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I see so many self-help books, articles, and social media posts on” “boundaries” but no one really elaborates on how to enforce boundaries. Especially when you’re a single mother who just graduated from college at thirty-two, has no car, and lives with her elderly mother…who undermines her parenting at every step of the way. I also live in the middle of pretty much nowhere, which does not help. I offer to help fix up the house and it’s, “You’re not touching my house, sister!” Yet, if something is falling to pieces it suddenly becomes placed on my shoulders. My daughter is eight and when I do forty-five minutes of homework with her in the evenings or give her two chores a day to learn some self sufficiency my mother tells my eight year old that “I shouldn’t be suffocating her with school work” “I’m abusing her” or “Your mother is rotten.” If I tell my daughter to get in the master bedroom with me to get away from my mother bad mouthing me to my daughter my mother threatens to call the cops to tell them I’m barricading my daughter in a room she does not wish to be in. She tells my daughter lies about me or even some of which are truths but they are mistakes from my twenties which should never be shared with an eight year old who does not have the capacity to understand.

For instance, I was so elated when I got a job last month for $50k plus benefits and commission. The location was about twenty minutes away and I offered to pay her car payment every month, gas, rent even, and she said “Oh no, sister! You’re not taking MY car anywhere!” Then, a few days later, she spends five out of seven days of the week blowing through $12,000 bucks she won at the casino, and throws it in my face. Then, about a week later she’s complaining to my sister that all I do is eat and sleep and I’m too lazy to get a job?!

Safe to say, after that I applied for housing through the county but it takes 90 days to a year. This is not some rant seeking pity from people, I’m genuinely reaching out to a random audience for ideas because I feel like a trapped rat already with no way to escape.

My self esteem has hit the gutter. I was so excited to get my B.S and when I did she let me know I still wasn’t worth crap. It’s actually difficult for me to share this stuff with people because I know I’m thirty-two and I’m responsible for the poor financial/life choices that brought me here, but for the past three years I busted my ass to get through school, while being nagged by her about how much money I owe her for the past thirty-two years (she counts eighteen and under as well as the majority of my twenties when I was not living with her). I know everyone thinks, “Get a job” but that’s easier said than done in this location and being a single mom. I pay the electric and gas here months when I get some child support from my daughter’s father and I contribute $500 in food stamps every month, which, I hate because I’m not trying to spend my life on freaking welfare. I’m frustrated because she literally tells me I don’t pay the things I do and even when I try to show her proof of a bank statement that I did, she just refuses to look at it, and continues on dominating her perception into everyone elses reality.

I’m not allowed to really speak anymore because she’s turned my entire family against me and basically invalidated my credibility because apparently, if you go to counseling and take accountability for your mental health issues after growing up with two abusive alcoholics, you don’t get to count as a person anymore.

I almost feel like that is what she wants after my father died. Now, she gets spousal support from him so her income quadrupled and she throws that in my face, also. I literally have to beg to take the car to get the laundry done for everyone and she acts like that’s her allowing me some type of freedom. I honestly do not know what to do and alot of these “at home jobs” seem to be nothing but scams.

She literally screams my name like a dog, treats me like a slave at thirty-two, and when I assign my daughter two chores a week, five days a week, I’m working her to death? She tells my daughter I’m a drug addict because I have to take two prescriptions, one for my depression/anxiety, the other for my ADD, which I’ve been on since I was a teenager.

I welcome any feedback on this situation with potential solutions because I’m beginning to feel a bit hopeless and I do not want to allow my daughter to continue to be around this environment, or worse, be turned against me completely.