How do I handle toxic family members?
This is long and I apologize but I am in a situation that has me literally at my wits end. I just don’t know how to resolve it. I will try to stick to the facts and I know that it will sound bad and that is why I need some impartial perspectives. I am an adult with a 70 yr old mother, 6 siblings, and one very dysfunctional family. My workaholic dad died at an early age back in the 1980’s. He left my mother and his 7 children with nearly $ 500,000.00 in insurance money at the time. We older kids (at my mother’s insistence) signed over our rights to claim any of the proceeds so that my mother and her 3 children ages 17, 13, & 12 would be able to pay off her house and have money to live without worry. That was definitely a HUGE mistake on our behalves. While each and every one of my siblings did borrow and did not repay loans of varying amounts from my mother during those early years, my mother mostly squandered it; she didn’t payoff the house and ended up having to auction it off along with her 2 acres years later when she and her 3 children (now adults) wouldn’t work to make a $ 150.00 monthly mortgage payment. I NEVER received one red cent from her, nor ever asked for anything. I worked and struggled on my own. My mother now lives in a used mobile home that she was able to buy and moved onto the land that I inherited from my paternal (fathers mother)grandmother. My mother hated my grandmother and moved her trailer onto it after my grandmother was in the nursing home and over our protests. She had my grandmothers old home burned and made way for her trailer. Another long story, but she did it and being her children we didn’t stop her. My mistake #2. Because my grandmother left me the 15 acres of land including where my mother has her trailer, solely, there have been some bitter feelings. But because she did leave it to me, I have been able to hang on to it, improve it and have willingly allowed everyone access to it (until now). My mother has her trailer on one side of the gravel road and I have my barn and fields directly across on the other side. You can’t just go to the barn without having to pass the yard (aka as the junk heap). She lives there rent free. I have always paid the taxes on it, even before my grandmother died.
My mother who has been an abusive alcoholic most of her life and without a lot of details, was a very crappy mother who made her children’s lives hell and still does now that we are all adults. Yes I realize this sounds like ungrateful sour grapes from me, but believe me, life was very, very bad growing up in her household, especially for her daughters. Her daughters were only good to her as her “slaves” to serve her. Luckily my grandmother lived just down the road and would provide me with love and shelter when things were at their worst. For some reason that I don’t understand, even after years of my mother pitting one sibling against the other, always trying to cause divisiveness and strife within the family between us all, I have felt some unfounded obligation to try and help her out financially, physically and emotionally whenever she needed it. Stupidly hoping that someday she would change. And every single time, after her self induced crisis has passed, she has turned on me, maligning me to my other family members; at least until the next time she needed me, or needed my money I should say. But I digress.
The problem that I face is this: The most recent issue is that after completely financially carrying her on a very strained budget myself for 2 months; and by default my adult 40 yr old deadbeat alcoholic brother who can’t and/or won’t keep a job, I said ENOUGH! After seeing that all of her social security was going to booze & cigs and not paying any of her monthly necessities like utilities, phone, water, etc., I put my foot down and told her that the deadbeat brother had to go. She said NO, that it was her home and that I had no right to tell her what to do in it. I tried to explain that he was and had been draining her of all of her resources and that I could not continue to support them. That if he wasn’t willing to keep a job and mow the knee high grass then he had to leave. She balked, cussed me and said he wasn’t leaving. I told her that since I owned the land that she lived on rent free, that I had the right to say who lived on it. She called me some very vile names and said she’d get a lawyer and sue me. For what I don’t know, but whatever. I left after giving her a list of mobile home movers that I had looked up in the phonebook and haven’t spoken to her since (2 months now). This is not a new issue, periodically we (an older brother and I) have had to eject a brother at her request over the years when they had used up their usefulness to her or it had become physically violent. It was never pretty and it is all so disgusting. I had reasonably cooled down and decided to just let things go until I started hearing how she and my younger siblings (all adults) have been talking me down to everyone who will listen with lies, exaggerations and outright fabrications. We live in a small town and everyone knows everyone. She has spent a lifetime of writing bad checks that storekeepers ask us to pick up because they know we are related; nightly brawls; a yard strewn with beer cans and half starved animals roaming, strewing garbage is just a sample of what we are talking about. The brother in and out of jail for so many DUI’s they don’t bother to pick him up anymore. I suspect that he is also a thief because mysteriously people are always “giving” him rather expensive things. He destroys everything he touches. Another brother who has very similar behavior also comes in and out of the picture as well. He is even more dangerous. Now they have teenage sons who stay there periodically and have deviant behaviors as well. I suspect it they who are causing the vandalism. They were allowed to drop out of school at 14 and have no jobs. The school was glad to see them leave. I swear it is like the movie “Deliverance”! Even so, I have said to my husband that I am willing to let my mother stay till she dies, just not everyone else. But what I really want is to finally be shed of all of them and be allowed to live my life in peace for once.
These people have done nothing but make my life miserable. And if it weren’t for the fact that I have horses at the property, I would say screw it -live like you want! and just walk away. But I have to see this every single day. I live a few miles away. Every day the grass gets taller, the yard gets worse, junk and trash gets thicker. The mosquitoes and flies get worse. I am not going to spend another summer mowing the grass and picking up the messes that they create because of their laziness! I am just not physically able to do it anymore and I am not asking my husband who works 7 days a week to do it. Emotionally I am worn down. My only sibling that was any help dealing with this just informed me that he has washed his hands of it all and will no longer “have my back” in dealing with any of this. Legally I am responsible for the property. And no -I will not just give it to them. My GM left it to me. It is the ONLY thing that I received from this crazy family and she and my grandfather would roll over in their graves if I did. They were well respected people in our community and my husband’s family is as well. I have tried to live a good and moral life as well. I have helped every single family member out over the years many, many times and still they want to malign me. I have never talked about what I have done for them, or what I have given them to them or anyone else. I have never asked anything from them in return but respect. Respect for themselves and for those around them. I just don’t get it. It seems the more I have done to help them, the more they despise me.
But today, the problem is they don’t have the money to move and refuse to go anyway. I don’t have the money to move them and set them up somewhere else. And because they are evil, they have been doing things to my barn and around it. I fear the next thing will be to harm my daughter’s horses. Some pretty sick and clear messages have been left for me in the form of some very sick perverted ways. Nothing I can prove, but I know they did it. Nothing was ever done before and now suddenly, with increasing frequency, vandalism is becoming rampant. The damage and desecration done to the property is heart sickening. I had someday planned to perhaps build a home on this property when we retired. But I am afraid that the damage may take generations to recover from. Everything from the unmaintained septic system that bubbles up into the yard to the dumping of oils, paints and other chemicals with total disregard for the environment is taking its toll. Now instead of my brother leaving, he has moved some tramp in with them and they are all living together in a small, 2 bedroom, single wide trailer on my mothers Social security check. With my other brother coming in periodically and bringing in his teenage sons as well. It is so crazy!! What should I do???? What is the right way to handle this? They will never see any reasonable argument from my perspective