Author Topic: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...  (Read 6526 times)

purple monkey

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Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« on: December 28, 2015, 03:09:01 PM »
Hello,
Just for the record.  I just want my mother to have enough to take care of herself.
Do not expect one penny.
Now she routinely gives to two brothers: one is a functional alcoholic (has a good job but drinks every evening and all weekend) and the other is addicted to pain pills.
Any suggestions?
Already buried one brother from meth addiction: mother finally stopped giving him money about 10 years ago.  He lasted 9 years on the streets.
Ready to bow out, as any suggestions are taken wrong and she can't understand her enabling behavior.
I really feel sorry for them all, but have my own family and own problems.
Should I just bow out?
I have refused money to all, except food to mother and functional alcoholic brother (dinner taken to them or groceries a few times a year).
TIA
 

aFrugalFather

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 03:38:20 PM »
Tough situation, how is your mom's finances?  Is she struggling or does she actually have the money to give?  Sounds like she is not well financially and you are supporting her while she is supporting them when she can?

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 03:38:33 PM »
Hello,
Just for the record.  I just want my mother to have enough to take care of herself.
Do not expect one penny.
Now she routinely gives to two brothers: one is a functional alcoholic (has a good job but drinks every evening and all weekend) and the other is addicted to pain pills.
Any suggestions?
Already buried one brother from meth addiction: mother finally stopped giving him money about 10 years ago.  He lasted 9 years on the streets.
Ready to bow out, as any suggestions are taken wrong and she can't understand her enabling behavior.
I really feel sorry for them all, but have my own family and own problems.
Should I just bow out?
I have refused money to all, except food to mother and functional alcoholic brother (dinner taken to them or groceries a few times a year).
TIA

Not a lot of suggestions, but do empathize with your tough situation having dealt with addiction issues with close family and all the tangled issues that can come with that. If you do elect to bow out, be sure to clearly communicate the what and why, where your boundaries are, and (I think importantly) what the conditions for being involved and helping in the future are. Much like an airplane, sometimes it is appropriate to put your own oxygen mask on first, and then be ready and willing to help if there is a way to.

Good luck.

pdxbator

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 03:58:26 PM »
This is very tough. I have a sister-in-law and her husband are ex heroin addicts now doing methadone. Because of their past it can be very difficult to believe much of what they say. We give them money a couple times a year, but luckily their mother, my MIL, has wised up to not distributing more money to them. My husband feels bad for them. They exist on very little, but we can't exactly support them forever. Giving money can be a bit of a vicious cycle. It helps for a little bit but then the handout is expected over and over. I wish there was an easy solution to something like this.

purple monkey

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 04:15:07 PM »
Tough situation, how is your mom's finances?  Is she struggling or does she actually have the money to give?  Sounds like she is not well financially and you are supporting her while she is supporting them when she can?

She would be well off, but spent over 100k on deceased brother.
Has a small pension, house paid off, so okay, but not enough to keep giving to brothers.
It is so much crap and so unpleasant.
Both brothers know not to ask me anymore.
I spent about 10K (measured) on the brothers grimm.  This does not include food.
Had to stop buying Christmas gifts, as these were taken back and cash used for other purposes.

purple monkey

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 04:18:09 PM »
This is very tough. I have a sister-in-law and her husband are ex heroin addicts now doing methadone. Because of their past it can be very difficult to believe much of what they say. We give them money a couple times a year, but luckily their mother, my MIL, has wised up to not distributing more money to them. My husband feels bad for them. They exist on very little, but we can't exactly support them forever. Giving money can be a bit of a vicious cycle. It helps for a little bit but then the handout is expected over and over. I wish there was an easy solution to something like this.

Thank you.  Yes, it is so difficult.  Don't want to enable, but hate to see others you love destroy themselves.
My mother will be my responsibility if she loses her house. 
So far, I don't think she has taken out a mortgage, but does have a lot of credit card debt.

My mother really could be fine financially, if she would just say no.

It must even be harder to see your children slowly destroy themselves.

Exflyboy

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 04:19:56 PM »
My MIL is giving her entire estate to my Wife's drug addicted Brother.. My Wife won't get a penny. She is in relatively poor health and has blown everything she ever got.. even got a $200k windfall from the Government, we invested it for her blah blah.. She drew out every penny and spent the lot.

Oh she also paid off BIL's fines and bought him a new truck!

I think part of the problem is she feels responsible for being a bad Mother (which is true) and feels she needs to provide for him, "where will he live if I don't leave him the house"?

Of course this irritates me no end but it has also given me a way out.. I.e we will not give either of them a single penny after they have both been so incredibly stupid.

I think your Mom is dependent an the situation and nothing you can do will stop the enabling behaviour. The only sensible thing YOU (and we) can do is to offer advice when they are ready to hear it and not pump any money into the situation as it won't do any good and will hurt you (us).
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 04:26:03 PM by Exflyboy »

Zamboni

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 04:45:00 PM »
Wow, that is tough.

One of my friends said something similar about her house and I'm worried she is going down the same path as your mother. She has three sons: two who seem to have their act together really well, and one who is a drop out and drug addict.

Drug addict son is in his early 20's and lives with her. For a long time he just smoked pot and hid in his room playing video games. Unfortunately she's had some gradual theft of her personal items (either by him or his friends; of course she is blaming the friends, but who knows?) I'm sure she could be retired within a couple of years without this issue hanging over her head. As it is, who know what will happen?

Finally she lost her patience and said "get a job or get out." He was able to dupe the pre-employment drug screen for one of the local big box store using urine from someone else (it was kind of funny hearing all of the stories surrounding this.) He's held down that job for over a year now, but now it seems he is "one more bad mark" from losing it. I'm also sensing a theme: she lets him stay at home because she is worried he'll end up homeless.

The latest is that we were discussing wills and his mom told me she is going to leave the house entirely to the drug addict in her will and split any remaining assets evenly between all three. I mentioned that it might hurt the feelings of her other sons if she did that, which she hadn't really thought about. Her main concern was that the drug addict needs somewhere to live. Ummm, a 4 bedroom house in suburbia? With a big freaking lawn that he has no interest in mowing? That is where he needs to live?

Hopefully she will come to her senses. Left to his own devices, drug addict son will just end up losing that house through taking out a second mortgage, tax defaults, or some other ridiculousness. Either of her other two sons has it together well enough to get that home sold when she dies, and that is what probably should happen.

Anyway, I really care about my friend, so it's hard to see her go through this.

Finances aside, sometimes parents don't think enough about how they are emotionally hurting their well behaved children by giving all of their energy to the black sheep.

purple monkey

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 05:15:11 PM »
Wow, that is tough.


Finances aside, sometimes parents don't think enough about how they are emotionally hurting their well behaved children by giving all of their energy to the black sheep.

So why is this theme so common?

I know several folks with the same dilemma.  I don't tell anyone IRL because I am ashamed of the situation, as I am the only one with no substance abuse issues.

Zamboni

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 05:51:05 PM »
Probably because the well behaved children are too polite to lay it out so bluntly for them.

It's hard to say something like "I feel really hurt when you burn up all of your life energy and the money you need to survive on Jack and Fred. It makes me worry a lot about your welfare. I resent them for taking advantage of you. The continuation of their selfish siphoning of your time, energy, and money hurts me even more than all of the shit they've pulled in the past. Sure, I worry about them, too, but mostly I am hurt by the effect their addictions are having on your actions and long term stability."

My friend is so embarrassed by her one son that I may be the only one outside of the family who really knows about it all. She is trying to save face by spending money trying to get him straightened out, but really he can only right himself. Oh, and I forgot to mention he has had some various legal trouble (of course) that also makes her feel like she has to rescue him over and over. At some point it's just a habit to let someone take advantage I guess.

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2015, 06:21:11 PM »
Hey Monkey,

That sucks. Been through a lot of this myself. It's strange to me, but the least functional kid always seems to end up with the lion's share of the attention, finances, love and support. I left home right after I graduated high school, put myself and my wife through college, and feel good about the fact that I've never needed nor taken help from either of our families. So, feel good about that first. That's something no one can ever take away from you.

The other thing you have to realize, is that every dollar you send to your brothers or your mom, is being used to support their addictions and bad choices. That's hard to hear but you probably already know this. If you give your brother some groceries to feed his family, that's money he can spend on getting hammered for a weekend.

This was an especially tough lesson for my wife and I to learn. Her sister has a son who is a heroin addict. She would give him money every few days which went straight into his arm. He always had some kind of story about owing money to dangerous people, or needing money because he was hungry, or how cold it was and couldn't she wire him some money for a hotel room for the night? Then, when the first of the month came and she couldn't pay her rent, she would ask my wife for rent money. Gut check time.

You can offer to be there for her emotionally, but you have to make clear that they have to live with the consequences of their own choices. Don't help people more than they're willing to help themselves.

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2015, 06:34:34 PM »
Not a drug addiction issue, but my husband's brother has gotten at least 75K in help from his mother. Co-signed loans, bailed out credit cards, cell phone bills paid in perpetuity, etc. etc. He just can't get his shit together. His addiction is shopping on Amazon and just overall pathetic financial sense . Less destructive then drugs but still destructive.

We haven't gotten a dime, nor do we really want to, but it's hard sometimes not to resent it all. She keeps on saying, "If I die, I've told your brother that he has to give you X amount off his inheritance to even things." But of course, she expects us to be the "bad guys", which we won't do. She could easily write all this into a will, but she just won't stop enabling him now or ask him to pay back all this money. I've made gentle suggestions like, "Why don't you ask him to start sending you $100 a month to pay it back?" She just won't do it. But she resents the hell out of him. And every time she sees that Amazon box arrive at his house when she visits, I know it eats away at her. 

pachnik

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2015, 06:44:36 PM »
The other thing you have to realize, is that every dollar you send to your brothers or your mom, is being used to support their addictions and bad choices. That's hard to hear but you probably already know this. If you give your brother some groceries to feed his family, that's money he can spend on getting hammered for a weekend.
...
You can offer to be there for her emotionally, but you have to make clear that they have to live with the consequences of their own choices. Don't help people more than they're willing to help themselves.

There is huge wisdom here.  I bolded the sentence about buying groceries because this is the definition of enabling.  Any $ or groceries you give them, allows them to spend their money on drugs. 

Is there any chance your mother would be willing to attend Nar-Anon?  I've never gone to it but I understand that it is for folks who have addicts in their family.  Like Al-Anon is for family's of alcoholics.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 06:46:54 PM by pachnik »

Exflyboy

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2015, 06:53:37 PM »
Not a drug addiction issue, but my husband's brother has gotten at least 75K in help from his mother. Co-signed loans, bailed out credit cards, cell phone bills paid in perpetuity, etc. etc. He just can't get his shit together. His addiction is shopping on Amazon and just overall pathetic financial sense . Less destructive then drugs but still destructive.

We haven't gotten a dime, nor do we really want to, but it's hard sometimes not to resent it all. She keeps on saying, "If I die, I've told your brother that he has to give you X amount off his inheritance to even things." But of course, she expects us to be the "bad guys", which we won't do. She could easily write all this into a will, but she just won't stop enabling him now or ask him to pay back all this money. I've made gentle suggestions like, "Why don't you ask him to start sending you $100 a month to pay it back?" She just won't do it. But she resents the hell out of him. And every time she sees that Amazon box arrive at his house when she visits, I know it eats away at her.

You won't be the bad guys and I can assure you he won't send you a stinking dime when the waste of Oxygen gets his inheritence!

My BIL is supposed to be the caregiver, but of course he is so ill equipped to deal with life my Wife is always on the phone doing HIS job of taking care of her issues.. and he gets everything.

My only hope is she will have to have long term care which will rapidly eat his inheritence, then he can live in a cardboard box as far as I am concerned.

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2015, 07:14:56 AM »
Lot of good posts in here. I'll just add that I think your mother needs professional counseling. I hope you don't view that in a negative light because an unbiased, professional third party will be able to illuminate things that your mother might not see.

I went to anger management counseling when I was like 12 or 13 because I used to throw temper tantrums and get in trouble at school (still was a good student...just had a huge attitude and a temper). The only thing I really remember was that my psychologist, Helen, was amazing at getting me to say out loud how the consequences in my life were a direct result of my own actions. That was totally obvious to anybody looking at how I behaved, but I needed a professional to illuminate that for me and talk me through it.

Good luck.

SunshineAZ

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2015, 07:53:22 AM »
Sadly, I can totally relate.  I have a drug addicted brother who still lives with my parents (he is 42 years old).  Supposedly, he is off drugs now, but he still lives like a teenager with no responsibility and absolutely no plans to ever grow up.  When my mom asked me to be the executor of the will, I told her flat out that she better spell out exactly what she wants him to get because, as far as I am concerned, he has spent his inheritance 10x over.  (And that I will not be supporting him when they are gone.)  My parents are not well off, my mom is the primary breadwinner and very spendypants, but they do own a condo and several rental houses in Arizona.  (They live in So. Cal.)  But she owns her own business, so she has no pension other than SS.  I think the rental properties are the only reason she asked me to be the executor, my brother would probably just let them go into foreclosure, because he is so irresponsible he wouldn't even bother to sell them because it sounds like work. 

I, personally, deal with the issue by living a state away and staying away. (It was even better when I lived in Europe. LOL)  I still talk to my parents often and help out when I can, but keeping physical distance helps a lot.  And when I do go visit I only stay a few days, anything longer and I get too stressed and angry from all the drama. 

electriceagle

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2015, 09:51:57 AM »
Wow, that is tough.

One of my friends said something similar about her house and I'm worried she is going down the same path as your mother. She has three sons: two who seem to have their act together really well, and one who is a drop out and drug addict.

Drug addict son is in his early 20's and lives with her. For a long time he just smoked pot and hid in his room playing video games. Unfortunately she's had some gradual theft of her personal items (either by him or his friends; of course she is blaming the friends, but who knows?) I'm sure she could be retired within a couple of years without this issue hanging over her head. As it is, who know what will happen?

Finally she lost her patience and said "get a job or get out." He was able to dupe the pre-employment drug screen for one of the local big box store using urine from someone else (it was kind of funny hearing all of the stories surrounding this.) He's held down that job for over a year now, but now it seems he is "one more bad mark" from losing it. I'm also sensing a theme: she lets him stay at home because she is worried he'll end up homeless.

The latest is that we were discussing wills and his mom told me she is going to leave the house entirely to the drug addict in her will and split any remaining assets evenly between all three. I mentioned that it might hurt the feelings of her other sons if she did that, which she hadn't really thought about. Her main concern was that the drug addict needs somewhere to live. Ummm, a 4 bedroom house in suburbia? With a big freaking lawn that he has no interest in mowing? That is where he needs to live?

Hopefully she will come to her senses. Left to his own devices, drug addict son will just end up losing that house through taking out a second mortgage, tax defaults, or some other ridiculousness. Either of her other two sons has it together well enough to get that home sold when she dies, and that is what probably should happen.

Anyway, I really care about my friend, so it's hard to see her go through this.

Finances aside, sometimes parents don't think enough about how they are emotionally hurting their well behaved children by giving all of their energy to the black sheep.

This situation is why spendthrift trusts exist. They are designed for people who have substance, mental or other problems and will lose anything given to them directly. They generally can't be attacked for the debts of the beneficiary.

Your mother could put her house in one of these.

To the OP: There isn't much that you can do. Your mother loves all of her sons and probably feels extra responsibility for those children who don't have their lives together.

The one thing that you can do is try to bankruptcy-proof your mother. Does the value of her house fall within the bankruptcy exemption in your state? Does she need to file paperwork to have a larger "senior citizen" homestead exemption recognized?

Try to encourage her not to take money from protected accounts such as IRAs and 401ks to help the substance addicted brothers.

If she needs a loan, perhaps you can make her a gift in exchange for putting your name on the house. This way, you can ensure that she doesn't get a second mortgage and has somewhere to live in her old age. This gift would be lost, but such an arrangement could protect her housing.

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Re: Mother giving all her money to drug addicted sons...
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2015, 10:39:55 AM »
The same way you have set boundaries with your brothers, you need to do the same with your mother.

I would sit her down and review her income/outgo.  Show her that she cannot afford to support the moochers any longer.  I would also let her know that if she loses her house that you cannot afford/won't take care of HER.