DEAR ABBY: A casual friend and neighbor started doing the books at the company where I work. This means she knows my income, which she didn’t before. We live in a small town and are on several committees together outside of work, including a board for a local charity and the PTO for our kids’ school.
Now that she knows how much I make, she’s on my case to be “more generous in my donations” to these groups and is spreading misinformation about my financial situation. For example, when the PTO fundraiser fell flat, she told the group I could make up the difference out of my pocket!
The thing is, she doesn’t have the full picture. I donate to organizations she doesn’t know about and help to support my oldest nephew, who has a disability and struggles to get by on his own. For now, I’m doing as much as I feel comfortable with, and I don’t want to have to divulge all the details of my financial life to get her off my back.
Asking her to stop harassing me has led to more (public) statements about my “stinginess.” Now other people in town are starting to ask me to donate to their causes, having gotten the impression I’m hiding deep pockets and have no obligations. How do I get this to stop? I worry about getting the wrong reputation in this community. — IN A PICKLE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR IN A PICKLE: Financial information is supposed to be kept private, and for a bookkeeper to leak yours is unforgivable, unethical and perhaps illegal! You should have gone to your employer and reported the woman the first time she hit you up for money and discussed your financial status with your neighbors.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I hope you will discuss this with an attorney and determine what your legal options are. As to anyone who approaches you about contributing to their favorite causes, do not go into detail about what you are funding. Just say no.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother of two teens. I’ve been in a relationship with a guy I’ll call “Doug” for four years. I feel he only wants me here for sex. If I say no, he either tries to force it or verbally abuses me.
He tells me if I don’t give him sex, I need to leave so he can bring another woman to do it. He will destroy my belongings or call me names. He says it’s my fault that he does that to me. I’m not sure what to do here. Is it my fault? — BAD SCENE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR BAD SCENE: When a boyfriend (or husband for that matter) forces their partner to have sex, it isn’t foreplay; it is rape. That Doug emotionally abuses you or destroys your property if you refuse to accommodate him is not your “fault.” (“You made me do it” is something abusers say when they want to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.)
What you need to do now is get out of there as safely as you can. Place a confidential call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) and ask for help formulating a plan to safely escape your abuser, because that is what this man is.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article was originally published on New York Post: Lifestyle