By: Revanche

Family&Money: Distressing, really.

June 29, 2007

It’s amazing how little time, and how few sentences it can take to evoke that numbing sensation of helplessness.

Pa: Your mom wants to work three days at the local *business which I’ve asked her to give up. It pays next to nothing for hours upon hours of work.* They’ll pay her $50.

*Realization: She’s doing this because she’s absolutely determined to do whatever it takes to gain some financial stability and independence. She resents PaDucky refusing to change his ways, and in the meantime letting me work constantly, and not getting a real job himself until I finally insisted on it. Despite her poor health, it’s not practical for me to ask her to not work at all because I can’t take on the one bill that she does pay out of her own pocket, and I won’t undercut her independence. But knowing that my mom is literally toiling away at drudgery and I’m not able to save her some of it is …. utterly depressing. There’s a small bright side to this. She was offered extra hours at the local restaurant, cashiering, and so she’ll do that instead. But I have a sinking feeling that if Pa hadn’t tattled on her and the cashiering hours weren’t offered, she would have done the other job behind my back.*

Ma: Your dad is really short of money again because your brother made him cover his portion of the monthly investment bill. (This is the investing thing that I’d talked about before, I’m part of it but I’m positive that I’m the only one of the family who is disciplined enough to make money from it.) Your brother said it was because your dad owed him money.

*Realization: One, the two of them should never deal with money together. Neither the borrowing nor lending of. I made my stance on that crystal clear years ago. If Pa needed money, he should have come to me. But he won’t. Why? Because he’d rather lie to me than tell me that he needed something. He’d rather lie to me and say that “Oh, haha, Ma took out the money I meant to give you (my profits that he collects from the investment on my behalf) I’ll get that to you later!” I knew I shouldn’t have asked for it if he didn’t volunteer the payment, but I had to know if he was still going to lie to me. I guess he will. Two, apparently there’s still nothing I can do to force anyone in this family to GROW UP. And for the sake of my sanity, I have to bite my tongue, and refuse to get involved if they insist on making deals, plans, or anything behind my back.*

I realize I’m not the parent here, but with all the tattling going on, and the sheer inability to make the tough, prudent choices anymore, I feel like I AM their parent!! Part of me finds that exasperating, yet a little bit funny. This had better be good training for the future.

6 Responses to “Family&Money: Distressing, really.”

  1. MoneyDummy says:

    I have to admit that I’m curious. You seem to be in your early twenties, but your financial relationship with your family is clearly different than that of the average twenty-year old. Are you guys all living together? Do you support your parents? You’ve probably clarified these answers in the past, but I must have missed them.

  2. ~Moneydummy~ I’m 24 and no, the relationship is not quite average. To “sum up,” my parents owned their own businesses until I was 17 and out of high school. Mom got sick, (maternal) Grandma was diagnosed with late stage Alzheimer’s and moved into our home, Mom and Dad sold one of the two businesses they owned (the wrong one, they sold the more successful one), and they tried to work the remaining one while Mom struggled with diabetes, high blood pressure, and took care of Grandma around the clock. I went to college near home full-time and worked full time, so I stayed home and started taking over more and more financial responsibility at home. My older brother was being an irresponsible idiot most of the time, running up the bills, running around NOT working full time, and creating more stress and problems. The second business eventually failed due to embezzling by their manager, Dad became depressed and struggled to earn income in the stock market, and Mom worked off and on when she could to help me out.

    So, seven years later, I’m out of college working my first post-college job and still living at home to support my parents as they try to get their balance.

    Some things have slowly improved, but it’s still a struggle every day to get through these problems and deal with daily issues as well.

    I suppose this is all basic background that belongs in the “About Me” section so you don’t have to ask, but it’s rather depressing, in’t it?

  3. I admire that you’re so dedicated to your family. I went to school full time and worked full-time near home just to help my parents out though they didn’t need it. My dad makes good money as an engineer but spends more than he makes and I really couldn’t control that. My mom works in manufacturing which pays little- she makes almost as much as me – sadly.

    When I lived at home I used to pay for groceries and anytime my boss gave me a gift card to the movies or to the grocery store (seriously) it all went to my family because they were always bickering about not having enough. i paid for the $100 phone bill when my mom made an intl phone call when her dad died and she wasn’t able to fly home. my dad complained about the phone bill so i paid it off.

    to make a long story short, i know what it feels like to have so little. i really admire you because you’re so devoted and willing to help. i hope you get paid better! have you tried networking? i go to these free job search workshops sponsored by the chamber of commerce and there’s tons of support and networking opps there.

    good luck!

  4. ~Sf MM~ Thank you for the kind thoughts. You’re definitely right about how it feels!

    It’s a rough road but the only road I can take with my family right now because neither of them are earning a living wage yet. From the sound of it, things are just as difficult for similar reasons in your neck of the woods.

    I notice that I said “maternal” up there when I really meant “paternal,” oops!

  5. I’ve been catching up on your blog and going back and forth on whether to pipe up, but I guess I’ve decided in favor of saying this: eventually, one begins to think you need to cut ties and strike out for yourself. You may be enabling more than you’re helping, and you’re certainly hurting yourself in the process. I know that you have reasons for making the decisions you make, but at what point do you draw a line? If losing your life savings doesn’t do it, what will?

  6. ~English Major~ Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m happy to hear your thoughts whether or not they agree with my “program” simply because I DO need to leave this situation in order to move on with my life, and any alternatives I haven’t considered or should reconsider more carefully are more than welcome.

    The possibility of losing my life savings is a recent development, but the fact that I have it all is testament to my recent efforts to extricate myself from some of the financial entanglements made in previous years. Now I just have to be very careful about how and where I draw the lines to protect the progress I’ve made.

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