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Unread 05-16-2017, 09:54 PM   #1
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Default Do your parents steal from you? Or did they?

My mother has been an alcoholic for 15 years. During that time, there have been quite a few times where she'd taken money that was either supposed to go from someone else to me, or padded the bill when I gave her money that was supposed to go to someone else then pocketed the difference.

This weekend, my mom was given a donation of $250 by a friend that was supposed to go to me for the nonprofit that I run. She casually remarked that she had kept $50 to pay for her gas and sundries, and gave me the other $200. She framed this as the nonprofit "owing" her for volunteer work that she'd - well, volunteered - to do. That's not how volunteerism works. I volunteer as a foster with the local animal shelter, and I pay the costs to feed, shelter, and transport the animals in my care.

This $50 brought up so many times in my past that my mom has done this. There was the time that she sold my car - yes, a car I owned and had paid for - to a junkyard and kept the money because she "needed it for bills." The time that she added me to her auto insurance and told me my monthly bill was $100, which I paid, only to find out a year later it was $47 and she'd been taking the rest for herself the whole time. The time she kept a commission my grandmother had intended to go to me, and which she promised my grandmother she would pass along. The time that she gave me a loan and charged "only the interest she'd be getting from the bank if the money was in her savings account," which turned out to be more than four times higher than what she would have earned at the bank.

My mom is ALWAYS complaining about how she's starving to death and about to be homeless. I caught on in my early 20s (I'm 29 now) when she let slip the fact that she'd been making 80 grand a year as a small business owner but hiding most of it from the government - and from her family. She stashed tens of thousands of dollars in a private account while I had ONE, just one, uniform shirt to wear to school during 7th grade. (It got dirty, I couldn't wash it that night, and upon wearing it to school the next day those hellfiends known as middle school girls realized that it was the only school shirt I had. Mocking resulted, along with me lying about why I was wearing the same shirt twice.) I spent most of my life believing we were dirt poor. At 5, she sent me to church ladies in the neighborhood to collect casseroles and food pantry items. Our house was literally falling down - my first home was missing the whole back of the house, it just had a blue tarp over it for two years, and in the second the bathroom wall fell down on me from rot. Just fell down while I was in the bathtub. We lived in a redneck neighborhood with tar streets and no sidewalks. All of this created the illusion of poverty, an illusion strong enough that I, for all intents and purposes, grew up on welfare - I didn't know my mom had money. It came out in bits and pieces. Currently my mom has a retirement fund, $25k to invest in a new small business, and enough money to pay cash for another investment property (she already owns one) and build herself a new house. Yet, she "needs" cash from a nonprofit donation to pay for her gas. She's starving to death and "doesn't know when she'll be out on the streets."

That's not to say my mom has a steady income. She's just a total miser who hoards money and lies about it. Of the past 7 years, my mom has been unemployed for 3, because she doesn't want to work and she gets in trouble. At her most recent job she was showing up hungover, and at the previous one she had a filing cabinet with liquor bottles that she visited throughout the day.

The funny thing is, very few people know my mom is an alcoholic - usually she can keep it together pretty well during the day, and she starts getting really wasted only after work. The other funny thing is, I love my mom, we have a great relationship, and I tend to get blindsided by her when she does stuff like this. She would be horrified - absolutely speechless with rage and betrayal - if she knew about me posting this stuff. I was always told NEVER to tell anyone what happened in our home. Especially the nosy school guidance counselors who didn't know anything and couldn't be trusted.

Right now I live in a FEMA trailer without running water, and have for two years because it's too expensive. My nonprofit does not generate a lot of income, but I'm passionate about it and don't want to change jobs. My mom lives in a beautiful waterfront condo. I pay my mom each month for the right to live here - she loaned me a little over $3,000 so I could make the down payment, and I've had to pay her back even when we found out an employee was embezzling and I lost my salary for sixth months until the company's finances stabilized. Her reasoning: well, a BANK wouldn't let you just stop paying. That's what she's always said. Well, a LANDLORD wouldn't let you pay your rent late (oh yeah, she started charging me rent my sophomore year in high school). She's not a bank, and she's not a landlord. She's a parent.

She doesn't work, she draws unemployment, and she dates wealthy men who pay her bills. Just yesterday we were walking around her complex, and she asked a neighbor guy if she had walked her tab at the complex restaurant/bar again (apparently she does this all the time - gets super drunk and leaves without paying). He told her that he had covered it for her. I'm totally sure - completely sure - that was the answer my mom wanted and expected to hear. Men pay for her.

I'm so sick of my mom not being a mom part of the time. I read the term "mental surgery" earlier - that thing you do where you cut out the bad things your parents do and just save the good. Like, my dad sexually harassed me for four years beginning at 12 years old, but I pretend we're fine and we go construction shopping together. I hate that I have to do it. I still wish, at almost 30, that I had GOOD parents. Parents who were parents all the time, not just until 3 PM (or 10 AM, depending on the day). Parents who didn't skim money off a donation to a struggling nonprofit where their oldest daughter works for a salary that can't even pay for running water at her trailer home. I also don't know what I else to do - I don't know how else to have a relationship with my parents. If I pointed out the vase my dad broke while stumbling around drunk when he came over to fix some sheetrock, or how offensive it is that my mom essentially embezzled from a nonprofit, I'd have to deal with their victim-hysteria, blame-shifting, and refusal to speak to me until we'd all gone back to pretending it didn't happen.
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Unread 06-14-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do your parents steal from you? Or did they?

Hi Texas999,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can really hear and feel your pain about your mother's lifestyle and stealing - while you struggle financially - and the effect it is having on you.

I just want you to know that you're not alone, and that my alcoholic mother does similar things. I don't have a relationship with her anymore but whenever I go to visit my Dad, she is there.

She used to steal things from my room when I was a child and teenager. I went to boarding school and when I came home in the holidays, things were missing which I later found in her room (silly things like lip balms, but they had been buried in my wardrobe). She would also go through all my things. One time she came into my room and didn't see me under the duvet while I was in bed, and she saw something on the shelf and snatched it like a child. Then she saw me and put it back without saying anything. I used to come home in the holidays and there would be an ash tray next to my bed from where she'd fallen asleep drunk, smoking.

She has stolen a diamond ring and a pearl necklace left to me by my Grandma, but my Aunt gave them to her to pass on to me. Never received them, and when I asked about them (before I stopped talking to her), she argues that I wasn't old enough (I was 22 and the will said I would get them when I was 18 - my Grandmother died after I was 18). Somehow I felt selfish and materialistic for asking for them. I was also left money from my Grandma, that I have never seen.

Once, she stole a DVD I had got for my Dad as a Christmas present. I hadn't given it to him yet, it was hidden in my room. She found and it and took it, knowing that he would like it (it was his favourite film from the 50s and hard to find). I stole it back and it was never mentioned.

We didn't struggle financially - my Dad was an officer in the Army and had a decent salary. When I was a teenager, we lived in South East Asia (but I still went to boarding school in the UK), and didn't work - she just spent money. She would always tell my sister and I that we didn't have enough money to buy tampons. Yet she would buy new clothes every week - even buy metres of silk material to take to a tailors to get outfits made, as well as getting shoes made from a shoemaker!

As an adult, I wanted to sell a dollshouse that I had been given as a child. I was a poor student and I obviously had no use for it. She found out and stole it before I could sell it, as she doesn't consider my belongings to be "mine" if it is something that is kept in my parents' house.

As a child and a teenager, I only had one bra at a time. I never asked for things because I had never been given them and always assumed the answer would be no/I had no right to ask for things. She would go off shopping on the weekends and buy so many clothes, but my sister, my brother and I had two changes of clothes each. I used to wear my uniform to dinner at boarding school, when most others wore "mufti" (home clothes in England) to try not to wear the same thing all the time. My Dad would often make comments like "don't you have anything else to wear?" because the clothes we wore were not fashionable, not even nice, and often had holes in. It was HIS responsibility and HERS to clothe us. However according to the division of tasks in their marriage, she was responsible for buying us clothes. I was also rarely, if ever, given a choice in the clothes that were bought for me, and since we were living in SE Asia, I could not legally work for money, so I volunteered with refugees in the holidays - meaning I had no income to buy things for myself until I went to university at 18.

Once we were in an airport together in SE Asia with my sister. We walked into a shop in duty free that had really nice earrings. She actually offered to buy us each a pair of earrings - what a shock! I picked up a pair of earrings that I really liked and said I would take thee ones. She said they were too much. Fair enough I thought, so I put them down and looked for others. She then picked up those VERY SAME earrings, and said she would get them for herself. My sister said to her that I wanted them, and reminded her that she had just told me that they were too much. She looked at the earrings, looked at us, then looked back at the earrings. Then she walked to the till and bought them. I walked out of the shop.

There have been so many incidents like this over the years - weekly when I have been home - that I have lost track of them. I remember each one every now and then. I don't know if it is the alcoholism itself, or some form of selfishness, but it's beyond belief how someone like that could be responsible for raising children. She's still an alcoholic and parcels arrive daily from Amazon.
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Unread 06-17-2017, 01:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Do your parents steal from you? Or did they?

My parents stole my college money to buy booze and "friends." I wore hand-me downs and shoes that were too small for my feet. I learned to sew on my own so as a teenager I made my own clothes. My mother was an alcoholic and my father didn't believe I should have anything. They're both gone now but the scars remain.
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