How Parents Control Adult Children with Money

Coraline (2009)

Have you ever thought,
“My parents wouldn’t care if I were dead.
They would be happy because I cost so much!”?

It is NOT your fault that you think this!
It is based on a Narcissistic Personality Trait called Grooming.

Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.

This is a pattern of behavior that falls under the
“we don’t talk about that” category in our family. My parents have groomed me to be dependent. I am their last child and they want to resent me for taking any of their time/money, but they also need to be needed, to justify their existence. 

Don’t reach for that cheese!

My dad started hounding me about saving money and my money choices when I was about 14. I got my first job at 15, and haven’t stopped working until a month ago. Growing up, if I needed clothes, I had to beg for Mom to drive me to the next town so we could go to JC Penny. Every time it turned into a bi***fest over her trying to control what I buy, and her rule to “only get one thing.” Well, only getting one thing, twice a year doesn’t amount to much to wear at school. I was always forced to piece together some random “family friend’s” hand-me-downs. I was bullied in school for years until I started bullying back. The kids thought it was hilarious I never had any sports bras.

Maybe one day I'll get a sock with colors!

Maybe one day I’ll get a sock with colors!

Anyway. I worked constantly, paid my way through college, I got my Bachelor’s degree. I went hungry, often. I went far away each Summer for work.

They helped me with gas and groceries for the first couple years. They used this tiny connection to emotionally abuse me while I was in college. Dad would nag me about sending him the exact date, time, and amount I had spent, what store, and a “general description of what I’d bought,” for “taxes.”

They gave me the first loan last year when life’s obstacles started literally beating my brains out…I was in too much pain last year to continue my work past mid-September, and my Winter job ($8.50 an hour, son) didn’t start paying me till AFTER CHRISTMAS. So for Sept- Dec I was hungry again. And had NO money for rent. I asked them for help…

                I gotcha where I want ya, and now I’m gonna EAT ya!

They barely gave me enough to get by, held it over my head, hated me for it, etc. But that’s exactly what they wanted, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing – getting by. I hardly made any money this Winter – I missed 2 weeks of work when I was out with severe concussion, displaced vertebrae, and and general unconsciousness. Then the season ended early due to horrid snow conditions.

Last month is the first month I’ve ever surrendered to “quitting.”I had a perfectly good job (except the insanely evil Nboss/don’t get me started on her/I had it under control), but I had to quit because,
GUESS WHAT? I HAVE EPILEPSY. And the seizures didn’t start when I hit my head in December.
They started when I WAS BORN (according to the MRI I got last week).

What happens to people who suddenly find out they’re disabled?

I had to quit my job (my boss would never fire me – she already fired everyone else and I’m all she had left!) The
DMV officially suspended my license due to “uncontrolled lapses in consciousness.” I lucked into
couchsurfing at a buddy’s place for this month only, and afterward I’ll be homeless, like usual. Unless I can round up maybe $2,000 for a first/last/depostit on an apt in town. After that I can get work again.

So I called to tell mom’ndad about ….my life.

Here’s Dad’s responses:

“That sounds really tough, kiddo.”

“Well, we really hope you feel better soon.”

We’ll believe it after you see a specialist.”

“You never ask ME about my prostate!”

“I just don’t have any ideas for you.”

“So you don’t want to drive because you’re scared?”

When I told him I don’t have rent, and want to borrow $2,000, for first/last/deposit, he started complaining about how he “already loaned me $10,000, which he knew he would never see again“. When I told him that wasn’t true, he switched to insisting that if he helped me find a place to live,
I would probably just flake out and move somewhere else (How??? IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ME TO DRIVE).
We argued for a while, and I told him I didn’t want to talk to him again unless there was someone else there, to hear the things he said. So he wrote me this email instead!:

I’m writing an email rather than calling because our calls tend to devolve from conversation to conflict, then we can’t have a rational discussion.

First of all, I was mistaken when I said we loaned you $3,000 last fall [I guess that’s his apology for screaming, “we already loaned you money!”].
The amount was actually $2,000 which you asked for in early September to help pay rent until you started getting paid by the ski area [which didn’t happen until January].
I was recalling an additional $700 that we paid for your rent in February while you were still in college. I don’t think we discussed the $700 as a loan, but it was a gift to help you finish school
[then why bring it up?].


We’re extremely proud of you for completing your degree and appreciate all the hard work that went into it [we will now put a dollar sign on how much we “love” you]: 

So as far as loans go, there is the $5,000 loan from the Alumni Association for college expenses [tuition] which we co-signed and are currently paying off in monthly installments for you and the $2,000 for rent last Fall for a total of $7,000.

Woah! The college loan comes back from the dead to help Dad save face!
The loan is interest-free until I’m able to pay it back, AND you can work with the Alumni Association to pay it back whenever you can; however, he intercepted their communications with me so I never got their letters. He sold his boat when he moved away from our family home (and left me) on the coast BECAUSE HE WOULDN’T HAVE ANY USE FOR IT IN INLAND.
He started paying off the loan without asking me first. Then randomly brought it up on the phone one day, and I said, “Oh, I wish you hadn’t done that.”
He answered, “well, I really believe in that association and think they deserve the money,” and besides “I’m getting payments for the boat anyway.”

He hasn’t mentioned that “loan” in years. But obviously NOW – when I’m suddenly disabled, in pain, homeless, and starving is a good time to decide that I OWE HIM $7,000???? 

Our “conflicts” usually involve me asking for a little bit to get by with, and him demanding several thousand dollars in return. Then I usually bring up that he seemed very pleased to pay over $30,000 to have me committed to a mental institution in 2012 for two months for “being too sad”
(They used my epilepsy symptoms to make me look crazy, and looking crazy for having epilepsy makes you sad).

My dad made over $100,000 yearly before he retired at 55. He’s got two new cars in his 5 car garage, and a NEW motorboat, and a camper-trailer, and a giant 3 bedroom lodge-style home on canyon-front property which he had custom constructed for him – complete with a plasma screen in each room.

I don’t speak to my parents any more.I would rather be homeless.
At least when I sleep outside, nobody judges me. 🙂

Anyway, he wrapped up his (UNWELCOME) email with this loving little quip:

You’ve been critical of the financial support we’ve provided in the past,
so please know that

we’re not trying to force anything on you or make you feel guilty about anything.

We’re making this offer because you’ve asked for it, and because we’re concerned about your health and safety, and we want to help you continue to make progress toward emotional stability and independence. If you’d like to discuss any variation on what we’ve proposed, please send me an email.

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