True lies hurt family ties

Joey Garcia

My husband drained our joint accounts before he asked for a
divorce. I wanted to fight for a fair settlement and needed money for
an attorney. I asked my older sister and her husband for a loan and
said I would repay it. They said yes—if I would sign a paper
saying I borrowed the money and would pay it back. I was insulted and
said forget it. I borrowed funds once before from another family member
and paid it back promptly. So why would my sister behave like this? I
borrowed the money from a friend instead and have already paid it back.
I am insulted by my sister’s behavior. Why didn’t she trust
me? She and her husband are well off, so why are they so stingy?
Shouldn’t family help each other? I am so angry that I am
considering not spending Christmas with family.

Calling your sis and bro-in-law “stingy” is like
launching yourself back to second grade. Yes, that means you are a
child again at the mercy of adults, bullies and the whims of an older
sibling. Regression is common in the wake of a divorce, but you must
fight against it. Whenever a situation seems overwhelming, it is an
invitation, by life itself, to transform yourself into a more capable,
competent and confident person. So while it may have been humbling to
ask your sis for a loan, the reality is that this experience has taught
you a valuable lesson: Your concept of family was, well, broken. It
needed fixin’, and so this wonderful experience gifted you with
the opportunity to get clear. Family is not just the people who shared
living space with you while you were growing up; it’s everyone on
the whole damn planet. (Hmm, let me give you a moment to wrap your mind
around that.)

So why didn’t your sister trust you? There is only one reason
why anyone lacks trust: lies. Either she (unconsciously or consciously)
lies to herself or to you; or you (unconsciously or consciously) lie to
yourself or to her. Unconscious lies, a.k.a. denial, are insidious
because other people see the problem, but the person in denial
doesn’t. This is not a license to psychoanalyze your sister. But
it might be a great time to chat with a therapist and see if it’s
time to shed a few illusions about money and relationships. After all,
if your husband emptied joint bank accounts, isn’t it possible
that some of the anger you feel toward him was redirected to your
sister? (Yeah, I think I heard an “amen” on that!)

My boyfriend is retired and claims he’s on a tight budget.
But at his house recently, I saw some financial information that led me
to believe otherwise. I asked him about it, and he says he’s just
trying to be responsible about the future since he’s healthy and
might live a long time. But I’ve paid for nearly all of our
dates. I don’t have a portfolio or even a savings account. I live
paycheck to paycheck, and now, I feel like an idiot.

Whatever you’ve spent is just tuition in the school of life,
so don’t sweat it. You’re just uncomfortable because you
imagined that your man needed to be rescued financially. Then reality
breaks in with the news: Save yourself. It’s time to begin
investing in you. In the future, practice this principle: Joy ought to
be your only motivation in paying another’s way. If you
can’t give freely to a friend, pay for yourself and invest the
money you would have spent on him or her by giving to charity.
Eventually, you will give generously and without expectation to friends
and charity alike.

Meditation of the week
“Truth springs from arguments among friends,” wrote the
philosopher David Hume. Are you really listening to what your friends
are trying to tell you? Or are you just trying to be right?

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