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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Hats Send a Message, Regardless of the Sun

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I both had pretty horrible childhoods. As a result, we limit our interaction with the relatives that were implicated in those situations.

Unfortunately, that is difficult in regards to his sisters and their families. They and their offspring tend to be constantly involved in some sort of drama, i.e., multiple husbands/boyfriends who all turn out to be alcoholic/abusive; difficulty holding on to jobs and places to live; never having enough money to survive on ... the list goes on and on. Even though they are always broke, they somehow have the money to go shopping, gamble, have brand-new phones and a steady supply of cigarettes and alcohol.

They are constantly begging us to send them money or let them move in with us! Every one of them dropped out of high school to have kids and still can't understand why they are unable to find decent jobs.

My husband and I have worked very hard and we both have stable jobs. While we are by no means rich, we sacrifice so that we are able to save a little. We have simply been ignoring their texts, phone calls and messages for years, but they just don't stop! It's practically reached the point of harassment. How do we make them stop without coming off as horrible people?

GENTLE READER: They already think you are horrible people because you don't support them, so Miss Manners suggests you stop having misgivings about ignoring them.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Money | Family & Parenting | Mental Health | Abuse