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!
The money has gone, vaporized into the cauldron of the witch your brother married.
He will be so very sorry when he finds out but that is his problem so don't make it yours, he is so undeserving of any pity you might have. Let him live in squalor when the debt collectors come calling and his wife is sunning her self in the Bahamas.
Now your parents are another story, they are going to feel they have been poleaxed just as you did when they attacked you. I feel they attacked you from pure fear that you would find out what was going on and try to stop it. I am sure they knew about the sale but went along because they saw it as their only way out of financial ruin They are 92 and don't have the strength to fight such a battle.
Now your parents may become destitute especially once their house is sold from under them. Why do you think you saw that fear in your mothers eyes? Are you strong enough and have the resources to help them? Will your family support you? What has been your husbands input in all this? Think ahead what will be the best solution for your parents and your own family? they are still independent and probably will still have some funds once this is sorted out. Could they rent something small close to you? Could you convert part of your home into separate living quarters? Do they need ALF? Think about all these things and make enquires so you have some facts at your fingertips. Do not do anything or approach them unless there is a crisis until they contact you. brother and wife will be long since out of the picture. be strong you are their only hope now between them and the poorhouse Good Luck
And, in the long run, it didn't. I gave up all thought of being exonerated and moved forward. It's move I'll never regret.
I hope the same for you.
You'd have to mean it. You'd have to really give up all hope of ever seeing a penny or a spot of land or a portion of a business. It would have to be about love.
That's IF .. it's about love.
And, a little insight here: if you resist this suggestion, then it's NOT about love, it's about the money. Just be honest with yourself, or you'll never forgive yourself for the next several years.
people of their word' and I looked him in the eye at that point across the breakfast table! That's when all hell broke lose and he started to rage at me, so I think I hit the nail on the head! I feel as though I have been systematically annhialated, and with my Aunt running for the hills in shock at what they did to me, I feel discredited and stigmatised! So I want, ultimately to be exonerated, and for my parents to see my brother and wife for the schemers that they are! I also want my parents back on my terms, not theirs whereby I lose my self respect, dignity and be subjugated to my brother (over my dead body). My terms being that they recognise me as the good and honourable person that I am and not the 'monster' that they have been 'whipped into a frenzy' about by my nasty brother and wife with their poison! A fight to the death, indeed! A check up by a doctor to find out there level of dementia! Can you imagine me making that suggestion to them? They would have me hung, drawn and quartered!
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...
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.
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
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