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My dad died 5 months ago. My mom and dad were married for 52 years and lived in the same home for 30 of those years. My brother lives in the MIL house attached to my mom's house. For 4 months he "cared" for my mother making sure she got meals, taking her to church, etc. One day my mom came to my home and said she wants to die. Then the truth came out... My brother and his wife told her to stop crying all of the time. Then my brother has alienated all of my mother's friends and church family by posting nasty messages about how they should be helping her. I had no idea all of this was going on until that day she came to my home. I took her to the dr and she said my mother is clinically depressed and she put my mom on paxil. So my husband and I agreed to let her stay with us until it started working. That was a month ago. During that time my brother has continued to destroy my mother's relationship with everyone. He even threatened to break my nose and put me in the hospital because he is so angry I brought her to my home to give her a break from him. So she goes to visit them at her house every other day. I used to go with her until he started making threats towards me and my family as I refuse to take his mental abuse. I am ready for her to go back home but my mom says she is going to die if she does. So basically my mother's house stays vacant as my brother takes over and he bullies everyone into getting what he wants. She is compliant with him, and doesn't want to sell her home to move closer to me because my brother will have no where to go, and she has no regards for how much my family is suffering during her stay here. Still she refuses to go home. Meanwhile I have 4 children. My home is only 1500 square feet. She is sleeping in my daughters room on her bed while my daughter has to sleep on a blow up bed, she has 2 large dogs in my house in cages because they are aggressive towards my dogs so I cannot let them out together, she won't let me go back to working or volunteer in my children's school because she doesn't want to be alone, and she watches me drink alcohol to relieve my stress and smiles when I fall asleep like this is funny or something! Her clothes are hanging up in the middle of my living room, and her cat is in a cage in my daughter's room because she is worried one of us will let her out. My relationship with my husband and children is poor because she monopolizes my time constantly. Why doesn't she see what she is doing to me and my family? Why is she allowing my brother to dictate everything while we suffer? How do I convince her to go back home? Every time I mention it she tells me she doesn't belong anywhere and cries and if I tell her how hard this is on everyone she makes me feel like I'm a mean horrible person. What do I do? Please Help!

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Cordo sometimes you have to be selfish and blunt. Some people might even say harsh. But you can't help anyone if you are unhappy which you obviously are.

I had to come out and say very bluntly to my mother-in-law who I can't stand "I don't want to live with you and I never will" It sounded harsh but now she is under no illusions that one day she will live with us.

So at the risk of hurting someones feelings you have to say what you will put up with and what you won't put up with. They say charity begins at home but if that means losing your mind in the process then there has to be an alternative.
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I want to Thank everyone for your replies and after taking my mom to church today I feel more confident in where this is going. My mom does not drink and knows better then to drink while on medication besides my wine is stored in my bedroom where she cannot get it! I have a good head on my shoulders most of the time but I get tired, desperate, cand weak at times and I've learned from past tragedies in my life going and getting help in forums has always helped me. I am always open for advice and I don't take any comments personal. So I appreciate all who have taken the time to post to me!
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Cordo, thank you for answering back. It is people like you, courageous, sensitive to others, and willing to take the difficult actions necessary to really help someone! You are stronger than you knew! Keep up the good job well done! There must be others praying for you, for mom, and brother. I was without hope for your situation until your answers here. Persevere, do not give up! You will make it! If you get discouraged that it appears as if it is all on your shoulders, check back so we can support you.
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Thank you sendme2help! I reached out to her church friends and took her to church this morning. I showed her that they love and accept her no matter what my brother does! We are in a grief share group and I am in the process of finding a therapist. I'm going to check out NAMI as well thank you. As far as my sil goes she is pretty much like my brother and more controlling at times! Thank you I'm beginning to make sense of things I just needed to know that me feeling guilty about hurting my mom must not out weigh what is good myself and my family
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Solution in part. Take your mother's pets to board and care, at her expense. Maybe she can control brother enough to take them home and care for them.

Let me tell you the final outcome of a similar story: After her husband died, the mother was put in a AL home, she abandoned her pets to board and care and lost her "two cars" to the remaining siblings, after the one with the worst mental illness died--after everyone tried everything to save him. She lost her home. Along this heartbreaking path, she too tried to control each sibling, force them to care for her dogs and cats (there were too many), and when things with her own medical issues became too much, checked into a local hotel to avoid the visiting nurse. Your story doesn't sound too much different.
You and your Mom, or just you, can attend NAMI meetings for families of mentally ill, six weeks of classes and you will find answers for your brother. Take his wife with you?
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Cordo, You are putting your entire family at risk and you do not have that right.
You are not the victim here, you have allowed the situation and become enmeshed and enabling. Take your mother home, help her settle in, (taken care of sad memories of Dad?), stay the nights with her if you want to sacrifice yourself. When/if brother has threats, or comes in mother's house, call 911 just like you would with any criminal. If she won't evict him, then go back home, without her.

This is harsh, but it will take harsh to make a difference. Only you know what the truth is, and you have not said much about where the brother's wife is in all of this. Is she a victim too, or what? An ally? What about your mother's pastor?

Save yourself. Your husband, your marriage, your children, your pets. You need to start hearing in your own mind
what story your daughter is going to be saying when she relates how her own mother treated her growing up. Save your daughter, if you have any strength left.

You do not need sympathy at this time, but here is big hug as you go on your way to take care of business! Be well, be safe, call 911.
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PAXIL, and other S.S.R.I.'s can have dangerous side effects, leading to suicidal ideation, outbursts, even rage. Your mother's condition should be treated by a geriatric psychiatrist, follow up. How do you know that your mother is not also drinking, mixing this with the medications can kill her. Get the alcohol out of the house, you are not helping. Have you heard about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on the person you are trying to help?

Has your husband moved out yet? It is time that you went to him, sat down and had a talk. To avoid tears, get dressed and go to the nearest coffee shop, ask him for the solution that you are unable to see clearly.

Consider this, if your mom is visiting your brother (and his wife) every other day, then she is okay to stay in her own home!!!!

Really, I do understand how you cannot see clearly, get yourself some counseling and medication might be better for you than alcohol??

The 'church' friends may have stopped for reasons other than your brother.
Your situation is very sorry, but only you and your husband can solve the issues.
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Cordavan, there is a wonderful organization for problem drinkers called Moderation Management. Google them; it's an awesome online community with loads of good supports.
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My first question is not is the paxil helping but is she actually taking it. Your mother may be capable of more manipulation than you ever imagines. Did your father just put up with things for a quiet life?
Everyone needs time to grieve and it may even take up to 2 years for someone to get over the death of a long time spouse but those who are really grieving usually just want to curl up in a ball and have nothing to do with anyone. Give her another month then start enforcing the rules. First stop her clothes come out of the living room. Let her keep what she essentially needs for the current season and everything else gets packed up and stored somewhere or if that is not possible they go back to her house till the season rolls around when they are exchanged. Your house your rules. Start taking her to church and I mean you going with her. School is starting soon so resume you volunteering, she can volunteer too but I bet she won't want to do that. Give her chores to do around the house. Start working at least half a day again. You are dealing with a three year old here who does not want to be left at pre K, You know the drill kiss them good bye and out the door fast.
No not that simple my dear i know that but if you don't start taking steps this will never end and you too will end up without a spouse.
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Jeanne Gibbs yes I your absolutely right as my parents have been enabling my brother for years ! I get it but when it involves my family's well being something must be done!
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Vestafans I think part of my frustration is that my parents have been enabling my brother for years! My mom is not a strong person and maybe tough decisions should just be made for her rather then giving her a choice! Non of my family wants anything to do with my brother but for the sake of my parents we have put up with our abuse for years. I appreciate your insight and I have made actions to reconnect her with her friends! Thank you so much for your support!!!
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Your brother is mentally ill. Many parents not only feel terrible about that, they feel guilty. They feel as if it is somehow their fault. Not logical or reasonable, but still that is how some parents react. And feeling guilty they do not have the strength to insist on proper treatment.

Could your mother be among those who makes things worse through their misplaced feelings of guilt?

If that insight fits, keep it.

But it doesn't change the fact that your responsibility is to yourself, your children, and your husband before it extends to your mother and your brother.
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One more thought...your mom's crying and telling you how bad you are have got to be hard to face down, but seriously - you bring a box of Kleenex and have the conversation anyways. Your mom's emotions may be perfectly valid, but they do not mean the right response is to keep giving her the message that if you are sad or upset that means we don't have to deal with things. You, your hubby and kids deserve better than that, and no, she simply can't have 100% of your time and energy to help her not solve her problems. It is sad. It is upsetting. But it is real and it has to be dealt with. Changes must be made - big, hairy ones - because nothing can get better unless things change.
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Your mother became a widow and while vulnerable, was subjected to serious emotional abuse. She practically has Stockholm syndrome, or just feels sorry for brother and won't be able to do what she needs to do about that. She is not able to take the steps that need to be taken, or she would have taken them already.

Fear and inertia are keeping her with you, in a bad arrangement both for your family's quality of life, her animals' quality of life, and financially. A vacant home is not a good thing - the insurance company will drop coverage if they realize it is truly unoccupied, and it will deteriorate without maintenance.

And...You are drinking to cope with it and wishing Mom would solve your problem for you. Worse still, you expect her to solve your problem by going back to the hell she was living in that made her suicidal, without any solution to her problems there. You are not a hateful or uncaring person, or you would not be posting here to try to get help, so I have to also assume your thinking has gotten fuzzy with the combination of stress and alcohol use and it is harder than normal for you to put things in perspective.

1. Verify that what Mom has told you now is actually all true. Read your brother's posts for yourself if you haven't already, and find out if you can help mend fences with her church friends. You don't say whether Mom has any cognitive impairment or not. That may need to be assessed.

2. Get help for your drinking, so you can THINK your way out of this difficult situation instead of contributing to it by inaction or unrealistic expectations.

3. Lawyer up and find out what the realistic options are. Yes, they charge money. Yes, it is legit to use Mom's money. Maybe you think you can't afford it, but frankly you can't afford not to. MAYBE an estate planner can help you out a little cheaper, but you need backing to stand up to brother's bullying if in fact that's what's going on, and to put a stop to Mom's avoidant behaviors or deal effectively with cognitive problems if she has any. Whatever the reason, as Jeanne points out, no, it is not OK for Mom to run the show when her way of handing this is so far off the mark. Someone has to have a clear head and take action, probably way outside of their comfort zone, and maybe your hubby could help some, but to met sounds like the person elected to do something is you by default.
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"Why doesn't she see what she's doing to me? " REALLY?? Why don't YOU see what she's doing to you and do something about it? And you want to send her home to your mentally ill brother. Lordy.

What a mess. Your poor mom needs to be out of that single-family home and in a senior apartment or assisted living...most certainly distanced from her son who is, basically, ruining her life.

Get a very conservative appraisal on her home. Give your brother 90 days to get a mortgage and buy the home or move so that her house can be sold. This isn't being vindictive...this is freeing moms assets so she can go into assisted living and have a life. AND be away from the nut house.

If mom fights you on this, then she is writing on the pages of her future, and home she goes. Keep a close eye on her, report reportable things to the police and Adult Protective Services.

Unfortunately, and it makes me sad to say this, it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.

I read problems on this site and can't help but wonder how people get into these predicaments. And how they manage to spend their so-called golden years in hell froze over . . . I feel very badly for your mom.
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Yes Babalou my brother has anxiety disorder but he refuses to get help. I'm sure he has bipolar disorder as well. Jeanne Gibbs I appreciate your bluntness and what you said actually gives me support that I'm not being insensitive to my grieving mother. I agree it comes to the point of being supportive and just plain stupid on my part! I mean she is a totally capable person so maybe it would make her stronger to give a push! Before all this I didn't drink at all but your right I use it as an escape. Thank you so much for your words and support!
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"she won't let me go back to working or volunteer in my children's school" Really? How does she enforce that? If you say "next Monday I'm starting back at my job part time" what does she do?

"Why is she allowing my brother to dictate everything while we suffer? How do I convince her to go back home?" I think that is kind of an echo of the question I have. "Why are you allowing your mother to dictate everything while your family suffers?"

How is she doing on the paxil?

Normally my sympathies would be with a new widow. She needs time to grieve and gt healthy. But in this case it sounds like you are in a very dysfunctional family. Please don't take that as a criticism. I'm not blaming you. But I urge you to consider some therapy for yourself to learn how to extricate yourself from your unhealthy enabling role before it damages your family or before you get dependent on escaping in alcohol.

I'm wishing you success!
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Is your brother's mental condition being treated?

Has there been followup with the geripsych who is treating mom?
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