23, and still mentally glued to the mother nest
I am a 23 year old woman, with not much job experience. Back in high school, between 2006-2009, I was the quiet, shy wallflower with not much of a mindset growing up. I have low self-esteem due to my weight gain and my shy nature. When graduation day finally hit, I wasn't sure if I was ready or not, but I still hoped for the best, despite that I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life or what I wanted to major in. I decided Graphic Design, because I thought that I would be good at it because I liked designing things like brochures and such.
I tried college in August of 2009, but due to not having the right math classes in high school, I ended up failing twice and losing my financial aid. Around this time, my mother, with my (unfortunate) permission, used some of my financial aid to pay her bills, which caused me overdraft fees I couldn't afford, and with her not financially supporting me through that. I was in a rut for 2 years, with no motivation until I came across Job Corps. I officially became a Job Corps student on Nov. 6th, 2012, and completed the program on Nov. 15th, 2013, specializing in Office Administration. When I finished Job Corps, I was hoping to stay in the Portland, OR area to avoid having to worry about my Job Corps exit check going towards paying off my mothers debt. Unfortunately, I was not given the time I needed to find adequate housing and so I was forced to return to WA, but instead of living with my mom, I chose to live with my dad and his stepmother, which my mother was obviously not happy with.
Right now, I currently have a job, but living with my mother and have been single for a very long time. Don't get me wrong, I love and respect my mom, but throughout the years since I have graduated high school, our home is no longer a home. From Graduation to the time I completed Job Corps, she had a lizard/snake hording problem. My mom is disabled and extremely obese and was unable to care for those animals, and most of the time either me or my brother was burdened with feeding and cleaning the reptile and feeder mice cages, as much to our displeasure because we never really signed up for taking care of them. Our house, since the year of 2011, has had severe flood damage and with the years building up, mold damage has also built up. She no longer has insurance, due to her taking so long to report the damage.
My problem is is that I don't know what to do. Since I started this job at the end of September, I've been attempting to save for a car, but every time I have some money saved up, my mom guilts me into giving her my money. She even 'bought' her Christmas presents and told me I 'should' give her money for those, which is crazy in my mind. My younger sister is very successful, married woman, and is concerned for the environment I live in, both mentally and physically, because suffer from severe asthma and depression. My sister has constantly told me her concerns, and I don't have an answer for her because I don't know what to do, because my job is in the same town as where my mom lives, and I have no friends I could stay with, nor adequate transportation to get to and from work. I am tired of living in this situation because the house is still dirty and unhealthy and my mom won't do a thing about it and expects me to use my days off to clean up the mess that her (unfixed) cats and dogs cause.
I used to want to help, but I get so sick and tired of having to re-clean every single day, only to have the mess back the way it was hours, or even a day later. What was the near final straw was that I was told that my mother withheld information from my prior doctor back in 2001 that I could've been diagnosed with Autism, but she did not want it to ruin my life and so she kept it from me this whole time, and so I was diagnosed with ADD, but until now I didn't research the two until recently, which I found that the symptoms of ADD and Autism are completely different, with most of my symptoms towards Autism. I am trying not to be angry with her, but with all the things that have been going on, I don't know what to do. There are some days, with being stressed out at work and being stressed out with my current situation, I sometimes have thoughts of suicide because I don't want to deal with it anymore and I'm tired of feeling stressed and pained all the time. It's gotten to the point where I just recluse to my room for nearly all the day except to use the bathroom or find something to eat. I hardly get outside these days, other than to walk to work and back. I am just at the point where I don't know what to do or where to go from here. I don't want to hurt anyone, but I am tired of being in this cycle. Help?
It sounds to me like your roles have been switching as you become an adult. Its usually the parents that have to look after their kids pets and help them with money when they get stuck. Unfortunately, by allowing your mum to treat you this way youve unknowingly allowed her to think this is okay with you. So unfortunately Mum, youre going to have to upturn the relationship, tough love.
Why does your mum need these pets? They only seem to be causing issues. Why are you cleaning up after them? Is this for your mum or to prevent cruelty through neglect? I think it may be time to step back and see what happens when you and your brother dont do any work towards it, if that results badly for both your mum and the animals, it sounds like they (your mum and the pets) need rescuing from her inability to let go. Calling an animal protection charity may seem harsh but could be better for everyone long term.
Instead of doing things for her that are twisting your relationship, are there other kind, considerate daughter things you can do for her? What did you do together when you were younger? Can you take her out for coffee? Can you chat to her about how you would rather put thought into your own gifts for her? Can you plan a budget for yourself to include savings for a car? Can you involve her in this planning by asking her advice in putting it together without letting her dictate what you budget? That way she knows you only have a few cents to help her out with, not dollars.
Chat with your siblings about ideas to sort out your relationship, dont do it alone! You together should have better ideas than a stranger who doesnt know you or her
Bring in relatives to help you out. This is too big for you to handle. It sounds like your mother is a hoarder. This has been going on for too long and your health is in danger.
Begin to save up for your own place. Ask your siblings for help to get you in a safe place.
Then get help for your mom. Social Services will be there soon, anyway, from the sounds of it.
What is your mom's age?
I feel for you. I have a relative whose mother sounds a lot like yours. Same issues with the hoarding and using guilt or expecting others to pay for her addictions. Is she receiving any kind of financial support or is she just relying on you?
@Violette, I'm not sure why mom needed the pets to start with =/ she did this back when we used to live in Arizona, but she took care of them there. My mom, when we lived up here in WA, said that at least her pets won't leave her, with me and my siblings in the room, which was a start to conflict. Unfortunately most of the reptiles died last winter due to it being too cold, despite the heat lamps they had. My brother moved out last week after coming back from Basic, so it's just me and mom.
We didn't do much really when I was younger. My grandma did most of the raising, and my mom just did what ever she could, really. She didn't have an animal hording problem when grandma was still alive. But at the moment, my sister and my mom are on a not friendly relationship at the moment (due to facebook drama), but my sister wants to help me out by getting me out of the house. Right now, I'm not sure what I could do for my mom. I try to cook for her once in awhile. She won't go out to places to eat, nor does she like coffee, she tends to drink alot of sodastream =/ I haven't told her how I felt about the gift thing, but I feel like it kinda hurt because I wanted to actually find something rather than her buy it and tell me to pay for it. I'm actually afraid to talk to my mom about conflicting things with the fear of being kicked out and homeless. I've tried talking to her about budgeting for a vehicle, but she keeps trying to convince me to fix up my grandma's vehicle that's been sitting in the same place for 5+ years with nothing done to it. I think it's just gonna be a money pit though =/
@SusieQQQ I've tried, but the only relatives that actually want to help is my sister =/ I'm currently trying to save up, but it's not much at the moment. My sister said that she would research some places that might help me as well. My mom is age 54.
@Arieschick420 She's receiving SSI, I think, with food stamps, but I think she's also trying to rely on me for things =/ She used to receive child support for my brother, but he's turned 18 already so that has stopped completely.
Does your mother have a social worker? (It sounds like she's getting SS. Is is disability SS?)
Invite them over. Anyone who steps thru that door will know something's wrong.
It sounds like she is trying to make it so that you can't leave. She's relying on you to do the things she can't do on her own like going out to run errands, etc. My aunt had like 50 cats in a small tin can trailer. It smelled so bad that you could smell her house before you even arrived in front of it. She loves the cats and sees them as her family/kids. Her daughter was always too afraid to call animal control because she felt bad for the cats and thought her mom would get mad at her. Eventually, they came anyway because of complaints.
I get that you don't want conflict, especially when you have to live with that person. But if you continue to let her control your situation like she has been, you'll never be able to save up for the things that are important to you. I'm not sure what type of help or suggestions your sister has offered to you but I would sit down and have a talk with her. You mentioned your dad before. Does he know what's going on and is he willing to help? Maybe you can have your sister keep some money aside for your car for you. That way when you mom asks you can tell her that you literally don't have it and it will keep you from feeling guilty and giving it to her.
@SusieDQQQ; I'm not sure. If she does, I'm not aware of it. And I believe it is disability SS.
@AriesChick420; Yeah, I know. Its becoming very frustrating because I've been trying to find a vehicle to either buy or finance on between $400-$1000+ and with her throwing bills my way with the possible threat of being homeless, its very frustrating. I feel like over the years I'm not actually able to communicate with my mom about these frustrations. My dad and step-mom, including all of the other family members, are aware of this problem, but whenever they seem to do wrong in my mom's eyes, she mentally lashes out at them, especially through social media. I've just found out even that she has been using my brother's money (approx. $500+) that he has been earning since he had been attending basic training. He has since moved in my dad and has taken my mom off his debit card to prevent her from spending more, but he and I both know that she is unable to pay that money back. My mom has gone as far as to try to convince my brother that he owed her that money.
Unfortunately, at the current moment, no one else in the family wants to step in and help with the situation in both aggravation over having been lashed out at by her. My sister wants to cut all ties with her, but wants me to get out of the house as soon as possible to prevent my asthmatic symptoms from getting from bad to worse. I wish I had a way to leave, and its frustrating to both of us when I tell her 'I know' all the time, because I understand her concerns but I feel like I'm stuck here. Like, the only actual reason why I'm staying and living with her is because of the issues stated, but also because of my job. I don't have much job experience and have been using this job as a way of building up experience. Until I'm able to save up for a car to job search in nearby cities, I feel as though I'm literally stuck here.
I apologize for the late response. The holidays have been a bit hectic.
Oh, I totally understand. It gets pretty busy around here during this time of the year too.
Forgive me if this comes off as harsh or too straight forward. I'm not sure if you already have done so, but in case you haven't, you need to remove her from your bank account and/or change the pin. You also need to stop giving her your money. I realize that this is easier said than done but it is imperative that it happens. I don't know your mom but it sounds like at this point she only has you. Your brother has cut her off financially and your family has pretty much had enough. That only leaves you to do the things she cannot do for herself. I think she is using the fact that you need to be close to your job and a roof over your head to con you. She knows that she can get you to do what she wants if she waves that fact in front of you.
If she kicks you out, you won't be able to work and you will have no other choice than to go live with a relative. The truth is she can kick you out at any time for any reason. Legally, she can't make you leave unless she goes down to the court and files for an eviction and has you served and if she does so, you'll still have 30 days from the day you were served the paperwork. By the looks of it she doesn't seem to be willing to go shopping, let alone a court house full of people. If she calls the cops they legally cannot do anything because it is a civil matter. They will tell her what I just told you. So it seems to me that she's just full of threats and using that as her means to get you to do as she wants. If you decide to go this route, don't tell her what your plans are and don't tell her the legalities of what you know, just do it.
Get a key lock for your door if you're afraid that she will invade your space out of spite. She can't do anything about that either. You can also put a password on your computer just to be safe.
You seem like an intelligent person with the determination to save in order to get what you need and want. The only thing holding you back is you allowing yourself to be taken advantage of by someone who isn't all there mentally. If you cut her off financially and stop letting her dictate what you need to do, I can guarantee you will have that money saved for a car in a few months or sooner depending on how much you put aside. Just keep your eye on the prize. Having that car gets you that much closer to getting out of your situation. Use that as your motivation because that will give you the freedom to take the next step. It won't be easy but you can do this. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.