UNITED STATES—How many times do you have to make a mistake to realize that you’ve made that mistake one too many times? For many of us, we are firm believers of offering second chances to people, but what happens when those second chances continue to lead to problem after problem after problem? At some point you have to take a hard look in the mirror and say enough is enough. Many of you might be asking precisely what prompted this conversation, well family of course.

I’m a firm believer you always have to have your guard up with complete strangers because you never know their motives, but with family, one would like to believe they won’t purposely hurt you. Well, think again. I’ve seen it time and time again in my family, where blood, while thicker than water, will screw you over because it’s easier to forgive them then to someone who has no genetic ties to you. I mean I cannot tell you the stories of people that I’ve loaned money to on countless occasions. In the back of my mind, my gut tells me I’m probably not going to see that money again, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

That is the problem with family, we tend to lead with our heart, and as a result it bites us in the butt every single time. The one thing that is vital to me when it comes to money is that I don’t mind loaning someone a few dollars. However, if I indicate it’s a loan and you tell me that you will pay it back, I expect to see that money back. Nothing is more frustrating than when a person dodges you and doesn’t even attempt to return the money. That is one thing I will not do; I’m not going to chase you for money, but let me make this crystal clear: if you screw me over once that’s it. Don’t come knocking a second or third time asking me for funds because it isn’t going to happen. You can only allow someone to slap you in the face so many times before you decide to grab their hand and stop the onslaught. Also it teaches a valuable lesson to the person who screwed you over: no more and I’m onto your game.

There are those people who will use you to the ends of the Earth if you allow them and family unfortunately preys on that weakness. What can you do to prevent that? You don’t have to cut them out of your life, but you do have to set boundaries. Stand your ground and if it causes a bit of tension so be it because it prevents you from making the same mistake time and time again that will at some point become costly. I mean my older brother recently allowed my younger brother to move into his rental property with the guise that he would pay either rent or he could pay the taxes and the house is all his.

Too bad, my younger brother screwed over my younger brother and suddenly he’s playing the victim card yet again. You can’t do people wrong and think nothing is wrong. Its like how many times will you allow someone to steal before deciding you have to put a stop to it. It’s like the world of law: if you commit a crime you have to pay the price otherwise people will keep robbing, assaulting, steal or worse murder until someone says enough is enough.

We’d like to all believe that after the first mistake enough is enough. Too bad we all don’t live with that logic because our kind hearts leaves us paying the price in the long run. We all have to make mistakes in order to learn, but at the same time allowing the same mistake to repeat itself over and over again without learning from it does one no good.

Written By Kelsey Thomas