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Attorney Peter Daigle Speaks With Katherine From “This Needs To Be Said” About The Emotional Aspects Of Bankruptcy

Katherine: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on This Needs to Be Said. Our friend, attorney Peter Daigle, is back and he’s talking with us today about the emotional aspects of bankruptcy. And I have a throat. I have a throat in my knot. I have a knot in my throat, getting ready for this topic, because when you talked about this, Peter, when you mentioned it to me, it made me think about times when I thought I should’ve known better. And, there was actually someone who could have told me that I didn’t need to worry, that this is what to expect ahead, that this happens to even the best of us. But you feel like you’ve been a bad person by not keeping your obligations. So when you said this and you said “emotions,” Okay. I am ready to help ease people’s minds as you continue to do what we’re talking about, how you feel having to even consider this choice whether you make it or not, the consideration itself, too.
Peter Daigle: Right, exactly. Well, yeah, this is great because the mechanical aspects of it are very simple. We just follow a defined set of laws and rules, and it’s like filling out tax returns. But, it’s the emotional toll that goes with it that I find through the course of my practice is the biggest obstacle. Either getting people to file or get through the process without feeling the sense of shame as you described earlier as something that your mother wouldn’t have told you to do. And so, what I try to do, as part of my practice now, is try to encourage them to not take it so personally about what’s happened to them. I know it is personal and so that’s difficult, sometimes it’s difficult.
Katherine: That’s hard to say, right?
Peter Daigle: Right, but so, let me just give you a few things that run through people’s mind that they’re obviously concerned, but one is to think that their life is going to be over and they have a fear, that somehow by filing this bankruptcy, that they’ve become a failure. They’re admitting they’ve become a failure and they’ll never recover. Okay, so let me address that point. The law, when they wrote the law, they decided this is not going to happen. We want people to hit the speed bump, and get over it safely, and to be on with their life. And so, they designed the laws to allow you to fresh start. And that includes rebuilding your credit, that includes not having people call you, that has heavy debt go away. And so, they set the law up so that you’re going to get that fresh start.

The fear that you might have that this is, my life is over because of this, is completely unfounded. Okay. And as we know, fear and anxiety are the worst things in the world because they paralyze us, they wake us up in the middle of the night. They cause us to live in terrible place. And so, with good information and knowledge, you can dispel fear. And so, there is no reason to fear the fact that there isn’t a lot of life afterwards. Okay, because you will get a fresh start. That’s one of the things that I try to overcome with folks.

The second area that they come with is, they feel like, again as you mentioned, that they feel like such a failure. Well, I can’t pay these creditors back. I can’t make it happen. And, sometimes if you’ve lived long enough in life, you run into certain circumstances that sometimes are a little bit outside of your control, whether it be a health problem, or a family problem, divorce, or loss of a job, or somewhere, and along the line you need a break somehow from those circumstances.

Okay, you cannot just carry the weight of the world on your shoulders just because an event happened. I look at the people that I see, that are elderly, and I hear their life story and I’m like, “Oh my God, you’ve been through a lot,” the loss of a child, loss of a spouse, a loss of a job, health issue, or cancer, so in other words-

Katherine: You can’t get a break.
Peter Daigle: Yes. In other words, what I say to them is, “Be kind to yourself, don’t be so hard on yourself. Treat yourself, you’re your own person, so love your life.” Just be kind to them today, and to say, “Hey, listen, you know what, I’m going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together. And the other side of this thing, we’re going to have a new life.” And so allow yourself, to give yourself that break to be able to go through the process, and get that fresh start, and not hold on to that, and suffer the consequences.

That is really, and that individual feeling. And so a lot of times, I encourage people to bring an advocate, to bring somebody with to the meeting, that, especially for the elderly people that they can bounce it off of, and validate what they’re doing. They’re not felt like they’re all alone. The idea is to learn the information about bankruptcy, and trying to understand it in an impassioned way, in a way that understands the facts and separate yourself from the emotion.

The idea is to work out the emotional aspect of it in a way that is being kind to yourself, with the knowledge that you will get to the other side of it. And that this is just one more event, in your life, that makes you who you are. Okay, and that defines you for being a person who has lived, and now and taken chances, and put yourself out there instead of just being so conservative they don’t do anything.

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Katherine: Well I’ve got a question for you because it’s going to go back to what we were talking about before we began the interview today. Not knowing what other people have gone through, because I think for me, having to make this type of decision, would make me feel like a failure of course. And I would think, “Man, am I the only one?” Or I wouldn’t even ask the question, I would just assume I’m the only one because I don’t know anyone else who’s done this. And when I talk with my mom, and this has been years ago for me going through bankruptcy, so I know what you’re saying is true and you know how you deal with clients.

I’m not speaking from a place that I completely don’t know, but I’ve been that person who was afraid to make this decision. You must’ve done something wrong because your mom has never had this issue. But, when it happened to me, my mom says, “Yeah, we almost lost this house.” She was talking about our family home, and I never knew. She never told me anything that would lead me to think that we were almost about to lose this house. I didn’t know until I was in that space, but had I not opened my mouth, I wouldn’t have known.

That part is, like with anything that you do, that you feel like “I shouldn’t be here.” You start feeling those feelings of you’re the only one, shake that feeling, you’re not the only one. Open your mouth and you will find out someone has been where you are, and you will know that someone like Peter, if you need to look at bankruptcy, as an option to reset your life, he’s already sharing with you, bring an advocate with you. Don’t just go by yourself and talk with him, bring someone else. And I was thinking you were going to say someone who isn’t even attached to the situation so they don’t have anything to gain from it. Is that what you were saying?

Peter Daigle: A friend of yours, or something, someone you can confide in, someone you can say, “Listen, I’m in a jam here.” And that we’ll support you and back you through it, because we’re all in this world together. And, if it’s not, that person may need you down the road, or you may have already helped them in some way. It’s very difficult to get through life without these types of things coming up. And, it could be worse. This is just about money. Money can be wiped out. It’s not like a health problem, or it’s not like the loss of a spouse or job, or something-
Katherine: A life-
Peter Daigle: Yeah, a life, so.
Katherine: This could be reset. And, I like the idea of having someone who’s not emotionally invested in what I’m going through, because they’re the level-headed one. And I could still say, “Yeah, I heard what Peter said, but, but, but, but,” and this person can say, “Well Katherine, you heard what he said and you want to keep this or you know, you already know what you want to do and he’s already shown you how to do it. What’s your problem now?” And then, I will have to come face-to-face with it’s me. So get over me.

And I can’t get mad at my friend because they’re just stating the facts. They’re not invested. It’s not their family home. It’s not their loss of money. It’s not their loss of prestige or ego. They’re just saying, “Hey, I’m your friend and you asked me to be here, and this is what I saw and you do have the final decision,” but you now know I have all the information to make the best possible decision for myself.

And every time, I think about, there’s this joke about God sending me help, and he said, “You were in a flood, and the guy was in the flood, and the water keeps rising. I’m sure I’m jamming this joke up, I’m terrible at jokes. But anyway, by the time the guy doesn’t take the third boat, he dies and goes to heaven and asks God, why didn’t he help him? And God said, “I sent three boats.”

Peter Daigle: The helicopter, boat, the fireman, and everybody comes
Katherine: Right, so yeah, I messed up the joke. But you know the joke, right? I sent you help, but it wasn’t what you were looking for. You didn’t want to look like bankruptcy. You didn’t want it to look like feeling bad, not keeping your obligations. But you may have to look like this, or feel like this, to get over yourself and say, “Oh God is coming to help me. I didn’t want it to look like this. I didn’t want God to humble me and help me.” Right?
Peter Daigle: Exactly.
Katherine: I didn’t want him to help, just pay my bills.
Peter Daigle: You got it. You should be a counselor.
Katherine: I’m only good because you’re here. We have a good chemistry when we talk. I just believe, that whenever I learn something, I want to share with other people. What you do with the information is now on your own. But at least I’ve made it available to you. I always hear, and I say always, but I often hear people say, “If someone would have told me.” And I think if someone would’ve told me what I have listened, and sometimes Katherine, I still would not have listened. She would’ve done something. Yeah, Peter said “do this.” I’m going the other way. So the truth is not necessarily if someone would’ve told you, but if you would’ve listened. So I’m going to keep talking. I’m going to keep providing a platform for you to come and share, so that people one day get that, “You know what? I’m tired of sitting on this nail. I’m tired of being in this pain. I’m tired of not getting over myself.
Peter Daigle: Exactly.
Katherine: And I’ll just keep talking, and I’ll keep talking. I’ve been talking for a long time, so I don’t mind sharing information and I’m so grateful for the way that you approach your clients. Our time is up this month, but I want you to share with, this needs to be said audience, how to get in touch with you outside of this interview.
Peter Daigle: Fantastic. Peter Daigle, my direct line, 508-771-7444, and you can Google me at Daigle Law Office, Daigle Law Office on the Google, or is our website.
Katherine: Fantastic. Until next time, Peter, have a wonderful day.
Peter Daigle: Okay, Katherine, you too. Bye Bye now.
Katherine: Thanks.
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