She’s stuck liv­ing with a drunken, bul­ly­ing mom

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q. I moved home, need­ing a car for my part-time work and un­able to af­ford both rent and car.

I’ve been pay­ing my mother an agreed $250 per month, bi-weekly.

I’ve been giv­ing her $125 each pay­day in cash, trans­fer­ring it into a bank ac­count she opened se­cretly from my dad.

The money’s hers per­son­ally and doesn’t pay for any house­hold ex­penses, she fre­quently tells me.

My father works hard to pro­vide for her.

She doesn’t work and spends her days drink­ing. Even her booze money comes out of the house­hold ac­count.

I don’t know how my dad deals with it, but it’s not my busi­ness.

There’s one month where I get paid three times.

I’ve ex­plained that I won’t be pay­ing her a third time, but can split up one pay­ment so she still gets three and isn’t “los­ing out.”

But she’s adamant that I’m to pay her ev­ery time I’m paid. It’d mean giv­ing her $375 as op­posed to our agreed $250.

She won’t budge. She starts scream­ing at me.

The bi-weekly pay­ments help me bud­get, but also help her.

I’m think­ing now that I should just slip the full amount into her ac­count at each month’s end, though it’ll un­doubt­edly cause an ar­gu­ment.

My dad doesn’t ques­tion where the cash goes be­cause he doesn’t want to ar­gue.

My part­ner’s in school for an­other year and liv­ing at home so we can­not move out to­gether.

I can’t af­ford an apart­ment on my own and most renters won’t ac­cept my beloved cat.

I stay at my boyfriend’s week­days be­cause it’s closer to work and I avoid her drunken self.

I’m home on week­ends, pay for ev­ery­thing for my cat, and clean her box. My mother feeds her along with her own dog. She’s money-hun­gry and greedy. I hardly use any util­i­ties at home. I can’t move in with my boyfriend’s par­ents as his mother’s strictly against an­i­mals in the house.

Am I right to tell my mother I’m not pay­ing more than what we agreed on? At my job, I have to work my way up to full­time by se­nior­ity.

A. You have op­tions, though lim­ited ones.

You could work a sec­ond job (many do) and seek low-rent ac­com­mo­da­tion that ac­cepts your cat. It won’t be easy to find, but worth a search.

You could tell your mother that no other renter will pay cash to her se­cret fund and put up with her greed and her al­co­holism.

As a bully her­self, she may rec­og­nize the tac­tic and ac­cept get­ting your $250 monthly, es­pe­cially with you hardly stay­ing there.

OR, you can hang in a while longer and move as soon as pos­si­ble.

Sec­ond choice

Q. I was asked to be a friend’s brides­maid and I’m thrilled.

How­ever, I was asked six months af­ter oth­ers in the wed­ding party be­cause I’m re­plac­ing a for­mer brides­maid.

The wed­ding’s in a year. I haven’t missed any pre-wed­ding par­ties (stag and doe, bridal shower, bach­e­lorette, etc.), only the first bridal dress shop­ping.

How­ever, am I re­ally wanted in this po­si­tion?

We’re good friends, but if I didn’t make the ini­tial cut then am I re­ally de­serv­ing of be­ing in the bridal party?

A. There’s no of­fence in be­ing told hon­estly about re­place­ment and be­ing of­fered the hon­our.

Ev­ery bridal wed­ding-party list in­cludes a “must-be” group, for ex­am­ple, sis­ter, groom’s sis­ter, best friend, and a sec­ond tier of close friends.

That in­cludes you and you should join in en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, as you de­serve.

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