A mom has been backed online after making the tough decision to cut financial ties with her increasingly difficult 21-year-old daughter.
It’s a decision that has been greeted with dismay by her extended family but endorsed wholeheartedly on social media.
In an Ohio University study of more than 1,000 mothers estranged from their adult children, 62.4 percent said their child’s mental health – whether it be anxiety, addiction, depression or alcoholism – played a part in the estrangement.
Mental health issues certainly appear to have played a role in the situation detailed on Reddit by a user posting as BeaAndZoesBadMom.
According to the post, the woman’s eldest daughter, Zoe, 21, went through therapy as a result of her parents’ bitter divorce and “has always had a tendency to be demanding and cruel to others.”
Her mom said she has “tried every resource available” to address Zoe’s issues, including encouraging her to channel her emotions into positive outlets like kickboxing. However, her daughter stopped going to therapy when she turned 18, branding it a “waste of time” and has largely given up the activities that helped her mental state.
Up until recently she had been living “rent-free” with her mom and stepdad who paid for her education, car, phone and any other expenses. “Zoe refuses to help around the house,” her mom wrote. “Asking Zoe to do any small chore turns into Zoe screaming and swearing while I have to de-escalate.”
BeaAndZoesBadMom said Zoe believes she is “entitled” to her parents’ money and is angry at them for attempting to save funds for her younger sister Bea’s college education, despite benefitting from the same financial support herself.
The mom said she warned Zoe “for weeks” to treat the family with more respect. The final straw came when Zoe began to moan to her sister about having to put a frozen meal in the oven for her stepdad Tim, branding him “f**king useless.” Tim is a cancer survivor who completed a round of chemotherapy earlier this year.
“Hearing Zoe say that about the man who supported and nurtured her and was a father to her when her biological father didn’t care was my breaking point,” the mom said. When she next saw Zoe she told her that she had a month to move out and would need to start paying for her own car and insurance.
“We will pay for nothing anymore,” she said. “Tim and I will no longer be treated as ATMs and burdens while providing everything for her. If she wants to act like she’s an adult who knows everything, then we will treat her as one and let her support herself.”
Although she expects Zoe to end up living with her grandparents, the woman said her sister has criticized her approach, calling her “the worst person she has ever met” for turning her back on her family.
However, the response on Reddit was an altogether different one.
Nif824 said: “I hope this is a wake up call for her about how to treat others. She may have some trauma to deal with but as she grows up she’ll realize almost everyone has …and it doesn’t give you an excuse to treat people poorly.”
A1sauc3d added: “Having been traumatized does not give you the right to traumatize others. When you’re still a child it’s understandable. But as you become an adult, it’s your responsibility to work through and control your issues.”
Electrical-Date-3951, meanwhile, wrote: “There comes a point where you have to take accountability for your own actions. She doesn’t want to lift a finger, doesn’t want to help out, and feels entitled to everything being handed to her.”
Elsewhere, Admirable-Judgement said: “You’ve invested more time, money, and emotion than anyone could reasonably expect…and it hasn’t been enough for her to show minimum civility to you and your husband.”
Psychotherapist Sharon Martin acknowledged that while cutting ties with a child is never easy, it’s important in those situations that parents are “specific about their boundaries.”
She said: “For example, they should be clear about whether they want no contact, less contact, only a specific form of contact, or to have a cooling-off period for a certain amount of time.”
Martin said they should also “avoid ultimatums or threats they don’t intend to follow through on.”
“If they want to leave the door open for reconciliation, they should state what the problem behaviors are, be specific, and offer examples,” she said. “Then, state what corrective action is needed in order for renunciation to be an option.”