To not accept this money?

(61 Posts)
Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 11:24:32

My Father died and we found out he had changed his will after telling us that we would share his property abroad with stepm keeping the British homes, money and investments (no problem at all with that). He secretly bought under a Tontine meaning we got nothing.

Our stepm has alienated us from our entire paternal family and the uncles/aunts seem to project their feelings about our Mother onto us.

We have had to live with the fact that not only was our Father not a good Father in life with little love for us, hew continues to reject us in death. Mostly we have got on with things and have cut ties with our stepm who has lavished goods, gifts and money on other family members and friends. She threw away my Fathers photographs, possessions etc days after he died not asking any of us if we wanted them. She then found a new man three and a half months after he died.

To get to the point, she has ignored my children's birthdays and mine but today a cheque 'to share among yourselves as you see fit for Christmas' arrived.

Now I have cut all ties with her so it would be hypocritical to accept this money for myself and nor do I want it.

BUT - should i cash it and split between my children?
Cash it and donate to charity/
Send it back and tell her to re issue it in the form of cheques to my children?

If i cash it i am telling her that I don't want you but your money will do which feels not right. if I cash it and share it, all she will know is that i took her money and it'll be spread around my paternal family that I did this?

AIBU to tear the cheque up and try to suppress the awful feelings of pain and hurt that the arrival of this communique has triggered in me? I have done well to pretty much push to the back of my mind, the damage my Father has caused me all my life and feel much happier having no contact with her (she is manipulative and spiteful). My children dislike her having seen the pain caused and feel she very much used us during the funeral to depict a happy family with her at the heart and then discarded us all. They say i should do what i feel comfortable with.

This has made me so unhappy again. The cheque and card are sitting like a coiled snake on my kitchen table.

BumpNGrind Wed 18-Dec-13 11:34:17

Do you need the money?
Would you be able to do something positive with the money?

Taking the money doesn't mean that you forgive your stepm or that you now have contact. She's made it clear that she doesn't want a relationship with you either tbh.

Take the money, spend it on something nice and everything you use that item, think about how you've overcome your troubles.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 11:38:55

I don't need it but my children are recently fledged and so could do with it.

It seems part of her manipulation to force my hand because she could have sent both children cheques. However she doesn't like my daughter (for no reason at all) so would do anything to avoid handing over money directly to her.

I worry that it opens a dialogue with us in her eyes and gives ammo for the 'takes my money but won't speak to me' argument.

NoAddedSuga Wed 18-Dec-13 11:39:22

How much do you need the money?

Will the money make a big difference to you?

NoAddedSuga Wed 18-Dec-13 11:40:16

Can i ask how much it was for?

IComeFromALandDownUnder Wed 18-Dec-13 11:41:04

But there won't be an argument if you never speak. Take the money for your children and never speak to her again. You don't owe her anything regardless if you cash the cheque.

5Foot5 Wed 18-Dec-13 11:43:21

I think you should return it with a polite note explaining why you don't think it would be appropriate to accept it.

MrsUptight Wed 18-Dec-13 11:44:19

Use it to put in a savings account for DC.

JoinYourPlayfellows Wed 18-Dec-13 11:45:18

I think you should return it.

Your dignity is more important that whatever you could buy with this money.

MrsLouisTheroux Wed 18-Dec-13 11:45:22

Depends how much she has given you.
£50 and I would send it back. £5000 and I would give it to my DC and let her know what you have done.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 11:45:54

It was just over £100 so not a lot. But not a little either.

I worry about looking hypocritical. This has upset me so much and I feel such a fool for getting upset. Its hard knowing your Father didn't love you.

NoAddedSuga Wed 18-Dec-13 11:48:22

No i wouldnt accept it.

comemulledwinewithmoi Wed 18-Dec-13 11:49:11

Similar here, nc parents would send cash in post, i always gave it to charity. I would cash and do this.

thankfeckitschrismas Wed 18-Dec-13 11:50:24

That's an insulting amount. I wouldn't compromise my feelings for such an amount.

However if it were a genuine attempt to make amends then that would be different.

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 11:50:32

If you cash it, it'll likely be 'They took my money - that's all they want' and if you send it back it'll likely be 'I tried to help them out but they threw it in my face'.

It's a difficult one for you given that there's so much baggage attached to it. Personally, I'd give it to charity and let her have the charity receipt. (With no attached note from you.) That way, something good will come of it.

FannyFifer Wed 18-Dec-13 11:52:57

I would not accept it. Personally I would rip cheque up and post it back, but I'm a grumpy shit.

Annianni Wed 18-Dec-13 11:53:23

I'd put the cheque and card in the bin, then deny all knowledge and eat icecream

Hope you're ok flowers

FannyFifer Wed 18-Dec-13 11:53:58

Actually yes the receipt for a donation to charity with it is the better idea, do that.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 11:54:13

It does feel insulting especially as last year she ignored my daughters birthday and my nephews but sent my other child something which they decided to split between the three of them. They did not appreciate being treated like this.

Yes, letting her know that a charity has benefited might be a good thing. Maybe a food bank or charity for unhappy children? That would be divine justice.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 11:55:28

Thanks Anni

This has set me back somewhat. I want to have a howling tantrum but I'll scare the neighbours smile. It is amazing how many tears are still in you when you think they are done.

Annianni Wed 18-Dec-13 12:01:01

I binned a card from my mum yesterday and feel loads better.

Sod the neighbours, do what you want.


I'll get booted out for hugging on aibu!

abear Wed 18-Dec-13 12:04:20

I think bank it, split money between the children and send polite (curt) thank you explaining you passed it on as didn't need or want it for yourself.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:05:59

Have hidden it under the bag of potatoes (don't ask- it just feels the best place and suitably grubby) and will continue reading these posts whilst trying to calm down.

Feels like she has invaded my little bubble.

wishingforwillpower Wed 18-Dec-13 12:13:35

Do you have siblings? Did they get cheques? I would destroy the cheque and do nothing - don't contact her to let her know. It sounds like taking the money will make you feel bad and giving it to charity could just seem petty and like a deliberate attempt to engage with her and piss her off, and will give her ammunition against you.

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 12:16:14

Well it's pretty much of an insult given the circumstances - and from what you said in your OP, I'm guessing that she had really substantial resources from your father. I'm guessing (wildly) that she got a bit tipsy, wrote it under the influence, but still couldn't bring herself to make it larger - even for show.

It's not a life-changing amount (where you might have a real conflict) so I'd turn it round on her - there are loads of small charities who would love even a small sum of cash to pay eg heating bills this winter.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:21:05

Have warned my sister to maybe expect one but her treatment of us is not equal so who knows?

My sisters response is that she is owed that money morally so will cash and give to her son. I kind of feel that nobody should be 'entitled' to a legacy. I just feel sad that he lied to us and she encouraged/benefited from this.

Yes she has done very well out of it and we got nothing- not even an item of clothing, photograph or valueless memento. No grave, no memorial. Nothing.

pinkporcupine Wed 18-Dec-13 12:22:03

OP, i really identify with this as i was in a similar situation. Because of a toxic family member on DH side, lets call her Z, we lost all contact with his side of the family, including his brother and sister. Like you, DH moved on, albeit having some severe mental health issues attached to the venom he received over the years from Z. Then we received some communication totally out of the blue from his brother. We really didnt know what to do, so actually contacted this brother about the motive behind this communication. It turned out that throughout her life, Z had played various relatives off against each other, spreading viscious rumours about various family members, using emotional blackmail to make relatives act in uncharacteristic ways. It turns out she was a severely disturbed individual who did massive amounts of damage. Anyway, to cut a very long and complex story short, DH and his brother have slowly started to rebuild thier relationship, initially with e-mails, then this year they met for the first time in 25 years. At this meeting, they were able to talk bout how Z had driven a serious wedge between them, and beween that side of family.
Why dont you e-mail her, expressing your suprise at the cheque, to see if you can identify a motive. You may find out she is a nasty piece of work, in which case, do with the cheque what makes you feel most comfortable. But you may also find there is a whole back story, which is what happened to us. But very difficult., and may open a lot of wounds which may also be difficult to confront.

uptheanty Wed 18-Dec-13 12:29:26

The kind of people who play these kind of games never do anything for altruistic reasons. There is an angle but please don't waste your time or energy trying to figuire out what it is.

I would donate to a children's charity, get a receipt and send it in a card with a note thanking her for her genorosity and advising her that children who really need support are benefitting.

And reinflate your bubble grin

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 12:32:53

Yes - maybe a short note advising her that it's gone to charity. That might be a good idea.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:35:28

Pink i am glad to hear your husband is rebuilding his relationship with his brother. How awful that they were estranged because of it. We made a decision to resist divide and conquer although it can be challenging!

I agree Up that there is precious little altruism behind this. She has caused such pain to the grandchildren and my sister who was rendered near mute for days after finding things out so shocked and angry was she. I will not forget the pain on her face.

Bubble will be reinflated. Am awaiting husband who is coming home early because he knows how upset I am. Bless him.

NigellasDealer Wed 18-Dec-13 12:35:29

just tear it up mignonette and say/do nothing

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 18-Dec-13 12:38:32

No i would send it back. I wouldnt accept it. You dont need it and it's not a life changing amount (althought tbh it wouldnt make a difference to me how much it was). Its an insult tbh. She didnt send it for you, she sent it for her.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:42:31

I am going to sleep on it and make a decision tomorrow. I am leaning towards not cashing it and returning it saying that now the children are adults, she can issue cheques to them rather than via me.

But i may change my mind smile. Hard to think straight at the moment.

Mama1980 Wed 18-Dec-13 12:42:42

I would tear it up. My biological father who isn't very nice and none of us have seen for years sends a cheque every year At Christmas I never pay it in, I just throw it away. If he asked to see us I would consider it but I will not take his money.

uptheanty Wed 18-Dec-13 12:42:52


Treating siblings differently, choosing not to "like" a family member and alienating people from others is all a form of scapegoating, something of a phenomenon and enjoyed by the most dysfunctional of family members.

It is recongnised in family court as a form of abuse used to overpower and control others.

Most of us have them, I'm 100% NC with mine and not concerned anymore about them in the least fbiscuit.

sapfu Wed 18-Dec-13 12:45:27

I would donate it to charity - whatever charity will make the best point tbh,even if it's for a home for old donkeys so you can say 'because step monster will be in one soon'.

If you do it online you might be able to do it online but you can forward the confirmation/receipt email on to the old hag.

Rise above. You are so much better than she, and your dad.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:45:59


I was the family scapegoat. The reason they had to marry. the reason they were unhappy. Everything wrong in their lives was my fault. I was told on many occasion that they would have aborted me and wish they had have done (I have come to terms with this) so what you say does chime with what I think. Yet my sister was the Golden child (she learned to be quiet and good) and her son was treated the most appallingly of all.

My daughter is the unpopular grandchild with her and was with my Father.

xCupidStuntx Wed 18-Dec-13 12:47:47

I definitely wouldn't accept it.

Charlie97 Wed 18-Dec-13 12:48:20

Me, I would go for a meal and use it towards that (not sure £100 would buy a meal for you all), send her the receipt and say "I put it towards a meal for MY family, I feel it is so important to always stay close to your children. It's lovely to spend time together"

Or is that a step too far?

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 12:52:01

Don't tempt me Charli smile.

I have so much outrage that I dare not let it out as it feels as if I would cause a tidal wave or something with the strength of it!

Am just going out for an hour and didn't want people to think I had posted and run. Will be back later to read and reply.

Thank you all for not giving me a hard time flowers.

You are all kind and lovely.

TalkativeJim Wed 18-Dec-13 12:57:50

Oh I am sorry that it's all been stirred up for you.

I'd be soooo tempted to send it back - with a note:

'Many thanks. Your cheque is enclosed. As a family, we decided that we would find more pleasure in returning it than on any item we might spend it on. Merry Christmas to you and your new partner.'

..but of course I wouldn't!!!

Rub those potatoes right into it OP!!!

Floralnomad Wed 18-Dec-13 13:01:46

I don't understand how this is even an issue . Your father treated you and your children appallingly and his wife has done the same ,why would you even want their money . Send it back and tell her that you want nothing more to do with her ,believe me you will feel much better for it .

Levantine Wed 18-Dec-13 13:04:27

Oh this is horrible for you OP. I think if it were me, and I have a complicated family, I would just put in the bin. If it were more, for example a sum that would make a real difference to my dc then I might not. But whatever you decide to do with it I don't think I would contact her, I would just let it lie.

LineRunner Wed 18-Dec-13 13:04:53

A hundred quid?

I'd send it back. And bung in a tenner saying 'I think you need this more than me'.

SandyChick Wed 18-Dec-13 13:07:29

Personally, I wouldn't cash it.

Put it in the bin and forget about it.

givemeaclue Wed 18-Dec-13 13:10:15

Cash it, give money to your kids. Don't send thank you.

pinkporcupine Wed 18-Dec-13 13:15:45

OP, it makes me so angry the actions of toxic people can cause so much uset and hurt, it has clearly opened old wounds for you.
As you say, it is not about the money, but in a way it is the principle behind it. In my earlier post, i mentioned Z. Z manipulated those family members she perceived as vulnerable, and as a result, received inheritances from them, quite large sums in fact. This made us livid, not beacuse of the money per se, but that she received money by such devious means, and money that in normal circumstances, she would not have received.
I truly wish that i had written to Z, and clearly identified the hurt she had caused to each individual family member. This is why i suggested you contact this women. The things we have learnt in the time since we have been in contact with DHs brother is truly horrific. I didnt think people could stoop to such depths. But she is dead now, and we never knew the full extent of what she had done whilst she was alive. I reaaly wish Z had been made aware of the hurt she had caused in her life. I hope you reach some peace in the decision you make in this difficult time

FudgefaceMcZ Wed 18-Dec-13 13:16:53

I wouldn't take it, even though Christmas is pushing scarily close to overdraft here, because she's trying to get rid of her guilt by giving you money. If she's sorry she can phone or write and say sorry and offer a future relationship with you and your children, but doesn't sound like she's doing that, it sounds like she just wants to feel like she's done something for you so it's all ok in her mind.

tombakerscarf Wed 18-Dec-13 13:21:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

was about to respond but Tombakersscarf has said it all IMHO

You have gone NC so stay NC - drop it in the bin and deny her the satisfaction of any response at all; no response and not cashing the cheque means there is nothing she can twist to her own agenda. She won't know whether the cheque was even received


Belchica Wed 18-Dec-13 13:32:07

OP I went through a similar experience when my father died. He let us down in life and his legacy was 4 years of my family fighting his girlfriend (he changed his will in her favour) for their share of inheritance in court. I renounced any claim at the outset and but for supporting my mother through the ordeal, stayed out of it. As a result of the GFs obnoxious behaviour (and my fathers) my mother still works in a heavy job at the age of 68, to get by and my sister tried to take her own life and is still on antidepressants years later. Like your SM, the GF used my sisters to depict herself as 'united' with our family and made lots of false promises to them. Now she drives a sports car, has 2 homes, receives my Fathers pension and a new wealthy man in her life. None of this makes me angry, however, because I took full control of my feelings and finances since the saga began (wasn't easy, had counselling).

Please tear up the cheque and do not let either her or the legacy of your Dad torture you and your family any further. £100 can make a difference but I personally would rather go without and in your shoes, especially as your children are already upset by her behaviour, take comfort that they will learn an important lesson about not letting others control or manipulate them, financially or emotionally. They will take much pleasure later in life knowing they got where they did without her handouts.

Ask yourself this, will she continue to drip feed your family small sums of money every so often and take pleasure from it? And what if the handouts then stop...? As hard as this sounds, accept that your Dad cut you out of his will and do not let this woman wield any more control over your family.With your dignity intact, tear up the cheque and march on, head high.

So sorry it has brought back bad memories and made you unhappy.

Shelby2010 Wed 18-Dec-13 13:32:56

Send it back, no note. Don't put a stamp on the envelope so she has to pay to receive it & with any luck has to trek to the post office to collect it.

cafecito Wed 18-Dec-13 13:37:00

No good will come of tearing it up

If it were for more, I would cash it for sure


If it will make you feel so bad doing so - send it back, and ask for her to either send it directly to the children - or make a donation to a specified charity

If you tear it up she will always think you cashed it, then the kids don't benefit, and charities won't benefit

LaRegina Wed 18-Dec-13 13:42:32

I agree that you should send it back - with no stamp. If she had suddenly had a guilty conscience attack and had sent a substantial amount, I would probably have let my DC have it, but £100 is an insult under the circumstances, I think.

Saminthemiddle Wed 18-Dec-13 13:44:26

Just tear it up and have no more contact with her. Really feel for you OP, had a similar situation myself but have moved on with no more contact and that has helped massively. I feel free now.

xmaspudnpies Wed 18-Dec-13 13:51:42

Bin it and forget it. Sorry she's such a shit person.

zumm Wed 18-Dec-13 13:53:40

I'm not sure she'll even notice if you've cashed it or not - I don't ever double check whether ple cash my cheques. I just assume they will. Could she be trying to make some sort of (albeit shoddy) attempt at connecting with you? - just trying to work out WHY she'd send it to you. (you could, if anything, test your theory that it's ammo...)
My feeling is: cash it, and enjoy it (whether that means a meal out, or a donation to a (family crisis!) type charity.
Pl don't rip it up and bin it.
Sorry you've had such a rough time with all this.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 14:05:26

Such kind words from you all and sad that so many of you have endured similar hurt.

I know it isn't really an issue but occasionally you need to hear advice and comfort from people who are not family. When something like this happens you tend to lose perspective and the courage of your convictions wobbles a little. That is why AIBU is full of people asking advice about issues that are oh so clear until they happen to you. So I appreciate the patience and niceness of you all.

Still undecided....I don't want to get into a dialogue with her and am aware that there could be a whole undercurrent of events unknown to me that has prompted her to pull this stunt. I don't want to become embroiled in whatever that may be!

BumpNGrind Wed 18-Dec-13 14:16:18

I think it sounds like you need to invest in more positive emotions.

This 'gift' is only money and it only has the power that we give it and you can chose positivity. So, if you gave it to your dc, you would have the pleasure of seeing them have an extra treat/night out/family time. I'm sure that would bring you more joy than spending time and energy on negative emotions like ripping the cheque up or sending it back and wondering if she had received it.

If you have a choice between feeling good or feeling bad, why choose to feel bad? Spend it, lend it, give it away, be happy. If you want to thank her - do, if you don't want to - don't. After what you've been through, and especially at Christmas, be happy.

Bexicles Wed 18-Dec-13 14:24:53

It looks like an attempt to open the lines of communication just before Christmas, whether this is so she can try to make amends or cause more upset for you I do not know. Mig, if this is causing you to feel so distressed I would just put the cheque to one side and decide what to do after Christmas. Have a lovely Christmas With your family and just ignore.

Mignonette Wed 18-Dec-13 14:26:17

My daughter has reminded me of how he always sneered at my being 'a woolly hearted liberal'. She has suggested I make my decision with that in mind.

So I am going to cash it and send half to the local food bank and half to the local Women's refuge via the Police (they will take the cash to them).

Neither children want the money. This way at least it does some good.

Thank you all for the replies and how you have helped. Bump thanks- always good to be reminded that i can divest myself of angst although it is hard work.

Hopefully she will not keep pestering me. I have blocked her emails.

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