My mother has always been emotionally abusive and unable to support me in any way, but after what I found out today I feel like never speaking to her again. Has my family gone too far this time? I really feel lost on this one and would love any and all advice, including legal advice. This is going to be quite long...
posted by delicate_dahlias to Human Relations (79 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
A little background information...I am currently 23 years old and two months away from a Master's degree. My mother has been emotionally unstable and abusive for as long as I can remember. We were poor as a family for most of my childhood and adolescence, not only due to my Dad's bad luck in the job market (not for lack of drive, intelligence, or initiative), but also to my mother's complete and total mismanagement of our family funds, which my father allowed her to control.
My father, while caring, never stepped in to stop my mother from being crazy and abusive to himself, my younger brother, and I. I will spare you all of the details of the abuse, but here is a random sampling: crazy-making (saying something and later denying it), accusing us constantly of not loving her, screaming at us if we didn't get her tea/do the dishes/come talk to her the very moment she asked us to, leaving for hours and/or threatening to kill herself if we didn't do what she wanted, trying relentlessly to force religion on me, misrepresenting me and my accomplishments to everyone around her thus causing me much embarrassment later on, behaving in such a socially unacceptable manner or meddling in others' business so much that my friendships with those people were ruined, taking any and all money made by or gifted to us with the empty promise of paying it back, reading my diary when I was in high school and angrily notifying everyone around her of my private sexual experiences, freaking out when I told my parents I was bisexual and later denying that there was a problem...really, all of this only scratches the surface. Every expression on my face was a "dirty look", she hated all of my friends, I was "always trying to purposely ruin our relationship", and I was "a spoiled, selfish brat". I did not know how truly beat down I was until I got to college and found freedom. I finally learned to stop looking down as I walked along the sidewalk, to stop saying "I'm sorry" about 1,000 times per day.
I have since been fairly distant by choice, seeing my family for about a week a year during the winter. I am a successful student who has supported herself through college with hard work and student loans. I am two months away from graduation from my Master's program and I will be moving in with my fiance, who I will be marrying in March of 2011. Life has been going pretty well.
Today however, a bomb of information was dropped on me. My thoughts are almost paralyzed.
It is no secret that my parents have mostly been living off of credit cards since I went away to college. I have not approved of this as a way of life, and have told them so, but ultimately sat back and watched my mother make a series of poor choices and routinely go out and buy things they didn't need. I figured that they were adults and if their choices led to their own ruination, then so be it.
My mother called me today and told me that for the past four years both of the credit cards they had been using were in MY NAME. Those annoying offers that you get in the mail and just rip up and throw away? Yeah, she filled two of those out on my behalf without ever telling me. For FOUR YEARS. In that time, they managed to rack up $10,000 in debt, which they will only have paid off (apparently) this next month. My mother said she had "waited to tell me about it because she wanted to make sure they could pay it all off before they told me"!!!!!???? My father and brother supposedly knew the whole time as well, but I have yet to talk to them directly.
I am beyond livid. How could they play with my future that way? What if they hadn't been able to pay it off? My father is getting old and my mother suffers from a slew of physical ailments. Were they just going to die and let me find out then? And all of this time, mind you, my mother has bought me unwanted birthday presents and care packages and later guilted me about that being their food money, when all of this time those things were being bought with credit cards in my name. This was the excuse she gave for this behavior. That they wouldn't have been able to eat if they had not done this.
I really have no idea what to do, either legally or relationally. Sure the debt is supposedly gone now, but how can I prevent this from happening in the future? Should I still pursue legal action? I wasn't aware that they were getting mail for me. My wedding is coming up and my whole family is supposed to be in it. Should I let them? Should I try to maintain a relationship with people who I can't trust? Help me, please. Give me any advice at all.