I have four family members that live together in one house, and they are doing horribly. I’m talking about no jobs or vehicles, not paying their bills, and frequently needing to go to the bathroom outdoors. I’ve given them money numerous times, but they are unappreciative. When any of them actually gets a job they quit the first week, and sometimes not even show up on the first day of work. All I get in return is negativity and comments like, “How’s it feel to be living the rich life?” My question is: what else can I do to show them that they can better themselves and live life differently/better?
Heyyyyyy...... wait a minute. You mean the REAL Bill Gates?! I’m going to have to assume you just picked the name up out of thin air. Either that or you got tagged with the wrong name to be with these four blood suckers. Speaking of thin air: the family members you are describing may be suffering from an abundance of thin air in their heads. Very unfortunately, some people mistake kindness for weakness. That appears to be the case with these folks. To respond to generosity with smartass statements like “living the rich life” qualifies them, at very best, as ungrateful. At worst: lazy, permanently poor people with an insatiable sense of entitlement.
There are a couple of things to consider in order to help yourself out. First, when someone makes a rude statement about “the rich life”, you are likely going to respond by defending yourself (“rich life? You gotta be kidding. I work my butt off to pay my bills”). You need to learn to not defend yourself when someone inappropriately attacks you (see: http://www.johnsommercounseling.com/blog/not-defending-yourself). Second, you are asking the most frequently asked question I receive: How Do I Change Someone Else. If change is possible, often times the best we can do is to role model proper behaviors. Some people learn by the good example of others. Honesty, hard work, and properly placed compassion (i.e., not to be taken advantage of) are great traits to have. According to your sad description, it would appear that these family members are making a profession of being lazy and ungrateful. My advice is to visit when you can, but know that you will depart feeling somewhat discouraged. However, you can still be kind. If they are out of food, a light delivery of grub is more useful than cash.
Don’t let family schmucks rob you of your decency, just get a more realistic view that changing people against their will is not likely. Stay kind, limit your contact, and for God’s sake, call yourself William.