Self preservation or just plain Selfish!?!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by lovemysons, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I guess this is somewhat of a vent regarding my mother...
    It started the other night (or should I say Years ago) when my mother and I were discussing the fact my cousin married a much older man of 70 when she was 30 yrs old.
    My mom was saying that some people might think she was a gold digger unless they were to know her. I interjected and said that plus the fact that my cousin has always had a safety net and provisions that will be left to her from my Aunt and Uncle.

    Oh my! Boy did this open up a can of worms!!! My mother got very defensive.
    Long story short we got into it over money. See...she does not "plan" on leaving me any money. Nor does she see herself as needing to ever "help family". That's not how she thinks...In fact she said that my grandchildren Her great-grandchildren have all the provision they need from husband and I and the other grandparents.

    My mom is 64 going on 21. She just recently had her "lips done" and before that it was botox around her mouth (after great grandson told her she had "an old person's mouth lol) and her eyelids tatooted.
    This is my mother! She also wants to buy a convertabile as her SUV is not "playful and fun enough".

    My mother raised me alone (did not meet my dad until I was 17). She was very career-oriented. She also loved and LOVES her friends...almost if not more than family, sigh. She says when she walks into the room her friends are always glad to see her but when she gets around family it is like "Oh, there's GGMA" again. Yes, she goes by GGMA not Grandma, lol.

    Im just so tired of listening to the newest thing she's bought for herself, treatment she's had done on herself, what she wants next etc...without much regard for family needs.
    Her philiosophy is basically "Every man for himself".

    Am I wrong...Is she wrong? husband and I just think that family should help family and that leaving something for generations to come is a loving gracious thing to do. My mom thinks she should spend it all since it is HERS.
    In fact, she even laughs about "SKIing"...stands for "Spending Kid's Inheritance".
    I don't think it's funny.

    What do you think?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I think there's two separate parts to the story.
    On the one hand... we won't be leaving much to the kids, either, but that's because we're spending most of it now, with the intent that they will launch and be self sufficient... and we'll make do on what is left. Having done that, I have no guilt in not scrimping and pinching any more than I have to in old age, just to leave "an inheritance" for my kids.

    On the other hand... that's not what your mom has done. Seems like it's always been about her. And perhaps that is the harder part to deal with than whether or not there's an inheritance?
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LMS, maybe it is because I am closer to your mom's age than your age but I kind of see her point. husband and I are not going to deny ourselves things we want in our "old age" just so our girls can have more money after we are gone. We have worked hard for our money and spent freely on our daughters so they could have a nice life while they were growing up.

    They are now grown up and in the same place we were when we started and I feel it is time for them to work hard if they want nice things in life. We plan to travel and enjoy ourselves after we retire. I guess you could look at that as either using up their inheritence or rewarding ourselves for a lifetime of hard work.

  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LMS, I am just shy of your Mom's age and although I have used A LOT of my money on my daughter, my sister and my granddaughter, now that I am this age, I am becoming more selfish. I didn't think that way until recently, I think there is something about getting to a certain age where you start recognizing that you need to think about having enough money to get you through.

    Having said all of that, I think in your case, it may be less about what your mother leaves any of you, then it is about how she is. She sounds like someone who has always been self focused, perhaps even selfish, and that isn't changing with what she does now with her money. There may not really be any right or wrong here, just what people decide to do. Your mother has been willing to trade off the family connection for a younger face and being able to buy herself "stuff." In the end, we all have to live with our choices............while she spends all her money, she may do it without much family connection.

    I'm trying to find that balance for myself too. For me, I've given the kids A LOT and now (once granddaughter is on her way) it's going to be all about ME.
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Doubt my kids will inherit anything from me unless the X hits the lottery and pays his child support, doubt there will be much for my siblings & I when my parents go. They have money but spend $1000 on dental work for a dog that gets put to sleep a couple months later, etc. Guess best to hope for is my siblings will rent me the other 2/3 of their house cheep so I have a roof over my head.

    What it comes down to is life isn't about money it's about love (family friends pets)

    She was a single mother, kids are grown, the money is hers she should enjoy it, within reason - please point out to her with medical technology people live to be around 100 these days and she needs to slow down spending if she wants to be able to grow old comfortably. Your worry at this point shouldn't be will there be any $ left when she passes but 30 years from now when her diapers need changing can she afford a nurse to do it or are you gonna have to deal with it?

  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    InsaneCdn, You are very very perceptive!
    That is the harder part...the fact that it has ALWAYS been about her.

    I don't remember her ever getting down on the floor and playing with me when I was little. I don't remember her ever helping me with homework. She was absent and I was raised primarily by babysitters or by myself.

    We moved alot...10 times by the time I hit 9th grade. I had no roots, no dad, no brothers or belonging.
    So I wanted differently that what she wanted. I wanted a FAMILY...a big family.
    I wanted to live primarily in one location...and we have lived in the DFW area for most of the past 20 yrs. I tried very hard to be what my mother never was for me.

    She thinks it's interesting that she is SO independent and that here I am very dependent on husband. husband and I have been married 27 yrs this past July. I think that's remarkable considering the fact that we both came from nearly no parenting or bad parenting from both sides of our families.

    I don't have anything against her enjoying this tale end of her life...I do see Kathy and Recoveringenablers point in regard to that. I just wish she wasn't so Me-centric.

    My mother often had her "girlfriends" act as disciplinarians for she "didn't know what to do with me". Yes, I was a difficult child...undxd Bipolar. She didn't know this of course while she was raising me...I didn't know either. Was just often subjected to being called a "Spoiled Brat".
    One time, when I was around 12, my mother's "friend" told her to leave the room...and she did. This "friend" proceded to beat me in the face if I "moved wrong or without her permission". She was going to set me straight!
    So I lost alot of respect for my mother along the way.

    There was another time when I was around 13...and she was all but being raped in the living room by a man she had just met at a was me who rescued her! She even had me sleep in her bed that night and "hold her" as it was almost like she was the child. It was very dysfunctional.

    Now this is not who she is today. Today she is just a very unsatisfied perfectionist who still loves her friends though more than family.

    My mom is by no means a bad person. In fact, she is loved by Many a friend. I just think it's sad that all of her family see's her as selfish and self-centered.

    I often try and be close to her...helping her with projects, as I said she is always trying to make things perfect!
    I don't think that even "I" am good enough for her. She often tells me what I should be doing that I am not. We are just not the same people. Our value systems are completely different and always have been.

    I think the best thing she did for me growing up was when I turned around 14 she met a young woman who was involved with a youth ministry. They became roommates and so when I returned from boarding school (that my mother had sent me for acting up...with my grandmother's money by the way)...anyway, this young woman became a wonderful buffer in my relationship with my mother. However she moved out when I turned 17 or so.

    It's been a rocky relationship at times...I just have some lingering issues with my growing up years...that are likely too far gone to repair. My mom can't go back and do over...nor would she want to.
    I guess I just have to reconcile with the past on my own.

    I love her...I don't like her very much sometimes. I guess that's normal...dunno.
    Maybe she has her reasons as much as I have mine for being "this way".

    Thanks for the reply's and listening to me.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't feel a parent needs to leave family anything when they die. in my opinion they should have as much fun with what they have that they can while they can. They earned it, they should enjoy it.

    That said, family is everything. Family helps family. This does not mean family enables family. There is a difference and it is enormous. As I'm sure you know.

    Her attitude is selfish. Not because she wants to spend her money, just well because I see it in just about everything..........Know what I mean??
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Oh LMS, I feel for you! I'm also a daughter of dysfunctional mother, just two of us going around with no stability and mixed roles in who takes care of whom. While I do have a father, he wasn't much there. There was long times I didn't even see him at all. I did have grandparents for stability though, when my mom wasn't keeping me away from them. My mom wasn't a bad person either. Selfish - yes. Dysfunctional - definitely. Difficult to live with - you bet. But of course she was my only mother. But I too wanted a polar opposite with my own family.

    My mom was a communist, well mostly, and despised private property and didn't do a lot to have much. But inheriting what she had (and she did have much more than I thought, she had inherited some from her grandparents and hadn't done anything to that property) did mean a lot to me. Of course I come with culture based on family farms and inherited land. Idea of not being responsible of your fortune to both earlier generations and your off spring is just culturally bit odd to us. North American culture is so very different in this, that I have difficult time really wrapping my emotions around the idea of self-made fortune and having a right to self-spend it. I of course know people, who are self-made so to say, but somewhere deep in my way of thinking property tends to always be 'family estate', inherited from previous generations, taken care with best of your ability and passed to the next generation hopefully in better shape than in which you got it.

    But what I think you are mostly having problem with your mom is, that inheritance or no-inheritance, she has always put herself first and not been the mom you would have needed. And yes, she has been selfish.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well at least she didnt write a will the way my mom did. My mom specified in writing that I was to get nothing of hers when she died except that the executor COULD give me $10 a year if I was homeless and I needed medication and I provided documented proof from a doctor that I indeed needed medication.

    What a B!

    In the end, it was her who needed the help because she ended up with alzheimers. Her lawyer got her to sign a POA in one of her lucid moments where she could look at me, say my name and say I was her daughter. I think he just wanted me to have the POA because I was her only child and as such in the state she lived in and in mine, I was required by law to take care of her if she didnt have medicaid to pay for a nursing home.

    You can bet your bottom dollar I got everything she had. I used her money to buy the double wide I live in now because the one I was in was a single wide with only 3 bedrooms. I needed 4. When I sold her place I put the money in the bank and paid myself for taking care of her because she was one of the reasons I lost my job. I also couldnt attempt to find another job with her here because she would have had to pay far more for in home help. I spent down her money until she was eligible for medicaid and at that time I had her placed in a nursing home.

    I could have turned my back on her and tell a judge I wouldnt take her on because of the abuse all my life but I decided to do what I thought was right and do the best I could to take care of her until I simply couldnt anymore.

    The one bad thing was that when she went into the nursing home I couldnt bring myself to visit her very often and the social workers at the nursing home thought I was awful. Oh well...I had just had enough. She had no clue who I was anymore and I just felt done.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    LMS, sending hugs and no advice...for a change. I'm on your team but frankly think that you need to put your Mom on the list of things that you can not change. Through some miracle you are a wonderful caring spouse, Mom and person,. I truly think you are amazing! Hugs DDD
  11. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    It is interesting to me that most of us here who are older see that the money is hers and she can and should spend it however she pleases. I'm 65 and drive a new Camaro. I like to travel and that's how I spend my money.

    In my case, I have given my children far more money than I should have and I find myself resenting the fact that I can't do a lot of the things I'd like because they have spent all of my money. I have had to become more selfish, and they are going to have to learn to cope on their own. I do not feel that it is a parent's job to scrimp and save and live frugally so they can leave a bundle to their kids.

    However, I have a feeling that your problems with your mother stem from a lot more than money. She sounds like she would have been a difficult woman to have had for a mother and it is no wonder that you and she have some issues.

    One of my mantras over the years has been that you can't change anybody; you can only change your reactions to them.

    Probably her life as a single mother was no bed of roses either. You can give her the benefit of the doubt and try to believe that she did the best she could for you with what she had to work with, financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. As somebody whose mother just passed (leaving no money at all) I can tell you that you won't have her forever and now is the time to make peace and enjoy her for what she is; not feel badly for what she is not. We all fall short as parents at times but she is what she is and you can either feel bad about what she didn't do right or be thankful for the things she did do right (and I'm sure there were some).

    As far as the money goes, it is nice to have enough to help out family when they need it but it is not the duty of the older generation to provide for the younger once they are adults. I kinda feel that I only have a few years left to enjoy my life and I plan to use my money to do just that. I don't want to be a selfish :censored2: about it but I helped my kids get grown and get an education and get established and I went to work everyday for nearly 50 years and I plan to use the little money I have to enjoy the few years I have left.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    LMS, I know you. I know that this is NOT about money in any way. Money is a tool in this case. For you it represents caring for your children. You want to leave something for your kids to show them that they meant so much to you. You don't need to because your kids already know this. They know because you DID get on the floor and play with them, you were there to discipline them reasonably which means you didn't beat them or let anyone else unless they got violent first and it had to happen to keep them from hurting themselves or others. You have been there to support them no matter what and when you got stable and learned what enabling is you have worked to be the parent who doesn't even though your kids know how to yank on those heartstrings and hook them up to the winch and pull them until they get what they want (esp the youngest son, Know what I mean???? I know you do!).

    You did what needed to be done to be a good parent. You want to leave something to them to help them because you love them. Period.

    Your mom doesn't understand parenting or want to. She wasn't really a parent, and your relationship wasn't really ever healthy. She was a friend that you couldn't ditch when she proved unreliable or to be a bad friend. I have always said that kids get 1000 or more friends but only 2 parents and as a parent it is not fair to abdicate and be the friend instead. Even when the child HATES you for it.

    Your mom has always been selfish, and that won't change. I sincerely hope she has enough to support herself and take care of her needs, but I am sure she is figuring that you will take care of her when she is old, sick and broke. I hope you know that it will NOT be awful of you to put her in a nursing home when she needs the care, even if all she has is medicare. It won't be selfish of you, or unChristian. It will be HUMAN and reasonable. You already raised her once, from what I have heard of your childhood (more than this post or past ones). in my opinion you need to talk with a therapist about her and figure out what you will be able to cope with when she is old and sick. do it NOW and let her know. NOT to be mean to her, but to let her know what she can count on you doing and what she cannot and will need to make plans for. Chances are she won't have plans other than that you have 'enough money' and she will plan on having you take care of her because you somehow 'owe' her. You don't, but knowing you, you will probably feel you do. So work on this with a therapist NOW, and talk it over with your husband. Figure out what you iwll and won't do, and then let her know and make her own plans for that time.

    Personally, if my folks leave a will that says "Being of sound mind and bodies, we spent every last penny and had a BLAST!", I will be happy for them. Knowing my folks, there will be some $ left. They both inherited quite a bit, and have helped us a lot. They owe us nothing. Gfgbro and I would like some mementos, probably not the ones others would like. But my folks gave us a VERY different upbringing than you had, and we have a very different relationship than you do.

    It sounds like this is something that you have to figure out how to accept. She won't change so you have to figure out how you want to handle things regarding her as she ages. NOW is the time to figure out what you will and won't do, in my opinion. That way when the pressure or crisis hits, you will have a plan and won't suddenly find yourself stuck iwth full time care of an invalid that you really don't want to have full time care of. NOT that you would turn your back on her, you wouldn't. But if you have a plan it can mean that you don't suddenly have to scramble to figure out what to do.

    I am sorry this is so tough. I know it is hard. (((((hugs)))))
  13. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Needless to say it has been a restless night's sleep as posting these things about my mom leaves me a bit uncomfortable...Not honoring her.

    Muttmeister...I want to say how sorry I am about the loss of your mom recently. You are right that I have a choice to feel badly about what she didn't do or be thankful for what she did. And she did take me away from an abusive, alcoholic dad. She has also been there for me if I was ever in need of Dr's care and even my Pyschotic breakdown 6 1/2yrs ago. And I have always known that she loves me...and did the best she could with what she had. She also worked very hard while raising me and put herself through college. She was only 17 when she had me and she had lived in the same small little town til that point. I think she couldn't wait to break free and see the world! I was not so adaptive to change and as I said before I had no roots or anyone to share life experiences with...I stayed very lonely. But you're right, it was likely no bed of roses for my mother either...especially as I was undxd Bipolar and she had to deal with my behavior's from very young age. I know I was a source of hardship for her.

    Suzir...Thank you for sharing your story with me and thoughts about inheritance where you come from as well. My Aunt and Uncle are very well off due to land that my Uncle's grandmother left to them. They have been able to help all there children and grandchildren and will be able to help generations to come. And if you knew my Aunt and Uncle you would know they are just as good as they get too! My Aunt is very dear to me.

    Janet...I am always so sorry to hear of the wounds your mother left on you. My story is not nearly as painful as that. Caring ((((hugs)))).

    Susie...I have thought about what I will do when she is older and less able bodied. In fact my mom and I have talked in the past and she wants to be placed in a facility with other people, games, entertainment, etc. And that is one of the reasons that I don't think there will be anything "left" as it will likely be used to care for her in the way she wants to be cared for at the end of her life. But if her money does run out...I WILL care for her.
    I know I probably should talk to a therapist about situations re my mom. I don't often get this upset but lately it's just been one reminder after another of her "Me Me Me" attitude.
    As you may know, Oldest difficult child, is expecting his 3rd baby girl Sept 6th...the day my leaves for Spain, sigh.

    DDD...I am not feeling very "amazing" this morning but I always thank you for your kindness and caring. I had a grandmother until the end of my 13th yr. In many ways you remind me of the grandmother that I no longer have as she always tried to let me know in various ways how special I was to her. My grandfather (on my mom's side) died when I was 3 yrs old...but I do remember him playing with me. My grandparents were good, hardworking people.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and even if my mom is a bit on the selfish side...I do love my mom and I know she loves me.

  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I haven't read any of the replies but wanted to chime in here.

    It is the perfect right of every individual to do what they want with what they have earned or inherited. No one is under any obligation because of blood connection to provide for later generations.

    If someone has lived a financially successful life because of hard work (or anything else), they are entitled to spend every penny on themselves when they retire or slow down. It is their right. They have earned it.

    For anyone to assume that they deserve an inheritance is actually more selfish than someone spending all their money.

    That's my two cents.

    Now, I don't plan to live that way because, out of love and care for those after me, I would leave what I could. But, if I want to use most of it to travel and pamper myself in my later years, that's my right.

    This is how families turn on each other.....I have seen "greed" tear what I thought were loving families apart.

    Your mother's inability to connect emotionally is a much greater, and sadder, issue than the money. I live in that world as well.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Count me in on the oldies (60 next week) who have become more selfish as I get older. Most of us have sacrificed for our kids in every way possible, yet all of us have been burned by that in some way or we wouldn't be on this site. I just feel like the golden years should be more for us to finally get to do for ourselves. Enjoy our partners all over again, if we are married. Not to mention, I've known kids who are waiting for their parents to die just to get their money.

    Heck, I've seen sad situations where kids care more about which siblings get the money than the memories of the deceased parent. This may sound weird, but because we have no extra money, at least I feel ok knowing that my kids (the ones who are kind to me) are loving because they truly care and not because they want a big piece of the pie. I know 35 is not a big fan of his father's, but he has no problem taking $50K from him for his custody battle. And he'll be very nice to him to his face because of his money.

    If I did have some money, I'd probably make sure everyone got a bit of it. But I wouldn't stop living because I felt the need to support the next generation. My grandmother was self-sacrificing and a Depression mother. She lived in an apartment and never traveled her entire life. They bought old cars. She did this to have enough money to give to her two kids. I thought it was nutty, but it was what she wanted to do and that's ok too. In the end, my mom and grandma's very last encounter was screaming at one another with my mom accusing her of "favoring" my uncle. Mom was in her 60's and Grandma was 82. So what good was the money after all that resentment?

    Sounds like your mom is a bit on the selfish side, but so what? Lots of Babyboomers take better care of themselves physically than the old stereotypical grandmas who let themselves go and didn't care how they looked and lived life to cook, spoil the grandchildren, and help their grown kids. Older folks can be more independent now and I think that's a good thing. Don't get me wrong...I am nothing like your mother and I do think she is selfish. I just think it's kind of common these days. And people live so much longer...if she ever needs assisted living...she will have money to pay for it. That's a real burden off of you!!!!

    JMO :)
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To Janet: You were in a similar situation to me. When my mother got brain cancer, she lived in Illinois by my sister. She loved my sister and her kids and had never even met my three youngest kids and wouldn't call me on the phone for ten years, although I made honest attempts at reconciliation. I felt that, all things considered, my sister and brother could look after her. If I'd gotten sick, she wouldn't even have visited me. In fact, when I did have surgery, she didn't visit me. She was vile to me and my children. I could handle her being vile to me, but not the kids. She wouldn't even send a birthday card to the two children of mine that she had known for about ten years.

    I had to seriously think about whether or not to attend her funeral since we hadn't even seen one another for over ten years due to her wishes. I did go, but mostly to comfort the grieving. When I think of her now, it's about somebody I don't know who didn't know me...and didn't want to bridge that gap. I feel sad that she wouldn't allow it to be different in her later years.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I never felt it was my parents duty to leave me something but I didnt like the fact that my mom wouldnt get life insurance on her so that I wouldnt be left with the bill when she died. As it happened, I had to pay to cremate her. She knew she could have done a pre-paid funeral or cremation because that is what her mother did. Now my mom did get money when my grandmother died so I really didnt understand her attitude towards me. By the time I was grown and out on my own I wasnt asking her for anything.

    Now when my father died I have to say I was surprised at the way things happened. He did leave me some money but I would have thought he would have had an insurance policy on himself so that he would have left something more for me and my kids. In fact, years ago he asked me for some personal information that left me thinking he did have an insurance policy. As far as I can tell he didnt. Everything went to his second wife except the CD he had for me and a few things we wanted. I wanted his pick up truck badly and my father had told us we could have it. husband wanted my dad's tool collection and he got it. Middle son got everything that my dad ever had that was Marines based. The other two boys got nothing. Now supposedly my step-mother was "looking" for a signet ring that my father used to wear that I really wanted. We were going to give that to difficult child as his remembrance of his grandfather. Oldest couldnt think of a thing he wanted. I still need to get up with her about some videos that my dad took of my boys growing up. I know she doesnt want them because she gave every single picture she had of me and my family to my middle son within weeks of my dad dying. I also think there may be some old slides from when I was a little girl in their attic. I doubt I ever get those things.

    Oddly I know I wont be able to leave anything financial to my kids. I am planning on getting enough insurance on both me and husband so they wont have to worry when we die. If I could get a larger amount of insurance I would probably get it but I dont think I am insurable. I do have certain things set aside though. Like in my will it leaves my car to husband because its only in my name. I am leaving my mobile home equally to oldest and youngest because I know they would take care of each other. There are some items from my mom that I want each of them to have one day. I have some items that have been passed down my mother's line that are extremely old. I have some iced tea spoons that are well over a hundred years old. I would never give these things to the kids now because they wouldnt keep up with them. Maybe when they are middle aged this will mean much more to them.