Horror stories of hell raged parents.

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My story is about parents of 92 who have been together since they were 21, and live in their own house 100 miles from me. I am 65 and have always been close to me mother. They are both getting quite frail and can't walk very well because my father has a recurring pain in one leg and my mother is very unsteady on her feet. They have both been concerned about whether they may have to go into a 'home' or sell their house to get a warden run flat. However, last May Bank holiday, my husband and I visited to do their garden, get in the shopping and do some cooking for them, and all went well on the Saturday. Sunday was a different matter. I started to talk about doing up their rockery, and my father said 'oh no, not worth it the house will only be sold'.?? I said, well you don't know that (for the past 20 years they had left the house to me in their Wills). Oh no, he said, we have changed our Wills, and spitefully added that they had given my brother money (for his struggling business) 'because YOU never came into business with us??? And anyway, we told you two years ago. I said I knew nothing about it, and then his rage kicked off 'we told you, we told you' and my mother chipping in 'course he did, course he did'. This was a shocking blow to me, as he had changed Will 20 years ago because he had handed £200,000 + contained in a limited company of which all 4 of us were directors, and this was all done behind my back at the time, and I only found out when my parents asked me to sign saying I was no longer director of said company, and my father telling me that the company 'wasn't worth anything' and your brother will look after you! So now I know that once again my brother and his wife had manipulated and exploited them to get them to change their Wills and give them money! I think my father had built up guilt over two years and that's why he told me, hoping I wouldn't notice. But when I did notice he treated me with contempt and disregard and made like it was nothing important. The rest of that day I bit my tongue and carried on in shock, shopping and cooking for them, and finishing the garden, and not once did either of them try to explain anything to me. The following day, I asked him to put things right, and all hell broke loose and he ranted and raged at me with personal abuse and character assassination, until I got up to leave, when he told me don't come here again. I said, my mother needs me, and he added, 'We don't need your help". My life from that point came crashing down, and I descended into the worst nightmare of a nervous breakdown, wanting to kill myself, seeing a counsellor and taking anti-depressants and practically ending up in a mental ward! When my daughter wrote to her grandmother and said I had been crumbling into a million pieces over three months, and that I was completely broken, my mother responded with "my bad temper" because I walked out presumably, and that their poor son worked his butt off trying to keep a roof over the heads of his employees (so clearly they have been made to feel responsible for his workforce) and they 'don't have to tell me anything' apparently. Oh and when my daughter asked why her uncle and aunt don't speak to her as well as her mother (me), my mother replied that it was my decision??? My Sister-in law has seen off numerous people, my brother's Son from another marriage, my father from the business he worked in with my brother, one year after she got her hands on their £200,000. He had to 'retire' as he was 74 or thereabouts and mother needed him (apparently).
I haven't spoken to my parents since, but they decided to send me a birthday card in October with a cheque for £100.00, and I felt nothing at all, but I noticed my poor mother's shaky hand writing. I took the card to be an invite to come back and fall into line and be subjugated to my brother (Trustee of Will) and his evil wife who will now take over the house and clear it when they die. Even writing this now makes me feel like vomiting as my Sister in law has always studiously ignored me at family gatherings, and she spends her time drip drip dripping poison about people behind their backs and my parents knew that we not been on speaking terms for many years, yet she handed everything over to my brother to take care of when they die. And apparently, 'they don't have to sell the house now' I learned in May? Because, presumably, my brother has promised to look after them. I am now waiting to see the house be changed into the name of my brother! And I am the baddie. Discredited, stigmatised, and thrown out. Deceived, betrayed and humiliated, subjugated and violated, and my wound is deep and continuing, even though I am resuming some sort of normal life! I have built a wall to protect myself, so no longer cry all the time or wake in the middle of the night, or need anti-depressants. I no longer know what to do, as I think they have mild dementia and my dad crazy!

31 Comments

You are not going to get anywhere with the finances or the inheritance most likely...SIL has been persuasive and has probably done everything legally correctly, but if it would put you rmind at ease, get a lawyer to go over what was actually done and see if you have any recourse. Your elderly parents who were persuaded to do what SIL and brother told them was in their interest and the right thing to do, are not likely going to be able to grasp, let alone accept, that they have wronged you. It is possible that a trusted third party could guide them but also possible that anything they do would just be undone again as brother and SIL again convince them that you are the greedy culprit and they were right all along.

So, then, if after all is said and done, it's confirmed that you have in fact been successfully cheated out of your inheritance, just focus on salvaging any family relationships that can be and are worth something to you, and take some heart in the fact that you are the *victim* and not the perpetrator of this sad affair, and truly have NOTHING to be ashamed of. It is emotionally devastating to have the rug pulled from under you like this, and the reaction you had strikes me as totally normal and understandable...and yet, you are the one, possibly the only one, with some personal integrity in the situation. There would also be nothing wrong to see a counselor for yourself to help you recover emotionally from what has been done to you!
Thank you. Very kind of you. I did see a Counsellor for some weeks as I was in a very bad way. She was helpful, and she said 'it is their loss' . Most people who heard the story were horrified! Even my Aunt, mother's sister was so shocked that she retreated and pulled the shutters down and never spoke to me again, even though we had been quite close before May as we were concerned about my parents and working things out to help them. And she was recovering from cancer op as well. Now, after a pitying email from her, basically suggesting I accept my banishment and make the most of my life and not think about suicide! Lovely. Now I have ceased to exist! Nothing like decimating your entire family at age 92 is there?
Jenny, what a mess. How sad. I do wish people - and especially English people (you're using £ signs; is your family actually English?) - would think more carefully about the symbolism of money and why it is that nice, normal people get so incredibly upset over matters of inheritance.

The thing is, we all know that money and love are not exchangeable. You have to be disgustingly cynical not to accept that. But inheritance is not just money. It's symbolic, almost a summary, of what a child means to its parents. To a child who feels it has been deemed to be "worth" less than its sibling, this is so hurtful it is literally maddening. I can understand your sense of outrage, truly.

But what I'd ask you to think about is: do the other people involved in this terrible scenario understand what you feel? Because it sounds to me as if they're coming from a very different perspective.

Now, I have no idea, none, about where you go from here that will help you. Besides, I can only guess what your parents thinking was when they made their plans (and, whether they agree they did or not, they manifestly failed to communicate them to you in a way that made any sense); let alone what they feel about things now. Probably entirely vindicated, I'm sorry to say - but that doesn't help you.

The thing is, I get the impression you yourself don't know who you're blaming for all this. Your parents? Your brother? His evil wife? All working in cahoots to destroy you..? - Really??? How did parents who were scheming to betray you manage to sustain a loving relationship with you for so long? It doesn't add up, does it. Which means there's more to this than you're able to focus on at the moment, because you're so horribly hurt.

What would you like to happen? I don't think you are able just to leave it be, or you wouldn't be posting it on the forum six, seven months after that hideous scene. Try writing down what a good outcome would be, and come back to us. Maybe it'll lead to something better. xxx


It is the lies, the betrayal, and the desperate way I have been torn apart from the mother I love. There has to have been an awful lot of nastiness involved for them to have been primed to destroy me. My father's guilt made him launch an attack on me! I have always been close to them and always respected them as they were people of integrity, until 20 years ago when they were manipulated to hand over the Limited Company that had been set up in 1977 for my brother and I to inherit proceeds of a factory, and I was told this in 1977. I think they never set out this time to stab me in the back, they have been pressured. They are very old and susceptible! They are hiding something, because all they had to do was to have said to me 'look the value of house has gone up and money we have makes what we leave, a little unequal. Let's discuss and sort out'. 'And because u dont get on with your brother we would like you also to be a Trustee of our Wills'. !!! This is what they should have done! But I am apparently a worthless nobody, so not worth consulting! My mother has been brainwashed and used same excuse she used 20 years ago about how I never went into business with them! Spiteful! No mention if how my brother broke their hearts at age 18 by having to get married, of course! And I do mean broke their hearts - my mother cried for months! My mother also told me, my husband, daughter and her sister in 2010 that her Daughter in law hadnt been round to see them for two years, despite living 5 mins drive away! Shortly after that it seems the Wills were changed! A touch of the Stockholm syndrome if you ask me. It is not the money! They still think I will get my share of the house. But they can actually believe it ok to snatch keys of house from me, and hand to a psycho SIL who they know doesnt speak to me! I think my parents are scared of her! In the meantime I dont know how my Mother is and I am tortured! If they die, no one will tell me. You might say I should swallow my pride, but the truth is I am terrified of them! My father's rage and my mother's indignance and cutting words. It would be like going back into the lion's den and the mad hatter's tea party, where right is wrong and wrong is right! And I am a naughty little girl who should 'know her place'. And be ashamed of my 'temper' and my questioning of Mummy and Daddy who, of course, know best! All I can say is, that this site has helped me get through this, as before May, I knew nothing of dementia or old people at all, and now I do, and I don't feel so alone. I am English btw. Thanks for your kind words.
Jenny I cannot be of much help to you in this terrible situation but offer my support. My only thought which may or may not be helpful to you is that your parents have apparently turned so viciously against you because of their guilt.
You said everything went well on the Saturday of your visit. Do you think wicked SIL found out you were there and lit the poison pot under brother who was persuaded to contact the parents to pressure them into finally letting go of you "or it would be the worse for them" The only way they could rid themselves of a daughter they loved was to turn her into a monster.
Given SIL's nature you may in time find out that she has been up to all sorts of illegal things with the company and when her chickens come home to roost you will be so thankful you are not in any way connected. It is so sad that your parents at their ages have to be subjected to such evil but one can only hope that by the time the Police come knocking they are in a better place. At least for now all you can do is take care of yourself and find sollice in your own family. As far as any inheritance is concerned hard as it may be to hear I would guess that SIL has long since spent that. Does she have a taste for luxuries by any chance. Think of her sitting in a prison cell stitching mail bags her hands red and swollen from the cold.
You love your parents and I am sure you will be there for them when the s**t hits the fan. Blessings from a fellow English woman
Well, if your parents have dementia, they may not have changed their Wills at all, it may be a delusion. You might want to talk with an elder attorney, it seems time to seek guardianship or have the courts appoint an independent guardian. Put it in the fair hands of the judiciary.
Is everybody on this site turning English??? What the ****'s going on?! We'll all get kicked off at this rate…!
Jenny, when I asked "what would you like to happen?" I meant, what would you like to happen in the future. I didn't mean, what do you think ought to have happened. You can't change what has happened. More importantly, you can decide - not what happens, because that's up to lots of different people, but - what you do next.

So: what would help?

I hesitate to speak up. I've thought about it for some time, and would rather sleep on it, except that I have to go on a long journey with my 89 year old mother tomorrow - to see, as it happens, lol, my own dear brother and even dearer sister-in-law - and will need to concentrate on my communication skills and hem-hem relationship management to avoid another s**t-storm… But the thing is this.

Leave things as they are - and I don't think you can, I think you'll carry on getting in deeper to the bitter end - and your parents will die estranged from you and I don't think you will ever get over it. And that would add great, irreparable grief to the hurt you're already feeling. Which is not good, not good for you. Not fair.

The popular and (for me, anyway) easy option would be to attribute your father's behaviour to his guilt, say poor you, you're better off without them, leave with your dignity intact, etc. etc. etc.

And then your parents will die estranged from you, and you from them... So where does that get you?

Or I can risk making myself very unpopular indeed. Well, okay. You can always ignore me.

What I would like you to do first is plot a time-line. Write it as if you were being your father. Born 1921. Went to school, went to war?, married 1942, went into business?, son born?, built up business, daughter born?, bought beautiful family home, idiot boy knocks up local girl but what can you do, at least he had the guts to marry her, boy goes into business, 1970s industrial strife, daughter marries?, 1980s monetarism, 1990s chaos, war, New Labour, 2000s - well, you get the idea. Include births, marriages and deaths; other major factual events. Insert his known ACTIONS. Do not attribute emotions or motives. Do not guess. Get the facts down in front of you, on paper. Then cross out all the bits that have crept in which really only say that you, Jenny, are very angry.

The idea of this exercise is to see everything - not just you, not your brother - but everything that was definitely going on. Your father's life, which will become his whole legacy, is about much more than you and your brother. The trouble is, the bit that's hurting you is pretty much all about just you two, isn't it? Very hard for you even to want to look at the whole story. I'm hoping this will be a start.

Very very softly: in the end, yes, your goal will be to accept one thing that will be very hard to accept. That is this: your father is and always was legally and morally free to do whatever he thinks is right with his own money. What will help you, is coming to understand better why he decided as he did, and why it doesn't have to mean he doesn't love you, or that everybody is against you.

I don't think your parents would think that a grown woman of 65 with her own home and a husband in it is being a naughty girl. I think it's very possible they think - THEY think! Not me! - that you're being selfish, greedy and jealous. Because if they can't, won't or anyway don't understand why what they've done is so incredibly hurtful to you, how can they possibly understand the truth of why you've reacted as you have? I don't suppose they do feel guilty, not yet, not a bit of it - they think you're in the wrong. When they understand, maybe they will feel guilty, and maybe it won't be too late to alter things between you. You need to get to the understanding, on both sides. Do step 1. See how it looks after that. Then take it from there.

Don't hate me. All that matters is for you to find a way out of this appallingly unhappy and unfair car crash of a situation. Truly, I want to try to help.
I don't know what resources you have in England, but if there's an impartial government body in charge of protecting the elderly like Adult Protective Services here in the US, I'd get them involved to evaluate whether (1) your parents are still competent (2) are they being manipulated into legal/financial moves. The terrible truth is they might be competent and you have been hurt by some very nasty family dynamics that are unfortunately still legal. But it is also quite possible that they are not competent and brother and sil have been doing some shady things. The statistics say that one third of people over age 85 have Alzheimer's...so 1/3 chance your parents have it. I think the stats are even higher including all kinds of dementia. Ultimately though the "daughter" in you may never get resolution from them or interactions with them, but maybe you can find a separate peace.
I am so torn. I want to tell you to visit them one more time and tell them that you will do as they wish - get out of their lives. But before you go, I would tell them how much you loved them, the hurt you felt from their words/betrayals that you almost killed yourself. In the end, you realized that your life is more important than death. And that by hitting rock bottom, you realized that your husband and daughter/children/grands mean more to you than ever. And that you will value them. Just as your parents made their decision, you also have made yours. Gently try to hug them and tell them that they can always reach you by phone or email. But, from now on, your brother will be there for them - as your parents wanted.

As for your aunty.... I've stayed home to help my father care for my mom when I was age 23. It's been 24 years of being here for them - living with them - putting off my dreams to fly with a one-way ticket to the USA and travel all over Europe. I have 7 siblings. It never fails. My dad's siblings all thought that I wasn't doing enough. Me - who put my life/goals on hold while my 7 siblings moved out, married, have kids and grands. All those years, my father said that I was a bad daughter. While he looked up and treated ALL my siblings as guests when they came to visit. But my father never turned viciously against me like yours did. (Well, he was physically abusive though.)

I wish, with counseling, you can come to accept that your parents - whether they have dementia or not - have made their decisions. And that this is a SIGN that it is time for you to really concentrate on your immediate family. I'm not saying to ignore your parents 100%. But, maybe now, it's time to back off and let the chips fall. Hard. Hence, the need to seek counseling to help YOU.

One thing about counseling... I have always allowed my family to treat me the way they did. It was the counselor - with her very very deadpan face (she's very readable most times) - that made me realize how Very Bad my childhood was. It was the counselor - who helped me realized how so many times, my siblings have disappointed me - over and over. I only saw my siblings with real eyes when mom died in March. I'm just saying that counseling is really good. It helps us SEE things that we don't see. I once told my therapist that I'm so busy seeing the trees, that I wasn't seeing things as a forest. Tunnel Vision. I'm soooo sorry, Jennymac...

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