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True or False... Words from My Shrink

pinkb's picture

Not sure if my shrink was speaking exclusively to the motives and/or behavior of my husband but last night he said:

"You 's self worth is reflected in how well does, or appears to do in life..."

To some extent I would think this is true but the follow up was basically (not verbatim) "at the expense of everything else including his marriage, his finances, his household contributions, etc".

Thoughts from the crowd?


pinkb's picture

Looks like the original post got scrubbed... I'll rephrase...

"Your husband's self worth is reflected in how well his son does, or appears to do in life..."

mapitout's picture

Q. Do you believe that, "You 's self worth is reflected in how well does, or appears to do in life..." To some extent, perhaps a large extent, "Your husband's self worth is reflected in how well his son does, or appears to do in life.." is true. I find parents competing with other parents about the success of their children, they take it as a reflection of their self and it is highly tied to their ego and feelings about their own success or failure.

pinkb's picture

In this case I guess my question becomes... are most parents willing to sacrifice their financial and emotional health (and that of their partner in my case) to make sure the kid is successful even if it could/will sacrifice the security of their wife/marriage?

Particularly after the kid is 21?

secret's picture

I'm not.

My goal is for them to be successful. If they can't be, through no fault of their own due to circumstances etc but they ARE trying, that's one thing... but if they're not, because they're lazy entitled little brats, that's a whole other ball game.

I'll work with you while you work with me.

Parenting is meant to make your kid successful by adulthood... not to start once they've already reached it. If your kid hasn't launched, it's your fault. (you generally, not anyone in particular)

There are kids who go on to college, uni, have a part time job... but still stay at home - I DO consider those launched - they're being successful...and being smart about money. I'm not talking those who stay home and party.

My kids already know they're getting the boot at 18 unless they're in school/college/working full time. At 18, they will be considered tenant, and will pay an equal amount of rent to continue to live at home, just like if they were anywhere else.

Don't like it? You're an adult? Be free little one, fly away...mommy ain't your mealticket no more

In other words - I will do what it takes to launch them... and if the biggest life lesson I can give them in teaching them to fly is literally forcing them out of the nest.. I will do that. They're my kids - not my masters... and I've included them in my life, I've not made my life to accomodate them.

If they don't launch, it's my fault. And I'm not going to be at fault. If they fail to launch despite my best efforts, because they're lazy, I hope they have many friends with a couch.

pinkb's picture

Yes... this pretty much nails it. At present I'm watching my husband (and by association me) go more and more deeply into debt paying for college (SKid's college fund was at like $200 when he graduated from high school) and his tuition originated at $24K/per year... it has decreased a bit since he's now a resident of the state (hallelujah) all the while we've endured more than one job loss on DH's part which begs the question "who's REALLY paying for college?" That would be ME.

SKid doesn't want to take any job that he doesn't *like*. He's been canned from a ski resort for texting while attempting to load ski lifts and fired from another really great IT job for popping off on social media (he didn't know the guy that he popped off on OWNED his company...they fired him on the spot). I wish that logic worked in MY world. I'd *like* a job sipping umbrella'ed drinks on a beach somewhere.

IMHO: 1) Dad should have saved for college or made clear to SS that kid was going to pay it on his own or get a job (I asked before we were married and it was discussed at length that Daddy wasn't paying for college. That was a LIE); 2) At 21, the kid should be paying for his own cell phone, credit cards, etc. particularly because Daddy needs to scrap his way out of debt and perhaps plan for retirement (he's 49 and has less than $1000 in his 401K); 3) And probably off topic... I'm sick and tired of seeing kid's collection notices coming to my house. He doesn't live here. He's NEVER lived here. He just uses this address to pay in-State tuition.

I'm sure he'd stay here more but I will not allow him to boink his girlfriend in my home when they visit.

secret's picture

And daddy can't see the forest through the trees - which is that what he's basically doing, is letting his son live off his own retirement fund instead of making his son get out there and start living for himself, meaning that your DH will have to be living off of you - ergo - you're funding SS.

I've already told SO that I'm not paying for my kids education, thus I won't be paying for his kid's education. I'm not buying them a car, so I'm not buying him a car.

I can make it on my own without SO's money - I have RRSPs, and a pension. I will also get social security. SO will have only his social security.

SO gives me money each month... either by paying directly for something, or cash. My actual expenses have only gone up by about 200$ a month...if that... He's been officially contributing financially since January, although was buying stuff long before then... so I've essentially pocketed 3000$ since January.

We've also had at length discussions that our "family budget" with respect to retirement will not be based on combined income - it will be based on 3/4 of what the lower of the 2 incomes is, doubled, because of the decisions we currently make.

When retired, monthly if income is:

him: 500 (current approximate social security amount)
me: 2500 (current approximate social security amount + pension + rrsp)

Our budget will then be 3/4 of 500 = 375, doubled = 750/month.

He can spend the other 125$ however he likes, and I will spend my extra 2125$ however I like.

I told him that if we ever combine incomes (which I will not do), I wouldn't do it any other way than putting in an equal amount towards combined expenses, and nothing but household expenses comes out of that account - household expenses do not include beer, kid stuff (unless it's for everyone, like a family outing or something) so that our respective money isn't spent on frivolities - those could be paid out of our own money.

I told him if he wants to pay for a car for his kid, go for it... but I won't be compensating for it by putting more into "our" retirement.

Acratopotes's picture

"Your husband's self worth is reflected in how well his son does, or appears to do in life.."

and there you have it..... if the kid does good, Dad is proud and a wonderful father, so lets not rock the boat and teach the kid some manners.... it will upset the kid and then Dad is not worth being called a father...

pinkb's picture

Hi Brick... I think you nailed it. The IF they were trying part. I lined up a VERY well paying job for my SS through my firm in exactly the area that he wants to build a career in. We're talking significant coin (3x minimum wage) and a really great firm on his resume. And, that's BEFORE he has a degree (that we paid for). He had to "think about it".

I shared with him that the job was his but he had to act fast (he would have been working for a dear friend of mine at the company). He waited 6 WEEKS and then was pissy when the job was no longer available.

Now it is mid-May and most (if not all) of the good summer jobs have been snapped up. Now, I'm pissy because we are paying for him to live over the summer (again he's 21!)

That being said... it could be worse... Dad could try to move him into our home which would be no big deal if he'd ever held any responsibility for helping out around the house, walking the dog, managing to get his dishes in the dishwasher rather than me having to gather them from his bedroom and and and... But, I imagine that part is coming. Stay tuned for when my husband tries to move him in here.

pinkb's picture

Agreed and thank you for your response... We have both thrown numerous opportunities at the kid and he just says "Meh, I'll think about it". And, frankly, were I in his shoes and I could say that yet still enjoy all the regular indulgences of life (which BTW my husband and I don't enjoy because that money goes to paying for kid to live) and someone else would pay for it maybe I would do the same?

I take that back. I started working as soon as I could because as long as I was taking Mommy/Daddy's money they had a say in what I did with it (allowance, etc.) Now-a-days it seems most parent just fork over money and the kids do as they please until it runs out and then most parents just give them more.

Rinse and repeat.

mapitout's picture

You raise excellent points! I recently met a woman who had a successful experience at being the SM of adult children, her success was pretty much summed up in that she and DH were on the same page with each other, it was clear to the SKIDS and DH didn't hesitate to address inequities when they occurred. This seems to be more of the exception than the rule and key to successful relationships overall.

pinkb's picture

Thank you, sueu2... all valid points. No doubt, I have plenty of work to do on me.

I have taken guidance of many of the wise souls on this board. Our finances are now separate. Where the financial burden lies (and, yes, "1st world problems") is when we want to do something fun together (or goodness forbid... retire someday) I have to save up for both of us while the kid's had two overseas vacations in the last year while my husband is still heavily in debt (HE is in debt... I'm only attached to the mortgage and one car payment). That being said... it still makes me nuts when I get the mail and the kid's overdue bill's (largely medical... he goes to Urgent Care with a headache) arrive at our home.

On the "spoiled and rotten" step kids part, I'm a step kid (on both sides) and I have ZERO doubt that my step mother thought I was a raging b!tch as a kid. I never did anything as rotten as some of the stuff I've seen on here. I surely didn't like her (outside of the fact that she was boinking my Dad while Mom and Dad were still married and that took awhile to get over) but out of respect for my Dad I was at least polite.

The change that you describe is happening though it morphs day-by-day.

I guess my mind is more in the vein of if you decided to start parenting in the late teens (for whatever reason... your fault or not) with respect to saving for college, instilling integrity, teaching responsibility, the value of your word and and the consequences if you don't keep it and and and) the whole "launch" at 18yo or 21yo, etc. Does that even play anymore?

Or do you support them until the kid decides its convenient for kid to launch even if it means spending your golden years living in a trailer on SS?

Again, thank you sueu2, for your viewpoint.

pinkb's picture

Thanks, sueu2... I know I'm attached to his debt. I could pay it off in 90 days without much drama and I've done that twice. I just refuse to do it again. His credit cards are maxed and outside of his contributions to the home he doesn't have much left to "play with" and that includes paying on stuff for his kid.

Throwing money at my SS has scaled WAY back and I'm pleased with that.

What was new to me was the (likely) probability that despite the fact that the kid is 21 years old and his father (and I) have given him a fantastic launching pad (took him in full time when BM threw him out because he was a behavior problem, gave him a car, paying for school, room and board, etc. long after my husband and I agreed to when we got married (husband said he would be on his own at 18... NOT!)) is that if the kid isn't deemed a rock star his father (my husband) would be the failure rather than the kid just being entitled and lazy.

Truly trying to understand here... and I thank you for your guidance.

pinkb's picture

Hi trying... as far as I know he's getting good grades. I actually really like the kid now that he's grown up a bit. He's the first one to make comments on his father's short comings in the area of financial responsibility.

And, I agree. I would have absolutely NO problem with the kid living here if there were rules and responsibilities. Frankly, with DH driving 2 1/2+ per day I would love the help! The norm however has been wandering around in his boxes and a wife beater so... ummm... not so much when I'm working from home.

On the off-topic... the whole cheating this is technically "hearsay". My Mom says she saw it. My Dad says it never happened. Even if it "never happened" it's all about perception. I DO resent my Dad for allowing that perception to persist.

But, after a LOT of therapy I learned that holding on to that was hurting no one but me.

mapitout's picture

Sounds like you could just talk to SS straight up and establish the house rules yourself!

somethingwicked's picture

If that is so then Daddy doesn't have much of his own self worth as he ,if I recall, fought you on that major ,philanthropic gift to SS20 from you of a fabulous
$30 an hour job in a REAL,bona fide profession that you had lined up for Step Shrub. Right?

So DH has as much self worth as reflected by his pride in his DS20 who wants to be the almost ran guy busing tables at the coffee shop and banging the queen of the pizza shop while hanging out regressing to 16 year old mentality all on Daddee's dime.

Sez a lot about HIS self worth ,or lack of in regard to parenting his now adult son , if therapist is correct in his assessment.

I just think it boils down to G.U.I.L.T.
Guilty Disney Dad Ostrich Syndrome.

Is SS attending these therapy sessions? He could use some insight ,too.

20 more years will pass in a blink and he'll be a less than marginal success .
I think he's harboring some feelings of anger and defeat directed at his father.
And , accordingly as punishment , Daddee must pay.

I feel for YOU. Stuck in the middle.Trying to help. Caring.
To no avail.
Start disengaging.
Save yourself, pink.

pinkb's picture

Hi somethingwicked... yes, you nailed it. Same Step Shrub.

You couldn't have said it more appropriately. G.U.I.L.T. And, you may be dead on that the kid's pissed at Daddy. I think Daddy made so many unreasonable promises over the years (not just to the kid) and he realizes that he can't depend on Dad to fulfill those promises.

Come to think of it, that's really got to be unsettling to the kid.

In other news, Disney Dad has been planning a boys hike for weeks if not months. He bought special gear (at reasonable prices for a change). Made all sorts of crazy arrangements.

Kid backed out last night (the night before). Good think my appointment at the spa today still stands. :o

somethingwicked's picture

That's a fitting reward for DH. The( now adult )Skid stands him up . Did Dh go solo?
Maybe a few nights out in the woods roughing it will build his self esteem and help him locate his testicles .
One can only hope.

And on that note of hope : I hope you had a smashing spa day!