My husband woke up yesterday morning all giggly and happy. I haven’t seen him smile so brightly in such a long time. I’ve told this story before but I need to rehash to explain my husbands behavior…
Since we’ve been married our finances have never been in good shape. Between the two of us we have been laid off five times in less than eight years. Just when we got over the devastation of losing one job and were on our way to rebuilding our lives a job loss would happen again. We’ve never been able to regain a foothold to financial freedom. The last lay-off put us on a fast track to misery. My husband has been a contractor for most of our marriage, consequently, we move around quite a bit. His last position took us up to Washington State. A little over a year later Sept. 11th happened and two weeks later my husband was laid off. Once again our efforts to rebuild were thwarted. A year and a half after the lay-off my husband still hadn’t found another job. He spent so much time looking for employment and each rejection took a toll on his psyche. At first he centered his searches on his profession but nothing panned out. Towards the end of the search he was applying in state, out of state and to any place of business that existed. We were in shock. How could this possibly be happening? Why wasn’t any one hiring him? For goodness sake, he couldn’t even get hired at the local Quik Marts. He was so gung ho to find a job he applied at places such as Cemeteries, farms and Day Labor places. What a joke! Do you know that the Day Labor companies said he was too qualified, how unbelievable? During this time Washington unemployment sky-rocketed and it didn’t help that Boeing was laying off thousands of people each week. My husband was competing for jobs with other applicants that had Master Degrees and PhD’s. Plus, the few friends (other contractors) we did make left the state to move in with family members or friends.
We went through unemployment, our savings and we sold most of our possessions. I was taking classes at the local community college and soon my husband started classes also. We tried to live off our school loans and credit cards at one point. But all our dreams ended and we were evicted from our apartment with credit card debt, school loan debt and debt from the previous attempts at fixing our financial problems. Of course, we had huge medical debts from my illnesses and being a contractor we had no medical insurance. The most draining part of all this was the lack of support from my family. My father disowned me at that point and all my siblings stopped calling. My husband’s parents were wonderful but they were not in a position financially to help and neither were his two siblings and they all lived 3,200 miles away. We were so alone; we had no friends close by, as most of our friends live on the east coast. The day came that we were sitting in our car with no where to go, no money and no future.
Six months of living in a sort of hell (in our car) my husband got a call from an employment agency about a contracting job. The joy and relief filled our hearts. Four months later the job ended (it was only short term) but we had hope. Some how we reconnected with my sister and even though there was a lot of animosity left over from the last time we lived with her she said yes to us moving in again until my husband found another job.
A year later we have practically the same debt, we’ve barely made a dent in paying any of it off and roughly five thousand dollars saved up to purchase something to get us out of my sister’s house. Something we won’t have to make payments on, so there is no fear of eviction and something to give us some much needed privacy and stability.
My sister and BIL have never ever had to worry about money and they don’t spend it wisely either. My BIL has received close to $100,000 dollars in two separate lawsuits, added to that they both have received thousands of dollars from my father and his, along with trust funds, money market accounts and mutual funds. To the world they appear to be such wonderful and responsible people. They lie to everyone especially my father, he doesn’t even know my sister still smokes cigarettes let alone take anti-depressants, sleeping pills and a variety of other illicit drugs. They treat me and my husband like we are idiots and worthless. They have a rude comment for every thing we do and the constant threat of, “This is our house you have no rights” or “We want you out of the house now” is taking a toll. I’ve heard (from both my sister and BIL) that we live in a fantasy world where we are given everything we need and we don’t work for it and we don’t know what reality is, so many times that it’s branded on my chest. The reality of their existence is their daily medicating or the numbing of their minds. A pill to wake up, a pill to focus, a pill to keep them thin, a pill to keep away their demons and finally a pill to put them to sleep at night. I try not to judge…I really try. It’s just that for every situation in their lives whether bad or good it always seems to bring them more money or adds to their illusion of being the perfect people. Meanwhile, me and my husband lose our livelihoods, our home, our savings, our possessions, our dignity and our status with society is persona non grata or at least with my family.
So, reality finally catches up with my BIL and he gets punished for his wrong-doing by losing his job, thus the ear to ear grin blazing across my husbands face. A culmination of many years of stuffing his feelings about my sister and BIL has hardened his heart against them. He feels that they finally got something they deserve. I don’t condone revenge or take joy in someone else’s pain but I do understand it. To be honest, for a brief second I smiled too but the smile turned sour because I don’t want my family to suffer I just want them to be kinder and more tolerant people.
Now, I just wish I could stop my anger, the anger I feel when my sister and BIL tell me that we have to help support them during this time by giving them most of my husbands paycheck so they don’t lose their house or we can move out. They have enough money in a trust fund to pay OFF the house yet they are asking us to hand over all our money to make their house payments. My anger is boiling.