare for when he does.

Re: Does the past justify his actions?

  • I don’t understand how people can be so spineless. You don’t like Melvin and don’t want to help him. So just don’t. 
    short+sassy
  • Stop engaging.   Melvin is at best someone who needs therapy and at worst, is someone who has refused to be accountable for his actions.

    If you feel that this person is actually a friend and has redeeming qualities then use your words.   

    If you feel that any friendship you had was one sided then stop engaging and let it blow into the wind like that feather at the end of Forrest Gump. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I don’t understand how people can be so spineless. You don’t like Melvin and don’t want to help him. So just don’t. 
    Ditto this. It's not that hard. If he contacts, just say "I no longer wish to continue this relationship". The end. 

  • I don’t understand how people can be so spineless. You don’t like Melvin and don’t want to help him. So just don’t. 
    Ditto this. It's not that hard. If he contacts, just say "I no longer wish to continue this relationship". The end. 
    Yes on all of this.

    But then, it might be more fun for the LW to suddenly have some bad luck financially.  Like, "Melvin!  So good to hear from you!  It has been awhile."..."Lunch and you want me to take you to the grocery store?  Sure!  I don't mind taking you to the store, but you'll need to fill my tank because it's empty and I don't have money for gas.  Can you also spot me for lunch?  I've had a really rough time of it lately.  The IRS levied my bank accounts for unpaid taxes and I've maxed out my credit cards just paying for my basic bills."

    I think Melvin will disappear like the wind, all on his own!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdomMissKittyDangerkerbohl
  • Childhood trauma causes a ton of real physical & emotional pain that can last WELL into adulthood. But it isn’t carte blanche to act like an ass.

    If Melvin can’t drive there are of services for people with disabilities, if they can’t get groceries Instacart. But you do not have to be a fixer for someone who isn’t also trying to fix their situation either. 
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • I have a friend who had a truly horrific childhood. She said to me once about another person who would blame all their bad behaviour on her parents: "Your childhood may have been wonderful, or your childhood may have been terrible, but your childhood is over. You are an adult now, and you are in charge of your actions". It is one thing to say: I recognise this is not ok behaviour but I am working on it and I would appreciate some leeway. And quite another to say: you all need to let me act however I want because I had a terrible childhood. 
    This reminds my of a quote .... I can't remember specific wording, but the basic idea is - it's not what happens in your life, it's how you use it
    OurWildKingdom
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