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AIBU to be angry my brother is sponging off my elderly ill mother

(19 Posts)
ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 09:02:06

This is long.

My brother is in his 50s and hasn't worked for more than a decade. Before that he had a well-paid job, got a large redundancy payment and still owns his own property outright.

Since losing his job he has spent nearly all his time living with my 80something mum - rent-free in every way and not even paying food bills. She is pretty well off. She now has cancer and in the last couple of years he has been there almost non-stop EXCEPT for about nine weeks a year when he goes and stays in Majorca at a property she owns but is too ill to use.

I have found his situation bizarre but have up to now been reasonably sympathetic. He's not easy to get alongnwith so I can't imagine many people wanting to employ him and I suppose I felt that at least it was good to know he was being looked after in spite of his difficult economic circumstances. I had presumed that most of his lump sum payout had been used up. He's never once bothered to look for a job since being made redundant.

But now as my mum becomes weaker the situation is getting more concerning. He does almost nothing to help her. She does all the food shopping online and he sits there waiting while she still cooks all the meals, does washing, tidies the house and of course pays all the bills. Recently he has tried to make out he's a carer but he does no work to help her. He claims he puts out the bins but we all have to do that wherever we live. He occasionally drives her to medical appointments in her own car (she still drives).

At the same time he can be verbally abusive to her - not swearing but constantly issuing put-downs. Everything is a complaint or argument and this makes it impossible for me to get on with him. He also argues and complains with any company he ever has dealings with. I think he has a personality disorder.

I have watched all this happening and felt powerless to stop it. I have my own family, job, husband, home and busy life.

Now I have stumbled across some shocking information - a shock for me at least. All this time while he has been sponging he has been sitting on a fortune. He has at least £90,000 in the bank. I consider his behaviour immoral - I thought he was being helped because he was almost penniless. My mum has even talked about giving him petrol money because he "can't afford to go home".

I didn't want to shock my mum so took a while to tell her what I can see is going on. The biggest surprise to me was she knew he had lots of savings.

Now I feel a deep sense of injustice. I slog my guts out, stand on my own two feet and deal with all the many problems of daily family life. I'm not living off anyone - I'm a working mum and my family's main breadwinner. He does nothing and lives the high life. I actually feel pushed away and rejected by my mother - as if I am not good enough. At the same time I still love her and her illness can't be cured.

One day I may have to sort out her will with him and I can't deal with this sort of person. He's a parasitic narcissist. Or am I being unreasonable?

I feel desperately hurt.

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Apr-17 09:08:02

I can see why you are worried and hurt but the only thing that matters here is how your mum feels about the arrangement. Why don't you sit down and discuss it honestly with her? And forget this nonsense about "not wanting to shock her". Telling her her ds has money in the bank is not the same as announcing he's a mass murderer.

It may be that she's happy with the situation- if he really is a parasitic narcissist she's almost undoubtedly helped to make him so. Do you feel that he's maybe the "golden child" in the family?

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 09:16:49

I have told my mum and she didn't seem surprised about his finances. She always complains to me that he doesn't help and is nasty to her but she has "enabled" him.

Up to now I had thought he was a bit of a loser and she was doing what she could to help him cope with life. Now I do just see this a favouritism. She's allowed to pick favourites but to favour someone so unpleasant to her is odd. She's very sharp and certainly in her right mind.

I now feel the scales have fallen from my eyes and nothing I can do will be good enough for her - whereas he can get away with anything.

I'm a mum and I have to set boundaries. Isn't that what we're all told? Apparently it doesn't apply to her.

brexitstolemyfuture Thu 20-Apr-17 09:18:21

Sorry but it's her money her choice how or who she spends it on. I'd mind my own business.

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 09:21:18

But it's an abusive relationship. She says herself he's like "Rob Titchener" from the Archers. The vile husband who used coercive control. She doesn't deserve this but if she refuses to face up to the situation then I can't help her. Ain't no justice in this world.

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Apr-17 09:22:37

So it is a golden child/scapegoat dynamic. Sympathy - I habe the same w my dad and brother. flowers

Draw yourself some boundaries bw you and your mum, to protect yourself. You don't have to be a dutiful daughter if she treats you poorly, you certainly don't have to listen to her moan. And you don't have to be the executor of her will one day. Just decide on a level of contact that you are happy with and enjoy your family.

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 09:27:06

I actually think she feels guilty that he is such a loser. Lots of 1950s psychology liked to blame "refrigerator mum's". She thinks it's her fault. She isn't a refrigerator mum. She's always been caring and kind - HE has the problem. She may only have months to live so how can I cut her off? I love her but I have to put some distance between me and the narcissist. I think she is trapped by her own kindness.

MatildaTheCat Thu 20-Apr-17 09:31:07

Ask her straight if she wants him to move out? If she does you can help her to achieve that. Maybe it's time for her to move into sheltered housing? If she complains but wants to maintain the status quo there's not much you can do though it sounds awful.

Is he renting out his own property? If you have concerns about inheritance I guess you could do calculations on what he's 'had' from her but unless you can face a court battle it's unlikely to end well.

Talk to your mum.

brexitstolemyfuture Thu 20-Apr-17 09:32:19

Well speaking of abusive relationships a family member i have is in one. She's isolated herself from the whole family over it and is sticking with him.

There's not much i or anyone can do about it. So i just try to forget about it sad

Batgirlspants Thu 20-Apr-17 09:32:33

You can only be responsible for your relationships with other people and can't control other people's. It sounds awful for you op but when your mum complains about him ask her what her action plan is? Does she want him out? My guess is no and she's just enjoying moaning about him.

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 09:52:58

His flat isn't let - I've checked. I wonder how he can have so much money without working for so long but if you have no bills and a lump sum then with the stock market rising it's possible.

He is utterly vile to me and my husband and doesn't really speak to my kids as individuals when they are there (only to tell them off for some supposed wrongdoing). So there is a lot of personal animosity.

The situation ruins all family occasions. It would be better to stay away but I fear I'd regret that because of my mum's health situation.

Maybe I can and should do nothing. Or maybe I should try to protect my mum? You're probably right that I can't do anything.

Optimist1 Thu 20-Apr-17 10:55:37

Grim situation, ginny. PPs have made wise observations. Mine are :

Given her illness she probably values money way less than she might have done in earlier years. She has enough for her needs and no amount of it is going to make her life longer. Obviously it features much higher up on your brother's list of priorities.

Could he be renting out the Majorca property on Air BnB or similar and pocketing the money?

OffOut Thu 20-Apr-17 11:14:58

My MIL used to put up with my husbands brother stealing from her so that she had company and didn't have to deal with confronting him about the money. She used to complain to me but would forbid my from doing anything. They had a joint credit card for her account. He would then use it for his own purposes. It was blatant stealing. Hoewever it was up to her if she wanted to do something about it. It didn't make sense to me.

I guess it's the same type of thing with your Mum. She knows what is happening but is choosing to ignore it. It's awful and annoying but I'm not sure you can do anything.

I don't think it's necessarily anything to do with her having a favorite child. It's just that he is the one there. IYSWIM She might like the company and the fact it gives her a role - even if it's crappy company and a crappy role.

I bet you Mum knows it's wrong but that doesn't mean she wants to do anything about it

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 13:24:36

He's not stealing but he is deceiving. Several years ago he revealed he was facing a bill for many thousands which he couldn't pay (wouldn't more like it) - and she bailed him out. I agreed at the time that it was the right thing for her to help him. Now it turns out he could have afforded it easily. What a con. That's why I now feel tricked myself and angry that he's fleeced her.

kath6144 Thu 20-Apr-17 14:21:22

Op, I have sympathy.

My DB is in his 50s, worked 2yrs in whole life, lets his wife work.

When my mum had an accident 2+ yrs ago, then was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I inadvertently found out she was bankrolling him monthly, plus had given him and his wife a v large sum of money as a deposit to buy the house they lived in. All known to some other relatives but not me. Apparently she was blackmailed 'Give us your money or you will never see me again'. Horrible.

The lying, by both of them, was astonishing. DB talking about his landlord to me, a couple of weeks before I found out. He had owned his house 3yrs at that point!!!

DB was also horrible to me, and to kids. Maybe jealous as everything we have is ours, worked for etc. But he was definitely the golden child. From the day of his birth, according to some of my older cousins.

So whilst slightly different circumstances, I can understand how you feel.

My DM died last year. Fortunately he had not got her to change the will or put house in joint names (you may want to check these, latter via Land Registry - I did, so no shocks on her death. Though still expected him to pull out a new will when sat with solicitor!). We were joint executors but I was always going to have to do the leg work, as he is a lazy t**t. I have now not seen him for almost a year, and have only sporadic contact via texts. I doubt we will ever meet again. My DC, esp DS, hate him with a vengeance and unfortunately the memory of their much loved Grandma is tainted, as they both saw what I went through 2yrs ago.

On mums 1st anniversary, we all travelled to her grave, as did my niece. DB spent it sat on his backside at home. Always the favourite, took a lot of her money, but couldn't be bothered to pay his respects on that day. I actually found that sadder than the actual anniversary.

I have come to terms with him being the favourite, and knowing how he treated her, but still cant understand why she never stood up to him. But as others have said, it was her money to do as she wished with. I am glad I found out when I did, it would have been a hell of a shock when she died. There was evidence in her paperwork of the deposit money being transferred.

Not sure what to advise, apart from look after your own family, keep them close. They will get you through the difficult days when she has died.

ginnyweeze Thu 20-Apr-17 14:31:00

Kath, I'm so sorry to hear you went through that. I've already checked the Land Registry!

There could be an element of blackmail - she has said before how she worries he might harm himself as he has so few friends (due to being such an impossible person). Yet he's never shown any signs of that sort of tendency - it's actually an empty threat and very controlling.

He has recently started blackmailing me by making untrue claims. He's crossed a line with me and I know the day will come when I cut him off and never speak to him again - but not yet for my mum's sake.

It's not about me. There is an element of worrying about money because of the deceit but most of all I hate the way he treats her!

Midnightprobs Thu 20-Apr-17 14:42:34

Your mum is doing her best to take care of a wayward manchild. You can't really hold that against her given that she is in her 80s and has cancer now.

I doubt she really cares about the payouts she's given him - she doesn't need them herself now and she is trying to help him. Although he doesn't sound helpable.

He does sound like a lazy turd and you could probably just cut him out of your life after she has died but for now, there is not anything you can do IMO without making things unpleasant for your ill mum.

I can see that the situation is unfair and you feel he is taking her money and has received handouts that you have not but you have to now put this aside and be happy that you have a life and make sure your mums final days aren't blighted by her children arguing. I know this isn't your fault, it's his fault but it is too late to change the situation if she has only months to live.

rizlett Thu 20-Apr-17 14:54:59

Have you considered contacting age uk or CAB op?

There might be a safeguarding issue here if you DB is not respecting your mum and the position he is in.

Does he have power of attorney - health or financial?

This may be something else you'd like to chat with your mum about.

kath6144 Thu 20-Apr-17 15:12:00

Exactly what midnight said in her last paragraph.

I went NC with both for a short time, but then mum needed taking to her cancer appt. (it was secondaries from an earlier cancer, suspected when she was in hospital after her accident, so appt was confirmation.) He had spent xmas with her when we refused to see her, but gone back home, I live nearer and drive, so couldn't say no.

From there on in, just over a year, we worked together to support her, but he still said and did some truly shocking things in that year. Eg threatening me with police for buying relatives xmas presents from her, then transferring money from bank 'without her authority'. The fact I had mentioned it but she promptly forgot. He was/is vile.

I wanted to walk away again, but DH pointed out I would regret it, given how ill she was. We spent the last xmas with her, she was taken into a home as an emergency on NYE (& guess who rushed to her side?) and died 6 weeks later.

Whilst we are not quite NC, we are v low contact, and I wont make any effort to see him again. If he does or says anything nasty now, I will just completely cut him off. But ironically he has been OK, probably because he knows I will walk away if he isnt. As DH said, he has lost his 'conduit' ie mum, for being nasty to me. She would always stick up for him, but cant now. I was always the baddie to the 2 of them.

What stuck in my throat, and still does, was how much we did for her. Being closer distance wise and as we drive. Her accident happened near us, so for 3wks we were virtually her sole visitors as she was in our local hospital. DB came for 1 night of the 22 she was in hospital. I was the one who went straight to hometown when she got transferred back. He reluctantly travelled there at my request so I could work.

Unfortunately for him, he also said she would have to pay his train fare. That was his undoing, as the cheque he wrote and she signed had a blank stub, which I was v suspicious of, as she had painstakingly filled an earlier stub in in hospital. I started digging, went to speak to her and she blurted out details of the deposit. Then confirmed by my cousins. I was reeling as you can imagine.

It made me feel like they were taking the piss, laughing at us whilst we ran around after her like headless chickens.

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