Dear Thelma: My boyfriend and his family used me like an ATM

Dear Thelma

I have been in a serious relationship with Christopher for five years. We have talked about purchasing a house together, life insurance and we plan to register our marriage this year.

However, in the middle of last year, I received a lot of threats (parcels/texts/calls) from a mysterious person. They contained dark magic stuff, naked pictures of my boyfriend and a baby picture with a claim that it was his child.

I have communicated my concern with him and he kept assuring me that I should trust him. He claimed that someone was trying to destroy our "perfect" relationship.

However, one day, I found out from a woman I did not know that Chris had actually gone to the National Registration Department to get their marriage licence and they planned to marry this year. You can imagine how I was furious and I wondered how his family could hide all this from me.

I soon realised that I had been used by my boyfriend and his family as their personal ATM. I have supported them financially without fail and helped them with their medical bills, groceries and car loans. All this has amounted to RM60,000 in the five years we have been together.

I have supported my boyfriend and his family financially without fail and helped them with their medical bills, groceries and car loans… all amounting to RM60,000.

My boyfriend has aggressively denied all these "loans" that I have been kind-hearted enough to help with though the years.

I am still amazed how his family could conspire with him to lie to me for five long years and never reveal to me that he is actually in the process of getting married to another girl. - Used & Cheated

Dear Cheated

What a dreadful story! People really can be awful at times, and from your letter you fell into the hands of some seriously depraved characters.

I notice you haven't actually asked me a question. So I'm going to give you some advice to help you cope in a general way.

First, go find a lawyer immediately. You have a strong case here for cheating and goodness knows what else. However, you have to collect proof and make a case. Don't do this yourself; it requires a legal expert.

Lawyers often work on commission, so if you're short of cash, you might be able to do a deal where she will take her pay from what she can claw back for you. This need not be limited to the actual money Christopher and his family deceived you for. It can also include awards for pain and suffering.

Most importantly, don't tell a soul what you're doing. You don't want these monsters covering their tracks. So keep your mouth shut, put everything into the hands of your legal advisor, and focus on healing yourself.

Now, anyone can be taken in by con artists so don't beat yourself up over this. You see, when people can make a lot of money off a victim, they can be very, very cunning. So don't let anyone blame you. Put the blame where it belongs: on the cheats who conned you.

Anyone can be taken in by con artists so don't beat yourself up over this.

I think it would be worth talking to a mental health professional. You need to go over everything in a safe space so that you can figure out what happened, how you feel, and how it's changed you.

If you decide this experience has led to changes in you that you don't like, a pro can help you manage these in a more positive way.

Who exactly should you talk to? Basically, you were violated so I'd say you might look for someone who's been at the sharp end of life. Like someone who's counselled rape and other violent crime victims.

Also, as the body and the mind are connected, and these kinds of experiences are very shocking, you might also go and see your family doctor, just for a check-up.

My dear, although you have had an awful time, you are alive and you will rebuild your life. So keep up your courage, and focus on making the good future you deserve come true.

Know that I'm thinking good thoughts for you, and write back if you need to.