Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Your Elderly Mom Is Part of a Chronically Co-dependent Relationship

It was bad enough the $150.

The next day I got a bad feeling. Usually when I have a bad feeling there's something to back it up. Is this because I'm so smart? Or because God sends me little messages? Is this because I'm learning from experience?

My bad feeling led me to look online at her credit card charges. THERE IT WAS. $850 cash advance on one of the charges. Plus a $55 service fee, Not to mention the high interest rate on cash withdrawals.

Can you guess who this money went to? 

It was difficult to remain calm on what was supposed to be my Sunday afternoon and evening, my return to sanity, my return to looking after my own health, keeping my stress to a minimum, getting regular exercise and lowering my blood pressure and blood sugar level. I'd been warned, after all. I could feel my heart racing.

with the bank on the telephone, we conference in my mother. She immediately said she couldn't talk because she was tired. We kept her on the phone. She admitted it, the thousand dollars. I told her what I needed to do. She was argumentative and feisty.

After a few moments, I asked her to hang up. She refused. "You can't tell me what to do." Eventually she hung up.

Sadly, of all the credit cards she had, this is the only one for whom I had not yet sent in my PoA forms. But one thing I learned: If the next payment was made, then the credit card company would automatically block the card.   Good news, but two weeks away until the next payment due date.

That night I wrote a letter to an attorney asking how to initiate a Guardianship. I didn't want to do it. But as long as she had legal access to credit cards and her checking account, she would find a way to undue all the good things I had done to put her life in financial shape and all the good things I had done to rescue her from bankruptcy and homelessness herself.

How can you feel when you're doing this? I knew it would destroy my relationship with my mother forever, maybe even destroy her. And maybe not. It was, after all, her own behavior that was destroying her and undoing her life.

And she was 87 and doing it once again.

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