Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Family crap

I will be spending the weekend with DD. While we plan to enjoy ourselves every minute we will also be having a conversation on what to do about funding her college for the next 2 years.

My parents (dad is deceased) set aside money to pay for her college. I think she has done splendid keeping the costs down as much as possible. She did her first 2 years while in high school at the local community college. We only had to pay a small quarterly fee and books for that 2 years of higher education. Then she picked a state university instead of a private university, probably cutting the cost by 1/2 of a private school. She also received a $2000 scholarship towards this first year. She is paying for her own books (though I give her $100 a month for whatever she wants to use it for). She did up the cost though, when she picked a major that requires an extra year to complete.

The tough decision she has to make is whether she wants to continue to let Grandma pay for it. This is because this past year our relationship with my mom has been somewhat strained. Strained on our side more so than my mom's. We are keeping the peace because....well, she's my mom, she's dd's grandma, she's 74, and the elephant in the room....she's paying for DD's college.  DD's not sure if she is feeling really comfortable accepting that much money when she feels so upset that her grandma is not giving us any emotional support over this and is, in fact, putting all the blame on her dad.

My mom would rather just pretend nothing is wrong and everyone is happy happy happy. But what is wrong is that our son has, yet again in the past 15 months, pushed me, his dad and his sister out of his life completely (this latest time was actually last Thanksgiving - the last time we have heard from him). And my mom sees no problem with it. She continues to support his decisions (and very most likely continues to support him with money). She has no problem with the choices he is making for his life and no problem that he wants nothing to do with us. Of course, he hasn't pushed her out of his life - she is his money supply!

She wants to ignore the fact that we are hurting tremendously over this. Her solution to my hurt, anger and sadness over the situation? I should just go on anti-depressants! Why? so I can act like she does? (she is on them for years - they make her scatterbrained and she gained 50 pounds on a petite 5'4" frame). So I can just flow along not really feeling anything? I think I have a right to feel how I am feeling! I should be hurt, sad and angry over this. She just wants to ignore any issue we have with the way our son is behaving and treating us. According to her he is totally justified because he has a tough dad.

We sat (just DD and I - DH is much too angry that she is not trying to see our cries for help to try and repair our relationship with our son) in her living room on Christmas day. She was in kitchen checking on dinner and got a call on her cell phone. It was my son calling to wish her a merry Christmas. He would know full well that we would be there, as we always are. Her house is small, we could hear the whole side of her conversation...oh so happy, blah blah blah.....do you want to talk to your mom and sister? No?, ok! happy happy happy, while DD and I literally sat there almost coming to tears. Then she comes back and sits down all just happy as can be. Honestly, if my uncle hadn't been there I would have just got up and went home, I was that mad and hurt. She was/is oblivious to it. If it had been me I'd have went and taken the call back in my bedroom with the door closed and then came out and said I'm sorry, he didn't want to speak with you, I know you must be feeling bad, instead of acting like she just got the best Christmas present ever.

DH has a childhood friend that now happens to live in this same town DS is living in (he's been there like 20 years now). He called yesterday to give us some information on DS.  I just found out that DS and his new girlfriend were in our town (he currently lives 1000 miles from us) a couple of weekends ago and that he went and saw my mom. She has not uttered a word of his visit to us. Not one word to at least let us know he is ok. She might hear from him regularly and know he is ok. I only get to know he's ok when some mutual friend happens to let us know, usually months in between. I have tried to inform her of his actions and lifestyle and that he has not been associating with very good people. Friend also informed us that DS is no longer working/living with this less than desirable "business man" - DS apparently finally figured out what we and our friend (since he lives in this town and knows of this guy and his bad reputation) had been trying to warn him about the past 7 months. Nothing good was going to come of this association and apparently it didn't.

DS has lived in this new town for 7 months now. Still no steady job. This is a town of about 100,000 people. Friend said jobs are aplenty there and the unemployment rate is this area is at 2%. His exact words to me were, "if someone doesn't have a job in this town, it's because they don't want one". He even offered DS a full time, with benefits, steady entry level job and DS didn't take it.

So, back to Grandma and school for DD. I told DD about the secret visit to Grandma. She wast just as mad as me about it. Just as mad that Grandma is doing nothing to encourage DS to grow up and keeps blaming my DH for all of it. DD commented that she is seriously considering not taking anymore money from Grandma to pay for her college. I said that is totally up to her and her decision. DH and I would never tell her she shouldn't but that I also understand why she is feeling that way. I'm not so sure I'd want to take it either.

DD and I will have to discuss this and the ramifications of it all. Obviously I wouldn't be able to help her out very much. She has 2 more years. She has about $9,000 in savings and she should earn some this summer from her internship. She would have to take student loans and she could get a part time job during the school year.  Also, graduating at 21 and getting a good paying job/career she could stand to live at home a couple of years and get those loans paid off before moving out on her own. It's do-able of course, but again, this totally have to be DD's decision and I will help her any way I can, even if it's just only to listen.

I stopped by my mom's on my way home from work yesterday. I said "so, I heard DS was in town a week or two ago"....deer in the headlight look..."was there any reason this needed to be kept a secret from us?" Her answer was she didn't know if I wanted to know anything about him! Flabbergasted I said he is the one cutting us out of his life - we are not the ones that keep cutting him out of our life! I said maybe telling me hey, I saw or talked to him and he's doing ok would help ease my worrying a little better than telling me I need to go on anti depressants!

I was a bit hard on her yesterday, but frankly I am sick and tired of this all being dh's fault. "Well, he's a grown man and can do what he wants". Yes, he can, but he is not a grown up nor a man. He is 23 years old and has spent the last 2 1/2 years without a steady job (just odd jobs paying cash/under the table here and there), moving from place to place to stay with whoever will give him a place to sleep and feed him and once they are tired of it, he's on to the next one who will. And he has such a sweet and friendly personality that someone always will. When he was in Australia for 4 months he ended up staying with someone else the 2nd half of the visit because the first had their limit after he wanted to extend his stay. Then in his 14 months in Canada he lived 3 different places. Then he moved back to the States and stayed with this guy who was trying to "help" him get settled (again with odd jobs and nothing steady enough to support himself in any way) and now he's on to a new girlfriend (another one with kids) who will give him a roof and feed him. A couple of his odd jobs are dangerous (roofing and car repos), paid under the table, so no L&I or no  health insurance if he were to get injured. He smokes pot, hangs out with other losers who have no jobs. Six months from now he'll be living with some other friend or girl. He agreed 6 months ago to repay us for the car we let him keep. I said I don't care if it's $50 or $100 a month. We have not seen one dime. He's always about to get "this steady full time job" but for some reason it never happens. I get collection notices from his bank here, he overdrew, closed the account and didn't pay them the NSF fees. Another close family friend, who tried to help him out last year by letting him use his address as his new mailing address because he had to set up a business and business bank account in our state in order to be able to do freelance web design work in Canada - is now getting mail constantly - Urgent, notifications that he didn't file his state business taxes, more NSF collection letters on that bank account. And friend has no way to forward these because DS changed his phone # and won't give anyone an address.

She is such a terrible listener and I'm so tired of trying to tell her what is going on and then her acting like she didn't know about any of this. I can flat guarantee you his disassociating himself from us is because he's been lying about stuff for 2 years now and knows if he keeps in contact with us he will eventually get caught in these lies he's told or we'll find out some the stupid things he has done. We've caught a few of the lies, which of course has most likely led to being told more lies, to get out of being caught in the first ones. But he blames it on his dad yells at him (ya, I yelled at him too to get his ass out of bed at noon every day) and grandma goes right along with it, all the while making us feel like we are the problem/cause of all this.


15 comments:

  1. This sounds like my family only my brother is a criminal and violent. Mom does nothing

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    1. I'm always scared for your mom when you write about your brother! I guess I just don't understand the enabling. He's my son, but I'm willing to see that he has faults, no matter how nice of guy he is.

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  2. no advice just hugs and hope it will all sort itself out at some point.

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    1. Thank you. I am praying it does too.

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  3. Sorry you are dealing with this. I have to say though, anti-depressants don't eliminate human emotions they only help if you need them. Tell your mom that no amount of drugs will dull the hurt your son is causing you.

    I would continue to allow your mom to pay for the schooling costs because not doing so will drive you further apart from your mother and there will be even more hurt and potentially, bitterness.

    It makes me absolutely furious when women with children shack up with men for brief periods of time. Glad your son is not homeless but still. The damage done to kids living with mom's with revolving boyfriends is unconscionable.

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    1. That is a very good point about that it might cause more hurt feelings. I will definitely bring that up with DD. Neither of us want to hurt her, but so far no amount of trying to talk to her about how this is affecting US is seeming to get through to her.

      Oh, I hear you on the women with children shacking up men SO wrong! And when he moved in with the first one that had a 6 year old son I was very vocal in my opinion/advice to him that he needs to be very careful FOR THE CHILD in this situation. Kids absolutely love him and living with one would get him so attached, only to get hurt if it doesn't work out (which it only ended up lasting a few months).

      Thank you for your advice and kind words.

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  4. I don't even know what to say. The situation is just so sad. I cut my mother off and her entire family except for my sister. Completely opposite situation from you and your son though. My mother was very abusive and supports my brother that is just like your son. Unfortunately, he is 36 and it is not getting better.

    My heart goes out to your, your husband and your daughter. A very unsettling situation.

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    1. She and I have always been close and I guess that is what hurts the most, that she wants to close her eyes and ears and only hear what she wants to hear.

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  5. I am not sure what to say, except I am so sorry about the family crap. I think and DD are wise to sit down and have a serious discussion about college and the associated costs before deciding what to do about your mother. DD might want to consider having a one-to-one conversation with grandma and express her hurt, frustration, and anger in very plain language. If distancing yourself further from her, if only temporariliy, at least you will have a backup plan for the possible ramifications.

    I had an extraordinarily toxic relationship with my mother, and money was one of the things she used to try to use to influence me. I feel for you and always hope one day there will be some better news with regard to your son.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I did mention to DD that I thought she might should first talk to her grandma, in her words, and not me saying "DD feels like this too, etc". She needs to hear it straight from the other child of this same father that he is not 100% to blame and not just from me.

      I pray every day that better news of him comes, but sadly it always just seems to be more of the same.

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    2. I know, OneFamily; hopefully one day he'll come to his senses. Unfortunately your mother's enabling probably only extends that timeline.

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  6. Here in PA if a child takes out a loan for school the parent must co-sign. No more kids borrowing money and not paying back. Cheryl

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  7. @Theresa F - I don't really know much of anything about anti-depressants, other than what my mom has seemed to experience from the 13 or so years she has been taking them. For the first couple of years (I didn't even know she was on them) I couldn't figure out why she was so scatterbrained and trying to have a phone conversation with her was crazy - she'd jump from topic to topic so fast I could never keep up with what she was even talking about. She was almost "giggly" a lot of the time too. That seems to have subsided somewhat the past few years but she's still doesn't focus on topics very easily.

    Then she gained the 50 pounds or so pretty quickly and the other side effect she has always hated is that any bit of activity she does (like cleaning house or something) causes her to sweat profusely. She hates that part of it, and about 15 months ago she tried to go off of them. She about turned into a basket case and ended up going back on them. Now she told me she is trying to go off them again. With this news I'm not even sure I should bother trying to resolve any of this with her right now.

    So, just from her experience not anything I'd want to be on. I'd definitely go see a therapist first to try and help with problems before I'd take medication.

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  8. I think she should keep the college money gifted to her. Her grandmother is for sure getting a return on this investment since your daughter is so committed to her future success. Your mother should be very proud of her. Also it's a lifelong blessing not to have to worry about student loans.

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    1. We will for sure have a long discussion and serious thought about it and won't be making any decisions just based on reacting and not thinking it all through. Thanks for commenting!

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