Dominique King Lean in with Love

Avoiding a family feud over money

Dominique King Lean in with LoveQ. For the last seven years, my husband and I have financially assisted families on both sides when they experienced hardships. However, this year we decided to pull back our support as we felt the requests and amounts were getting out of control.

We haven’t made a formal announcement but have said no to a recent request for money. As a result, we were uninvited to our family’s Fourth of July gatherings. We received numerous phone calls from family asking for “one last favor” or why we were turning our backs on our blood.

We are hurt and frustrated by our family’s reaction and unsure how to proceed without causing a more considerable falling out.

– Alicia

A. No good deed goes unpunished, a sardonic quote but sadly accurate in many situations involving family and money. The emotional reactions, anger and fallout over your decision are not in your hands. Family members will attempt to enforce a dynamic where the larger familial group benefits. As you implement boundaries and stay firm in your choice, you will lose kin along the way – temporarily or permanently. As painful as this process sounds, what you gain will be worth it.

Expectations and entitlement

Your families have spent seven years building their lives around your financial assistance. You are the only two looking at your generosity as a helping hand. In reality, you’ve become their financial cushion or, at minimum, an emergency fund. They may be genuinely hurt that you are pulling the financial rug from underneath them after you both laid it down and let everyone get comfortable. They have come to expect your help and may feel entitled to hold you accountable for upsetting the perceived balance of things.

There will never be a suitable time to cut the financial cord. The longer you wait, the more indecisive you appear. Make your choice clear, concise and consistent. How you are perceived and treated has everything to do with your character.

Avoiding the guilt trips

While your family is wrapping their minds around the changing dynamic, you two must do so too. Transparency with self must occur.

Unpack why you chose to help your family in this particular manner. What did this validate for you and your husband mentally and emotionally? Understanding your attachment to the “financial yes” is essential. That need for validation or status will be the strings pulled at first. You can avoid the gaslighting, guilt trips and manipulation when you become aware of your triggers and emotional roadblocks.

Alicia, word has spread, and your families are preemptively striking to get you and your husband back in line. While it is unfortunate, the fallout may be what you need to establish a healthier and reciprocal family environment.

My advice is to take this time to observe who people are when the financial incentive to be friendly and loving is no longer available.
Be well; you are worthy.

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Dominique King
Dominique King

Dominique King is a blogger who centers around marriage, family, fitness and personal growth. Her insightful and practical approach to advice gives everyday couples, parents and individuals a space to get answers to their questions.