Frustrated with Sibling...long rant

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by DonnaKay, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    My Mom is a very sweet person. Like most of us she isn't perfect....she made mistakes when we were growing up...some of those mistakes (mostly letting a bad step dad stick around) caused problems for us kids but at the same time she would do anything for us she would go without food to make sure we were fed...she always told us she loved us and would listen if we needed to talk, she worked at very unglamorous jobs for little pay to give us what she could. I could always tell it hurt her when she couldn't give us stuff we wanted of stuff other kids had. Most everyone likes my Mom she's real easy going...she'd give you the shirt off her back...of course she'd also borrow your shoes and never return them :rolleyes:

    Anyway, although we've had our problems (anger over her not making step dad leave when things were brought to her attention) I've left those in the past. As an adult I realize things aren't always just that simple. My siblings however, one in particular seems set to make her pay for the rest of her life. My youngest brother uses his "terrible childhood" as an excuse for everything he does....including putting his own wife and children through way more than he ever went through. My mom is so guilt ridden and worried that something will happen to him that she is practically his slave. She does everything for him. She has lost two cars because of him...she's had a warrant out for her arrest because he was driving around in her car stealing gas...she runs from daylight to dark making sure he gets to work (when he has a job) she's the one that worries that he hasn't sent in his restitution or gone to she his probation officer. She's the one that makes sure the bills get paid, the kids go for their check ups she's the one that drove SIL to all her prenatal visits.

    I have always wanted to do something for my mom. Get a piece of land for her or buy land and let her move on it with us. But in the past everything I have tried to do for her has blown up in my face. She is married now to a real nice guy that has tried to do everything he can but alas he's being beat down too. And when he does put his foot down she ends up going behind his back. I feel like ultimately it will be up to me to take care of my Mom when she finally either has a nervous brake down or physically gives out.

    There have been times that I have told my brother a thing or two but I can tell it really hurts my Mom to have us at odds. And of course a fight just gives my brother an excuse to go on a drinking or drug binge just complicating things more for her.

    I hate to see her going through this. I have tried my best to help...even talked hubby into buying brother's place so he and his wife could move into a decent place not right under my mom. We bought the place, paid more than it was worth...put tons of money and time into fixing it up....Mom was suppose to rent it out for us (we live out of country) guess who's living there?? Yep brother and his wife and kids :flame:

    I know some of you must have similar situations that you've delt with. Did you find a way to honor your parent without contributing to the enablement of a blood sucking brother or sister?

    Donna
     
  2. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    Your mum is the one who needs to break away from being your brother's enabler - approaching your brother directly probably won't have any effect.

    I'm fortunate not to have this situation in my immediate family but I've seen similar up close and it's so hard to find the best way to handle it. Guilt is tricky to handle.

    It sounds like you've tried really hard to talk to your mother; have you tried listening to her? (Without trying to show her the flaws in her logic - guilt can cause logic to be tossed right out the window.)

    Maybe if she gets a real chance to get everything off her chest, some of the guilt will lift and she'll start to see what's really happening. Just nod and encourage her to keep talking, don't worry about trying to get your turn.

    /VM
     

  3. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your mother is an adult and how she lives her life is her decision. Stay out of it.

    As for the property that you bought, sell it and take the money to improve your life.

    Perhaps some family counseling would help you to get a healthy outlook on your family dynamics.
     
  4. dk_40207

    dk_40207 Well-Known Member

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    I totally sypathize. I have the same(although not as extreme)situation. There is no easy answer. Especially since he has kids now. Odds are, your mom won't stop try to "make up" for things.
    I agree to sell that property instead of being "a part" of the enabling(I know you don't mean to!). Are you and your family in good standing with the SIL and kids? I'm sure they could use a stable force in their lives.
     
  5. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    In a way I would love to stay out of it...BUT my Mom always comes to me when she has problems. She always thinks I'll know what to do. Her husband almost cries when I leave from a visit because he says the only time my brother leaves them alone is when I'm there. He was considering going to Iraq to do contract work so he could buy some land for him and my Mom...he asked me if he could have his pay sent to me and have me send my Mom a certain amount each month!! I have come to the realization that I can't fix the problem. For some reason when she would ask for advice I made the mistake of thinking she really wanted it :rolleyes:

    I did finally have to put my foot down with the place we bought. I told my Mom that if they didn't give me some money toward the place this year when they got their tax money I would have to put it in the paper. (which of course makes me look like the wicked sister throwing her poor little nieces out on the street) My Mom claims their girls on her taxes (since she does support them) but she still gives them the money...I guess since they are thier kids she thinks the money belongs to them :rolleyes: Mom sent me about half of "their" money this year before brother could get his hands on it. I also told them they would have to start paying monthly...if they pay the rest of the year they can have the place...we'll loose money but I'll just be glad to be done with...I'll just consider it an expensive lesson.

    When I try to "stay out of it" I feel like I'm turning my back on her.

    donna
     
  6. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with Ardie. You need to disengage from the drama.

    As for family counseling, I doubt your mother or brother will go.

    But I think it's a great gift you can give to yourself, and hope you will do so.

    Pony!
     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Been here, done this..

    My father supports his son (there are only the two of us). His son would be 45 now, has never held down a job, managed to get himself on SS Disability... and vacations for 4-6 months a year in Thailand because he likes the culture. On my dime and yours. My father has every excuse in the book as to why it is appropriate for him to fund this lifestyle. His only son, don't you know?

    Where is that flame icon when you need it?

    When my father finally goes into a decline and dies my brother will be Johnny-on-the-Spot to take everything he can from my step-mother, who is not a strong woman and will be in pieces when my father goes. My father taught my brother, through his endless willingness to bail him out, that he's entitled to anything he wants, than he can take it without consequences, that he can say anything, be as nasty as he wants... because the uglier he is the more my father will pay to keep him out of trouble.

    The word we're groping for here, unfortunately, is "enabling." But people don't enable unless they are getting something in return. Now, it may not be something entirely positive, but they get something. In your mother's case, and probably my father's, the "something" is that their behavior and support of bad behavior, support their mental picture of themselves as a "good parent."

    Good parents keep their kids out of jail. Good parents make sure their kids have money. Good parents....

    Now, we may differ in our opinions on what makes a "good parent" and I think my brother would have benefitted substantially from being told 15-20 years ago "no!" but that was two decades ago and this is now. Now we have a middle aged man who has never held down a job, skated along a thin edge of law abiding, and imagines the world owes him a living because... hasn't he always had income without working for it? No job skills, barely literate, who spends his days playing computer games (or vacationing in the far east). What place does such a person have in society? None.

    So a good parent...

    I agree with the "sell the house" suggestion. Sell it, invest the resources elsewhere. You're not making money on the house and it is a rapidly depreciating asset because you can bet your brother isn't taking care of it. Your excuse can be that you can't manage the mortgage any more. If he says he'll pay it, have the house appraised and have him buy it from you, with his own mortgage, and walk away.

    Do not look back.

    The saving grace as far as I'm concerned is my DH, who, after his first shocking encounter with my brother made it very clear he wasn't welcome on our property any more. When my brother came back he called the police and filed an order of no tresspass. I'm pretty sure this is the first (and probably last) time my brother pushed someone who didn't step back, but smacked him down immediately (metephorically speaking). The DB has tried a couple of stunts since and been met with USMC take-no-prisoners training. He's pretty much gone away and when we do encounter him he tries being disrespectful, gets a reminder from my husband that this behavior won't be tolerated, and stops.

    But I'm convinced that once the family dynamics have been set up it takes someone from the outside to say "enough... get away from my wife." And in your case, that's your step-father who needs to do that.
     
  8. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. Sometimes these things require the opinion of those that aren't involved. I should probably clarify that the "house" is just an old trailer. The big slap in the face was that I paid my brother more than it was worth just to get him away. Then turned around and worked my husband like a dog and spent a lot of money to fix it up. The only thing I asked of brother and Sil was that they clean it out good when they left. I had seen the place one year prior so i knew it needed work...but when we got in there it was unbeilevable...there were holes in the floor, holes in the walls, mouse dropping everywhere...dog feces...dirty diapers in the floor vents...they never came back and cleaned anything!! The saddest part was that my neice (a toddler at the time) was living in that filth!

    So now after we cleaned their filth, worked like dogs fixing it up...they're back in there. I am glad that my nieces have a decent place to live but it really doesn't help me get any warm fuzzies toward my brother.

    donna
     
  9. Tana Mc

    Tana Mc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My suggestion is if it is an old trailer, sell it off of the property. Take what you can get for it and have someone else drag it off. Then you have the property to clean up and sell seperately or just leave for your mother and step-father to use. Just make the stipulation that no more mobile homes of any sort and do not allow them to build on it. Heck-- it leaves a place for you stay in a camper while visiting them....

    Tana Mc
     
  10. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    With the exception of your neices, all the people involved are adults.

    You probably do not realize it but it appears that your are your mother's daughter. She is making decisions, and you are feeling guilty about not being able to fix the problems she is creating for herself. You brother is making decisions, and your mother is feeling guilty about not being about the fix those problems.

    Start being honest with your mother, tell her you will do everything possible to help her, but it stops there, i.e. does not extent to your brother.

    Also, hold yourself accountable for your own actions. YOU allowed your brother and family to move back into the trailer, or you allowed them to stay after your mother did.

    It's called a backbone, if you don't stand up for what you believe in, you will be just like your mother in your own future.

    Hugs
    marlene

    P.S. Sometimes the pain of a reality check does wonders, that is my intention :)
     
  11. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You're NOT turning your back on her, you're making her GROW UP!

    A long time ago, I had a friend who spent hours crying about her life to me. One day I told her that if she didn't like her life, to change it. And, if she didn't want to change it, to shut up about it.

    Try that on your mother at the next boo-hoo session she tries.
     
  12. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    Marlene...I do think you are on to something as far the way I treat my Mom being similar to the way she treats my brother. I worry about her. I feel like she's not able to defend herself...she's never been one to stick up for herself. To me it seems like she's being bullied. Now as far as backbone goes I'm reguarded as the only one in the family with one. That's why they always come to me.

    Now I was the one that let my sister in law move in. My brother had left in the night with all their money, my mom's car, and his friend's fiance. No one knew if he was ever coming back. She has no education, no license, and no car.

    I took her to get a restraining order against him. I told her if they decided to get back together (if he ever came back which he did when all the money ran out and the car broke down) that it was her business but that my home was not open to him...they would have to find another place. She stuck to it and while I was there my Mom did too. After I went home (Germany) she let him come back...against my SIL wishes.

    I came unglued. I would have called the police to come remove him but it would have probably driven my Mom to a nervous wreck. That was when It really became clear to me that reguardless of what my Mom says she's not going to stick to her word when it comes to him. So I don't get into it with her about him and I no long offer help. I know I made a BIG mistake in trying to fix this.

    BUT she is my mother and it really hurts me to see her being used. She has worked so hard her whole life and it seems she will never get to enjoy it. I don't understand how an adult child can have no consideration for his mother. I dont know how he can let her work her butt off for his family and it doesn't even seem to register with him that's she's running herself into the ground.

    Ardie...i know you are right too....it took this last issue to make me realize that she won't change things....even if she says she wants them to change. Still I can't help but worry about her.

    donna
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your mom is caught in a vortex and doesn't know how to get out. Your brother has learned to be very manipulative and knows exactly how to push each of her buttons.

    Perhaps if you and your step father did an intervention with professional help, that would get things moving in the right direction. Your brother needs a heavy dose of tough love, but you are too close to the situation to be the one to do it. A professional will be able to determine if the big intervention should be to the brother, or to your mom, then the brother. There are several enablers here, and probably not just family.
     
  14. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it has gone beyond just a problem with your mother and brother. Don't know how old the niece is now but social services would probably remove a child from such a situation. That is not safe or healthy. Around here social services doesn't readily take kids away but they'd do it for a situation that you are describing.
     
  15. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    It was disgusting. To my Mother's credit she did not realize how the house was. They wouldn't let anyone in. She also didn't realize at that time they had let the water get shut off...dirty dishes everywhere...I'll spare you the details of how they were handling bathroom issues. Now she does weekly inspections whether they like it or not.

    Maura, my brother has been to prison, rehabs, conselors, you name it....he knows all the right things to say....my mom knows what she needs to do but she can't make herself....she's told me that she needs to just move away and not tell him where she's going...but she knows the kids need her....and she loves him and fears he'll end up dead one day...she's confided to me that a part of her wishes he'd go back to jail...she said at least there she knew he was alive, off the drugs and not hurting himself or anyone else.
     
  16. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    I know it doesn't sound like it but I do love my brother. I don't understand how he went from being such a sweet little boy to being the person he is now. I do pray that he will change. It's just really hard to maintain those feelings of love when I see what he's doing to my Mom and his own family.
     
  17. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My hubby comes from a VERY dysfunctional/abusive/wacko family. After years of dealing with the drama and grief we finally gave up and divorced ourselves from the mess. It's hard to cut off family members and have no contact with them, but we matured over time and realized that their drama and dysfunction was just an endless cycle. They never made the choice to get healthy, so we made the choice to not be harmed by them any longer. One sentence that has reminded us to stick by our convictions is this: You get what you tolerate. It became a mantra for us. I can honestly say that after a couple of years we really don't miss them anymore.
     
  18. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Yes, but you "can't" do this when it is your mother unless you're absolutely willing to bear the consequences, which could well be a stroke or other stress induced health crisis... and then what do you do? Look at your bedridden mother and say "I've washed my hands of you..." No, you give up your life and take care of your mother.

    Any way you look at this situation, it sucks. But I am totally with your mother on the jail thing. When someone is locked up you know where they are, how long they are going to be there, when you can see them, and that they're being taken care of.. after a fashion. It brings a peaceful stability to a life that has none.

    By the way.. I would make sure that your brother isn't physically threatening your mom. One reason for caving in so readily may well be a fear for her, or someone else's, physical safety.
     
  19. DonnaKay

    DonnaKay Well-Known Member

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    Believe me I've wondered at times if I should just go my seperate way...but I've never been able to find peace with that.

    I could never leave my mom down and out on her own. No, not all the times she was there when I was sick and took care of me.

    My brother has gotten violent a couple times but to be honest I dont think she lives in fear of him. She has not hesitated to call the cops on him when he's gotten violent.

    She's more apt to give in to him when he's nice...he can be a real charmer. Of course my mom always wants to believe he's really trying to change.

    I do think he has my Mom's husband Dan intimidated. Not with blatant threats but by little things he says. He'll make comments about fights he's been in...how messed up the other guy got (most likely lies) I can tell it makes Dan nervous. He and my mom are on the small side and I don't think he feel confindent that he could hold his own in a fight with my brother.

    With the jail thing, she feels that way BUT the first time it really looked like it would happen she bartered cleaning services to get him a lawyer.

    I just wish there was something I could do for her that would be just for her and would give me a little assurance about the stability of her future. I know ultimately she will be my responsibility....she has no savings, no retirement, no life insurance and just now got health insurance.

    I would love to buy some land and give her and her husband a little piece of it...but I don't trust her to keep my brother away....the way things are with him now I really don't want him nor the element he attracts around my children. He doesn't seem to care about the welfare of his own children so I really can't expect him to care about mine.

    donna
     
  20. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Yikes.. are you sure we don't have the same brother? Mine makes a point of telling us about the latest martial arts courses he's taken, how he's a black belt in this and that... personally I find it frightening because I know that if he starts pounding on me he won't stop until something is good and broken.

    I feel so sorry for your mother's husband, who must feel powerless and emasculated by this.

    Future. Ok, let's get practical. I would suggest you start an account and begin pitching money into it. One that buys mutual funds every month would work, if you can swing it. Obviously this is in your name, but it will give you some flexibility for your own retirement should you suddenly find yourself calling on your resources now to fund your mother's retirement. I would not let a soul know I have this account... but I would leave it IN TRUST to your mother in the event of your death, with the trust stipulating not that she can draw on the principal, but that she receives a percentage of the income of the trust (or a percentage of the trust, which will eventually run it down to zero). The remainder can pass to whomever at her death.

    If you have life insurace with your mother as a beneficiary leave it as well IN TRUST so she doesn't get it all in one lump sum. I believe it is still called a "spendthrift trust." For obvious reasons.

    By the way.. everyone go check out GrannyG's doll for something that will make it feel like we're all involved in a big group hug!