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Yellowdog's avatar

If you wanted it to be thrown away or discarded in years past, do you still get dibs on it?

Asked by Yellowdog (11168points) February 12th, 2017

This argument is over a piece of furniture. Its more of an attachment issue than anything that was actually being used.

When my family and I were getting the furniture out of my grandmother’s house back in 2011, there was a record cabinet that I wanted—

It is a really beautiful cabinet, looks something like a high-end wine cabinet—but was used for record albums—somewhat green to aquamarine to specks of gold, with a beveled cabinet door crisscrossed with decorative lead mullions. I’ve seen similar things at furniture stores for over $1,000— Although the piece was from the early 1950s, it is exactly the kind of thing that is in style now.

In 2011 I had been shot in a robbery and, while waiting (3 years) for disability compensation, had to move in with my parents. We were in the process of moving the furniture out of my grandmother’s when I was shot.

I insisted on keeping the cabinet, bargaining with my parents for a place to put it. Our house was crowded with furniture from several houses.

Grandma died about nine months later. By that time, I had moved the cabinet to a semi-hidden spot in the corner of the breakfast table area where it would be out of sight, out of mind, and inaccessible.

In 2014, it became a bone of contention again and my mother wanted me to throw it out and get that area cleaned out—which had accumulated lots of papers and other semi-discards. I thought about moving it to an attic through a pull-down stairs hatch but it was simply too heavy (I am still somewhat disabled from the 2011 gunshot injury).

Eventually the area is almost totally burried.

In 2017, my GF and I get an apartment together but now my parents are dependent on me, so this is my main place of residence (my time divided about 55/45). Because my GF needs furniture, I pulled this piece out of hiding. It is absolutely perfect for the apartment—the colours, the style—it quickly becomes a focal point. It looked REALLY GOOD in that apartment. My GF and I cleaned it up nicely—looks like a museum piece.

This morning, after 2–½ weeks my mother discovered it gone.

Now, hopefully some of you will see my mother’s position because that’s what I’m trying to understand.

My mother acted such a scene with her screaming and sobbing and cursing that I was really concerned about my dad’s health and survival. Neither of my parents are doing well.

My mother insists that the piece is HERS because it belonged to her mother
—and that the times she said that she wanted me to get rid of it were several years ago.

I brought it back to my parents house to keep the peace—
—but this really leaves a “void” in my GF’s apartment. It looked EXTREMELY good there and had special meaning for me.

There it sits in the mud-room / laundry area now—I just cannot put such a beautiful piece of furniture back in the dirty obscurity of where it hid for over five years. I saved this furniture from being discarded all those years ago because I saw it had potential and I would want it someday. Now Mom wants it.

Some of my friends (and I don’t have many) think my mother is right and that it is HERS because it belonged to her mother, and my mother needs that connection.

Others of my friends (again, not many) think (and maybe I agree) that my mother just doesn’t want it in the presence of my Girlfriend, who my mother has never met, doesn’t want to meet, knows little about, and absolutely hates.

My girlfriend blames me for not standing up to my mother. Although I do not want my girlfriend to have it exclusively, I feel that I should be able to enjoy it where I can see it and have access to it, because I saved it from the trash or the thrift store.

Then again, maybe my mother IS missing her mom and needs the connection…

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22 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah. Go with your Mom. My mom was an artist. She did several acrylic paintings, and several water colors. When I was in my early 20s I went to visit her in Seattle, where she had moved after the divorce.
I was poking around in her closet and came across these two water color paintings, which had never been framed, rolled up and stashed in a wrapping paper tube. I asked her if I could have them. She said, dismissively, “I don’t care.”
So I brought them home and spent quite a lot of time and money trying to find the perfect frames and matting. They hung in my houses for 20 years.
Fast forward those 20 years. I had moved into a rental house for a couple years, that was so old the walls were plaster and lathe. I was afraid to hang the paintings on such an unstable surface. Mom had just moved from Washington back to Kansas. I asked her to hold on to them for me. She did, and hung them up in her new house.
3 years later I bought a house with regular (read “updated”) sheet rock walls. I asked Mom for the paintings back. She became insulted and angry, said they were her paintings, and why did I want to take them from her?
It was just time to shut up, so I did. I knew the biggest hurdle would be keeping them out of my greedy sister’s hands when the time came, and I manged to do it. In the end, with her dementia and the almost constant moving those last years, from one secure facility, to increasingly MORE secure facilities, including her last one, back in Washington State, I ended up hauling those paintings back from Washington again, only framed this time.

I guess the moral of the story is, do you have any competition for the piece? If not, put a piece of tape with your name on it somewhere and just tend to it when you’re there. Put it up on blocks to keep it off the floor, and polish it. You’ll get it back again.

Actually, I think the second one is acrylic. Anyway…

Coloma's avatar

I think your mother is being hysterically unreasonable and going back on her, original, ” get rid of it, I want it out of here” and now, for whatever weird reason, she has changed her mind, conveniently, on a whim and is now using every manipulative tactic in the book to guilt trip you to death. The whole premise of her not wanting your girlfriend to enjoy having it is just infantile and petty. Your mom sounds like she has a lot of emotional problems.

Is she senile, does she have some dementia, or has she always been emotionally manipulative? If she has a history of being manipulative well….don’t play into her childish games.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I would reluctantly give it back. I would add the stipulation that she can’t get rid of it without consulting me.

Yellowdog's avatar

She has been like this for years and vehemently hates my girlfriend, someone who she knows so little about that she didn’t know when she and I have sat with them in church.

If it were just me, I’d keep it in my girlfriend’s apartment— but I guess I have my dad’s well being to consider. But yes, my mother has had this type of infantile, manipulative behavior since I was a teenager. I once even called suicide prevention hotlines out of desperation in my mid and late teens because she made life so miserable—especially with girlfriends but also normal social activities I needed—even church events.

My girlfriend really thinks I need to stand up to her for once. I guess mom wins this one, however. Dad loses, too, when Mom does this. My GF and I only had the piece a couple of weeks. But I can’t emphasize enough how really good it looked in that apartment. Without it, it looks like we were robbed and something beautiful and valuable was taken.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How old is she? And how vitally important is it that you must have that piece now?

Yellowdog's avatar

Her age is 78. Guess the piece will get re-festooned in fuzzy grey spider eggs and dust and old newsletters another fifteen years, My rhetorical question is, why must it sit unseen and unknown and unused when it was a focal point of a beautiful setting where it was admired and needed?

canidmajor's avatar

The real question, as I see it, is: Is this a hill worth dying on? This is not really about a piece of furniture, but the power play between you, your mother, and your GF.
Is your father fully compos mentis? What does he say about this? There is way more at stake here than a cabinet.

janbb's avatar

You know sometimes a “cigar is more than a cigar.” This is obviously a power play from your mother. Only you can decide whom it’s worth hurting – your Mom or your girlfriend. I suggest you talk to your Dad about your feelings and see what he thinks about you taking a stand.

@canidmajor Jinx!

Yellowdog's avatar

For him, appeasing my mother is by far easier. He has to live with her. My GF and I only had the cabinet a couple of weeks so I guess it means less to us.

Dutchess_III's avatar

SHE’S 78 YEARS OLD PEOPLE!! If @Yellowdog hasn’t come to grips with her personality by now, and gotten over it, he’ll die frustrated. She can’t change. Period. My Mom was dead at 74.

I say let it go, but maintain it when you visit so it doesn’t collect spider eggs, newspapers and dust.

And I agree with @canidmajor.

Yellowdog's avatar

As I said, we’ve only had it a couple of weeks. I’ve let it go. Stashed back in the corner. I hate giving up something I rescued from the thrift store though, just because my mother doesn’t like my GF (again, whom she doesn’t even know)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if you quietly filched if from the house, would she even notice?

Seek's avatar

Your mom is forcing you to choose between her and your girlfriend. The piece of furniture is a prop, and mostly irrelevant to the issue.

Coloma's avatar

I say stand up to the old bitch and don’t let her manipulate you. It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks and if she wants to jump off the roof, so be it. Yes, talk to your dad and see what he thinks, if she is going to make his life a living hell by endlessly whining and lamenting and over dramatizing things, well maybe you should give it back for his sake but, personally, I wouldn’t stand for this for one minute.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My God people. What is wrong with you all? What will being militant about it accomplish? Nothing, except hard feelings. The War over a Goddamn Piece of Furniture. What a nice memory to have when she’s dead and gone.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

This is a powerplay, between two important egos. You’re not going to get through this unscathed, buddy, even if you take a passive stance, IMHO.

You’re going to get the piece eventually. The old lady will be dead soon along with her pettiness. If she vindictively throws it out in the meantime, that’s a risk you’ll have to take measures against. I would explain this to your girlfriend, and if she gives you any shit, just chalk it up to more bullshit you don’t have to deal with. If she insists that you are being a mommy’s boy, or even hints at trying that bullshit game, I would come down on her like a fucking hammer. It’s none of her business, really. I would take the patient, methodical way and a fuck all stance against the antics of everyone else involved. It’s the price you pay for having a family and a goddamed piece of old funiture.

Yellowdog's avatar

I’m glad you’re all this supportive. Yes, the fact that its a goddamned piece of furniture is precisely what the problem is.

I personally thought the furniture was absolutely perfect in the apartment. Right now, silly as some would say it is, I don’t even want to BE in the apartment without it. It was simply that nice at that setting.

Childish of me? Maybe. Then again, perhaps the feelings of children are underrated.

What it was to my mom or my girlfriend is indeed between to competitive, headstrong egos. But what it was to ME is what matters most—selfish as it sounds. I want it in the apartment with my girlfriend. It looks really good there, Its exactly what is needed and aesthetically ties so much together in the apartment. I am the one who knew I’d want this piece someday and saved it. It looks better, fashion-wise, than it did five or six years ago -and is symbolic of me rebuilding my old life after being shot in a robbery and having to come back home—and starting over during tougher economic times. For my GF its rebuilding her homeless life with a new home with me,

janbb's avatar

Maybe it’s worth looking for something together to replace it that would represent all that to the both of you?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Yellowdog I’m not saying I don’t support you or that your Mom’s treatment is fair. But like @canidmajor said, “Is this a hill worth dying on?” I, personally, would say no. But that’s just me. What will happen to it when she dies? Can’t you just wait?
@janbb I doubt it’s the piece itself. I mean she stuck it in a utility room. It’s the battle she’s enjoying so getting another piece isn’t going to work.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III You didn’t understand what I was saying to yellowdog at all. I was suggesting that he give his Mom back her piece and he and his girlfriend look for something together for their apartment.

canidmajor's avatar

@Yellowdog, yes, we get it, you want that exact piece. You may just have to let it go, it sounds like the emotional price may just be too high. It doesn’t actually matter whether or not you are entitled to it, whether or not it was “perfect”, whether or not you’re being selfish. That ship has sailed.

Take @janbb‘s advice, find a special piece, together with your GF, that you both can like.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OIC @janbb. Yes, I misread it. I thought you said he and his mom should go looking for another piece.

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