I am 31 years old, and have been unemployed for the last ten years.  I am currently getting a portion of my dad's social security (I stopped working shortly after he died, since I developed arthritis so badly, that I couldn't walk hardly).  I am currently living at my mom's house, and am hoping to find employment that is suitable for my arthritis, as I've earned my degree.  Like any family, we have our share of issues that we fight about.  Finding medication to treat my arthritis has been a challenge, however, there is one medication that is a miracle cure.  Here is the glitch I'm going through... for a period of time, my insurance would not cover the cost of the medication.  The pharmacist told me the best thing to do is pay the cost, and get the physician to write a letter to my insurance, and in most cases insurance reimburses the purchases.  I believed this, and this was not the case.  Since I trusted the pharmacist, I went to the safe deposit box that my parents have been renting, and took money from it ($600 for three months).  My mother told me I was never to go there without her permission, unless she was no longer alive.  Since my insurance will not reimburse me for countless reasons (even though they agreed to cover it for a little while longer), I am now living everyday of my life in fear of when Mom may find out that I did this.  She is going to be absolutely furious if she finds this out.  Fessing up is not something I can do.  I rely on her for practically everything, and the only other person I could have asked for help is no longer alive.  Since I can no longer get my medication, I've completed a pain rehab program, which I learned a lot from, though the pain has not gone away.  I chose not to spend anymore money on the medication.  I do not qualify for any loans, as I've found out.  I even tried to get one from a stranger online, which could have really ruined my life, however, nothing seems as bad as my mother finding out I took the money.  I already hate my life, and if I lose the little freedom I have, and all the help from my mother, I cannot bear it.  I'm not saying Mom does not have the right to be mad, however, I'm a victim in this respect too, and I think that there should be a way to solve this without ruining my life.  What do you think I should do?

Hi Kelsey - I can understand why you took money to alleviate your pain. The implication is if you had asked your mother for it, you think she would  have refused, despite your pain -?
It seems you to have two broad choices - don't disclose, and live with fear and guilt, or disclose honestly and live with her "fury." I hope that if she cares about your welfare, she would forgive you for not asking first and seeking to manage your pain.
  The core issue you two need to discuss is not the money, it's why you didn't feel safe asking for her help.

  Ideally, you two could work together to plan how you might earn an income )e.g. some computer job from home)and repay her and finance your medication.

I wonder if you or she have inherited psychological wounds that underlie your family problem; If so, you two have a deeper problem to confront

If so, a useful long-term option is to patiently study this online "recovery" lesson:

The only other advice I can offer is this:

Compassio0nately, Pete  


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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