QUESTION

I stole my mother’s whole retirement fund of R500 000 to buy my boyfriend a car. Now my mother has thrown my brother, his wife and two kids out of the house and they are homeless because she thinks he took the money.

She has also opened a case of theft against him. He was arrested and is now out on bail. I'm so sad about what's happening but I just don’t know how to fix things because I also don’t want to go to jail and lose my family over this.

When I took the money I really didn’t mean to cause any harm, especially not to my brother and his family. It all just went so wrong. My family trusts me so much they've asked me to try and resolve the matter between my mother and my brother.

I feel scared, and I'm having sleepless nights and losing weight over this. What should I do? – ASHAMED

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MOVE! EXPERT ADVICE

Wilma Calvert, a counsellor at the Family Life Centre in Joburg, says: “Practical action is needed. You'll have to deal with the emotional fallout later. Your boyfriend needs to know the truth and the car has to be returned or sold for as much as you can get back.

“The case against your brother has to be withdrawn, which means that the family has to know the truth. A trusted family friend can act as the mediator to break the news. You have a responsibility to make things right with your family. You can work out a payment plan to reimburse your mother.

“The hurt and trauma of your actions on the family needs to be dealt with using professional help. The money can be sorted out fairly easily but the relationship issues will take much longer and may never be the same again.”

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MOVE! READERS ADVISE

TIEGO CARLOS

You have to confess all your mistakes. This will give you peace of mind and bring a solution to this problem. It's in your best interest to initiate this process even though your mom and family may take time to heal. You will thank me later.

NAZEEM GROOTBOOM

You must pay back the money you stole from your mom so you can resolve things with her and the rest of the family. Secrets have a way of coming out so it's best that you do the right thing and ask for forgiveness.

MANDISA MBANJWA

Take the car back from your boyfriend, sell it and give your mom her money back. It's not worth your family being torn apart when the only person who's benefiting is your boyfriend. This is wrong.

JEAN NDOLWANE

The fact you bought a car for your boyfriend – not even your husband – bothers me a lot. How could you do this knowing very well that this man could dump you later? You must never fall in love again until you have gained your senses.