I can't please everyone so who should I please?

(54 Posts)
HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 13:54:51

ok, long story alert:
my parents are hopeless with money. I was hopeless with money (now I'm just poor). fb was hopeless with money (now he's married and fail is good with money.

so, when I started uni, I spent my grant paying hall fees and buying text books. I was working but got injured in a fall down the stairs at my parents and the pain meds meant I couldn't work. I got behind in my studies, got depressed. parents found out I was living on bred and honey and offered to send me 40 a week. I said yes. fast forward 15 years. it turned out thy couldn't afford that and it was my brother working while studying to pay the forty pounds.

after uni, I got married, had a child, got divorced, got left with debts by ex (everything in joint names and he had been in charge of finances). so ds and I moved in with my parents, I worked, dm looked after ds. I rented a flat, couldn't manage financially, got a cheaper council house, ran up debts (living beyond my means -pure stupidity). got bailed out by parents.

parents also had many debts (of which I was unaware) fb bailed them out financially and went on mortgage to allow them to keep the house.

parents eventually paid db back.

I had a nervous breakdown, moved back in with parents, rented out my house, found all this stuff out. saved up, moved home. a few times have taken out loans for parents in my name (I can say no the first few times they ask but they're really good at grinding me down). they have paid the loans back and given me bits of money here and there also.

in meantime fb gets married, they want to buy a house. db can not come off their mortgage now because the house is in negative equity. dm and df news to find the money to pay off he negative equity to release him so house is currently in dsil's name only. which dm gives dsil grief about (very strange).

dm and df got quite a lot of money in ppi compensation and uses it to buy NES lounge and dining room furniture, to have their lounge and dining room replastered and decoeates, to have curtains made for both rooms and artex (sp?) removed from he ceilings. they also paid off several thousand pounds in debts. db and dsil upset about this. dm cannot understand this.

now, dm turns 60 this year. df wants to tale her on holiday to celebrate. she wants ds and I to go. I can't afford it. she offers to pay for us to go. I feel uncomfortable about that ad they keep promising db and dsil that they will save what they can to release db from the mortgage.

dm starts on at me saying I'm depriving ds. that it's nothing to do with db and dsil so I shouldn't feel guilty. that the situation between dm and df and db and dsil is none of my business and I would say yes if the situation wasn't happening so I should go. that it's her 60th and she wants us there and db and dsil can afford to pay for themselves whereas she knows I can't (retraining so on 15k).

so I tried telling her my dissertation was due the week she wants to go (october half term) but it's not, it's a month earlier.

options (as I see it):
1. go on holiday, dm happy, ds happy, I feel guilty, risk good relationships I have with db and dsil. I feel stressed about this.
2. allow them to book the holiday but run myself ragged trying to pay them back. everyone happy - except me because I'll be back to living outside my means. I feel stressed about this.
3. continue saying no, earn the eternal enmity of dm and ds (who is desperate to go abroad after camping for hree summers), keep good relationships with db and dsil, get stressed because of attitude of dm and ds.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 13:56:29

all fb's should read db - sorry. also re many misspellings.

HoleyGhost Sun 10-Feb-13 14:06:03

I would not go.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:08:05

thank you. I agree but wasn't sure after the many-pronged guilt trip lain on me by dm.

HeathRobinson Sun 10-Feb-13 14:12:28

I wouldn't go and, depending on age of ds, a good lesson for him about living within your means, unless he knows about the dissertation thing too.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 10-Feb-13 14:20:35

No, dont go. Your parents are being very selfish and are treating your db unfairly. Going would make you complicit in that.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:23:40

Just spoken to dm. She tried the guilt-tripping on the themes entioned above. Then said let us at least take ds!

Feel so stuck in the middle. Can't turn to db/dsil for advice because they would just phone dm and blast her so she would straightaway phone me and blast me.

Hate sharing info about dm's delusional lifestyle with people who know her because she seems so normal.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:26:33

Just spoken to dm. She tried the guilt-tripping on the themes entioned above. Then said let us at least take ds!

Feel so stuck in the middle. Can't turn to db/dsil for advice because they would just phone dm and blast her so she would straightaway phone me and blast me.

Hate sharing info about dm's delusional lifestyle with people who know her because she seems so normal.

HoleyGhost Sun 10-Feb-13 14:27:49

No is a full sentence. Let your db blast her. He will find out in the end and he will be furious.

You can't control what choices your dm makes. You are not responsible for your db's name being on their mortgage. All you can do is keep your own finances separate from theirs and work to get yourself in a position to support yourself.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:36:34

dm provides my childcare and we share a car. I can't afford to piss her off because she is vindictive. db knows this and knows that I take his side but can't risk cutting her off until retraining is complete and I can afford a car on my own and after-school care.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:37:22

But, if I was db, I would want to know...

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:38:52

Another thing (sorry for multi-posts) dm said on phone, we'd be paying for a family room so the extra cost of taking you and ds would be very small. I said that didn't sound right because of flights, transfers and food. Just checked and adding us two would double the cost of the holiday! More lies.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 10-Feb-13 14:44:47

This isnt really an ethical dilemma for you is it? You know what the right thing to do is.

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 14:47:07

Don't go.

You will just be miserable and it will cause stress between you and your brother.

You are getting your life and finances sorted, as is your brother. That is admirable.

Your parents will draw you all back into debt. Stick to your guns.

Don't argue. Just say, 'I really wish that I could go but I can't afford it and I am too proud to continue taking hand outs or loans from you. I need to live within my means'

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:57:26

I guess not, it seemed like it was but I s'pose I was just hoping there would be an easy way out...

What about DB - to tell or not to tell?

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 15:00:10

No, don't tell your DB. It will only cause more anger towards your mum and get everyone riled up.

Let it be, treat yourself and your DS to a nice wee day out while they are away and be the mature, sensible adult.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 10-Feb-13 15:24:04

I agree with Mme. There is no need for you to tell him. Dont get embroiled in any arguments your mum and brother may have, and dont get sucked into discussing the rights and wrongs any further with your mum just say "I've already given you my decision".

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:26:00

she seems to have given up on me - now focusing on me depriving ds. I've had a text and a phone call in last 5 mins alone!

Ragwort Sun 10-Feb-13 15:29:57

Is it practical for them to take DS alone, or would that cause further problems for DB?

hermioneweasley Sun 10-Feb-13 15:30:51

It's outrageous. I would tell DB - he helped them out and now they're pissing money away when he needs to be paid back so he can start his own life.

hillyhilly Sun 10-Feb-13 15:31:57

No dilemma, you shouldn't go ad neither should your son unless you can pay for him.
You don't want your son growing up with the same appalling money management/ attitude to money as your parents so here's where he starts learning, it's hard but life sometimes is.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 10-Feb-13 15:36:49

Dont let your mum guilt trip you about ds missing out. The principle is the same.

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 15:42:11

Don't keep justifying your decision.

'It is a shame that I don't have the money, as I would have loved to have gone, but I don't want to be owing money any more'

Keep saying that when she asks.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:51:34

They have paid him back, the money they're supposed to be saving is the negative equity that has built up on their house so they can remortgage and take db off the mortgage

Just had back-to-back phone calls from dm about them taking DS.

You are selfish and mean to deprive ds of a holiday with his grandparents - answer: I'm sorry you feel that way but I feel that I am setting him a good example by not leaving beyond my means

I will have ds while you are at work but will not provide any other babysitting (eg a one night methodist women's retreat my church is sending me to next weekend) - answer: I appreciate all the help you've given me with him and that's up to you but I don't think the two have anything to do with each other (second time she said it: why do you also have to use your looking after ds against me?!)

I am sick of other people dictating what I can do with my life - answer: I am not dictating what you do but I am making a decision about what ds and I do

You were happy enough to take our money before - answer: yes I have relied on you financially in the past but my pride prevents me continuing to live outside my means

Other grandparents get to take their grandchildren on holiday - and you have taken him on holiday several times which was very kind of you

Why are you taking their side - actually, I think by not going I'm avoiding taking sides.

Or on latest text:

what will ds think when his granny and grandad go away with your cousins, aunty and uncle. He is going to think what horrible grandparents he has got. Please let him go - think I will say: He knows that this is a decision I have made and that it doesn't reflect on you. Thank you again for your kind offer.

TheArmadillo Sun 10-Feb-13 15:56:02

Your answers are very good. Keep to it. You are doing the right thing.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:58:35

I think this should have gone on a moral support thread (is there one?) - wellcoveredsparerib was right, I knew what to do, I was just scared of doing it!

I am ready for several months of hell...

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 15:59:28

Brilliant answers, and well done for not rising to her emotional blackmail.

It will be good for you, and good for your son to stand up for her.

Would your DB be able to help you out iwth evening babysittings if she did get nasty?

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:03:39

Latest text (sorry folks but I will just stew over it unless I can get it out there)

you will never know how much you have upset your dad and i. Your dad really wanted to take DS. After all that we have done for you, you won't let us do one thing that would mean a lot to us and ds. Please don't tell me you are not taking sides because you have.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:09:13

Sorry Mme XP

Probably not. They live about fifteen miles away and both work shifts.

HoleyGhost Sun 10-Feb-13 16:21:05

Uggh. I would wait a while before responding to that one.

My own mother behaves like this whenever she imagines she has a hold on me. It will be wonderful when you no longer need to rely on her for childcare.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:28:48

HoleyGhost somehow (probably because I'm reporting back on here) I am staying calm.

I replied: i really am trying to avoid taking sides by doing this. i am, obviously, sorry that my decision has upset you but it is my decision to make.

latest responses:

db knew we were having this holiday three months ago but never said anything - he did say something to df. guess df didn't report back

but to us you are taking sides & i wouldn't think db and dsil would like ds to miss out on holiday. why don't you ask them? - i think this is a cunning ploy to make db and dsil feel bad. Not rising to it...

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 16:34:44

I'd reply

'I am sorry if you are upset. I am too. I am going to take DS to the park / play monopoly / build lego tower (whatever you'd be likely to do). I will be in touch tomorrow'

Stop responding. You have said what you have to say. Turn your phone off if you can.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:42:35

She always phones if I don't text back within five minutes. If I don't answer the phone after she's tried 4-5 times, she would just come round - she lives in the same village and has our car today.

Another text, new guilt-trip:
Well I am sorry Helles but we will not get over this. It's dad's last year of working and this is what he wanted to do. After 50 years of work and never asking for a thing from anyone. The thing he did want is at last ds going on holiday

That last bit is weird as they have taken him away three times before (before I knew about the situation with db) and I take ds camping in the summer. My bf and her kids and us share a tent if I'm strapped which halves each of our costs and gives us both company on holiday.

Defo not answering any more.

MmeLindor Sun 10-Feb-13 16:46:12

How long will you still have to rely on her for childcare? I'd be looking at alternatives to get yourself and your DS away from her.

I don't use this word often, but she is totally toxic. Have you seen threads on here about toxic parents?

edam Sun 10-Feb-13 16:54:58

Oh dear, what a horrible situation. You have made your decision, so don't let her bully you into changing it.

But I don't think you should feel guilty about your brother's financial situation. You didn't know about the £40 a week at the time - your brother clearly didn't want you to know, otherwise he'd have told you. And your parents have paid him back - it's just the negative equity, which is a bitch but no-one's fault.

If your brother only lives 15 miles away, he's going to find out about your parents going on holiday, isn't he?

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:57:48

DS is year 7 so I'm assuming 3 and a half years more.

Actually, once df retires, I won't have to wait for him to finish work (due to shared car) so I could be home for about 4.20 - ds could go to my bf's (his bf's mum's) for 15 minutes or to our house if I could trust him not to lose a key!! He's on school bussed so doesn't normally get to dm's til 4.05.

Freedom is lurking on the horizon grin

Daftodill Sun 10-Feb-13 16:59:48

Seconding the "toxic" thing. Your responses are so good, I am trying to learn how to do this! Have you been on the Stately Homes thread?

You will find many people whose parents are just like this! You totally don't have to put up with this crap, esp from your own family, they should respect your choices about such things. Very toxic behaviour. Don't engage!

RabidCarrot Sun 10-Feb-13 17:00:50

Could you point out that in the past 50 years your DF has indeed ask for things and that is why your DB is stuck on their mortgage

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:01:26

He knows I earn very little Edam so, if we went, he would work out dm/df had paid for us when they're supposed to be paying off negative equity to release him to be on the mortgage for his own family home.

Since I found out about it all, I have told my parents to leave their house (it gets paid off in the event of either death) just to db as recompense but they have refused. I still think he should have the whole house.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:05:54

RabidCarrot Could you point out that in the past 50 years your DF has indeed ask for things and that is why your DB is stuck on their mortgage I like that - it will be my response if I stop ignoring them!!

Daftodill Seconding the "toxic" thing. Your responses are so good, I am trying to learn how to do this! they're not usually - that's why she thinks she can talk me round. It's just knowing I will post whatever is said on here tha is keeping me resolute.

^Have you been on the Stately Homes thread?

You will find many people whose parents are just like this! You totally don't have to put up with this crap, esp from your own family, they should respect your choices about such things. Very toxic behaviour. Don't engage!^ It's only since my breakdown I've realised how unusual our family dynamic is - after all, everyone says their mum rules the roost so I thought it was normal and I felt sorry for her because she's had a tough life.

Narked Sun 10-Feb-13 17:13:44

Say that you're managing your finances better now. You won't be owing money to people anymore and you're going to be living within your means.

Viviennemary Sun 10-Feb-13 17:14:20

I think the priority should be to release your brother from the mortgage on their house not paying for people to go on holiday. It's easy for them to spend other people's money and I wouldn't be encouraging them to do this and anybody who does is being selfish.

Your brother and his wife cannot buy their own house because of their reckless spending. I'm not surprised they are annoyed. Hope I have understood things correctly.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:29:28

Pretty good understanding. DSIL managed to get a mortgage just in her name so they do own a house but legally, it's just dsil's.

Daftodill Sun 10-Feb-13 17:33:54

Helles ............me too! Takes a lot of unpacking doesn't it? I read Toxic Parents and was very shocked to discover that someone had written a boom about my family. It sounds like you are doing very well and are very kind, sensible person and a great mum.

Daftodill Sun 10-Feb-13 17:34:39

Snigger. A book, not a boom!

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:36:10

I wish I were - but thank you for your kind words. I think I am probably a better mum for acknowledging I'm not the best mum iykwim.

Toxic Parents? Heading to amazon!

Viviennemary Sun 10-Feb-13 17:47:55

I know your brother wouldn't do this but what's to stop him cutting his losses on the house and telling your parents to find other accommodation. Presumably he has an outstanding mortgage on this house which he is paying. That doesn't seem very fair to me at all. This is not your fault in any way Hellesbelles and it's a shame you are caught up in it.

wellcoveredsparerib Sun 10-Feb-13 17:54:16

Just caught up with your recent posts OP and wanted to say well done at standing firm. Your mum may be a master of manipulation, but you are countering it really well.

Daftodill Sun 10-Feb-13 18:01:48

From personal experience grin I would say proceed with caution, though, it can be very upsetting to unpack all this stuff mentally, esp if you have previous mental health issues. It really knocked me for six, and dredges up a lot of stuff which I would say can be difficult to deal with when you are trying to be a parent and all-round even-keeled person.

It could be very traumatic for you to face all this by yourself esp as it sounds as if your parents are extremely invasive and breathing down your neck. Have you been on the stately homes thread (in relationships?) as there are lots of helpful links there to resources on the web and other books. Ultimately it is empowering (boak, sorry) but a shitty thing to go through. Do you have support in real life from friends etc, or can you get counselling via your gp?

Counselling is the best thing you can do, imho to help yourself parenting your own kids when your own parents are.......let's say toxic. It made a huge difference to me.

There will be more helpful posters on Stately Homes anyway.

Daftodill Sun 10-Feb-13 18:07:07

And yes I totally know what you mean about acknowledging possibly not being the best mum in the world - that isn't your fault, but the fact that you give enough of a shit to try harder makes a difference already!

For me I feel like I understand the concept of "good enough parenting" etc but that is more appropriate for people who aren't from toxic families, for me I think it is important to try harder to educate myself as my knowledge of what healthy loving familial relationships should involve was totally arse-backwards smile.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 20:42:51

dm's being nice now - she texted to let me know she had washed and ironed a uniform ds had left there last week and to just send him in normal clothes in the morning.

as it happens, he has a uniform ready here.

watch out helles - when she works out that you're not changing your mind she'll up the ante. the sooner you can stop relying on them the better. have some backup plans for when your mum kicks off - again.

HellesBelles396 Sun 10-Feb-13 20:57:03

I'm sure you're right - my feeling is she'll go to work on ds tomorrow.

I had a look at the stately homes thread but it's for people who were abused as children so not at all my situation. thank you for directing me there though smile .

HellesBelles396 Mon 11-Feb-13 13:34:38

so latest is that df said that ds could have the holiday for Christmas/birthday gift. I, apparently, would be selfish to turn this down.

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