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Old 09-18-2010, 06:49 AM   #21
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Just disconnected from 2 siblings. Almost finished dealing with 2 lawsuits involving my close knit family. The middle sibling passed away in 2007.
Deadbeat #1 had been sponging at mom's house for over 16 yrs, then decided he'd keep doing it.(A little history - middle sibling and deadbeat #1 robbed parents of 50-100k savings in the 1970's) I was asked by middle sibling (he turned his life around, paying parents back for the theft) to take care of her day to day, she is legally blind, can't handle her finances and can barely speak english. Me and another sibling had a discussion with Deadbeat #1 about mom's care, only concern he had was, "What about me?". We told him he works full time, time to get your own place (in his early 50's). Deadbeat #1 decided to padlock all rooms in the house except mom's room, doesn't pay any rent or utils. We proceeded to file for guardianship for mom. We proceeded with guardianship for mom, deadbeat #1 files a counter guardianship, even though he claims not to have any money. He even had time/money to move in an email order bride from the far East to move in w/o mom's knowledge or permission! He claims I've been stealing all mom's money (I was her POA too) to force me to prove over 2 yrs of financial accounting where her money went. After spending over 50k on legal fees, we get deadbeat #1 evicted. Just before eviction, he sells all of mom's belongings, claims the washing machine is his in court. When we get to enter the house, someone kicked in the door, smashing it in half and the jambs (it was locked/deadbolted) and the washing machine has been taken! In court, they can't pin it on deadbeat #1 since he wasn't caught in the act. I also was able to prove a chiropractor illegally filed 9 visits to my mom's medicare, the chiropractor admitted guilt by repaying the medicare, but he dodged his deposition (deadbeat #1 uses this chirpractor). During this process, we find that the last sibling, Deadbeat #2, knowing all this information, claimed to support mom "passively", he meant, "if it cost me more than 1 cent, I'm not helping".

Lawsuit #2, estate process (I'm the administrator), I get accused of stealing from the estate that has 2 mortgages. There was a hearing last week, was accusing of stealing 3.5k and not including a stock account left to me via TOD. The judge was astounded that I paid over $50k to keep the estate afloat (just the house was left) and he yelled at deadbeat #1's atty why he even had to hear these objections. Both objections were tossed out. What was he fighting for? He thought I was lying about the existence of any mortgages. He turned our estimated legal bill of 3.5 - 5k into 18k! Payout to each will be 2k instead of 4k.

After all this, deadbeat #1 brainwashed my mom into believing I kicked her out of her house. Her guardian ended up selling it for 220k (est. value 550k) due to non maintenance. Good thing is deadbeat #1 got a wage garnishment by his #1 atty, #2 atty slapped him with an atty lien from his estate proceeds. He's filed chapter 11 and has a bad gambling addiction.

I feel like I dropped 1000 lbs of stress from the last 3 years. I've discovered land trusts are useless, I never again want to be an adminstrator of an estate or be anyone's POA (you can become the target of legal claims). I really wish I was an only child.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:00 AM   #22
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Please tell me I'm not the only person on this board who likes my parents and siblings.
I get along great with all my blood family. We are good friends and really enjoy each other's family even though we don't see each other that often. In my late 20s I established a new relationship with my parents where I saw them as friends rather than me the child. This was because they did not understand my divorce and kept pushing me on a path that was not healthy for me. But once we got through that emotional time, we had the best relationship ever.

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Old 09-18-2010, 08:52 AM   #23
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Yes I have disconnected totally from most of them for a variety of reasons (toxic, nasty comments which is this person's style I tolerated way too long and finally threw in the towel; another stole from my mother; another attempted to get my mother to change her Will to her and her daughters, etc.), and this seems to be really pretty common as people get older. I remember when I was younger wondering why so many folks in their 50's just disconnected from their families...until I got there. Then I understood.

A good rule of thumb is: 98% of the families are dysfunctional...and the other 2% are kidding themselves. It's just how much dysfunction or toxicity is worth it to stick around for? When it starts to do much more damage to you than good, it's time to get out...permanently I think. Just IMHO.

If anyone here has ever been in a (psychological) therapeutic setting and spoken with the clients (I had to do this when finishing University for an exercise), it's amazing how many older adults that didn't leave are there because of their crazy mothers/fathers or family. Instead they stick around the toxic relatives and suffer...I just don't get it myself.

I think most of us who have disconnected would secretly love to have a happy, supportive family. Unfortunately, many of us didn't get this situation, and--even tho many won't speak about it--it's more common than not.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:56 AM   #24
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I have a dirt bag ex-brother who in a better world would be in prison.
Sounds pretty much like a brother I use to claim although I wouldn't have sugar-coated a reference to him like you did. I have no interest in what happens to him. I wouldn't even waste my time to dance on his grave when his time is up.

On the other hand I am still left with a wonderful sister who is honest, trustworthy, and intelligent with high moral fiber. Her husband is the same way. Both fine folks that parents would be proud of.

Cheers!
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:28 AM   #25
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Please tell me I'm not the only person on this board who likes my parents and siblings.
Well, I like my siblings even though we aren't that close although we get together a few times a year. When my brother need expensive out of country medical treatment, the rest of us were there with our chequebooks (without being asked).

Since my parents have been dead for 40 and 20 years, we never see them.

DW never sees her family, both her parents and all her siblings are also dead.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:07 PM   #26
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This discussion is a bit one-sided. Has anybody disconnected from YOU?
You betcha......

Folks whom I've backed away from haven't been chasing me either. We just seemed to develop a tacit understanding that we had little in common and drifted apart. When rare circumstances bring us together, we're polite, listen briefly to each others's activity updates, then move right back into our usual arm's length relationship.

I guess I'm fortunate in the sense that I'm close to those I care for and want to share life with and distant from those I'm not drawn to. And in all cases it's mutual. No hard feelings, no hate, no need to vent.........
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:37 PM   #27
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(snip) A good rule of thumb is: 98% of the families are dysfunctional...and the other 2% are kidding themselves. It's just how much dysfunction or toxicity is worth it to stick around for? When it starts to do much more damage to you than good, it's time to get out...permanently I think. Just IMHO. (snip)

I think most of us who have disconnected would secretly love to have a happy, supportive family. Unfortunately, many of us didn't get this situation, and--even tho many won't speak about it--it's more common than not.
That is so sad! I remember when I was a young adult being amazed at how many of my peers dreaded going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and this thread is giving me the same feeling. I knew lots of people's families are dysfunctional but I would hate to think that your 98/2 statistic reflects the true state of affairs. Think I'm gonna go hug my mum & dad! They seem to be even more of a rarity than I give 'em credit for.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:43 PM   #28
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That is so sad! I remember when I was a young adult being amazed at how many of my peers dreaded going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and this thread is giving me the same feeling.
My roommate in college had an incredible family. I learned so much from staying with her family over one summer vacation - about what is "normal". It was one of the greatest gifts I was ever given and helped me not repeat the cycle of dysfunction.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:50 PM   #29
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Don't speak to my brother at all. Love my sister. Avoid my parents.
Too much trouble to do the emphatically disconnect business, though I've often wished I could. We have friends who treat us well and have appropriate boundaries.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:54 PM   #30
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Part of the dysfunction is never making the transition to relating to your parents as adults instead of being stuck in the adult-child relationship.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school, but we kids weren't told of the diagnosis for over a year (until surgery was deemed necessary) by which point I was in college and rarely at home. Then it was several more years before my father took me aside to explain that Mom was spending so much time on Demerol and heavier painkillers that we could no longer take her comments at face value. Of course the relationship had been irreparably damaged by then. By the time she died a couple years later, I think that the bridges had been pretty much burned and the rubble crushed into the ground.

Dad's taken a different approach of just pulling back from family as well as most of society. (His best friend is the coffee-shop girl who sells him his morning muffin.) Our relationship isn't dysfunctional, it's non-functional. He's seen his sole grandkid, who's now nearly 18 years old, only three times. I think I'm only two or three visits ahead of her in that timespan, and the guy I met on my last trip was too demented to be the father I used to have.

My brother and I had very poor relationship skills growing up together, so there's really been no transition at all and it's more non-functional than dysfunctional. We've forgiven each other for our behavior but we've seen no reason to build a new relationship... more like two strangers who happen to get along OK when they have to work together. He's seen his sole niece only twice. I'm only two visits ahead of her.

My side of the family is the lucky one-- we're just neglected. Spouse's parents will never make the transition to treating their kids as adults, and she's reminded of that with every phone call. By their genealogy, we have at least 25 more years of that to look forward to.

We've learned more about raising a kid from parenting books, the Internet, and the Navy than from our own ancestors.

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It was one of the greatest gifts I was ever given and helped me not repeat the cycle of dysfunction.
We've tracked that cycle through 3-4 generations of both sides of our family tree. Hopefully we broke the cycle and our kid isn't adding her own count to that tally...
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:18 PM   #31
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Part of the dysfunction is never making the transition to relating to your parents as adults instead of being stuck in the adult-child relationship.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school, but we kids weren't told of the diagnosis for over a year (until surgery was deemed necessary) by which point I was in college and rarely at home. Then it was several more years before my father took me aside to explain that Mom was spending so much time on Demerol and heavier painkillers that we could no longer take her comments at face value. Of course the relationship had been irreparably damaged by then. By the time she died a couple years later, I think that the bridges had been pretty much burned and the rubble crushed into the ground.

Dad's taken a different approach of just pulling back from family as well as most of society. (His best friend is the coffee-shop girl who sells him his morning muffin.) Our relationship isn't dysfunctional, it's non-functional. He's seen his sole grandkid, who's now nearly 18 years old, only three times. I think I'm only two or three visits ahead of her in that timespan, and the guy I met on my last trip was too demented to be the father I used to have.

My brother and I had very poor relationship skills growing up together, so there's really been no transition at all and it's more non-functional than dysfunctional. We've forgiven each other for our behavior but we've seen no reason to build a new relationship... more like two strangers who happen to get along OK when they have to work together. He's seen his sole niece only twice. I'm only two visits ahead of her.

My side of the family is the lucky one-- we're just neglected. Spouse's parents will never make the transition to treating their kids as adults, and she's reminded of that with every phone call.

We've learned more about raising a kid from parenting books, the Internet, and the Navy than from our own ancestors.


We've tracked that cycle through 3-4 generations of both sides of our family tree. Hopefully we broke the cycle and our kid isn't adding her own count to that tally...
My older brother spent most of his (and my) childhood dieing from cancer. I wasn't exactly neglected, but did spend much time alone and doing "mother" household stuff.

And I'm doubly estranged because I never supplied any offspring.

"Family" is highly overrated.
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:26 PM   #32
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...I strongly agree that if you've got people who just make you miserable, you don't have to put up with it. Sometimes in a tug-of-war the best tactic is to drop the rope and walk away. Especially if this has been going on for a long time and you've tried to accept them or help them change.
One of my favorite expressions..."I simply dropped the rope."

I have 4 siblings who just have never treated me very well. I left them in the dust YEARS ago. No regrets.

I have way too many wonderful non-DNA related "relatives" to worry about the real ones.
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:38 PM   #33
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I put the Pacific Ocean and thousands of miles between me and family many many years ago, and got along much better with certain family members that way.

This approach has worked out very nicely for me.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:54 PM   #34
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Since FIREing a little over 4 yrs ago, I've backed out of relationships with several folks. I find I can do so without confrontation although it sometimes takes months. I just slowly, quietly back away. I'm just more comfortable doing it that way. Why be judgmental/confrontational when fault might reside all around? Just slowly turn down the communication spigot until the stream is completely stopped and harbor no ill feelings anchored in the past.
I tried this, and would have been happy enough to let it go this route (I'm not a fan of drama). Unfortunately, one family member is incapable of reading these cues, and was relentless in trying to get together. The other is my sister, and my Dad has insisted on including her in all of his visits.

Things were easier when all these folks didn't live in our town. We moved away from them all, and things were better for a while. They've all moved closer to us in recent years, which has made it more difficult to maintain distance.

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This discussion is a bit one-sided. Has anybody disconnected from YOU?
No, not that I can think of. I talked about it with DW this morning, and other than her and our kids, I don't think I'd be too upset if anybody else in my family did this. There are people in my family who I love, and whose company I enjoy, but if they decided for some reason that they didn't want to see me anymore, I certainly wouldn't push the issue, and don't think I'd lose much sleep over it. Maybe I'm only saying that because it hasn't happened.

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We've tracked that cycle through 3-4 generations of both sides of our family tree. Hopefully we broke the cycle and our kid isn't adding her own count to that tally...
Same in our families. Like you, we're hoping for a fresh start with our kids.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:57 PM   #35
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I have good relationships with my parents and both of my brothers. We get together several times each year. I must say that a little distance can be a good thing sometimes. We may not get along as well if we saw each other every day.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:36 PM   #36
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I have a good relationship with my parents and a pretty good one with my brother. They are all pretty normal or in my father's case, downright extremely mellow (only gotten angry maybe a few times in his life).

My extended family is a different story. One grandparent was estranged from my mother, never met him. Most of my father's extended family are extremist religious types, never met them either (nor want to, I have an extremely religious friend, but family members would not be tactful about their views). One aunt has a mental disorder, and another aunt has severe physical/mental problems. I have to go all the way out to a 2nd cousin to find someone normal (and he has major family problems, especially with his step-mother). All of the extended family members I have met have money problems, in one way or another (except for the normal 2nd cousin).
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:53 PM   #37
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This discussion is a bit one-sided. Has anybody disconnected from YOU?
Yes, my dad, my step-mom, and one set of aunts and uncles.........
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:15 AM   #38
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This discussion is a bit one-sided. Has anybody disconnected from YOU?
I never thought of that. I began avoiding contact with my sister 30 years ago. But she has never tried contacting me in the last 25 years, so maybe I'm on her disconnection list..
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:46 AM   #39
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Wow, talk about tearing off a scab.
Interestingly my large extended family is "functional" but not close. We can get any family task done in a reasonable manner and otherwise communicate by email.

To put a much lighter note on it, DW and I "argue" over who had the more wonderful mother in law. My MIL was a fabulous warm funny brilliant accomplished woman who unfortunately died at 57. When DW was away at an internship my MIL was my favorite "coffee buddy".
For DW the family joke is that my mother likes my DW more than she likes me. As far as my mother is concerned DW walks on water.
After MIL died FIL remarried a very very nice lady who stepped right in and was a fine grandma to our kids. FIL died a few years ago but Step-MIL is still going strong.

So we batted 3 for 3 on MIL, all home runs. Can't do better than that.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:48 AM   #40
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To put a much lighter note on it, DW and I "argue" over who had the more wonderful mother in law. My MIL was a fabulous warm funny brilliant accomplished woman who unfortunately died at 57. When DW was away at an internship my MIL was my favorite "coffee buddy".
For DW the family joke is that my mother likes my DW more than she likes me. As far as my mother is concerned DW walks on water.
It's very much the same with DH and I. I truly loved my MIL and she loved me. She was a very kind person and a lot of fun to be around. My mom, who is nearly 80, has always adored my husband.

My relationship with my mom has changed in a good way. We're friends and enjoy many of the same things. She lives close by so I see her frequently. We talk on the phone often too - especially when American Idol is on

I feel very lucky. I know many who are estranged from family for good reasons.
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