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  1. #1
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    Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    I put this in this particular section because it deals with a child and my ex-wife.

    My middle son will be 20 years old this Sunday. He has Aspergers (moderately severe) and even though he is almost 20 I have continued to pay child support because he lives with his mom and is in school.

    His grandparents gave him money when he was a child for college and it has grown to about $13,000.00. I found out last Friday that my ex-wife took it. I don't know all the details, but I know he voluntarily gave it to her because she told him she needed to "pay some bills." Around that time (January) she bought a brand new Honda CRV. ($38,000)

    When I first found out I was really, really upset, but I've calmed down some now. The thing is, this was HIS money and she had no right to take it. I strongly suspect that she coerced him or bullied him until he agreed because he lives in her house and took advantage of his Aspergers. In addition to the car, she has spent thousands on clothes and trips for my daughter, but my son goes without. He doesn't drive, doesn't go anywhere, wears rags for clothes and she won't even take him to get a haircut. Now he won't be able to go back to college.

    And it's not like she is poor. She makes a good salary as a 20 year teacher with a Masters Degree, and I pay monthly child support plus extra for medical bills, clothes and unexpected expenses for my children. Probably an extra $8,000 or more a year. Plus, I gave her a car for my children to drive last year.

    He is coming up here for a month Saturday so I'll find out a bit more. But I have to say with her history (bounced checks, terrible credit, house in foreclosure) she will never pay the kid back. That money is gone ... forever!! Even if he didn't use it for school it was his, and he could have used it to start out in life.

    What sort of person would do this? Is this anti-social or narcissistic behavior or is it just plain old selfishness? I should also say that this is completely typical behavior for her. She just has no sense of responsibility about money or the obligation to pay people back or even to just pay her bills.

    Should I confront her about it ... report her to the police or just let it go and try to make it up to my son by letting him move here permanently? I've also thought about calling her mother, sister and brother ... as well as my older son to tell them what happened and what sort of person she is ... but I wonder if that is too extreme.

  2. #2
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    to me what she has done is abuse just like elderly abuse where the child takes advantage of the fragility of their elderly parents taking their money Your ex has taken advantage of your sons illness and fragility and taken what was his inheritance really. I don't know if anything can be done but i would report it but first talk to your son ok see what exactly happened Yes she is selfish life is about her needs not her child I am sorry she took his chance of going back to college away. Maybe authorities could step in and make her garnish some of her earnings to a seperate acoount in his name until she pays him back

    She should be made to pay your son back
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  3. #3
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by forgetmenot View Post
    to me what she has done is abuse just like elderly abuse where the child takes advantage of the fragility of their elderly parents taking their money Your ex has taken advantage of your sons illness and fragility and taken what was his inheritance really. I don't know if anything can be done but i would report it but first talk to your son ok see what exactly happened Yes she is selfish life is about her needs not her child I am sorry she took his chance of going back to college away. Maybe authorities could step in and make her garnish some of her earnings to a seperate acoount in his name until she pays him back

    She should be made to pay your son back
    I didn't even think of it as abuse but you are right - that's what it is. After I talk to him (he is not going to want to do anything to his mom, but I know he wants out of there) I'll decide what to do. Maybe I can just report it to Social Services as abuse and neglect. At the very least they will probably say he can't go back which will solve 50% of the problem. Getting his money back and getting him healthy and to learn how to be on his own is the rest of it. I don't know that he will get his money back because she is always in debt over her head. I don't know how she can make a $400 a month car payment because she sure can't pay rent or a mortgage. Back when we were dating her power was turned off twice and I paid the bill for her. Talk about codependent!!

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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    I would think hard about spreading her information around to her friends, family and children. My advice would be to look after your son when he stays with you and work towards having him live with you. Her problems with money are her problems and it will be up to her to face the consequences. By inserting yourself into this mess, you could make yourself the target of her anger and let her use it to make herself a victim. If you mention something I can already hear the drama beginning. Take a step back, take the high road and look after your son.
    Change begins when you practice ordinary courage

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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by rdw View Post
    I would think hard about spreading her information around to her friends, family and children. My advice would be to look after your son when he stays with you and work towards having him live with you. Her problems with money are her problems and it will be up to her to face the consequences. By inserting yourself into this mess, you could make yourself the target of her anger and let her use it to make herself a victim. If you mention something I can already hear the drama beginning. Take a step back, take the high road and look after your son.
    Excellent advice and that is exactly what she will do. But $13,000 is a lot of money to lose like that. My thought was to embarrass and humiliate her so she will at least pay him back, but that would probably blow up in my face.

    I've just finished reading some sources on abuse and neglect of elderly and handicapped persons. If you google the topic you can see what a widespread problem it has become. Almost every state has a task force looking into it. And its not just telemarketers - often family members are the culprit. If I do anything it will be to report this to Social Services. That way at least he will be free to stay with me.

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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    Yes I agree that it is financial abuse but my caution would lie in the toothless ineffectiveness of children's services where I live. Should she have taken the money - of course not but you say yourself she won't pay him back. Her house of cards will crash soon enough - let it crash without your help. You want to stay as far away from this as possible . When your son comes buy him some nice clothes, get a haircut and have some fun. She's not worth any energy you expend on this problem
    Change begins when you practice ordinary courage

  7. #7
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    I agree the most important thing to do is look after your son
    Somehow get him the supports in place so he can live as independently as possible
    Here there is a team that comes in to check on my daughter she lives on her own but with support from mental health team
    Your son deserves that kind of care
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  8. #8
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    My thought was to embarrass and humiliate her so she will at least pay him back, but that would probably blow up in my face.
    Based on your description of your ex-wife's behaviour:

    her history (bounced checks, terrible credit, house in foreclosure)....she is always in debt over her head. I don't know how she can make a $400 a month car payment because she sure can't pay rent or a mortgage. Back when we were dating her power was turned off twice and I paid the bill for her..........she has spent thousands on clothes and trips for my daughter, but my son goes without. He doesn't drive, doesn't go anywhere, wears rags for clothes and she won't even take him to get a haircut
    in my view, screams of a person who is financially and morally irresponsible who manipulates others for her own benefit.

    It is also a betrayal of trust by an adult who should be looking out for the best interests of your son whose capacity for making sound planning decisions may be compromised because of his Asperger's diagnosis.

    This is the same kind of betrayal of trust, in my view, as an adult who sexually abuses a child. The adult, the authority figure, exerts their power over a vulnerable person for their own self gratification.

    My advice would be to investigate your legal options, in order to place your son's assets in some kind of trust with very strict rules of access. I would also take legal action to recover the money taken from your son in the form of a lien against your wife's property.

    This kind of behaviour against a vulnerable person is inexcusable in my view and needs to be dealt with for the benefit and long term safety of your son.

  9. #9
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    Can you not become your sons trustee or get someone to be his trustee over his money so no one else can take advantage of him
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  10. #10
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    Re: Not sure if I should do anything about this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    Based on your description of your ex-wife's behaviour:



    in my view, screams of a person who is financially and morally irresponsible who manipulates others for her own benefit.

    It is also a betrayal of trust by an adult who should be looking out for the best interests of your son whose capacity for making sound planning decisions may be compromised because of his Asperger's diagnosis.

    This is the same kind of betrayal of trust, in my view, as an adult who sexually abuses a child. The adult, the authority figure, exerts their power over a vulnerable person for their own self gratification.

    My advice would be to investigate your legal options, in order to place your son's assets in some kind of trust with very strict rules of access. I would also take legal action to recover the money taken from your son in the form of a lien against your wife's property.

    This kind of behaviour against a vulnerable person is inexcusable in my view and needs to be dealt with for the benefit and long term safety of your son.
    Thanks Steve. I agree with all of this, but don't you agree in part with RDW? If I go after her by reporting her or talking to family members don't I risk making it worse for my son, and my daughter who is still in the home with her? (She can't do anything to me that she has not done already.) I'm worried that I may be acting out my own little drama if I take that route.

    As far as a trust is concerned it is too late. The money is gone -- all of it. She took every last dime. I also found out that she takes his Christmas and birthday money (He gets several hundred dollars from his grandparents and from me for birthday and Christmas.) which she tells him she needs to buy groceries. She has made him a kind of caretaker and responsible for the family's well being to cover up her own irresponsibility. I don't think I have to say how much that burns me up inside.

    But I believe that RDW is right too - at least insofar as my own motivation or attitude. My gut is telling me to find ways to strike out at her -- to victimize her for victimizing my son. So I think contacting family members and friends would be over the top and it would probably just give her a chance to portray herself as a victim. (I don't care what she tells her friends about me.)

    I read for several hours last night and today about teaching children emotional intelligence (Gottman) and about the victim-persecutor-rescuer triangle in family dynamics. (Karpman) I've done enough persecuting, rescuing and being a victim over my lifetime and don't want to do it anymore.

    Matt needs me to be his dad and that's what I am going to try and do. Teach him to think and live independently. It might take a few years to undo the damage she has done to him. Maybe a lot longer.

    What I may do is to calmly ask her how and when she intends to pay him back. If she blows up, denies or refuses then my son will have to decide what he wants to do. It is his money. If he wants to pursue legal means to get his money back I will support him, but if he does not I will support that too. But I will stress to him that it was "wrong" of her to take his money to use for herself, his step-father and his sister. It is legally wrong, but it is also morally and spiritually wrong.

    I understand that he could not stand up to her. Not sure I could in that situation when I was 19 years old - much less with Aspergers.

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