June 20, 2009


You know that girl in an abusive relationship who swears he loves her and he promises to stop beating her face into a wall, but he never stops and she never leaves him? That's what I feel like with my mom. I get so hopeful that things will work out because she's my mom and I miss her, that even though I should see the brutality coming I don't because I don't want to see it.

(Quick background: My grandpa left us grandkids money for college. When I went to UCSD my mom told me it was my money to use for school, and she put it in a joint savings account so I could pay for tuition and books. Fortunately, California picked up the school tab. I used $8 grand of my college fund to pay for car repairs, summer school and (rarely) rent. After two years the rest disappeared from the account and my mom didn't answer her phone for two days. When she did she told me she meant to take the money sooner but "never got around to it." I hung up the phone and we mutually ignored each other for 2 years.)

I went to talk with her on Wednesday about our relationship and to try to understand exactly why she took the money away. She had said a week earlier it was because I stopped calling her and she could only assume it was because I was in an uber-Christian cult.

Or that I was on drugs and going to get killed in Mexico, or that I was going to run off to Vegas and get married, or take off to live in Europe without telling anyone. There is no end to a paranoid mother's madness. Of course, in her mind all of these scenarios are perfectly legitimate worries. A cousin went the uber-Christian cult route; though my mom searched my room while I was living with her and didn't find drugs, I do live next to Mexico and my "personality changed so much that it could only be because of drugs"; when I went to Europe with my boyfriend a few years back one of her coworkers convinced her we were eloping, though I did not come back married; my aunt told her I was planning on living in Europe, but my mom didn't hear it was because I was planning on going to grad school there.

So what's a paranoid mother to do? Why, the only logical thing you can do: take away your daughter's college funding. Even though I'd used it responsibly for two years I was obviously about to do something stupid. All because I never called to ask how she was doing. Those of you who know me well know I don't just call up and ask how you're doing if I don't have something interesting to say. I guess I could call my mom and tell her what an ostrich or java banteng did but I imagine that would be pretty boring. When I was little she used to complain about my dad's boring work stories. However, the biggest reason I never called her was because every time we spoke she would yell at me for not doing something right and I would cry. It gets to a point you just don't want to actively seek that.

My mom told me all I had to do was send her whatever bills needed to be paid and she would pay them with that money. I had been paying my own bills for two years... why, at 22, could I not handle that anymore? My sister allowed our mom to handle her bills when she went to college because she saw how happy it made her. Unfortunately, our mom fucked up and my sister had to do a lot of damage control, which cost her even more money. But our mom will never admit to fucking up. Our mom never went to college and doesn't understand how it works. This infuriates her. Just because she wanted to be in the process didn't mean I was willing to let it get fucked up so my mommy could help. If I fucked up I had only myself to blame. But I did not fuck up.

She was also upset that she didn't have access to my UCSD account. Having access meant she would see my transcript, grades and health records. I considered all of that very private and was not about to hand over my password. Most parents have access to their students university accounts, but most parents have that access so they can PAY MONEY TO THE SCHOOL. My mom had jack shit to give me and my dad made it clear he would not pay for college. My sisters and I have always known we were on our own when it came to school. In that light, I feel I deserved the privacy that was legally afforded to me; I got that degree on my own and it hangs on my wall as a daily reminder.

There is one glitch in my mom's logic: if I did lay down my pride and dignity and ask her for money to go to school again she could not help me because the money is apparently locked in a CD until September. Had I gone to grad school this year it would have been all me.

So I am not going to lay down my pride and dignity and ask my mom, at 24 or 25, if I can get my master's degree. That is going to be on my terms, not hers. I've already resigned to never seeing a penny of that money again, and I'm OK with that. On Wednesday she asked me what will make this all go away, and was shocked when I told her having that money back. "When did it become all about the money?" she demanded. I told her, "When you took the money from me." Was that not obvious?

No matter how many times I said even if I don't see the money I still want a relationship, all my mom heard was "I can't wait for you to die so I can throw a party with that money." We left on a pretty sour note. In a fit of drama my mom swore to sell the house and not leave a forwarding address. I'm not sure where that leaves us. Probably back to square one. Sigh.

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