Friday, October 21, 2011

Frustration about my debt...

You know, it is a strange thing for me to talk about 'my' debt. I am not going to say that it is a bad thing for people to get credit cards and get carried over with spending to the point they're in debt, or living beyond their means. I am not saying anything that demeans or diminishes anybody. I'm not judging or looking for judgment.

However... I do have a credit card debt. Not quite 'mine' as some may recall. But I never got to use my cards until last November when I claimed them back from my mother right before moving. Both of my cards were maxed out, one having been closed for a few months due to non payment that I was unaware of. So if you could step into my shoes for a moment... I am not saying it is a bad thing or a good thing. All I'm trying to convey is that... I see questions of spending habits I can't relate to. I keep answering with things I believe I believe in. I have debt that I inherited, sort of. And I am confused.

"But I don't want to be different..."

For whatever reason, I wish that it was MY debt. That I made the mistakes and I’m paying for it (literally and figuratively). I'm not a masochist, but I'd like the ownership. To know that I spent all $7k from both cards. Heck, I should at least have had the satisfaction of getting benefits from those $7k. But I never did, as I have mentioned, all income (from my part time job while at school, and both of those cards of mine) were handled by my mother without my knowledge. I lived the life of the REALLY broke college student without really needing to.

I don't think I ever came to terms with this little issue. What ARE my spending habits? How can I improve if I was never given the chance to get in debt in the first place? Am I frugal because I have debt or was I always frugal? When I get out of debt, will I make the mistakes I was never allowed to do, since I will, for the first time, have the opportunity to make them myself?

Of course, I am also upset, but I am not sure what or who to be upset with. My mother? That to me equals to being upset with a rock. Myself? "But I didn't do it!" screams half of my brain, while the other one yells "You didn't stop it, you were part of the problem!". And I was. The debate continues.

I'll stop rambling now and continue some solitary soul searching... I just think that if I made a mess, I should clean it up. I should feel that I need to clean it up because I made the mess myself. I want to have that connection with debt, and it is somewhat missing. I guess I'm just frustrated for a different reason that doesnt include me being upset at my mother for getting me in this mess to begin with. I've never been upset at that. It's a worthless topic that leads nowhere.

Have you ever had to pay for something that wasn't your doing? I'm sure we all have, one way or another. But would it have made a difference if you had done the deed? Would you have felt better or worst if it was your actions you were now paying up for, vs someone else's?


  1. I just read your "about you" page & now understand where this post s coming from. A few things... I cannot believe that your mother opened up cards under YOUR NAME that YOU are now paying off... Wow. Has she apologized or even offered to help out at all? No wonder you're bitter... Not sure why you're paying for your dads car, but it sounds like you have a LOT of weight on your shoulders that you're carrying around with you. I think in the end you'll need to come to terms with everything and move on... holding onto a grudge or anger does you no good. (even though I think you're VERY justified in how you feel!) For your own sanity & health, I'd try to find a way to forgive your mother & don't let her EVER pull this on you again... Good luck!

  2. TJ, frankly I think you have EVERY right to be upset with your mom, 100%. Frankly what she did was dishonest and wrong. Stealing on credit or in cash is still stealing. I think to be 100% conferrable with yourself and 'the debt' you will have to confront your feelings towards your mom. You might not think it will do much but she needs to know that what she did was 100% wrong, that you are judging her and holding her accountable for it. Also you need to make her understand that what she did was a MASSIVE breach of trust!!! If you don’t set the ground rules now she will forever drag you down and take advantage of you. My mom is many things when it comes to money but she would never steal from her own children. Plus we have great financial respect for each other I know that I hand her one of my credit cards she would never use it with out asking me first. And she knows that while I have access to all her accounts and know all her banking information I would never steal from her. Can you honestly say you have the same kind of trust in your mom?

  3. Every time I read your blog, it just reminds me of myself more and more. I was the closest to my dad (before he passed) and me and my mother NEVER got along. My parents divorced when I was younger and I didn't get along with her at all so I moved out in 8th grade and moved back in with my dad. My dad was the main income, and my mother opened up numerous credit cards in his name and racked up around $75,000 worth of debt.

    And now that my mother can't work (due to health reasons), she is always asking me to pay for everything. I have no backbone and she's pretty much the only family I have left (my brother and sister are another whole dysfunctional story), so I feel obligated to help.

    Anyways, I know how you feel. I give my mother anywhere from around $400 to $1,000 a month to help keep her afloat. My mom hates my BF, but if only she understood that he pays for her to live also since our bills and accounts are joint.

    And I would feel worse if I was paying for the wrong-doings of someone else. Because that's what I'm doing. I'm getting no satisfaction or happiness from giving her money, but I guess I would feel worse if I didn't help her. I'm an enabler, and you probably are too.

  4. @ Carla: Thanks for stopping by! My mother has actually apologized to me once in my life time (I was 6-7?), so no, she hasnt over this issue. She can't help me because she's stay at home with no income of her own, so I know that's a moot point. I'm honestly not bitter that she did that; I am bitter that this debt is there, regardless of where it came from. I don't blame her, so I seek no reconciliation between us regarding debt. As such, there is nothing to forgive. This brings me some peace. I'm paying for my dad's car because he couldnt afford it otherwise. I do harbor hard feelings towards her, but it is for a lot of other issues that are not financial. Thanks for the good wishes! (I am watching my credit score to make sure no new cards are opened and what not.)

    @ CC: Making her responsible is, once again, making a rock be responsible for making you stumble. I will get nothing out of it, not even satisfaction. So I honestly do not blame her or harbor ill feelings towards her (read the above to Carla). To her, she wasn't at fault. This wasn't a breach in trust. She's one of the sorts of people that say the moon is made of cheese and the sky is actually red, and if you disagree, God help you. I do not have that sort of trust with my mother, absolutely not. And I probably never will, and I'm quite ok with that.

    @ Michele: I'm sorry to hear of your situation. It just isnt easy trying to be nice. I'm ashamed to agree on the whole 'enabler' line, though. It's either enabler or evil child... decisions, decisions.

  5. Tanner, I am sorry you have to deal with this, but I will tell you that you are a wonderful son and you will be blessed for your efforts. Just don't let it happen again. My real father was a bum. A nice bum but one all the same. I took care of him the last few years of his life on the financial end. It was hard and frustrating my sisters who all have way more money than I did not help at all. They thought I was nuts to do this, but when he drowned unexpectedly they were devastated. I was not. I was relieved as he was a huge financial burden and was beginning to show signs of severe dementia, but I was at peace because I had done the very best by him I could. Honor thy Father and Mother that thy days may be long upon the land, does not give you any breaks. Like only if they are not drunk, or only if they are rich, or only if you name the need or vice. You can feel bad, but I am proud of your efforts and your will to help.

  6. I agree. What's worse, enabler or evil child?

  7. I give you credit for trying to clean up a mess you did not make. BUT by allowing your mom to continue to basically make you responsible for everything you are creating a cycle you will never get out of. You do not have a dependable car but your dad does. Maybe you need to talk to your father about him giving you his check every week to pay the bills or I am afraid that your Mom will just suck the life out of you.


  8. @ Michele - If I had to pick between the two of those, I'd go with Enabler.
    @ Judy - My dad's check IS going to THEIR bills-I am trying to control how and when things happen. At this point, my bills and income and their bills are income are mostly separated... except for Murphy, which can come in ways of misc. situations for me, or just helping my dad/the household... I'm no longer letting my mother control anything of mine, so I am hoping that cycle has been broken. My dad is well willing to let me use his whole paycheck... but he's in little control of that. Hence the problem.

  9. I know exactly how it feels to be wishing you were actually the owner or cause of whatever problems you are fixing.

    It happens because you are a responsible person and you want to take responsibility for whatever it is. It sucks having to take responsibility for others against your own will and that's where the problem lies. All you can do is look past it and deal with it. Eventually it will be gone.

    It would make a difference if I could take full responsibility and I would feel better knowing it is all my fault but like I said, sometimes we have to accept it as it is.

    There is so much good in what you are doing that you should focus on that and forget wanting to take responsibility. Acceptance is a major step and you have done this. Be proud. Be even more proud that you are getting your financial life control. I could go on with this list but I can bet you can see it yourself.