Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Matching Baggage

Last evening Bick and I were having our ritual porch sit. Most evenings, if the weather permits, will find us spending some time sitting on the front porch watching the world go by and talking about our day.

I was discussing a family situation with Mom that revolved around money that had been keeping me up nights since last week. I've been really angry with her, as she is spending money at an astounding pace - by my count $2,500 last week alone. She will be dead broke inside of a year. I've stopped myself several times from sending out a hostile missive telling her what I thought and to stop using my account immediately.

Upon discussion with Bick, I've decided to take the following action - after my aunt's all-family 80th birthday party on Saturday and after Mother's Day on Sunday - say in about a week: I am going to insist that she get her own bank account. I'm only going to say that it's no longer comfortable for me, that seeing how she is going through her money makes me very upset and that she needs to find another alternative. I've learned that I cannot stop her from spending herself into destitution, but I don't have to be a part of it, nor do I have to be aware of every dollar she spends. So she needs to get her own bank account. I suggested this when she moved into my house, that many of our disagreements were financial in nature and that I wanted to be untangled from this interwoven web of crap and dependency, but she says that she doesn't have any other options. I think she's too ashamed of facing her crap that she won't even try. My sister is in exactly the same boat - neither have any sort of bank account.

The problem is that she has written so many hot checks in the past, that she feels she can't get another bank account (she knows enough to know that she can't/won't handle a checking account appropriately). Bick seems to think that she can get a savings account which would suffice. So I am going to take the lead and find a bank that will open an account for her, go and talk to them, explain the situation and give mom a name to go in and talk to. I guess this is enabling her to get around the consequences of her actions/shame in her inability/unwillingness to be fiscally responsible, but it does get me out of the business of getting amped-up everytime she does something stupid. Again, I'll warn of her of the impending doom and that she cannot depend upon me to bail her out, give her the information and a timeline and be prepared for the onslaught. Perhaps if I'm prepared and in deflective mode, it won't be so bad. The good news is that I feel like I've got a plan that allows me to protect myself and to deal with her with some degree of compassion. And I was so blind to just wanting her stop having money put in the savings account that I stupidly allowed her to use years ago, that I couldn't see my way to a way out other than using TNT.

So Bick and I spent the evening monogramming our matching family baggage - his with Sandy and mine with Mom.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Don't wait until you are 47 to grow up.


1 comment:

  1. I think that if you examine your motives (like you have) your helping your mom get an account isn't all that enabling. Sure, it's doing something she could do for herself, but if you wait for her to do it (never), you're exposing yourself to risk that you are clearly uncomfortable with. That's a violation of your boundaries.

    From one enabler to another, I say do it guilt free Rox. Your motives are pure.


We'll try this for a while.