Neither A Borrower
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 4, 2002
I moved from Los Angeles to Europe with my husband and children. My sister's husband left her with three children. She sent an e-mail today asking me to "give" her $1000 so her lawyer will continue representing her.
My sister already owes her lawyer $9000. She owes my other sister $5000, and she never talks about paying it back. She is trying to convince a judge she needs more money from her ex so she won't have to move. Her ex-husband has offered 65 percent of his paycheck, which is about $550 per week.
It sounds like a lot, but my sister has taken out second mortgages on her home and her house bill is $1500 a month, not including taxes. I don't know if she is in debt, or if she is just used to being able to pull money out of purse whenever she wants and not having to budget. I know she rarely cooks and usually takes the children out for fast food.
She asked for government aid, but they say her income is too high to qualify for any help. My husband is worried if we give her $1000, she will assume she can keep asking. Do you have any suggestions?
Trish, you are concerned about your sister's welfare and would like to respond to her needs, but your husband understands the actual situation.
Your sister goes through money as if it is water. She doesn't budget or live within her income. The equity in her home has vanished. Her ex gives her most of his income, and it is still not enough.
Your sister engages in magical thinking. She is trying to make reality conform to her habits and outlook. Offering her financial help will only encourage her belief in magical solutions.
The obvious solution is to sell the house, reduce the debt load, and bring expenses in line with income. She may need to move to another neighborhood and make other lifestyle changes, but that is what is called for.
Give her unlimited emotional support and guidance, but don't subsidize her flight from reality. That may sound harsh, but it is the kindest thing you can do for her.
My mother is quite the religious evangelist and political zealot, and it's getting in the way of our relationship. She insists on discussing her views every time we speak, and she assaults me with unsolicited information by way of letters and one-sided telephone rants.
It doesn't work to ignore her newfound fanaticism or request we not discuss religion and politics. Saying I have to get off the phone is most effective, but I am still up nights being upset. If I request an end to the alarmist messages, she insults me or sends a nasty note.
After a period of silence, she'll do something like send me an engraved Bible with cash inside and an inscription from "Your ever-loving mother." A dear friend died recently, and I sent a copy of the obituary to my mother. She, in turn, sent me a religious diatribe having nothing to do with my loss. I was devastated.
Renee, in the back of your mind is an idealized picture of domestic life, like one of those Currier & Ives lithographs called "The Happy Family." It's not going to be like that with your mom.
Your mother isn't talking to you so much as she is talking to all those people who won't stand there and listen to her, for like all zealots, she creates a loathing for her beliefs. She likely treats everyone this way, but they have an advantage. They are not her daughter.
As you free yourself to leave her presence, you will realize how you gave her power, and she will realize it is in her power to have you stay or to send you away.
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
The Power of the Tongue
There is an old proverb with a lot of wisdom. It says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and whoever loves it will eat its fruit."
Neither A Borrower
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 4, 2002
Information -- Schminformation, Enough Already!
We are drowning in it, our grey matter is swollen with it, half the time when we need a piece of it and we know it is "in there" somewhere, we can't access it because the poor Grey Matter Computer is so jammed it takes forever to search for the file and then it's usually "just lost" or was mistakenly deleted. And that's just our brains...what about our files, drawers, shelves, filled with papers, books, stuff.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 25, 2002
My friend Donald said to me one evening, "this is what I admire about you, whenever you say you're gonna to do something, YOU DO IT"! People always ask me how do I stay motivated? How do I stay encouraged? Whenever I am asked this question my answer is always the same. I tell them that I stay focused and motivated by remaining in an autopilot mode. However, when I ponder that question on a deeper spiritual level, I come to the realization that the true answer is much more involved than the "auto-pilot" response. Would you like to know what the real answer is? Keep reading.
If you walk up to a stranger in the grocery store and ask them to define "simple," as in "simple life," they'll probably say something like "having less stuff." Or they might hit you with a frozen turkey. But probably they'll associate simple with stuff.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of May 19, 2003
Food for Thought
We all love picnics. They represent a fun time as we prepare the food, the entertainment and the guest list. I think that the main idea behind picnics is the eating! Everyone usually brings some kind of a special treat that we all like to sample and sometimes in excess. We are left feeling overly full and tired. Forget the volley ball for a while and it's not good to go swimming after eating, so let's just lay here for awhile and rest. Our bodies will digest all this and maintain the essential vitamins and proteins and minerals and everything else turns to fat, or gets wasted. It's a good thing that we dispose of this because we'd blow up otherwise. But in all this eating, it's possible to be starving for another food. I'm talking about spiritual food.
Directions For Life
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully. Memorize your favorite poem. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. When you say, "I love you", mean it. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye. Believe in love at first sight. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely. In arguments, fight fair. Talk slow but think quick. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk. Call your mom. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze. Don't let a little disagreement ruin a great friendship. When you realize you've made a mistake, act immediately to fix it. Marry someone you love to talk to. As you grow old together, your ability to communicate will be more important than their physical attributes. Spend some time alone. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Read more books and watch less TV. Try your best to create a loving atmosphere in your home - this is a vital factor that will contribute significantly to your children's happiness and your family's harmony. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past. Read between the lines. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality. Be gentle with the earth...and yourself. Pray. There's immeasurable power in it. Don't trust someone who doesn't close their eyes when you kiss them. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. Do not forget that your character is your destiny.
Abundance Is A Life Style
Abundance is a life style, a way of living your life. Itisn't something you buy now and then or pull down from thecupboard, dust off and use once or twice, and then return tothe cupboard.
Dread Disease Dragged Out My Best
In denial, I was slow to accept Multiple Sclerosis. Who, after all, would embrace a diagnosis of the dread disease of no known cause, and for which there was no cure?
Dreams Do Come True
Experience has made a lot of folks to consider dreams to be fantasies, unattainable, galaxies away from reality.
More Than I Can Bare
One of my long time best friends called me the other night with a horrible pain in her heart. She needed someone to talk to. Rumor had it her daughter might be suicidal and she was trapped on a business trip until the next evening. Her husband was home handling the situation, but she wasn't going to be okay until she could hold her daughter close. She needed to look deep into her daughter's eyes to get a 'read' on what was really going on inside her mind. Until she could really sit down and talk to her daughter, she could at least pick my brain as to what to do. We talked a bit about when we were seventeen, and I tried to commit suicide. Now, all these years later, what could I say to my friend or to her daughter to make it all better?
Rocking The Boat
I work in a factory, and we have supervisors who play favorites. They have about six girls who can do no wrong, and they have easier jobs than the rest of us. These girls go out after work to bars, and that is why they are in with the supervisors.
The Best Policy
Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 28, 2003
How to Overcome Loneliness
Nowadays the majority of people live in very large cities. It is hard to imagine that in cities of millions of people that anyone could feel lonely. However, it is because of the huge size of the cities that we do feel this way. Twenty years ago, you probably knew everyone who lived in your street, at least by sight. Now you are lucky if you know your next-door neighbors.
Your World Your Way - Trusting Yourself In Business
"It doesn't interest me who you are, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back."
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Whoever coined this phrase is a genius.Life finds ways to dish out exactly this- the good the bad and the ugly. At times all in one day.
Why You Are Special and Why Does It Matter
Why 'you are special'?
I.Q. You Q. He, She, or It Qs.
I have, in recent years, come to believe that IQ tests are a waste of time for most of us, and a waste of money for some of us. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you want to know how stupid you are, check to see if you're paying for an online IQ test.
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