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Frustrated with my mother

January 14th, 2009 at 11:06 am

Oh boy, long rant. I'm just beyond frustrated at this point and I really don't know what to do!

So growing up, I always just knew my mom as having no money, not making much at work. She claimed not to make enough to live on. Last winter was the worst - constantly calling me crying, out of fuel and had no heat. Or telling me she couldn't afford gas/milk/bread/you name it. Well I jumped in and took "control" over her finances a little over a year ago. It really has taken a year for me to truly understand how things work in her budgeting life. Uh, they DON'T!!

Well let's start with most recent and work backwards. So my mom's checking account balance is currently -$0.26. Yes, negative. She gets paid every two weeks and was paid on Friday. Yesterday I logged in (to torture myself?) and saw that her available balance was $2.56. I sent her an email, as nice as I could, asking her if she realized she had spent $134.53 since 12/18 at the store she works at. Half came out of her checking account and half was put on the store charge card. I informed her that often folks have trouble seeing where there money is going and I was wondering if she was having problems with this. I also told her what her current balance was. Well today, lo and behold, a pending charge for $2.82 has done away with her balance and then some!

My mom didn't email me back and I'm not sure if she's mad at me or herself at this point! The really sad thing is: this is where the entitlement mentality kicks into overdrive with her. I don't know why, but she seems to think the world owes her something most of the time. I'll tell you the honest truth - she has plenty of money to pay ALL her bills, afford food/heat/fuel for the car. If she would just build up a fund for heating expenses and property taxes, there WOULD be money left over for fun purchases! I can't even get her to that point though.

I have tried everything. More control for her, less control for her, everything in between. Now we're to the point I don't give her a say in anything. Oh boy I'm in trouble if I let her have any input! Many many times I've asked her to schedule a payment for something - and she doesn't. She still owes me $350 from last winter's heating fiasco. Yes I know I wont see that, along with the THOUSANDS of dollars I've paid off for her over the years. Debt *I* am still paying off! Oh yes, we had a payment schedule set up for this as well.

She has charged off a few credit cards, including a charge card at the store she works at. WTF was this store thinking giving her a new account last year?? She was so happy - her credit was good! My mother does NOT understand credit - not even one tiny bit. She thinks "Well I'll just put it on my card and pay it off later!" Uh, with what money?

She spends twice what I do at the grocery store - one of her and two of us!

I sent her to Walgreens the other day to pick up $6.00 worth of stuff with coupons. She spent almost $25.00 - on what?

I just don't want the stress and responsibility of her finances anymore, but if I don't do this - she'll instantly drown. She is NOT responsible enough to do this on her own. She has public records on her credit reports from non-payment of property taxes, been taken to court for non-payment of services to a local contractor, charged off a few credit cards, written bad checks at local stores, been sent to collections for various other items not paid, etc...

I don't know what to do short of opening another bank account for her that she doesn't have access to!!!

16 Responses to “Frustrated with my mother”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    ((hugs)) to you for trying to help your mom out. I don't think it is helping do you? Not that you are the problem of course. I think you need to let go of the handling of it. Short of being with her 24/7, I don't think you can't get her to stop spending more than she earns. She has to be ready to change...she is not. So, for your health and well being you need to get out all together. Do not give her any money. NONE.

    Of course, just my opinion based on what you wrote.

  2. lizajane Says:

    I don't really have any advice for you, because unless she is really WILLING to participate in all this, I don't know how much you can do. We have a similar situation with my SS, and owing people money and having collections agency call just doesn't phase him in the least. I don't understand this way of thinking. He'll spend all his on utilities, groceries, cigarettes, lottery and liquor. I don't even think that's the right priority order. He works for us and we pay him, so we do get to at least control getting money back that he borrows when he runs short. But it's just a frustrating situation.

  3. North Georgia Gal Says:

    Your heart is in the right place, but at some point you just need to realize that if you continue to bail her out, she will never become responsible. Legally, I don't know what control you would actually have if she was to (God forbid) file charges against you for spending her money. I know it is hard, but you should wash your hands of her finances. If she doesn't have fuel for heat, than let her figure it out. Maybe when she realizes that you arent going to supply it for her, she will make arrangements or buy a space heater!

  4. dmontngrey Says:

    Thanks for the comments. She wont listen to me - AT ALL. Not a word I say when it comes to finances. It's like talking to a wall. I bring up money, she starts talking about flowers. All of a sudden, the entitlement has stretched to feeling entitled to have ME deal with all of this. Why? "I don't need this stress!!!" is all I hear from her most days. Guess what? Neither do I. Cancer does not make you entitled to anything in life, sorry. She didn't even pay for that treatment - the hospital gave her free care.

    Oh, and not a dime from me!! The last time I gave her money was a year ago and she was to pay me back. She didn't and that came out of MY personal allowance. No more ever again, I don't care how bad it gets.

    Oh - I don't spend her money, she does! All I do is tell her who to pay, how much, when, and what to put in savings temporarily for next pay day. She is shut off from all fuel companies in the area (except for one) for non-payment - and I already bought her a space heater!!! *sigh*

  5. mooshocker Says:

    Let the baby bird leave the nest and fly on her own. She may fly or crash, but in the end, it will be her choice. Don't you think she is old enough at this point? God bless you for trying to help and not turning your back on her, however, you cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves.

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    This entry eerily reminds me of my ex-wife. To this day, she still feels that she's entitled as though the world owes her something. Her mother is the same way, only much worse, and I wonder if my ex will end up like her as well.

    I, in response, tightened on the finances, but that only inflamed her sense of entitlement, which spiraled out of control, ultimately leading to our divorce....

    Anyway, if you really want to make a difference (and I'm not saying you have to go this far), you have to somehow address her sense of entitlement. If she can't change her mind about that, then there's no way any of this will change, no matter who is in control and how it's managed.

    But even then, I'm not sure if that's something that CAN be done, or SHOULD be done. You're an adult, she's an adult, you have your own life to worry about, she may never listen. Who knows?

    Anyway, I very much sympathize with you. Best of luck.

  7. tynana Says:

    I don't know if this will help at all. My son and DIL are currently separated. She has a wonderful job and actually when she works full time makes more than my son. He actually opened a checking account for her hopeing that she would see where she was spending her money. She is always asking him for more money because she runs short. He will give her a bill to pay two weeks in advance at a store that she goes to at least twice a week. She will let the bill laspe so there is fee. She just doesn't get it. Diagnosis OCD. She can't put together that the money that she makes needs to have some set aside for future bills. She goes out to eat, spends lots on the kids and just doesn't know where her money goes. It could be a medical condition. Don't write your mom off yet. My mom used to spend out of boredom. Lots of things to consider.

  8. thriftorama Says:

    She sounds a lot like my sister.

  9. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Wow. You must have been an unusually strong kid with eyes wide open to have overcome being raised by a parent like that. From the outside, this sounds like some sort of mental illness to me. Not seeing to one's basic survival needs first --food, shelter from winter, etc-- sounds crazy. It just sounds like some sort of long-standing mental problem that I'm sure you wish she could somehow be "cured" of.

  10. dmontngrey Says:

    Wow, lots of different perspectives here and plenty for me to ponder! Thanks guys! Really, outside opinions are so helpful in this type of situation. DH tries, but he's still too close to the problem to be completely objective. It's "nice" to know that others have been through similar situations. Also, I never really thought about a mental illness being the problem. There is certainly a history of depression here and I'm no exception to this. Frown But yes, it does seem obvious to MOST of us that food, shelter, and heat would be priority. Not sure why she doesn't get it. I'd like to think there's still hope for her to learn, even at 60. No one ever taught her and she really did the best she could to raise us! My brother and I turned out quite smart and responsible - although neither of us can figure out how.

    Well I am happy to say that she did respond to my email regarding the spending at work. She basically said she did not know she had spent so much there and she was trying to add up her slips to see how it happened. Ok, that's a start. She said she found four items totalling $12.88 that she can return tomorrow. Again, a SMALL start. The rest she can't (already washed/worn socks, undies) or wont (a $3.66 gift for my brother) return. Still, WOW, that's a lot of money for someone who didn't have it.

    So I really mean it when I thank everyone for their comments. A lot to think about. My mom's surgery is scheduled for Feb 17th, so me dropping her finances now is just NOT a good idea.

  11. mom-sense Says:


    Hang in there! You're doing a good thing by helping your mom. Maybe once things settle down for her you can come up with a different system. Your mom is lucky to have you for a daughter!

  12. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Wow. I'm sorry you're going through this with your mother. I know someone who has a very similar mindset when it comes to money and life - the only somewhat saving grace is that this person married a *very* strong willed financially smart person.

    Hope things improve soon.

  13. gamecock43 Says:

    your post frustrates me. And I don't even know her.

  14. dmontngrey Says:

    gamecock: although most likely not your intention, your post made me chuckle! Those of us close to her know my mom has that effect on a lot of people! lol!

  15. swimgirl Says:

    Okay, sounds pretty similar to MY MOM.

    I think my own mother is just narcissistic, and because of that, can't deal with anything. Especially money.

    When I was little, I remember getting ice cream about once a month. It was always at the end of the month. My mother would dump out the piggy bank full of pennies, and we all went out for ice cream. Never mind eggs or milk. She borrowed tons of money from my grandparents, took many extra jobs, but it never mattered. We rarely had a spare dime for school trips or anything like that. She was a terrible parent. TERRIBLE. And to make it worse, she is a school teacher who should have known better.

    Every dime my mother spends is to make herself seem "better" to people who don't know her as well as my brother and sister and I do. Better make up, more clothes, fancy plants for the yard, a new car, presents for people she barely knows, art for her house, etc. etc. She doesn't donate to charities (unless she can impress someone by doing so), doesn't do much for the grand kids or kids.

    When we were kids, if she gave us money for something (and in that I include violin lessons and soccer dues) she would say to us at a convenient time, "You need to help me _______!" And if we argued at all, or god forbid, were busy doing homework (so we could get into college and GET OUT OF THERE!), she would say, "I paid $20 for your violin lesson this month and you owe me!"

    Yep, some entitlement issues here, too. She just feels like she has gotten a raw deal on everything. She told me that the only reason my husband and I have been married for almost 20 years is because we were "lucky to find the right person." She's been married 3 times for 6, 3, and 2 years and can't see that she has anything to do with her failures. Same with money.

    My sister and brother and I constantly marvel at how we've all done fairly well, despite neglect we endured as children. Really, it's almost comical. She's so crazy and irresponsible at 67! And yet, my mother has everyone fooled. Everyone in her town thinks she's just the best. They don't know that she doesn't pay her bills or take care of things she needs to. It's been 40 years of that. Or maybe everyone does know, but feels sorry for her. We all moved far away!

    So, no advice, sorry. But you're not alone.

  16. dmontngrey Says:

    Thanks for sharing swimgirl! My mother is actually VERY giving and I know that's where I get it from. But there comes a point where you need to stop doing for others and do for yourself FIRST. So I'm thankful my mom hasn't pulled the "you're my kid you OWE me" entitlement crap yet. Every once in a while she'll throw out a comment about what great kids she has or that she would NEVER do ________ like my inlaws do. I let her have those comments cuz she's right. She doesn't butt into my life and I've always been able to do what I want when I want. I turned out ok. Smile Over the years her entitlement has just turned to charities: fuel assistance, church, the hospital. Well I'm thankful all have been able to help her but it's time she learns to help herself. I do believe she can do it, but the health problems need to stop for a while. The only thing I KNOW she wouldn't have been able to pay for were the medical bills. I am VERY thankful *I* didn't have to worry about how those would be paid. She sure would have ignored that problem....

    I really really do appreciate you sharing your story! It means so much to know I'm NOT the only one dealing with similar issues. Thank you! Smile

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