• Troubleshooter

My gambling-addicted father keeps demanding more money from me

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 50s, and I also work part-time. My parents always fought while I was growing up because my father likes to gamble. Then, my mother suddenly died before I got married. After I got married and moved out, I lost touch with my father. However, he contacted me more than 20 years later to ask for money.

We are currently a family of four. I work every day to save money, pay off the mortgage for our apartment and send our two children to college. We are also saving for retirement. I don’t want to give my father any money, as he’s been messing around for decades, so I refused. However, he threatened to say bad things about us in the apartment building and make it impossible for us to live there.

I got scared so I gave him ¥200,000. However, six months later, he demanded ¥150,000, and three months after that, he started demanding I send him ¥30,000 every month.

I’m so frustrated that I’m giving a father like him the money we’ve worked so hard to save. Please tell me how I can avoid having to deal with him in the future.

F, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

You grew up in a difficult family environment, but you worked hard and built your current home with your family. It must have been very difficult.

You don’t have to listen to his unreasonable demands just because he’s your father. First, strengthen your resolve to fight back.

Your father’s goal is just to get money, not to make things difficult for you. Don’t give in to his threats. Tell him that if he causes you any kind of trouble, you will report it to a lawyer or the police. Flatly refuse his demands.

By the way, is your husband aware of this situation? I understand that you don’t want your neighbors or family to find out, but that’s the feeling your father is preying on.

The best thing to do is to get your family on your side. As you’re the homemaker, it would be incredibly unfortunate for your family if you collapsed from anxiety. It is absolutely vital that you get your family’s understanding and support.

In the future, it might not be just about giving him cash. It’s possible that your father or the authorities might contact you to have you provide elderly care, to assist if he is hospitalized or to help with other public services. You don’t need to accept demands that could end up ruining your life or your family’s lives. Make it clear what you can and can’t do.

To do that, you need to gain knowledge. Get legal advice from your local government or go online to get information and make a plan. This will be your support.

Tomomi Fujiwara, writer