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Feel like I'm always being used by my mother(19 Posts)
I guess I've known I'm being used for years but today she really pissed me off & I felt like telling her where to go (I didn't, always trying to keep the peace).
Mum hasn't worked for 18mths and obviously things are tight money wise for her. I've helped out numerous times, even paid the rent for 3 months when she was faced with eviction. I've bought food for the house & whenever there is a cash 'emergency' guess who she calls on. She is in a better situation financially now, mainly since she quit smoking (40+ a day). She is a functioning alcoholic, although she will never admit this & has had long term depression bouts over the years. She always finds money for a bottle of vodka. I'm always a bit worried about upsetting her in case she goes into a depression again.
Anyway to the reason why she really got to me today, my brother lives in another part of the country (lucky. sod!!) and a couple of weeks ago she asked me to order some Xmas gifts for his kids online as she doesn't really know what she's doing with online shopping, not that she's ever tried mind you. So I duly ordered them & told her how much it came to and she said she would give me the money the following week when dad got paid. Following week came & went and no money.
Last weekend we went into town to do some Xmas shopping & she asked if I could lend her some money & she would pay me back this weekend. Again I handed it over. She always puts me in a position where I feel like I can't say no, like when she has a basket full of shopping & we're in the queue waiting.
Saw her today & she didn't mention the money she owed me. We were talking about Christmas & she asked me to pick something up for her when I'm out shopping tomorrow, so I said 'well you still owe me for the other presents'. She turned around & laughed with a hmmmm!!
I'm not hard up at all, but that's really not the point. She clearly thinks that I am her personal ATM & I know I am to blame for lending/giving money over the years. But I just don't know how to get out of this cycle. Anyone got any advice or experienced anything like this before??
Not me but a good friend had a sister just like this. She was her ATM as well.... cash, catalogue shopping, 'borrowing' credit card usage (sister had poor credit rating). All the time she knew my friend would foot the bill, she had no incentive to be responsible. The last straw came when the sister pleaded poverty about the electric bill, my friend handed over the cash rather than see her sister and two DCs cut off, and then saw her quite by chance spending the money on cigs and booze in the local late-shop.
So the way she got out of the cycle was very simply by saying 'no'. If they went shopping my friend would claim she'd left her credit cards at home. If the rent or bills were overdue my friend would simply say that she needed the money for her own DCs. Basically, take a hard line or she'll keep coming back to the well.
Thanks cogito, I know I need to start saying no, I've been way to soft & allowed her to treat me like this. Think I might need to get some lessons in being assertive!!
If you haven't given her the presents you ordered online for her, I wouldn't unless she pays up.
I wouldn't go shopping with her again and I'd probably avoid seeing her in any situation where cash is involved ie I'd go over to her house or invite her round only
I'm sorry, it sounds like a really crap situation
Thanks Dowags. The pressies were delivered to my brothers house so can't do anything about them. But I am definitely going to avoid being in a situation where money might be needed/involved. It's really hard to say no as she's my mom & I don't want to see her go without, but I can't let her keep doing this to me.
Ive been in this position - not with my parents, but with sister and brother in law. In the end DH and I just had to say NO. We were used like this and because we were in a stable financial position it was assumed that we would pay.
The only way forward is to say no. You need to get some excuses ready to say.
"No, Im skint too"
"No, Im saving for xyz"
Just keep saying "no" - she doesn't borrow money from you, she takes money from you - don't ever give her a penny expecting it back, you know that won't happen.
Other techniques also include suggesting before hand that you are struggling finanically too - anything from "DH's place is struggling so there were no Christmas bonuses this year/overtime has been cancelled." or "We've had a really big gas/electricity/car repair bill and things are going to be a bit tight for the next few months." (or car insurance gone up etc). Get those statements in before she asks for anything then she might either not think it's worth asking you or you can say no and then say "I did mention money was tight for us right now, we've not got any spare" it makes it easier to say no when you've already laid the groundwork.
You don't owe her anything and you are probably making her worse by keep bailing her out. Just say no, it will get easier and easier if you just start it. I guess you are afraid she will stop loving you if you stop being her personal ATM but the truth is that if you have to pay for her love it isn't love to begin with. I'm sorry you have a mum like this, it's hard to face this kind of thing and you don't deserve it.
" I don't want to see her go without"
Her type rarely go without. They just pick a different patsy to sponge off...
Cogito is right, she won't "go without" (beyond perhaps having to budget to not have everything if she can't ask you to buy the additional things she can't afford), you might find your brother is approached more, other extended family etc.
Also avoid situations where she could ask you for money/owe you, so don't go shopping with her - be busy, if she asks you to buy things online for her, either say no or say you'll come round and teach her how to do it, then at the checkout bit say, "and that's where you put your card details in", or say you are super busy and can she ask your DB to pick up the pressies for his DCs and she can give him the money... avoid situations where she can "put you on the spot" with a basket full of things and no way of paying for them.
(Think about it, she knew when she went to the shops, picked those things up and got close to paying that she didn't have the money to pay for them, but she didnt say in advance, "before we go, would you be alright to lend me £X?" she just assumed you'd pay.)
She seems to have got the parent/child thing all on its head. Parents look after their children and don't like to see them doing without. Just call her Alfreda Dolittle.
"A man [or in this case woman] was made to help support his children,
Which is the right and proper thing to do;
A man was made to help support his children but
With a little bit of luck
With a little bit of luck
They'll grow up and start supporting you."
<disclaimer: when my DCs get rich I shall of course expect them to keep me in the style to which etc. But they would have to be really quite rich.>
Thanks for all your replies, you've all given me some great advice. I am determined to make a change with her, I think today was the last straw for me. Thank you all again x
keep us posted moveover its always nice to know how things pan out.
If you think you'll find it hard to say no (and you should!), when you go out with her leave all your cards at home and take a limited amount of money with you. Then there is absolutely no way you will cave in with her there in front of you. If she asks you over the phone, say no, then say you have to go and hang the phone up. Don't stay on the phone and allow her to harras you into giving her the money or buying whatever it is she wants you to buy. Until you learn to be stronger, you might have to use these techniques.
So today mom called & asked if I would take her food shopping for Christmas. I could immediately picture it being me paying for a trolley load at the till!! So I took a very deep breath & said I wouldn't have time as I had my own to do & am working in the run up to Christmas, so she'll have to get dad to take her at the weekend. She did sound put out, but I let the phone go silent for a few seconds & said right then I've got to get dinner ready speak to you later. Felt soooooo good afterwards. This is the start of me saying no a lot I think! Now I've done it once I think it will be easier in future.
Oh well done! That's brilliant - give yourself a massive pat on the back
Cheers Dowags, am quite pleased with myself!
The crazy thing is I'd have no problem saying no to most other people & quite often have to at work, but i guess it's different with my mother. Am sticking to my guns tho
Well done! Make sure you do your shopping without telling her which day, otherwise she may well ask you to pick up a 'few' bits and pieces for her.
Well done - baby steps! DIY is right, if she calls again say "oh, I've just done mine, sorry - you'll just have to ask dad to get them on his way past Tescos"
I think the hardest part has been realising she does this, and so while you won't get your money back, you can avoid giving her anymore. Eventually she'll get out of the habit of assuming she can get you to get things for her.
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