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I expect to be treated as an equal with him. Neither oneof us is more capable of handling Mom's finances and healthcare than the other. We are both honest people who were never a problem to our parents.

About 25 years ago when my children were little, I was angry with my husband for being so tight fisted. We had alot of money in investments, he was from a well to do family. I was taking care of our three children (twins). Money was so tight, he refused to "share" anything. He was building weath, or so he said, in the market. I was often depressed and vented to my Mother.

Fast forward, it has come home to roost. She claims I asked her for money to "feed my children", so she doesn't want me to know she has anything. Sad, in so many ways. When I confronted her about this she lied and blamed my now deceased father. But that opened a flood gate of her lies. I have finally stopped talking to her. My brother told me this weekend to call her, she would never call me.

I feel betrayed, lied to and about. She does not have dementia, is very healthy. My husband is angry with her and admits his wrong doing. But no one really defends me to her. I just can't call her, too much water under the bridge. My brother is zero help. He makes me feel guilty that I have distanced myself. Any thoughts on this unfortunate situation I would appreciate.

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yes i agree
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madge, I had a similar relationship with my dad. I was very ok with finally "divorcing" him, and putting much needed distance between us. It was others that tried to make me feel bad, feel guilty.. The man lived to be 98 yrs. old, was miserable everyday of his life, had no friends,was afraid I would want or need some of his precious money. It is a sad statement to our relationship, or lack of, that this past Father's Day, I did not even think of him, someone mentioned it was Father's Day and I felt nothing... So you do what you need to do. As someone stated earlier, if it was a spouse they would be telling you to leave...and I do understand that just because they are our parents does not mean there is automatic love there... As a child I was powerless over things, today I am an adult and get to choose who is in my world. I rarely had anything to do with him his last years. He was in Assisted Living, and if I went there and he got stupid , I left... And yes I have had all the guilt trip lectures about he did the best he could, blah, blah, blah, but the fact remains, I did not have to be abused to have a parent... I could volunteer to be an orphan...I was, and still am a better person for not continuing to try and fix something I never broke in the first place...So take care of yourself, follow your heart and your gut and set yourself free from phoney obligations.... life is too short.. hugs to you.
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What Jeanne said...especially the part about staying the heck out of harm's way creating the necessary distance.
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Yup. Love them unconditionally. Forgive them. Don't judge them. And stay the heck out of harm's way, by distancing yourself as far as you need to for emotional and mental health.
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I can only tell you it is hard to get a resolve and get cooperation from the other parties involved.
For your sake, I suggest that you love your transgressors wit unconditional love, fogive them and do not judge their actions. Their is only one judge. I lve by these simple words and it has helped me over strife in my life good luck
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lcs, thanks again.
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I agree that it would be best to tell the people that pass on the gossip that you don't want to hear anything anymore. It's all just lies so why put yourself through hearing them? All you might want to hear from your brother and from your friend, "Ann", about your mother is if she is drastically ill or something to that effect. Do what is best for YOU. Your mom seems to be doing fine and your brother, who doesn't know who to believe (!!!), can do what he wants with his mother but he shouldn't be telling you what YOU should do. Now, go have a good life with your husband!! :-)
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Some people repeat the same behavior over and over and expect different results. Addie, it sounds like you learned to change your behavior. Good for you! I'm glad that you are now getting better results. Not the results you would really like -- a loving family, but at least results that allow your life to settle down. How wise of you to recognize that keeping up with all the gossip did not really give you control.

Thanks for sharing.
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Sounds like Ann has a good handle on what is going on and could let you know if anything bad is happening to your mom should you want to intervene. Hearing gossip about yourself is just horrible. I've been through that several times in my life. It may be time to let go of getting the gossip since hearing it is just so awful and hurtful. If you can let go of it, maybe let Ann and even your brother know that you do not want to hear any more of what your mom is saying about you or your family because it is too hurtful. You would appreciate getting updates on her health, but that is all. It helped me to stop asking and talking about the things my mom said about me and the same in the other circumstances. My life settled down a lot when I let go of the gossip. Time is great for showing who the liars really are. I found that in the end everything comes out on it's own. Sometimes I thought running herd over what was said gave me some control over the situation, but it didn't really, and all that happened was that I got hurt over and over.
I could not handle hearing the hurt from hearing gossip anymore so I stopped asking and checking.
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And rereading your first post, it is terribly unfair and hurtful when a parent favors one child over another. I am in that situation also. I had to really work on toning down my expectations of my parents because that situation has never changed and the only person who was getting hurt by it was me. So to take care of myself I changed my expectations and found comfort in relationships with my other relatives and friends who truly value me. Given the history you might have to do that too...change your expectations in order to take care of you and your heart.
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I understand- I had a toxic mom - and she refused to care of our dad - who I might add took care of her for years- with all her imagined illness 's . To keep what sanity I had left I had to distance myself from her-funny thing she is fine up and around and giving orders to her home health and her church friends who run all her errands. She had me and dad changing her bed pans -now we all realixe that for those 20 to 30 years she wasn't that ill.

Of course you will feel regret but if you did go over wouldn;t you just subject your self to more abuse ? There isn't an easy answer and I have no peace either way. My mother is a toxic person who abused me as a child and an adult -I m still trying to come to terms with it -
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lcs, thank you. I am so lucky to have found this site. It has helped me so much. my brother was the original gossiper. When he ask Mom about her estate planning, POAs, etc. She said to him that she would let him know about her finances. Then she asked him not to tell me since Mom claimed I asked for money from my Dad "to feed my kids"..... This is such a lie it is almost funny. When I asked my brother about her financial situation, he told me that he knew about Mom and Dad's finances but he couldn't tell me because Mom had asked him not to. Dad was on his deathbed at this poin,t so I was very concerned should he need nursing care. I was interested in knowing if Mom would be left with no money and if we could help them. He also told me other nasty things she had said. Now he pretends that he doesn't know who to believe and I should just call her like nothing happened. I'm not sure I trust him anymore.

The other gossip is Mom's neighbor across the street from her. I will call her Ann. Ann is a childhood friend who grew up with me. We are like sister's. Ann thinks Mom is really strange and I think she wants to let me know what is going on. Mom has been told Ann tells me everything. But Mom continues to tell her lies and gossips. In fact, the main reason I stopped talking to Mom was because she told Ann , my friend, that I wanted to take over her finances. This was around the middle of February. I asked Ann if she thought Mom has the beginnings of dementia. Ann takes care of elderly people for a living. She said absolutely not, Mom is just mean. So both Ann and my brother, plus an Aunt, have told me of Mom's comments. My brother has told Mom Ann tells me everything. I just can't pick up the phone and act like I am sorry about something she has done to me.I feel like I would be returning to my abuser.
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Having gone down this road with both my parents and with the relative I am currently caring for, I think the best thing to do is to follow what your husband says...disengage. She will most likely never see what she has done to you or maybe she doesn't think she has done anything wrong. She has a debt to you that she can never repay in the rejection. The past is closed to both of you so there is nothing she can ever do to fix this. I'm pretty sure there is not much you can say or do that will change any of that.

You can't control her, but you can control yourself, and exposing yourself to the toxic relationship. Even so I recommend the high road with disengagement which is what I did and am doing. I think you can remember birthdays with cards/and or flowers and send get well cards/flowers if needed. There are cards out there that are kind, well-wishing cards and don't involve you telling lies about how you feel about her personally. If your brother is POA and or executor/trustee, let him do it.

If you are not geographically close then send a note once a month updating your mom on your family and extended family...just positive newsy stuff. If she likes a special food you can send it.

If she is geographically close then decide on a calling OR visiting thing but limit it. If you bring someone with you that would limit her feeling comfortable to disrespect you by yelling or cutting you down, then bring that person...maybe a relative. If you feel calling/visiting is too toxic for you, older people like to get mail so send nice notes about how you and the family are doing or drop of favorite foods/dinners every now and then.

Looking to the future, if the time comes for her to get a higher level of care, and your brother brings it up, tell him to do what he thinks is best--but be clear that best will not include you in giving her direct care, POA, executor or anything financial. Given the toxic relationship I would keep the responsibility ball in his court. You can give disengaged positive support, but nothing that will expose you to unmitigated toxic exposure to her.

You will never regret taking the high road of giving someone grace: unmerited, undeserved kindness, favor and good will. While she has chosen to reject and to disrespect you and the family, you can choose to show her undeserved kindness. As I am currently taking care of a difficult relative, I know how very hard it is to maintain the high road. But in the long term, the high road will protect you from any regret and will leave the way open for her to have a change of heart if that ever happens.
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Madge, I am glad you turned to this site to write about your situation. Now that you have explained it more fully (in follow-up posts) I think everyone gets the point that your mother is toxic (to you, anyway). As to why your mother doesn't treat your brother as badly as she treats you, some mothers have a softer spot in their heart for their son than their daughter (my elderly neighbour is this way) and maybe some fathers are harder on their sons than they are on their daughters?? I am wondering how you know that your mother tells all these lies about you? Does whomever she tells these lies to then pass them back to you? If so, I would suggest that you arrange for your mother, the person who passed the lies back to you, and you to sit down together (if your mom hasn't been to your house in years then you and the gossiper can go to your mom's house or to the gossiper's house) and talk about this. Have the gossiper say what she heard your mom say, your mom can say what she said to the gossiper, and you can say what you originally said in one particular instance. I think your mom needs to be face the consequences of telling these lies. I also think that someone right now must delight in reporting back to you the lies and must enjoy seeing how upset these lies make you feel. This person is hardly your friend either. Perhaps getting these lies and the tattle-taling out in the open would help a bit in correcting the situation.

As for the fact that you confided in your mother years ago, it is a shame that your mom wasn't just loving, wise and discreet enough to know that at that time you were possibly searching for guidance in how to deal with your husband's (at that time) stinginess. It appears to me that your mother is basically a very angry unhappy woman and she probably won't change but I think it might be worth a try to have her come face to face with the consequences of her lying. It would give you a chance to try to make her see how she is hurting you. But maybe she has no feelings for anyone but herself??

Anyway, I am glad you wrote in to this caregiver's site and I hope you received in your heart a feeling of love and support from this community.
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Thank you Lily04, I think you hit the nail on the head by doing what was right for you. Every situation is different and I have been back and forth on this. Mom doesn't need care now, just planning for it. Things will change when the time comes as I know her and I know my brother. They are more alike than my brother would like to admit. You know the old saying, "the chickens will come home to roost". I think their is alot of truth in this. So we have to be careful not to become our parent and to do the right thing. Maybe that is what I will do someday. As for now, I need someone to acknowledge my hurt and not just push me around like yesterday's old trash.
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Something that I did RIGHT...I know we always feel guilty about what we did wrong. My parents were divorced when I was 4. My dad didn't pay child support and when we did see him every few years, he was drunk. About 15 years ago, we got a call that he was dying and needed care. He moved to the area and I spent the following 5 years shopping for him, taking him to appointments, cleaning- you know the drill. He didn't appreciate a thing and was very demanding. Everyone
told me I was nuts and didn't owe him anything. He died 10 years ago and I never got the love or even an apology that I deserved. But you know what? I did what was right for me and I can feel proud of myself for that. It wasn't easy, but in the end, we have our self respect and less regrets. Now, Im taking care of my mom with alzheimers. Maybe I needed to remind myself of that story, to get thru it this time. It sure didn't get any easier. Good luck to you Madge!
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Madge, the further information you provided in your second post puts a different light on the situation. The "water under the bridge" is not just recent concern about who has POA. It goes back to childhood. And you are not seriously asking for advice about what to do, you are just venting.

It is truly painful and sad that you do not have a loving mother. Vent away! And do what you have to do to protect yourself from a toxin in your life.
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Jeannegibbs, thanks for your input. I must say you should have only one POA but you can have an alternate. Most advisors think this is a really good idea. If your POA dies, then the alternate kicks in. No muss, no fuss. If you are incompetent and can't sign a new POA, then someone has to get guardianship of you. Just read up on this. Not pretty. Many posts have had nothing but bad stories about the process of guardianship, not to mention the expense.Just a thought.
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Thank you Lilliput, you are so understanding. I feel you truly understand the situation. And you are right, no one would stay with a spouse who treated us like this. Mom is mean and nasty. She made fun of my father when he fell in the yard and couldn't get up. he had Parkinson's and shortly after died from colitius. She was horrible. I am glad you said what you did. It made me feel that someone else has experienced this and understands. I have read many books about toxic parents and she is in there. I really don't think people who have not lived this can begin to understand. My husband who had almost perfect parents, even now, has a hard time wrapping his mind around it. But he certainly sees how nasty she is. I think the others have missed the point of "being there" for your child. My oldest daughter whined to me about her fiance and I listened. They worked it out and he is the best son-in-law in the world. A mature person knows when to listen and show compassion, but that is all. We do it all the time with friends.

I was feeling bad about this post until you responded. Like I had done something really wrong. But you hit the nail ont he head, unless you have toxic parents you can't really relate. Thank you again, it cleared the fog.
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madge: The world just does not want to believe that a parent can be toxic...especially when they become old and white-haired. Our natural reaction is to "forgive and forget." However, constant emotional abuse is not acceptable from anyone. If you told counselors about a distant, non-caring, lying, passive/aggessive spouse their advice would be to protect your own mental health. But when it is a parent who is the perpetrator, we envoke the "honor thy parent" rule.
If distance from your Mom is what you need right now, so be it. She has already distanced herself. However be prepared for a phone call when she becomes ill and needs YOUR help. Decide now how you will handle that scenario now. Be armed with assistance for her, but do not take her into your home. (I've seen this so often.)
Don't let anyone "guilt" you into feeling the way they feel. They may have a different relationship with her. Do none of this out of vindictiveness...I have never ascribed to the "eye for and eye" philosphy.
I do not know if you will regret stopping communications with her in the long run. But, for now, you need the peace, she is able to take care of herself, and it will give you a chance to figure out what relationship you want with her on YOUR terms.
My Mom has selective memory, too. She does this to start an argument with me or get me frustrated. Then she is happy because someone is as miserable as she is. If you begin communicating with your Mom, set ground rules. When she starts the lies, disengage. Say, "Mom, I would love to chat, but there is someone at the door." It is a calm little fib that still sends the message that her words are inappropriate. It also relieves her of an audience. But you need to do this EVERY time. It won't change her behavior, but she will have to find another venue for her negativity.
You deserve a good life, you are a good person, and you are an adult separate from your mother. Take charge and live guilt free.
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I appreciate your answers but realize this is just too complex. Those who know me, including my brother, think she is crazy. My husband acknowledges what he did. His brother used to call me and talked about my husbands stingy ways. It's not like I was a whiney child, I was in my thirties. This was a bad situation. Everyone noticed. If one of my girls talked to me about a spouse I would listen, give little advice and that's about it. As my brother said to me my parents were afraid I might need something. All of this with Mom springs from years of emotional neglect. As for POAs, etc. I really don't care who she appoints (who needs all of that work), it is the reason she did what she did that is my problem.

Yes, people can appoint who they want to what and leave all their money to one kid. It is a free country. But the lasting damage is the problem. How is it working for me to not talk to my Mother? I have moments of sorrow, as this posts shows but most of the time I am fine. I wish I could make it better but I know if I call her she will run directly to her neighbor, tell a lie about me, my neighbor will then call me with the lie. It is a vicious cycle. I had to break the cycle for my own mental health.

As for Mom, she is a healthy 80 years old, independent (physically and financially), shops almost everyday. Has great mental health (no dementia, etc.), takes no drugs. However, she has no friends, never calls anyone and hasn't been to my house in 12 years. She didn't attend her granddaughters wedding, my girls graduations from high school or college (my oldest was valedictorian of her 500+ high school class), her daughter-in-law's mom's funeral. Nor did she help with her father in his old age, nor her mother. She wasn't there when I had my twins, I had to call my MIL from Miami to help me. Mom couldn't miss her sleep. Not one in-law, grandchild, brother, sister, nor neighbor thinks she is a nice person.

What I am sad about I guess it what isn't and what I can't make better. I have tried over and over. As my husband said to me (and this is ironic), You just have to disengage.

So I guess her attitude now is just the straw that broke th camel's back. And I guess, yes I am venting.
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So you haven't talked to Mom in 5 months. How's that working for you? I guess you are not satisfied with it or you wouldn't be posting here.

You did a foolish thing in complaining to your parents about your marriage problems. OK. You were young and you're human. Forgive yourself and move on from that.

If your mother is truly lying to you, she is behaving badly. If she is honestly remembering things incorrectly, she is being human and elderly. Either way it is painful for you. An in-person heart-to-heart with her on this topic might pave the way to forgiving her.

Each person needs to assign a POA and a medical proxy. If there are two equally suitable candidates, they still need to pick one. If she put you in charge of finances, would your brother then complain that he was equally qualified and why didn't he get the assignment? Hubby and I have 5 kids. Ain't no way we are giving POA to 5 people. It would be utter chaos. If you have a good relationship with your brother he can get your input when decisions have to be made.

You may be justified in feeling betrayed and lied to. You may be justified in severing ties with you mother. But would you rather be "right" or be on reasonably good terms with your mother? What would really make you feel better?

It is not true that you can't call your mother because there is too much water under the bridge. You choose not to call her. That is your choice to make. It doesn't seem to be making you happy, though. Perhaps it is time to try another choice.
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When my husband and I were first married we had problems (duh) and being immature and young I vented to my parents about him. Big stupid mistake that was I can tell ya. I believe us humans have selective hearing, so they 'heard' what they wanted to I guess. Hubby and I are still happily together after almost 39 years, but it caused a lot of trouble due to my blabbering. My point is, it could be that after all these years your mom's memory has 'selected' to remember things differently then they were in reality. And unless she's a conniving mean spirited woman in real life, I would give her the benefit of a doubt. If it were me, I'd sit mom down and have a heart to heart talk. I'd tell her that I was wrong to vent about my marriage and husband to her, it was stupid of me to do so. I'd tell her that I was sorry for dragging her into what she should never have been a part of.
And also while you're at it, I'd tell my hubby that even though he and I were having an issue at the time, I was sorry about telling the folks instead of working it out between the two of you. Maybe you've done all this already which is good, but if not that's where I would start. My mouth always gets me into trouble, so I guess that means I'm human.
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