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Family dispute about money

By December 29, 2011 - 4:07pm
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I live 80 miles away from my family . I lost my job on the same day my brother John came home from drug rehab and he got all the attention/sympathy. This is fine because having moved away at an early age made me independent. A week later, the family organized a fund raiser to get money to help John pay his bills and get back on his feet. I said that since I had no income, I would not be able to make a financial contribution at the time. I offered 20 dollars to be used for snacks/raffle tickets for the fundraiser but the family said they would cover the fundraising costs. I said I would not attend the fundraiser because of the cost of gas from my home to the venue. I don't make a ton of money but the family knows me as the penny pinching Jenny because I am an astute saver . The family pressed on me to contribute from my savings, which I declined. My sister, with whom I have shared a very close relationship with, expressed her bitterness to me about her donation and she yelled at me for not dipping into my savings. Angrily, I told her that John was an adult and not my responsibility. Two weeks after the fund raiser I got a job offer and before starting the new job, I took a vacation. At the dinner table this Christmas , the family told me that despite my record of helping out in the past, this time I had been selfish for claiming to be broke and then taking a vacation. My sister had told everyone of my comments about John and they said it was mean spirited. They said that had I made a contribution, the hurtful words would not have been spread around. They said my loss of a job was no excuse for that behavior and the family would not tolerate it. That night I was made to apologize to John and to write him a check. Now I want nothing to do with them. I feel my sister betrayed me for revealing a confidential conversation and my family's love is conditioned on money. Was the family's attack of me justified? Was I not entitled to take a vacation after a traumatic lay off ? What would have been the best way to resolve this issue without tearing the family apart ?

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I am sorry that you have been subjected to this type of treatment by your family members. Their comments and behavior was not justified and is inexcusable.

You are under no obligation to contribute money to your brother, or any one for that matter, unless you want to.

Your recent job loss is a perfect reason why you could not contribute to the fundraiser. You should not have been expected to withdraw from your savings. What if you had not found another job? How were you to meet your living expenses? It was your right to take a vacation.

Indeed, your sister betrayed you by revealing what you had said in confidence.

I think your family has already been torn apart. It is "them" against "you". Live your life with as little contact with them as possible. Each of your family members who were involved in this situation owes you an apology.


December 29, 2011 - 5:41pm
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