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Going through treatment for recurrence and eviction threats

I am currently going through recurrence for metastatic endometrial cancer. I got chest/abdomen/pelvis MRI scans on Friday and will see my oncologist this coming Thursday. At the same time, my mother is currently evicting me from one of the many properties she owns and one that she specifically bought for me--we shopped for houses together with the realtor. I am her only child, my brother died about 5 years ago. I have been living in this house for the last 9 years--it is very large as she wouldn't buy a more reasonable place in a more creative community, too "ghetto" for her. I'm an sculptor and use most of the space as a studio space and have bought more furniture than I would normally do to make the house feel like a home. I have some success, I show regularly and have gotten a couple of major awards.

Since my surgery in 2014, my 81-year-old mother had been telling people around her that I am faking cancer and would not return calls from my husband when I was in the hospital after the radical hysterectomy 3 years ago. She is extremely wealthy from an inheritance from my grandmother and fought off the extended family as "the only biological child" and thus deserving of the millions my grandmother left. I am taking her to court over the house in a Quiet Claim action as I only moved in because she promised it was my house (I pay utilities but not the taxes), I've invested a lot of money taking care of the house (getting it painted, landscaping, etc.), and I've been living there for the last 9+ years. She is worth at least 100 million and the house is a small fraction of her net assets.

She is also much diminished intellectually but never really understood many things about the real world as she suffers from borderline personality disorder. I've also started a conservatorship action, but the men around her that benefit from the trust have manufactured a history for her and have told me that I don't have and haven't had a relationship with her (refuted by many cards, gifts, photos--how do they explain my presence in the house for the last 9 years in a part of the world my mother knows nothing about?)

I know the conservatorship action will take a lot of money and my attorney has been told that they have many people who will attest to her capacity when I know she doesn't remember my husband's name and various events from the past are very confused and twisted. Four or five years ago it took her 5 times to pass her driver's license test. She drives terribly and has a very circumscribed route around her small town.

I blame myself for trusting this woman. I have and continue to have a therapist. To start the process of selling off all the things I have (they would never fit in an apartment) is overwhelming. As a sculptor, there are lots of supplies, because I use multiple media, I have lots of material stored for future projects. My recent work is the best I've ever made but I plan to give away as much as possible. I spent the night figuring out how to find a good home for my dogs (2 Boston Terriers). My husband is an artist with a gallery and collectors, as well, and he is also talking about suicide.

A very sweet old friend compared my situation to Mommy Dearest (Joan Crawford's daughters memoir) and he's not wrong. The BPD mother is out to destroy me when I'm down. I know I won't be able to afford the attorneys and my health care, I am having trouble wanting to do anything further about my cancer treatment. I also know my death will have very little impact on her.

5 Replies

Hi Miyoshi: Please reach out to the art community with a consolidation of your needs for your supplies that you need to continue your work. Write up a flyer and ask if anyone has space that is inexpensive. You may have to break down certain things into 2 spaces. Living area is unbelievably easy, place to sleep and space to cook and eat. It might also be best if you go to work in your art space to relieve pressure of living in small space. I say all this out of experience: I had a bead shop before I got sick. I either had to give it all away or scale it down to manageable storage. I am now giving it to friends and enjoy the process. I have also moved twice in 4 years and those rocks are very heavy. If you love your art, don't give it up. No way, no how. People who create must continue creating or they'll explode.

I too had to give up my toxic mother for my own self preservation. In the process, I also lost contact with my sister. It's been a tough 11 years and I have now contacted my sister since my mother has died. It's a whole new relationship. The best friends you can make are probably out there in the art world. Please try to reach out in a different direction to make the big change in your life. Remember: every great change was preceded by chaos. Every little change will make you stronger. This is where you are in control of your life, not your mother. We can make choices. I would love to hear what yours are.

Many blessings , Eileen

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Thank you, Eileen. Mental illness is still stigmatized and many people are uncomfortable acknowledging/talking about it. Lucky for me I was at 2 artist friends' wedding this weekend and saw lots of old classmates and new friends. There are more women out there with toxic mothers. I also have a friend who went through metastatic breast cancer and her husband divorced her during her treatment--I understand that many of us have to go through severe stress during our treatments and have to find a way to stay grounded.

I sometimes wonder if the stress from growing up with the BPD mother contributed to the cancer development. I don't have the BRCA gene but have had breast and uterine cancer.

It was super tough the night I wrote this because her aggressive lawyer is lying about her. It felt like my mother's abuse was being amplified by the attorney, but I realize it is just a tactic to get me to go away. I am so much better today. I am not leaving the house yet as I have the pending court action. Sometimes it is hard to see the big picture.


I'm so glad you wrote back. It's the darkest times when we need to vent and many don't feel they can or have the right. My darkest hour arrived 13 years ago and as a result I joined Alanon. I learned so many self-preservation methods which is just what we need after we are beat down all our lives. And it's free, they do pass a basket but you don't have to contribute. Please keep in touch; we are the survivors of many things which bonds us over the miles. Eileen


I'm seeing a palliative care doctor next week. I saw a webinar on the SHARE website about the benefits of palliative care doctors (you can still access this webinar)--they spend an hour with you instead of the 3 mins. an oncologist spends with you and will help with side effects. They will also hold onto your health directive and do-not-resuscitate papers for you.

I've been working on mindfulness meditation. I recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's books, which I listen to on audible.

Good to meet you, too!


I finally got pain control pill 2 weeks ago, had surgery Jan3. Been rough. I was wondering why my water pill wasn't working. forgot to take it! Don't know about the cancer/ abuse correlation but mind and body do work together. Audible books work for messy working hands. I'll check it out at library.


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