Dear Richard Madeley: 'A family rift has turned my mother into a bitter, judgmental person' 

Dear Richard Madeley: 'A family rift has turned my mother into a bitter, judgmental person' 
'A family rift has turned my mother into a bitter, judgmental person'  Credit: RII SCHROER/Dominic Lipinski

Dear Richard

To cut a long and unpleasant story short, some years ago we were taken to court by my aunt over money from the sale of my maternal grandparents’ house. They had sold up to live with us, which they did until my grandfather’s death, whereupon my grandmother went to live with my aunt. We settled up, and never heard anything from either of them again.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThrough social media my mother discovered that my grandmother had passed away about four years ago: her precise words were “the witch is dead”. As we never heard anything from a solicitor, it’s clear that my aunt inherited the estate. My grandfather was a fair man: he would not have deprived either of his two daughters of an inheritance. My mother feels the only reason her sister started showing an interest in my grandmother when Grandad died was to make sure she got her hands on the entire estate.

My mother is now extremely bitter. She has no compassion or sympathy for anyone in any bad situation. Ironically, she now has the hard, nasty nature she disliked in her mother. She feels betrayed by her mother and double-crossed by her sister. She seems to have lost several friends to petty feuds.

I’m an only child, and am close to my parents. But I spend 10 hours a day either driving to work, being at work or driving home from work, and the last thing I want is to go and see my mother only to be presented with a list (an actual physical list!) of things she wants to nag me about. I hate to sound like I’m quoting from an episode of Friends – but how do I help her obtain closure? She needs to get over this, start being the sympathetic person she used to be and enjoy life again.

W, Gloucester

Dear W

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appTo be completely honest with you, I think that on this one you’re more or less screwed. Your mother is so far down the rabbit hole of resentment that I doubt there’s any realistic prospect of reaching in and hauling her back into fresh air, daylight and a more balanced world view. If she’s got to the stage of making physical lists of all her grievances and grudges, she’s pretty far gone.

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBut we live in hope – so I will make one suggestion, even though I think the chance of it diluting her anger and hostility is slim at best. Write to her, saying how much you used to admire her fair-mindedness and sense of proportion. Say how unhappy you are now to see her so embittered, and how much you wish she could regain her former equilibrium. Offer to do all you can to help her achieve this. As I say, it probably won’t do any good but it’s at least worth a try.

But if my pessimism is borne out, then I suggest you step back emotionally from this toxic scenario, attempt to develop a philosophical approach and accept things as they are. You have your own life to lead, and there’s no point fretting over something – or someone – you cannot change. Try to remember your mother as she was in better times, and focus on your own happiness.