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Family: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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7 hours ago, Suzy Rhapsody said:

I knew I did the right thing in consulting folks here.  Thank you all for taking the time to respond with such care and detail.  It really helps me to consider this from all angles.  I can totally see how I could be compromised eventually in this situation if I’m not careful.  Her behavior is almost predatory with her family members.  She wants to “live her own life” when she has money, but she’s quick to reach out when she’s spent all of her money on vape pods, Panera lunches, and most recently, an $80 tattoo that left her with $3.74 in the bank and no money for transportation back and forth to work.  Fortunately, she knows how I’ll respond if she asks for money, which I believe is a big part of the reason she isn’t really trying to maintain consistent contact with me.  As long as her paternal aunt (and chief enabler) is giving her a little bit of money, I am immaterial.  It’s a very callous way to live her life, but nothing surprises me at this point.  I have to worry about number one.  I’ve had enough trauma for now, thanks.  I turned off all notifications in case she sends a message or some stupid meme on Instagram.  I’ll see them when I see them.  I need a break from the BS.

I have a 50 year old sister who has very little to do with my mother (no calls, emails, etc.) except when she needs money, which is often. Last year she asked my mom to give her her "inheritance" now instead of when my mom dies, because she could use it to buy a car and pay on her student loans (which my mom paid for some time before she could no longer afford it). The inheritance that she refers to is my mom's retirement money, not some special funds set aside. My brother and I have repeated told my mom to stop enabling her, especially when my sister can't even be civil. But my mom still sends her money. This cycle was set years ago and will probably only end when my mom dies. At this point it's learned helplessness on my sister's part, combined with a belief that she shouldn't have to do anything she doesn't like. I always wonder what would have happened if my parents had refused to support her. 

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The past month has been insanely chaotic. My 90-year-old mother went into the hospital roughly a month ago, with a tiny cut to her thumb that became seriously infected, requiring surgery to her thumb, palm of her hand, and forearm. About 2 weeks later she was discharged and home for a few days, before developing blood clots in her lungs and legs, which ultimately resulted in another procedure because one of the clots was causing cardiac problems. She was in ICU for several days because her blood pressure kept dropping to ridiculously low levels. Reached the point where I called my older sister to come here to help me assess the situation, and we contacted the other siblings to alert them that we had no way to predict exactly what would happen, but things were serious.

My mother finally stabilized enough to go to a skilled nursing facility, but my sister and I both thought she would very possibly not make it through the next week. Instead, her stubbornness has kicked in and she is now hellbent on getting out of the facility ASAP. Which will involve setting up home health care to continue physical therapy for her hand, etc., which had already started during the few days she was at home between hospital stays. A few days ago, the facility informed me that Medicare will pay full cost there for only 20 days, and if I want to extend the stay after that, there will be a $170/day co-pay, and that she would probably not qualify for the type of Medicaid that covers their facility. So it looks like when she hits the 20 days, she will be discharged to my home, and we will rely on a combo of home health care and another sibling who can be here for a couple of weeks to help out. I will be looking into various options, once I have some time that doesn’t need to be spent on other urgent things.

All of this is happening when I got a promotion at work literally the day after the initial hospital stay began. And I’m thrilled about the promotion, but it means having to do my previous job plus learn a lot of other responsibilities and perform those. So until I can hire someone to do what I used to do, I’m essentially doing 2 jobs. More than ready for things to get back to normal. Finally, a few days ago, dumb-ass driver in a left turn only lane proceeded to go straight and hit me, while I was turning left from the “go straight or turn left” lane, and it will not be until the end of this week until I can even get an estimate on the repairs needed. Meanwhile, I can’t open the driver’s side door. 

ETA: Also, my mother turns 91 in a couple of weeks, so various family members from out of town will be visiting then. 

Edited by BookWoman56
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Well, I did NOT go to Mom's for Mother's Day.  She was all happy until the next day or so, then ragged on me (card from brother was just signed by him - even after he asked me what to get - we always go in on stuff together).  He got some overly sentimental card, which she loves.  He cares! I didn't even get her a card (I did but it's in my car as I thought I was going there and it was like two lines long - not sentimental one bit). Sorry, I can't get anything that says stuff I don't really feel.

So I asked her, I can go there Memorial Day or wait until it's your birthday (also on a weekend).  Ok, for bday weekend.  Of course, she was all sour on Memorial Day.  "It's supposed to be about family!"  Not really.  A day of remembrance for war dead is the real purpose.  She was all happy on Sat/Sun, but I knew Monday she'd be all upset.  Sadly, I can sort of read into how she will react - sometimes.

She had been saying how her hands and shoulders were hurting, no dexterity in hands.  No one cares or does anything.  She'd mentioned a local chiropractic and pain center.  Highly rated.  I'd offered to take her there before, and she always had an excuse of why she could not go.  I should have realized that she didn't really want to go.

I told her I filled out an online form asking for information.  She was all excited.  I said I hadn't gotten a reply, so I was going to call them.  Again, all excited.  I called Friday, and the office was closed. I told her I was calling today.  I got an appointment for when I was going to be in town, plus the next day (taking off another day vacation).  I called her tonight to tell her (left a message during the day but no answer - pouting again).  She exploded on me.  She is giving me the same answer I gave her years ago (re moving in with me - NO).  I said fine, no skin off of my behind.  You're the one who says hands hurt, no one helps me, crying all the time about it.  Sounds like you really don't want to be helped, want to be pitied.  I was rude, I had the gall to set something up!  I don't even make dentist appointments for myself (like that has anything to do with this at all??).  She ranted that I'd not looked up anything to help her (online).  She thinks there's a magic pill or lotion that would help.  I've gotten her multiple things, which haven't helped, plus she uses something once, and says didn't help at all.  

I told her I'd cancel, but I didn't want to hear one thing about her hands.  She said I'd only seen what was on tv about him (I've seen like one ad - and she brought up this place).  I did read reviews of him, all positive, plus he's won awards.  We'd even driven by his office as she was so interested.  "Well he doesn't tell you about the ones he didn't help".  I just said no doctor will tell you they can cure you.  Not a one.   If you have cancer, your doctor won't say, yes I can cure you.  Not realistic.  "Oh, that's BS".  

She yelled some more and said I didn't need to bother going there for her birthday.  Ok. (Yippee!!!)  I didn't know how to talk to her as a mother (yes, I yelled back and wasn't nice).  I was just trying to be all 'nicey-nicey NOW'.  So you want me to be mean?  

I think I will go no contact, at least for a while.  She cannot stand it though.  Last time I did so, she lasted a day before calling me again and again and again (at least 12 calls before I did pick up).  Whatever I say or do, it's wrong.  I told her that, and I got "oh that's BS.  There you go off the deep end again".  She did want me to go there - wait for it - to do yardwork.  It's the least I can do.  "Bring your shovel".  She had my brother get her plants for Mother's Day (perennials that I will have to trim eventually - in addition to planting).  She delayed in getting her landscaper called, delayed calling him back, so of course he's now booked solid.  Basically, she wants me to do it; she gets joy out of seeing me do physical labor.  I don't really work according to her;  all I do is 'punch' a keyboard.  That's not really working.  This from the person who can't operate a smart phone or a tablet 

I told her tonight, you need medical help.  This is not going away via some lotion or potion.  She's said many times, I don't think you believe me when I say I have problems with my hands.  Kind of makes me go hmmmmm right now.  When my knee hurt badly, I went to a doctor.  That's what you do.  Something hurts so badly, you eventually get medical help.  

Someone asked about a social worker, getting them involved.  I can't even get her to a medical center without her having a hissy fit, so no.  Not even going that route. 

She does have some friends, but I think they're tiring of her.  Two in her neighborhood, but they're not always around.  Yep.  I bet they screen their calls.  One other friend has cut ties with her.  She had told me all she does is cry to her, and she needed psych help. Again, good luck with anyone telling her that.  Mom has tried to send her birthday cards, etc., with no response.  Other friends from the old neighborhood rarely call.  They're older and have their own health issues (where the DIL is taking one to multiple doctors - no magic cure for her either!)  The DIL was just wonderful!  As was her other friend's DIL, who took her friend to the ER because she wasn't feeling well (doctors are quacks because they didn't find anything wrong!!).  

She really wants to say I can't do anything, and expects me to say oh move in with me.  Nope.  Or for me to move there (not happening).  The moving in with me - it'd be endless complaining.  Her home town is the best place ever, and all she knows.  Every other place is 'stupid'.  

I'm just irritated, not really angry.  Not totally surprised either. Just tired of it all.

Thanks for letting me vent.  You guys are the best.

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6 minutes ago, hoosier80 said:

I think I will go no contact, at least for a while. 

This seems to be the only option she's left you with; you've been posting the same story for a couple of years, I think, so obviously nothing is going to change on her end, and all you can change is your response.  She has forced your hand, and you have to protect yourself accordingly.  I'm very slow to recommend making a complete break from family, but I also strongly believe it can sometimes be not only warranted but best.

Maybe it would help you to analyze why you haven't done so until now/are still somewhat hesitant to do so, meaning look at what is your worst fear in cutting her out of your life until/unless she opts to treat you better?  Is it general "but she's my mom" guilt (which comes from your own feelings and societal influence)?  Is there any worry of external judgment and subsequent commentary (from your brother or others) making you doubt what you know to be true?  Is it a fear that if she dies without there being a re-connection, you'll feel guilty about the estrangement and spend the rest of your days second-guessing yourself about it, so instead of living that way you'd rather just make the best of the status quo for as long as she's around so you can feel at peace for the longer period after she's gone?  Etc.

Basically, identify your personal worst-case scenario if you cease communication, and then compare that to your worst-case scenario (the degree of its cumulative effect on your well-being) if you keep doing what you're doing.  I wonder if that specificity of perspective might help you make a decision on where to draw the line, and stick with it in moments of doubt.  Especially because you have a similar long-ongoing situation at work (not the being blatantly attacked aspect, but perpetually bearing being used, and putting in work that is not properly acknowledged or appreciated), so maybe taking a leap and standing firm in this personal sphere of your life might bring about a fresh mindset that could help you hone in on some tricks to navigate the professional crap differently, too.

Everything is easier said than done, and I do not want to imply any unintended - and unwarranted! -  sense of victim blaming.  I just would like to see you catch a break somewhere, so as I read your experiences and realize no one around you is going to suddenly do right by you I look for any steps you can take that might mitigate the damage others inflict (you shouldn't be stuffed into these situations, but you are - where others are behaving improperly, it sucks to be the one who has to figure out how to effect change, but sometimes that's all we can do).

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16 hours ago, hoosier80 said:

Someone asked about a social worker, getting them involved.  I can't even get her to a medical center without her having a hissy fit, so no.  Not even going that route. 

I realize you're not going to try and take your mom anywhere but there are in-home services for elder care. At this point, with her constant "health issues' or health issues, she's leaving you no choice but to seek in-home care to ensure she is receiving appropriate care.

Check out this link for the National Association of Agencies on Aging.

https://www.n4a.org/

Edited by theredhead77
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21 hours ago, hoosier80 said:

I think I will go no contact, at least for a while.  She cannot stand it though.  Last time I did so, she lasted a day before calling me again and again and again (at least 12 calls before I did pick up). 

I endorse @Bastet's suggestion that this is essentially the only option that makes sense. Only, maybe this time around, set a longer time period for you not to contact her or to respond to her attempts to call you. Plain and simple, your mother manipulates you and seems to enjoy doing it. I am also reluctant to recommend cutting someone out of your life, but here's the deal: Your mother's behavior is toxic, and it's not going to change. You can't control what she does or says; you can control only how you respond to her actions and words. Stop letting her dictate how you live your life. Tell her it's your life, on your terms, and you're not talking to her again until she stops making demands of you that she has no right to make. 

You've got way too much chaos and pressure on you in both your personal and professional life. You seem to have not too many options at work. So at least in your personal life, you need to exert some control over your life. If she refuses to seek treatment for her hands, that's on her, not you. As for the ongoing suggestion that she wants to live with you, from my own experience with a mother who is much less toxic and demanding, do not let that happen. Even with a fairly good relationship with my mother, I have felt imprisoned ever since I chose to move her in with me, when there were not many options available. She doesn't try to control or interfere with most of my life, but she is a constant presence with a fuckton of needs, and at times I'm exhausted with being her primary caregiver. So even with the craziness of her being in the hospital and now the nursing facility, it's been a relief on many levels to have other people being responsible for her meals, meds, etc. 

In your situation, focus on what you need, not what other people want from you. If nothing else, make a list of small goals that you can attain for yourself, such as turning off your phone for an entire day on the weekend so nobody (mother, brother, work, whatever) can disturb you. Try to inject some positive things into a token free day per week: read, cook, relax, whatever makes you feel good. I'm not trying to be yet another voice telling you what to do, but I do speak from experience when I say that you can drive yourself and let yourself be driven this hard only so long before something breaks, and that something could well be you. 

Edited by BookWoman56
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Only three more days supposedly until my MIL and I no longer have to live together!

Of course she is pulling her usual tricks in an extinction burst of bullshit. Unfortunately, I still have to live in the same apartment building as her, which was her doing. She was originally the one who got the new apartment and signed the lease. Then all of a sudden she started pressuring us to move into the new apartment (apartment #2) instead because it's on a higher floor, supposedly so she doesn't have to walk up and down so many stairs if there's an emergency. I told her at least four times that if she wanted us to move to apartment #2, that she should switch it around so her name is off the lease on that one and my name is on the lease. Right now all of our names are on the lease for apartment #1, and only her and my husband's are on apartment #2. I don't want to be legally entangled with her and I definitely don't want to be held legally responsible if she trashes apartment #1 without me to keep things in order.

Well, she is the laziest person on earth so of course she didn't even attempt to do this. Yesterday my husband told me that on Thursday she has to go to the leasing office with him to get the keys for apartment #2. So basically now my name is not on the lease for my own place that I am going to be living in, and her name is. My husband and I had another huge argument over that -- yet another waste of time and stress over that bitch. I don't care which apartment we live in as long as it is not with her and I have zero involvement with her, legal or otherwise.

On Monday he is going to sort it out (OF COURSE he has to be the one to sort it out because she will not lift a finger to do ANYTHING for herself, ever). If it turns out it can't be switched around, then we will have to stay in apartment #1 and she will go to apartment #2. And you know that she will then drag it out as long as possible, like that will already mean having her stay here for at least another week because of the paint fumes from them repainting, and then she will probably "forget" a bunch of shit behind for us to clean up or try to convince us that we want it, or get "too tired" half an hour into the moving process and drag it out for like a month. I know all her bullshit tactics by now. That was part of why I wanted to move into apartment #2 because then I could make sure that we actually got out on the moving day, ASAP.

Also on a related note, today my husband left me waiting for over an hour to go out while he set up Life Alert for her because she was too lazy to do it herself....

I already haven't talked to her in a few days (and she hasn't talked to me, probably because she's pissed about not getting to live with us anymore) but I'm not planning to ever interact with her again once I no longer have to live with her. Even if we live in the same building. If I walk by her in the hallways I will pretend that nobody is there. I have completely run out of fucks.

I realize now the extent of the situation. My mom was abusive and controlling for the first 21 years of my life (and to a lesser extent from 21-23 until I stopped talking to her). I was never allowed to make any decisions for myself. Anytime I showed any type of independence or self-determination, she would make a point to tear me down in some way, either by destroying my confidence by telling me that I would fail at whatever, threatening me including with homelessness (she did this from age 13 onwards) until I complied, or simply mocking and shaming me. My MIL wasn't really present in the first year or two of our relationship, but by 2014 or so, she started trying to control and meddle in our lives, making increasing demands upon my husband, and throwing tantrums when we wouldn't comply. And because my husband has some kind of Stockholm Syndrome he would basically treat it like both of our opinions were equally valid...well not even that, most of the time he would try to convince me to just go along with her so that he didn't have to deal with tension and arguing. Basically I went straight from one abusive and selfish "parental" figure trying to exert authority over my life, to another.

And she tried to exert authority over the most major decisions of our lives, like trying to guilt-trip us to move 1000 miles away, to an area that does not fit our lifestyle and interests, to be near her. She completely ruined our wedding by trying to take it over, and she caused so much stress about that, that we ended up having a small and quickly planned wedding and I was relieved when it was over and even to this day I can't look at the pictures.

At least my mom provided for my material needs even though she was abusive. Meanwhile this bitch has never once done anything for me, yet expects me to be her obedient little servant and derail my entire life whenever she feels like it. And she acts like SHE is the victim when I don't go along with it. Apparently all her years in the business world have taught her nothing about the concept of give and take. She has quite a bit of money too...she could have helped the situation a lot by paying me for my inconvenience...but that would assume that she cared in any way about my well-being, and that these events didn't have the ulterior motive to break up me and my husband, which I'm at least partially sure they did.

I always knew she would find some way to end up living with us too. I just didn't expect that it would happen so early on, or that it would be a situation where I had no option to say "no" (the hospital basically dumped her on us with no alternative options, and "what kind of monster leaves their disabled old mother out on the street?"). I also knew that if she ever did end up living with us, she would try to make it permanent. That's why I've told my husband several times that she and/or her pet parrot will never live with us again. I don't care if she's a quadriplegic and the only other option is a state-run nursing home. She squandered my goodwill and I already did all I am going to do for her.

So anyway, point is, I'm 27 and I've never felt like a "real adult" and with my problems with my career, I haven't really been in the role of one either. I've realized the main reason why I have had problems with working consistently is because I have zero confidence in my abilities or decisions as an adult. I feel like if I am given any type of responsibility, I will ruin it. It's why I don't have a job and have made very slow progress at learning skills for my career transition despite graduating from an Ivy League college, and why I have worked for free more than I have worked for pay in my life, and why I don't know how to drive, and probably at least part of why I'm childfree by choice, and so on. Now I'm realizing how much this situation with going almost directly from one crazy old lady trying to dictate my life and constantly telling me I'm wrong to the next, contributed to this happening. Because I was a pretty successful and independent person before I started dating my husband, and now I am like the exact opposite.

My husband is finally starting to wake up to the amount of damage this situation has caused. He actually has started to acknowledge that she is insane and unreasonable, and has caused a lot of manufactured crises in his life for no reason. He claims he has had several conversations with my MIL recently about the negative effect she has had on our marriage. However, I don't see any remorse from her. I don't see any attempt to compensate for what she did. Therefore, in conjunction with the statements she made about wishing my husband never married me, I have to conclude that her goal was to break us up all along, and that she never cared about me as an independent entity.

Edited by BuyMoreAndSave
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1 hour ago, BuyMoreAndSave said:

Because I was a pretty successful and independent person before I started dating my husband, and now I am like the exact opposite.

Yet you consistently minimize your husband's role in perpetuating this pattern, focusing instead on the abuse heaped upon you by the two women.  Your mother was horrible and your mother-in-law is horrible, but your husband is a very important link, not just some coincidence.  Your mother-in-law's role in your life is far less significant than your husband's in determining how healthy your life can be going forward.  Being on the brink of having her physically removed from your daily life is a wonderful step, but probably not a magic wand for how your husband fails to properly respect you as an equal partner in this relationship.  I hope having her out of the physical way, at least, provides some needed space for the two of you to address fundamental issues - here's hoping this is a key step in an ongoing change.

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@BuyMoreAndSave that living situation stuff is a mess. I totally understand not wanting to be on any lease of your MIL's now that she's going to live alone. How many floors are there between the two apartments? I agree with @Bastet when it comes to your relationship with your husband in relation to getting MIL out. Did you say previously that he doesn't believe in counseling? I thought I remembered you mentioning that when marriage counseling was brought up. If you didn't apologies for misremembering. 

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9 hours ago, Bastet said:

Yet you consistently minimize your husband's role in perpetuating this pattern, focusing instead on the abuse heaped upon you by the two women.  Your mother was horrible and your mother-in-law is horrible, but your husband is a very important link, not just some coincidence.  Your mother-in-law's role in your life is far less significant than your husband's in determining how healthy your life can be going forward.  Being on the brink of having her physically removed from your daily life is a wonderful step, but probably not a magic wand for how your husband fails to properly respect you as an equal partner in this relationship.  I hope having her out of the physical way, at least, provides some needed space for the two of you to address fundamental issues - here's hoping this is a key step in an ongoing change.

What are either of us supposed to do about it now? It already happened.

I think he basically has Stockholm Syndrome. I had it too with my mom for many years. You don't break over 30 years of Stockholm Syndrome just because someone told you "your mom is crazy and should fuck off." I've even told him that many times and he even accepts that she needs to fuck off, but says "How am I supposed to tell my mom to fuck off?" Especially when she's making her best effort to put on this poor helpless invalid act. Guilt-trips are one of the most powerful tools of manipulation. That also plays on societal pressures (like "you're a bad person if you don't help your sick old mother"). The hospital enabled her abuse too.

He finally understands where I am coming from though as it relates to me. But he doesn't see any way to get out of it for himself. There's nobody else around who could help her with things, and he thinks she will die or something if she doesn't have someone looking after her (of course, my opinion on that is let her die, but he does not share that opinion). She has used a lot of manipulation to keep him worrying about her -- for example she has been supposedly experiencing more chronic pain as the move-out date approaches.

How does one get to the point of not caring what happens to that person anymore? He claimed today if she was healthy he would do a "tough love" thing and take a hiatus from dealing with her (which we actually did when she was living in another state), but because she has health problems he is afraid something will happen to her if he does that.

7 hours ago, Jaded said:

@BuyMoreAndSave that living situation stuff is a mess. I totally understand not wanting to be on any lease of your MIL's now that she's going to live alone. How many floors are there between the two apartments? I agree with @Bastet when it comes to your relationship with your husband in relation to getting MIL out. Did you say previously that he doesn't believe in counseling? I thought I remembered you mentioning that when marriage counseling was brought up. If you didn't apologies for misremembering. 

It's not that he doesn't believe in counseling, but I have had some really bad experiences with therapy and consider it to be a waste of time. The last time I went to a therapist, a few months ago, I had to take considerable time out of my schedule and money every week to get there. She also had this really stupid method for booking appointments where I essentially had to be on call at all times for her receptionist to text me with an appointment time. If I didn't respond ASAP (which I never did because I don't check my phone constantly) it would go to someone else and I would not get an appointment that week. This was especially stupid because a major reason I was there was due to concentration issues and getting distracted too easily by technology.

Finally after four sessions I put my foot down and asked to be given a set appointment time every week because I didn't have time for this and I felt it was disrespectful. I was told there were "no appointments available for the next month" (although this could have been some kind of excuse because she probably didn't like that I questioned some of her methods previously). I asked to get a referral somewhere else and she wouldn't even give me a referral and told me to look it up online. I asked why I was told when I first signed up for therapy that I would be able to get a set weekly appointment if I couldn't. I never heard from the receptionist again. And I also never heard from the therapist again which I thought was BS because a therapist is supposed to find out why you stopped coming to therapy.

A month later I called the office and there was a new receptionist. I said I wanted to talk to the therapist and find out what exactly happened and why I was treated in this way. The new receptionist was very apologetic and said he would pass the message on. Once again, I never heard from the therapist. Still debating whether to report her to some kind of ethics board. EDIT: Also very important thing I forgot to add...she could not remember my name even after four or five sessions. I go by my middle name and she kept calling me by my first name no matter how many times I corrected her...I literally made a NAME TAG and she still called me by the wrong name!

And this was just ONE bad experience...there have been others that were way worse. Even in the best cases where I wasn't actually treated like crap by the therapist, it was still completely ineffective and a huge waste of time and money...basically paying someone just to talk about random bullshit with them for an hour.

Edited by BuyMoreAndSave

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13 hours ago, BuyMoreAndSave said:

What are either of us supposed to do about it now? It already happened.

No, you can't change what has already occurred. What you can change is what happens in the future and how you respond to events. Your husband has in the past let his concerns for his mother override his concerns for your well-being and for the health of your marriage. Your mother sabotaged your attempts to be independent; your MIL sabotaged your husband's attempts to be independent, in addition to those things she did directly to you. Again, those things have already happened and you can't change them. But once your MIL is in another apartment, you need to ask yourself what kind of life you want, and whether being with a husband who seems resigned to being a captive of his mother's manipulation is in fact the life you want for yourself. If it's not, then either your husband needs to change or you need to do something to create a life that is what you desire, not a life that other people inflict upon you. 

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1 hour ago, BookWoman56 said:

No, you can't change what has already occurred. What you can change is what happens in the future and how you respond to events. Your husband has in the past let his concerns for his mother override his concerns for your well-being and for the health of your marriage. Your mother sabotaged your attempts to be independent; your MIL sabotaged your husband's attempts to be independent, in addition to those things she did directly to you. Again, those things have already happened and you can't change them. But once your MIL is in another apartment, you need to ask yourself what kind of life you want, and whether being with a husband who seems resigned to being a captive of his mother's manipulation is in fact the life you want for yourself. If it's not, then either your husband needs to change or you need to do something to create a life that is what you desire, not a life that other people inflict upon you. 

Well, that's not going to happen anymore. I sent him a list of boundaries in writing which he agreed to: she and the bird will never live with us again; she will have no say in any future places we might move to; she will not be allowed to pressure or nag us in any of our life decisions or about how we don't spend enough time with her; neither of us will have any more legal or financial entanglements with her; he will no longer do things for her that she is capable of doing herself or that she can hire someone else to do (I listed examples); for the near future he can only spend up to 3.5 hours a week with her; and I have no obligation to interact with her. If these boundaries are not respected then that's it. As I said, I have run out of fucks to give for anyone else besides myself. He claims he wants to make it up to me so we'll see if he does or not. If not, I honestly don't give a fuck -- I'm fine with being single and if we break up I don't plan on dating anyone else unless the right person happens to come along. I would like to be working if we got divorced for financial stability, but due to inheritance/investments and living cheaply and minimally, I have enough savings to live on for several years (I don't want any of his money if we got divorced).

Honestly I chalk a lot of the events of the past two years up to "the fog of war" also. The hospital turned this situation into a crisis by giving us only six weeks notice for her being released and not approving her for assisted living. There was no other choice and had we NOT allowed her to live with us, we could have faced elder neglect charges if anything happened. In retrospect we probably should have gotten a separate apartment for her from the beginning, and I should have made her sign a contract of regulations and setting a limit for how long she would be there. But at the time so many things were going on at once that we couldn't make good decisions. She could barely even talk at the time so it wasn't on my radar that she would have the ability to be manipulative or sow discord. The hospital is garbage and I would like to write to them and tell them so, if I thought they would care.

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In other news, my brother is now dating a crackhead with other severe emotional problems. I told him that he just got himself into a bad situation and advised getting out of it as soon as possible. I also advised getting an STD test and not letting her around any valuables. He swore up and down it would be fine and insisted they weren't even in a relationship and were just "friends with benefits." Then ten minutes later he said that she claimed that he was "her new reason to live." Yeah, THAT'S definitely going to end up well....I pretty much told him not to come crying to me or expect me to give any fucks when it blows up in his face like all the other times he dated crazy people and she ODs, kills herself, goes crazy and starts stabbing herself with broken glass and threatening to claim he did it like his ex-wife who he married after knowing her for one month, etc. He has some kind of savior complex and seems to think that he can or should "fix" every broken person out there. How about fixing your own damn self first and not mixing alcohol and weed with your antidepressants and getting your GED so you don't end up homeless and forcing me or my mom to take you in?

Can there just be ONE normal person in my family? Please?

MIL is going to move into Apartment #2. They were going to let us switch it around but we decided not to complicate things. However the bitch is still here for a few more days because it still smells like paint in there and we have to wait until it airs out. The other day I asked her for compensation for all the unpaid labor my husband and I did for her, just on the long shot that she would actually have a conscience and do the right thing. She flipped out to the point of claiming that she never wanted to live here and that we "falsely imprisoned" her for two years! She claims that because my husband wouldn't allow her to live in her hoarder house which was unfit for habitation (and could have gotten us put in jail for elder abuse and would have put her back in the hospital), that she was forced to live here against her will.

I was like "Oh really? Tell me more about who forced you to stay here because it certainly wasn't me. You were free to and encouraged to make your own arrangements and leave at any time. You chose to stay here so that you could continue to use us for free labor. Don't blame us because you allowed your house to become a moldy trash pile without working utilities and couldn't legally stay there." She had nothing to say to that and shut up and walked away.

As always thanks for letting me rant here and hopefully you guys find it entertaining...it's like a soap opera....

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Began getting texts from my daughter last night. Seems like my great niece got married this weekend. All of my SIL’s family was invited. I know of this because my daughter saw it on Facebook. My brother has 2 relatives. Only. My child and myself. Neither of us were invited. My child began accusatory remarks. Was I aware? No. Was I invited? No. Frankly my feelings were hurt too, but hers more so. She babysat her and when her Mom had to work or wanted to go out and party. I’ve had my life to learn that I mean nothing to my family. Even though my child is no youngster, she has never accepted this truth. My beau says I need professional help because families don’t act this way. I’ve done years of therapy. I can’t change them , but learned not to take it personally. She is heartbroken. I don’t know how to comfort her and wish I had born her into a better family. I’m so upset that I’ve been up since 4...maybe 4-5 hrs sleep with bad dreams. Lord I wish this wasn’t our lot in life. Thank you for allowing me to vent. I’m unhappy. More than I am able to express here. This is cutting deep. 

I will try calling her later to remind her that she has a marriage going on 19 years and three great children. To concentrate on that family, not the people from where we come that are unable to express love. Damn cold fish. 

Does anybody need me to worry and care about them? I would rather give comfort to another than sit here and fixate on my crap. 

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Mindthinkr, your family here loves and appreciates you. I think you and your daughter should put some distance between the rest of your relatives and concentrate on your own happiness. They don't appreciate you and therefore don't deserve your time or effort. 

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Mindthinkr, that sounds pretty messed up. I'm sorry that you got your feelings hurt.  I know what it's like to have your feelings hurt by family, but, I sort of moved on from that years ago.  Mainly, I started seeing how some people are just not very functional or give a damn about others.  I learned that people rarely change.  They operate in their own mind with little regard for others.  I'm not sure if that's what you have going on, but, in my family of dysfunction, it was pretty obvious. (Not about a wedding, but, other stuff.)  Anyway, I lowered my expectations and it doesn't phase me now, because, I expect nothing.  My mom is always surprised that this or that happened, but, I'm not.  lol   I know that it helps to vent though.  And, something that helps me when I encounter unkind or mind boggling behavior, is a piece I first read in high school.  It always lifts me up.  

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderata

I hope it brings a little cheer. 

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Thank you @emma675 and @SunnyBeBe

I’m improving or coming into acceptance. My child is bitter and I will send her the Desiderata. My friend told me that sometimes we have to choose our family as they aren’t always the people we were born into. She and I have plans to go to dinner and a movie tomorrow night. She also reminded me that I’m worthy of having good people in my life. I thank everyone for caring. 

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11 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

Thank you @emma675 and @SunnyBeBe

I’m improving or coming into acceptance. My child is bitter and I will send her the Desiderata. My friend told me that sometimes we have to choose our family as they aren’t always the people we were born into. She and I have plans to go to dinner and a movie tomorrow night. She also reminded me that I’m worthy of having good people in my life. I thank everyone for caring. 

You and daughter doing something special is a great idea.  Sometimes, it takes some time to let the healing start.  Your support will mean so much to her.  And, you never know.  Down the road they may regret their decision and apologize.  I'm not sure I'd wait on it though.  Do you think it was a money thing and they couldn't afford but just a certain number of guests? 

Edited by SunnyBeBe
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3 minutes ago, SunnyBeBe said:

You and daughter doing something special is a great idea.  Sometimes, it takes some time to let the healing start.  Your support will mean so much to her.  And, you never know.  Down the road they may regret their decision and apologize.  I'm not sure I'd wait on it though.  Do you think it was a money thing and they couldn't afford but just a certain number of guests? 

I’m sorry not to have been clear. It’s my friend (trying to cheer me up) going out with me tomorrow night.  My daughter is working 80 hrs/week right now until school ends. She las lots of days added on the calendar because of hurricane Florence. She is off Saturday and I will try to see her then. 

No, money is not an issue for them. 

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@Mindthinkr I'm sorry you and your daughter have to deal with that. I think you're one of the kindest people on this site, and you don't deserve that treatment at all. I think you have a healthy perspective on the situation, and I hope your daughter is able to see the wisdom in what you've told her. 

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@Zella

It is easy to be kind when you’ve grown up with unkind. You treat others the way that you wish that you had been treated. Thank you for your nice words. 

My daughter was in touch with me. Since my grandsons birthday is next week. I will be meeting them at a Mexican restaurant Saturday night after the other grandsons baseball game. He made All Stars. His position is catcher. No way would I miss this opportunity. To love the best part of my family. 

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3 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:

My daughter was in touch with me. Since my grandsons birthday is next week. I will be meeting them at a Mexican restaurant Saturday night after the other grandsons baseball game. He made All Stars. His position is catcher. No way would I miss this opportunity. To love the best part of my family. 

I’m so glad you will be able to get together with your daughter and celebrate your grandson’s achievement. I’m also glad I was able to find you on this thread. Your posts are ALWAYS welcome.

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On 10/28/2018 at 10:50 PM, ShutUpLutz said:

They aren't a collector of Bennett's stuff, they just love his music. I guess I should have put in that they have had various Bennett CD's on their various lists and I and others have gotten them over the years, but all of those items have been opened and unshrink wrapped and listened to. I don't know it's just something that I always notice whenever I go to see them.

It's like people who say that they are going to watch or read (popcuture touchstone book or movie that EVERYONE else has seen at least once) but they just don't have the time, despite apparently having ten hours a week taking selfies. Annoying as hell? INDEED YOU ARE.

Maybe they like to have "extra" copies in case one of the ones they listen to gets damaged, lost, worn out, etc...then they know they have a brand-new, pristine one all set to take its place.

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On 6/10/2019 at 2:51 AM, Mindthinkr said:

Began getting texts from my daughter last night. Seems like my great niece got married this weekend. All of my SIL’s family was invited. I know of this because my daughter saw it on Facebook. My brother has 2 relatives. Only. My child and myself. Neither of us were invited. My child began accusatory remarks. Was I aware? No. Was I invited? No. Frankly my feelings were hurt too, but hers more so. She babysat her and when her Mom had to work or wanted to go out and party. I’ve had my life to learn that I mean nothing to my family. Even though my child is no youngster, she has never accepted this truth. My beau says I need professional help because families don’t act this way. I’ve done years of therapy. I can’t change them , but learned not to take it personally. She is heartbroken. I don’t know how to comfort her and wish I had born her into a better family. I’m so upset that I’ve been up since 4...maybe 4-5 hrs sleep with bad dreams. Lord I wish this wasn’t our lot in life. Thank you for allowing me to vent. I’m unhappy. More than I am able to express here. This is cutting deep. 

I will try calling her later to remind her that she has a marriage going on 19 years and three great children. To concentrate on that family, not the people from where we come that are unable to express love. Damn cold fish. 

Does anybody need me to worry and care about them? I would rather give comfort to another than sit here and fixate on my crap. 

I am so sorry!  I understand completely.  I have an effed up extended family as well.  One cousin lives far away and is coming to CA in September.  She wants the whole family (what's left) to get together.  Two cousins heard me and my sisters will be there so she said nope, we aren't coming.  My cousin is heartbroken.  She hasn't seen them since 1989.  Family isn't necessarily blood but it takes some work to believe it and be ok with it.  It hurts though to HEAR how little you mean to them.  GIANT HUGS!!!!!

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Sorry, this post is long as fuck but I went off…hopefully the Jerry Springer episode that is my life entertains you at least LOL.
 

Spoiler

So you guys are not going to believe this…not even a week after my MIL moved out, my brother got a notice that he has 30 days to leave his apartment. He didn’t even do anything to get evicted, but basically it’s a month-to-month lease and the landlord wants their relative to move in, so now he has to leave. He’s been living there for a few years too so it’s kind of an ignominious end to the landlord-tenant relationship. Since he already wasn’t making enough income and is running out of inheritance money, he was going to have to move out in a few months anyway, but it wasn’t expected to be such short notice. Our area is very expensive so it’s unlikely he will be able to find a place where he passes the income check on such short notice. All he could probably afford is one of those illegal sublet things, but I’m not sure how to find those.

Either way he is probably going to lose all of his stuff, that is to say, all his prized and sentimental possessions such as his large amount of solid wood furniture inherited from dead family members. He has an unhealthy attachment to things so I predict this is probably going to cause him to go from mild organized hoarder to complete hoarder. Yay, just what we need…another hoarder in the family. I told him months ago to start selling his stuff to prepare for downsizing so that at least he could make some money off it and know someone else was using it instead of it ending up in a dumpster, but did he listen to me? Of course not! In fact I don’t think he is even selling his stuff NOW. He somehow thinks he will find a one-bedroom for a few hundred dollars a month in the NYC area…he is not living in reality right now or historically ever.

My dad came to visit this weekend and in retrospect I think this situation gave him an ulterior motive to visit, since he kind of sprung the visit on me last-minute-ish. We had a conversation about it and I told him that my husband and I had already discussed it months ago and the answer to my brother moving in was absolutely not. I told him back in February (and I did it via text message specifically to have a record of it for when this situation happened) that he had to be preparing for his GED every day to move in with us. Otherwise there is likely no way he will ever get a stable enough income situation to move out. As far as I know he has not so much as purchased a GED textbook let alone opened it in that time. He blames his math learning disability but that really has nothing to do with it — he hasn’t even taken the most basic steps of attempting to get the GED, which has nothing to do with being disabled and everything to do with just not wanting to put in any effort. Even in school he did the bare minimum any time he could get away with it, in every subject, not just math, and in high school didn’t even show up. I remember him making up fake science project results instead of actually doing a science project, and even writing fake book reports on made-up books instead of reading a goddamn book. He could have gotten free tutoring from my MIL (which is no longer an option since I don’t talk to her anymore), something other people dream of having access to, and he turned it down and wouldn’t even try it once!

Additionally, his life decisions have actually worsened since February — he has started both drinking and smoking weed again (which historically have caused reckless, unstable, and unpleasant behavior from him) and as I said before he is dating an unstable crackhead. So that’s gonna be a hell no from me, dawg.

The situation just pisses me off the more I think about it. I got a STEM degree from an Ivy League college, which I went to on a 50% scholarship and graduated on time and with a good GPA; I did tons of unpaid internships in research labs when I could have been working for pay instead; and I got the equivalent of an entire other degree learning programming and IT. And I still can’t get a decent full-time job (the most I’ve ever been paid was $15 an hour, and my last freelance Android project paid way below minimum wage if you count the number of hours I put into it…the guy running it is rich too so he could have afforded to pay me the actual value of the work, but he knew he could get away with exploiting me). I’ve done more work for free “for experience” than I’ve done for pay in my life, and I get up every day and work to try to improve my skills with little to no compensation in the hopes that maybe I will be allowed to be an actual adult with an actual job.

Yet this entitled motherfucker thinks he can just do the bare minimum, not even bother to go to high school past the 9th grade, and have everything handed to him. Even to the point of having my dad, who is living off Social Security retirement and in assisted living, give him part of his meager income! He is supposedly broke yet seems to have plenty of money for alcohol, cigarettes, weed, and driving all over the tri-state area to hook up with randos from Tinder whenever he’s single. How many thousands of dollars would he still have without all that?

Also he still claims that my mom was harder on him than she was on me. The only reason she fought with him more is because he started with her and resisted her more (and a lot of the things he fought her about were things where she was right, like going to school). But you know what, the actual TRUTH is that she was way harder on me. When he was around 18-19 years old she allowed him to live with us for over a year with no job, not even attempting to find a job, watching TV and smoking weed all day and going out with his friends and drinking and smoking more weed all night. Meanwhile when I was at college and wanting to kill myself every day because I hated it so much and had mental problems that my parents wouldn’t let me get treated, she wouldn’t even let me take a semester off, or a summer off, or transfer to a different school. She told me she would kick me out on the street if I tried to do any of those things.

Not only that but he also lived off my dad and didn’t work or do anything productive for about five years, claiming he had too much anxiety to work, but also didn’t even attempt to get it treated (and continued to drink of course). Like, ok, I lost about two years of my career to anxiety too. But at least I TRIED every fucking day to continue with my studying/projects, figure out a way to get out of that hole, and even went to therapy and took medication for a while. Also I am positive he was malingering because my dad eventually ran out of money and ended up homeless, and as soon as that happened, my brother made a miraculous recovery and was able to work up to 60 hours a week.

And the other part of the truth is…yes, my mom was and is an abusive and crazy person. But the real COPS shit with police and social workers and people getting arrested and doors getting smashed in and court-ordered family counseling and all that ONLY happened because he would not let her impose even normal amounts of parental authority on him, like telling him to go to school. There were problems when it was just me and her living together, like the college stuff I mentioned above. But there really weren’t many blowout fights. Meanwhile when he was here it was a fight literally every single day.

That motherfucker stole my preteen and teenage years. Everything was about him for years. Every day I would get up at 6 AM and go to my gifted high school and work really hard all day, and then when I came home I would have to do hours of homework literally while my mom and brother were trying to kill each other in the background…and I was expected to get straight A’s anyway. I had to waste one evening a week for months going to court-ordered family counseling even though I didn’t even do anything wrong. My mom and brother both called me a “phony” for not wanting to take sides with either of them, because I thought they were both assholes. Even when he wasn’t living there it was all about him. Any time my mom and I had a normal parent-teenager disagreement, she would use it as evidence that I was turning “bad” like my brother. I wasn’t allowed to push the line even to the extent that a normal teenager does. I literally didn’t even listen to music for like five years because I thought that if she knew I liked punk and metal, she would think I was turning “bad.” I assume at least some of my complete lack of self confidence or sense of even being a real person, that has contributed to my career situation, came from my entire family largely forgetting I existed for years.

And then there were other times, like the day when I was 13 and my brother and I were home alone, and he told me he was going to kill himself and fought me off and left the house. I had to call the police on him and then talk to the police even though I was terrified of them (and I still am, but at least being terrified of the police is normalized in society now) after all the other times they had come over, after almost getting shot by them once when I was 12, and after seeing all of my family members get arrested on different occasions. Since then he has held me and other family members emotionally hostage with suicide threats many times, for example when he exposed himself to HIV by having an unprotected one-night stand, and then said he would kill himself if he was HIV positive and we had to worry about that for THREE MONTHS. At this point I not only expect him to die young, but also will be relieved when it happens and feel like it is for the best…I know that makes me sound like the worst person ever.

But did he give even the slightest fuck about the effect his behavior was having on me? Ever? Of course not! My needs were and are a non-entity to him. I have never gotten an apology for anything. He has never tried to better himself to avoid imposing on my life. He has never gone out of his way to help me with anything, yet has expected me to do so on multiple occasions, even asking me to break the law for him.

So fuck him. Let him live out of his van (which honestly barely even counts as homeless…people live out of vans by choice these days and it’s like a 15-passenger van so it is enough room for sleeping and storage). Let him lose all of his stuff. Let him kill himself if that is his choice. I’m done. If he had listened to me or anyone else on anything, he wouldn’t have ended up in this situation.

I have told my dad all this too (except for the part about how I would be fine if my brother kills himself) and he agrees with me. I even told him the other day that I dislike my brother as a person and that I wish I didn’t have to have any relationship with him at all, and he understood. I think he may have a lot of similar feelings but it’s really taboo for a parent to dislike their kids so he has to dance around the subject. But not only that, I think he is still afraid of my brother in a sense because my brother was violent with him in the past. I have cut off contact with my brother before but he or my dad has always dragged me back in with guilt trips. But I have to figure out a way to get the fuck out for good and never have anything to do with him again, because he has only ever brought stress to my life.

Tl;dr family is a prison.

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Family doesn't have to be a prison and you can't bend people's behavior to your expectations.

Therapy will do you a world of good in sorting out your feelings and helping you define and enforce clear boundaries.

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10 minutes ago, theredhead77 said:

Family doesn't have to be a prison and you can't bend people's behavior to your expectations.

Therapy will do you a world of good in sorting out your feelings and helping you define and enforce clear boundaries.

Historically therapy has never done much. I think a few pages back I detailed my last experience with therapy where my therapist forgot I existed after a few sessions among other things.

Here's the thing...I fully agree that I can't bend people's behavior to my expectations. BUT if those people don't want to change their behavior to fit my expectations then they shouldn't come to me asking me to bail them out of the consequences of their poor life decisions, and playing the victim and acting like I'm a bitch when I say no. This has happened with my MIL and my husband by extension, my brother, and even my dad back when he was homeless. The guilt trips used to be effective too but after years of people taking advantage of me, I am completely out of fucks to give.

And the funny thing is I ALWAYS turn out to be right on the advice I give these people. My husband even agrees with me on my assessment of his MIL now that he's broken the conditioning a bit and enforced more boundaries. Yesterday I referred to her as "Machiavellian" and he said "yeah, you're right, she is" and even suggested that she would get along great with the aforementioned guy who paid me below minimum wage. Even with my dad the advice I gave him was the only advice he got that got him off the street and got him disability/housing, and he refused to take it for months.

My brother historically has no ability to adhere to even the smallest boundaries. For example he always tells vulgar and disgusting jokes (like ones that REALLY cross the line) and every time me and my other family members ask him to stop, and he doesn't. The only time he stops is if you get angry and then he acts like you are an uptight prudish bitch for doing so and "getting mad at him for no reason." He must know that we do not actually enjoy hearing these jokes and yet does not care. With his history I know the only way to get out of his storm of bullshit is by going scorched-earth, complete no-contact. I have already done that twice since 2016, even telling him a lot of the stuff I stated in my post to piss him off and make sure he stayed away. But the problem is then he enlists my dad to drag me back in with guilt-trips. The first time he also dragged me back in with his wedding to some lady he had known for all of six weeks (surprise, she turned out to be even more crazy and violent than my mom and it ended in divorce) with "family togetherness, let bygones be bygones, it will be ruined if you aren't there!"

Back then I gave enough fucks, or at least had low enough self-esteem, to actually be dragged in with that. Now I don't. But I do want to still talk to my dad and that's the problem. Otherwise I could just disappear with no explanation.

Now my dad has at least some idea of how much I hate my brother. I think what I might do is change my number or block his number and basically fake my own disappearance. Like "I don't know what happened, her phone just stopped accepting calls suddenly!" Except I will give my dad my new number BUT tell him that if he tells my brother anything or gives my brother my new number, I will never talk to him again. I hope my brother doesn't come to my apartment looking for me though because we can't move out until next April. And I hope if something does happen to him, nobody puts it on me, like "you rejected him for no reason and look what happened!" Because he is very good at putting on the sad Eeyore act to get people to sympathize with him, or minimizing how toxic he is so people don't visualize how much he is emotionally dragging on people.

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@BuyMoreAndSave, I regard you reaching the point of having no more fucks to give as progress. You can't control the behavior of your family members, but you can create and enforce some boundaries so that there's minimal contact with dysfunctional and toxic people, regardless of whether they are family. If your brother becomes homeless and ends up committing suicide, that's on him; you offered help at one point and he isn't willing to meet some fairly simply conditions for receiving help. In addition, having just gotten rid of your MIL,  you and your husband need some time without another ongoing crisis situation to get back into a more or less normal life and see how that works for your own relationship. 

All that said, from your various posts it sounds as if you  have spent a lot of your life being manipulated by other people. Some of that was out of your control when  you were younger, but you are old enough now to understand a critical part of being an adult: People can manipulate you emotionally and so forth only if you let them. You're not going to be able to stop people from trying to manipulate you, and all you can change is your own response to their attempts, by shutting them down with a flat refusal to play their game. When I was in my teens, I sometimes allowed myself to be manipulated by other people and eventually read a book on becoming more assertive. I no longer remember the exact phrase, but the underlying meaning of something in that book was that if you behave like a doormat, then you need to expect people to walk all over you. It was a harsh wake-up call for me, but changing my approach to other people's attempts to control my life allowed me to take control of my own life.

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16 minutes ago, BookWoman56 said:

@BuyMoreAndSave, I regard you reaching the point of having no more fucks to give as progress. You can't control the behavior of your family members, but you can create and enforce some boundaries so that there's minimal contact with dysfunctional and toxic people, regardless of whether they are family. If your brother becomes homeless and ends up committing suicide, that's on him; you offered help at one point and he isn't willing to meet some fairly simply conditions for receiving help. In addition, having just gotten rid of your MIL,  you and your husband need some time without another ongoing crisis situation to get back into a more or less normal life and see how that works for your own relationship. 

All that said, from your various posts it sounds as if you  have spent a lot of your life being manipulated by other people. Some of that was out of your control when  you were younger, but you are old enough now to understand a critical part of being an adult: People can manipulate you emotionally and so forth only if you let them. You're not going to be able to stop people from trying to manipulate you, and all you can change is your own response to their attempts, by shutting them down with a flat refusal to play their game. When I was in my teens, I sometimes allowed myself to be manipulated by other people and eventually read a book on becoming more assertive. I no longer remember the exact phrase, but the underlying meaning of something in that book was that if you behave like a doormat, then you need to expect people to walk all over you. It was a harsh wake-up call for me, but changing my approach to other people's attempts to control my life allowed me to take control of my own life.

Spoiler tagged to not clog up the thread:

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I agree. And I'm actually happy that my brother has continued to make bad decisions for that reason. Like even if he was working on the GED and everything we both would really not want him to stay here, because he's just not a person who we want to interact with that much, and also we just got our privacy and independence back. I know that sounds bad. I mean obviously the best thing would be if he got his life together without any homelessness or imposition on us occurring. But if that doesn't happen then at least he gave us a lot of good reasons to say no to him staying with us, so nobody can really blame us or say we are heartless. My dad totally understands that if we let him stay with us, he would have no plan to change the situation, and it would just kick the can down the road and stress us out. My mom won't let him stay with her or fund his lifestyle either, and I imagine she has similar reasons, plus the concern of possible domestic violence occurring. But really now that I think about it I don't want to help him in any way, not even helping him pay for a tutor or other things that might actually help him, because I think he hasn't treated me well enough to deserve it.

Unfortunately the situation with my MIL was largely out of my control. I did stand up to her bullshit for years and called her out several times when she crossed the line with me or my husband. I also knew that she was going to try to worm her way into living with us at some point, but I didn't realize it would be so soon or that I would have no way of getting out of it. Had we allowed her to live on her own right after getting out of the hospital, she probably would have gotten injured, and either we would have been held criminally liable for elder neglect, and/or my husband would have felt unending guilt over it and probably gotten mad at me for not letting her live with us. Then once she was here she would often have a relapse of symptoms whenever I called her out on bad behavior, even requiring hospitalization at one point. I don't know how much of that was her faking it, but I do know blood pressure monitors did show high blood pressure and stuff like that when she was having symptoms.

But anyway because of that my husband forbade me from directly confronting her on anything because he thought she would have a stroke and die or something if she got too upset. Instead I would have to tell him and he would have to find a way to tell her gently, except half the time he would be afraid to tell her things and not do it. Like for months he was afraid to tell her that we wanted her to move out because he thought she would feel like he was "abandoning" her (which is ridiculous because now she literally lives 50 feet away) and get sick again and die. I think that he was manipulated just as much as I was, because she played on the trauma that he experienced when she was hospitalized, of her being in a coma, almost dying several times, and him having to manage her entire care and even having to decide whether to pull the plug at one point. He is only now fully realizing how much she took advantage of the situation.

It got to the point where I wanted to move out but because of my job situation I couldn't really leave (I have inheritance money from my grandma which I have been using to pay all my expenses, but even with that, I don't think you can really get a place without income, and I don't have enough confidence in my ability to get a stable job ever to go out on my own). Plus, I didn't want to leave my husband, I love him, our relationship other than this MIL bullshit is good, and also that would be playing into exactly what she wanted. So I was trapped in a situation where I could not even set boundaries. I don't know what one is supposed to do in such a situation. The only thing I can say is that maybe in the long run it is good that this happened because now he actually sees how her behavior has been harmful to both of us, and he respects that her actions have led to me not wanting anything to do with her anymore. Now I never have to worry about her making demands on me again because my husband realizes that I already did enough for her and that's it.

I feel like the manipulation I experienced with my MIL opened the door for my brother to manipulate me as well. In fact my brother's wedding where I broke no-contact happened just days before she moved in with us. I was getting these messages from her and my husband that I was wrong to confront her on bad behavior, as well as a lot of gaslighting about how the situation wasn't that bad. My brother also does a lot of gaslighting and minimizing. Like if you set a boundary (for example the telling of vulgar jokes as I mentioned above) and ask nicely not to cross it, and he inevitably crosses it, and then you get pissed off, he frames it as "we were having a nice conversation and then you decided to act like a bitch and flip out at me for no reason." And then he inevitably compares me to my abusive mom, even though that is another boundary I have set a million times where I tell him that it is very hurtful when he calls me that and please insult me with some other insult instead. It's not just me who recognizes this pattern of behavior...my entire family acknowledges that he constantly acts this way and tramples any sort of boundary.

Same with MIL, like for example if I asked her a million times nicely not to leave spills on the stove every day for me to clean up, and she inevitably kept doing it, and I got upset at her, then she would be crying to my husband and having "heart palpitations" and then HE would get mad at ME for upsetting her and the storyline would be like I just "caused a problem and overreacted for no reason". I believe the technical term for this is DARVO. Also, both of them have this entitlement where even if they've done shit to me, when they want something from me I'm just supposed to forget about the past and drop everything for them because they are "family." MIL is still butthurt and acts like she's the victim because I asked her to leave...even though she was never supposed to stay here permanently! So anyway there were definite parallels between the way the two of them acted and I think accepting one led to accepting the other. Now that I'm not accepting the one, I'm not accepting the other either.

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My sister says I'm her best friend, but she is very jealous of me. We are close in age and live in the same town. She excludes me from a lot of things. She doesn't like the attention I get from men. I will be asked by people why I don't attend certain events, and I never know what to say. It's embarrassing to say my own sister didn't invite me. Sometimes she'll come up with excuses for not including me-that I'm not into sports anyway, that she didn't think I'd want to make the drive to something, that she thought I had plans. Other times she'll straight up tell me I'm a threat. It is very hurtful, especially when my other friends are out of town, working, or with their S/O's. I'm someone who actually cherishes my alone time. But whether I want to socialize with my sister or not, it hurts me that sometimes she knows for a fact I have been lonely and trying to make plans with her, only to have her ignore me. She also demands a lot of my attention, but it's hardly ever reciprocated when it's my birthday, or I'm having trouble with a guy, it's always about her. It makes me wish I had a brother, because he wouldn't care who's prettier or be leery of bringing me around someone he has a crush on. She's also threatened by friends of mine. She always has her group of friends, but there have been times she's said I am allowed to come to certain things, but that I need to at least not bring a friend of mine if she's deemed too cute for my sister's taste. I do my best to lift up my sister, make her feel good, make her feel beautiful, but she never returns the favor. Her jealousy, insecurities, and narcissism are all driving me crazy, and I have no idea how to handle any of this when she's supposed to be my best friend. As much as I wish all the best for my sister, sometimes I wonder if her problems are the result of karma. 

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Well, I did go to Mom's this past weekend.  Took Monday off to appease her and get stuff done for her.  Started out she was in a bad mood, over very trivial things.  She wouldn't go out on Saturday because it was raining (really sprinkling).  Told me if I went to church A on Sat I could stop by burger place #1, she had coupons.  I did some stuff, was getting ready for church, and she started in on me.  Why did I take so long?  I'd better hurry up!  The church is a 15 min drive, started at 4:30 and it was around 3:30.  Her friend always leaves by 3:50.  Ok.  Her friend parks and sits in a specific area; I don't care as I'm more mobile.  So I just said screw it and threw on some clothes and left.  Yeah I sat in the lot for a good 20 minutes or more with the 6 cars that were there.  I then called Mom near burger #1 to see if she was super hungry or wanted something lighter.  Why did I call?  I was bothering her I guess.  She wanted a smaller burger.  Ok, fine.  I got a specialty drink.  Why did I get that?  Why do I like that?  (on and on).  Honestly, I don't ask why she's obsessed with candy or whatever.  You like what you like.  Then she said she liked burger place #2 better (I'd asked her if she wanted me to go there, and no it was out of my way - I said I can go...…...NO NO NO).  All weekend and beyond I've heard how burger #2 is better.  If I'd gone to burger #2, she would've complained how long it took or how she'd wanted burger #1 as she doesn't get it as much (lose/lose).  

So Sunday I am up early, vacuuming and dusting away.  She got mad at me about something, I honestly can't remember what exactly.  I swear if I say one little word or look at her sideways, I'm in the doghouse.  It had stopped raining, so I went outside.  Yeah, I did some minimal yardwork.  Surprise, her landscaper hasn't been there yet.  I almost called him - blocking my number to see what his availability was.  I think Mom never called him or delayed it.  Anyhow, I got that done.  I used the wrong type of garbage bag.  Why am I mentioning that?  Because it illustrates that whatever I do, it's wrong.  I cleaned the rest of the house, including her disgusting bathroom (stains all around that I really wish I didn't know what they were).  I then did some laundry - steamer pads and some stuff I'd brought along.  Wish I hadn't done that.

Made dinner for her.  I had reservations about how she wanted it cooked as I didn't think she'd be able to eat it.  Sure enough, meat was too tough.  Her dentures are bad (my fault).  I'd asked her a couple of years ago to confirm she could go into the dentist's office on any Monday like she said to get a new (free) set.  She said no, she knew that was the case.  I said I wasn't going to take vacation time only to find out it wasn't the case.  I said I'd call.  No, don't you dare!  Ok, so I didn't take off vacation time, so her bad dentures are all my fault.  Then she lectured me about going to the dentist (again, ironic because she did little for my teeth as a kid - but she says she did what she could - which is wrong - other kids had proper dental care and she spoke to their parents about everything - it just wasn't a priority with her).  So, she'd asked me to trim her nails (her hands are bad and she can't do it).  I'd asked her after I cleaned up the dishes, etc.  I had dared pull out my laptop to look up addresses she had wanted me to look up.  I then read some news articles.  How dare I.  She got her work done FIRST, then relaxed.  She said I don't sit and play games.  Ok.  I asked again, do you want your nails trimmed?  Shrug of the shoulders/pouting began.  She then started in on me a few minutes later, and I said ok well, I'm going to bed (it was 10:30).  I got screamed at.  You never go to bed this early.  I said I wasn't waiting until midnight (which has happened many times before - I think as a form of punishment to me - let her wait, I will have this on my time).  Then all hell broke loose. I just kept saying I was done as she yelled at me.  She went on one rant, how she never gets any credit (for what she did raising us).  She hates when I say it was her responsibility to clothe and feed us.  Well, it was.  If you don't want to do so, don't be a parent.  I asked what do you want now?  I don't want anything, then back to but I never get any credit.  I said that even saying thank you a million times wouldn't satisfy her.  Do you want a certificate saying I give you credit?  What?  No answer.  She said I acted like I was so smart, such a know it all.  I said really no, I'm very insecure in social settings.  She always made me feel inferior.  I was a liar.  I said how can I lie about how I feel?  I was a dirty damned liar.  She wasn't going to stop what she was doing to have nails trimmed as she was busy with her prayers.  Then said do you pray? You need to!  Then how I wouldn't even discuss her plan, I just said no (re: living together).  I honestly do not remember her ever asking.  Maybe I've blocked it out.  I said to live together, no.  She then said no we wouldn't have to live together but have 'separate quarters'.  I then said tell me your plan now, I'll listen.  What was your plan?  Crickets.  So there was no plan.  All I heard was you wouldn't even listen.  You said NO.  I'll never forgive you.

I finally retreated to the bedroom.  She has had a few ants in her house.  End of the world.  I honestly saw two.  She was up at 2 and 4 with the hall light on, searching for ants.  What she sees as ants are tiny black specks, not ants.  We have ant baits out.  She thinks they should go in there and stay.  No, they take the bait back to their nest, eat that poison and die.  I've explained it all but she feels she has to kill each one she sees.  Ant baits were sold out in the stores I went to over the weekend, so it's not just her.  She thinks the plumber she had two years ago brought them into her house, via his plastic tarp.   Oy.

She'd said she wasn't going anywhere on Monday (planned shopping and brunch).  Of course, she relented.  I got a ton of stuff done for her and was so ready to leave.  Plus her house was hot, hot, hot.  No fans, no a/c, no windows open.  She was ok when I left.  Ok, when I talked to her when I got back to my house.  In a good mood on Tuesday.  Wednesday - back to hell mode.  Thursday she was a little better.  Then tonight.

She called me as I was driving home.  She's had issues (as had her entire area) with trash pickup.  Issues last week and again today.  She called and the idiots picked up her neighbor's trash, which was put out late, then didn't take hers.  You have to help me! Ok.  I missed her message to me.  I needed to do that basically because I owed her.  She'd had bathroom near misses, and that was all my fault.  Her incontinence is my fault.   All righty.

I sent emails, etc.  Then called her back.  She was sort of ok, then launched into how her neighbor's wonderful DIL told her she was going to stay with them for a while.  Her neighbor is going blind, but is still more independent than Mom.  She's also nice, easy going, so I can see why she's invited.  Mom starts sobbing, what it'd be like to have a nice family (but she got the shit family - aka - me).  I finally took the phone off of mute and said, ok come live with me.  I didn't yell, but I wasn't exactly dripping sugar when I said it.  Yeah phone went silent.  She'd hung up on me.  

She called me back - making weird noises, saying you've got the wrong number.  I said after about 5 minutes of it, I think I need to call 911 and have the psych squad come.  Nasty Mom let loose then.  I listened for about two minutes and hung up.  She then left two nasty voice mails, which had me crying.  I could go to hell, because that's where I really belong, not with human beings.  I was just a little girl, immature, disrespectful, and I did nothing for her.  I didn't know how to clean, how to do anything.  I think I'm smart, but I'm not at all.  Not worth anything.  She doesn't have a daughter.  She went into how she never told anyone how I didn't get into a club when in school, because I had a semester of bad grades (not that bad, but I'd found out later - not confident enough, never smiled - yeah a mouth of bad teeth will hamper your smiling).  She went into how my dad wouldn't be proud of me at all, no one would be.  

I'm calmer now, and I've got her blocked.  It will be a long time before I answer a call.  Her voice mails were full of such venom.  Yeah, I said some nasty stuff, but not that nasty.  I know I'm far from perfect, so yeah some of it was payback for stuff I'd said. But, she really crossed a big line.  Almost like the mask came off, and the real her came out.  Sadly, if she'd acted even halfway decent or appreciative I'd have probably invited her to my home for a short visit.  Not happening now.

Thanks to everyone for letting me vent here.  Getting the stuff off of my chest helps so much.

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50 minutes ago, hoosier80 said:

I'm calmer now, and I've got her blocked.  It will be a long time before I answer a call.  Her voice mails were full of such venom.  Yeah, I said some nasty stuff, but not that nasty.  I know I'm far from perfect, so yeah some of it was payback for stuff I'd said. But, she really crossed a big line.  Almost like the mask came off, and the real her came out.  Sadly, if she'd acted even halfway decent or appreciative I'd have probably invited her to my home for a short visit.  Not happening now.

Given the way your mother has treated you in the past, and the vicious verbal attacks she's just handed you, I'd change "a long time" to "never." Seriously. Your mother as described is sucking the life force out of you, all while offering nothing but verbal and emotional abuse. I know it's tough to break the bond, but I'd be calling your brother and telling him you're done, and he can notify you when she dies. From everything you've said, your mother is a toxic person who is not ever going to treat you with any respect or affection, so why torture yourself by continuing to go visit her just to get more abuse heaped on you? Focus on what you need both personally and professionally, and stop letting your mother destroy your peace of mind. If  you can't bring yourself to cut ties completely, at least consider limiting your visits to something more reasonable, like once every 6 months and only for a weekend. IIRC, your brother is there in the same town with her, and it makes much more sense for him to be the one to deal with whatever her real needs are, instead of you being an emotional punching bag for her. 

With my own mother, I've reached the point of just accepting reality. She's mostly recovered from her surgery and hospital stay, but has lost some mobility that I'm not sure is going to come back. Her dementia has now been documented and is increasing. There are still periods when she is lucid but those are getting shorter and occurring less frequently. So at this point I really think the best thing that can happen is that she just dies in her sleep, whether that happens next month or two years from now. Her quality of life is deteriorating because of the dementia, and I suspect that if she lives another year, she's going to have trouble knowing who any family members are. 

One interesting thing did come out of the last visit by my older sister (the one who is useful and has her life together). We began talking about some things from our childhood and adolescence, and she has pretty  much confirmed something I've long suspected. My younger sister has always pointedly been my mother's favorite; this is something that's been commented on by numerous people over the years. And I often wondered if there was some specific reason for that. Based on a conversation that my older sister overheard when she was fairly young, we're both now about 99% certain that my younger sister is the result of an affair that my mother had with someone, and that my father decided to not break up the family because of not wanting the scandal and so forth. It's definitely making me view their marriage in a different light. 

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My dad thinks I work out too much.  I'm either at the gym or taking some sort of class five days a week and walk pretty much everywhere.  According to my Fitbit, I clock over 20k steps each day.  He thinks it's way too much.  He also thinks I don't "eat properly" because I rarely eat rice (quinoa cooks in half the time.  I'm a mom.  I don't have time.  Guess what I cook?).  UGH! 

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2 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:

CAB8D55A-0D83-4690-A004-0DFE6AAB8E27.thumb.jpeg.bce420bde644b655a7ef30e8923b09e5.jpeg

I also think that it’s a healthier choice and is so versatile. 

I've explained that to him.  I make "fried rice" with quinoa and we like it.  I guess it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. 

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1 hour ago, PRgal said:

I've explained that to him.  I make "fried rice" with quinoa and we like it.  I guess it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. 

Your dad's entitled to his opinion. But you're entitled to ignore his opinion and make your own choices. 

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14 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

Your dad's entitled to his opinion. But you're entitled to ignore his opinion and make your own choices. 

Yes, but when you have HK immigrant parents (even if they've been in Canada for nearly 50 years), you can NEVER ignore them in the way Anglo people can.  I'd probably say the same for Italian, Greek, Jewish, Portuguese.....and basically any Canadian who isn't of Anglo or French heritage.

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23 minutes ago, PRgal said:

Yes, but when you have HK immigrant parents (even if they've been in Canada for nearly 50 years), you can NEVER ignore them in the way Anglo people can.  I'd probably say the same for Italian, Greek, Jewish, Portuguese.....and basically any Canadian who isn't of Anglo or French heritage.

You do have the ability to be brave and break the mold. You have a child now and although I know you would like to keep some traditions, you can also take some subtle steps in forming new ones. 

Also, as an Anglo (as you define) I can’t ignore my families wishes, traditions or doing things in a certain way. Shunning is real in my family and it hurts when it’s done to you. Mind, I haven’t been for a few years (last was over something stupid), but the fear of it still rules my conscience. I think all families have the ability to make us feel good or bad depending on their perception of something. 

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5 hours ago, PRgal said:

Yes, but when you have HK immigrant parents (even if they've been in Canada for nearly 50 years), you can NEVER ignore them in the way Anglo people can.  I'd probably say the same for Italian, Greek, Jewish, Portuguese.....and basically any Canadian who isn't of Anglo or French heritage.

Sure you can. You are a grown woman, the opinions of your parents and other family members do not get to dictate your life or your choices regardless of culture.

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13 minutes ago, theredhead77 said:

Sure you can. You are a grown woman, the opinions of your parents and other family members do not get to dictate your life or your choices regardless of culture.

Not really.  You can try, you can even do things "differently," but you will always be criticized and sometimes shunned (I don't think they're going to shun me just for eating quinoa, but they'll certainly think I'm weird.  I'm okay with that part).  Anglo-Canadians seem to be much more open than many other cultures.  It's really difficult to explain unless you live it.  

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Hasan Minhaj has a segment on his show Patriot Act where he takes audience questions; it's available on You Tube. 

He mentioned that he and his wife were walking outside holding hands when they saw an older Indian couple approaching and immediately stepped apart. Maybe they know his parents or go to his mosque! Maybe they'll shout at him!

He's in his 30s and married with a child but the cultural indoctrination cuts deep.

It was interesting to me as someone who's never experienced any of that; whatever Italian or Catholic social mores my grandparents may have believed in had been watered down to nothing by the time I grew up. Perhaps it's more impactful for first-generation Americans whose parents are still living the immigrant experience.

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2 hours ago, 2727 said:

Hasan Minhaj has a segment on his show Patriot Act where he takes audience questions; it's available on You Tube. 

He mentioned that he and his wife were walking outside holding hands when they saw an older Indian couple approaching and immediately stepped apart. Maybe they know his parents or go to his mosque! Maybe they'll shout at him!

He's in his 30s and married with a child but the cultural indoctrination cuts deep.

It was interesting to me as someone who's never experienced any of that; whatever Italian or Catholic social mores my grandparents may have believed in had been watered down to nothing by the time I grew up. Perhaps it's more impactful for first-generation Americans whose parents are still living the immigrant experience.

That was thoughtful. Thank you for posting it 

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Hi, folks!  You may remember my post from December and earlier this year about my 18-year-old daughter who moved out of my home in anger, quit her jobs, dropped out of community college, and traveled to Tennessee to live with her unemployed boyfriend.  I've returned to seek further advice and insight since you were all so kind and helpful before.

So, to catch you up, she returned from Tennessee in April and our relationship really didn't improve much.  I eventually got tired of the total lack of communication and reached out to her.  We've had a small handful of visits (four in as many months), which have varied in terms of pleasantness.  I have not stooped to her level to argue with her, but she definitely hasn't been shy about being dismissive of me.  This dynamic has been in place all her life; her father has always been nasty to me and she gravitated toward him as time went on because he had -and still has- no rules at all.  He was never interested in being an involved father.  He's more of a pal.  Since she's been back in Maryland, I try to keep in contact via text and by phone, but her responses are intermittent at best.  Fast-forward to last week.  Her boyfriend slowly reduced contact and ended up breaking up with her on Wednesday, as everyone knew he would.  She contacted me in hysterics.  I was there for her 100%, talking on the phone with her for hours during my work day and even sending her money for an Uber ( a fairly modest amount) and picking her up afterward when she wanted to travel the 10 miles to see him personally to "talk it out."  Since then, she has jumped right back on the horse, so to speak, meeting a virtual parade of guys from Instagram and staying out all night on a nightly basis.  To say that I'm worried is an understatement.

My daughter is laziness personified.  She has announced that she will most likely not be returning to school.  She works maybe six or eight hours per week at a job in which she has absolutely no interest.  She spends every other waking hour and most of the night bouncing from house to house to house, experimenting with various drugs and drinking.  She's still on my phone plan (she pays me monthly), so I can see her location on my own phone, as well as the call logs.  She has no driver's license, so she has these guys pick her up nightly from her father's house.  They ride around randomly for hours and eventually end up at someone's house where she engages in underage drinking and drug use with guys who are often as many as 10 years older than she is.  I will admit to checking the location way, waaaay more than I should (I never mention it to her).  I'm still a mom and it's been very difficult to just turn off that part of my old job as her only day-to-day parent who gave enough of a crap to even attempt to set boundaries for her.  Her father sets no boundaries for her.  As long as she doesn't disturb him or ask him for anything, he's cool.  He doesn't even bat an eye when she comes home high and/or drunk at 5 a.m., then sleeps until 1 p.m.  I definitely realize that I've spent many years overcompensating to make up for his lack of give-a-shit.  I didn't raise her this way and it hurts me to watch her living such an irresponsible, hedonistic life and ignoring me.

I'm just wondering what I'm supposed to be doing here.  When I send her a simple text just saying hi, etc., it can take 18 hours for her to respond.  When I invite her to my house to spend some time together, she spends most of the night calling these "friends" of hers to make arrangements to hang out in the middle of the night.  I feel like our relationship is eroding before my eyes.  I did not have these issues with my mom when I was a kid.  I know how I became so fixated on her conduct.  She basically gave up on school in her junior year and brought home failing grades.  I worked at the state university for 20 years to all but guarantee her a free college education, but when she made it clear that she didn't care, I didn't take it well.  I didn't react positively to her throwing away her education and dedicating her life to skateboarding with fully grown men and not working.  My head is not a comfortable place to be at the moment.

How can I stop fixating on where she is and what she's doing at a given moment?  How much is too much when it comes to contact from your mom?  I checked the location in the middle of the night last night and she was at the local hospital, but I have no clue for what.  She has not volunteered that information.  I'll be seeing her tomorrow to take her to the doctor for a long-standing appointment and I'm fully prepared to be treated like shit, as usual.  I feel like if I didn't contact her, she wouldn't contact me at all.  Is this just an 18-year-old acting in an age-appropriate way?  I talked with her the other day and made myself sick when I heard myself offering to talk with her about returning to live in my home.  She made it clear that she didn't want to.  She knows that I have minimal standards and would expect her to work at least part-time, as well as help out in the home.  In return, she would receive nightly home-cooked meals, companionship, and the laughter and little creature comforts are so lacking at her father’s house (he doesn’t have TV or Internet service, a microwave, or even ice cube trays).

I have no idea how often to contact her, if I even should contact her, whether I should be inviting her to my house to spend time together (when it would cut into her drugging/hang out time), etc.  I’m sure you all can tell that I miss my daughter terribly.  Even more, I miss the old version of my daughter, who was so sweet and enjoyed spending time with me.  I’m treated like an annoying chore now and it hurts so badly.  Any thoughts you may have about any aspect of this would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

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@Suzy Rhapsody Wow. I do remember your posting about your daughter long ago and I’m sad to read that it seems to be getting worse not better. You can be the best parent on earth, but there is never a guarantee on how one’s child is going to turn out. I suspect it is extra hard because of her father and his lack of parenting. 

You sound like you are trying to do all the right things. I’d would have suggested that you take her off of your phone plan, BUT then you wouldn’t have the ability to see where she is and her call log.  You may need information that if something happens. Let’s hope that it never does. 

I don’t hear from my daughter much. Perhaps once a month. The difference is that she is older, with 2 jobs, married and has 3 kids. Still, I wish that we were closer, but she has always been contrary to me. Also she is a grudge holder and even though as a single parent I raised her and gave her a college education, it doesn’t seem like enough in her mind. I have resolved myself to think that I did the best that I could, am not in control of her or her choices, and bite my tongue. Not all parents have good relationships with their kids. It is not a reflection on how good of a parent that we were or weren’t. Sometimes personalities clash. 

I’m worried that your daughter’s father allows her to be out all night engaging in non-appropriate behaviors. She doesn’t want to work, so is he prepared to support her the rest of her life? I’m also scared too re: what might happen with these men that are 10 years her senior and their drinking and drugging together.  Sadly, she is too old to be controlled. 

Are you on Facebook? These people might have more insight. You might also think about AlAnon. She may not be an addict or alcoholic, but they can help you not to enable her and support you when she craps on you and your feelings. 

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You might also want to look into Tough Love. Mind you it isn’t easy and may bring up strong feelings (hurt when she lashes back at you), but ultimately it does usually work. You may not be her friend for awhile, but you might be able to save a good relationship for the future. 

My heart goes out to you during this difficult time with your child. Big hug. 

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@Suzy Rhapsody: Can you completely cut her from your phone plan since shared plans are usually cheaper per person?  She'll soon realize she needs to work more hours (how the heck does she only work 8 hours A WEEK??  That sounds like an after school/weekends only job high school kids get) to pay for her lifestyle. 

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@Mindthinkr Thank you again for your wisdom.  Joining an AlAnon group sounds like a good idea, if only for the companionship with other hurting parents.  My daughter knows better than to ask me for money (I don't have it and she knows I won't give it to her).  Her "currency" is love and affection.  She feels very empowered right now by her ability to withhold contact.  She knows exactly how it's making me feel.

I'd considered cutting her out of my phone plan, but I always thought it was more important to at least know where she is when the bottom falls out and she gets into serious trouble.  Frankly, I'm shocked that she still shares her location with me.  It's a real double-edged sword.

As for her work hours, she begs for money from her aunt/enabler and lives for free at her father's house.  She has less than $1 in her account right now until this Friday, when her phone bill is due.  I'll basically be taking her entire paycheck to pay for it, which kills me, but I know it's the right decision.  One of the big reasons why she left my home in December was that I insisted that she work more than 10 hours per week if she wasn't going to be in school.  She simply doesn't want to work.  She'd rather have fun, plain and simple.  She gets paid every other week for a handful of hours and goes out immediately to buy vape "juice," cigarettes, pot, and expensive vegan treats.  If she gets paid $150 on a Friday, she can easily be down to 20 bucks by Monday night.  She doesn't have a driver's license, so she relies on these "friends" of hers (all male and older) to pick her up and drive her around.  It pains me to say it, but she lives like a vagrant bum, a leech.  This is not the person I attempted to raise.  We all had that friend when we were young who never seemed to have any money and was more than happy to taketaketake.  I'm not saying that I expect her to be completely stable and responsible, especially at 18, but for God's sake.  She should at least be working.  

I'm supposed to leave work in an hour to take her to a doctor's appointment.  I know I'll be expected to pay the copay.  She will be minimally polite and want to be dropped right back off at her father's as soon as we're done.  I'll text her later today and she'll respond with a single word in about 15 hours.  If I didn't reach out to her, she wouldn't reach out to me at all.  This is tearing my heart out and I don't know how to handle it (or if there's even anything to "handle").  I have been completely marginalized as a mom and it feels awful.

Edited by Suzy Rhapsody
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5 hours ago, Suzy Rhapsody said:

She feels very empowered right now by her ability to withhold contact. 

You being the one to withhold contact might take that power away from her.  If you tell her you loving her with every fiber of your being doesn't mean you're willing to be in a relationship in which you are not treated with even a modicum of respect, so you'll be stepping back for now, I certainly don't think she's going to magically see the light, apologize for being an insolent sloth, and turn her life around.  She'll throw more accusations at you and huff off to one of the many enabling losers in her life.  But, as her life progresses without you checking on her, it may sink in that it's not actually all that fun to be surrounded by people who don't truly care about you.

I don't know, I guess you have to ask yourself which would torture you more in the long run (because, while there's no way of knowing how long she'll stay on this path, it's clear she won't be changing course any time soon) - continuing on the way you've been, or taking a break from her.  The latter would obviously be the hardest of the many difficult things you've ever done at first, but would it wind up being ongoing emotional torture like comes from obsessively checking her whereabouts and getting these nuggets of conversation from her, the combination of which means the mess she's made of her life and the potential to screw it up worse is at the forefront of your mind for a significant percentage of every day?  Or might it, in time, stabilize into something where your days are spent mostly focused on the positive aspects of your life, and your worry and hope for her is something that more lingers in the background and only pops up and announces itself in some quiet moments?

Because she's skipping through life refusing to care about much of anything, but you're going to work yourself into a mental and/or physical health crisis if this state you're in carries on for months or years to come.  What if she never changes?  If she wastes her whole life, are you going to follow alongside her on this parallel path, basically wasting the rest of yours held emotionally hostage this way?  Hell, if she wastes the next two years of her life this way, do you want to spend those two years of your life the way you are now? 

As difficult as it will be, it seems like it would be better to make the painful adjustment to a new life for yourself that largely doesn't include your daughter.  If that's a temporary period in her/your life, that's what we're all hoping for.  But if she chooses - and it is indeed her choice that forces you to make yours - to make that permanent (or, heaven forbid, something horrible happens), you've at least salvaged a life that doesn't revolve around her.

I think seeking out other parents dealing with similar situations is a great idea - just for the emotional support of knowing you're not the only one this is happening to, and to look at what has and hasn't worked for them, and think about how those things may or may not help you.

Your story continues to make my heart ache for you.  I'm sorry you've been put in a situation by your daughter (and her father) where you have such hard choices to make -- they've left you with no good options, just the necessity to pick the path that makes the best of a bad situation.

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42 minutes ago, Suzy Rhapsody said:

I'm supposed to leave work in an hour to take her to a doctor's appointment.  I know I'll be expected to pay the copay. 

I wouldn’t. If she is 18 and expects to have the freedom of an adult, then let her have the responsibility of an adult. Don’t pay. Yes, she may give you grief over it, but that is part of that tough love that I was talking about earlier. Is she on your insurance plan? Think about it. If she gets to act out poorly and there are no consequences, why should she bother to change? I know that she is your child and as a parent we have that taking care of/nurturing button installed, but you may want to let her get her own insurance. She will get it cheaply on Obamacare when she decides that she wants to be an adult or needs it. To me the phone thing is more difficult because if her choices lead her to someone with bad intentions, it may be the only way that you or her father can find her if she gets into trouble that is out of her control. 

Stop giving. It’s time for her to figure out how to get things without grifting. 

I hope that I’m not coming off as mean. Feel free to tell me to shut up at any point. I’ve seen similar dynamics before and if you don’t nip it in the bud, it will never end. Break the pattern of abuse. She is abusing you and using you. She is using her love to hold you hostage. Please don’t let her. 

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Oh, @Mindthinkr, I would never call you mean (or tell you to shut up, for that matter, haha).  I appreciate all of the responses that you and others have taken the time to post.  It is beyond helpful to read everyone's perspectives.  I take something from each and every one.  Something will sink into this hard head eventually!

We had her doctor's appointment this afternoon.  (I carried her on my insurance plan for 18 years, but she's on her father's plan now.  She threatened for two years to move to her father's and refused to wear her sling when she broke her arm skateboarding last year, so I told her father that he should add her to his plan.)  On the way to the doctor, I asked about the copay and she made it clear that she didn't have any money (as I could see from her bank account).  She wasn't going to ask her father for money because she views that as "inconveniencing him."  I oh-so-gently pointed out that when money is tight and we know that we have financial responsibilities on the horizon, we make sure to set aside that money and maybe cut back on some of the more frivolous expenses.  I may as well have been talking to a brick wall.  She said that she's "very responsible" and I just stopped talking rather than descend further into dysfunction.  She texted steadily throughout the conversation and gave me one-word responses.  After all of that nonsense, it actually turned out that she had a credit at the doctor's office, so there was no need for payment.  Despite what we'd discussed more than once previously, she ultimately decided not to have me in the exam room with her, which is her right.  As a matter of fact, she decided to ask one of these male friends of hers pick her up at the doctor's office after her appointment.  This, after asking me to drive her one hour round trip to drop her off after the appointment at an emergency clinic where this guy was being seen for injuries sustained when they were hanging out in the woods last night (they were going to "hang out" tonight and she said it would save him a trip).  I calmly refused.  I asked why I had been included in this appointment at all when I was being used as little more than a one-way Uber driver.  I pointed out that I had taken four hours off from work today for her, as well as three hours last week to pick her up at her ex-boyfriend's house after he broke up with her.  Her only response was to literally shrug and say that those were my choices.  She said her father was willing to take her when she made the appointment about a month ago, but I had "insisted" on taking her.  I told her that we'd talked two separate times about her wanting me to take her for support since she would most likely have to have a pelvic exam, etc.  She said she must have forgotten that or had simply changed her mind in the moment.  She didn't care at all and wasn't shy about showing it.  The doctor called her back and she sailed back to the exam room, supremely unconcerned about what I was going to do.  I actually sat there like an idiot and waited until she returned, when she announced that her friend was definitely picking her up in a little while.  I was effectively dismissed.  It was now too late in the day for it to be worth it to return to work.

We walked to the entrance and exchanged a few tense words about the afternoon, then I simply gave up and hugged her goodbye.  I walked to my car in a state of abject fury and drove home, shaking with anger.  I shouldn't have done it, but I called her to ask a follow-up question about the appointment.  I also shouldn't have told her that it was rude to use me that way.  She had been picked up by this time and secretly put me on speaker (I could tell) so her friend could hear me.  I had not raised my voice, etc.  I just told her that I'd talk to her "sometime" and said goodbye to her and her friend, who could clearly hear me.

At this point, my capacity for enduring her nonsense is shocking to me.  A lot of mothers in my position would have gotten up from that waiting room chair and left the moment she told me that she was having some guy pick her up from the doctor's office.  She is clearly enjoying her newfound control and autonomy that she is able to exercise over me as a legal adult who no longer lives in my home.  I have not said one word in anger (or even close to it) for nearly seven months.  The moment I attempted to advocate for myself, I'm bitch-slapped back down to size and reminded of just how unimportant I am in her life.  Of course she does this with her father's full support because he loves nothing more than to demean me to her.  For several years now, it’s been them against me.

I think that my days of helping her and supporting her (emotionally, etc.) have officially come to an end.  She's right about one thing: It was definitely my choice to help her today with her appointment, last week with her boyfriend issue, and all the rest of it.  I view her conduct toward me as a kind of "payback" for daring to have rules and standards for my home when she lived with me.  As I mentioned before, she doesn't expect money from me.  Her currencies of choice are love and contact.  By withholding them both, I am, in effect, being “punished.”

From this point forward, I have to choose to look out for my own needs, take a big step backward, and allow her to make whatever she will out of her own life.  The trick is figuring out how, exactly, to do that.  Needless-to-say, I'm more than open to suggestions.

Edited by Suzy Rhapsody
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