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Old 12-08-2014, 01:32 PM   #21
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I see the OP as a very concerned son who wants to be supportive as best he can under the circumstances. One cannot just swoop in and effect all kinds of changes to a lifestyle that is many years in the making. As they say, no one makes any changes until they are good and ready to make them.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:41 PM   #22
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Not all families are Ozzie and Harriet types. Nazi prison guards and serial killers can have kids, but their grown kids shouldn't be made to feel guilty for not wanting to spend lots of time with them and nurture them in their old age. Where one's own parents fall on the continuum from Ozzie and Harriet at one end to serial killers on the other is something we all have to decide for ourselves.
Because we don't live in a fantasy world is the reason I advocate some love and empathy rather that the "stay clear you might be dragged down" approach. When people need help it should be given.....this is a family! Feeling guilty about something is generally a sign that you might not be doing the right thing, sometimes altruism is the right course especially with family. The OP needs to do what makes them feel right. I would advocate trying to build up the family relationship....I'm an atheist, but in matters like this I ask myself, what would Jesus do?
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:50 PM   #23
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Im amazed at some of the answers on here. Money is not really the issue here. I'd make time to visit your mother regularly and plan to get her and your brother closer to you if you can. Do you have children, from experience grandchildren are a joy to grand parents and can be a catalyst for remarkable changes. Your mum needs family and love, not necessarily money.
With all due respect, I doubt you have ever dealt with an alcoholic/chainsmoking parent. All the "family and love" in the world won't do a bit of good. The mother made, and continues to make, unhealthy choices. Both my parents were lifelong alcoholics, and my mother was a lifelong chain smoker. The last place for children is around that kind of toxicity (and I mean that in every sense of the word).

Until you have walked a mile (or several decades) in the shoes of family members of alcoholics it is impossible to comprehend the damage the disease inflicts on every member of the family, even those who never touch a drop. I moved away decades ago - it was the only option for maintaining a healthy life for myself. That doesn't make me a bad person - it makes me a survivor.

The last thing the OP needs is to be made to feel guilty about maintaining healthy boundaries in this situation.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:01 PM   #24
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+1 Her current circumstances are the consequences of her past poor decisions. Do what you can without jeopardizing your security.

So she's supporting your dead-beat bro and wants you and y0ur sister to do that? Fat chance. Same thing for him.... he made his bed, let him lie in it.
+1000

OP:

For your brother, I would do nothing.

For your mother, you might consider paying the electric/heat bills just to keep a minimum of comfort. Pay directly to the company. Possibly send a bag of groceries once a week (delivery can be arranged). NO cash to her, ever. You know exactly what she would do with it. As others have said, do what works best for you and your own family. Best of luck to you. I have been there, and I say in all sincerity: save yourself, and don't listen to anyone who would make you feel guilty.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:09 PM   #25
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With all due respect, I doubt you have ever dealt with an alcoholic/chainsmoking parent. All the "family and love" in the world won't do a bit of good. The mother made, and continues to make, unhealthy choices. Both my parents were lifelong alcoholics, and my mother was a lifelong chain smoker. The last place for children is around that kind of toxicity (and I mean that in every sense of the word).

Until you have walked a mile (or several decades) in the shoes of family members of alcoholics it is impossible to comprehend the damage the disease inflicts on every member of the family, even those who never touch a drop. I moved away decades ago - it was the only option for maintaining a healthy life for myself. That doesn't make me a bad person - it makes me a survivor.
My mother was never a drinker, but was a smoker and I currently have a brother with serious OCD and mental issues. There are obviously some people and circumstances that are toxic, but my first reaction would be to reach out and see if things could be improved. Having family closer would at least allow the OP to help in some practical matters and open up the chance of an improving relationship.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:10 PM   #26
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Because we don't live in a fantasy world is the reason I advocate some love and empathy rather that the "stay clear you might be dragged down" approach. When people need help it should be given.....this is a family! Feeling guilty about something is generally a sign that you might not be doing the right thing, sometimes altruism is the right course especially with family. The OP needs to do what makes them feel right. I would advocate trying to build up the family relationship....I'm an atheist, but in matters like this I ask myself, what would Jesus do?
Some parents beat their kids, starve them and put them in cages. Child protective services are active in every state in the U.S and seem to have to have no shortage of work. So should those adult kids take their kids to see their grandparents and love and nurture them in their old ages? There is no one size fits all answer. It depends on the the family. I think it is a personal decision. Unless we've walked in freqflyers shoes we should not judge and add on guilt - just offer supportive advice.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:50 PM   #27
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Crazy Makers. They mess up their lives then try to shift the guilt to others if they are not helped. Often they suffer from cognitive dissonance in order to justify their bad decisions.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:01 PM   #28
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Crazy Makers. They mess up their lives then try to shift the guilt to others if they are not helped. Often they suffer from cognitive dissonance in order to justify their bad decisions.
I think of it as a vortex of insanity but crazy makers is also a good term. It is very difficult to climb out and very easy to get sucked back in.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:17 PM   #29
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There really is no right or wrong answer, so much depends on the people , the relationships, and the resources available. If the OP feels he should help and can do so without taking from his own family then agreed paying a routine bill directly like electric could help. As noted that does free up those funds to be squandered elsewhere.

Probably of more help is getting social services involved and seeing what help is available there. People can change when they really want to. But they have to want to and sometimes have to be shown the way.

There is almost certainly no future in just giving her money. An idea from another thread about a relative wanting to borrow money was to insist in seeing their budget. "If you want me to be your banker I'm going to act like one." If they won't do that then they don't really need the money.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:30 PM   #30
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Nun you are a very caring person. That shows clearly. I really wish that love and family support were the answer.

In my family we had two suicides due to drug and alcohol addiction. They were close to family, children, parents. They had every resource they could want right in their home town. So close they chose to end their lives at home.

The next generation two nephews are incarcerated for 5-10 years for drug related actions. They too had all the family support, and love, in their homes.

One nephew's mother has spent years in Al-Anon, a great organization. She's fully prepared that upon her sons release there's a very good chance he will relapse and die. One thing she's certain of is upon his release he will never to come home to live. That may sound harsh, but in recovery work it's considered necessary for all parties. In 12 step programs there is a saying; There's 3 ways out 1. Sober up 2. Get locked up 3. Get covered up(die).

I really hope you or any family never go through any of the horrors associated with these diseases.


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Old 12-08-2014, 05:14 PM   #31
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Because we don't live in a fantasy world is the reason I advocate some love and empathy rather that the "stay clear you might be dragged down" approach. When people need help it should be given.....this is a family! Feeling guilty about something is generally a sign that you might not be doing the right thing, sometimes altruism is the right course especially with family. The OP needs to do what makes them feel right. I would advocate trying to build up the family relationship....I'm an atheist, but in matters like this I ask myself, what would Jesus do?
I hear you. Some people can do this and others just can't. It really depends on their culture, upbringing, personality, and relationship with family members (in this case, child and mother). We really have no background on the OP to give specific advice. We are hearing from just one side - a fellow ER.org member whom we are often quick to rally around.

To OP - my DM & DD are living separately on $800 SS + my monthly allowance to each. I really have no business doing that given their past. They were terrible parents. But they have given me one gift that I can never repay no matter how much $$$ I have. It is "life." For that, I am eternally grateful and do the things I do FOR them.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:23 PM   #32
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:48 PM   #33
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I really appreciate the responses. This anecdote might give some insight into my thoughts and the situation I found when I visited.

My brother complained (prior to my visit) that mom's townhouse is dark, the soft surfaces reek of smoke and are stained/gross (carpet, upholstery) and the walls are in urgent need to paint and something to get the nicotine stains out. I suggested he get quotes for a steam clean of the upholstery, painting the walls and carpet from Home Depot and I'd be able to pay to help improve her environment (cheer the place up a bit).

During my visit it was just excuses as to why he hadn't done any legwork (carpet install will be a disruption, maybe wood floors would be better.. yada yada).

I flew home so frustrated/exasperated as to why he hadn't done anything (I'm sure she knows what I offered and didn't help either). I thought - if it was me (unemployed) I'd buy paint do do it myself. I'd rent a steam cleaner. I'd give the place a good scrubbing. Maybe my partner and I can fly down and paint, weed the flowerbed.. stuff like that.

Then it hit me. They aren't me. That's why they are where they are. They don't make choices like I imagine all of us on this board do. We plan, we take action to bring about an outcome we want.

During my visit my mother whipped out her cane when we went to dinner. My brother confided in me that it was an act for my benefit, she'd NEVER used the cane before. Granted she was recovering from a stroke but he said she was playing it up big-time for sympathy.

My brother is older (late 40's) and quit his job to move cross country with his GF. He took some college classes and the GF supported them both (she instigated the move). After about 2 years she called it off so he, having no place to go and no real ties out west, went to our mother's to get himself sorted.

So far I think I can't in good conscience not help financially in some way, paying utility bills seems a good suggestion. Even with medicaid her medical bills have been outrageous (she's declared bankruptcy a few times over the years).
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:05 PM   #34
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To OP - my DM & DD are living separately on $800 SS + my monthly allowance to each. I really have no business doing that given their past. They were terrible parents. But they have given me one gift that I can never repay no matter how much $$$ I have. It is "life." For that, I am eternally grateful and do the things I do FOR them.
I gave her a small stipend for about a year or so to bridge her until SS kicked in. My aunt (her sister) was not happy as my mother was still drinking at the time.

Thinking about the future, when she can no longer care for herself my choices are:

1) Stay away
2) Let the state take over (medicare/medicaid) for some sort of assisted living
3) Purchase a different house for myself and my partner, one that has an in-law suite. At least her housing would be provided and her SS & medicare could help fund a part-time caregiver.

Option one is not an option for me emotionally. Option three really concerns me - that she'd end up running my life (she can be a bit manipulative and does thing to get her way). This may be way too much for me and not fair to my partner. He encourages me to see her and even offered to go down and paint, heart of gold.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:43 PM   #35
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OP, your partner sounds like a wonderful man. I vote you should make sure that whatever you do, do it for him.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:51 PM   #36
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I would encourage your brother to find employment of some kind to help with the bills. . Either your brother needs to find work, or he needs to move out. Her SS is not enough to support him as well. After he finds work or moves out, then I would consider financial assistance
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #37
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I gave her a small stipend for about a year or so to bridge her until SS kicked in. My aunt (her sister) was not happy as my mother was still drinking at the time.

Thinking about the future, when she can no longer care for herself my choices are:

1) Stay away
2) Let the state take over (medicare/medicaid) for some sort of assisted living
3) Purchase a different house for myself and my partner, one that has an in-law suite. At least her housing would be provided and her SS & medicare could help fund a part-time caregiver.

Option one is not an option for me emotionally. Option three really concerns me - that she'd end up running my life (she can be a bit manipulative and does thing to get her way). This may be way too much for me and not fair to my partner. He encourages me to see her and even offered to go down and paint, heart of gold.
I am glad you have your partner for emotional and moral support. He sounds like a great guy, being willing to go and paint etc.

I think option #2 sounds very reasonable when the time comes. You and your partner could continue to keep tabs on the situation while still maintaining boundaries between yourselves and the "crazy making" stuff, and just as importantly, not get sucked into assuming financial responsibility.

If my own experience with alcoholic family members is anything to go on, saying your mom is "a bit manipulative" is the understatement of the year.

They are very, very good at avoiding personal responsibility for anything. IMHO, if you go with option #3 you will live to regret it many times over. Just my two cents.

I wish you and your partner the best of luck in this situation. Your mother is extremely lucky to have a caring son like you.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:09 PM   #38
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My mother was never a drinker, but was a smoker and I currently have a brother with serious OCD and mental issues. There are obviously some people and circumstances that are toxic, but my first reaction would be to reach out and see if things could be improved. Having family closer would at least allow the OP to help in some practical matters and open up the chance of an improving relationship.
I am sorry to hear about the challenges your brother is coping with. I can emphathize with how difficult that is. I have a family member with OCD, and another who suffers from depression. It takes a toll on all concerned.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:00 PM   #39
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I gave her a small stipend for about a year or so to bridge her until SS kicked in. My aunt (her sister) was not happy as my mother was still drinking at the time.

Thinking about the future, when she can no longer care for herself my choices are:

1) Stay away
2) Let the state take over (medicare/medicaid) for some sort of assisted living
3) Purchase a different house for myself and my partner, one that has an in-law suite. At least her housing would be provided and her SS & medicare could help fund a part-time caregiver.

Option one is not an option for me emotionally. Option three really concerns me - that she'd end up running my life (she can be a bit manipulative and does thing to get her way). This may be way too much for me and not fair to my partner. He encourages me to see her and even offered to go down and paint, heart of gold.
For me, I will be opting for something in between 2 & 3. DW and I agree that living close to either DD or DM will ruin our live as we know it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:19 PM   #40
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Addicts lie, steal, manipulate etc and just because they stop using does not mean that they stop manipulating. I know this from both personal experience & working in the field. Do what your conscience tells you to but do not ruin your own life in the process. I would get state aid for housing, etc but don't live in the same house. Take care as I know this is a very tough situation & you sound like a very caring person.
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