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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  PHD LPC
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I need advice on how to handle this particular problem. My

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I need advice on how to handle this particular problem. My family has been in financial trouble since I was six or seven years old, all evidence points towards my mother as the cause of it, nobody knows how. I mean she doesn't gamble, but has very poor money management, and would borrow money with 100% interest often. Nobody in the family can control her. My dad has given up on her, the only way for them to live together without physical violence is to let her have her own way.

I've not been living with them for more than 10 years. Left home and went overseas in midteens on scholarship and got to med school, now in early years of my career. Took part time job to support myself, took loans to cover school fees. I'm earning a decent salary, and most goes towards servicing my loans. My mother has been asking for money ever since I started working, and I've been giving her, equivalent of USD 30K over the last 4 years. It's a lot of dough considering this is a third world country she's living in.

On the advice of some close friends, I want to put a stop to this. It upsets me because (1) it never ends; it's always "this is the last time" (2) she refuses to get her finances organized, or even to show me some decent bookkeeping (3) i have suspicion she keeps getting involved in some hare-brained "business" schemes, or getting cheated by people

Problem is, she keeps pestering me, using the expected "you don't love me" gambit and it goes on. If I still refuse, she ups the ante saying how desperate she is, and how she will lose the house they're staying in because they can't afford the mortgage. Is it even normal to expect your kids to pay your mortgage? In any case, I'm torn between always giving in and setting some limits. I want to save money aside for my future, and this is like pumping water into the sea. But if she loses the house or get in some serious shit, I will end up having to pick up the pieces, and that is more trouble. What should I do?
Hi and welcome

If no on can control the way you mom handles money and she is coming to you she feels you owe it to her but that isn't true. She is preying on your emotions, her goal is to just get the money. It doesn't mattter how she gets it, as long as she gets it. You are right in setting some limits. You are smart to realize the you need to save your money, you are the one who works hard for it. She has held your Dad hostage to her behavior, don't let the same happen to you. I know it's easier to say no than to actually carry through, but if you don't you will be never be free of her demands. If you have a problem saying no, you can tell her any more money she needs from you will be sent directly to ...(fill in the blank), the mortgage people, a bill collector etc. Do not under any circumstances send her the money. Tell her you have your own expenses and you can only afford "X "amount each year to help her with her bills. Don't buy the "emotional" blackmail, the you don't love me, etc. She has a very severe problem, you are setting limits which is the responsible thing to do. It won't be easy, she will probably prey on your emotions and try to make you feel guilty. Stay strong and remember that this is your life, you can help to a degree but you can't just throw your money away by giving it on demand.
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Edited by Dr. Keane on 1/3/2010 at 1:07 PM EST
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