Hello everyone, just wondering if anyone here has had something like this happen to them with one of their bi-polar loved ones.
As a precursor, my dad refuses treatment despite numerous attempts by the family to get help for him, so as great as that would be, its not really an option.
Basically, I have known for some time that my dad had serious financial problems (I suspect he gambles) and recently (in the last 2 years) I also began to suspect that somehow he may have been involving me in his problems (when visiting his house, I noticed a couple of credit card solicitations with my name on them).
However, I never confronted him about it because ofe the negative reactions he has always had when confronted by the family, plus he just flat out lies to us anyway, so not sure what good it would do.
Anyway I am graduating from law school in May with a pretty decent job and I wanted to buy myself a car as a graduation gift. I went in to buy a car and discovered my credit is completely ruined (bottom 20% in America). This was a surprise to me because I have only kept one credit card which never kept a balance, I even did certain things to improve my credit while in college like borrowing $1000 on a CD and then paying it off with the CD, just to establish some kind of credit.
Sure enough I order a credit report and come to find out that I have over $30K in credit card debt in my name (through 6 different cards, ranging anywhere from a 15K credit limit opened 4 years ago, to a $500 credit limit one opened before Christmas this year - I presume the $500 credit limit is my max now because my credit is so terrible). I do not recognize any of the cards, but the credit reports lists as an alternative address my Dad's address. It also lists my dad's employer as my employer.
I called my dad on this and he of course denies everything claiming it is a mistake by the credit card companies and I am only supposed to be a "secondary user" on the cards. He claims he got the cards for himself and had me put on it as a secondary user in case I ever had an emergency (of course, he failed to tell me about it at the time, so a lot of good that would have done ).
Anyway I am in a hell of a predicament. I am so upset that I almost want to go to the police and have my dad put in jail (maybe he will finally realize he needs help) on the other hand I REALLY don't want to do that.
I don't know what to do about my credit or how to even begin to fix it. I am afraid that if I try to call the credit card companies, they will start to investigate my dad for fraud and have him thrown in jail.
On the other hand if my mom (who divorced him 20 years ago because he did the same kind of thing to her and refused to get help) were to find out, she would DEFINITELY turn my dad into the police. She has warned us that he would do something like this, but I never believed my dad would be capable of it.
I don't know what I can do. I guess I can't get a house or a car, and I can't really go to my mom for help because she will know something is going on.
Do any of you have any suggestions. I am desperate at this point. I know my dad will never pay off those credit card debts, but right now I can afford to pay 30K. I also need my credit restored, but not sure where to even begin.
I know I can consolidate those credit cards and make monthly payments to eventually pay them off (a few of my friends have done this for THEIR OWN credit card debt--I was always responsible, but now I am in worse position then themm...it makes me so upset just thinking about it).
Anyone ever encounter similar problems? Anyone have to "cut-off" bi-polar loved ones financially? These credit card companies make me mad too because apparently they kept extending my dad credit (in my name) even though payments were never being made. Do credit card companies understand people with psychological problems and will they help me take care of this to prevent problems in the future? (i.e. I am somehow hoping to make it so my dad is NEVER allowed to use my name to get credit ever again).
Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.
That's quite a story. I cannot say that I've experienced anything parallel.
My bipolar father did make my name "mud" with his family. When my first wife was pregnant (1975) with our son, HE went to his parents with a sob-story...
Said I'd pushed her down the stairs - causing a miscarriage, and he needed $500 to assist with the medical bills. This should have been blatantly fraudulent to them - as my wife was IN THE AIR FORCE (so medical care would have been paid AND my buttocks would have been court-martialed, had there been a smidge of reality there)... What delusional fools - the healthy birth didn't ring any bells ???
It was easier for them to give him the $500, and make me unwelcome to all family members. I didn't find out about that until over ten years later...
Similar, but different.
You and I have a bit in common. I was pre-law when I got to visit Southeast Asia (aka... Indo-China, aka... Viet Nam)...
Our dear olde dads "***" us over !!!
Odd thing. I've ALWAYS been EXTREMELY orderly with my finances.
On the other hand - I JUST fell victim (for the third time in 25 years) to another round of Identity Theft - "Grand Theft" Credit Fraud...
You "could" try to contact Experian, Transunion and Equifax - and IF you could actually SPEAK with a human, you MIGHT get to ask advice along the lines of what you stated HERE.
I realize you're not wanting to bring "heat" on your father.
We're NOT allowed to post phone numbers here, or I'd have listed them. I'm certain you can easilly enough "source" them...
Good luck !!!
I understand exactly the sort of thing you're dealing with !!!
In my own case, I tried to put MUCH distance between myself and my father, so that his reputation would not impact me as much...
Despite that, upon returning "stateside", I got called off a B-52, into the Base Commander's office to receive a phone call from my father... Seems he'd made up a BS story about trying to interdict a drug deal in Atlantic City, New Jersey - and had wound-up being arrested, himself... He simply needed "bail" money ~ yet he wound-up calling our U.S. Senator, who contacted the Joint Chiefs, who contacted the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who contacted the Strategic Air Command Liason, who contacted the Air Division Commander, who contacted our Base Commander - who wanted to know what the hell was so darned important that HE'D been summoned to respond...
Guess what THAT did to MY reputation for a LONG time.......
It's a wonderful life, eh !!!
~ M* ~
IN EDIT - then there was the only time I ever got the nerve up to be an entrepreneur... Had the whole deal down in writing, bank underwritten - would have set me and my family up for life in North Carolina... when along comes my father... Fled 4 states with outstanding warrants for check fraud... Has NO place to go... I take him in, conditionally... He PLEADS for me to allow him to open a checking account... I take HIM to the VP that was handling my deal - and explain - also limiting his access, granting ME full control - and standing behind his account... After about 3 weeks, I got a phone call... My father had passed 29 bad checks... Even though I covered them ALL, my entire business venture was cancelled by the bank !!!
I hope that somehow adds perspective for your situation. I moved to California to escape further injury to my personal and financial life.
What can we do ???
In the end, it was MY decision (the only one left) to pull life support that resulted in MY getting socked with a Bipolar diagnosis.
The final insult ?????????????????????
Last edited by maniasterisk; 04-06-2005 at 10:52 PM.
I'm sorry to hear of your unfortunate situation. Your post caught my eye because I recently went through a similar situation with my now-ex-boyfriend (who is also bipolar & refuses to seek treatment).
Like your dad, my ex had a complete lack of impulse when it came to spending money. And a complete lack of impulse when it came to everything else as well. I would go into a store with him, he'd wander away from me for a few minutes & as we'd leave the store he'd start pulling hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise out of his jacket. He ruthlessly robbed people and would steal just about anything he could get his hands on. At 18, he was convicted of larceny & home invasion and spent 2 years behind bars. You'd think one would learn their lesson after going through something like that. But nope... not him. He went right back to his old ways the second he was paroled. The next case he caught was unlawful use of FTD (financial transaction device) for opening a credit card in someone else's name & racking up thousands of dollars in charges. His trial for that charge is in 3 weeks & he'll surely be put away for a long time (being a habitual offender).
That seems to be the problem with untreated bipolar disorder. Complete lack of impulse control & empathy. They'll do whatever it takes to get what they want & it doesn't matter who they hurt in the process.
You have quite a sticky situation on your hands. $30,000 in credit card debt at the hands of your father. And the frustrating part is, he won't even admit to any wrongdoing. My ex was the same way. He had a lie or an excuse (and not very good ones, at that) to cover his a$$ no matter what he did. It seemed he had no conscience whatsoever because he'd repeat the same mistakes over & over without second thought. Sounds quite a bit like your father, from what you said.
As far as what you should do, that's a tough one. It's sad to think that you'll be using your hard-earned money to pay off debts that your dad created for you. And at the same time, what is that teaching him? You mentioned he did something similar to your mother years back. If he sees that he can take advantage of people without paying the consequences, what reason does he have to stop doing what he's doing? Also, if you don't want your dad getting into any kind of legal trouble, you'll be stuck paying off that enormous debt all by yourself. If you were to tell the credit card companies what really happened, they'd slap a case on him in no time. Not the most ideal way to start off your career, is it? And why should it be your job to bail your dad out of this horrendous situation? He's an adult, and though he has psychological issues, he knew what he was doing. And in the back of his mind... I'm sure he knew it was wrong.
Though it didn't seem to do much for my ex... maybe a little jail time would teach your dad the lesson he so desperately needs to learn. If you bail him out this time, who's to say he won't turn around & do it to someone else? Also, the judge would most likely order him to seek treatment for his bipolar... something he should have done years ago. It may be just what he needs to open his eyes to the turmoil he has created. Like he chose not to take medication, he chose to open those credit cards in his own daughter's name. Maybe it's time he face the consequences. I realize he is your father and you love him, but if you love him... don't you want him to get help? You said he won't do it on his own... a judge will give him no choice.
Regardless of what you decide to do, I hope that everything works out somehow. Listen to your heart! Good luck & take care!
Trust me, I know all about how difficult it is dealing with a bi-polar loved one.
I had finally come to the point in my life where I just realized that was who my father was & quit trying to change him or expect him to behave normally.
However, now that his actions are directly affecting me and my family (I am set to be married in August), I can no longer take that hands-off approach.
Adding to my problems, is the fact that the rest of my family has pretty much washed their hands of my dad's problems. However, I feel they will turn on me if I do anything to hurt my dad (for one my dad has them all convinced that my mother was the source of all his problems, and he can easily convince them that she is the one making me do this. He would probably even lie and say it was all my credit card debt and he was just trying to help me pay it off).
I kind of agree that the best thing for my dad would be court ordered treatment (he did receive treatment during his SECOND divorce - long story there, and did quite well with it for a couple of months), however, I just can't bring myself to turn my dad in. He has led such a horrible life (mostly self induced, I can not cap it off by sending him to jail), plus he has pretty bad lung problems from years of smoking and I don't really know how much longer he has to live.
Like I said, the 30K isn't that big of a deal, sure it is a lot of money but that is all it is: money, it isn't the end of the world. I have 60K in student loans already, and with the right planning the additional 30K could be paid off in 5 years. What hurts the worst is that he hasn't been paying the monthly bills which in turn has ruined my credit, which will in turn hurt my fiance's credit when we are married, and she definitely doesn't deserve that.
What I've decided to do is this:
I am calling the credit card companies and telling them to start sending everything to me. I am telling them that while I was in college and law school my dad was supposed to be paying the bills for me but I just found out he hasn't been. I will tell them that I plan on closing the accounts but paying off the balances (if I can I may even consolidate them).
Then I am going to my Dad's and telling him the game is up with me, no matter what lies he tells. I am getting credit fraud protection and he will never be able to use my name to get credit again. I will tell him that he is avoiding jail time this time even though I have thought about turning this all over to the authorities. I will once again beg him to get help. I will tell him that if he feels like it or if he has extra money, he can send it to me to help pay off his bills. I will warn both of my sisters and tell him that I have warned them.
Regarding the credit fraud aspects - the Big 3 will grant you a 90 - day freeze on all new attempts at credit creation (will contact YOU directly before ANY new credit granted) ...
BUT, if you wish to get a 7 year alert then you HAVE to file a police report along with an I.D. Theft Victim form (go to the FTC ~ Federal Trade Commission online site to garner the pdf forms)... You might also check with YOUR state's State Attorney General's Office ~ as they might easily have a list of suggestions for your particular domain...
I'm certain you'll make a good attorney !!!
Best of luck in all you persue !!!
I fully understand your position, as I was the only person in our family who would give my father the time of day...
~ M* ~
Last edited by moderator2; 04-07-2005 at 06:07 PM.
I know how frustrating that can be. My father died a couple years ago and left me life insurance money. My mom has been sucking me dry for a couple years now. I'm almost out and she keeps hinting that she wants me to move out. I don't think I ever felt so used in my life. I hope you can get back what it yours. I'm no lawyer, but I think even if you have good case, it going to be a long ride. So, hold on.