Amy 9-5

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“suffers from formicophilia ”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#1
Sep 5, 2013
 
DEAR AMY: I am 19 and work part time as a produce clerk. I live with my parents and my younger brother. My dad works at a warehouse. He's a hardworking guy. My mom spends most of the day at home, shopping online for stuff she doesn't need. Our apartment is cluttered with all the useless junk she's bought with my dad's hard-earned money.

I made plans to go on a road trip with friends before the fall semester starts. We had agreed to front some money to pay for things like gas, food, lodging, etc. I set aside a jar of money in my room specifically for the trip.

About a week before we were to leave, I noticed that all of the money in the jar was gone. I spent hours accusing and interrogating my brother. Eventually, my mom told me that she was badly in debt and needed money to pay her credit card bill, so she went into my room when I wasn't there and took my money.

I am beyond furious.

My mom sees nothing wrong with the fact that she stole from me. She says we are a family and must help each other. She makes herself out to be a helpless victim, but if it weren't for my mom's shopping addiction we'd be in a much better financial situation.

How do I get my mother to take responsibility for her actions and pay me back the money she stole from me?-- Angry and Fed Up

DEAR ANGRY: I'm furious on your behalf.

Your mother is correct about this -- family members should help one another. However, family members do not help themselves to another family member's money. That's stealing, and if your mother has any doubt about this, I wonder how she would feel if you poached some of her gewgaws and sold them on eBay to make back your earnings.

You cannot force your mother to take responsibility for her actions, but you can try to force her to recognize that she has a shopping addiction. Your father and brother should be aware that she is willing to steal in order to service her addiction. She needs help (this can be a symptom of depression), but first she needs to recognize the impact of her actions.

In the meantime, as long as you are home, you (and your father and brother) should hide your valuables. Your father should do everything possible to protect the family from her spending.

DEAR AMY: I want to have an engagement shower for my niece. The problem is that some of the family members do not get along. This includes nasty comments and two-faced behaviors. Some family members have also excluded others from community and family events like showers and anniversary parties.

This exclusion now extends to the next generation.

How can I hold a shower but not contribute to this bad behavior or create a new problem? I do not support excluding anyone who's related or those with meaningful relationships with the bride.-- Feeling Helpless

DEAR HELPLESS: You deserve credit for trying to encourage your family members to get a fresh start. You can lead the way by ignoring gossip and ancient family stories -- and by determining to be neutral and inclusive.

You don't say if your niece is an active participant in the family nastiness, but if you are hosting this shower, your list should be inclusive. You can encourage her to add names (of friends or colleagues), but she should not be allowed to disinvite people. Your blanket statement to all should be, "Everyone is invited. I look forward to seeing you." Don't engage in guest brokering.

DEAR AMY: "Anonymous" wrote about her grief over her daughter leaving for college. If this happened in my family, I'd be celebrating. I have one kid who will never be independent. That really puts it in perspective.-- Ann Marie

DEAR ANN MARIE: Many parents have responded to that letter, sharing their feelings of sadness over their child's departure for college.

I agree; your situation certainly puts it all in perspective. Thank you for sharing it.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#2
Sep 5, 2013
 

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1 Lesson learned, now get yourself a bank account, and paperless statements. Oh and put your ssn on a credit alert in case your mom tries to open an new credit account under your ssn. Your dad really should learn how to protect himself and his kids from this person, she will destroy you all.

2 Girl stuff, don't care.

Since: Jan 10

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#3
Sep 5, 2013
 

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L1: Get a full time job and MOVE OUT. Until then, get a lock on your bedroom door and trust no one. Parents who do that are scum. My friend's mom stole from her. It wasn't a one-time thing and it was indicative of other self-centered, self-destructive behavior. Be sure to tell her she's on her own in her old age since she likely will have no retirement savings. Your dad also is complicit, in that he is *allowing* his wife to destroy the family finances.

Also be sure to check your credit report. Parents have been known to use their children's identities to get access to more credit. And tell your dad. Your mom stole this money so your dad wouldn't know how far in debt she's become.

L2: There is no such thing as an engagement shower. And engagement parties truly are a 'No gifts' party according to etiquette. And families aren't supposed to throw showers.

NO ENGAGEMENT SHOWER.(What the hell do they need a gift for that for? I would not attend and would not buy or send a gift, ever.)

L3: Good point that there are parents who will be caring for a dependent child until the day they die.

“Walt Frazier for POTUS”

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

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#4
Sep 5, 2013
 

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1. How about you do as RACE suggested and get a full time job so you can get your own place?

2. Your grandparents must be so proud....

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#5
Sep 5, 2013
 

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Umm, that was Red Saluki... I know in a certain light we could almost be brother and sister though.
Saluki Rod wrote:
1. How about you do as RACE suggested and get a full time job so you can get your own place?

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#6
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1: You totally need to resell some of her cr*p, excuse me I mean geegaws, and recoup your money.

LW2: Invite them all and let them sort out who's going to not attend because someone else is. The ensuing drama at the party should make for some great stories.

“suffers from formicophilia ”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#7
Sep 5, 2013
 

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1- Amy had a good point, sell her sht on ebay and get some of that money back.

2- Eh, who cares?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#8
Sep 5, 2013
 
RACE wrote:
1 Lesson learned, now get yourself a bank account, and paperless statements. Oh and put your ssn on a credit alert in case your mom tries to open an new credit account under your ssn. Your dad really should learn how to protect himself and his kids from this person, she will destroy you all.
2 Girl stuff, don't care.
L1. Yes.
L2. Invite everyone, let them sort it out themselves. At the party, serve limited liquor- jut beer and wine or a spiked punch if at all.Put the phrase NO GIFTS prominently on the invitation.

I can tell you from sad first hand experience that family feuds start over who is invited to showers, engagement parties and weddings and that those feuds do continue for many years. My mother and grandmother got into that with my grandmother's sisters in law. As a consequence I lost contact with cousins that I grew up with. Any attempts I made to call them were eventually known through teh family grapevine and I was berated for disloyalty

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#9
Sep 5, 2013
 
Girl stuff, don't care.
:)
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
L2. Invite everyone, let them sort it out themselves. At the party, serve limited liquor- jut beer and wine or a spiked punch if at all.Put the phrase NO GIFTS prominently on the invitation.
I can tell you from sad first hand experience that family feuds start over who is invited to showers, engagement parties and weddings and that those feuds do continue for many years. My mother and grandmother got into that with my grandmother's sisters in law. As a consequence I lost contact with cousins that I grew up with. Any attempts I made to call them were eventually known through teh family grapevine and I was berated for disloyalty

Since: Jan 10

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#10
Sep 5, 2013
 
The kid probably could sell mom's junk and she wouldn't even know it was missing. NIck's mom is a hoarder but all the stuff fits in one bedroom. His old room. You cant' even open the door more than enough to just stick your arm through to throw another full shopping bag onto the pile.

“Licensed to Ill”

Since: Aug 08

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#11
Sep 5, 2013
 

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LW1: Thatís something you need to talk to your dad about, and let him handle it, and if he wonít and has no spine, there is not much you can do.

I suggest you open a bank account and keep your money there or move out.

LW2: You canít control the behavior or others. If you want to invite everyone, the chance that there will be drama is something you take.
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#12
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1: I doubt you're going to get your mother to pay your money back. You probably should take the situation to your father, tell him exactly what has happened. He may give you your money back, but if your mother has run your family so deeply into debt that she's stealing from her kid's piggy banks, he may not be able to do so.

But, there are more important things you have to do here, since you've now learned your mother does not respect any boundaries.

First, check your credit and make sure that she hasn't opened any credit in your name. If she has, file a police report. It's the only way you're going to be able to challenge those accounts/clear your credit history.

Second, open your own bank account and put everything you can, even "fun money" there. Or open multiple bank accounts, one for general spending, one for fun money.

Third, if you can believe you can trust yourself to control your own spending, go as cash-free as possible. Use either debit or credit for all purchases possible, if credit, make sure to pay off the account monthly. DO NOT bring cash into your parents' house.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

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#13
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1 - Open a banking account. Have your paycheck directly deposited into it. Get your own apartment.

LW2 - Engagement shower?*Engagement* shower? Are you serious? Don't you mean an engagement party? If you are just holding a party, invite whomever you want. Maybe use evite so that people can see who's been invited before they can RSVP. E-mail or call those who are known to cause trouble specifically and tell them that they are free to decline the invitation, but if they choose to accept, you expect them to behave civilly. Before you send out the e-vites, though, you may run the guest list by the bride because it is rude to invite somebody who is going to cause her distress by *their* behavior. While you are running the guest list by her, make it absolutely clear to her that YOU are the host, and you feel it is important to invite people who have meaningful relationships to the bride and that you expect HER to behave civilly to them too.

LW3 - Oh, fercryingoutloud. The original LW was a nut, but "I have it worse, and other people should count their blessings because they are not in my situation" is really not a valid argument. Somebody else's broken leg doesn't make your own hangnail hurt any less, although it is probably wise to refrain from constantly whining about it while the person with the broken leg is getting around on crutches.
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

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#14
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1 needs to take the advice above--and consider sending the mother a bill with an interest charge (if LW1 even wants to communicate with her) sweetly
worded, "At this point, you owe me $12.00 interest. If it is not paid in thirty day, you will owe me $14.00."
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

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#15
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1: What Race said. This is a great lesson. Keeping your money in a bank account is the best way to safeguard it. Cash is too easily lost or stolen. I am sorry that your mom has this problem and that your dad doesn't address it. I'm also sorry that you missed the trip with your friends. You should absolutely insist that your family pay back the money with interest. Stay in school and you will soon have a job that pays you enough money to get your own place.

LW2: Team Cass. Run the guest list by your niece in case SHE has a personal problem with anyone on it; otherwise invite everyone. And if anyone says, "I'm not coming because so-and-so is coming" then you say, "I'm sorry, we will miss you."
EJG

Wallingford, CT

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#16
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1 All of the previous responses are very good, but, depending on the amount of money stolen, Angry and Fed Up should also consider filing criminal charges. Is this an extreme response? Perhaps, but if Mom were to go into a 12 step program, she would be required to make amends to her child for the theft that she committed, wouldn't she? This mom has not hit bottom, yet, so her stealing and spending could escalate if nothing is done to address her criminal act. Would the mom want her younger son to follow her example because he seems to be getting away with it?
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

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#17
Sep 5, 2013
 
1: Produce clerk? Money in a jar? Did this letter take 60 years to arrive?
Seriously, scum is a good word. Dad needs to straighten her out--her habits are repugnant.

2: Why is this such a common problem? People suck.
Julie

Skokie, IL

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#18
Sep 5, 2013
 
boundary painter wrote:
LW1 needs to take the advice above--and consider sending the mother a bill with an interest charge (if LW1 even wants to communicate with her) sweetly
worded, "At this point, you owe me $12.00 interest. If it is not paid in thirty day, you will owe me $14.00."
You're a complete waste of space.

“suffers from formicophilia ”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#19
Sep 5, 2013
 
cheluzal wrote:
People suck.
Amen, sister!

“This is SPARTA!”

Since: Dec 08

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#20
Sep 5, 2013
 
LW1: "How do I get my mother to take responsibility for her actions and pay me back the money she stole from me?"
Consider this the cost of a valuable life lesson: You can't control other people's actions only your own. Learn from it and act accordingly moving forward.

LW2: See LW's lesson. Invite who you want to. Leave the animals to their own devices.

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