The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. On June 6 they will be in the Washington D.C. area! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.
I met William when he was doing plumbing repairs at my home. I’ve got an old house, so plumbing issues crop up periodically. We started talking and he told me about his dysfunctional childhood.
(It always amazes me when people tell me such intimate details about their lives, and not just about money.)
William had a complicated family tree with a slew of siblings, half siblings, and stepparents, he told me.
His biological parents physically abused him until his grandmother stepped up to raise him.
And everyone was out to get money from him.
If Momma ain’t happy
Including his own mother. It wasn’t enough that she beat him when he was a kid. First she asked to borrow $1,000. At the time, he didn’t have it. Her response? “I will piss on your grave.”
I couldn’t believe he told me this so casually. As if everyone’s mother behaved so atrociously.
A few months later, William’s sister Mandy called and said their mother was in jail and desperately needed bail money. William was suspicions, so he called the jail to check out her story.
Mama wasn’t locked up.
He was devastated that his family lied to him.
“Why didn’t they just say they needed cash? If I had the money, I would have given it to them. Instead, Mandy made up some flimsy sob story. I don’t know what she wanted it for. Perhaps drugs.”
Lying runs in the family
The other sisters were fabricators also. Susan told him she needed $200 to get a restraining order against a violent, alcoholic ex-boyfriend. William doubted this story, especially when Susan couldn’t answer basic questions about her “situation.”
While he checked out my leaky faucet, I asked William why his family needed to make up these outrageous stories.
His mother and the girls thought he had money because he held a steady job and owned a car.
He thought for a minute and then added, “They told these stories to make me feel bad if I didn’t help them. They played on my kind heart, my sensitivity.”
Is William soured on his family (including some distant nephews who routinely ask to “borrow” cash)?
No. Instead, he feels badly.
“I wish I had more to help them. I hold no resentment. I wish we were closer.”
Would you loan or give money to family members, even if you knew they were lying to your face?
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Get a whole book of stories! Read the award-winning Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads: True Stories of Friends, Family, and Financial Ruin.
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The 7-year-old Who Supported Her Dad
Would You Lie to Help Your Family Avoid Foreclosure?
Gambling Losses and Financial Infidelity are No Big Deal
I Loaned and Lost $5000. I’m Not Rich; Why Was It No Big Deal?
Dirty Clothes and Money: What’s the Connection?
Image © iStock.com/Samo Trebizan