[Courses] [Spineful Living, lesson 5: The Hardest Nos]
linda at meridian-ds.com
Mon Apr 30 14:55:40 UTC 2007
Because this is a publicly accessible, archived list, I'm going to be
I have a family member who has no financial responsibility. My husband
and I borrowed money from his mother a few years ago (when we had two
mortgages due to an interstate transfer, and I was in college) to pay
off all their debts because they couldn't make ends meet.
Fast forward about 5 years to when they *finally* started paying. Not a
lot, but they were making an effort which is all that mattered. We had
made regular payments to his mother for a couple of years before she
forgave the remainder of the debt. That had been our plan for the
borrower all along as well. As long as there was a good faith effort
made to repay, we would forgive the majority of the money.
Fast forward another year or so. Husband and I had had numerous
conversations about any new request for money from said family member.
We had agreed that we would talk about any new request and chances are
the answer would be no. Our financial situation had improved
dramatically, but we were still trying to pay off all the bills prior to
his retirement. We were (and still are) also working hard to build a
cushion in case I was laid off or something else happened.
During a lunch (without me), he was boo-hoo'd to and begged for money.
He wrote a check on the spot for $1K.
He didn't realize until I spelled it out about a year later that the
entire weekend, during which I said maybe three words to him, I was
deciding whether to leave him or kick him out or stay. The issue really
wasn't the money - we had it - it was the betrayal of our agreement.
A couple of months ago we forgave the entire remaining balance, just as
we had planned. During the years between the original loan and then,
there had been further foolish financial decisions, a re-establishment
of debt to the point they can't make ends meet again, and one member of
the couple still will not go to work. I think he believes me now about
not giving them any more. The answer is simply no.
To further complicate things, the same family member treats me like
shit. Husband says I should blow it off, she treats everyone that way. I
finally put my foot down about a year ago and said I would no longer
attend events she was at. I'm sorry - someone who watches me like a hawk
to see if I'll say or do something that "offends" her so she can be
condescending, rude, and speak to me as if I'm one of her children is
simply not going to be involved in my world any more if I can help it.
He thinks I should just put up with it for the sake of "keeping the
peace." I did that for 12 years. I bent over backwards (or forward,
depending on how crude you want to be) to keep from doing or saying
something she could get bitchy about. It didn't matter. She tells him
how upset she is I won't attend any functions and really wants to know
what's wrong. But she hasn't contacted me about it yet.
So much for being terribly upset.
On the other hand, I don't dread holidays any longer. I don't get
physically ill the day of events because I'm so up tight about having to
deal with it and try to be someone I'm not. While I'm sorry to miss out
on some of the events, I'm not sorry enough to put myself through that
Could I confront her? Sure. But I'm not going to. The fact is we're
different people with diametrically opposed belief systems and views of
the world. I know and like many other people who also fit that
description, but they're not dogmatic and rude about it. I don't subject
myself to other people who treat me that way. I see no reason to do so
just because this person is "family".
It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I'm very glad I did
it. My life has improved. I'm not faking being someone I'm not. All
around - it was spineful and I hope I can continue to stand up for *me*
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