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Help coping with emotions re elderly parents

(85 Posts)
oldbatty Tue 31-Jul-18 08:41:50

I would be very grateful for any insights into this situation. I have to visit my very elderly parents today. For many reasons this is stressful.

One thing I am particularly struggling with is connected to money.

A few years ago they were the victims of fraud and it cam out that they have a substantial amount of money.
They have never helped me out financially and I guess that's their choice.
However, I find myself trawling through some very tough times we had as a family and I had as an individual where they could have helped and didn't.
I know I need to " let this go" but its hard.

kittylester Tue 31-Jul-18 08:51:17

(((Hugs))), oldbatty.

You will find lots of people on gn have/had fraught relationships with their parents for all sorts of reasons.

My mum told each of us different tales about the others and my brothers and I didn't speak for 6 years. Ironically, mum being ill brought us back together.

When she had dementia I found it therapeutic to moan to my brothers and on here.

I think by this stage it's not a good idea to bring things up even though there are triggers every time you meet. But, do you have brothers and sisters or a husband or children to off load on.

Gransnet is brilliant at listening!

annsixty Tue 31-Jul-18 08:55:12

You need to get over it for your sake, don't let it make you bitter.
You will be the sufferer not them, they will not bother at all.
Just do what you need to so you will never worry that you didn't do enough, I have been there myself, not with money, my mum had none, but with attention and jealousy on her part.
Smile through the visit and I hope you inherit eventually..

kittylester Tue 31-Jul-18 09:05:23

Good post, ann

Luckygirl Tue 31-Jul-18 09:17:04


loopyloo Tue 31-Jul-18 09:25:27

Perhaps they were being careful so they did not become a difficulty to you, money wise.

paddyann Tue 31-Jul-18 09:35:27

their money their choice,remember they were of the generation that thought "you made your bed so lie in it"I would never have expected my parents to bail us out ...even in the early days of our business when we literally lived on toasted cheese for over 2 years ...and a bit of bacon when we'd had a good week.We never told anyone how tough life was,because it was our choice to go it on our own.I hear a lot about entitled young people nowadays ,maybe its not a new phenomenon its just that we hear more about it now .
Forget what they "didn't give you" and be happy you still have them around,surely thats worth far more .

narrowboatnan Tue 31-Jul-18 09:35:59

It’s hard not to feel resentful, but getting through those hard times has probably made you a stronger, more resilient and probably resourceful person. Take care.

luluaugust Tue 31-Jul-18 09:38:56

I was thinking the same loopy many elderly people become obsessed with not being a burden, as they see it. Maybe they had little money when they were young, or didn't realise quite what dire straits you were in at times. Its often said on GN thats its their money to do as they wish with and I wouldn't let it come between you at this late date.

typicallytina Tue 31-Jul-18 09:39:30

Nothing new there....I looked after my Mother with help of one sister 400 miles away every eight weeks...sister one hour away was there once in 22 months and sister in same village wouldn’t even sleep over to let me see hubby...but the rub was the sister in the village emptied her bank account before I got wise to could have let that bother me and fester or I could throw it away...I chose latter

Doversole Tue 31-Jul-18 09:44:08

It sounds as if it has been very hurtful to think your parents could have helped you but didn't. Big hugs to you.

Is there a chance they felt insecure about what the future held for them and felt they needed to hang on to the money to deal with whatever life threw at them e.g. Care home costs, knowing that you would in the end inherit any money not used up anyway?

gillybob Tue 31-Jul-18 09:44:20

Oh how I understand the feelings of not quite being able to “let things go” oldbatty . My parents ( mum died 2 years ago) had/have very little in the way of money and I dare say they might have given me a financial helping hand if they had been able to, however what I “can’t let go” is the fact that I had my lovely boy when I was just 18 years old . Despite living only a short bus ride away Never once did they offer to have him over night or even babysit so I could have any sort of life . I get that getting pregnant was my own fault and that “ I made my bed” but I can’t get over these feelings of abandonment . I was very lonely and worked very hard as a single parent but I was terribly lonely . These days I include my dad in almost everything we ever do and take him shopping / for coffee twice every week and little weekends away when I can. I take my grandchildren to visit almost every week too but At very low moments I think to myself “ where were you when I needed you ?” And “why do you deserve this dedication?”

It’s horrible not being able to let go of stuff from the past oldbatty but I suppose we just have to try and get on with things . Sending you huge {{hugs}} x

FlexibleFriend Tue 31-Jul-18 09:45:54

Try and look at it from another angle, kids today frequently complain the oldies are spending their inheritance but it's not their inheritance till the oldies are dead it's actually the oldies money to do with as they please. It doesn't matter if they worked their backsides off to get it or if it was a gift from the gods so to speak. It's still their money.
Don't even think about it, life's too short to be bitter.

Witzend Tue 31-Jul-18 09:52:29

Can't say I blame you, OP. Seems very strange to me when well off parents don't want to help children going through hard times if they can afford to - assuming good relationships and no daft spendthrift tendencies in the children, of course.

People will always say, 'It's their money to do with as they wish,' which is perfectly true, but I still don't understand it.

Cazzab56 Tue 31-Jul-18 09:52:29

I understand. I lost my father to car accident aged 6. I’m 56 now. All 6 of us led to believe we were poor. No house phone, central heating, car. Now she is 92 and we realised that she was saving it for a rainy day. Me and two sisters minding her at her home with carers coming in too. She has too much savings to put in a home!! One sister the eldest close by says she won’t help as my mum was horrible to her growing up. Us three doing our shifts for each other. My mum is 92 and can still hurt me ie you’ve got very fat. I’m 11 stone and 5 6”. We reckon we have saved her £64k in home fees in year.
It definitely affected my self esteem getting neighbours hand me downs. But really doesn’t matter any more. She never spent it on herself either sadly.

NoddingGanGan Tue 31-Jul-18 09:52:42

No-one has a right to expect financial support from parents beyond their childhood years and I'm often astonished that people feel this entitlement. Or feel that they are, "not loved" if they don't receive the help they feel, "should" be forthcoming.
Your parents have probably had their own hard times in the past and have budgeted diligently and saved hard to be in a position to feel some sense of financial security in their old age and not to be a financial burden on the their children as this works two ways; no parent should feel entitled to help from their children when their own health and wealth begin to fail!
People who have suffered financial hardship and uncertainty are often those who cling hardest to any nest egg they finally manage to accrue.
As their daughter, you will, no doubt, inherit at least a portion of their estate one day I suppose?
They are older and frailer than you, leave them be in their financial comfort blanket (what's left of it since the fraud) and be thankful you're not having to financially support them!
Also, be thankful they are still around. I'd give anything to be able to write, "I'm going to visit my elderly parents today".
Try to look to the positive, you'll only make yourself more unhappy if you don't.

Coconut Tue 31-Jul-18 09:52:56

If any of my AC ever needed financial assistance when younger, I willingly gave it, knowing it was for house deposits etc and I gave it willingly because I was able to. My own Mum only offered to “ lend” money, even tho she is very well off. So I think it’s hard at times to accept others stance on money, even more so if your parents sat back and saw your struggle. But as others say, you must let it go as it damages you not them.

Lilyflower Tue 31-Jul-18 09:52:58

I never had a penny from my father nor my mother and they both spent much of the family budget on themselves and on alcohol and cigarettes. It made me very independent and I do not begrudge them having what was theirs. I have, though, been pretty generous with my own children though neither expected a penny after they were eighteen.

Older people fear being penniless and of running through their capital.

I think that, instead of feeling entitled to others' money, you should be counting your lucky stars that there might be some cash to inherit.

GabriellaG Tue 31-Jul-18 09:54:05

Oh dear sad
Perhaps your parents thought that it was no bad thing for children (or you, especially) to find ways to surmount obstacles in their path, financial or otherwise.
They may possibly have had an upbringing themselves which taught them to make their own way regardless of family having the means to 'help out'.
I myself have refused on occasion, to lend money (and I have a not insubstantial amount of savings at my disposal) to one child in particular as they are wasteful and make no effort to budget on their salary. Needless to say, that AC was rude and bitter when I declined.
Were your parents saving it in case they needed long-term care away from home? Could you ask both or one of them for answers without them getting cross, after all, it's their business what they choose to do with it?
However you manage this delicate situation, I hope your relationship doesn't come under any strain.
Least said, soonest the saying goes but I do understand your feelings in the matter.
Fortunately, my parents had very little and left nothing, so we children had to make our own money and manage as best we could, which turned out well for all 3 of us.

rizlett Tue 31-Jul-18 09:54:38

One way of letting go of negative thoughts is to thank your mind for gently reminding you of this feeling but then immediately to focus on something 'real' so a beautiful flower or tree or someone/something you love - your mind is clever though and will try to sneak the negativity in again so again just thank it and shift your focus to something else.

With practice you can learn to let go more easily which is a good thing as holding on to emotion connected to the past is pointless and only makes us feel bad.

Thoughts connected to emotions are the most memorable though and our minds are very crafty and often need quite a bit of retraining from time to time.

It's helps to remember that we all have free choice so you can choose to let this go or you can choose to cart it around with you weighing you down - just like your parents can choose to keep their money or give it away or pass it to their children. Just like you can choose to visit or not visit. There is always a choice - apart from when we die. No choice about that!

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Tue 31-Jul-18 09:58:41

I slow had similar. A lovely childhood where if my parents had money we had a good, when it was short we all went without. But there were instances that sometimes come to light that make nme think why e.g. both my siblings were bought cars and driving lessons I paid for my own, both were bailed out a couple times while I was never offered a bean? I think it's because my mother wanted me to be a during self sufficient woman and I've worked hard all my life for my family. What she didn't teach me was that men can be selfish and now find myself with a retired oh who had plenty £s from his pension fund whilst I'm still working as have no pension because I stepped down several grades when my children were born and then took jobs to fit around their needs as he never considered childcare his role. He now hands £s to our children but apart from buying the food and paying for utilities I don't get to help him spend his money. hmm

patriciageegee Tue 31-Jul-18 09:59:27

There's so many mixed emotions when parents are elderly and needy isn't there old batty? Though I love my mum she was a very hormonal, bad tempered woman who often took out her frustrations on me as a child. Yet now I find, to my surprise, that I'm her chief carer and although I treat her as kindly and gently as possible I sometimes get a rush of pure rage when I remember how it was. Maybe you feel anger too along with sorrow that things should have been different and not with a sense of entitlement just wishing for more loving generosity and caring insight from your parents in recognising how you were struggling. My way through is to acknowledge the anger and pain, have a good ole scream and a cry then try to balance it out with more positive memories but it's bloody hard sometimes I have to admit! Hope you find your own way old batty and as all the posters say GN is brilliant for advice and letting off steam - many many good wishesflowers

gillybob Tue 31-Jul-18 10:00:50

I understand what you are saying rizlet and they are very wise words . I’m not sure how oldbatty thinks about this, but I have a terrible guilt complex that won’t allow me to “not do stuff” ( if that makes sense) . Half of me wants to say “ where the hell were you when I needed you” but the nicer half just carries on being suffocated .

Rocknroll5me Tue 31-Jul-18 10:04:24

As you say many stresses with your parents which doesn’t help. I can imagine they might be in a kind of safety denial about their money and find decision making on spending it hard and think at least the future will be cared for. Are you the beneficiary in their Will? If you are then put all resentment aside and understand it is a fear of the future thing which I think we all understand at this time of uncertainty of care in old age. If you aren’t and they have not helped when they could have in the past I think you have a grievance.
Tell them.

Juliet27 Tue 31-Jul-18 10:04:34

@Doversole...luckily I'm able to help my kids a bit financially now and then but also I do keep saving with the thought of care costs as we become further decrepit!! That might save a bit of burden for them if it comes to that and if not there'll be some to inherit. That's the plan anyway!!
Apart from all that...I do sympathise with you oldbatty.....not nice discoveries to have made but I hope an inheritance will soften the blow eventually.