Toxic Mom Toolkit’s Take on Mom Money

21 Sep
Should you take money from your Toxic Mom?

Should you take money from your Toxic Mom?

I was reading Toxic Mom Toolkit emails one Sunday morning before church. I was in a little bit of a rush, but I like to check the Facebook page several times each day – just in case someone is in crisis or asking for urgent advice. Not that I love giving advice, I actually don’t think I should MUCH, but I do, because people trust me and I try to be so very, very careful.

A Friend of Ours wanted to know what she should do about an envelope she had just received from her super Toxic Mom. She said that her mother had ignored her for most of the summer, but on her daughters birthday she mailed a card. Our friend knew that there was a check inside. Should she open it? Should she send it back unopened? Should she take the money? Or should she send the money back? Money is deep stuff in terms of setting boundaries with Toxic Moms. I was sort of glad to have the time to think about it.

In allowing myself to just sit with this question, I found a solution I would be happy with and I shared it with our Friend.

417f6882171986c0d0d8dde5c4d756beThe thing about money is, it is a currency. Money has power. Money is fuel. Money defines if you are rich or you are poor. Sometimes, people use money to show you how they value you. Parents write checks for college bills. They might send money when you are ill. And when these monetary deliveries are given freely, with love and best wishes, it can be such a Godsend. But what if you have a Toxic Mother or parent and know that money is given or taken with malice? What if your parent uses money as a control tool?

For me, the challenge was to strip the power from the money without doing it in such a way that it would give a Toxic Mom “currency” for stories about the “ungrateful” or “hateful” daughter.

And here’s what I wrote:

Money is a form of control, if you take it you have to thank her. It’s hard to simply or genuinely thank a TM for money when you can feel that there’s some sort of control issue behind the money. So, what to do? Whatever you do don’t sent it back. That’s just giving her ammunition to focus her negative energy more on you. On the face of it a daughter returning a gift of money could be described as ungrateful or mean or rude, or whatever. In a sense you allow your TM to turn that money into story currency about how bad YOU are.

Here’s what I’d do:  Do you love a local charity? Do you give money to a church or a homeless shelter or any group that helps others? If it’s a check, sign it over and put it in the donate box. If it’s cash, walk into the senior center or boys & Girls club or WHATEVER and say, please use this money for something you need. And pat yourself on the back for taking something negative and turning it into something positive for your community.

THEN, pick out a pretty thank you card and thank your mother for the gift and tell her what you did with it. I would put something like: I’ve been meaning to support (this entity) for a long time and your generous gift made it possible. Thank you so much Mother.

I’d like to see her turn THAT into something negative or tell people how mean and selfish you are with that material. Plus you are creating good karma from bad and the universe always rewards that. Also, it instantly takes all the control and power out of her gift. Once she realizes that you really don’t value her money, maybe she’ll stop using it as a tool to control you.

What do you think?

7 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit’s Take on Mom Money”

  1. Freedom Fighter September 21, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    I think that’s a very diplomatic approach – and the best thing is that it’s turning something negative into something positive for someone else, which you can feel good about!

    I’m not sold on that approach’s potential to eliminate the negative things the TM says – TMs are dazzlingly imaginative. (My husband and I used to have fun playing the “how could she negatively interpret XYZ?” game – luckily, a couple of decades of catering to a TM has made me pretty imaginative too!) Plus, what’s to say she’d even be honest about what she reports about the daughter to others (either willfully or just out of her skewed interpretation of the facts)?

    There’s always the risk that the TM will just find other ways to try to twist the daughter to her will if she realizes the money isn’t working effectively for her. I don’t see it as something to obsess or worry over, just a potential risk to be aware of.

    Barring any unknown factors, I really think you’ve landed on the best solution all around given that there isn’t estrangement.

  2. MFord September 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Your article is so very true. Money….it’s a TM’s greatest, most valuable weapon. Taking away its value in the relationship, takes away her control of the relationship. And yes, be prepared for retaliation.

    The best advice I ever got was ” the worst thing you can do to evil, is not get in the ring.”

    Never personally accept money from her under any circumstances. Its okay if she wants to do for the kids…and allow very little of that as well.

  3. Catherine Howell October 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Brilliant! It does exactly what the first FreedomFighter said, it turns a negative into a positive, while neutralizing the situation with the TM.

  4. JANE JACKSON December 27, 2013 at 2:24 am #

    What to do if you really need the money?

    • collectingjourneys December 27, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      What a great, REAL, question Jane. What if you are unemployed or behind or have an emergency and your Toxic Mom rushes in with just the right amount of money you need to fix things? Yes, this is tempting and in the real world, you TAKE IT. But, if you take it you have to thank her genuinely. But there is so much food for thought in this question. If an adult child regularly finds that they are in need of financial rescue – what is that all about? Is it a pattern? A pathology? Look at that; consider that. Help in an emergency is a blessing. At the very least you must give thanks. You could also plan to pay it back to neutralize the emotional debt. There’s a lot to this topic and I’ll be thinking about it and writing more about it in the future. Thank you for inspiring deeper thought on the topic.

  5. Rebecca Delaria July 19, 2016 at 12:41 am #

    I love your site and have found so much help and comfort here.
    I was thankful to come across this article as I will soon face this dilemma. I have recently made the decision to go No Contact. While she at the moment may be oblivious to it because I did not announce it to her, she will soon be sending a card in the mail for my daughter’s birthday (after she figures out she’s no longer welcome in our home).
    I have pondered the process above and while I love the concept of this solution, it would cause much more drama than to simply return the envelope via mail. Sending the money back (at least in my TM’s case) will send the message that I want absolutely nothing from her (which is what she needs to hear). Spending it on a charity would, I believe, send her into a drama tailspin and would for sure give her more ammunition to concoct lies about how I spent the birthday money intended for my daughter. There is less for her to lie about if it simply comes back in the mail.
    Thank you for what you do! Discovering your site and Facebook page has been a God-send in knowing that we are not alone in this fight for embracing the freedom that we didn’t know we already had!

    • collectingjourneys July 19, 2016 at 1:06 am #

      As I often say, ONLY YOU, know the best way to handle YOUR TM. Yep, my suggestion won’t work for everyone, but it’s a start on a topic that will never go away for our community. SO GLAD you found Toxic Mom Toolkit!

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