Mom’s Woe: I Shoulder All of My Daughter’s Bills, But She Never Cares to Call Me

Money. It can make or break a relationship.

This mom is doing her best to maintain her relationship with her daughter by supporting her financially. But she ends up drained, emotionally and moneywise.

Should she just cut her daughter off after the many instances of abuse that she’s committed? And with her not even caring to give her mom a call?

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Writing about her dilemma in Newsweek’s What Should I Do section, this broken-hearted mom related the following: “Dear Newsweek, My 20-year-old daughter is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force in Oklahoma. Her brother (my son) died in 2019. We have been trying to navigate our lives without him for the past few years, and it’s been rough. I’m now a 56-year-old single empty nester. I pay for my daughter’s car, car insurance, and give her many things she wants and needs, as our military doesn’t pay well. And my only child now can’t even call me on Christmas. All I need from her is a weekly phone call, and we had originally agreed that we would see each other every other month.”

This is especially painful for this single mother since she and her daughter were very close when she was growing up. But now, there’s a great gap between them. Her daughter had told her before that she wanted to go to counseling. However, they could not find a licensed therapist in California and Oklahoma.

Photo: Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk

This mom continued to relate: “Our last trip ended in disaster because of her spending. We ended up fighting because she repeatedly kept trying to buy boots from Steven Madden, and her several transactions were actually posted on my credit card account and would not be removed for 72 hours — locking up my card for over $400. Because of some mailing address issue with her using my card, her transactions were canceled by Steve Madden — but not my credit card company — right away. I ended up having to order the boots, having them mailed to me, and then me mailing them to her in Oklahoma.”

She said that, in spite of her suggesting to her daughter that she should handle the transaction, the young woman just repeated it over and over again. It made her very furious after seeing the multiple transactions that her daughter had made before her departure.

Her final words? “I feel like cutting my daughter off financially — she doesn’t seem to mind taking all my financial support but can’t seem to give me the time of day.

Photo: Pexels/Anastasia Trofimczyk

Advice from Ruth E. Freeman, a licensed clinical social worker and the founder and president of Peace at Home Parenting Solutions: “Your mother-daughter difficulties are likely complicated by your shared grief. Her request that the two of you participate in family therapy is an excellent one so that you can unpack the underlying pain that may be making typical mother-daughter disagreements feel so hard to navigate. You do not need a clinician licensed in both states. A therapist in one of your states can bill your sessions to the insurance plan of the person residing in that state as family therapy.”

Freeman further suggested that, instead of cutting off her daughter, it would be better to talk with her, without any blaming or shaming, about how her spending is affecting her. Then, to ease the financial burden, offer her daughter a monthly allowance at a maximum that they would both agree on so that by the end of the year, she could attain independence.

Photo: Pexels/Anastasia Shuraeva

But Freeman also stressed the importance of this mom assuring her daughter of her love and how much she values their relationship. She hoped that the time would come when both of them could discuss the loss of her son, which is the root of their emotional difficulties. But she should not expect that the way they’ve been experiencing grief is similar. Her daughter’s seemingly childlike behavior is her response to the loss of her brother, whom she must have idealized. Now, she’s constantly craving “concrete manifestations of love.”

This mom should not give up on her only surviving child, while, at the same time, she must be able to set loving boundaries until the time that her daughter has completely processed her pain.

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