Having a hard time with this one, I need advice

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    May 28, 2008 5:39 AM GMT
    So I was on the phone with my mother today. She said something that really disturbed me and I can't get it out of my head.

    She's mentioned it before, but never quite so direct. This was her statement.

    When you're able to, you really need to be taking care of me financially.

    Now mind you, the woman has taken advantage of every charity she possibly could while lying about her financial ability to take care of herself. Lying about the amount of alimony she gets, lied about the child support she received while the other kids were underage. All of it.

    She's let her church make her house payments, buy her medicine, buy her groceries all while she goes on these rediculous shopping sprees.

    I've tried to talk to her about it before, but never gotten through to her that she really needs to take care of herself. But I've gotten no where.

    And then her comment today pretty much has my blood boiling.

    Am I wrong?
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    May 28, 2008 5:56 AM GMT
    dude... honestly this is a hard one. i dont think anyone will be able to really help you out as it is not their mother. it sucks that you were put in that situation, but the only thing i can say is that your heart will tell you what you need to do. weigh out all of ur options, make a list of pros and cons and go from there. can u live with urself if you do, can u live with urself if u dont?
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    May 28, 2008 6:07 AM GMT
    Very good points and I have to remember that she is different from me.

    I personally would NEVER want anyone "taking care" of me. I have too much self respect.

    I have put myself in some pretty terrible corners in my life and made some very irresponsible choices. But I decided that I needed to handle it myself. Confronting my troubles head on, and taking responsibility for my bad choices.

    But for 25 years, all I've heard is how she needs help. And today she finally said the words... You need to take care of me. I guess what bothers me the most is that her 95 year old mother still lives alone, mows her own lawn and even cleans houses for money. Yet my mother will not let her sell her house and move in with her as she doesn't want her to spend the money from the sale of her house. Cause she gets the money when Grannie is gone.

    It's just such a two way street with this woman, my mother. And I know that I would put myself in a home before ever wanting to move in with my kids and have them take care of me.

    That is why I'm looking for advice. Not sure how to react.
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    May 28, 2008 6:13 AM GMT

    I really can't understand western families.
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    May 28, 2008 6:14 AM GMT
    but that is the thing... we are all made differently. where u do not want to be anyone elses responsibilty, she has no problem being taken care of. im not sure what her relationship was with ur father and with her parents and siblings, but it was most likely behavior that they enabled, and now she expects you to continue with it. at the end of the day, she is our mother so to an extent there is an obligation. but at the same time, u must be able to have a clear conscience. u must be able to live everyday with whatever decision u make no matter what, because it is u who will haveto live with that decision for the rest of ur life. i am a supporter of u doing whatever u have to do to sleep well at nite, because again, its ur life. ur mother can be mad all she wants if u choose not to support her, but she is not living ur life. u are.
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    May 28, 2008 6:23 AM GMT
    And you know, we're all so blessed in this amazing world we live in.

    Continuing to enable her seems like a dis-service to her. How can you ever love the great without the bad. Understand hate, when you don't know love.

    I have always, even when making mistakes, been very honest. But it almost wants me to lie about money. But then again, how much money I do or do not make is nobody's business. I am far from being a rich man financially. However in the blessing and growth I feel so wealthy. But I do need to actually save some money so I'm not looking to others EVER.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    May 28, 2008 6:34 AM GMT


    Well, if this was me...I believe it would be my responsibility to make certain my parents are comfortable in their retirement...on that note, I hardly believe I would break my back so they could take extravagent trips...

    ...there is always that adult reversal where your parents stop taking care of you...and then in the end you take care of them...but just like my parents said to me "no, you don't need that"...the phrase goes the other way when/if I'm the financial provider...

    Good luck.

    - David
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    May 28, 2008 6:42 AM GMT
    Thank you David... It's not that I mind helping but just the statement that I'm suppose to "take care" of her hits a nerve.

    I have no issue sending a few hundred bucks here and there, but the "take care" of me thing bugs the crap out of me. Especially when I know how she spends money, has $200,000 in equity in a home, shops non-stop and takes from so many church and government groups.

    Maybe I'm just being selfish... but that is why I shot it out to my brothers. If I'm wrong, I want to hear it. And no offense taken.
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    May 28, 2008 6:48 AM GMT
    Tough call there bud. I love my parents but if I knew they were manipulating charitable organizations and lying about their expenses, that would not bode well with me.

    I would not help them if they did those things. Only when they stop committing those dishonest acts would I then lend them my support, within reason.

    Many good points were stated. I hope you can come to a conclusion that you will be confident in making. Know that your well being is the most important and not to be compromised by anyone else, regardless of who they may be.

    Good luck bro.

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    May 28, 2008 7:13 AM GMT
    Tough call.

    Well it seems you are aware of the "habit" that your mother has developed. You could always call her out on it and see what develops from that or just make light of the situation and pass it off as her joking.

    The fact that your mother is to point where she feels she needs to be taken care of after she has already nickle and dimed everyone around her should raise a flag. It seems she is all about getting hers and not too worried about how she gets it or who she gets it from so long as she gets it. In short, it's almost like she feels owed. That's just wrong for any parent to do that but at the end of the day she is still your mom.

    That's something you and only you alone can answer and deal with. I doubt anyone would think more or less of you no matter what your decision is. Good Luck.
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    May 28, 2008 7:58 AM GMT
    PhxAriz08 saidI'll do anything to my help my mom. I think you should do the same... It doesn't matter if your mom lied... She is your mom.

    my sentiments exactlyicon_smile.gif, i dont know you or your situation, but as adults we tend to forget the amount of HARD WORK, worries, pain, sacrifice it took (and then some!)for our parents, and specifically our mothers to raise us, not to mention that the only unconditional, and pure selfless love that we ever feel as children, and adults are from our mothers... and all i can say is that i could live an infinite amount of lives, but i couldnt BEGIN to make it up to my parents...your mom deserves, and earned the right to be taken care by you....she loves you, and im sure you love her so please take care of her any way you canicon_smile.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    May 28, 2008 11:09 AM GMT
    Your Mom has worked her way thru life in a certain way

    ... is it right? For her no
    But now she's made a statement and you need to take her at her word
    You want to be providing for her in a few years?
    Then do nothing She'll do the work to make sure you do
    If not you need to lay the ground work now
    Talk to your family and make it known how you feel and what you're willing to do
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    May 28, 2008 11:11 AM GMT
    I think your mum is out of order. You owe her your love not your money.
  • dcarm

    Posts: 291

    May 28, 2008 12:00 PM GMT
    I'm somewhat horrified. She really said that? She really stole from charities and churches? (although, I suppose defrauded is the correct term.

    I tend to agree that continuing to enable her in her spending habits is a disservice to her. What happens if you wind up in a position where you can no longer take care of her?

    My response to needing to take care of them financially?

    In this situation, I'd be saying to her "here is your income, once it's gone, it's gone. How will you spend it?"

    Taking care of her financially should include education about budgeting and assistance in realising that she can't keep going on shopping sprees.

    After saying all of that, there are a couple of reasons my advice may not be fantastic:
    1) I'm 23. As much as I'd like the Wisdom of Age, I don't have it yet.
    2) My parents haven't done anything like that to my knowledge. They're both honest to a fault, I think.

    So it's not like I've been in your situation.

    Instinctively, we should look after our mothers. But sometimes what they want us to do isn't what they actually need us to do.

    It sounds like your mother doesn't necessarily need a handout, but she really needs to learn that she's on a limited income, that she has to curtail her spending, and that eventually if she keeps defrauding charities they will stop giving her money.

    I hope this helps!

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    May 28, 2008 1:31 PM GMT
    Is there a possibility that you can financially take care of her by directly paying her basic living bills (mortgage, utilities, possible insurances)?

    If you feel you have reason to distrust her financial mental health (in terms of unsustainable shopping), you may be better off directly taking care of her "foundation" while not intervening in her other financial affairs. That way you will also be able to assure yourself that your (gift) money is not going to personal indulgences on her part and respect her financial privacy.

    You would then also preempt her possible exploitation of charity, opening it up for others (possibly more in need) and removing that particular stress factor.
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    May 28, 2008 1:40 PM GMT
    Somewhat on topic...

    I've never understood the obligation that people feel for family. I've seen friends tolerate all kinds of dreadful behavior--insults, meddling, imposition--for no reason other than it's coming from family. As far as I'm concerned, being related to me doesn't give you carte blanche to treat me poorly without fear of repercussion.

    Am I wrong here? Should family get some kind of special pass that you wouldn't give to friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc? And if so, why? No one has been able to give me a reason other than, "Just because. They're family." Not good enough for me.
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    May 28, 2008 1:57 PM GMT
    While supporting your family either emotionally or financially is a good thing to do, I would never cross the line of enabling behavior that's ethically wrong. It make you complicit in it.
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    May 28, 2008 2:09 PM GMT
    I see it as you got two choices:

    Tell her that you won't be able to take care of her financially in a few years, so dont expect it. It would be best just to tell her and get it over with. She might throw a hissy fit, but if you cant take on the financial responsibility, it is best to be upfront about it so other arrangements can be made.

    If you decide to be involved, then you get a say in what her living arrangements will be.

    You get to know what other financial support options there are, saving accts, pensions, social security, medicare/caid (I dont know which is for old folks), available health insurance options from AARP, etc.

    You get to discuss living arrangements. Does she stay where she is now or can she find cheaper living accomodations? Can she and grandma share a house? Can grandma sell the house and share something with ma?

    You get to establish ma's budget or at least how much you are contributing and then she is on her own to supplement.

    Once you start contributing to her support, you get to say how she lives. If she doesnt like what you say, then she is back on her own...

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    May 28, 2008 2:24 PM GMT
    As usual, Cas nailed it perfectly
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    May 28, 2008 3:54 PM GMT
    PhxAriz08 saidI'll do anything to my help my mom. I think you should do the same... It doesn't matter if your mom lied... She is your mom.

    To some extent I agree however if what he said is true and she lies and cheats charitable organizations out of money and still continues to do so then he is enabling her. Not only that he claims she is a compulsive shopper.

    I was in a similar situation but my mother was a compulsive gambler and liar. Before I would even let he think or assume I was going to bail her out I made her get help. After she got help I purchased the home and signed it over to her and let her know that was the only handout she was getting from me.

    If she is lying to charitable/government agencies to get handouts and they determine she lied they can and usually will seek restitution. I know two families they had to repay $200k because they added interests etc to it. In some states the parents debt becomes the families debt after death.
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    May 28, 2008 4:49 PM GMT
    I don't mind helping out my Mom, but if she is being frivolous with her spending I am afraid I would have a serious talk with her. When I was growing up my parents would talk to me about being responsible, paying my own way, etc.. So I would expect her to "walk the talk" when she was older. It would be different if she did not have enough money for the important things in life, but I am not getting that impression in this situation.

    In my situation I have the opposite problem. I am trying to convince my Mom not to worry so much about how many long-distance calls she can make per month, or whether she can afford to give her grandkids birthday presents. She has no head for finances.
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    May 28, 2008 5:02 PM GMT
    Here is my take: Your grandmother is fine now - but at 95, she may soon be no longer able to live alone and may need your mother to help her get through the day. I would urge the two ladies to live together, in one house and sell the other house. After sales costs, the funds from the sale of the second house should be invested to provide your mother and grandmother with an income. I would present the ladies with a written budget - showing all utilities and expenditures. I would make it clear to your mother exactly how much money there is in her new budget for utilities, groceries, restaurants, and fun spending. I'm thinking she simply needs to know what her spending limits are - and she needs to stay within her budget.

    Then - if it turns out the incomes are not sufficient to provide for the two ladies, you could contribute to their support. I would want my name on the deed to their house though - so that in the end, I would inherit at least part of the house....which is only right and just.

    What do you think?
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    May 28, 2008 5:05 PM GMT
    WOW polobutt: Yes I agree with you this would make my blood boil too. Some people have distorted thinking and that includes unrealistic expectations of us.

    Grab the bull by the horns now - and in a nice way - just say to mom - Oh mom - I forgot to tell that I will help you where I can as you get older, so it is a good idea to prepare a futures budget(plan), just so you can take care of yourself.

    This way polo, you have not refused to help MOM and you have offered - your help where you can - and that she needs to take reponsibility for her own future too!

    Otherwise, to avoid the issue will make your blood boil and she has been told so to speak.icon_wink.gif
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    May 29, 2008 12:29 AM GMT
    your problem is not the money issue, but how to deal with a "user". sorry it sounds bad, but my mom is kinda the same.
    maybe if you let her know you need more help from her, she'd probably play that guilt trip on somebody else then you. OH try borrowing money from her for a house downpayment, lol.

    but i think both of us should be glad that at least the problem is not other way around. i mean at least you know she's sufficient then actually in need. there's always a side to be thankful than be upset.

  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19070

    May 29, 2008 1:05 AM GMT
    Make no mistake about it, I love my mother more than any human being on the planet, and I would be there for her in a heartbeat if she was in need. That being said, what your mom is pulling with charitable organizations, the church, and what not is just plain wrong. It's not like she's destitute or even in "need" for that matter -- worse, she is using up funds that could go to others who are truly in need. Just because she is your mom, it doesn't make it okay. I would call her out on the carpet on her shit and ask her to justify her actions, making sure she knows that you love her and will always be there for her when she needs you, but making the point that her conduct isn't something you condone or are proud of.