Huge issue living in Mom's house/need Van ASAP

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New member
Aug 23, 2021
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Er, I don't know where my new post is supposed to go on this forum, but I'm posting anyway. I have to tell about my issue of financing the van I'm hoping to be able to buy on Craig's List near/at end of Sept. Ok, I'm on Social Security Supplemental Income, it's a fixed, tiny income of $836 a month, but I have to pay Mom $400 rent just to live with her. The other $400 I have to pay tuition with that money since I'm taking 12 credits (full load) of classes for this Fall semester of 2021 (and I'm trying to remain on schedule to move to North Carolina, a nicer climate, by transferring to that state's Blue Ridge Community College to study film production by the Fall of 2022 semester) at my school (Community College of Allegheny County) which is in West Mifflin, Pa. I've read (I bought a copy of Bob Wells book "how to live in a Car, Van, or RV, and..." (see link),
on amazon) it tells how Bob was financially in trouble so he bought a van and lived in it to save on rent money. This is what I want to do so I, too, can save on rent money. But at her age now (92), Mom is very strict and tough with me (older and way less patient/less forgiving of me). She was paying me $5 a day for doing the right thing, and now (today, this afternoon) when I blew it, she changed her mind about paying me reward money. She told me, after changing her mind (meaning she revoked her rewarding me of $5 a day for good) "you wern't supposed to have that money.  I thought I was helping save up your money towards an RV..." and now at her age, I can no longer redeem it anymore, although when I was in my early 20's, when this sort of thing happened, Mom'd tell me that "you've redeemed yourself" (meaning the reward funding is restored), but this time in Mom's life, it's like as if I committed a horrible/heinous crime, and have to get punished severely, like as if "Mom's the Law of the Land/the court judge of the highest court in existence" and I was the hardened criminal (hence "the tough judge's punishment of revoking my reward payments for good), just like as if I ruined my life by doing something stupid. At an earlier time (in my 20's when Mom was 45 -60) she'd redeem this reward money, but not anymore now that she's 92. These days once I ruin a good blessing Mom gives me, (reward money) it stays ruined for good, there's no fixing it, ever. it's like a murderer who cannot restore their victim's life, and he now has to be locked up for good without any chance of parole. This is how I feel living in Mom's house since once I ruin a good thing, and Mom changes her mind  and revokes this blessing, it's unbending now with her. So I can only make it worse for myself living in Mom's house but not better (which used to be in the past) anymore.

[size=small]currently, I've found out that I cannot focus on my studies unless I'm all alone, even when it means I'm living alone, independently, as a Van Dweller. (there are books, articles online about "authoritarian" parenting (which my parents are (dad is dead) that make for blind obedience, will not negotiate, once they make up their minds up about something, it's set in stone, if it's negative, (such as taking away a blessing or a reward) but if it's positive, it can be easily lost or ruined for good/for keeps (and I think also stricter, and less , forgiving, more like the police, or a criminal judge for bad people who end up getting punished in jail/prisons for really bad crimes) but I've noticed that other kinds of parenting such as "authoritative" are the more forgiving, loving, (less strict, more gentle love) kind, and they are able to negotiate with people in their families. In short, since Mom's a lot less patient with at her age now, I believe I do have to somehow move out temporarily to keep me from ruining my opportunity to have conversation with Mom at end of Sept (she has this set in stone/metal or steel) about the time in which she and I will have this conversation about me getting this RV so I can move out of her house and start living independently. In about 1 more week (Sept 7) my classes start at school and they're all on Zoom. I have to have my own space right now before Sept comes so I won't have to worry about paying rent (as did Bob Wells when he was getting a divorce and moving out of his wife's (as for my mom, replace "wife" with "mom" in this issue) house by getting himself a "ratty looking van" (on pg. 3 of Bob Well's book that I've linked to), I have no savings, I tried to get an RV thru a charity site online last Feb 2020 (poured out my whole heart, gave them my contact info) but they never replied to me, let alone even acknowledged me and my plight. I believe this situation I'm in right now is a kind of Financial emergency (a crisis) regarding an argument between Mom & I (which made her revoke my daily reward money) since I told Mom I have to "move out as soon as I can" (before Sept 7) and then Mom asked me if I have the money? & then she told me "that's why she was helping me out financially, by paying me $5 a day cuz she believed I was putting my weekly pay (up to $35 on Sundays pay) towards the RV, and when she found out I wasn't, she revoked this reward/helping out money, and now, (cuz she's less patient, less forgiving, more stern/tough like "I was  her "jailbird son, who's out of jail, a criminal" who you have to be tough with like it is with the law is tough on criminals/people who have police records for serious crimes like John Gacy kind of people), this is the way it feels living with Mom's easily offendedness, less forgiving ways these days, and any time I slip up (to keep that reward money I have to be perfect) it's like "I landed back in the slammer already" with an instant, stiff jail sentence and when this kind of thing happens out our house (where I live with Mom, it's her house, she owns the house) I beat myself up and I say bad things about myself (like I'm "another John Gacy" I'm headed for a forensic hosp (mental hospital where criminals go) and when I do this to myself to punish myself (Mom's an "authoritarian" the kind of parents who focus more on:[/size]
  • You believe kids should be seen and not heard.
  • When it comes to rules, you believe it's "my way or the highway."
  • You don't take your child's feelings into consideration.

By contrast, the other kind of parenting "authoritative" focus more on:

  • You put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child.
  • You explain the reasons behind your rules.
  • You enforce rules and give consequences, but take your child's feelings into consideration) 
Since this is the case, I know I cannot stay at Mom's house if I want to succeed in my studies this coming Fall 2021 semester, cuz when I make a mistake (like I did today about the van and the moving out ASAP, before Mom's set in stone end of Sept rule (really the Law) that I tried to break by bringing this up to mom about getting myself a van now ASAP so I can move out before Sept 7) it's like "the judge doesn't care how you feel" in court of law if you do a serious crime, it's like the end of the world (or rather that particular planet in outer space in a sci fi movie/video game) when it comes to me losing blessings, and once I lose a blessing for good, I beat myself up and cannot concentrate on my upcoming studies regarding me making good grades. If I'm to succeed in this semester at school, then I have to get a place of my own (even if temporarily till end of Sept) just so I can avoid taking any more chances with mom's "authoritarian" parenting style and me losing any more blessings for good this way. So, bottom line, is there any way that I can somehow get myself a van (without getting a bank loan/this won't work for me, debt-wise) even if it's on loan from some "Good Samitaritian" site online just so I could get out of Mom's hair and practice Van Dwelling ahead of time just to show mom that "I can do this" so this might look good on my End of Sept conversation with Mom about the RV or Van?

Thanks for reading this, at least, by me getting out of Mom's house temporarily in a loaned van, I'd, I believe with all my heart, it would really be a "win/win" situation (Mom's peace & quiet, & my relaxedness, all by myself kind of peace & focus for my schoolwork) for both Mom and I at this time, date. I live in West Mifflin, Pa. I mean, for me lately, it's too upsetting for me to stay at Mom's house at this time, regarding the end of sept.
You don't have to put up with what you describe. You talk about parenting styles and your strict mom and you are apparently in your fifties or thereabout.
You are not a child. You don't have to live at your mom's house.
You can apply to HOWA for a van, if you can show that you can support yourself and maintain the van.
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Wow....and the chosen screen name reveals much.

You are not ready to be independent. I think you should apply for some local housing assistance based on income. Your mother will not be around forever.

If your self-worth is based on the $5 token your mother tosses you when you are a good boy, you don't really need to be out in the real word, fending for yourself trying to find supplies, food, a place to park, making your own power, dealing with tight finances, etc.  

It sounds like you are in the 'failure to launch' category and you may need a lot more help getting your life in order than we are gonna be able to provide here on a forum which is more focused on the 'nuts and bolts' of living a frugal life.

I'm not trying to run you off, but someone, like me, needs to tell you the hard truth so you can make progress by taking the steps towards a life without your mom in control. 

Good luck.
Your mother is very likely scared to have you leave her own her own. That is why she is trying to make it impossible for you to leave. She is lashing out in anger as a measure of self preservation. Of course she is trying to control you, and unfortunatly for both of you that is the only option to keep you around that she knows how to use.

You do have other options and actually you are the person in this domestic situation who has the most power. That is because could get a position as a live-in assistant in a different household and not pay any rent and possibly also get a small weekly stipend, likely some meals and still take online classes.

You need conflict resolution advice counseling. Get some free counseling in your community. There are places that offer it, churches, senior centers, mental health centers etc. Conflict resolution counseling is a specialty area, it is not the same thing as saying you have ongoing mental health issues. It mustvteaches you some coping skills to use in difficult situations.

With your income you are also eligible for income adjusted housing.

You are not trapped, you are just stuck because you dont understand your options and how to resolve conflict with a very scared 90 year old. Do not bully her or let her bully you. instead negotiate with gentle consideration from your position of strength. Your mother needs you and you need her, it goes both ways, so negotiate. In the meantime go on Amazon or to a library and get a copy of an out of print book by Herb Cohen...How to Negotiate Anything... it will teach you the skills you are lacking to handle this and other issues in your life. It is never too late to learn as you already know since you are still taking classes at the college. in the meantime quit panicking. You will reach your goals, you life and plans are not in the trash can. They are just temporarily conflicted, remember you do have options. if you can't stand living with your mother then find a better set-up with a different elderly person as a live-in while you finish your school and save for a van.
You're not the only one to become stuck in the apron strings that transformed themselves in to tentacles.

I would suggest you look for "mental health counseling" and if you are full time at college they may be able to arrange something like this for you as a student.

I would suggest you quit talking about your plans for "your life" as it sounds like Mom has made your life all about her.  (it is a source of conflict)

If your Mon is healthy and in her later 60's to early 70's she may not really need anyone's help for another 10 years or more if she lives that long.

Often Mom's become too dependent on having their kids around way too long because they never learned to do anything in life besides being "Mom". (and losing her kids would leave her LOST)  Part of her charging you the $400 a month may just be to keep you financially incapable of leaving her to get your own life going. And she may not have any faith in your choice of career.  (you should be a Banker, Lawyer, Doctor etc)

The most significant issue I see is your going along with her (which she makes it so you have to....I understand)  is that you are "HER" enabler.  Your life is being stolen from you so that she may carry on living the only way she's ever known.  For you it's a waste of time.  For her it is a selfish love.

If she were to pass away tomorrow,  I would be willing to bet that within a year or two you would be on your feet (after readjusting) and able to enjoy Van life and possibly go and do some "productions".

I would mention some movies you should find to watch (privately:  Sybil and Ben & Willard)  The environment you are in has been known to lead to multiple personalities.
eDJ_ said:
If your Mon is healthy and in her later 60's to early 70's she may not really need anyone's help for another 10 years or more if she lives that long.

Her mom is 92, eDJ
That's sad and the course may as well be stayed then.  Should she be edging into senility she may have to  approach the courts to be appointed the executive for Mom.  Social Services may need to be brought in to evaluate this.

This situation isn't all that uncommon.
OP, there are social services available to you in your town, you should give them a call.

Best of luck!
Most healthy is NOT to live with mom. She is using you for a yoyo. Mom can hire an in-home caregiver.

Also approach next steps carefully and slowly. You will need to heal after escaping from mom's wringer, so taking a full load of classes could be another overload situation.

If you have a vehicle, that could be your new dwelling!
Hope to hear more from you.
How old are you?

your situation is tough for sure but darn, independent time for you :)

put the school on hold maybe and get a job and finance your own van.....or ?? keeping finding outside assistance in any way?

truly I know I read alot about your life but I don't know your life and situation at all mostly even from that big ol' post :) so just sending I hope you find your way and all goes well best it can for you!! best of luck moving forward in any fashion you can!!
He said he was in his 20s when his mother was 45 to 50. She is 92 now and he is in his 60s.Her age means she was raised under the influence of the Great Depression era. So she was  raised with a strict set  of values about money and making sur it was spent it on the things it was intended for. In this case the purchase of a van so he could live in it away from her home..

If she gave him money for the purpose of buying a van and he did not do that he is in a mile high deep pile of poop. The only way out of it is to repay her that money...after he moves out as requested. You can not change the values of a 92 year old woman, they are set as hard as high strength concrete. Her value in this instance is not a dishonorable one. She just wants her son to honor her finacial help to him.
thanks for a bit more deep info on that being so long I know I skipped reading some stuff LOL me bad

my mom is 93 and she 'still thinks and changes values' with the times but that is MY mom...everyone is truly so different for sure.

thing is to the original poster.....don't be thinking repay a loan for a long time from a 90+ year old and I don't mean that disrespectful at all.....but if you are the is the 'only kid' and is getting ALL the inheritance then a loan is the way to friggin' back small amt on plan or just pay back to estate when you get your share, just minus the loan there are ways to do this.

not to be snippy here but at 60 you best find a path and now and if you live iwth mom and she 'needs' help and you leave, who handles that next step?

OP you got alot on your plate....sounds like in a way your failure to launch when younger or finding your best path kinda is now a noose around your neck holding ya.....still tho, not sure on your issues truly in your life so again just saying wishing you the best way forward and best of luck to you.
Hopefully you will find a way to purchase a used van. If you have no other option there are "no credit check car loans" at used car dealers. That is a viable option because yoj can pay the loan using the funds that were paying rent to your mother. The interest astes are high on those loans but it gets you into a van and off to the area near the college you want to go to.
Sofisintown said:
I think Elvis has left the building guys....
True, no response to any of the well intentioned advice.

It's pretty easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can personally rescue someone who is now 92 and has made their choices. There are actually well qualified professionals who assist 92 year olds every day.

The agency who can make connections is called Agency for Aging and is nationally available to connect people with services.
Thank you Maki for a great post. There are a lot of us trapped in various situations. It’s very easy to judge when you haven’t walked another’s path. It’s often not possible physically, financially, emotionally etc to live in an SUV or van especially the donated HOWA ones that are not new and may have huge maintenance bills soon.
I think those HOWA vehicles are checked out really well. I remember a post that mentioned exactly what they were looking for in a vehicle and it seemed they did their homework. Of course there is always the unexpected.

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