Dealing With Sibling Control in my Husband's Family

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This may be long and drawn out..But this past December my mother-inlaw had a break down and needed to be put into a Psychiatric Hospital, this was totally out of the blue..My husband and I live in California and come home often, I should begin by saying there are 4 Siblings in this family..2 boys, 2 girls. My husband being the youngest, age's range from 62-46..the two older siblings, boy and girl also live in California. One sister lives in Michigan where my mother in law lives. My husband has been always the closest to his parents..the older children didnt have a good relationship with their parents. My husband was a born late in my mother in laws life, so she was a totally different parent to him than the others..The have always been resentful of my husband because of the relationship he has had with the parents..His father passed away 5 years ago. So when this tragic set back happened with his mom it thru us for a loop. My husband flew back to Michigan to be with his mom and the older brother happened to be there at the time working on a movie set (he is a location manager for the movie industry) I will give a little back ground of him..He is 62 a struggling actor his entire life..No moved into the location manager area as its easier to get a position..I can count on one hand since my husband and I have been together 22 years how many times he has been to visit his parents/mother. When he comes into town, he stays with a cousin instead of staying with his mother..every time..sometimes being in the same town and never stopping to see her. So he happened to be in town when this all took place so he was the first on scene and had her commited prior to my husband getting there. My husband is the POA, Durable Medical POA, so my husband stays there for 2 weeks, realizing that his mom has to be put in a assisted living home as she has been diagnosed with Dementia. So he flies home..We pack up the car with a months worth of things plus dog, knowing that we will have to spend a least a month there getting this ready for her move. We drive across country 4 days in a car, spending lots and lots of money on gas, hotel rooms, and mind you we had to rent a car..(1200.00 rental bill for one month) We arrive back to Michigan, go to meetings with homes, VA papers to fill out, meet with attorney's..ect..All the while my husband is doing all of this, with no or little imput from the other siblings..He is keeping them apprised as to what's going on..In the mean time, we are unable to work being there (husband is an antique dealer and I have my own business of housesitting/petsitter which leaves me no work in Michigan) So in the mean time we are trying to take care of his mom, pay our bills, rent, ect..His mom is on a very limited income and does own her home..But we find out that the assisted living home is 700.00 more than what she gets a month on S.S and a little pension. So we file for VA assistant since his father was in the war she is entitled to $ it still doesnt cover the expense of taking care of other bills, from the house, and her supplemental insurance and ect...So we realize she has a B of A credit card and we told her that my husband was going to add his name to the account so we can pay some bills and the taxes and purchase items for her that she needed for her move into the assisted living home..She was fine with it as long as the bill gets paid every month..At the time we were reading over her POA and it stated that whoever is the POA agent can reimburse themselves for anything that pertains to the care of taking care of her. Knowing full well there was no way she was going to have the money to pay a credit card bill so we assumed the debt ourselves..During this time we were begining to be financial strapped ourselves with no income coming in, we told her we would be using the card to make a few payments of our own so we wouldnt have to worry about them while we were there taking care of her..Mind you she had a 3500.00 balance before we used the card. And with her taxes and our expenditures it was 5800.00..So we moved her into the home and we continued to keep up on all her bills, we went back to California..a few days later, the sister whom lives in Michigan called and said she caught the older brother at the house going thru stuff looking for something..of course he got mad at her and started yelling at her..So a day or so later, we find out that he called the Credit Card Company and told them that his brother was using the card and wanted to close the account..So he gets the mom on the phone and she is entirely confused..but they close account..So long store short...The older brother and sister ended up calling protective services on us, the police get involved and so we paid the credit card charges off what we used..and now my husbands rights as the POA are void..Who does that? There has never been a good relationship ever but to call the police? So all my husband wants is for his mom to be happy..


I ran out of letters..My husband is having a really hard time with this..The siblings have never wanted anything to do with their parents "EVER" now when they find a reason, all of sudden they are so concerned..The Protective Services women was so rude to my husband, she would not ever let him explain himself to her..Wouldnt listen to anything..She was so convinced that the 2 older siblings were the ones who cared about their mom..When they didnt want anything to do with her till now..My mother in law gave my husband the rights to be POA for a reason, because she never trusted the other kids..As for the brother he wasnt even listed on the POA incase something should of happen to my what does that tell you..My husband flew back a couple of weeks ago because his mom had 2 DR. appointments and wasnt doing very well physically, needed a walker and was incontinent..The older sister called and left a message that said.."Moms not dont need to run back there everytime she is sick" She's just having one of her fits..WTF, uncaring B**ch..And get this..the older brother had been there for over a month and never laid eyes on his mom..And he is the one who's suppose to get the POA of her now..He should of been the one who took her to the Dr.appointments since he wants control..but no, he was up in the U.P. gambling..(he left a message on the sister whom lives in Michigan's cell and ask her where the nearest Casino was on his way up north) all the while my husband is taking his mom to her appointments (she has a accident in the waiting room with her bowls, and didnt make it to the husband had to take her in the bathroom and clean her up and he's the one who's not suppose to take care of her now) I'm so frustrated with these people..I so badly want to write a letter to the older sister and tell her how I feel..Please give me advise on how to handle this..I hate seeing my husband falling apart mentally and physically over this..
Can you move your mother-in-law to your area and not do this long distance stuff anymore? Then you can sell the house or whatever, and write off the other siblings all together.
Boy my heart is breaking for you, and I totally understand your frustration with your husband's siblings. Please know that scenarios such as this are happening all over the country all the time. It doesn't solve the problem, but at least you know you're not alone. I am in a similar situation with no help from my siblings. They've thrown up road block after road block to what my daughter and I have tried to do. My brothers and sister-in-law have said some things also that have hurt us so much that I am not sure if our relationships will ever be healed. Be that as it may, I'd like to suggest some things that may or may not help in your situation. You can first try to find a local mediator who can help your husband and his siblings get back on the road to at least being civil and not as harmful to your efforts and your mil's care. If this isn't possible, you can also try to obtain legal guardianship. It takes a while to go through the court system, but it's legally stronger than a POA. It sounds as if your in-laws will fight you on that and should you lose, one of them would have to take on the responsibility of her care. That might help your case. The other thing you might want to do is to look for a social worker or therapist who can help you and your husband begin to heal and detach from this. I don't mean not be involved, but it helps a great deal to be able to step back some and focus on what's best for his mom rather than being caught up in all the drama that his sibs are creating. This last year with my 91 yr. old mother (advanced dementia, but no other physical problems) has taught me this. You can't change people, so you have to change. My mother is nearing the end and we aren't even able to get her into a suitable living situation because of my family. So, my daughter and I have decided to tough it out and try to do what's best for ourselves and my mom. Please try to get her nearer to you. The problems won't all disappear, but it will be easier for you all financially and physically. I pray often for all of us and our loved ones; and with God's help and guidance I believe that we will all get through these situations. Hugs,
@dlevy, I so appreciate your thoughts!! Thank you! yes, it's hard to detach from something that makes you so angry sometimes..I think the problem lies in the begining..My husband is the youngest of 4 so he was just a child when they all left the house to go to college and then move to California, never stepping foot in the house much or ever once they were out..So there was no foundation built between the children..So they have no feeling toward my husband and so its easy for them to just make things hard..Now, I come from a loving, caring supportive family and this would never happen between my siblings and me, so its hard to realize that there are families out there that cause turmoil..I know that if his mom knew this was happening, she would be so hurt and upset that they could do this to my husband..but we chose not to discuss any of it to her, whether she would remember or not we dont know..but all we can do is talk to her and make sure she knows we love her and visit as often as we can, which my husband is going in a couple of weeks..He will go every month and that's our plan, just because we just never no when the last time she will remember who we for the sister that lives here in California, she's just as bad as the older brother..she was just back in Michigan in Sept for her class reunion and flew in on a Thursday and left on a Sunday but didnt stay with her mom and only spent a couple of hours with her and the other sister going out to lunch..and the last time she was home was 5 years ago for the funeral for the father..all the years I have known here, every conversation is about what a rotten mother she had growing up..then in another conversation she will say how she is over it..the 3 siblings are crazy! I know my husband isnt perfect either and his mom was at a different place in her life when she had him, that cant be helped, but why should why should he be punished for that by them..When his mom speaks with her Dr's..they ask her what bothers her and she always comes back and says she wishes she was a better mother to her kids, she carries alot of guilt and I think that it finally pushed her over the edge..It doesnt help either when the kids will tell her what a terrible person she was..I know that the parents did whatever they could for their kids, sending them to college, trips to Europe, cars but they still seem to blame..I say.."your adults now, get over it"..I think that what put them mother over the edge was at Thanksgiving time..The older brother (was in town for a movie)and second to youngest daughter were going to a cousins for dinner and ask their mom if she would like to go, mind you she doesnt like crowds or lots of people so going somewhere where she would feel uncomfortable was going to be hard already, but they said they would pick her up and so she goes around 1pm and about 5pm she stated she would like to go home to the sister and she said let me see if Bill will take you..well within ear shot away he said.."I'm not taking that old bitch home" and she heard it and I'm sure he did it on purpose cause that's the way he the sister took her home which she wasnt very happy to have to leave either but did..and 2 weeks later the breakdown happened..Up till then she was driving, living in her own house, going to lunch and movies with lady I think that the Sept incident with the older daughter and the fact that the brother had been in Michigan for months and wasnt coming around and what he had said just did her in..because when the paramedics came to the house, she kept saying she was the devil, and was going to I know its been waying heavy on her heart for a long it makes us really sad to see her like this and know that the people who care for her less are the ones who are in control now..The papers for my husband came from the Protective Services came yesterday for him to relinquish his rights as POA and handing over to the older was a sad day for my husband and I feel terrible cause he knows he has no family that he can call family..but my family loves him and is supportive of him but he always wished for what I have..thank you for listening!
Can you meet with an elder care attorney? Many will give you services for free under these circumstances. First of all, protective services needs to understand why your husband had POA to begin with and they need to be held accountable for a complete investigation which it sounds like they have not completed. As your mother-in-law stabilizes, can you see if you can move her to California? I am the next to the youngest of a large family and understand the lack of connection between siblings that left for college before some of us had an opportunity to develop relationships. If nothing else changes, help your husband to develop a family of his choice. My father had to do this and became much more healthy emotionally after he let go of relationships he could not possibly fix. Try to get him involved in some groups for children with toxic families, if he is willing. Please let us know if we can help in any possible way.
@RLP...thank you for the support, yes, the PService will not even listen to him, like I said the woman whom is handling it, treats him like he is an abuser and that's how she see's it..The older brother fed her full of BS as he is good at doing and she thinks he is the one that at this point my husband is exhausted and feels so let down by the system that his hands are tied and just feels that if he can just continue to see his mom and do what he can to make her happy then he doesnt care about the rest..The other thing that bothers him is there is no communication at all as to what is going on now..he hear's nothing..he does talk to the other sister that lives there once a week so she keeps him abreast to whats going on but she is very vague as to what's going on with the older two siblings as I think they dont tell her much either..the sad thing is, is that the 2 older siblings hated each other all their lives, now they are like 2 peas in a pod..because I'm sure the brother was chewing on her ear for so long she just started agreeing with him..but I'm trying to be as supportive as possible and trying not to let it get him down but its hard..and all of our friends here are very supportive also which helps..and I like coming here and knowing we are not alone in this..Thank you!!
If he is POA for Financial and Medical then it was done for a reason and your brother and sister cannot override him.
He can act "as your mother" if the doctor has put the POA in force because of her mental condition. POA are to keep this type of thing from happening. The protective care agency may have overstepped its bounds.
Is your husband her POA for Financial? or only Medical?

Your mothers POA cannot be void while she is in the condition of not being able to make a new POA.

Make sure you are honest and doing the right thing and if you are, then keep the POA....

or ... maybe count yourself blessed the POA "was void" and let the other siblings handle it. My husband is having a hard time with his family too. They are making terrible financial decisions for his mother, wasting tons of money. His sister was taking care of the mother, freaked out and said, everyone HAS to do their % to help..... we said OK , and she assigned us a few jobs, taking mother to doctor appt, etc... we handled it so well and her mother bragged on us so much she never asked for anymore help, and now won't talk to us.

This was a completely normal, emotionally healthy family from what I could see. Now my husband has no contact with them other than visiting his mother at the home... It is bewildering.
@fortress, I completely understand your situation..As far as we were told, once the Protective Services is involved my husband POA is null..he had Durable POA and Medical POA..which durable means he could financially take care of her bills and such..But to be honest..I think we just want the siblings to go away and not have to worry about any of their crap anymore, my mother in law has very little income so let them worry about where the money is going to come from to pay for the house, which even if they put it on the market, the market in Michigan is so bad it will be awhile before it sells I'm we will just continue to do our best with his mom with visits and phone calls and sending little care packages and flowers, that's all we can do..Thank you for your post and my thoughts are with you too!!
I totally agree with RLP. I've often said that when my mom passes I won't have any family outside of my daughter. I actually talked with a therapist for about a year who helped me to gain some perspective. It sounds like your husband's siblings could use some therapy themselves to get past their issues with their mother. Unfortunately, a lot of people have bad or no relationships with their parents. Then when the parents become elderly and needy, the kids and/or parents are left to deal with day to day issues while fighting to keep their bearings in the black emotional fog of past hurts, neglect or abuse. It's sad, but your husband sounds like a fighter and it's time for him to fight for his own emotional health.

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