Can I leave my in-laws to starve? If they deserve it?


My in-laws are wonderful people. They met when he was out in the Air Force a few years later. A former aircraft mechanic, he was working in an auto body shop as a single father when he met her and quickly fell in love with her. A few years later, my wife was born. Now, many years later, my father-in-law is unable to work because of his physical health and my mother-in-law is unable to work because of his mental health. They think they will soon have some money miraculously, but most likely, they will be destitute for the next few years and expect us to support them fully. What are our responsibilities towards them? Currently, I have a pretty good income, I’m paying off some big debt quickly, and I’m just a few years away from being able to slow down at work and spend more time with my kids. I’d rather not work so hard and any money we make go to our kids and ourselves rather than my in-laws. am i selfish

To fill in some details, when they met, my father-in-law was in his mid-thirties and my mother-in-law was a babysitter of twelve or thirteen. After being kicked out of the Air Force for misconduct, he has been working “under the table” in the event of an arrest warrant for kidnapping his son in a child custody dispute on the West Coast. In fact, he had tried to kidnap his daughter as well, but got away when she ran back home to wake her mother up. Of his first six children with three different women, this kidnapped son was the only one he was willing to have a relationship with. He also (sort of) has an affair with his two last children, my current wife and her brother.

Well, as the story goes, my mother-in-law was a bit of a wild child. As I understand it, she wasn’t exactly the best babysitter, because she was smoking marijuana with her ward, who was only a few years younger than her. She became pregnant within a month of her fifteenth birthday, and they found a Southern country judge who was willing to marry them before the child came without parental consent. I gave birth to a second child, who later became my wife, a year later. Those early years were tough, and they could barely make ends meet. I dropped out of high school as soon as I was old enough.

Their first major breakthrough was insurance fraud. They burn their trailer and get a big settlement check. By this time, the husband was making good money at the auto shop and got his young wife an office job there. They supplemented their income by growing marijuana in the woods and embezzling from the auto shop. They had bought a large piece of the property in the woods and built a two-story barn on it. The plan was to build a giant underground house by the hill and stay in the barn temporarily. However, they had to change employers several times, which led to a significant decrease in income – maybe the embezzlement was discovered? I’m not sure… Anyway, they never built the house and only lived in the barn. And by barn I mean a building with framed walls but almost no slate, no bathroom, and very little insulation. Depending on the work, they sometimes made a lot of money, but it was spent on recreational drugs. Other times, they begged their parents for money to be able to carry on until the next month. They made some great friends during this time and had the honor of attending a barbecue at the “Grand Dragon’s former home”. Was it really the “Great Dragon”? I have no idea, because nothing of what they say is quite true… I don’t think they ever joined the KKK and they didn’t maintain any of those friendships.

Their next big chance was to gain access to his parents’ bank accounts. After the sudden deterioration of his father’s health, they began helping with daily tasks. Naturally, my in-laws thought they were entitled to their inheritance early and emptied as many accounts as they could. My in-laws sold their barn and bought a big house in town and all new furniture on credit. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. There were no criminal charges, but there was a civil suit. My father-in-law’s wife died of a heart attack while testifying against them. At the height of her testimony, she became so enraged that she collapsed and died shortly thereafter. Naturally, my in-laws lost the case and their new home. He never saw his father again before his death, although he had burgled his house. As far as I can tell, there is no remorse for the thefts or for indirectly causing his stepmother’s death, only anger at being “falsely” accused.

Marital problems overcame them. After repeatedly threatening suicide and murder, they separated. Children witnessed their parents begging for their lives while threatening them with guns, shooting at their cars, and other amusing dramas. Naturally, my in-laws put the children in the middle of a bitter divorce dispute, and had them testify in court. Both children chose to live with their father. Normally, he was indifferent to them and let them do whatever they wanted. Fortunately, he rarely hit my wife or her brother, unlike their older half-brother, who was beaten repeatedly in front of them until he lost consciousness. Living with their mother was even worse, as she alternated between kindness, emotional abuse, and intense anger at unpredictable intervals. Their mother never lets them make any friends and rarely lets them finish a full year of school without changing schools or dragging them to home school over disagreements with the teachers. But the divorce did not last long, as my husband’s family reconciled and they started living together again. But their relationship changed, and after that my father-in-law was never allowed to express a dissenting opinion to his wife. Increasingly he has become the haunted shell of man, following him everywhere like a servant. His eldest son left home as soon as he was old enough.

However, my future wife didn’t want to live with them either, but she wasn’t old enough to move. I was able to gain admission in an elite private school as a boarding student on a full academic scholarship. She didn’t have many friends, but at least she was finally free from her parents for a while… A year later, her parents moved closer to the school so she could live “at home” with them. Fortunately for my mother-in-law, her mother (“grandmother”) had saved money her whole life, received an inheritance, and was willing to sign off on some mortgages. A sect leader died suddenly and his entire complex, including multiple cabins, storage buildings, workshops, kitchens, and a sacred temple was for sale fairly cheaply, so my in-laws began renting and repairing boats on the property. My future wife spent the rest of her high school years in one of the cabins on the complex, separated from her parents but working at their businesses. Eventually, with the support of her grandmother, I went to college, where I met and married her. Her brother worked in the family business for a few years before he became disgusted with the abuse and moved away as well.

For a while, the boating business grew rapidly and they made tens of thousands of dollars in some weeks. Unfortunately, they forgot to charge some of their clients, and charged others exorbitantly for fraudulent services, ruining their reputation. They also angered their chief rival, who was the brother of one of the county commissioners. After nearly two dozen civil lawsuits for misappropriation, trespassing, and various types of business fraud, my in-laws finally agreed to close the business.

Things were tough now with little income, which they could get from renting one or two small cabins in their apartment complex. Their next business venture was bees, but they had no idea how to deal with them and had no interest in learning. After the bees flew away, they tried to support themselves by selling the eggs of 20 chickens and the vegetables of their quarter-acre garden at the farmers market. They had no interest in working so hard, and a fox killed the chickens, so that didn’t work either. Their next business venture of making their own jewelry was also a failure. My father-in-law’s Social Security paid some of the bills, and Grandma paid almost all of the mortgage payments on the property. After the grandmother agreed to pay off the last mortgage on their apartment complex, my in-laws set out on their next plan and tricked the grandmother into moving her house in their name. They quickly evicted her and sold her house, making a profit of more than $300,000. Grandma moved in with us. She refused to press charges, despite her fury.

The money from the house robbery lasted for a while. It was completed by settling medical malpractice and trafficking in marijuana from California to the southeastern United States. I think they also got fraudulent loans related to COVID PPP, but I’m not sure.

And now the new business plan? They want to become cult leaders… After all, they live on “sacred” property and some of the original caste members still live in the area and want to worship at the temple on their property. My mother-in-law thinks that appearing on “Ancient Aliens” might help attract new converts, but the show hasn’t responded to her repeated requests yet… I don’t think she believes in any of the alien religions, but it seems she does. Will their brilliant plans succeed? I’m not sure… someone else has the same idea about restarting the cult, and he talked about buying the property from them at three times its market value. My in-laws might sell… If they did, all the money would go to drugs and cars and idiots, and they’d be destitute again.

So, what are our responsibilities towards my in-laws if they become destitute and unable to work? Without our support, there wouldn’t be much of a government safety net. My wife is a compassionate, hardworking, and wonderful person, but trauma leaves an imprint. Sometimes you say we should finally buy them a little place to live, perhaps on our property and support them with groceries. Other times you say “never”.


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