Dear Reader’s – Sometimes, this column becomes a dialogue between strangers - letter-writers and readers who share the same issue. This time, it brings a stark warning:
Reader’s Commentary – “I was struck by the “significantly overweight” sister’s complaints about her brother’s attempts to convince her to improve her health. She resented his unwelcome intrusions which, to her, implied criticism (February 11):
“My brother and I were only two years apart. I loved him dearly. And we shared horrible eating habits during our youth.
“Our grandmother was a famous caterer whose house was across the street from our elementary/junior-high school. We’d go directly there after school and stuff ourselves.
“By our early 30s, each of us weighed near 300 pounds.
“But when my son was born, I realized that unless I changed my ways, he’d likely have to turn to coaches, scout directors, athletic directors, etc. for his athletic endeavours.
“I determined that it’d be me who’d take that lead.
“Thanks to consultation with the “Y” athletic director, intense study of conditioning books, and determination, I turned my life around.
“Within three years I lost 120 pounds, ran marathon races, went on 100 mile one-day bicycle rides and swam 5.5 miles across one of America’s widest lakes.
“As my son grew up, I took him hiking in magnificently scenic areas which gave us a shared camaraderie.
“My brother took no measures to improve his condition.
“I wanted him to know the dangers of his path, but he made clear that he wasn’t interested in receiving unsolicited advice.
He changed nothing of importance. He died of a massive heart attack at age 53.
“I’ve wondered ever since whether if I’d only been more forceful that perhaps he might’ve eventually listened, but he was never open to the message.”
My husband of 10-plus years and I have two sons. He owns his own business. I work part-time.
His self-image drives him – he has the big house, new truck, travels annually with the guys.
He doesn’t like my questioning his spending, says it’s his money!
We’re now refinancing our mortgage to pay off his debts. I have no debts.
He’s not earning enough to pay his bills, yet planning a very expensive trip in two years.
He can’t answer how he’ll pay for it. I’ve said to sell his business, but he refuses.
How do I protect myself from his spending? I’m scared to leave as I don’t earn much and I have the boys to consider, yet I can’t keep living like this.
Will he ever grow up?
Cash-strapped and Scared
Adults who’ve “never grown up” usually find someone who’ll respond to a crisis to deliver whatever help’s needed, despite worrying themselves sick. Meanwhile, the child-like person is unconcerned, carrying on exactly as before and ignoring the consequences.
You have been on that worrying path long enough. Also, you mentioned nothing of love/respect for your husband.
Your main concern now is for yourself and your sons’ futures. Focus on learning how to save yourself and them from more debt, and possibly losing your home.
That’s my relationship advice. But to follow it, you need to seek solid financial advice.
Start with your bank manager, go over the numbers and ask for the best options for you.
It’s then worth paying an accountant to check out the bank’s numbers vs. any other suggestions.
Readers may also weigh in.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman, turning 80, whose 100-pound overweight daughter wants to move to/be cared for by her mom (Feb. 12):
Reader – “My mother was also a nurse who almost lost her sanity and her life after caring for my father for several years before he died.
“Someone of that age should NOT be caring for their adult child because of their obese weight.
“I was also 100 pounds overweight, but finally did something about it, and lost the excess weight which also helped get rid of my Type 2 diabetes.
“This daughter is using her weight as a crutch. She should be assessed first in a care home as she will “kill” her mother.
“The aged caregiver usually dies before the one they are caring for.
“An 80-year-old woman doesn’t need that added responsibility. The daughter should be assessed first and probably put into an assisted-care home.”
Tip of the day:
You can only “save” someone you love from unhealthy habits if/when they’re ready to change for their own benefit, not what they misinterpret as your benefit or unsolicited criticism.