For starters, I’m a teacher in Oklahoma. The pay here isn’t the best, but I’m especially thankful for what I have been able to earn during these uncertain times. Knowing just that little bit of information about me should be enough to make everyone aware of the stress it brings when my already tight budget gets even more pressed when one of my parents requests help every month with paying their bills. Add to that the fact that I am already helping them pay a portion of their bills automatically each month. A big part of me feels obligated to help as I have been the “pleasing & obedient” child since my parents divorced when I was just 9 years old. I wasn’t aware until recently that this feeling I have of obligation to care for this parent may also be a side effect of spending the greater part of my childhood in a toxic and emotionally abusive environment.
I was ok with helping him out on occasion. He had always helped me out when I would find myself in a bind. I was also the one taking care of his paperwork/bills like a voluntary secretarial service. He tells me frequently that it’s better if I just do it now, because his memory is shot and he isn’t smart enough anyways to handle all of it. I do what he says. After all he is my dad. I do what I can to help when I see that he just doesn’t have the money to cover his expenses.
Two years ago, his reliance on me got even worse when he drove in to my driveway with a brand new car. Oddly enough, he didn’t need my advice to get that deal done. I know why he didn’t ask my advice, because I would have told him flat out that he couldn’t afford it.
He kept the car. I just continued to enable his reliance on me and let the stress build on me and my finances. I finally cried out yesterday after he asked me to pay his rent for the month. He said “ this is the last month. I’ll be done after this. When we get this paid …this place will be put in your name.” My response, “dad, I don’t mind helping when I can, it’s when I can’t! It kills me. It also kills me that I know once I figure out what to do to solve this problem you will bring me next month’s financial problems to solve.” I believe this can all be summed up by saying, I am having so many conflicting emotions about establishing healthy boundaries here.
I have been trying to pull myself out of this ditch of living paycheck to paycheck for several years. This is very hard to do when someone keeps randomly digging right beside me, spontaneously. I know I need to remove myself from this toxic place especially if I want to achieve my hopes and dreams. My hopes and dreams remain pretty simple. Give my kids what I never had. A stable environment, good financial guidance and unconditional love & support. I want to give my kids at least a mound to start from not a ditch.
Some links I have found are listed below sharing more information with grown children that may deal with financially irresponsible parents.
When you Find Yourself Paying for Your Parents’ Financial Mistakes