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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Statement of Solidarity

To all the other Little Voices:

We are waking up to the abuses of our environment,

We have been told we are bad and crazy,

and we are obedient.

We have acted bad and crazy.

We have screamed to get our voices heard

and we are labelled manic.

We have been disbelieved,

and we are labelled distrusting.

We have learned from infancy that safety is arbitrary,

and we are called paranoid.

We have anticipated punishment and deferred to pretenses,

and we have been punished for being manipulative.

We must fragment ourselves to integrate multiple realities,

and this process is called psychosis.

What do labels mean to you?

Lexapro Kills People

WordPress Blogger Madam Nomad writes a well-thought-out argument against coercing seniors to allow themselves to be experimented on with poisonous psycho-active chemicals. And she is treated like a monkey that recently learned to type!

Lexapro At The Iowa City Senior Center.

I don’t understand why everyone calls the effects of these deadly psychoactive drugs “side-effects,” as if these effects or minor things that may also happen in addition to your becoming wonderfully well and happy. The MAIN effects of Lexapro are anxiety, decreased physical health, and eventually death by suicide or poisoning. Those things aren’t happening to the “side” of anything.

Trauma – Thoughts of Revenge #1

I survived the mental health system.

I have been verbally/physically abused by nurses, therapists, ER personnel, psych techs, and obviously psychiatrists. A lot of people have been, but they keep quiet about it. The repercussions of trying to tell a mental health professional that abuse occurs within the psychiatric system are monstrous. I have endured a decade of systematic torture. As a result, I’ve developed the symptoms of PTSD, for which I could never afford therapy. Instead, I process things by writing about them.

Revenge? Or Rebellion?

Feelings of revenge are a natural response to trauma. In a study of 96 individuals with PTSD, the severity and repetition of traumatic thoughts surrounding the traumatic event predicted the severity and repetition of thoughts of revenge. Intrusive thoughts were a better predictor than perception of the perpetrator’s being punished for their actions. (Kunst, 2011).

In other words, it might not matter if the abuser is brought to justice; I’ll still be thinking about getting revenge. Should that keep me from fighting this fight? I think many civil rights movements have begun with trauma, and thoughts of bringing the perpetrators of abuse to justice.

Thoughts of revenge have triggers. I take refuge in learning more about my actual conditions: Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy and PTSD as opposed to the diagnoses that have been thrown at me over the years to make me go away: Bipolar Disorder, mania with psychosis, ADD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, Dystonic reaction to medications, Borderline Personality Disorder, and of course attention-seeking. Learning the truth, while self-healing and constructive, is triggering. I feel rageful, indignant, hopeless, and empty (uncared for).

Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect compensation for what I’ve been though. But people spill coffee in their own laps and get to sue McDonald’s for it.

Letter sent to a medical malpractice attorney:

I think I have a case for malpractice/medical error with Poudre Valley Health’s ER dept.

I have a history of “mental illness” which has been recently identified as being neurological in origin; i.e. I have Myoclonic Epilepsy. I presented frequently at the ER feeling “confused, shaky, and anxious,” and was even taken to the ER by ambulance for “acute dystonia,” and presented often with suspected Autism. Epilepsy was not suspected and I was treated for “psychiatric” conditions.

When released, I had a seizure while driving and got into a very serious car accident, of which I have no memory. I was given another psychiatric evaluation at the ER and taken to a behavioral unit. Although my car was totaled and I face litigation for the property/bodily injury incurred from this accident, PVH ER records indicate the MVA as “minor with minimal damage to vehicles and no injuries.” I was also convicted of reckless driving.

Is this a case for medical error due to mis-diagnosis?

Could be.

Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Diagnosis
Delays in diagnosis are common, often until a generalized tonic-clonic seizure brings the child to medical attention. Ignoring the myoclonic jerks is commonplace. Suspect JME in any adolescent driver involved in a motor vehicle accident when the driver has no memory of the event, but did not sustain a head injury.

Clinical Pediatric Neurology: A Signs and Symptoms Approach (2009) by Gerald M. Fenichel

Imagine if we had a voice; What would we say?

Stuff my Mom Says

She’s narcissistic.

And the children of narcissists often feel empty inside. To me, that emptiness is a conditioned expectation of disappointment. When you allow yourself to vulnerable, it’s natural to expect compassion. You get your hopes UP! And they have a loooong way to tumble back down as Mom turns away and ferociously cleans (dismantles) the oven. Too many times we’ve expected compassion, empathy, or validation and been let down. The repercussions of this extend into our adult life; we just cage ourselves up after a while.

Vulnerability is something to extend to people you trust, AND we are supposed to trust our parents, right?

vulnerability

Personality Disorder Mom’s responses to my most vulnerable moments over the years:

When I told my mom I was:

Not doing well in 4th grade: We’ll put you in a Christian school where the teachers can ACTUALLY beat you.
Not doing well in 5th grade: SHOW ME THE BRUISES!
(No, but really, she’s abusing us): don’t get ugly with me!

duckling

Not into Jesus: I just can’t let you leave this room until you can convince me that you’re not going to Hell!
*Jesus bonus!*: All my friends at Bible study told me that it’s not you, it’s just Satan.. acting through you.
Threatened by a harem of Mexican middle schoolers: Well if you leave school early, I’ll call the police and they’ll take you to JAIL.
Sad-walking alone at night: I just know you’re having SEX! With BOYS! (I was thirteen)
Lesbian: I just know you’re going to get tortured and killed like that poor boy in Wyoming! 
Breaking up:
I thought you two were going to be together forever!
…..except she said it like this:

We are a co-dependent family! Now depend!

sick for several weeks in college: well then, why are you wasting all your time on the phone telling me about it? You should be doing homework!
nervous about adulthood: how can you expect ME to tell the future?
epileptic: (…) oh right she doesn’t answer the phone since I found that out
angry about being abused at school: you were a difficult child!

We don’t have to stay in that cage. We can look at the walls and decide as adults where they should be.

We Are the Chosen

My partner is in the hospital as a result of her personality disorder.

canthelp2

Why would anyone choose to be in a relationship with someone who has a personality disorder?

You don’t choose a partner based on their deficiencies. I try to see the good in people. I’m trusting and naive and probably a bit of a fixer. But ultimately it came down to love. I’m constantly told to leave, but Jane’s sabotaging behaviors have left her two steps away from being a homeless shopping-cart lady who screams at mice. I know she snapped a month ago when I told her to leave my life for a while so that I could try to start picking up the pieces of my shattered reputation and my lost job and home. She drained my bank accounts and left me with nothing but a tent. I should run for the hills, right? But let me ask you, would you feel good driving down the road and seeing a homeless crazy person talking to plants, and thinking “Wow, we were in love a couple months ago?”

canthelp5

These are the facts of my communications with my “partner” at this time:

  • Nearly every conversation ends in arguments over her denial of sabotaging behavior
  • Her consistent plan is to be miraculously rescued by me or people that know her
  • Any and all attempts I make at establishing boundaries (e.g. don’t enter my home uninvited) are met with defenses, excuses, yelling, crying, and then appeals for pity and compassion, in that order.

canthelp3

So why stay? Why torture myself like this?

We are the girlfriends who are frightened of our partners but are afraid to leave because we fear what will happen to us after we do.   -Out of the Fog

I have a disability that I only recently learned about. I fear for my life; I wonder if I’m going to die soon. I wait days on end, alone, for news of what exactly is wrong with me. A couple of good friends have called to offer condolences, but nobody in my life really “checks in,” or has the energy or time to let me vent about my fears and frustrations. When I told one of my best friends I now have constant seizures, she said, “No big deal – just pop an Adderol and you’ll be fine.”

Jane is the only person who cares enough about me to offer emotional support for the exhaustion, the panic, the anxiety, the sadness, the sense of loss, the restriction of freedom, the isolation, the physical pain, and immobility of epilepsy. It’s not a simple, easy decision to just “let Jane go.”

sith

Just because I can’t leave doesn’t mean I’m happy

We are lonely from inside a relationship.

We have put off taking care of ourselves because of the overwhelming “needs” or demands of our partners. We live in a FOG – full of Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

People on the outside of our relationships often have no idea what we live with. Some of us are constantly torn between trying to protect and heal ourselves, and trying to take care of a demanding partner. Others have decided that they no longer want a relationship but don’t know how to protect themselves on the way out. So many of us have been subjected to years of emotional, verbal, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. Sometimes, the worst scars cannot be seen.

-Out of the Fog

Til’ next time,
Vico

canthelp1

She’s not crazy either! Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

I am SCARY (and I like it)

It’s been an exhausting night, but at least I got to say cool gay-rights stuff like, “Oh, so it’s because we’re not married, isn’t it?” and “I’m her emergency contact, and we have rights!” Since the recent supreme court decision, saying stuff like that actually gets you somewhere in the medical and mental health system. They tried to brush me off a few times, denying she was in their ER. My partner was definitely there, definitely not getting the attention she needed and generally being misunderstood by the entire staff.

Loonies, UNITE!

I said my scary bull-dyke stuff, and they relented and admitted they’d admitted her. The in-charge nurse RELUCTANTLY passed my number on to the staff psychiatrist who evaluated Jane, and he called me around midnight last night. Thank the sweet baby Jesus!

“Her father said she’s been prescribed some medication, and she’s not taking it, is that correct?” He asked me.
Wake up, Vico. Wake up and use your mouth-words.

“Well,” I said, “I’m not really sure what medications she’s supposed to be taking. Her mother and step-father fancy themselves her in-home psychiatrists and entrap her in their home and force her to take a pretty wide variety of pills. I don’t know what she should really be on.”

“Hmm,” said the good Jewish doctor from the Bay Area, “Well, the reason I ask is because her behaviors are indicative of Bipolar Disor-”

“She doesn’t have that.” I interrupted. You see, I’ve been clinically diagnosed (by my partner’s 17 year old little brother) as a “know-it-all” and it seems I just can’t stop compulsively knowing things. It’s very damaging to my relationship with my partner’s parents, whom I will refer to as “Borderline-Personality-Mom (BP Mom) and “Creepy-StepDad-Who-Has-a-Gun”(CreepyGunDad).

“She has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” I explained.

The good doctor wasn’t bitter about being interrupted by the crazy girlfriend, which earned him 5,000,000 super-duper gold star happy points.

“Hmm,” he said, “and why do you think that?”

“Oh just her behavior,” I tried to make my answer sound like it was coming from a source other than my compulsively knowing-things-about-things habit. On the strong chance that he had never heard of Complex PTSD, I wanted to validate the good doctor so he didn’t get his little psychiatric feelings hurt and take out his own incompetence on my partner.

“I understand why you may think she’s manic. But she never has hallucinations, never hears voices. She takes risks, and I think that’s the behavior in question here – she absolutely drives recklessly.”

“Yes, and that’s what we’re concerned about,” said the good doctor.

“Yes, you should be. But the reckless driving isn’t just poor impulse control. She takes risks in order to put herself in a dangerous situation; she recreates the environment of her trauma to re-live it, and to to get a chance to change the outcome.” At this point I heard a loud “BING” sound as the lightbulb over the good doctor’s head suddenly ILLUMINATED!

“Do you know what kind of trauma?” asked the good doctor. Which is good, because that information falls outside of the realm of things generated by my unfortunate and clearly mentally ill mind.

“Yeah, I do,” I told him, and I explained that, despite her chronic psychiatric hospitalizations over the past two years, she has never been asked about her trauma or given any chance to speak about it. I only gave him the details of the formative abuse, i.e. the abuse that occurred in the first five years of her life. The list includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse; long-term and repeated entrapment and imprisonment and torture; slavery and enforced labor; long term objectification; and long-term exposure to crisis.

“Wow. That sounds……that sounds awful,” said the good doctor. And the angry little knot with Jane’s name on it that lives in my solar plexus melted just a tiny bit. I explained to the good doctor that Jane would never co-operate with her parents since they are both “part of the whole PTSD thing.”

“Her mother took her to a child psychologist when she was five, who apparently said Jane was doing fine and that they should never talk about it ever again,” I told him.

“What the hell kind of psychologist is that?” the good doctor politely inquired.

“I don’t know, some shitty therapist in Martinez in the 90’s,” I answered, “Please excuse my language.”

The good doctor agreed with me, and I went on to elaborate about BP Mom and CreepyGunDad’s habit of sweeping things under the rug. Without coming across as completely accusatory (which I am) I tried to gently elucidate their tendencies toward chronic accusations, scapegoating, and gaslighting with poor Jane. “That just sounds horrible,” the good doctor responded, and my Jane-knot gradually untwisted to my great relief. I’m sorry, society, but knowing-it-all just feels so good sometimes. I hadn’t even mentioned BP Mom’s chronic physical battle with [horrible degenerative illness retracted to protect the identity of those involved], and CreepyGun Dad’s habit of convincing BP Mom that all her hospital visits could be avoided if Jane would just stop “stressing everybody out.”

The good hospital with the good nurse-in-charge and the good doctor and the good people had no psychiatric beds for the night. She’s been transferred to a different psychiatric hospital. I’m interested in how this will all play out, since the psychiatric system depends on the isolation of their victim to support their pathological abuse and blaming.

The connection between Jane and I is too strong for them to sever, and besides, I’m a Gemini (a lesbian Gemini).

So, Psychiatry, we meet again.
Only this time I’m not trapped in your torture-machine.
We can do this this easy way or the hard way. My only advice is…don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

feh-muh-nist

Hothead Paisan by Diane DiMassa