Wedding Woes

You can't make anyone understand, but you can keep saying no.

Dear Prudence,

I was not beaten or neglected, but my mom treated me (her daughter), from a young age, like her spouse, best friend, personal therapist, marriage counselor, and priest. I knew highly inappropriate things about her marriage to my dad and her past and was expected to guide her through these things. I was also expected to anticipate her moods and wants. If I failed to do so, she’d fly into a rage. My mom was estranged from her family and had no friends. She hated my father, though she refused to divorce him and did her best to make me hate him too. In high school and college, I suffered from severe depression, self-hatred, and anxiety. After a suicide attempt, I finally sought therapy and eventually cut off all contact with my mom because she would not respect my boundaries and continued to be abusive. That was four years ago.

My life is much happier and healthier without her in it. But recently a hospital called to say my mom was sick and that I needed to care for her (my dad has since passed away). When I refused, they began to guilt me, saying that I only have one mother and I’ll regret this when she’s gone. When I held my ground, they threatened that I may have legal obligations to her. I checked, and there are no such laws in my state. My once-supportive friends are now guilting me too. This woman got the first 30 years of my life. I’m not giving her one day more. How do I get the hospital, social workers, and my friends to understand this?

—Won’t Be Her Caretaker

Re: You can't make anyone understand, but you can keep saying no.

  • In addition to everything Levisosa said I’d talk to a social worker (not connected to the hospital) but through your state/county services if possible. Hopefully they can help you navigate and if you need additional legal or other resources.  
  • @levioosa, thanks for the perspective! I was also finding it hard to believe a hospital would speak to someone like that.  Especially threatening legal obligations that I'm assuming are total lies, in this case.

    With the hospital and social workers, if she hasn't already, I'd tell them to stop contacting me about her.  Run it up the chain*, if she needs to.

    With friends, I'd remind them they don't know the history and relationship I had with my mom and they need to let this go for the sake of our friendship.  If they persisted, I would distance myself or cut contact.

    *Although different situations, I've twice had to contact an organization's corporate office to end harassing phone calls from a local office and that was what finally worked.  Both times, that was after telling the local business many times and to different people to stop calling me.  Technically, it hadn't started out as telemarketing.  But that was what it turned into.

    One of them was ITT Technical Institute.  Obviously that was a number of years ago, lol, since they're now out of business.  I had a high paying mystery shop there that involved my pretending to be a prospective student.  I told them in the first after-visit call I wasn't interested at all.  The second call, I asked to be taken off the list.  Every time I got called, I became increasingly angrier.  Was apologized to and was told they'd "make sure I got taken off the list".  But it didn't actually happen until I complained to the corporate office.  I also informed the mystery shopping company and asked them to pass it along to their client what a harassing NIGHTMARE they were to someone who could have been a prospective student.

    The other one was The Blood Center.  I'd donated blood there a number of times.  Until they started with the harassing auto-phone calls.  I was getting 2-3 auto-calls a day.  It was just unbelievable that they would do something so alienating.  I called the local office to stop it.  It would work for 2-4 weeks.  And then the calls would start up again.  I finally e-mailed the national corporate office.  No one ever responded to the e-mail, but the calls stopped.  The sad thing is, I have NEVER donated there again because of it.  I switched to donating my blood to Ochsner (medical giant in my area).

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    That's really  messed up that the hospital is trying to guilt her. 

  • If the hospital kept calling, I would straight up say "Look, I cut her out of my life 4yrs ago for health reasons. I am not coming."
  • The worst part about the guilting and saying there may be legal obligations is that in a lot of places the legal obligations don't actually start unless/until someone starts making payments/accepts that they're responsible. Before that point the obligations don't exist, and they know that. Get the person on the hook for one bill and poof, they're responsible for all of them.

    I'm just glad I don't live in PA.
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