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  1. #21
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    Not to be a hardass realist and not trying to upset you, but however horrible this situation is now I can almost guarantee it would get a thousand times worse if someone in the triangle were to die. If your grandmother were to die your aunt could very well inherit her share of the property and your parents could very well end up going from the frying pan into the fire and get legally entangled with your aunt, anyway. Or not, you just never know how things will work out. Your parents are in a rotten situation no matter what. It's rotten now in the present, and 20 years from now it could be just as rotten. The thing for them to consider is which rotten do they want to extricate themselves from and deal with - the rotten of the present which they know and can somewhat keep control over, or the rotten of the future and all of its unknown variables?
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by CynicElle View Post
    I'm so sorry. I have no idea why this dynamic -- "Screwup child gets chance after chance while the responsible child gets raked over the coals, especially if they don't want to help the screwup" -- seems to play out so much in troubled families, but it's not the first time I've seen this happen.
    So, so true.

    I'm sorry your family is having to deal with this. For the sake of their health, I hope your parents take whatever steps are necessary to get clean title to the house.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CynicElle View Post
    I'm so sorry. I have no idea why this dynamic -- "Screwup child gets chance after chance while the responsible child gets raked over the coals, especially if they don't want to help the screwup" -- seems to play out so much in troubled families, but it's not the first time I've seen this happen...
    I suspect that many parents fear the child who can't handle adult responsibilities will fall by the wayside if they don't intervene. As you pointed out, it is a common dynamic and it is as old as time. The biblical parable of The Prodigal Son is an early example.

  4. #24
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    I think there are a lot of parents in these situations who don't want to admit that they had failed as parents and it's threatening to them when their other more balanced children start standing up and saying that things are really fckd up and they're not going to go along with the script anymore. The parents just want everybody to shut up and keep going along with whatever cockamamie family dynamic they've patched together over the years so that they don't have to face the truth about the mess they created. Kind of like our congresspeople.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
    I think there are a lot of parents in these situations who don't want to admit that they had failed as parents and it's threatening to them when their other more balanced children start standing up and saying that things are really fckd up and they're not going to go along with the script anymore. The parents just want everybody to shut up and keep going along with whatever cockamamie family dynamic they've patched together over the years so that they don't have to face the truth about the mess they created. Kind of like our congresspeople.
    I don't think the parents can always be blamed. If they are totally at fault, there wouldn't be balanced adult children in the picture at all.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    I don't think the parents can always be blamed. If they are totally at fault, there wouldn't be balanced adult children in the picture at all.
    There are some kids who manage to turn out ok despite their parents.

    Since the OP's grandmother is demanding that her son to put himself at major risk for the benefit of his sister, I would say there's something definitely wrong with that parental situation and it's not something that started just recently.
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  7. #27
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    I also think sometimes parents don't see all the negatives that perhaps siblings do. If one child is doing really well, and another child needs a bit of assistance, it's not uncommon for a parent to think if the well-off child lent some help to the other, then both could be doing great. And sometimes that's true.

    But other times the child who needs some assistance is just a hot mess, and nothing short of intensive rehab and therapy will make an impact. But the parent may not see all that because oftentimes the problem child will paint a more rosy picture to the parents. It's the sibling(s) who see just how messed up the situation is. But because that doesn't comport with what the parents see, parents may assume the well-off siblings are simply being greedy instead of having insights to which the parents aren't privy.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    parents may assume the well-off siblings are simply being greedy instead of having insights to which the parents aren't privy.
    Sure, there could be that. Siblings definitely have a different perspective on each other than parents have. But it could also be that the parents really aren't comfortable with what the other siblings see because they don't come out looking too good in those versions of the facts. So when a sibling doesn't go along with a parent's version of reality then it's the dissenting child who's suddenly the problem and not the problem child. If the dissenting child would just keep quiet and do what's right and co-sign a loan for the problem child to bail her out of trouble for the five billionth time then there wouldn't be any problems in the family!
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  9. #29

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    First, what a terrible situation, and I know they always get worse at this time of year. My only advice is to try to get your parents to at least see a lawyer so they have a clear understanding of where they stand. Just a couple of things that should be clarified:
    What was the percentage of the down payment? If you grandparents only put down 10% then your grandmother may only be entitled to 10% of the sale price after commissions and expenses. What will happen when your grandmother dies? I ask because where I live, any property held in joint ownership doesn't go through probate and goes directly to the other owners, ie, the house would go to your parents and your grandmother could not leave her share to your aunt. Obviously laws vary so your parents should really find out about this.
    Good luck!
    A good rant is cathartic. Ranting is what keeps me sane. They always come from a different place. Take the prime minister, for example. Sometimes when I rant about him, I am angry; other times, I am just severely annoyed - it's an important distinction. - Rick Mercer

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smiley0884 View Post
    my mother calling me every day to hysterically gripe about the situation means she at the very least is seeking advice.
    No, it doesn't mean that at all. Believe me, I've been through this sort of thing with my own family and seen it a million times more. Your parents aren't dumb and they know very well what they need to do. You can jump in and play the rescuer but most of the time the people who are crying about the situation don't actually want to be rescued and they won't take your (very sensible) advice and then you are sucked into the drama too.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Your parents aren't dumb and they know very well what they need to do.
    I don't think my parents are dumb overall, but they have definitely made some dumb decisions to get them into the situation they are in. My father doesn't ask for advice or bring up the situation too much, but my mother most definitely DOES. I agree that some people who vent aren't always asking for advice, but my mother has asked my opinion on the subject. Whether or not she will actually consider it is another matter. Some people just like to hear themselves complain. But if she doesn't want to hear my opinion she can always vent to someone who will keep their mouth shut. I'm not trying to "play the rescuer" I'm only 26 years old, have never owned property, and am admittetly not very knowledgeable on the subject. The only advice I have given my mother so far, is to try to find a way to not live with/own property with my Grandmother. I think a lot of the advice on this thread has been great, if my mother brings it up again, I'll suggest they speak to a lawyer, and leave it at that. But if she keeps griping after that, I've said my opinion and I'm just going to change the subject or ask her not to bring it up unless there is some sort of new development.


    Quote Originally Posted by mag
    What was the percentage of the down payment? If you grandparents only put down 10% then your grandmother may only be entitled to 10% of the sale price after commissions and expenses. What will happen when your grandmother dies? I ask because where I live, any property held in joint ownership doesn't go through probate and goes directly to the other owners, ie, the house would go to your parents and your grandmother could not leave her share to your aunt. Obviously laws vary so your parents should really find out about this.
    Good luck!
    I'm not sure how much my grandparents but down, but those are some things my parents should definitely consider.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv
    But other times the child who needs some assistance is just a hot mess, and nothing short of intensive rehab and therapy will make an impact. But the parent may not see all that because oftentimes the problem child will paint a more rosy picture to the parents. It's the sibling(s) who see just how messed up the situation is. But because that doesn't comport with what the parents see, parents may assume the well-off siblings are simply being greedy instead of having insights to which the parents aren't privy.
    This most definitely describes the dynamic between my father, grandmother, and aunt. I used to feel for my aunt because she does need help, desperately. But it's gotten to the point where my Grandmother is basically making my aunt's situation worse by just being an enabler. Rob mentioned up thread that her brother managed to get on his feet after being cut-off, and I think my aunt may have had a chance if she was cut off and had gotten help maybe 15-20 years ago, but at this point I think she's just too far gone.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
    There are some kids who manage to turn out ok despite their parents.

    Since the OP's grandmother is demanding that her son to put himself at major risk for the benefit of his sister, I would say there's something definitely wrong with that parental situation and it's not something that started just recently.
    But, sometimes there can be a real problem with one child and the other child is fine. If one child has psychological issues, addiction issues, etc., it is not necessarily the parent's fault. What can happen is that the problem child makes the parent believe that if they are not helped, something awful will happen. It's about fear. The parent fears for their "problem" child's life. I've seen this happen in families I know. It's not necessarily bad parenting, it's not knowing what to do. It is codependency at it's finest, but very hard to break.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    But other times the child who needs some assistance is just a hot mess, and nothing short of intensive rehab and therapy will make an impact. But the parent may not see all that because oftentimes the problem child will paint a more rosy picture to the parents. It's the sibling(s) who see just how messed up the situation is. But because that doesn't comport with what the parents see, parents may assume the well-off siblings are simply being greedy instead of having insights to which the parents aren't privy.
    Agree. And sometimes that problem child will refuse to get the help they really need and hold the parent emotionally hostage.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    It's not necessarily bad parenting, it's not knowing what to do. It is codependency at it's finest, but very hard to break.
    It becomes bad parenting when the parents start putting their other stable children at risk for the benefit of the one causing trouble. If they sequester the troublemaker from everyone else then that's one thing, but when they start roping everybody else into the situation that they cannot control then yeah, that's bad parenting. And since these are all very mature adults in the OP's family situation it seems that parenting doesn't end when a kid hits 18.

    I think it's possible, too, that the OPs grandmother gets quite a bit of emotional satisfaction from still having her responsibility-crippled daughter so dependent on her.

    Like MacMadame I've seen waaaay too many of these situations. And none of them ever end well, except for the people who manage to say "Enough of this crap, already!" and find a way to get themselves detangled from it.
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  14. #34
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    Southpaw, often, it's not that simple. It's very hard to know how we will deal with a situation like this, if we've never been in it ourselves. I know that the situations I've seen were very complicated. I felt some of the same things you do, until I really listened to what the parents were telling me. I don't know what I would do in a situation like that. Being a parent is hard, and it never ends. You worry about, and want to help your kids, no matter how old they are.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    Southpaw, often, it's not that simple.
    It may not be that simple for the parent who had a hand in creating the mess, but I think it *could* be very simple for a child to walk away from the situation when they're being asked (or demanded) to do something completely unreasonable and to put themselves at risk because mommy says they should. Guilt is often what messes people up in these situations. That's why outsiders (like us busybodies on FSU) can look at these situations very rationally, because they don't have guilt interfering with their vision. So we can all sit here and scream "Don't co-sign that loan! Go see a lawyer about that house!" because that's what the proverbial prudent person would say. A prudent person without any guilt tainting their decision-making abilities.

    This isn't a thread about "What should I do about my messed up kid?" it's a thread about "What should we do about our messed up mother?" I think dealing with the messed up sister is the easy part - just don't. Don't co-sign any loans, don't give her anything. The problem is in the mother-sister relationship and how that's affecting the joint property ownership.
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  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
    It may not be that simple for the parent who had a hand in creating the mess, but I think it *could* be very simple for a child to walk away from the situation when they're being asked (or demanded) to do something completely unreasonable and to put themselves at risk because mommy says they should. Guilt is often what messes people up in these situations. That's why outsiders (like us busybodies on FSU) can look at these situations very rationally, because they don't have guilt interfering with their vision. So we can all sit here and scream "Don't co-sign that loan! Go see a lawyer about that house!" because that's what the proverbial prudent person would say. A prudent person without any guilt tainting their decision-making abilities.

    This isn't a thread about "What should I do about my messed up kid?" it's a thread about "What should we do about our messed up mother?" I think dealing with the messed up sister is the easy part - just don't. Don't co-sign any loans, don't give her anything. The problem is in the mother-sister relationship and how that's affecting the joint property ownership.
    I agree that Smiley0884's father did the right thing. He should not give his sister money and should not feel guilty. And you're right, it is easy to be rational, when it is not you in the situation. As for the mother, it's hard to judge. We don't really know what the full dynamic is. We don't know if the daughter has done things that would make the mother fearful of losing her. I know someone who dealt with a suicide attempt (by a loved one), after that they were incapable of challenging anything that person did. They were so afraid that they would try and kill themself again. It was an awful situation, but I can understand how it happens. I'm not saying this is what happened here, but there could be mitigating circumstances for the mother to be so irrational. That doesn't make it easy for the rational son and his family. And it falls on him to do the rational thing, for all concerned, short and long term. It is a no win situation for everyone. Very sad.

  17. #37

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    Sorry to hear about your family situation. I have nothing to add that others haven't already said. I know a few people who co-signed for loans and it bit them in the butt later. Some are still suffering courtesy of financial irresponsible family members burning them.

    I remember many years ago, only my aunt had the ability to help my husband and I to get a consolidated loan but it just took her a phone call to our bank branch and she was able to maneuvor it so we could get our loan without her cosigning (I have no idea how she did it).

    My husband and I went from a mediocre credit rating to excellent courtesy of her but the payments and paying it off was all us. Now I am grateful that hubby and I were the only one's on that loan. It is a nice sense of accomplishment knowing that you have a loan and you pay it off. Looking forward to 14-16 yrs from now and our mortgage being paid off.
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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw View Post
    And none of them ever end well, except for the people who manage to say "Enough of this crap, already!" and find a way to get themselves detangled from it.
    ^^THIS.

    There's a reason I live on the opposite coast from the rest of my family and why I don't communicate with one sister all all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    ^^THIS.

    There's a reason I live on the opposite coast from the rest of my family and why I don't communicate with one sister all all.
    Before FSU, I never knew how many folks were in the same boat an my husband and myself.
    In my experience, it is nearly impossible to maintain healthy boundaries, and maintain a degree of detachment, when all parties involved are not on the same page.
    Our situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that my husband and I currently have custody of my sister-in-law's two month-old son, who was born with drugs in his system.
    SIL is a master manipulator. She does have documented mental health issues, but refuses to take enough responsibility for herself to apply for the disability benefits she is legally entitled to - preferring, instead, to milk well-meaning strangers with her tales of rape, domestic abuse, and familial neglect.
    I can't tell you how many well-meaning strangers have bought into her B.S.
    We are already 5k into legal proceedings to gain semi-permanent legal guardianship in the State of Texas (we live in WA.)
    Don't even get me started on our lawyer...
    Suffice to say that we had to find someone on the spur of the moment!

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smiley0884 View Post
    I wouldn't consider being concerned about my family's well being "overly invested" but YMMV. That's just my family's culture/dynamic. Sorry if I wasn't specific enough, but my mother calling me every day to hysterically gripe about the situation means she at the very least is seeking advice.
    You do sound invested in the situation, Smiley, but it would be hard not to be. Whether it's 'overly invested' is a question of degree. The more pertinent question is: what is your involvement doing to your peace of mind and sanity?

    Are you having the same conversations with your mother over and over again, and giving her the same advice each time? In that case you might be best off refusing to discuss the issue at all, in addition to not going back home. And also, it's good to clarify why you are invested and whether the reason is valid.

    I have been in a somewhat similar situation (in terms of a lack of boundaries) with the two people who rent the basement part of our house. The woman has been a very dear friend in years past but is in a horribly toxic codependent relationship with the guy she lives with. As she is getting older and has various health problem, the codependency has just gotten worse. He goes away from time to time, and when he is out of the space she usually rails against him a lot - to the point where she has horrible and negative delusional thinking about him (was hospitalized for that a few years ago). And I end up giving her the same advice over and over again, which she never takes.

    I used to participate in her railing against him and realized that it was because I would dearly love for him to not be living there - he's a control freak and drives all her friends away.

    But, he isn't going anywhere and she won't give up her total dependency on him.

    I've realized I can't participate in bad-mouthing and criticizing him because it's distressing to me. So, I've set boundaries around those conversations. If she starts, I just say straight out that I can't participate and redirect her.

    It's more difficult with family, of course, but the same principle applies: do what you need to protect your own sanity and piece of mind.

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