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My mother has been mentally and emotionally abusive to me since I was an adolescent. At 57, she retired even though she didn't have the resources to do so, stating that she would live with her children. I told her flat out that she would under no circumstances be supported by me. She has slandered me to our entire family, and continues to tell them that we are close, even though I describe our relationship as "borderline estranged". Last Christmas she asked me to start paying her rent (forever). When I refused she brought up filial responsibility laws, and my aunt has since revealed that my mother intends to sue me for financial support if I don't give in to her demands. In her 14 years of retirement, my mother has spent 10s of thousands on vacations. Last fall she a) moved into a new apartment for which rent is 2X what she paid before, and b) got in credit card debt during a trip to Italy (we live in Canada). At Christmas Eve dinner just days after I refused to support her, she spent 30 minutes telling stories meant to humiliate and demean me. It was so obvious that people who have no idea what's going on actually got up and left the room. How do I deal with this? I don't want to support her. I can't afford it, and the thought that her plan to abuse me financially will succeed makes me so angry. Does anyone have any suggestions? It would be very hard to cut her out of my life completely (I've considered this many many times before) because I do want to stay in contact with some other family members.

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Anna, I'm trying to say this in the nicest possible way... you are way too enmeshed in the family drama. Who cares if sis is willing to support mom, it is totally irrelevant to what you are willing to do. If you and sis don't get along why would you even consider discussing this with her, especially if she is the favoured child and will report everything you say to your mother? By all means consult a lawyer, but just because your Aunt is fearful of your mom and buys into her BS doesn't mean there is any merit to it, I expect she has given in to you mom her whole life trying to avoid conflict.
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My sister is alive but we aren't on great terms; I've no idea if she would be willing to support my mother or not. My mother has treated my sister much better than she has me. I'm actually concerned that if I tell my sister that I am trying to take steps to protect myself from our mother she will report this back to her, and if there's anything I can do I want to do it without any input from my mother.

It is a fantastic idea to speak to an attorney though, I'll look into that.
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I wouldn't spend too much money on attorneys before your mother actually does something. Have you considered calling her bluff and telling her to go right ahead and sue? Standing up to a bully usually makes the bully go away. If you have pictures of her exploits, tell her that you can't wait to show them to the judge.

And why would an attorney take your mother on as a client given how she squandered her money? Did your aunt tell you your mother has already consulted with an attorney? Does this aunt approve of your mother's shenanigans?
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Seriously, if it were me - I honestly would try to get completely away and be fully estranged - not just "boarder line estranged". Is your profession such that you could find work in a different part of Canada - preferably far, far away from your mother? This is straight up blackmail and abuse - and I wouldn't tolerate it from anyone - least of all my own mother. Get away and make a new life for yourself. You deserve better.
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Yay!!!
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Try googling about the lawsuit filed by Shirley Anderson in B.C., the only case I have been able to turn up in recent memory. Mom lost :-P
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I also think consulting a lawyer is a good idea. This needs to be nipped in the bud. I suspect it is hot air or FOG, as cwillie says, but better to get clearly laid in writing from a lawyer for your mother and your sibs what filial responsibility actually means in your situation. Then she can't play this intimidation game. I think it is good to start a paper trail considering her expensive tastes, as surely her irresponsible handling of finances should not obligate you once she runs out of money. Do you have any idea if, in fact, she could live in her income, if she managed it properly?

I am in Canada too, and haven't faced that though have faced intimidation of one sort or another. Basically it is bullying and you have to stand up to it.

Do let us know what you find out. Good luck and blessings.
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Anna, i think I would find a qualified eldecare attorney in your province. Canada appears to have quite stringent Filial Responsibility laws, and I think finding someone who can fight fire with fire would be a good investment.
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Anna, I think that you need to consult a lawyer about this. Is your sister still living? Would she be willing to split the legal fees with you?
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For her to be "in need" she would have to be homeless living on the street with no other means of support. Just because she wants to live a caviar lifestyle doesn't mean you have to support her, that would only work if you were a multi millionaire and her lifestyle was one of poverty. It sounds like she is used to manipulating everyone into giving her what she wants with Fear, Obligation, Guilt. She's blown past guilt and obligation so is now trying fear, don't buy into it!
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anna, you can play a game back if it turns out you have any responsibility to her. You and your siblings can say, sure, we'll pay your rent. Then get her a very modest apartment with rent to be shared between her and her children, if needed. I don't think there is any law in the universe that requires children to maintain parents as kings and queens.

If you lived close the US you could just move across the border. :)
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Also to add:

The money in her nest egg is money she got in the divorce. It was from money my father invested. She almost always refused to contribute to family finances even when she was working because she believed it was my father's responsibility.

She seems to very seriously believe that she is entitled to this, which is what makes me so nervous. I will look into what exactly the laws are in the province she lives in. Hopefully they are fairly strict and she isn't willing to risk getting herself into such a state that I would be legally required to provide anything.
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Oh JessieBelle. Of course. I totally misunderstood.

Anna, just say no. Tell her your responsibility is to keep yourself going and your own bills paid. Maybe your mother could set up a Gofundme page?
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Thanks for the responses. I should have made it more clear - I do not live with my mother and I haven't since me early 20s (I'm almost 40 now). She lives alone in an apartment in a different city, and she wants me to pay her rent.

She does receive something from the Canada Pension Plan, and from 2 other pension plans, but they are all small amounts. My understanding is that she just misses qualify for rental assistance from the provincial government. She worked before she was married, then after my sister and I were about 7-8 until she retired, but she never made very much money and didn't save anything.

The filial support laws in our home province state that an adult child must pay if the parent is *in need*; they don't really define what that is. My aunt seems to think this is a real possibility, and I fear my mother has been planning this for years. I think she has blown through her "nest egg" on trips and now has very little in the bank. I fear that she will get herself into serious credit card debt and then she really will be "in need".
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I think she meant her mother wants her to give her money to pay the mother's rent for her own apartment. They don't live together. The mother wants the daughter to support her and is trying to bully her into it. I would cut strings with the mother even if it meant I had to access siblings in a roundabout way. This is terrible abuse and blackmail. Shame on your mother. I don't think she has a legal leg to stand on. I don't know what the laws are in Canada about filial responsibility. I have a feeling your mother just picked up on the phrase to try to pick your bones. Shame on her!!!
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Anna, may I ask how long have you been living with your Mom? And why? I can understand why a parent would ask an adult child to pay rent, no different than asking Mom to pay you rent if she was living with you.

If you are under her roof, time to go out on your own. And the next time there is a family gathering and Mom starts in on you, just stand up, say "Mother, that is not true", say nothing else, and walk out of the room. That way you have control.

And the suing to make you support her is just hot air trying to scare you. I doubt any attorney would waste time on such a case. Especially since it was your mother's choice to retire early at 57. Plus a parent must be impoverished. Renting a more expensive apartment and taking a trip to Italy doesn't sound like she is impoverished at all.

Like here in the States, it can vary from State to State.... similar, it could vary from province to province.
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She retired at age 57 after working for how long? At the minimum she has old age security and also canada pension if she contributed to it. While seniors who must rely on government pensions do not live in the lap of luxury they are usually not destitute, which the only time that filial responsibility laws could conceivably come into play. And charges under those laws are almost unheard of no matter which province you live in.
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Do you live with her or in a home she owns? I don't understand how you can owe her rent otherwise.
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