June 19, 2024
When I tried to help my husband, he responded with rage -- so he's on his own.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is recklessly irresponsible when it comes to dealing with the IRS. He avoids doing his taxes and ignores mail that comes in from them. This has been stressing me out for years. Every time I bring it up, he screams at me and shuts down the conversation.

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Last week he got a letter from the IRS basically with an ultimatum. This time he sat down and told me about it. I recommended that he get on the phone with them and make a payment plan. I hope he does it, but I cannot take on this responsibility for him. I have tried to help him only to have to endure his hostility and rage.

I did make it clear, though, that they will garnish his wages if he doesn’t handle his business.

Is there anything else I can do to be supportive? I draw the line at doing his taxes for him.

— Facing the IRS

DEAR FACING THE IRS: You can help him establish a timeline for taking action. Perhaps you can create a calendar with him that includes the date he will call them — today — followed by whatever dates he agrees to complete tasks.

Let him be the guardian of the calendar. You can just help him to set it up so that he can honor whatever agreement he makes with them. Hopefully you two file separately so that if the IRS does garnish his wages, you are not directly impacted.

To learn about eligibility to make a deal with the IRS, go to the agency’s website.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently made the difficult decision to sever ties with my sibling due to ongoing disrespectful behavior toward me.

Although my mother has expressed sadness over our lack of communication, my sibling has yet to acknowledge their actions or apologize for their behavior. I tried to communicate my feelings with them and hoped for change, but nothing seemed to work.

It hurts me to not have them in my life, but the constant negativity was too much to handle. My sibling has severe anger and behavioral issues, so as the level-headed one, I am left feeling guilty even though I am not the one who disrespected them.

Was I wrong to sever ties? How do I know that I am doing the right thing?

— Protecting My Peace

DEAR PROTECTING MY PEACE: Severing ties today does not necessarily have to mean forever. Perhaps some time apart will help your sibling to notice things about their behavior and your interactions that are worthy of addressing. Time will tell.

While your mother is sad, do your best not to talk negatively about your sibling to her. She loves you both, so it’s an impossible situation for her. It would break her spirit to have to take sides. Instead, just love her and be with her when the moment calls for it, and avoid talking about your sibling.

Try not to feel guilty about things that you cannot control. Live your life and see if you can begin to feel less stressed by no longer interacting with your sibling. Find your peace and nurture that.

As time goes by, see if there is a natural reconnection that happens. But don’t force it.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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