Registered: 1500093337 Posts: 4
Reply with quote #1
I'm new here and too stressed to read through all the topics, so I apologize in advance if this already exists.
Back story: on July 2nd, my very financially smart Mom left me a note requesting to borrow $2,000 as Dad had been playing apps and had lost all their money. Dad has dementia & she said not to mention anything to him. This made me very suspicious so I took her iPad and since I am on their bank accounts, I decided to check balances. Long story short, they are now penniless expect for their monthly pensions. It was Mom who spent every penny. She spent over 20,000 on playing a bingo game alone. So now I'm dealing with banks, credit card companies, the medical professional, etc.. Mom has been an alcoholic for most of my life but has been sober for last 4 yrs. She has always been a self-centred and a naricastic individual who admits that she hasn't got a maternal bone in her body. We are awaiting a complete mental assessment to be scheduled.
My problem: In the process of exploring everything I could think of to determine the extent of the financial situation, I read my Mom'/ emails for 2017. She has written horrible, mean lies about me. She took the truth & twisted it to make me sound like a monster to friends and extended family who I have never met. She told them that I have done nothing for her, that I'm out spending a life insurance policy she had to do without to buy for me (she paid for my first 18 yrs, I've paid for 43 years and I have yet to cash in), that I ignore her and that I'm cruel to her, how I forced her to live in a retirement home which costs her all her income, etc.. Her emails document these things that never happened or she will take a happy truth and twist it into something that sounds like I'm mean & selfish. One of her life long pen pals has even paid for a one year subscription to an online legal service so Mom can get help to protect herself against me.
I'm an only child and have done everything for my Mom until 2 yrs ago when I decided I was tired of being taken for granted. So I put some boundaries in place about the amount of time I spend with my parents & how much I do for them. I take them to all their medical appts & visit weekly/biweekly if busy. I reduced the number of errands I was doing. For example, the retirement home has a bus which takes the residents to the store weekly. I discovered that my Mom was lying and not using the bus but telling me the bus was canceled or wasn't going where she wanted to go so I would have to cancel any plans I had then drive 30 mins to take her to store 5 mins away because whatever she needed was urgent.
I need to get past this pain & anger as I need to care for them especially now since they have no money & Mom can't be trusted. But I'm so hurt and at the same time, very concerned as I have for the first time taken over the financials but I'm afraid she will continue to write to these people but now it will be stories of how I stole all her money. So now I also need to protect myself legally. This is causing me so much stress which is spilling over to my family which isn't fair. Thanks, for listening
Reply with quote #2
Your story is so similar to mine, including the "kind" people who are helping your mother try to build a legal case against you. That's great that you have started to implement boundaries, because that is exactly what you need now....more boundaries.
For what it is worth, here is my advice: 1. Talk to a social worker and lawyer and immediately stop doing anything relating to your parents especially where money is concerned. Trust me when I say that your mom will throw you under the bus in an instant. Once I figured out who my mom really was, I made sure I was not in charge of her money or any decisions. Have professionals help you. 2. Make sure you document everything and find ways to protect yourself in case someone wants to make a case on behalf of your mom. 3. If you still decide to be around your parents, always have a witness and never be alone with them. 4. Get some help to work through the emotions of having had destructive parents. You need someone who understands children whose parents have addictions and mental health issues (and possibly personality disorders.) Just know that a lot of us have parents like this, and it's possible to heal, but it takes time, understanding, and an incredible amount of detachment. 5. Accept that you cannot ever trust your mother or your father or their allies. 6. You may never get your reputation back from the people she has smeared you with, but ignore them. They were duped by a manipulative person with addiction issues. 7. Remove yourself as much as possible from her. Allow the retirement home to take over. 8. Once you have gained sufficient strength, you may decide you can handle her in small doses, but if not, it's okay. For many years, my mom was a closet addict (pain meds.) None of us knew, but looking back, some clues were there. She was a hypochondriac and always a victim of some health problem. Anyway, she was odd, confusing, toxic, and hurtful to us, but the complete opposite to the outside world. To the those outside the immediate family, she presented herself as a sweet, kind, and competent person, but the truth was that she was using those images to hide the ugly reality that her real life was anything but whole. No one would have ever believed us if we had even attempted to share the truth, which my brothers and I never did because we had been well-trained not to. So our lives were focused on pleasing and taking care of our parents, not the other way around. Fast forward to a few years ago. We discover that my mom has an addiction and is going through money like crazy. Like your mom, she created stories to protect herself and nothing was ever her fault. The lies she spread about us were so awful and so mean-spirited, but I now can see they had absolutely nothing to do with us. She needed to create stories to protect her image, so we had to be the fall guys. The truth is that we were always simply objects to her...objects she could use to meet her needs, explain away her actions, and use and abuse at will. Many untreated addicts with personality disorders do this. Nevertheless, it was extremely painful to accept that she had no capacity to love us and often distorted the truth to make us look bad. I had spent my entire life dutifully serving my parents and all I got in return was abuse. I now realize that I had been trying to get them to love me, but their issues were an obstacle. After that, all I wanted to do was clear my name. Eventually I realized that many of the people she had brainwashed though the years were never going to be convinced that this sweet (to them), kind (to them) and smart (to them) person was actually a manipulative, cruel addict who was duping them. Even as my mother's behavior deteriorated and she began to mistreat people outside the family, people still rallied behind her. To this day, even after an overdose and many, many visits to the psych ward, my mother has people giving her money and joining her bandwagon. She continues to lie, so people still think she is the victim. Fortunately, a lot of professionals have seen her in action, so a lot of her behavior is at least documented. It took a long time for that to happen, though. And even though they see it, they still don't know what to do about it. When my mother misbehaves, people call me or my brothers trying to get us to "return" her to her "nice" state. What they don't know is that the nice state was a lie and the destructive state is the truth. Some of these "good-hearted" people refuse to believe she has an addiction, because they much prefer to believe the fantasies she tells are real. I've come to accept that nothing my brothers and I can say will change their minds. So where do you go from here? You have to get very clear about the truth and not let what she or others do try to convince you otherwise. You also need to rebuild the parts yourself that your mom has broken. It's easiest to do this at a distance, so try to find ways you can detach from your parents. If you have any spiritual support, that may also be very helpful. A lot of my healing came at the hands of spiritual advisors who helped me see that my mom was doing way more damage to her soul than to me or my brothers. But that is not a step you can jump to on day one....day one of healing is about getting out your feelings and processing the complicated reality that you have experienced as a child of an addict. Good luck. I will keep you in my prayers.
Reply with quote #3
You may want to look up information about divorcing a narcissist, because in essence, a lot of the same dynamics are in place in situations like yours and ours. So make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before your mom figures out that you are no longer going to be her punching bag. If you don't do as she expects, be prepared for an increase in bad behavior. As she gets more frustrated, she may act out more. In our case, this was both good and bad. It was good because other people got to see her dysfunctional behavior, but bad because she increased her attacks on us. If she behaves badly enough, she may end up in psych ward, as my mom has, but don't expect any come-to-Jesus moments. Here is an example: One of my brothers just called and said that a long distance acquaintance of my mom reached out to the assisted living facility today to inform them that he is very concerned about my mom. (My mom is currently in the psych ward of a local hospital for attacking a nurse at her facility. She was in a different one a few weeks ago for hitting a doctor and screaming at him. A few weeks before that, she was in one for having a huge tantrum in the emergency room because they would not admit her and give her pain meds.) Now the assisted living facility cannot tell outsiders much, so unless people call us, the source of information is only my mom. In the psych ward, she cannot have a phone, so whenever my mom's acquaintances cannot reach her, they get worried. Instead of telling the truth after she gets released, she tells people stories that a) fit her image; b) make her look like a victim; and c) get people to give her lots of support and attention. In the past, her spin has been to tell people that my brother is stealing her money and not paying her bills and refusing to pay for her phone, so that's why they haven't heard from her. Win-win for her, as she doesn't have to explain her absences and she gets attention and support. Even if they call us and we tell the truth, they still believe her because why would such a sweet little old lady like my mom lie? So what do you do? You have documents and paperwork to back everything up, so if anyone ever makes a case, the facts are all there. So please take this as another warning to get everything in order and then back out of her financial affairs as soon as possible.
Registered: 1457526567 Posts: 50
Reply with quote #4
Splotchy always has such insightful comments. I'm not sure I can say anything more useful.
I am sorry for what you are going through. I would suggest you focus on that which you can control: how you use your time and how you interact with others. Hold your head high and don't let the disparaging comments get you down. Focus on your own family, loving and giving to those who love you back. Please, please try to let go of that which you can't control. It doesn't mean the problems will be lessened, but maybe you will feel strengthened and not so helpless.
Registered: 1500093337 Posts: 4
Reply with quote #5
Thanks for the responses I have received and bare with me as I figure out how to use this site. It is sad but so reassuring that I'm not the only person going through this. Mom hid her alcoholism for years even from my Dad (who is my step-dad). She was crafty but I forced them to move into an independent living retirement home 7 yrs ago as they weren't eating anything but junk food, she was drinking excessive but denying it and there were complaints from the neighbours of her locking Dad out of their condo and then he would scream and pound on the doors. He was diagnosed with dementia almost 20 yrs ago, so he would panic. Then Mom hated the retirement home as they recognized that she was drinking heavily and she was losing control. Not able to hide it as well in the group setting, They also reported that she was driving while drunk and so I had a dr take away her licence. I could go on and on but there is no value in reliving all the pain she has caused.
I have an appt with a lawyer tomorrow to determine how to fulfil my responsibility as POA while protecting myself. Mom's nurse practitioner is now engaged & she decided I needed a letter from her stating that Mom is not capable of making sound financial decisions right now. I also had the home' medical director response to me advising if Mom has had any strokes this year since Mom told a friend in an email that she had 3 strokes in June. Of course she had none. I also arranged for her Paster to visit her after I explained the situation to him. He must have lead the conversation in the right way as she confirmed that she has made all the terrible financial decisions that she blamed on Dad. I have made copies of all the bank statements plus the credit card bills. I have drafted a budget to get them back on track but I won't be paying off the credit card bills as she wants but making payments then cancelling them. One bank manager implied that as someone who is joint on the account, I have the right to remove all the money. I won't go that far but depending on what the lawyer saus. I hope to cancel their accounts and set up 1 new one in trust for them. I made contact with my company's EAP support and will set up counselling for myself when I have more time.
I am trying to ensure they are financially & physically cared for while keeping my distance. I just don't know how she does it though. Everytime something good happens in my life she has to destroy it for me. She ruined 2 of my 3 kids weddings for me. The third was smart and decided on a small family wedding at home and only told Mom 2 days before the wedding. So all she could do was ignore my son in laws' family as they are blue collar workers and so beneath her. Her Dad worked in a factory, my Dad started as a truck driver but she married a Chemist so she is above all. This disaster comes when I was to have my grandkids for 5 wks, All this crap has impacted the time I have to spend with them which makes me angry. I treasure the time I have with the kids as they live 3 hrs away but we are so close that they don't even miss their parents when with us. Also, I get to have their parents visit every weekend so lots of family time. Unfortunately, I am so stressed I need to take them home on Fri so I can have a weekend off. Yeah, Mom you screwed up my life once again.
Sorry I'm babbling, result of too little sleep, I really appreciate the support I received here and the advice. I will read up on divorcing a narcosis. Thank you.
Registered: 1457526567 Posts: 50
Reply with quote #6
Legal advice is really smart. Hope that gives you some peace of mind.
Enjoy those grandkids. I like to say they are future - there is hope. With our parents, we know it is only going to get worse. We are the sandwich generation, for sure.
Reply with quote #7
Christa4 is right. You are doing the right thing by getting legal advice. And please feel free to vent here. You are among people who understand.