Ask Auntie Linda

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda,  About 8 years ago my mother moved in with my brother and his partner and sold her home; because it was paid off, she got a hefty amount of money. She told my brother to manage it for her. Around that same time I was forced to leave my job due to severe back problems. I was having to go on disability and knew I would be having to live on significantly less money.  I was telling my brother that I was going to ask my children if they would purchase my home and property so that I could pay off some credit card bills.  He told me that he thought mom would give me that amount of money and it would be considered my early inheritance.  He talked to my mom and my other siblings and they all agreed to this.  I made doubly sure they agreed to it before I allowed it to happen.  The bills were quickly paid off and that was that.  I have been able to remain in my home because of my agreement.

Later, my mother came back to me and insisted that I start paying her a monthly amount – and all of this was to be done behind my brother’s back.  I started sending her the monthly amount and she then insisted that I send her cash and not a check. I refused to do that.
After that, she and a granddaughter took my house key, copied it  and gave it to my neighbors (who are needy and not morally sound).  Her granddaughter(my niece) became friends with these people to turn them against me and have them come into my home and help themselves to anything they wanted. Also, all of my outdoor landscaping plants started being killed off. (Of course, I didn’t know what my mother and niece had done at the time). And, they also involved other people in this behavior, telling them all that I “stole the money” from my mother.  Things started going missing in my home. All of my freezer meat was stolen. My outdoor plants were all being killed. This continued even after I changed the locks on my home.
My niece brow beat me and stressed me out so bad that I had a psychotic break and had to go back to counseling.  My mother said awful things to my daughter that has hurt our relationship and we had a very close and loving relationship.
It has been absolute hell. I cannot even begin to tell you how much. I still talk to my mother because of my brother, but I no longer feel loving toward her. I am very nice to her, but I can’t easily tell her I love her anymore. This has given me terrible anxiety and deep sorrow.  I guess I just need your opinion and any suggestions (if any) you may have on this matter.   ~Deeply Hurt~
Dear Deeply Hurt,  I suspect your mother is being manipulated by her granddaughter who is very likely working Granny for money, unbeknownst to your brother.  You were right not to hand cash over.  Was there an agreement with Mom before the sale as to whether or not you were to pay rent to remain in residence?  Your brother needs to know that Mom is asking for rent (cash) since he is handling her financial affairs. Also, is Mom’s mind still sound?  She may not understand what is going on.  Conduct all business through your brother and notify him of any other demands.
As to key situation, anyone taking items from your house committed theft.  You were smart to change locks.  Even if Mom considers herself your landlord, she cannot authorize others to go in and take items from you, her tenant.  I expect it is too late to report the theft now, but let your brother, mom, and other family know you will be reporting theft, trespassing and vandalism in the future.
Family conflicts are terribly stressful.  Hopefully, in time, your feeling toward Mom will soften, especially if you realize she was being used.  Don’t bother to keep defending yourself against malicious tales.  Your daughter’s feelings should soften when things settle down.  Make sure Brother is in the loop in all your dealings with Mom.  The granddaughter may be using Granny to put the touch on other family members.  Good Luck.  This is a tough situation.  Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda,  I recently went to care for my seventy-five year-old sister while she was recovering from surgery.  She lives across the street from her daughter, Susie, who normally cares for her.  Joanie is diabetic, legally blind,  and dependent on others for daily help.  She has turned her checkbook over to Susie.  Susie doesn’t work and never has.  Susie picked me up at the bus station at six pm, stopped by the grocery store, told me to wait in the car, and was out in about five minutes with two packaged dinners.  She dropped me off at Joanie’s door and zipped off, saying she’d be back in the morning to give Joanie her shot and bring breakfast.  I said, “I’ll be glad to cook breakfast.  Just come back and give the shot.”
She he zipped off after telling me there was no food, she’d be back in the morning.  I thought she meant she’d have to bring a few things.  That night, Joanie and I ate the small packaged dinner.  About nine o’clock, Joanie wanted a little snack.  I went in the kitchen to get her something.  There was butter in the fridge and an empty peanut butter jar in the pantry.  Joanie had scraped it clean.  Though she was diabetic, ther was nothing I could give her.  About eight-thirty the next morning, Susie came dragging in with two packaged breakfasts from the store, scrambled eggs and English muffins, no coffee, no milk, and no juice.  She hurriedly gave her Mother her shot and said she’d be back with lunches. ……later.  Joanie told her she’d like a little money.  Joanie said, “no your money is all spent.  I had to charge this on Bob’s credit card.”
I asked her to take me to the grocery store.  She didn’t have time.  Late that afternoon, she came back and took me to the store.  It was three miles away.  I couldn’t have walked and carried back groceries.  Except for the times she came to give Joanie her shot, Susie didn’t show her face.  Joanie had one towel and one change of clothes.  Susie had taken her laundry and didn’t have time to bring it back.  When the home-health nurse visited, I told her Joanie was neglected. Joanie denied it, saying, Susie usually does great.”  I know this isn’t true.  What can I do?  I live six hours away.  Joanie’s Sister
Dear Sister, Report this to Adult Protection.  They will investigate.  Tell them it is an emergency.  Auntie Linda
Please email your questions to I can answer confidentially or in this blog.  Thanks

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