Setting boundaries and not burying any more relatives
Dear Annie: I was given up for adoption at four months old and was adopted by my maternal grandparents. I was raised as an only child, even though I knew who my siblings were and saw them regularly. My biological mother sowed seeds of hatred and division between my siblings and myself at every opportunity.
Upon her death, we found out that she had cashed in her life insurance policies and had no cemetery plot. Now, mind you, I ceased having a relationship with this lady for the last 20 years of her life.
While making the funeral arrangements, I agreed to help my siblings by giving them one of my own burial plots with the understanding that they must pay for the opening and closing and the vault. We all agreed to borrow the money for the funeral, and we all signed the loan. My brother agreed to borrow the money for the opening and closing separately. Two days prior to the funeral, he informed me that he did not get the loan. I agreed to pay for it with the stipulation that they would reimburse me.
I found out a month after the funeral that he did, in fact, get the loan and blew the money partying. I confronted him about it, and he was irate that I’d even asked him about it. And in reference to the loan for the funeral, my siblings made just two payments of their share and never brought it up again.
So, my wife and I spent $8,000 of our savings and paid the loan off. I advised them at the next family get-together that I was not going to bury anybody else, and they needed to make sure that they had their affairs in order.
They have said on numerous occasions that I should have taken care of everything because I had a better job and made the most money. I was made out to be the bad guy because I refused.
Now, their big project is to purchase her a headstone. and they want me to help pay for it. I have told them no on numerous occasions, but my sister brings it up whenever she calls. My wife and I are both retired and are unable to shell out money like we use to. I’m tired and frustrated by all of this. What more can I say or do? — Frustrated Sibling
Dear Frustrated: It’s not about what you can do; it’s about what you can’t do. You can’t keep caving to your siblings’ will and shelling out money. You’ve done the right thing in drawing this line. As relationship coach Jenna Korf says, “If someone gets angry with you for setting a boundary, consider that a good sign that the boundary was necessary.” Stand your ground. And consider attending a support group such as Families Anonymous, which can help you lovingly detach from toxic behavior in your family.
Know that sometimes people are intent on holding a grudge, and there’s nothing you can say to loosen their grip. That’s too bad for them, as they’re the ones carrying the weight.
Dear Annie: In response to the challenge from a senior citizen earlier who suggested people donate any unneeded stimulus checks to those who are in need: challenge accepted and completed! Hopefully, many others take up the challenge. — Two Very Thankful Kona Seniors
Dear Thankful: That is wonderful to hear. There are so many worthy causes in need of financial support: from food banks, to shelters, to suicide-prevention crisis centers, which have seen an increase in calls during the quarantine. Thanks for writing in and further promoting the charitable challenge.
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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.