Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating and confusing this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring person. How do I know? Because this situation never happens to people who are selfish and uncaring.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Your relative is using your caring and desire to give as a weapon against you. And this is so hard because we wish to think the best of people and feel bad if we actually say that they are acting in selfish ways and using us. It's not pleasant and we want to think the best of people.
But it's important to think the best of her in what she really is: she's a person who needs to think of herself as a victim to avoid taking responsibility for herself. This is a mental health issue, a disorder. To think the best of her is to recognize your relative has a mental health issue she's not dealing with. And here's the important follow up:
You're not a professional; you're not a psychologist or therapist. You can't help her with her problem. To give her money over and over is what we call in psychology "enabling". It means in her case allowing her to continue to avoid facing her problems and to live dysfunctionally. Her manipulating is part of the disorder and to give her money under threats is enabling her.
Enabling has become a widely discussed topic on the internet. (That gives you the idea: you're not alone in facing this problem of manipulative and needy relatives--I hope that made you smile.) So do a search on enabling and become familiar with the term. It is used often in relationship to alcoholics and addicts, but that's the same concept: those addictive behaviors are enabled by bailing them out, giving them money, etc.
Therefore, you have to free yourself from that. You have to recognize that you are not responsible for her. If she is so distraught that she threatens suicide, then you need to give her the phone number of a hotline. Here is the number for the national suicide hotline:
They have professionals on call at all times ready to help anyone with such thoughts. This is the way we help someone who's ill: we refer them to a doctor. And that's what you need to do as well. Here's a wonderful book you can also get on the net:
The Enabler by Angelyn Miller. This is excellent and not just for the usual enabling of alcoholism, etc.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX