A Culture Based on Perception

Jessica says her husband's brother needs money to move. He's asked the family to contribute to that, and Jessica says they don't have the money to give. How do they convey that to the family?

QUESTION: Jessica in Seattle and her husband are getting out of debt and are on the same page. However, both sides of their family are in financial disaster. Her husband’s brother needs money to move. He’s asked the family to contribute to that, and Jessica says they don’t have the money to give. How do they convey that to the family? Dave says they can’t because of the family perception.

ANSWER: What if he needed $200,000? What does that do to the cultural component? So the cultural component only stands if they perceive you have the resources. So the culture component is crap. Do you see my point? The cultural component is not true. The cultural component is used as an excuse to bully you into doing something that you don’t have the resources to do.

They’re not going to accept your no. It’s not going to be graceful. It’s going to be messy. The reason is that your boundaries are all broken down in this family, and these families are overlapping and interwoven in a toxic way. The only way to pull this weed out is by the roots, and it’s going to hurt.

There’s nothing you can say or do that’s going to make them understand. The only thing you can do that will make them happy is to go along with the insanity. If you want to spend $200 to buy a little peace, that’s fine, but at some point, you all are going to have to decide to be your own people regardless of this fake cultural thing. It’s fake. It’s all based on people’s perceptions. It’s not based on reality. I’m not buying. You’re just going to have to accept they’re going to be pissed at you at some point in your life when you decide not to do this anymore.