- 4 years ago
- Wedding: September 2013
Bees, I’m essentially writing this vent as a form of therapy. I prefer to tell funny stories and make people laugh, but I’m writing this moreso to get it out of my head so that I will be able to concentrate on the rest of my day. If you’d like to read (and perhaps venture a comment) I’d be grateful for that as well.
I am my mother’s only child. She raised me alone after my father died. So for all intents and purposes, she and I were all each other had for most of my life. Unfortunately, she suffers from what I believe to be some (quite severe, yet formally undiagnosed) Narcissistic Personality traits. The basis of all the friction we’ve had over my life–and especially since I’ve become an adult–is that she does not view me as a separate individual from herself. Therefore, she is unable to muster up any respect for the fact that I have my own life, own relationships, own responsibilities and own obligations. She has always taken deep offense to anything I’ve ever done to demonstrate my individuality from her. For example, I was “disrespecting her” by choosing to play field hockey in school because she had played soccer and had always dreamed I’d do the same. At age 28, she disapproved of my then-fiance for no stated reason, assumed that I would break up with him just because she “said so,” and then tried to sabotage my wedding because I “disrespected her” by refusing to make my major life choices according to her whims. That kind of thing. Since she’s become more involved in her religion, she’s not as outright mean as she used to be. But apparently, she still does not see me as a human being and therefore does illegal things concerning me. And because in her mind, I’m merely an extension of herself, she obviously means no harm and there is absolutely no reason why I should take offense. Further, when I bring these things to her attention, she either (1) tells me that I’m overreacting as it’s no big deal or (2) bursts into tears and makes it all about her.
So what happened this time? Ok, I haven’t lived with my mother in over a decade. However, whenever I visit the U.S., I usually visit her for a few days and also use her address to receive mail. Last time I was there, I bought a car for the purpose of shipping it to myself overseas. The state where she lives requires that you register the vehicle even if you’re taking it out of the country and then once the vehicle leaves the U.S., they reimburse you for the registration, title fees and taxes. I tried to explain my situation to the DMV, but the only option to receive the reimbursement was to send a paper check via snail mail and the address MUST be in the same state in which the vehicle was registered (no P.O. Boxes). I informed my mother that the mail would be coming and asked her to notify me as soon as it came and await further instructions. Well, she did tell me the check arrived and I asked her to hold onto it for a couple of weeks because I was travelling and didn’t want to miss it because getting DMV to reissue the check in the event that it gets lost would have been a headache. So now that I’ve gotten settled back in at home, I emailed her this morning providing the address to which I’d like her to mail it. She replied kindly, yet matter-of-factly that she had already deposited my refund into her checking account and that she would use what was left of it (!) to pay the postage for a care package that she was planning to send me. First of all, I feel like I heard a literal record scratch when I read that. Ummm, huh? First of all, you received a check made out to me (in my married name), how in the heck did you deposit it into your own checking account without my endorsement? Oh, let me guess. You forged my name on the back of the check and signed it over to yourself? Secondly, we bank at the same institution–if you were going to implicate me in fraud, the least you could have done was deposit the money in my account afterward. Finally, how do you mean “what’s left of it?” Who gave you permission to spend my money? And finally, if you are going to send me a care package, you should do so out of the kindness of your heart, not decide FOR me that you will use what remains of my own money to pay for it.
I replied to her email asking for the details of how, exactly, she was able to deposit a check made out to me in her own bank account. She hasn’t responded yet, but there is really only one possible answer. Actually, I’m avoiding my inbox right now because I already know that she’ll respond either with a masterful lie or some punchy one-line reply such as “Signed your name. No biggie. Worked like a charm. Glad I could help. Look out for care package!” If I respond reminding her that: (1) what she just did amounts to fraud and theft; (2) it can put my career in jeopardy–I could literally lose my law license and/or security clearance; (3) she’s also stealing from my husband because that was “our” money, etc. it will just lead nowhere. And believe me, I’m not just choosing to be negative. I’ve been through almost this exact thing with her so many times.
She has cancelled my auto insurance without telling me and had me driving around for over a year with an invalid insurance card (I only found out when I went to rent a car for a business trip and the rental company threatened to call the police on me for presenting fraudulent insurance docs). She has gone to the post office in my zip code and told them to redirect MY mail because SHE had opened a P.O. Box. (P.S. It took over a week for me to realize the issue and I missed a very important piece of mail that could have cost me my job. When I went to the Post Office to get to the bottom of it, they told me that my mother had the right to make changes to the mail service because she was the head of household and we shared a surname. Newsflash, I was in my late twenties and owned my own home which was clear across town from my mother’s. To this day, I have no clue what possessed her to do that to me or why USPS let her get away with it.) Another time, we were travelling together internationally. She had filled out one arrival card for the both of us (which is allowed, but somewhat complicated because we have two different citizenships) but decided she didn’t want to wait for me to collect my things at baggage claim, so after she got her stuff, she just went through customs…by herself…with the only boarding card…and my PASSPORT. Imagine how much fun it was to try to convince the border patrol not to send me to secondary or lock me right up for trying to enter the country with not one single document on my person. When I said that my mother must have gone through with my card and passport the officer looked me right in the eye and informed me that no mother would ever do that. I broke down immediately and couldn’t stop crying until the next morning. When I miraculously made it through the border (with a police escort, face red and crying) I finally found my mother having tea in the departure lounge. She never was able to understand the gravity of what she did and assured me that I was being silly. Once–after exhausting ALL other resources– when I was stranded abroad on a business trip with no ATM card, I transferred US$1k to her bank account and asked her to wire it back to me so I could survive and not only did she do it 2-3 days after I asked her to, but she only sent me a portion. The hotel I was staying in wouldn’t let me check out without the money and they were basically holding me hostage in the hotel. I had to sneak out to attend a business meeting and they called the police on me because they thought I’d run out on the bill.
I really, truly hate relying on her for anything because she almost always pulls this kinda crap. I’ve gone to great lengths to be as independent from her as possible, as early as possible. But it’s like any little foothold she has into my life, she uses it to exert control and cause me great inconvenience in the process. I already told my husband I’m ready to call and let her have it, but he’s trying to encourage me not to get too worked up because I already know that this is how she is and how she will always be, so I may as well train myself to work around it. And I guess he has a point. How many times can I keep having this same conversation with her? What to to? What to do?