What to do about a freeloading brother and an enabling mother?
August 27, 2012 3:03 PM Subscribe
What to do about a mentally unstable brother who's taking advantage of my elderly mother?
posted by anonymous to human relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My brother, who is in his 50s, has pretty much never had a job in his life. He has been living with my parents his whole life except for one brief period in the 1980s when he had a roommate. My brother has a history of lying, stealing, and drug use that goes back to his childhood. My parents have been in denial about this/have defended him against any criticism his entire life. They have taken his side in any situation (stealing from me, etc) despite knowing that he is a proven liar and a thief.
My father passed away recently and my brother and mom moved into a very nice apartment in Southern California (LA County), which my sister and I found for them. My mother is blind and not in great health but pretty much refuses our help. She is financially okay because of social security/pension/insurance, etc, but my brother is draining her savings. She has been told many times that he is taking large quantities of cash out of the ATM but refuses to see that it is a problem; it's always "Well, we have to buy groceries" or something similar. But we're talking hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars each week.
The apartment, which was pristine when they moved in, is now filthy. I won't go into details, but the filth includes cat feces and garbage that's never taken out unless he knows we're coming over. If I try to clean when I go over, my mother gets irate and accuses me of bossiness. My brother takes hundreds of dollars in cash out of my mother's account each week. His pockets are always stuffed full of cash. His bedroom is kept closed and he smells of pot. He has a conviction for drunk driving and probation violation (which we found out by accident, my parents and brother hid this from us.) He has become very politically right-wing, and goes into rages if you say anything that might contradict his Fox News worldview. He has a Facebook account in which he tells his contacts that he is living in Paris and traveling the world, and is otherwise just pretty much rants about liberals and calls for Obama to be tried as a war criminal. I truly believe that he is mentally ill but my mother is in complete denial about his mental state. He went into a rage the other day because we were late to meet him and couldn't contact him as he had changed his cell number without telling us. His rages involve a lot of slamming around the apartment, muttering under his breath and sometimes firing off an email to whichever one of us he's mad at, even while we're standing there. I have blocked his emails after getting two of the most hateful missives I've ever gotten in my life, from anyone.
They also live about 45 minutes away; we wanted them to move closer, but my brother persuaded her to live in an area where they used to live. I believe it's because he has drug connections there and because it's close to a racetrack (he is also addicted to gambling on horses.)
The apartment is disgusting, my mother is in ill health, and she won't hear a word about any of it. Do I have any legal recourse?
I am crying just writing this. I have no idea what to do. Or if I should just realize that this is the way things are and there's nothing I can do. Any advice is gratefully appreciated.