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To wash my hands of my toxic mother

(9 Posts)
pumpkinpilot Fri 31-Mar-17 18:51:38

I will try not to drip feed but it will be hard as this has been such a saga it may prove impossible to some degree. I am a long time lurker but this is my first post so please be gentle.

I have had a very unusual relationship with my mother. She has a very violent temper and was very difficult to grow up when she took me to Australia when I was just ten away from my dad who had joint custody.

In fact she didn't plan to take me, her original plan was to leave me with my Dad and take my older and younger siblings with her.

I moved back to England in my early teens and lived in England the rest of my life whilst visiting her on a few occasions.

Much of my contact with her involved late night conversations (she would often ring at odd hours) often drunk or very upset it would generally be about some battle she was having with an institution or workplace.

She has very few friends and has not been in a long term relationship for a long time, probably because of some of the above.

Since I had children 7 years ago I thought we could start afresh and my children would be able to have a relationship with her. She has been over to visit for xmas (around 10 weeks for the last few years) although we have had some issues I felt she had changed since I was a parent and she did was generally trying to make the effort.

She was mostly good at xmas helpful with the kids and pitched in where her health would allow.

Anyway fast forward 6 years she had sold her house a year previously and was struggling to negotiate a new purchase. I flew over there and put an offer on a few houses with her but they all fell through for different reasons. My remaining sibling who lived there (albeit the other side of the country) was not very involved in helping her.

My mother has a really bad record for managing money and I believe she may have a gambling problem. So I was super keen to help her buy a house and invest her money safely.

A while later she started sending me pictures of houses in my area showing how much she could get for the money. I was luke warm about the idea of her living near me at best but I do have the belief that family are stronger together and am a real optimist with people. I was also concerned about her lifestyle I found she was gambling at these clubs they have in Australia it is a real problem there. In addition to this she is very overweight and does not do nearly enough exercise and drinks heavily.

She was also always telling me how lonely she was and I felt that with my new family nuclear and extended we might be able to help her have a better life.

So I agreed to help her find a property over here near me. We talked for hours if not days about all the practicalities and she said she was convinced it was what she wanted.

After 4 offers we finally had an offer accepted on a lovely house we got at a good price. It is the town I live in and is a great investment but it does need some TLC mostly decorating stuff and modernising work all of which I insisted she budgeted for in the sale price.

She subsequently had some major health issues and on the back of this decided she did not want to emigrate anymore. Ultimately I suspect it was less about her health and more about how much pressure my brother put on her to stay even though they have a lot of arguments and he lives the other side of Australia.

This is right around the time of brexit referendum result and the pound plummeted. She then drops the bombshell that she can not rent out the house privately because she would lose her Australian state pension.

We are very happy in our house here but she insisted that we had to move into the property and pay her rent or she would lose too much money selling it. She offered us a small piece of equity in exchange for us living there for five years and fixing the house up. We thought long and hard and in the end agreed after talking about all the scenarios and finances involved.

We threw ourselves into renovating the property got the children to choose and paint their own rooms as well as fully painting and decorating the whole house. We were planning to spend a good few thousand on renovating the garden and getting the chimney lined and a wood burner installed as well as tackling some of the bigger jobs bit by bit and thought that if we did this we could add around 50k to the value of the house which would more than pay for the equity she offered.

We spent much of our Xmas holiday moving things over to the house and finishing off some decorating work.

She then sends us an email 1 week before we are due to move in and says that as she lost so much equity because of brexit she would not be able to offer us any equity in the house. We had given our notice 2 months previously but luckily know our landlady well and she was happy to let us stay on.

We were going to stretch to pay more rent than we do right now to give her more money in Australia plus we would be responsible for lots of stuff that a landlord would normally pay for like boiler servicing insurance or if anything went wrong we would have to fix it and it is a 300 year old house so almost certainly would at some point.

I explained to her that there is no way we could move into the house under these circumstances.

This has all led to a major family fall out which shows no signs of getting any better soon. She has become very mean in her correspondence and accuse me of trying to steal her money. Keeps changing figures and making up lies.

She has also tried to drive a wedge between me and my partner and his parents who she knows and thinks she has a very strong relationship with but who in reality look after her because of caring about us.

She has accused us of making up lies about her to "cover my tracks and stop her seeing people she loves"

This has taken so much out of me. I genuinely felt like I was doing something for her and it has ended up with her believing I am the villain in the piece.

I feel like a fool for putting my family through this when I know what she is like.

AIBU to give up on her?

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 31-Mar-17 19:31:04

YANBU. I suspect all the recent nastiness has brought back horrible memories of how she was when you were a child too.

harridan50 Fri 31-Mar-17 19:35:34

YANBU. I went no contact and have never regretted it. Felt like a black cloud lifted from my life. Good luck.

pumpkinpilot Fri 31-Mar-17 19:43:57

Thanks for getting through my wall of text!

I really appreciate the replies. When I saw it was heading this way I expected her to go on the attack and tried to steel myself but it does get to you.

Chloe84 Fri 31-Mar-17 19:45:29

YANBU. Are you moving back to your previous house?

Leopards can't change their spots.

pumpkinpilot Fri 31-Mar-17 19:53:30

Chloe yes we never moved fully and luckily our landlady was happy for us to stay on where we were.

I think you are right we dodged a massive bullet as she has subsequently said she would have come and stayed whenever she like and i suspect we would have ended up payng rent upkeep and have her staying half the year.

She strangely seems more interested in the harm that's done to her reputation with the inlaws than she does with me.

She keeps telling me I have to restore her relationship with her inlaws like I can just wave a magic wand.

They have read all her emails and are disgusted with her behaviour.

user1472582572 Fri 31-Mar-17 19:57:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pumpkinpilot Sat 01-Apr-17 12:27:01

Thank you user1472582572 your response means a lot to me.

I received an awful email from her this morning. Blaming me for the death of my brother and stating how my dead grandma called me selfish amongst a bunch of other stuff she thinks will hurt me.

I really do not understand how a mother can be like this. I can't ever imagine a scenario where I could be so hateful to my own children. They are my world.

Justanothernameonthepage Sat 01-Apr-17 13:13:57

Please set up a rule in your inbox that will direct any messages from her into another folder. Well done for escaping what sounds like would have been a very bad living situation. You reached out to someone who isn't able to have a healthy relationship with you, but that is all on her, you did a lot more than most people would have in those circumstances. So glad you're not allowing her behaviour to damage your family

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