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AIBU

I've refused to be mum's POA

(53 Posts)
Peacelily321 Sat 20-Nov-21 18:05:07

For the last twenty five years I've regularly visited my mum who is two hours away and helped her with things around the house. We've had a bumpy mother-daughter relationship because my father was violent towards me and she has tried to avoid or minimise her responsibilities in this. She allowed my father to stay in the marital home until I was eleven and the damage was done.
She is now approaching eighty. I have a sister who has always resented me because I did well at school and was popular etc. My sister has, for the last twenty years, pushed me away, ignored me, not sent cards, not allowed me to have enduring relationships with my niece and nephew, and cancelled plans I've made with her at the last minute. We had a fight twenty years ago which we both apologised to each other for after ten years and I thought everything was resolved. It turns out I was wrong and the silent behaviour carries on. I have now given up trying to have any civil interaction with my sister and have reached some sort of acceptance that she doesn't want to know.
My mum can say hurtful things, which have recently included:

You shouldn't wear those leggings, you're too fat for those.

Grandma never liked you because you look like your father (a total shock which left me in tears).

Your father went for you because you must have done something to set him off. (no excuse for child abuse)

You never gave the change back when you were little but your sister did so I trust her (another new comment just yesterday).

You're just like your father.

You're just a spiteful Jew girl.

You're hopeless at maths. (I run budgets for multi million £ programmes).

You're here to clear me out (helping to clear the garage which is INFESTED with vermin).

Mum is showing signs of mild confusion and strange behaviour. I suspect dementia. However, because my sister is never available or contactable, it is very difficult to discuss this with her. I also struggle every weekend with the spiteful comments which are hard not to take personally.
My mum has repeatedly asked if I will hold joint power of attorney with my sister.
Every time she raises the subject, my hair falls out in a patch, I've lost half my eyelashes, I don't sleep and I end up crying or feeling deeply worried about how I would be treated by my sister (and spiteful husband who has also blocked me seeing her).
Today I refused to take up POA on the grounds that the stress of it would affect my health and I see the joint POA proposal as futile, mostly because I can envisage my sister railroading my decision-making, which would further affect my mental health.
I feel like I've been an A-hole (and mum has gone into narcissistic injury mode today....quite talented at this over the years) but I genuinely feel like I've been treated unreasonably and I don't want to deal with all the unpleasantness.

Has anyone got advice for this situation?

Grandmabatty Sat 20-Nov-21 18:22:04

It's a request not a demand so you are under no obligation to be her poa. Just tell her that it is something you are uncomfortable doing and leave it to your sister.
If you don't have a good relationship with your sister and it hasn't been resolved to your satisfaction, then let it go. Email or phone her to say you are dropping the rope, as it were, and all of your mum's needs will have to be dealt by her. That may then mean she inherits everything from your mum.
Visit your mum occasionally. Ignore the hurtful comments. Or tell her if she carries on being unkind, you will leave. And carry it through. If she is nasty on the phone, hang up. Try to be emotionally detached from her. Sadly she will never be the mum you want. Good luck.

M0nica Sat 20-Nov-21 18:25:58

I think your decision not to hold a POA was the only possible decision you could make in the circumstances.

Given how you have been treated by your mother and sister I am amazed you have any contact with them. Stop blaming yourself and ignore everything yur mother and sister say, because, as you well know, it is a wind-up because for some reason they enjoy seeing your pain.

Decide for yourself what contact you want with them and then follow your decision and then walk your path and leave themto walk theirs. If you can show that you will ignore anything they say and ignore everything they say, it rather spoils their fun. You are Ok. They are the problem.

mumofmadboys Sat 20-Nov-21 18:31:00

When she is rude could you say'Gosh ,that sounded very rude. I dont know if you intended to be so hurtful' and carry on doing a practical task. Treat her kindly but don't over engage with her. Try to be a little detached emotionally.
If you dont want POA say you are sorry but that isn't something you feel able to offer to do.
Hope things improve for you

MercuryQueen Sat 20-Nov-21 19:30:19

You have value and worth as a person. Your mental health is valuable. You are more than what service you can give.

Do not set yourself on fire to keep others warm. Refusing the POA is the only reasonable thing you can do.

I’d also have no hesitation in telling your mother to call your sister in the future, and not being as available. I understand wanting to help, but you do not and should not be expected to accept verbal abuse to do so.

Elegran Sat 20-Nov-21 19:36:17

If you want to soften the refusal a bit, emphasise that she only needs one person to have POA, and in fact it is easier for one person to make a decision on what is best for her than for two to come to a compromise on it, so your sister should be grateful to you for not interfering.

Indirectly, so should she be, for you backing out and leaving it to your sister. Tell yourself this, too, and don't give in to the emotional blackmail when she tells you that you are a wicked unnatural daughter etc etc - as I am sure she will. The answer to that is that her other daughter will be happy to do this for her and will be more likely to do as your mother would have done herself, if she were able. They sound like a well-suited pair.

Madgran77 Sat 20-Nov-21 19:51:45

How awful for you to hear such comments! flowers

You have had this dynamic for years and it is hard for you to see a way through it. In these circumstances you are right to refuse POA! I think you would also benefit from counselling to deal with all that has happened over the years, please ghink about that.

If you are clear you wish to keep visiting/helpful then consider how you can change your vehaviour/responses. How do you respond to such comments I wonder? Has she always been like this or is it likely to be the dementia causing it? If the former some suggestions below for reacting maybe differently to how you have before....

You shouldn't wear those leggings, you're too fat for those

"Oh! They are comfortable so I will continue to wear them." When she follows up just say " I'm not discussing this" and walk out if the room

Grandma never liked you because you look like your father (a total shock which left me in tears).

"That surprises me as Grandma was always kind to me!" (If true) When she follows up say it again, say not interested in hearing her view of Grandma's feelings, walk out the room.

Your father went for you because you must have done something to set him off. (no excuse for child abuse)

"I was a child, he was an adult, no excuses. I will not be blamed I was a child" She follows up, you repeat and leave the room.

You never gave the change back when you were little but your sister did so I trust her (another new comment just yesterday).

" in that case sister can do shoppng/whatever! I won't do it anymore.'" Walk out the room

You're just like your father

"I don't agree!" Walk out the room!

You're just a spiteful Jew girl.

"I won't even grace that ridiculous comment with a reply!" Walk out the room!

You're hopeless at maths. (I run budgets for multi million £ programmes).

"No I am not!" Walk out the room

You're here to clear me out (helping to clear the garage which is INFESTED with vermin)

"If you think that then I'll leave it. I suggest you ask sister to do it" Walk out the room

In all the above scenarios you are completely removing the power base from her, by not engaging or justifying! Removing yourself means you are not enabling her to "press your buttons".

When she gets angry re your removal of power/asking why etc just say "I will not tolerate being treated like that. Its up to you, the solution is in your hands. If you want my help stop doing it/saying that! I will no longer listen to it" when she rants, walk out the room

Repeat, repeat, repeat!

At the end of the day you need to put your own welfare first. Counselling would help you with that. ⚘

Hithere Sat 20-Nov-21 19:55:21

She is not a mother, she didnt and doesnt behave that way.

A mother is somebody who loves you unconditionally and nurture you.

Be done with her.
You have done more than what she ever deserved

VioletSky Sat 20-Nov-21 20:07:01

I agree with Hithere take back some of your free time and use it to take care of yourself because you deserve to be loved, especially by yourself

Bibbity Sat 20-Nov-21 20:15:11

Why do you put yourself through this?

Pammie1 Sat 20-Nov-21 20:22:59

Firstly, if your mum is displaying signs of dementia then it may be too late for a Lasting Power of Attorney - legally your mum needs to have capacity at the time it’s drawn up, so that she can make informed decisions about what she wants after she loses capacity. In light of everything you’ve said, this really needs to be established as it sounds as though there’s animosity between you and your sister.

Secondly, if dementia is already progressing, this may explain your mum’s behaviour and if so, then you need to try to have some empathy because some, if not most of it, may be beyond her control. There is absolutely no obligation on your part to be a named attorney, and if I’m honest, in the same circumstances I would want to be as far away from it as possible.

Shandy57 Sat 20-Nov-21 20:30:19

Good point Pammiel, and I hadn't realised it was illegal. My aunt is 84 and her friend is the same age. My aunt noticed her friend was becoming more and more confused and she kept phoning her friend's estranged daughter to say she needed to come and help her mother.

She has finally turned up eighteen months later and is too late, her mother doesn't know who she is and calls her 'that woman'. The daughter asked my aunt to be present whilst her Mum signed the POA forms and it was extremely upsetting for my aunt. I wonder if the POA is linked to the GP and the date of diagnosis, and whether this will be deemed to be illegal as her friend definitely didn't understand what was going on.

crazyH Sat 20-Nov-21 20:39:37

For your own sanity, I would suggest you blame it on dementia. What awful things, for a mother to say 😡

HowVeryDareYou Sat 20-Nov-21 20:57:49

Why keep toxic people in your life? If you can, sever all ties with them.

Shinamae Sat 20-Nov-21 21:02:21

I would’ve walked away from her a long time ago… so sorry you have to put up with this💐💐

theworriedwell Sat 20-Nov-21 21:14:17

It isn't easy having a POA, big decisions for someone else so even without all the baggage I'd say think carefully about doing it.

If you feel you should be involved, and I understand that, you could always have one of you with POA for financial matters and one of health and care.

Whatever you decide do look after yourself. Having a POA for an elderly relative was one of the hardest things I've ever done and she got really nasty with me even though we had always had a good relationship.

Septimia Sat 20-Nov-21 21:18:19

You, and others, have mentioned the possibility of dementia. However, I wonder if some of the recent hurtful comments are down to a urinary tract infection. My father in law accused my husband of some horrible things - then we realised what the problem was. Each time he started to get cranky we got on to the GP for medication and the situation improved.

As for the POA, your mother needs to have the capacity to understand at the time even if she forgets later. We got an ex-medic acquaintance to help. I explained the whys and went away, she made sure that father in law knew what he was doing, why he was doing it, and that he consented.

Luckygirl3 Sat 20-Nov-21 21:41:38

I think you just have to say no and move on with your life. What a sorry situation for you; and what a sad upbringing. Well done for making a success of your life.

Hetty58 Sat 20-Nov-21 21:48:42

Well done for refusing to be POA. It's the only sensible decision, so stick to it.

I had a verbally abusive mother too, but, over time, I distanced myself and took little notice of her ridiculous comments. They were her problem, not mine. She didn't like it when I laughed - so try laughing.

Contact was short and sweet, in the company of others - never alone (when she'd be most vicious) and, ideally, on neutral ground (lunch out, for instance) where, being in the public eye, she retained some manners.

You don't 'owe' her, just for being your mother. You may feel obliged to help out, though. Do it on your own terms, not every weekend, only when necessary. Start to find out about sources of help available to her - and plan to take a back seat in future. First and foremost, look after yourself.

CafeAuLait Sat 20-Nov-21 23:33:59

It sounds like you've made the right decision. Your health matters and clearly this is not good for you. Let your sister take on POA. It's probably easier if just one person is in charge of that anyway.

silverlining48 Sat 20-Nov-21 23:44:28

Peacelily If joint attorneys are not in agreement they have to advise the court of protection which will then take over and appoint someone themselves, so there seems little point in you and your sister sharing POA as it’s clear that you can’t work, together,
Just say no, you have enough to deal with without this stress.

Teacheranne Sun 21-Nov-21 00:29:01

Pammie1

Firstly, if your mum is displaying signs of dementia then it may be too late for a Lasting Power of Attorney - legally your mum needs to have capacity at the time it’s drawn up, so that she can make informed decisions about what she wants after she loses capacity. In light of everything you’ve said, this really needs to be established as it sounds as though there’s animosity between you and your sister.

Secondly, if dementia is already progressing, this may explain your mum’s behaviour and if so, then you need to try to have some empathy because some, if not most of it, may be beyond her control. There is absolutely no obligation on your part to be a named attorney, and if I’m honest, in the same circumstances I would want to be as far away from it as possible.

In the early stages of dementia, it is not illegal to set up a POA, the donor simply has to have enough capacity at that time to understand that one decision. Capacity can vary considerably day to day so it’s acceptable to say a person has the capacity to agree to have someone appointed to look after their interested even if they cannot make other decisions like taking medication or eating properly.

The Office for Public Guardianship explains this and if a solicitor is used to set up the POA they will assess capacity based on one meeting. It is not necessary to use a solicitor though, POA can be set up online with a neighbour or friend certifying that the donor understands what is happening.

V3ra Sun 21-Nov-21 02:36:25

Crikey you're working all week, then driving two hours each way every weekend to help around the house, and this is how your mother treats you? No way is that acceptable!
To start with I'd suggest you only go every other weekend at most, you must have things you need or want to do yourself at home.

Does your sister help your mother or is it all down to you?
Definitely don't agree to the joint power of attorney. If your sister won't even talk to you, how does your mother think that would ever work?

Lots of good advice from everyone on here. You're already doing above and beyond what's reasonable Peacelily. Time to put yourself first sometimes xx

freedomfromthepast Sun 21-Nov-21 02:37:33

I understand how hard it is to deny a POA. I had to recently make that decision with my Grandmother. Even though it would be in her best interest for me to be the POA, it would have put my directly in the line of fire from my toxic mother.

I told her that I love her so much and would do anything for her, except that. I had guilt from my decision even though I know it is best for me and my children.

Madgran gave some great examples of how to respond to your mom when she is hurtful. You can not change her, but you can and should remove yourself from the situation if she does not stop when asked to.

I highly suggest that you find someone professional to talk to. Not only to overcome they way your mother and sister have treated you in the past, but also to prepare yourself for how you may feel and the outcome when you repeatedly refuse to be the POA.

nanna8 Sun 21-Nov-21 06:36:50

I’d run a mile, certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with POA. She would probably turn round and accuse you of pinching her money. In fact I am sure she would and if she didn’t then your sister might. Smile and tell them you have too many problems and bad personality flaws that she has mentioned.