- As I’d feared, I have no written contract and, therefore, no external avenue of complaint. When inevitably I approach my mother, believing that she is causing the delay, I cannot hide my frustration. I try to explain to her the mathematics of what is happening, but her mind is conditioned not to follow what I am saying. Instead, she begins to cry like a child, convinced that I must be trying to confuse her with complicated lies in order to get more money. My mother says I’ve got it wrong… she isn’t involved… my brother is ‘arranging everything’… he is acting in my ‘long-term interests,’ but I don’t understand this… I need to ‘have more faith’… everything I ‘dream of’ will come to me ‘eventually.’
- My mother goes to my brother to report. When I try to talk to her again, my frustration is reinterpreted - I am ‘too selfish and impetuous’… I’ve broken my word… this proves I dnn’t care about her health… I am ‘only interested in money,’ etc. In this way, my brother controls all information entering my mother’s head. She is convinced that there is no need for her to listen to me or to consult her lawyer… I have got myself ‘into a mess’ and my brother will calmly save me, but I am ‘panicking.’
- My brother still cannot tell me when my cash will be available or exactly how he is going to raise it. He tells me that there will now ‘have to be further conditions attached.’
- After 5 minutes, that feel like a lifetime, I angrily walk out. The atmosphere is indescribable. I’ve seen, and heard, more than enough to realise that, from the start, my brother must have been deliberately sabotaging my life. He is now trying to exploit my vulnerability to force me to join his crackpot pyramid scheme, but he is genuinely convinced that he is acting in my long term interests. I return home exhausted and depressed. Two weeks later, my brother lures me back to
with a promise of the cash we’d discussed more than a year before. When all the additional costs are taken into consideration, this amount now represents an enormous net-loss. However, my brother’s poisoned mind is incapable of receiving what it systematically reinterprets as ‘negative’ information. I realise that it is pointless trying to explain to him the actual sum now required to complete my purchase. My brother solemnly proclaims that he has tried his best to ‘help’ me by bringing me into his ‘business,’ but my refusal has finally proved to him that I am ‘just a selfish loser’… he can’t be held responsible for my ‘failure’… even if I ‘beg to join Amway,’ it is ‘now too late.’ Under normal circumstances I would laugh, but it has become impossible to see any comedy in this tragic situation. England
- My brother then supplies approximately 80 % of the sterling he’d previously agreed. At the last moment, he obliges me to sign a blank receipt and to promise that I will only use the payment for my project. By this stage, I would have accepted almost anything to save my home, but, soon afterwards, I discovered that my brother hasn’t been using family money at all. He had emptied his own, and his partner’s, savings accounts - this explains the odd amount. At the same time, he has convinced my mother that I have freely signed an agreement to accept his generous payment as my entire inheritance… I’ve been given exactly what I’d requested to complete my transaction. My brother has made sure there are no witnesses to what has really occurred. He has arbitrarily decided that, for the purpose of their division, our family’s properties are worth a tiny fraction of their market-value. He has reams of his own contemporaneous notes to prove his case, but these take no account of the subsequent delay. My brother then gives-up his job and begins pretending that he’s ‘retired thanks to the Amway business o
pportunity.’ In reality, he is using his stolen prosperity (and his partner’s salary) to bedazzle his prospective recruits and finance his allied ‘Amway’ activities. I am now more than ready to tell him exactly what I think, but when I try to confront him by telephone, he laughs at me and hangs up. I cannot control my anger - I do not recognise myself.
- As a result of the intervention of a close friend, who persuades my mother to consult her lawyer, I am again offered deliverance, but only if I ‘agree’ to sign a legally-binding contract. However, I am not allowed to communicate directly with the lawyer and I cannot afford legal representation. I have to attempt to negotiate the contract through my friend, but she is being overwhelmed by constant claims that my mother will die if there is any argument. To my friend, it is unthinkable that anyone can be so manipulative. In the end, my friend is begging me to remain silent. Consequently, the contract reflects my brother’s comic-book model of reality. In short, I am falsely blamed for everything. Ironically, when my mother’s lawyer discovers the rising market-value of my home (approximately 3X the outstanding mortgage-debt), he advises her to raise a loan in
(using family property as collateral) and complete its purchase using French lawyers to instruct the interested third-parties. The one time I meet with my mother and brother is when the contract has to be signed. My mother and brother travel to France. To show his disdain, my brother turns up at the Notaire's office wearing a sort of tracksuit. England
- Only at this point, am I allowed to read the contract. When I start to challenge it, my mother begins clutching at her chest and gasping for breath. In the end, I feel obliged to comply. The atmosphere is again indescribable. On the contract, the previous (net-loss) payment is now falsely recorded as a ‘personal loan’ from my brother. My friend had been verbally assured that ‘this is for reasons of tax’… he will ‘never demand repayment.’ Although the contract gives me 6 months before any interest is due, I am made responsible for an additional sterling-loan (recorded as being from my mother) and for two sets of lawyers’ fees (10 % of the total debt). Interestingly, my brother declares his occupation to be a ‘qualified schoolteacher’ - there is no mention of his ‘Amway Distributorship' or his recent 'retirement.'
- In total, it has taken over two years to conclude a relatively simple house purchase that I had planned to take no more than 2 months, and it could not have been finalised at a worse time. My urgent instructions (which were quasi-identical to the long-winded, and expensive, advice of my mother’s lawyers) were completely ignored. With all the unnecessary delay, the cost of the transaction in sterling has doubled. Instead of having a home and 100 % equity, producing a secure rental-income and financing another business (which had been my overall strategy), I am saddled with a major debt and no lawful means of servicing it. I have already lost an incalculable amount of time and income, whilst a self-defeating clause in the contract now prevents me from legally-renting out any part of my home. However, the money has long-since become secondary. My peace of mind and state of physical health are disintegrating along with my way of life. Several close relationships have already become strained to breaking-point. For this reason, I cannot bring myself to speak with my family.
- I hear nothing for almost 6 months and I am starting to recover. My mother (at the instigation of my brother) sends me a leaflet from another American-registered company, ‘Marketing Group International.’ Its ‘British office’ wants an up-front payment of approximately $300 ‘to offer European houses for sale in
Hong Kong’ - it is an obvious ‘advance-fee fraud,’ but my name is already filled-in on a form in my mother’s distinctive handwriting. When I contact her lawyer in to express my concern, he claims that she has no knowledge of this, and he demands a crippling interest payment not only on behalf of my mother, but also on behalf of my brother (contrary to the assurance he gave to my friend). The lawyer insists that if I refuse to comply, I will be risking my mother’s life. Thanks to my brother, I have neither equity nor income. Subsequently, a lawsuit is filed against me in England to take possession, and force the sale, of my home. My only possible defence witness is my friend who negotiated the contract. However, she now refuses to become involved. She is fearful that she might be blamed if my mother drops dead. Although my mother’s name is on the documentation, in reality, all the proceeds of any sale will only go to the benefit of my brother and his invisible ‘Amway associates.’ France