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Dear Bossip,

I’m 27 years old and I am having an ongoing conflict with my family.

I’m the oldest of 4 girls. The other two are ages 21, 23 and 25 years of age. We were raised in a single-parent home and experienced some traumatizing situations growing up. We ran through back alleys while my parents fought and people called the police. We were even homeless at one point.

Being that I am the oldest, I was always faced with the responsibility of taking care of my younger sisters. At the age of 6, I was a latchkey kid and it was my responsibility to watch my sisters after school. As I’ve gotten older I realized that maybe that was never my responsibility. I stopped talking to the 23 year old sister about a year ago because I loaned her money to reserve her dorm room at her college and she never returned it. Instead, she chose to curse me out about it and never gave it back. It wasn’t even a large sum of money, but it was about the principle.

Growing up, my mother was very abusive and took all of her frustration out on us. I mean at the age of 8 or 9 she caught me in a lie and she jacked me up against the wall and told me that she would kill me. During my teen years she even pulled a knife out on me. Whenever she was mad at my father she took it out on me specifically (I guess because I’m his twin). She used to tell me that I thought I was better than everybody else because of my “-ish color” (I’m light-skinned). She’s a medium brown complexion and I’ve always thought she had an issue with lighter skinned people. Yet, she had kids by my father simply for the fact that he was light-skinned.

When we were kids she was arrested for beating my younger sister for something so minor. She would always put the blame on her for everything that happened in her life. Most of the years that I lived under her roof, I experienced severe depression to the point where I had to leave school early during my junior year. Since I was 16 or 17 years old, I got a job and had been helping out. I couldn’t even buy a car because I was always giving money to my mother. It was to the point where I had to hide my money in some deep hidden places in my closet or just get money orders. A lot of the time she would still find it. I even helped her re-finance her home.

After I left home, I continued to help her. I even gave her my account number for emergencies with a limit. Then, she started taking large lump sums out of my account (like $300/$400) and I was forced to change the account number. I decided to cut her off for about 6 months. Recently, she asked me for money to help with a bill and I guess that I didn’t respond to her in a timely manner. So, she sent me a text message saying that I was “dead to her.” I don’t know what to do at this point. I feel as though I have the right to live my life freely without worrying as an ADULT. I’m tired of her excuses. But, how do you cut off your own mother? I just really don’t know what to do. I even went to my pastor. – Helpless

Dear Ms. Helpless,

You cut your mother off by simply doing just that. You cut her off!

You are in this abusive relationship with your mother, and you allow her to continue to treat you like a child instead of an adult. There seems to be some sense of obligation on your end to do for your mother, and a need for you to show her that you love her and will be there for her. So, to prove your love and loyalty to her you do the things you do hoping she will love the child that you still feel that you are.

You claim that when you were younger your mother was abusive toward you and your sisters. She hated you for your light-skin. She threw you up against a wall, and she pulled a knife out on you. You felt the need to take to care of your siblings at a young age because your parents were not around. You experienced homelessness, and even witnessing your parents argue and fight with the police being called. And, at one point, you suffered from depression from living in her house and had to leave school. You have experienced severe trauma and you haven’t had any treatment – psychological, or mental for any of this. Your mother was physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive, and she still is. You are in an abusive relationship with your mother.

I recommend you get into therapy and you work through these issues which are showing up from your childhood years and into your adult life. You have emotional, mental, and physical trauma which is untreated. And, if you don’t get treatment, then you will continue this abusive relationship with your mother and siblings.

Also, I want you to notice that the money situation between your mother and sister, in which both of them stopped speaking to you due to you giving them money and neither of them repaying you. Don’t give them money. Don’t loan it. Don’t let them borrow it. Money, family and friends don’t mix. And, I don’t understand why you would give your mother access to your bank account, particularly for emergencies. Uhm, sweetie, every moment in her life is an emergency. What I’m saying is that your mother doesn’t care about you, and she doesn’t respect you. She goes into your account and takes the money she needs, more than she is allotted, and she doesn’t even consult you about it. She just does it. And, it’s because you’ve given her unlimited access to your life. STOP THIS –ISH!

You don’t owe anyone anything but yourself. You are an adult, and you have to look out and take care of yourself. Don’t leave your bank account open to anyone, especially someone who is abusive. If they will abuse you physically, they will abuse you financially, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

By the way, you signed your letter “Helpless.” You still feel like the helpless little girl who is afraid of her mother, and wants to do everything to prove her love to her. You open your life to her and let her run over you, and through your bank account. You pay her bills, and you continue to extend yourself to her because you want validation, and her love. You claim you’re helpless, but you’re really not. You can stop all of this, and you can put an end to it all. You have to recognize your own strength, your own power, and your own worth. You have to love yourself, and lover yourself enough to let go of those who hurt you and continue to hurt you, even if it’s family members. You can’t let people run over you, mistreat you, and disrespect you. But, I do hope you will get into therapy sooner rather than later. You’re in an abusive relationship and don’t even know it. – Terrance Dean

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