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My mom has to leave my house. Why do I feel so guilty about it?

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Old 28th October 2017, 11:51 AM   #1
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Wink My mom has to leave my house. Why do I feel so guilty about it?

Hello everyone, Posting on here because I need a different perspective or some advice I guess.

My mom has been living with me in my apartment for about six months now. I am married but my husband is constantly away due to his job and I only see him a few days out of a month. Despite that, our relationship is solid and we are a good team.

My mom has been extremely irresponsible with money these last few years. She has lots of credit card debt and continues to send money back home to her family even though she does not have a job now. Her only source of income is a VA survivor's pension for low income spouses, which is about $700 a month. She was living with a friend/boyfriend/I really don't know what until something happened and she had to come with me and my husband. We offered her our home because we can afford it (we have no kids and we are young), unlike my sister who has a packed house and no bedroom for my mother.

I care so much about my mom. I want her to be comfortable and have a space of her own. She doesn't speak English very well and these past few months I have encouraged her to learn on her own with Youtube tutorials. I have seen such a difference in her and I really felt like she was doing so good for herself. My mom has always been dependent on others so I did not want her to become dependent on me and my husband. I opened up my home for her because I thought the better option for her would be to live with me rather than my sister.

I set two rules when she moved in and I told her what they were right away.
1. I do not want her extended family to send packages to my apartment. Her last home looked like a warehouse with all the Amazon Prime packages her family sent to her house. They live in a different country and make my mom ship those packages to them with her own money. I set this rule because I donít want packages in my small apartment, and I also want to put an end to this manipulative situation.

2. I do not want her extended family flying in to stay with us. They are well known for flying in and staying for months on end rent free and all expenses paid. When my mom had her own place this would happen all the time.

I do not think my mom realizes that she is a guest in my home. She has already broken the first rule multiple times which I learned of today. When I brought this issue to her attention and told her how disrespected I felt that she had ignored my rule, she immediately got upset and said that she is going to move out and stay with a friend. She said that she never promised me she would abide by my rules (even though she did) and that sheís not going to listen to my rules if she needs to help her family. My mom is still amassing immense credit card debt helping her family in a foreign country, and I get mad about it because I have to be there to pick up the pieces. My mom does not realize that my husband and I will be responsible for her when she is old and frail just because she did not make smart financial decisions when she could have. My mom is fairly young and still capable of making a good life for herself. There is no need for her to help her extended family, they are much younger than her, and most of them are married. On the other hand, my mom is widowed, has a measly pension, and lives with me.

I honestly think it is better that my mom said she would leave and in a strange way I am relieved. But I still feel guilty about it. I feel like I am letting my mom down, but I know if I ignore my feelings I will explode one day.

I think that since I am so close to this situation and emotionally invested, I cannot think clearly. I really want her to leave my house. If she is not willing to put the effort to make smart financial decisions for herself, I canít take responsibility for her knowing that she is not meeting me half way.

What do I do? Iím so heartbroken because I just want to care for my mom but it needs to be on my terms.
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Old 28th October 2017, 12:13 PM   #2
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get support. What's your sister say? Other family? Come to a consensus and approach this as a team and a family. Not just you against your mom.

Is her extended family reasonable? Call them and explain the situation and how it is destroying your mother.

Most importantly, ask her WHY she does all this for her extended family? Then explain to her how it's pushing her immediate family (you) away when she takes their priorities over her own and yours. Show her the light!
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Old 28th October 2017, 12:18 PM   #3
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Her family overseas constantly complain they are poor and need my mom's help. But they don't seem poor when their brand new Ipads and Iphones arrive at my house.

I know what I need to do (have her move out)... it's just hard because I have been caring for my mom on and off for years and I think I am an enabler.
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Old 28th October 2017, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by majoryboxhat View Post
... it's just hard because I have been caring for my mom on and off for years and I think I am an enabler.
She is too. Sounds like learned behavior perhaps?

Good luck. That doesn't sound like an easy conversation. I still hope you enlist your sister and others to help you address this as a family instead of one on one.
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Old 28th October 2017, 12:51 PM   #5
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Thank you.
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Old 28th October 2017, 4:37 PM   #6
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you should charge her some rent. maybe the fact she is staying free also means you feel taken advantage of a bit. if she is a contributing member of the household it might make you feel better. you can also suggest that she pay for storage space for her packages, so she can continue to get them but not crowd your home. maybe you can help her find an apartment or housing near you but not with you, that way you both maintain independent space. i'm sure a mom doesn't want to abide by her daughter's 'rules' no matter how close the relationship is.
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Old 28th October 2017, 11:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by majoryboxhat View Post
Iím so heartbroken because I just want to care for my mom but it needs to be on my terms.
It's a difficult position for the both of you to be in. On one hand, she's an adult and should be free to make her own decisions. On the other hand, you made some reasonable rules and she should follow them. Like if she wants to ship packages to her family, fine, but they can't be received or stored at your house. She'll have to figure out some other way.

And, by the way, if she chooses to flounce away to live with a friend after you called her out on her rule-breaking, then fine. Let her go. And don't feel bad about it. Like the above, she's an adult and can make her own decisions. But really, it was probably an empty threat on her part and she's not going anywhere.

Can you explain a little more about this mini-Amazon warehouse she's running for her family? It kind of doesn't make any sense. No one would basically ruin their own lives (their debt, their housing situation, etc) in this way without any gain at all, unless they have a serious character/personality flaw. Is she really being scammed and manipulated by her family, or is there maybe something she's not telling you? I apologize for implying that your mom isn't being completely honest with you. But something about this isn't right. Even the most gullible/trusting/easily manipulated people will say "enough" at some point when they're losing their own money for someone else's benefit.
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Old 30th October 2017, 3:57 AM   #8
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there is an old saying down here: it's cheaper to keep her.

so, be careful, never give an ultimatum you'll both be sorry for. instead, try to keep the lines of communication open and be willing to negotiate.

ask her where she thinks she's going to be able to live on what little she has coming in? if she says she's going to a studio apt or a bed sitter or even renting a room in some strangers house show her the comps in your neighborhood and ask her how she thinks she will be able to live on 700. a month and still have anything to live on, besides air?

if she's still listening and not taping up boxes and calling a cab, see if you can get to the bottom of just how much credit card debt she's carrying and if she' willing to let you call those companies and work out a payment plan.

tell her, "when you get your finances under control, then yes, i will help you get into a studio apartment of your own (yours, not a crash pad for ungrateful users), but not before i know you can manage, realistically".

i have to ask, do you really want to be alone while your husband's gone and do you want her to be alone at the mercy of her "family" that's just going to use her money and hog up her new apartment?

good luck
take aim. reload.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 4:21 PM   #9
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Hello, I see that you are a loving, caring and responsible daughter. I commend you on helping your mother and how you have handled this situation. Please know that you have done good for taking her in and by the rules you set because you want her situation to get better. Please know that you have done the best that you can for her this far. The rest is up to her. She would have to make the decision to stop spending so much money so her debt can improve, but she will first have to do this. Thus, if she decides to move out she has made her decision and you know you have done everything to help her. It will really help if she can learn to manage her money and knows that her bills, credit worthiness and saving her money are more important than giving it to family who can help themselves. Best!
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Old 25th November 2017, 7:57 PM   #10
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I don't know what I missed but if she only gets 700 a month how does she afford to buy all these toys for her family?
Does she have a disability that may not be formally diagnosed that makes it difficult for her to take care of herself and understand financial decisions or set boundaries?
I don't know anything about all of you but I get the impression somehow she has a lot of depression and hasn't had an easy life at all-- and the fact there are people preying on her is sad.
I don't know if hard and fast rules I agree with-- it's kind of parental to have rules set for her as if she's an adolescent. I think a more healthy and respectful and effective way to still have your needs in your home met would be to set limits with common sense-- instead of "no packages for you here" which imo does sound parental and kind of degrading as if she's a child, could you perhaps let her know that because of limited space you only have room for x amount of boxes ( whatever number --- 2 larger boxes, or 4 smaller ones etc)

It seems like she's used to people not really acknowledging what she might need, again also bc of family using her for money, really sad.

I think with an adult who is older than you and also your parent it is more healthy for everyone to treat her with respect ( I know your not disrespecting her outright at all, but I feel like rules like that putting her sort of like a child level create resentment and feeling of helplessness rather than equal adults living together-- so things like limits when needed with common sense instead of "rules " will give a better end result where she feels maybe more worthy of respect and may I have no idea since I don't know her help her to then start acting more responsibly--- people sometimes live up to our expectations good or bad...
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Old 23rd December 2017, 7:00 AM   #11
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It's actually quite common in a lot of collective cultures for those with more relative wealth to be expected to, and they in turn to feel obligated to contribute to supporting the poorer extended family. Many immigrants to western nations who hail from these types of cultures will send a fair proportion of their earnings to their family remaining overseas. They may not always like it, but see it as their duty.

As for the shipping thing, also common. As someone that doesnt live in the US, I can attest to the fact that there are lots of products you can buy online from the US that are much cheaper than buying here. Except that international shipping rates charged by some retailers can be exorbitant! So the trick is to get them shipped in the first instance to a US address--which is often free--then have the packages consolidated and shipped on at a more reasonable rate. I do this myself, but I use a company that provides this on a fee for service basis. It would obviously be cheaper again to use a relative as in the OP's mother's case. Especially if they're going to pick up the shipping charges for you out of obligation!

OP, I absolutely think you are doing the right thing. You're obviously a very loving daughter, both in how much you've done for your mother, and in how conflicted you are about recent events. And if my sense about your cultural heritage is correct, you're probably struggling with your own sense of obligation here.

I hope the strength you're showing her helps your mother perhaps take notice and start to change her ways. Good luck!
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