Help me endure my unbelievably self-absorbed and recklessly-impulsive mother just a little longer.
posted by Yoshi Ayarane to Human Relations (44 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(I apologize PROFUSELY for how long and sloppy this is... I've held off on poking the hive mind since I've been brought up to think my problems are insignificant and imaginary, but after what happened today I am stumped.)
My mother is one of those antisocial types... antisocial in the sense that she has branded all of humanity as being evil and out to get her based on coworkers and childhood experiences. She has no friends, and frequently complains of being mistreated at work. When I was younger, I believed her until I realized that she was refusing to do anything about it (such suggestions are dismissed with "everyone in the Post Office is corrupt, they won't help me," or "it's not worth petitioning the Postmaster," or "I only have 10 more years") and her treatment towards me and others is a very potent indicator of how she behaves towards others.
She has also cut off pretty much all of my maternal relatives over imaginary complaints and childhood grudges. Officially, I am supposed to be banned from contacting them, but I am in frequent e-mail contact with my aunt, who is seriously a nice and wonderful person and nothing like the malicious older sister my mother has painted her to be.
She pretty much defines herself by her strong work ethic. That's nice and wonderful... until it went to her head. Yes, we all know she works as hard as 10 people, but she has used that to proclaim herself superior to everyone, and that she can do no wrong. She also abuses that work ethic and her self-pity over being "abused" at work as an excuse for reckless spending-- why yes, because of it I do have some nice things, but I would trade it all for not being socially held back (I was basically BANNED from having any kind of a social life until college... not for safety or grades or religion, it's just that my mother hated other people and couldn't be bothered to deal with them. I was also forbidden from going to any colleges that were far away/out of state.) and having to hear her turn around and lecture me for being spoiled/greedy (even though much of what I have, she offered or even surprised me with).
Because of such impulsiveness, she racked up huge credit card debt, and when my father passed away, my mother wanted to confiscate my share of the inheritance to pay off her bills, even though I really need a car so I can get some kind of employment (as well as not be stuck at home all day with my just-as-unpleasant stepfather). My older brother (who was named executor) finally decided he had enough and knew my mother would not pay back a cent of what she would have taken from me, and segmented the inheritance 4 ways (me, mother and siblings) so that she wouldn't have to take mine. He could have easily just said that my mother wouldn't be allowed anything, but it would have gotten much too ugly for what we were prepared to deal with.
Recently I tried to buy car insurance but was turned down because I only had my permit. I was going to come back after getting licensed, but my mother got the half-baked idea that if I bought it under her name and changed it to mine when I pass my behind-the-wheel test, that I would save money. This backfired BADLY; because my mother had a speeding ticket she neglected to tell me about, the premium jumped $200, and she refused to reimburse me the difference and nearly tore me apart in front of the insurance agent. Needless to say, my siblings were INCENSED that my mother would trick me like that.
While my younger sister has somewhat forgiven my mother for what she tried to do, my brother has not and still does not want any contact with her (unless she agrees to seek professional help) because it would certainly degrade into a shouting match. I do not fault him for this, and am glad that he finally stepped up to confront my mother on her behavior. Whenever he declines to speak to her, or the subject of his not speaking to her comes up, however, my mother spirals into a sobbing pity-party in which she starts spewing outright lies about how my brother wanted to take all of the life insurance money for himself so that he would feel macho and powerful (no... he just wanted to ensure everyone was treated fairly), or how she thinks he is rounding up people at the post office to crank up the abuse (I... don't see how this is even POSSIBLE) and other such nonsense. My mother has also taken to consoling herself by buying VERY expensive French Bulldog puppies; I presume that she is using them to replace my brother.
I had the pleasure of being in the middle of another episode of these pity parties tonight, with the added bonus of my stepfather yelling at me for "sticking my head in the sand" because I refuse to make my brother apologize for being "an immature, cruel bastard for being so mean to his mother."
I am just... so tired of this drama but find myself at a loss for how to endure. Here's my circumstances if that helps:
- My mother does not believe I have "real" problems and that claims everything that makes me miserable is due to laziness or hypothyroidsm-triggered weight gain. This in spite of teachers/counselors/principals calling home since elementary school BEGGING her to either send me to counseling or consent to my being treated by the school psychologist. The way I was treated BARELY avoided being considered abuse, so beyond all that there was nothing that the schools could do. I eventually had to seek treatment behind her back, and that didn't last long because I hated making my father lie so that my mother wouldn't ask questions, among other things.
- I am now 24, and I'm in the process of training to get my driver's license (got my permit in July, I want to get this done no later than the end of September since I really don't want to sponge rides off siblings), and there is a very good chance I could get a part-time position as a library page within the next month. This last part would make me so happy, because I have had the worst luck in trying to get work (I have an A+ card but NO work experience at all).
- I used part of my ($75k) inheritance to buy a car... but because I only have a permit, I had to co-sign with my mother. I am DEATHLY afraid to confront her about anything until I am licensed (and can thus delete her name off the title) because she really would find some way to take my car away. I pocketed about 10,000 from what's remaining to cover future gas/car insurance/maintenance, my medical expenses (aged out of parent's insurance and because I am on synthroid and had been treated for depression, no insurance carrier will touch me) and all the vet bills (in lieu of paying rent). The remaining money is stashed away in CDs.
- Should I indeed get employed, everything I earn would be saved up towards moving out... ideally into a low-priced condominium, since I would prefer not to pay into a rental black hole.
- I have only one local friend, and while she and her family are VERY understanding of my home situation, a huge part of me thinks it would be needlessly imposing and cruel to ask if I can couch-surf even if just until my mother and stepfather go back to work on Monday. My friend's parents are on a fixed income due to disabilities, and she and her sister account for half of the family's income... and when I brought up the subject before, they actually refused my offer to pay them if something happened and I had to hide out at their house.
- I cannot go back to my brother's house; it is on the really small end, and I have not lived with him or my sister for the past 11 years. Also, my sister is allergic to cats and I REFUSE to go without my big orange furball. (Seriously, I probably would have considered suicide were it not for my kitty... he keeps me sane enough to function.)
- I do plan to ask my aunt and other maternal relatives for help, after I get my license. Of course, any visits will have to be done in secret (I would just disguise these detours to San Dimas as going to the Montclair mall or something along those lines). They all miss me and my siblings terribly, and we haven't seen each other since my mother decided about 10 years ago that all our relatives are bad, horrible people and forbade us to have any contact with them. I have even been told that my grandmother is STILL holding things she meant to give me and my siblings for freaking HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.
Beyond that... is there anything else that can be done? I had even entertained the thought of anonymously contacting my mother's supervisor to see if they could compel her into some sort of counseling... but surely that would get traced back to me and I would be punished for it. (For the record, my mother HATES any kind of therapy, claiming that it's all about "telling your secrets to strangers so they can rip you off or have you arrested/committed.")
It is, frankly, miserable to hide in my room all day to avoid being party to my self-absorbed mother's impulsiveness and whiny self-pity episodes.... it has gotten to the point where I am buying dorm-sized appliances to stash in my room because the den/kitchen is slowly mutating into a dog kennel and thus becoming too cluttered to actually cook in. (If not that, then I prefer not to be barked off the first floor by my stepfather for his imaginary dislike of me).
So, again... how does one cope? Or is this just hopeless? I will not fault or otherwise be mad at anyone at all if they say unkind things about my mother, if that's a concern.