How to Behave When Someone Is Running a GoFundMe


I am running a GoFundMe. I’m going to put it right here at the beginning of this blog so that you can assess it for yourself. Please read the entire story, then this blog. Just glancing at the title and description won’t give you the info you need to decide if my reasons are, in your opinion, good or bad.

I expected some negative comments to this one. I ran one in 2015, when my mom got her figures wrong and realized that she was going to miss a mortgage payment. I ran a GoFundMe to raise $1000, the amount of two mortgage payments, and I was successful, and I never planned to do another one. It’s humiliating, although it shouldn’t be humiliating for a middle-aged woman with health problems and an elderly mother to ask for help. I am an out-of-work bankruptcy paralegal in a small town. I prepared hundreds of bankruptcies in the three years I worked for an attorney, before I made the mistake of marrying and moving to New York. My husband had a daughter from a previous marriage and a really great, secure job. While I was in New York, my younger sisters, both suffering from substance-abuse problems, abused my mother financially and physically.

Lot of people wouldn’t say that because of the “shame.” That’s why my mom ended up in such a horrific situation. She’s 70. Her generation Didn’t Talk About It, whatever It was. Many of them blamed themselves. She still does. She shouldn’t. She got taken in by a couple of master manipulators. Before they started working her over, she owned her parents’ house free and clear. She had a decent used car. She wrecked her body working as patrol officer (at 5’2″, she took a couple of blows that required surgery, but she managed never to shoot anyone.) She became a dispatcher, working 12-hour rotating shifts. That was when my sisters really went amuck. My grandparents were too old to deal with teenagers again. I was working and going to college. My sisters did what too many cops’ kids do: they got out of control, and they knew my mom would be too ashamed to admit her kids were nasty, abusive, and thieving. Again, the shame. I don’t believe that victims should be ashamed. My mom was sixty by the time she got a position in the records office. My sisters were in their late 20s/early 30s. My grandfather had severe Alzheimer’s and dementia.

I beat myself up for this every day: I met a man online (on a Yahoo message board for Buddhists) and we ended up getting married. I wanted a normal life. I didn’t realize that me leaving would open the box.

hellraiser box

My mom didn’t want to “bother me” with her problems because she knew I was having problems with my ex. She should have bothered me. One sister wrecked two cars. The other convinced my mom to mortgage *her entire house* to buy a $15,000 used car. When my mom said, “Robin always told me to never get a mortgage,” my sister replied, “Robin isn’t here and she doesn’t need to know.”

If only my mom had made that call.

If anyone’s thinking, “Wow, I could NEVER talk about my family that way!” well, just you wait until you come home and find your mom retired, broke, and forced by your youngest sister and her drug-dealing boyfriends to live in her bedroom while they have the run of the house and my grandfather’s garage. Three months after I moved back in, I got a temp job that was supposed to go permanent, and my sister did everything possible to keep me up all night so I wouldn’t be able to function at work, including assaulting me one morning at 5 am. Cops didn’t help. My mom was still too ashamed to admit what had happened. We were also dealing with a very poorly run department in a different town than where she’d worked.

So, I threw my sister out after she threw my mom up against a door one night while she was high. See the tiny elderly woman in the photos? Imagine a 200 pound 30-something woman throwing her against a solid wood door.

I threw her out and, when my temp job ended, I started trying to repair the damage. The mortgage, the predatory auto lenders, the fact that my mom only had Medicare Part A . . . I’ll tell you what, the stress and my depression and OCD and losing a job I had been promised would go full time in a few months put me right in the bed for over a year. I had a good old-fashioned nervous breakdown. I eventually had to get up to help my mom take care of her older sister, who had severe Alzheimer’s and dementia. After we got her into the nursing home where she had worked as a nurse, I continued freelancing, which I had been doing since 2011, and I got another temp job.

People say, “Well, you must not be THAT poor if you have an iPod Touch and a laptop!” Yeah, those are luxury items . . . bought four years ago when I was working. I saved the money. The laptop runs Windows 7 and the iPod has a 10 minute charge. I have to carry the charger everywhere. The cable started to split, so I wrapped it in electrical tape.

In 2016 and the first half of 2017, I was making the equivalent of a part-time salary freelancing. I saved money. I also bought a few (four) pricey dolls that weren’t actually pricey because they were secondhand and sold nude. I bought very inexpensive handmade clothes for them. I love them. I’m not sorry. If I sold them and all their clothes, I wouldn’t make a thousand dollars.

I bought a lot of books last year, most used. I would not have bought quite a few things that I did if my mom had (shame again) told me she was in financial trouble again, this time with loan sharks AKA predatory auto lenders. I had to involve the N.C. Attorney General to get one of them back in line. They thought they were dealing with/able to abuse an elderly woman, like my sisters thought. They weren’t counting on me.

But I can only do so much. I’m tapped out. My savings is gone. Plumbing bills, car registration, vehicle tax, yard mowing by neighbors, prescriptions, the hotplate I bought when our ancient gas stove with the pilot light finally gave out. My ex-husband didn’t allow me to work during our marriage, so I have a big gap in my employment history. He also threatened my life in a roundabout way when discussing alimony. I’m 45. I’m not exactly the person for whom most employers are searching. It’s a shame. I’ve worked in a BBQ joint, library, law office, and museum. I don’t need a bunch of training in new computer programs. I’m a quick study. I can figure it out as I go.

No one will give me a chance anymore.

My sisters devastated my mother financially and emotionally. No other family members will help me care for her. Caring for her is a full-time job. I’ve never had an afternoon off. I have insomnia. That’s why I’m awake right now.

I can’t solve the problems that my sisters created. They’re just too massive. All the money that should have gone into maintaining a 112 year old house went into methadone clinics and Suboxone for my sister and paying the car insurance increase after the other one got a DUI and stopped paying her share of the insurance. $5000 will only fix the most pressing problems and buy a stove.

So that’s why, when the guy on Twitter yesterday said, “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in this case. (Something something) multi-generational losers,” I ripped him a new asshole. Because that’s not the case. It was shame. Too ashamed to admit, “Robin, I need help.” I would have been on the train from New York the next day.

I didn’t get that chance. I haven’t told my mom that I’m trying GoFundMe again because I don’t want to get her hopes up. She thinks I’m saving money from my freelance work. That work has largely dried up. Maybe it will get better after all the teachers go back to work. I’m putting all donations into my savings account. They will only be spent on the household expenses I’ve stated above.

If you don’t like the fact that someone is running a fundraising campaign, if you don’t believe their reasons for running it, move along. There’s no need to kick someone who is already down, and if you choose to do so, I have to figure it’s because you enjoy it.

There you go. I’m tired of trying to maintain a “happy” face online. We need help.

Edited 7-30-18 at 2.44 am EDT for typos, clarity, to correct ages, and add the reason I’m not getting alimony after a six year marriage in which I was completely dependent on my ex. I actually got a job as a paralegal the last year of my marriage, but my ex ordered me to call them and tell them I had decided the commute was too long. It wasn’t. It was only an hour, and I loved to drive. Now I can’t commute because he kept *my* car. My mom and I share a 1998 Kia with no AC. Just because of my asthma, commuting isn’t an option. I’m not lazy, and I do want a job. I just have the cards stacked against me, and I need a little help.


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