Simon Steele

So...I hate my mom. And I really mean it.

14 posts in this topic

BPD and Trying to Ruin Your Grown Children's Attempts at Betterment

 

When I was fighitng for custody of my son, I had to take a test, or a personality measurement. When I finished and the results were returned, my ex-wife was defined as someone who appeared to be trying to pick the right answers. Invalid. Me? I registered as textbook Borderline Personality Disorder. I couldn't fathom what that meant at the time. I kept thinking: do I not have a full personality? Am I truly not fully here? Absent minded, absent from the moment to such a degree that my personality only had the borders, the outlines, formed? Had my ex-wife been right? I kept hearing phrases about self-righteousness, about not being fit to be a parent. The two counselors let me have it. Told me to reconsider pursuing any long term parenting arrangement. The detials don't matter anymore. It was a long time ago.

I never lost my son, and the counselors backed way off from those threats in the end.

My therapist now says that I am unequivocally not. She has handled patients labeled as such, and I am nowhere near that. My counselor knows much, too, about my mother, where we think much of my arrested adult development may stem from. We go over the BPD hallmarks: fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, fear of being alone, unstable self-image, impulsive/self-destructive behaviors, EXPLOSIVE anger, feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. Self righteousness. Lies. All of it. That's not me. Sometimes some of those things came out of me, but that's not me. That's my mom. Always. I was likely raised by BPD, so why wouldn't I grow up displaying similar issues? Difference is, I grew out of it when I saw it was hurting good friendships.

Well, she's hateful, and I've put up for it a long time. Before my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers, he showed up at my house (2011) with a brand new Subaru. Great for those icy roads. I pointed to my older Nissan Sentra and said, "That's my car, dad. Sorry." I bought that car new. When I was a no one. I bought it so my pregnant wife would have a reliable car while I was deployed. I came home and got it in the divorce. I made every single payment. And once the burden of payments flew from my shoulders? Wonderful. My dad insisted. Take the safer car. He'd take my older one. My younger brother had cleaned himself up again, shaken off the drugs, and needed a car. I said fine. The title was to remain in a trust he created until he paid it off due to a lawsuit/arbitration he was having with an old business partner. Once that was done, my dad would sign it over.

The old man never got the chance. Alzheimer's hit. My mom seized power of attorney. Any time I asked about signing it over she said, "Oh, it's lost," or, "what have you done for me lately." Nothing. That was not the deal. But honestly? I did a lot for her a long time. She let my dad wander out of the house, two of those times he was arrested and beaten. One of the arrests and he was brought up with a significant concussion and broken ribs. He was "acting weird."

Anyway, let's fast forward to now. I don't care if you guys read this verbal spew of personal excess, but it does feel better to write. I quit my full time job as a public school teacher after eight great years. The university down the road lured me in. I did my grad work there, did some TA work, tightened up the belt strap. Drove from my town to the next town over (30-35 minute commute). I was on a tightrope. And I know I mentioned it, but I never lost custody of my son. In fact, physical abuse in the other home became so clear that now I have my son full time.

I've been walking a tightrope. No money in the bank. Scraping everything I could together so he feels like his life is normal. And it works. But I stay away from the nightmare of my mother's home. A hoarder's dungeon where she verbally abuses my dad, let's her vicious, dangerous dog walk around the kids, and oh, she's taken my drugged up brother back into the house. (Just a year ago she chopped his bedroom door down with an ax trying to get him to leave, but he'd been there long enough he had squatters rights).

Wow, this story is so much more than I thought. Well, this week, I finally get that faculty position I've been angling for. My first semester (just this last fall) in the PhD program I joined was a great success. I guess I didn't care when my mom didn't come to my graduation (MA), nor did I care when I got surgery a couple of weeks and she sent a message out saying, "I'm too busy to help you!"

Fine. My advisor got me home and baked me an awesome rhubarb, strawberry pie.

This week was it though. Maybe this mass of text makes me realize it's more than this week. Well, back to the car I was forced to trade and never had put in my name. My mom called me up the day before classes and demand I take some time to meet with her and talk. I tried to explain, hey your grandson, who I just got full custody of! :) is starting a brand new school tomorow, and I'm teaching 300 level courses instead of freshman comp. It's a bad day to meet. What's going on?

Her response: No meeting, then what I take from you will crumble what foundation you have in your life.

I think to myself, what could I possibly have she thinks she can take. Except this car I'm driving. This car I have to have to get to work the next town over. She wouldn't do that. I let it go.

Then my sister calls that night and asks what's going on. (Most of my family is like this--probing to see if they can fill out their info even more). I just tell her. She says, "Sounds like mom could take your car. What're you going to do?" I look at my savings account and think I could get into Star Wars with my son and maybe get some popcorn. I don't know.

I can't sleep that night. All night my mind is racing. Can she just take it? I get up. Google legal advice for hours. All of it the same: Your name not on the title? You're fucked. Then, mere hours before I had get up and get a start on my first day as a new faculty, the darkest of ideas formed.

Eight years of teaching and contributing to PERA--a fantastic retirement fund. I sleep. I call them in the morning. Can I take my money? Yes. With penalties. You have thirty thousand dollars before the government takes anything. You'll get about 24,000 lump sum. 24,000--I don't know if that buys a car, but it's a hell of a down payment.

All my friends say don't do it. But they are friends who do not understand what it is like to live step by step on a tightrope. That is a precarious venture, sure, people may try to pull you off, to kill your chances at doing something great for yourself when you reach the other side.

But your own mother? I call her and tell her what I'm thinking. She says, "Yes. If you want that car, then you need to heed my answers and requests for help more."

I guess I don't have an ending to this monster of Dear Diary-level-appropriate wallowing except to say, I put in for my lump sum. I can never be part of PERA again. My retirement must soon become a big part of my monthly budget, and I have to find ways to invest.

Oh, and I learned this week, no--actually--I learned today: I hate my mother. It is real hate. I never want to see her again, and out of all of this, when I say that, write it, that's when I feel okay again. I feel as though a manipulative weight has been lifted from me.

The End

 

I guess for the purposes of the truly sensitive: "Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Maybe I should write a blog. Simon's Slogger

Edited by Simon Steele

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I'm sorry you have such a terrible mother.  I know it's easier said than done, but you can definitely get by without your mother.  Or any family member for that matter.  It's really hard to break from family members, even toxic ones, but the freedom you feel when you get past some of the grief that comes with loss is worth it all.  In my opinion.  

You didn't really ask for financial advice so disregard if you don't want it.  Walk away from that Subaru, give it to your mom, don't look back.  Don't use all that money for a car or a downpayment.  Assuming your credit isn't sub 500, you'll likely be able to get a loan for a newer used car that is safe and gets good gas mileage.  Put a modest down payment on it and take the monthly payments.  Keep the rest of the money in easy access for a rainy day and/or more movies with your son.  Reevaluate the finances in a few months when you've had a chance to grieve and adjust to life without your mother in it (if that's what you ultimately choose).  Even if you do keep your mother in your life, I think not allowing her to have anything to hold over you, like this car, is probably a good idea.  

I'm sorry for the reasons you now have custody of your son, but glad you both are together.  Hope things work out.

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The Doc gave some good advice.  Be flexible in your thinking, but you are right, don't put yourself in a spot where your mom has leverage.  It sucks it hits at your retirement, but, there it is, you know your situation best.

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Simon, sorry you're dealing with this.  It sounds like you're doing the best you can in a shitty situation.  Much sympathy, and I hope this becomes less stressful in the future.  I'd guess that without the threat of having your vehicle taken away you'll sleep much better.  Hang in there, man.

Edited by larrytheimp

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BPD is a mental illness. I think there should always be a measure of sympathy for people who suffer from mental illnesses. But one must also protect oneself and loved ones from the harm that a person with a mental illness can cause. If that means cutting them out of your life completely, then that's what needs to happen. I am fortunate enough not to have experienced anything like this. But my very good friend's mother is an unrepentant alcoholic and he had to cut her off completely, for his own well-being. But he doesn't hate her, anymore.

Maybe one day with time you'll be able to find a way to forgive her. Even if you never see or hear from her again for the rest of her life, forgiving her would be healthy for you.

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I'm sorry.  Let your family go for now.  Even if it means sacrificing a bit of your future.  

I have NEVER regretted the 2500 miles that I put between me and my parents.  They have been cruel to my son (by neglect), and I'm just sorry that I involved them enough to allow that kind of sadness in his life.  

My hard break healed my wounds with my parents, but after I mended fences, they've hurt my son.  I applaud you for severing ties.  Godspeed.

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23 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

I'm sorry you have such a terrible mother.  I know it's easier said than done, but you can definitely get by without your mother.  Or any family member for that matter.  It's really hard to break from family members, even toxic ones, but the freedom you feel when you get past some of the grief that comes with loss is worth it all.  In my opinion.  

You didn't really ask for financial advice so disregard if you don't want it.  Walk away from that Subaru, give it to your mom, don't look back.  Don't use all that money for a car or a downpayment.  Assuming your credit isn't sub 500, you'll likely be able to get a loan for a newer used car that is safe and gets good gas mileage.  Put a modest down payment on it and take the monthly payments.  Keep the rest of the money in easy access for a rainy day and/or more movies with your son.  Reevaluate the finances in a few months when you've had a chance to grieve and adjust to life without your mother in it (if that's what you ultimately choose).  Even if you do keep your mother in your life, I think not allowing her to have anything to hold over you, like this car, is probably a good idea.  

I'm sorry for the reasons you now have custody of your son, but glad you both are together.  Hope things work out.

Honestly, your post really got me to thinking today. Your financial advice is much appreciated. I saw your reply this morning (then realized, hey, you still have a car, you don't have an excuse to be late for work, get moving--so I didn't have a chance to reply immediately), but I thought a lot about this. I'm going to do this, come out with my own damned vehicle, and some emergency money for once AND, after doing some math, I can pay off my all my revolving credit and still have a stronger emergency fund than I've ever had. Your ideas are always welcome.

13 hours ago, Guy Kilmore said:

The Doc gave some good advice.  Be flexible in your thinking, but you are right, don't put yourself in a spot where your mom has leverage.  It sucks it hits at your retirement, but, there it is, you know your situation best.

Thinking about what I wrote above, if I do this right, I realized today I can put myself in a situation where for the first time in a long time I can pay monthly bills AND put a good amount of money to savings/new retirement fund. I'm 38. I sat down with one of my friends across the hall (stats guy), and we determined if I put 20 percent of my pay toward the new retirement fund, aim for retiring at 67 (assuming I never again get a raise), I will be okay. 20 percent is a lot. But I'm working as faculty at a university, and my job often requires I go beyond what a regular contract mandates (things like summer courses, or if I am assigned more than five student teachers to mentor in a semester which happens often). I'm really going to make this work.

7 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

Simon, sorry you're dealing with this.  It sounds like you're doing the best you can in a shitty situation.  Much sympathy, and I hope this becomes less stressful in the future.  I'd guess that without the threat of having your vehicle taken away you'll sleep much better.  Hang in there, man.

Thank you--just making the shitty decision has really helped. I...feel kind of good right now. Like a life-long burden has been lifted.

5 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

BPD is a mental illness. I think there should always be a measure of sympathy for people who suffer from mental illnesses. But one must also protect oneself and loved ones from the harm that a person with a mental illness can cause. If that means cutting them out of your life completely, then that's what needs to happen. I am fortunate enough not to have experienced anything like this. But my very good friend's mother is an unrepentant alcoholic and he had to cut her off completely, for his own well-being. But he doesn't hate her, anymore.

Maybe one day with time you'll be able to find a way to forgive her. Even if you never see or hear from her again for the rest of her life, forgiving her would be healthy for you.

This is the hardest part, I think, knowing that she's sick. Part of me will always question why I couldn't be more sympathetic. But you're right, the harm she can cause is what I have to evaluate. I'm more certain of this now than even last night. I should have done this a long time ago.

5 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

I'm sorry.  Let your family go for now.  Even if it means sacrificing a bit of your future.  

I have NEVER regretted the 2500 miles that I put between me and my parents.  They have been cruel to my son (by neglect), and I'm just sorry that I involved them enough to allow that kind of sadness in his life.  

My hard break healed my wounds with my parents, but after I mended fences, they've hurt my son.  I applaud you for severing ties.  Godspeed.

That's the worst--when they hurt your children. The way you phrased that: "a bit of your future" along with talking about your son makes me realize this problem of having to raid my retirement fund is awful, but my son is 13, he just got out of his own abusive situation (which he had to stand up and tell people about and trust they'd help him/believe him when they'd brushed him--and me--off in the past). I have to be able to give him stability--and not always be worried. 

 

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I feel for what you're going through, but just have two questions I hope you might be able to clarify:  the first is about your original car. Did you actually sign that title over to.your dad and/or brother? The second is that you mention that the new car was to be put in a trust with you as the designated beneficiary. So one, was your dad's trust ever actually set up? And if it was, did he designate your mother as the trustee? And was the trust set up to specifically name you as getting the car? Because I don't believe if the trust was actually set up that your mother can legally deny you what was designated for you in the trust.

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8 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

This is the hardest part, I think, knowing that she's sick. Part of me will always question why I couldn't be more sympathetic. But you're right, the harm she can cause is what I have to evaluate. I'm more certain of this now than even last night. I should have done this a long ago.

 

I work in the mental health field.  It is good to show empathy and understanding, but do do from a place where you have healthy boundaries.  That minimizes you from getting hurt, someone else from getting hurt, or hurting her.  It is a good instinct to have and it sounds like you are putting the relationship where you and your son need it to be.

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Simon, I feel for you too, especially as I have a family member somewhat like that who also has mental issues. (Though not my Mum!)

My advice, learned the hard way, is also that the key thing is to set boundaries and stick to them no matter what they do (or try to get other family members to do). And *never* put yourself in a position where you are relying on them to do anything, even something they have agreed to do.

 

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On 1/12/2018 at 1:46 AM, The Great Unwashed said:

I feel for what you're going through, but just have two questions I hope you might be able to clarify:  the first is about your original car. Did you actually sign that title over to.your dad and/or brother? The second is that you mention that the new car was to be put in a trust with you as the designated beneficiary. So one, was your dad's trust ever actually set up? And if it was, did he designate your mother as the trustee? And was the trust set up to specifically name you as getting the car? Because I don't believe if the trust was actually set up that your mother can legally deny you what was designated for you in the trust.

I'm not sure about the trust to be honest--that type of stuff is beyond me, and my dad is at a point he couldn't verbalize it. I tried reading up on trusts, but it is complicated and more complicated, my mom took power of attorney for my dad, and she's done some really bad things in that time. As far as I know she put the car in her name. I think, with some days behind me, my instinct was pushing me just to get away from her trying to control me. 

As for my original car, yeah, I gave my dad the title. The shittiest part of this deal was they gave this car to my brother, who was/is a horrible alcoholic. And he decided to sell the car. Got a huge chunk of money out of too, but obviously needed the title for it. He bought some beat up old pickup that he since abandoned. His wife kicked him out of their home a year ago, he moved in with my mom, tried drinking himself to death, she evicted him, he was homeless for a couple of months, and she took him back in. All this to say, even if I wanted to press this legally, he's living there and he's got nowhere to go. He's not going to speak out on my behalf. My dad's got Alzheimer's. And even if my brother were to speak up, the fact is, the title's not in my name. 

I'll be honest though, I am feeling really since I made this decision. I have actual financial plans. My other brother (good kid--but not a kid--but always a kid to me :) ) is getting ready to purchase a new car for his family. They are really successful. He's going to sell me his old one which I can buy for a good price, and it's about the same condition as the car I lost, AND if there was ever a guy who never missed an oil change or recommended maintenance check: it's him. And the car's a Honda. It'll get me through my grad program.

Edited by Simon Steele

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On 1/12/2018 at 8:33 AM, Guy Kilmore said:

I work in the mental health field.  It is good to show empathy and understanding, but do do from a place where you have healthy boundaries.  That minimizes you from getting hurt, someone else from getting hurt, or hurting her.  It is a good instinct to have and it sounds like you are putting the relationship where you and your son need it to be.

That's good advice. My counselor says the same thing. I'll be working close with her too to make sure I don't do anything cruel/angry. Boundaries are hard to set with people who suffer from certain diagnoses. 

On 1/12/2018 at 11:33 AM, A wilding said:

Simon, I feel for you too, especially as I have a family member somewhat like that who also has mental issues. (Though not my Mum!)

My advice, learned the hard way, is also that the key thing is to set boundaries and stick to them no matter what they do (or try to get other family members to do). And *never* put yourself in a position where you are relying on them to do anything, even something they have agreed to do.

 

Thanks--and that's it, right? I've allowed myself to be put in this situation for far too long. It's high time I put myself in a position where I take care of myself and my son (like I have) but I provide my own safety net.

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Sucks that you have to cash out of the retirement plan.  Does the plan allow for loans?

Other than that though, great job on planning for your future and not letting yourself be pressured.  Some toxic people just need to be out of one's life regardless of who they are.

Only other major thing to add would be to look at your disability coverage with the new job, and see about supplementing it if it's not adequate.  Your biggest asset right now is your future income, sounds like.

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On 1/14/2018 at 9:50 PM, Simon Steele said:

I'm not sure about the trust to be honest--that type of stuff is beyond me, and my dad is at a point he couldn't verbalize it. I tried reading up on trusts, but it is complicated and more complicated, my mom took power of attorney for my dad, and she's done some really bad things in that time. As far as I know she put the car in her name. I think, with some days behind me, my instinct was pushing me just to get away from her trying to control me. 

Well, it sounds like you pretty much have things figured out and you may be happier letting things lie as they are, but if you want to pursue things further, obtain a copy of the trust your dad had drawn up. If there is one, it will be on file with the County Clerk's office and depending on how it is worded, your mother may be legally obligated to either give you the car or to give you the proceeds of the sale of the car. Just in case you're curious.

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