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I have a friend of over 15 yrs who is constantly in the red

Hi I have a friend...

Hi I have a friend of over 15 yrs who is constantly in the red with money. I believe this has been a chronic issue for all of her adult life. She gets $1 and she has to spend it. I've loaned her over $10,000 starting over 12 yrs ago before I knew she had a problem with gambling and money management. She pays back but then she opened a restaurant while she still owed me about $8000. I knew it would fail but there is no talking to her-stubborn-has to act like she is so successful and doesn't want anyone to know she isn't. Anyways, over the weekend, she borrowed my credit card to buy groceries for a catering event. She has done this before then pays me back when she gets payment as she always has cash flow problems. This time she ended up using my card to pay for multiple psychics one night when she was depressed and having panic attacks and charged $577 to my card which she will pay back. I struggle between the friendship and not wanting to enable her. I told her that I wouldn't be loaning her any more money even in the short term. I've said that before but she always gave me a check to trade for cash that I couldn't cash until a certain date. She went to the VA hospital for her panic attacks the next morning and is supposed to see a psychologist this week, but no matter what I've tried to discuss with her financially in the past, seems to not get absorbed. The lending money to her isn't always just to help her, but if she loses some of these jobs, then I won't get paid either. I also don't want her to become homeless and wanting to stay with me. I have told her the cats could come but I told her we would probably kill each other if we lived together! I don't want to be an enabler either. I am an RN with my own business in medical research and make good money, but I dont' want to be pulled down by her either. Thanks for any insight. I also have life long depression/anxiety that is much controlled with antidepressants.

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Answered in 1 hour by:
4/29/2013
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.
It sounds like your friend has some issues with money and also with respecting your right to be paid back the money you lent her. While it is hard to tell which one is the bigger issue, your friend definitely needs to have boundaries so she does not continue to "borrow" from you and not pay you back. Setting boundaries with her by telling her that you will not lend her any more money is a good place to start.
You may also want to set up a repayment schedule with her so you can try to get your money back. That may help her see that you are serious about this issue.
Also, try to work on not seeing her problems with any job she has or her inability to be responsible as your issue. It is hard to not do that because you are right, if she loses her job(s) you might not get paid back. But if you try to hold her up and be responsible for her by excusing her behavior, she will always take advantage of that and use what you do give her as a way to not stand on her own two feet.
If all else fails and you cannot get your money back you may want to consider small claims court (check with an attorney about the details). This may not be good for your relationship, but at this point unless your friend changes and starts to respect you and what you contribute to your friendship, you may never get your money back and still be dealing with her issues over money and responsibility for years to come.
I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi

Thanks-hard to get blood out of a turnip so going legal isn't going to help this situation. She is planning on paying back starting in July as she will have her brother paid back at that time. But something always breaks/needs repairs which sets her back. She is 61 yrs old and has many addictions over the years but has beat smoking and gotten her weight down but her problems are deap seated. I think it is an addiction issue as with the gambling, which she says she doesn't do anymore. She really is a good person, but it's like a compulsion, when she feels the need, she HAS to do it, in her mind. She feels bad and knows she shouldn't be doing it but at that moment, there's also an "I don't care because I'm going to do it anyway" issue. I'm a saver so don't understand why someone would want to live so on the edge financially, except I have been to casinos in the past 4 yrs and understand that pull to spend more than you want to-weird.

It is hard to understand why someone would want to live as she does financially, but it sounds like she might have a lot of deep seated issues, as you mentioned. At this point the best you can do is to try to set boundaries with her and not lend her anymore money. She has shown you that she cannot be responsible with it and also that she does not see this as an issue so it's unlikely she will get better.
Kate
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
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