September 19, 2017 at 8:22 am #169303
Two years ago we helped them out of a difficult financial situation (they asked us for help). I was reluctant to give the loan ($20,000) as I have seen my parents have several friendships that fell apart due to money issues like this. I finally agreed, with a legal promissory note received from them as I know that finances are not their strong point.
The loan was due in March and my brother in law said he couldn’t afford to pay it back. I should mention that he is doctor, but they spend money like it’s water. I have watched on Facebook for months as they take trips and spend extravagantly all the while owing us money. He has paid us back $10,000 over the past two years and there is $11,600 owing (including interest).
I emailed my sister in law to say I was upset about their most recent purchase posted on Facebook the other day. She was defensive. Previous to this loan we had a very good relationship and I liked her very much. This money had driven a wedge into the friendship we had.
I feel that I am entitled to my feelings of being disappointed that they have not tried harder to pay us back. But I also realize that I had a certain set of expectations…and we all know that when we have expectations of people they will often let us down. I’m trying to let go of the resentment. Not easy that’s for sure!September 19, 2017 at 9:12 am #169325
When you wrote: “The loan was due in March and my brother in law said he couldn’t afford to pay it back”- do you mean that your brother in law told you that he and his wife will not be paying you the $11,600 they still owe you at all, or that they will pay you that money later?
If later, when?
anitaSeptember 19, 2017 at 9:22 am #169329
No he didn’t say exactly when he would be paying it back, but he also didn’t say that he would not be paying it back either. When we went to their house to visit this summer we saw his new (used) Lexus, we saw his Apple Watch and their Amazon Echo, a new fence around their pool, etc. All of these things were shown to us with the excuse, “well, we just got such a good deal on it.”
I believe the intention is still to repay what is owing, but from all their purchases it seems clear to me that paying us back is not a priority, buying stuff is. They are very status oriented and everything has to be name-brand and top-of-the-line.
I’m struggling with compassion as they both grew up with a lot of financial instability and seem to have issues with acquiring expensive objects to fill some sort of void. However, my husband is his brother and does not have the same issues with money. It’s very complex, our relationships with money and ourselves. I understand that.
I’m the kind of person if I owe someone money it eats me up until it’s paid off. I’m trying to understand that not everyone feels that way. I feel sad that things seem more important to them than our relationship.
Thanks for responding 🙂September 19, 2017 at 9:26 am #169331
I am sure you have heard it before, even seen it happen to others, now it happened to you. Money deals with family have been proven time and time again to be a very risky and even a dangerous proposition. I had been in that same situation with 2 family members to the tune of 6 figures. Like your family members, both of my family members are well off. As a result of my persistence in asking for the loan to be returned, my relationship with those 2 family members has been completely destroyed. The action I took was met with a hostile”how dare you threaten me” response. That threat was in the form of a lawsuit. 20k is a lot of money to let slide by. It is money that I bet you worked very hard for. For family members to get defensive when they are reminded of their obligation is totally unacceptable. I highly recommend you mention something like, ” if the remainder loan I gave you you is not repaid in full by _______ there are other avenues available to me that I am not hesitant to use to ensure I am paid what you borrowed.” Something like that. Here’s a caveat in doing that. When I presented my family members with a lawsuit, I never recovered the money because they declared bankruptcy. I didn’t see that coming. What I should have done was be more aggressive in pursuit of my 6 figure loan and retained an attorney in lieu of my threat.
As much as you may not want to go that route, I would highly advise you to make that threat. Here are some scenarios I see:
(1) For some strange reason they repay you immediately, unexpectedly, in full but I doubt that will happen. (2) You let the $11,600.00 slide, just forget about it, then you have sealed the deal of volunteering to be a victim. (3) You make good on the threat of a lawsuit, get your money back, and the relationship remains as it is, unrepairable. For some time now the relationship has been based on money, not an honest and trusting relationship. In any event, I wish you all the very best.
PearceSeptember 19, 2017 at 9:40 am #169333
You wrote: “I’m struggling with compassion..”, does this mean that you are trying to feel compassion for these people who choose to not pay you back the money owed to you, to not keep their word to pay you back money owed? If so, I don’t see compassion on your part as what is required, but instead confronting them and insisting on a date or repayment, ASAP, as well as considering a legal action so to put into use that legal promissory note they signed.
anitaSeptember 19, 2017 at 9:49 am #169337
Thanks Pearce. I am so sorry to hear about what you went through with your family members when you loaned them money (such a large amount, too). I said from the beginning that this was going to be the outcome and I hate that I am right. My husband isn’t very bothered by it, he says “they’ll pay it back eventually” but it really just pisses me off. I know my husband wouldn’t let it ruin his relationship with his brother, but I’m just not that forgiving.
After I sent the email to his wife saying I was upset about their recent purchase, my BIL texted my husband to say he would send us $2,500 this week. We shall see. My BIL is very religious, and claims to be a very moral person, but this money situation has shown me another side of him, one that puts status above all else.
I hope it doesn’t come to legal action. I see that in my state (though they live in another state) there is 6 year statute of limitations on a promissory note. We are blessed that we are not in need of the money right now (though I don’t want them to know that!) The thing that irks me too is that my BIL doesn’t pay us anything unless I bitch at him. So I guess I’ll have to make it a habit to approach him once a month to ask about the loan. Perhaps just annoying the hell out of him might work.
Thanks again for your perspective! Greatly appreciated 🙂September 19, 2017 at 10:14 am #169345
You are totally right but I am trying to work through this emotionally and kind of apply some Buddhist principles to it (I’m a novice at this) about accepting suffering and how suffering is brought on ourselves when we have expectations, and finding a way to have compassion and forgiveness even for those who treat us poorly. I’m trying to be Zen about this shit, lol.
And, I am struggling for sure…
My BIL promised a payment this week. So far nothing has shown up. I’ll give him to Friday and then I’ll contact him. It won’t be the whole amount, but he promised $2,500. Then, I will email him once a month asking for a payment. No doubt my being silent since March means to him that I don’t mind that we are not being repaid. I definitely struggle with being a people pleaser and not wanting to make waves. But I’m also the kind of person when I get pushed too far I get really angry. They are treading on thin ice with me right now.September 19, 2017 at 10:26 am #169347
Adrienne I could learn to be more patient from you. May I suggest that you send them a contract spelling out the terms of repaying the rest of the money. Send it registered of course. I would suggest adding to the contract a stipulation that renegging on their promise, or coming up with an excuse why they won’t be able to pay it this week or next will nullify the contract and a lawsuit will be filed. I hate to be a hard ass but if being one is what it takes to get that loan back then so be it. This may do some damage control on your relationship with them, providing they honor that contract. Should this come to fruition, I am confident they won’t ask you for a loan again. I don’t like having to get more assertive when it comes to asking for a loan back. You should NEVER HAVE TO ASK for payment. BTW what was his wife’s reaction when you expressed your being upset about their recent purchase? I would hope that they will acknowledge their responsibility of repaying you and avoid legal action. Unfortunately sometimes that is what it takes. I hope it doesn’t come to that either.
I appreciate the response you gave. I wish you much success not only in this but in all you do.
PearceSeptember 19, 2017 at 10:27 am #169349
Any principle that states you should feel compassion toward a person who is knowingly taking advantage of you, and in so doing, is disrespecting you (as your BIL and his wife are doing), is the wrong principle in my book of principles.
I hope you get your money back as soon as possible so that your distress on the matter ends, and I hope you learn from this experience so to prevent such distress in your future.
anitaSeptember 19, 2017 at 10:29 am #169351
* didn’t get submitted correctly…September 19, 2017 at 10:36 am #169353
Thank you for that advice. I hope it doesn’t come to that but that’s why I got a promissory note: I saw the writing on the wall.
So, my SIL was very defensive. The purchase was one of those expensive wooden playsets for their backyard and her post was about how excited their kids would be in the morning. It sent me over the edge! I thought it was new, but it turns out it was used, which she retorted to me, saying it was only $500 (plus $60 for a Uhaul to move it) and it was a “golden opportunity” and they “just couldn’t pass it up”.
She went on to say she didn’t want to take the loan any more than I wanted to give it.
But they DID take the loan, so it’s their responsibility to pay it back. She is from another country and said they were going to forego a trip to her homeland in order to “get their finances in order”.
Oh, there is no question, we will NEVER NEVER EVER give them, or any other family member a loan ever again!
Thanks for your kind words. They are much appreciated right now.September 19, 2017 at 10:51 am #169357
Thanks Anita. I appreciate your insight. 🙂September 20, 2017 at 4:07 am #169439
You are welcome.
You wrote: “I definitely struggle with being a people pleaser and not wanting to make waves. But I’m also the kind of person when I get pushed too far I get really angry.”-
Notice that as you avoid making waves for others (and for yourself) by people-pleasing, that is, doing what others want you to do even though it is not in your best interest, you create waves of distress in yourself.
You wrote that you are trying to go “about accepting suffering and how suffering is brought on ourselves when we have expectations, and finding a way to have compassion and forgiveness even for those who treat us poorly”-
I think it is a good practice to accept our emotions. So accepting that you indeed are suffering, experiencing anger and other distressing emotions is a consequence of people pleasing, is likely to lead to correcting this behavior on your part, people pleasing, that is. Regarding the compassion, I think it should be directed at yourself, feeling compassion for yourself, for the reasons you became a people pleaser and for having been taken advantage of in this case. Same with forgiveness, direct it to forgiving yourself for having made the poor choice of loaning that money.
anitaSeptember 20, 2017 at 4:43 am #169447
I was just reading a quote about forgiveness. I always have struggled with forgiving people, and also forgiving myself, I think.
The quote said forgiving is to “make peace” with it. I like that better than the word forgiveness.
Even though forgiveness isn’t about letting someone off the hook for the wrong they’ve done you, I can’t seem to think of the word “forgive” any other way.
I need to start making peace with this situation. For myself, because it’s eating me up.
You’re right about having compassion for myself. Some self-care is in order, I think.
I emailed my BIL yesterday to ask when we might expect a deposit this week as he promised and he has not responded. I guess avoidance is the game they are playing now.
My husband isn’t keen on me making a big scene about this. I feel I’m in an awkward position.September 20, 2017 at 4:55 am #169451
How to make peace with the situation that has been eating you up is the question then. I would entertain the thought that you will not get back the rest of the loan, meditate on that thought as you take deep breaths, maybe listen to relaxing music as you do, or think it during a walk in nature, or such.
Accept this possibility best you can, that the money is gone. Accept best you can the lack of fairness and justice of it, and extend your acceptance to the lack of fairness and justice in life everywhere and everywhere- there is so much of it, and regarding almost all of it, there is nothing you can do.
Then decide on future interactions with those people. You may decide to not be in their physical presence and have no contact with them outside the loan issue (following up on repayment) unless they pay.
I imagine being in their presence is going to be very difficult and unfair to you, if you are to pretend that everything is fine. You still have this choice available to you, this little piece of fairness- to decide to be in contact with them or not.
You can also choose to sit with your husband and come up with a very specific plan about following up on repayment, so that you are no longer in an awkward position. Decide on: are we going to follow up on repayment as a couple or are we not, yes or no, instead of what reads to me like a Maybe coming from your husband.