I'm asking this question on behalf of my girlfriend because she's asking me for help but I'm not sure on how to handle this situation.
A little bit of background:
My girlfriend's parents moved from south of the country and came here in the north for reasons of work. Her mom is a housewife (Let's call her Alice) so the only income is from her dad (Let's call him Bob).
They have 3 children (Jhon - 30 years old, Barb - 28 years old and my GF who is 18 years old).
Now, Jhon and Barb moved with their partners, so the family atmosphere is composed only of my GF and her parents.
Every time one of their children started working, Bob and Alice saw them as a money cow.. and started milking them.
Literally, every time the monthly salary of one of their children arrived, they took a significant part of it.*
*By took I mean that they asked her to give them the money they asked for without accepting a "No" as answer, thus taking them. If she says a flat no, things will get only worse.
Jhon and Barb moved with their respective partners so early because they were tired and frustrated with this attitude.
Now it's my GF's turn: she's only 18 yet she works during the day and goes to school in the evening. She's doing the best that she can to build up her future, but we all know what can be done with little to no money.
She had to pay the school for herself, she's trying to save some money to get herself a driving license and so on. Whatever she needs, she has to buy it.
While she understands that Bob and Alice need help every month, she is really frustrated that they ask her more than half of her salary every month, and when she denies something, her parents turn to aggressive and she is judged as the daughter who doesn't understand and doesn't want to help her family.
To make things worse, Bob and Alice start to waste money in dumb thing when she helps: They start to go to the restaurant frequently, they buy silly things ( they just got an access point for their home.. 70 square meters. ) and so on.
The only way she found to save some money is to take her money from her bank account and give them to me, so she can't be forced to lend money (since she doesn't have them).
While I'm sure Bob and Alice are nice people, I find this attitude dreadfully wrong.
What can my girlfriend do/say to set some boundaries and avoid any repercussions and negative emotions? More specifically, she wants to help but how can she handle them and make them understand that she can help up to a given limit?
Since she doesn't own any car or driving license, she is still dependent on her dad (the only one with a driving license).
What's been tried:
She already tried to tell them that she needs some money for herself and that it's frustrating working to have nothing in return.
Her brother, Jhon, tried to tell them not to milk her as they did to him.
None of the above helped.
Answers to comments:
What does your girlfriend get in return for the payments she makes to her parents (folded laundry, meals, internet, tv, space)?
She gets folded laundry since her mother is a housewife. She sometimes has to pay for meals because they borrow her money to do the shopping at the supermarket. She rarely is at home so internet is almost meaningless, but she gets it. She gets TV for sure. She gets space, yes, but if she needs to study, she has to go to the library because her parents are too noisy.
If she compares it to living on her own, is it more or less expensive to stay with the parents?
It would be less expensive, in fact, we already plan to move together but we need a solid base. (She needs the driving license and a car/moped/scooter plus some spare money to rent the apartment.)
Is the amount she pays a set thing, that was agreed upon beforehand?
It varies based on how much they ask her, but it's rarely less than half of her salary.
What is the cultural background of your girlfriend's parents, of your girlfriend and you?
In short, I live alone and I'm 21 and I like being independent so I planned my life with that in mind. She would also like to move and come live with me to gain independence, but money is a mountain to climb. She chose a night school just to be able to work during the day (she actually sleeps 6 hours every night during the week to maintain both things).
Also, do you have any more information on how your girlfriend tried to tell her parents she wanted more money for her own, how did that conversation go?
I don't have much information, but I know that it was never a peaceful conversation. It was more of an argument every time rather than a calm discussion.