By: Revanche

A little scary, a little heartening

October 21, 2008

At some point, I’m cutting the cord, and moving out of the shared household situation. I never planned to disappear or run away; a healthy, low stress transition for my family is paramount to my ability to actually leave. As things in the workplace deteriorate, essentially forcing my hand, I’m not sleeping well now, and likely won’t until a good back up plan is put together. So I’m not cutting the cord, I’m just loosening it up.

Now that I’ve reached a relatively stable point where I can cover my expenses for a few months, I thought that I was ready to re-face the tangle of my family’s poorly met needs and start mapping out a reasonable course of action. I asked my dad to write out his understanding of their financial obligations and income (prospective or otherwise) and the sources so I could see the full financial picture.

One of our major obstacles has been my dad’s inability/ refusal to separate his pride from the situation. He couldn’t get over the fact that he/they were depending on my financial support so never got to a mental place where we could work together to create a tenable solution for the family. The only times I’ve ever fought with my dad were those few times I tried to get him to talk to me about money so we could address the needs and problems. As a result, I resorted to commandeering all of the bills, except their car payment and the loans he wouldn’t tell me about, because seeing late late late reminders and late fees drove me insane.

We’ve finally made some progress; he had to come to this on his own, I just wish it’d come sooner. I don’t know how long the cooperativeness will last, he and Mom are both depressed by the long struggle and their guilt of being a burden, and asking me to make some major mistakes to help them. After spending many months being solely responsible for Mom’s care, around the clock, this is the first time he didn’t even argue. He made out a list for me that I’ve been pondering ever since.

Frankly, it’s scary. Really really scary. I knew that I’d have to make enough to survive on my own, and send money home, but I have no idea where to begin, it’s so bleak. Their unstable income doesn’t even fully cover their few obligations (a couple loans, the car loan, medical care) much less living expenses. For reference’s sake, I pay:

  • The rent,
  • All utilities (electric, water, gas, trash)
  • The truck,
  • Auto insurance,
  • Gasoline,
  • Groceries,
  • Cell phones,
  • Phone/Internet,
  • Any household incidentals like supplies or appliances.

The car will be paid off in a year, the truck in 9 months. That will relieve both our wallets, but it’s still a long way away.

I need to sit down with a sharpened quill and calculator this weekend. Meantime, I’m going to concentrate on the positive: I might finally be able to get Dad to participate and share the burden of planning. And he won’t be in the dark about the finances as a whole. And maybe I can actually get him to see light at the end of the tunnel!

6 Responses to “A little scary, a little heartening”

  1. I’m glad he was able to come to terms with you helping. I’m sorry that they need your help so badly right now–it must be very stressful to deal with at our age. I sort of anticipate helping out my family, but fortunately it’ll be awhile before it comes to that.

    I wish I had more encouragement for you. Hang in there.

  2. Sense says:

    Oh boy, deep breaths! I can feel the stress and frustration eminating from this post, and I can tell you are admirably nevertheless believing you can do this. And I think you can too. You’re right, though, it’s going to take alot on you and your Dad’s part, esp. at first.

    I’m glad –better late than never– that he’s finally realizing that things need to change. It’s the first step!

    I’m actually angry at your brother for not stepping it up, honestly. this didn’t have to be so hard on you, it could have been a shared burden in which you both had someone to turn to. What if’s…are useless.

    what i’m actually trying to say so long-windedly, unfortunately, is that I’m pulling for you!!

  3. Revanche says:

    stackingpennies: Thanks. No matter how stressed I get about it, realizing that it’s even worse at their age takes the edge off. After all, I still have some hope of creating a comfortable life.

    sense: 🙂 I tried to keep the stress vibrations to a minimum; I think you can see it so easily after your experiences.

    That’s not an uncommon reaction, I’ve noticed, to my brother. I would really have liked to have an ally like Grey’s commenter, jill, had in her sister.

  4. Karen says:

    You are doing an admirable job and I wish you continued good luck.
    Maybe one day in the near future, your brother will step up and assist.

  5. I know this comment is really late, but I feel for you. My BF is the eldest in his family (he’s 35), and he takes care of his parents because all 6 of his siblings are not helping out at all. Yeah, they live in HIS house and take up all of his space but do they contribute to the mortage? No. They are all adults (the youngest is my age, 24) and because of them, it seems like my BF just can’t move ahead in his life. It sucks. Because we should be saving up for our future, instead of bankrolling his siblings’ and parents’ expenses.

    I’ve already forced him to make them pay for their own crap.

    Just make sure you don’t get sucked down and stuck in that situation.

  6. Jacqueline says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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