I‘m dating an American guy who happens to be from a Spanish family. My mother is incredibly racist and refuses to accept him. I love my boyfriend and don’t have a doubt in my mind that he is the one – but the situation is tricky. I’ve been supporting her financially for over two years now and as I could no longer afford my bills on top of hers and her mortgage, I moved out from the place I had with my boyfriend and relocated to the dinky little town I grew up in.
My mother has gone from paying certain things herself to relying on me for everything. I have siblings who have cut off all contact with her. I’ve never known my father. She is not grateful for the help I give her and since I suggested she get a job, she hasn’t spoken to me for three weeks despite living in the same house. My boyfriend also helps financially when he can, but he is finishing his PHD and doesn’t currently have a lot of spare cash.
I want to have a proper life with him but if I leave her, she’s likely going to lose everything. Left to her own devices, she has had the water, phone and electricity cut off in order to continue going out with her friends and buying herself expensive clothes. She refuses to sell her house although that would solve all her problems. I want to pick him over her but it makes me feel very guilty. There is no point in him moving down here because job opportunities are non-existent and my mother isn’t the only racist in town. I absolutely hate it here and am beginning to feel quite depressed, but I also feel obligated to her. Elizabeth
Elizabeth. How can I put this: it’s time to put on your big girl pants and get the hell out of dodge. Your siblings checked out long ago (no prizes for guessing why) and staying to enable your mother’s bad behaviour, getting depressed and broke into the bargain, is taking mother/daughter guilt to a whole new level. Your mum’s an adult, and she needs to start acting like one. She also sounds like a bully who knows just how to manipulate you. Don’t give her that power.
That said, I agree that it’s not normal to shut off all your utilities so you can splash out on new clothes and go partying with your friends, but unless you know something you’re not telling me – ie, that major mental health issues or other reason are behind her behaviour – then her financial mismanagement isn’t your problem. She’s trying damn hard to make it your problem, but it’s not. So it’s time someone (a neutral party) points that out to her. There’s more chance she may listen.
I’d make an appointment for her to see a financial planner or bank manager. Explain that you’re moving out and you want her to get some good financial advice on how she can move forward from here, whether that involves selling her house and moving to a smaller place so she can invest money to live on, or finding work so she can support herself. At any rate, be direct and clear about the fact that you’re moving out and won’t be supporting her any longer. Use the three-week silent treatment as a starting point if you have to, saying you feel your relationship has broken down, it’s not working out living together and you’re going back to live with your partner.
Write down a list of numbers for key resources she can tap into, such as a counsellor, a local jobs board, a GP, a real estate agent, some council services. Then get packing. Tell her you’re happy for her to visit if she can be civil and accepting of your boyfriend, but you’ll no longer put up with her racist comments and digs at him. If she refuses, that’s her choice – but it could well mean missing out on a relationship not only with all her other kids, but you as well.
Love, reality chick