Two dinners, a year apart.

•October 26, 2013 • 10 Comments

Yes, it has been a year and a half since I posted anything other than the occasional response to comments.

In my defense, not much has happened concerning Mom in that time. But yes, I did have dinner with Dad – twice.

The first was in early September, 2012. Dad called and said that he was passing through, and wanted to see the kids. The kids and I, my wife had a legitimate conflict, met him at the local museum, and then went to dinner at the ‘fancy’ restaurant. We had a nice time, and he got caught up with the kids. He said that he expected to be back in a few weeks, and would call then.

And nothing for an entire year. It’s was nice.

Then last Tuesday, Dad was waiting for me at the commuter lot. We chatted for a while, and he then met me at my house and talked with all of us until my daughter had to leave for school. We made arrangements to meed at the nice Chinese restaurant the next evening. My wife had pictures of the kids and mentioned that there was a folder of them at the mechanic, waiting for him. She stopped at the mechanic on Wednesday afternoon, and Dad had already picked them up.

We met at the restaurant, and had some more pictures, as well as DVDs of the theater productions the kids had been in. We ate and talked for about two hours about current events and activities the kids were in and what had been going on at the beach and things. We had a pleasant, normal time.
Then Dad’s phone rang. He looked at it, but didn’t answer it.
It was Mom.
It was Time For Him To Go.
He wasn’t rude or impolite, just Ready To Leave.
So we did. We said goodbye in the parking lot, and he said that he would be back through in a few weeks. He was looking for something in the car, and had been for almost two minutes before we drove off.

An Example & Other Things

•April 25, 2012 • 25 Comments

Here is a comment left by a bipolar who will remain anonymous unless she posts again.  I left the spelling, capitalization, punctuation exactly as it was.

people with bi-polar are extrememly intelligent and have insight beyond compare to normal people and its very hard to deal with the stupidity of so called normal people who will never be blessed with the gifts god gave us to rise above everyone else who isnt labeled mental, screw yas all, be thankful crazy people exist because they make life worth while, im done with rthis website and all the negative comments about us hard to deal with nut cases, dont judge til you walked a mile in our sheoes DUMMIES!

Notice the delusion of superiority (or adequacy), and wallowing in the joy of what everyone else calls an illness.  As to walking a mile in their shoes, how about trying to clean up the mess (both physical and emotional) that they leave in their wake?

Which brings up another topic I’ve been tossing around for a while but haven’t fully fleshed out.

When someone is first diagnosed with something, the doctors will usually go out of their way to tell them of famous people who have overcome their illness and gone on to to great things.  Lance Armstrong and Michael J. Fox come to mind, but all diseases have their stars and celebrities.

But WHY O WHY would you tell someone diagnosed with bipolar, which usually includes flights of fancy, invincibility, etc, of all the famous, talented, or important people who’ve also had bipolar.

Mom, in one of the rare instances where she briefly admitted that she had been diagnosed with bipolar, went on in the same breath to tell me that Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mel Gibson, Winston Churchill, Vincent Van Gogh & Ernest Hemingway also had bipolar.  Unfortunately in her hypomanic state, she thought (and still does) that it meant that she was as funny as Robin Williams, as creative as Van Gogh, as articulate as Hemingway, as diplomatic as Churchill, etc.  Mom attributed herself with the best aspects of any famous person found to have bipolar.  From what I have heard from others, this wasn’t unusual.

And in lieu of another update post, I had two calls from Mom on my work phone last week.  Both were hangups, and came in back-to-back early Sunday morning.

Another Bipolar Mother

•January 1, 2012 • 8 Comments

The hits here have spiked recently, coinciding with the news that Newt Gingrich’s mother has bipolar. For anyone looking for that story, it appeared in ‘The Daily Beast’ at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/22/newt-gingrich-s-bipolar-mother-kit-gingrich-and-his-difficult-childhood.html.

According to the article, not only was his mother bipolar, but his mother divorced his father when he was less than a year old.  He found out about his natural father when he was 15, and confronted him in a traumatic fashion.  His adopted father was tyrannical, distant, and cold.

There are questions about whether Newt Gingrich inherited bipolar from his mother.  He certainly seems to have some signs that might point in that direction – affairs (plural), excessive energy & motivation, grandiose thoughts, risk taking.  But those could also be the result of the environment he was brought up in.

Mail Call

•August 26, 2011 • 11 Comments

I got a letter from Dad in last week’s post.  It read;

<Me>,

I will be brief & to the point!  I am appalled that so much time has gone by and you have refused to seek out Mom to reconcile!  In fact, Mom has tried & was rebuffed (<wife> slammed the door in her face & you rushed out and ordered her off your property)

The referenced incident occurred THREE AND A HALF YEARS AGO.

I have come by (after calling you) to see the children on several occasions in the past, only to be met outside & never asked in your home!  I am insulted!

Dad’s last visits were in February of this year (2011), and November 2009.

We have always tried to help you in the past – you asked for the loan to get you into your new home – we gave (loaned) you the money – your Buick blew an engine – we gave you <list of other stuff>!

I mention the above as it seems the more help we gave the more it was resented!

Well, the helping hands have now been withdrawn for everything & forever!

Mom’s cell phone # is <cell> if you care to call & attempt to reconcile, if not there will be no more contact between us.

Dad

I will expect the money by 1 Sept 11 or $200 a month  starting 1 Sep 11. Mail it to <street>

Well, it *looks* like Dad’s handwriting, but it is sometimes hard to tell the difference.  Some of the phrasing is definitely Mom, and some of it is definitely Dad.  Mom has always used guilt to try to get her way, and I see some of that here.  But it’s not done with Mom’s ‘flair’, so I assume it’s Dad.

My first reaction to the ‘call & attempt to reconcile or there will be no more contact’ was that the terms were acceptable. This makes more sense if you picture the alien from ‘Men in Black’ saying it when he takes the shotgun from the farmer’s ‘cold dead hands’.

As is usual for me, I procrastinated for a while, trying to decide if and how to respond.  The process has led me to an uncomfortable realization.  My desire is no longer for Mom to get treatment and restore some kind of relationship, but just for them both to go away and stay away.  I wouldn’t mind Dad, and the kids would get a lot out of him, but since they come as a group package, the cost is just too high.

I can no longer claim the moral high ground of ‘just wanting Mom to get help’.  I no longer care – as long as the people she drags into her spiral of insanity don’t include my family or I.

I Already Have A Bipolar Mother

•June 15, 2011 • 38 Comments

There are very few instances where I’ve denied or deleted comments.  Normally I just let them through without question, or occasional edits for profanity.  But this was directed at me and struck a nerve.  I’ve had this comment sitting in the moderation que for a week now, and it bugs me. I might be overly sensitive or conditioned to this kind of thing, but it bugs me none the less.

Some background from other comments she’s left:

  • It appears that this woman has bipolar, but *may* be getting treatment.
  • Two of her three children have cut off contact with her.
  • She recognized that her behavior has hurt her children.
  • She claims not to like the conflict caused between her and her daughters, and wishes to have their relationship restored.

Here’s the comment that I found troubling:

I was wondering if you would be willing to help me and in the process maybe I can help you in return? I love my children and ache when I read your blog. I would like to offer you a “mom” you can tell your feeligs to and have them validated and I would love a child I can share my empathy, love and compssion with. Maybe if we can make it work there is hope. Two out of my three children are not in communication with me at this time. I am hoping we can help each other understand the sane and the insane you began your blog with. My email is: <redacted>
May you find peace in your life.

Notice that there is no hope without my successful participation, and that I need her help (after I’ve helped her).  I’ve seen this kind of burden before.  It’s a guilt trip, and it’s toxic.

So, this woman who has chased off two of her own kids offers to make me an honorary ‘child’ she can share her ‘empathy, love and compassion’ with.  Who wouldn’t find that appealing?

I think I’ve made it quite clear that I don’t need my feelings validated by anyone.  I understand well enough the ‘sane and insane’, and have no desire to get sucked into an emotional vortex with someone on the internet.

I already have a bipolar mother, I really don’t think I need another one.

Am I being harsh?

p.s. If this is you, and you wish to remain anonymous, don’t post in this thread.

Reminder From Mom & Report From Neighbors

•May 22, 2011 • 6 Comments

I got a call at work Friday morning from Mom.  She called to remind me that Dad’s birthday was this weekend, and he was home, while she was at the beach.  She said that since she wouldn’t be there, I should take the kids over and at least tell him happy birthday.  She also said something like ‘didn’t you have a birthday  a while ago’.  Yes, I did – last summer.

She also had burned her hand on the stove, and it was bandaged in the ER, but it still hurt.  She has an appointment for dental surgery some time in the next week or so.  Just so that I know.

And that was it.  Total conversation time under three minutes.

First, her mood.  She was sarcastic, and probably in a tightly controlled hypomanic state, judging by the speed and tone of her speech.

My first (guilt induced) thought was, maybe it would be a good idea to take the kids over to see Dad.  We’ve got a present that we found a while ago that he would really like.  Then a few minutes later it struck me that I was being manipulated.  I know that I should have known it from the minute she called, but the guilt conditioning runs deep.  Then I thought that Mom must have incredible intestinal fortitude to call and ask that I remember Dad’s birthday, when the only birthday they remember is my Daughter’s.  And both my Sons’ birthday were completely ignored by them this year.

So, I told my Wife about it when I got home, and she thought it was funny because ‘guess who she ran into at the store today’.  Dad’s neighbor & his formerly estranged wife – apparently they are now back together.  According to them, Mom is doing really well, normal even.  Dad on the other hand, has health problems, has been getting very forgetful, and was ‘lying in the ditch’.  The ditch thing seems to be a recurring theme for him – probably because his driveway is a little different than Dad’s.  Dad’s driveway has a concrete pipe under it that lets water get through.  Unfortunately it frequently clogs up with twigs and leaves, causing water to run around and undercut the mailbox.  About twice a year, it needs to be cleaned out to keep it from happening.  Usually, this means lying down in the ditch, using a shovel to remove the debris.  Because of the width of the driveway, you have to do it from both sides, and there is still an area in the middle you can’t reach.

My Wife asked me if I was considering seeing Dad, and I told her no.  Dad has told me every time I see him, that he will call or stop by ‘the next time he’s in town’, but he doesn’t.  I answer when he calls, and fit whatever he asks into the schedule.  If he doesn’t want to see us, I’m not going to force it.  His choice, and his loss.

*UPDATE*

I missed two calls from Mom’s cell on Saturday.  I was changing the window motor in my truck, and didn’t have the cell around – not that I probably would have answered anyway.   I finally got around to listening to them this morning.  Mom was calling just letting me know that Dad was home and eating lunch, so now would be a good time to go over, if I wanted to go over, which I probably didn’t, or my Wife wouldn’t let me.  And it was such a shame that I was depriving her grandchildren of benefiting from a relationship with my father, and I would really be sorry since he is getting old and won’t be around much longer.  And my kids would probably blame me for that, and treat me exactly the same way.’

Nothing new, and as usual Mom left all the contact numbers again, as if the reason I don’t call is that I don’t have the number or something.  And it’s funny, because this is the first time I’ve noticed, but Mom leaving those numbers sounds a lot like the computer generated voice that reads off numbers on some voicemail systems.

Done with that for a while, probably.  The next event where I *might* hear from Mom would be in early July.  That’s her birthday, but it is close to our wedding anniversary as well.  She hasn’t ‘reminded’ me of either in a year or so.

The Yearly Visit?

•February 28, 2011 • Comments Off

My phone wasn’t charged, so I missed a call on Saturday from Dad’s cell.  After I charged it I was surprised to find that the message was actually from Dad.  He & Mom are in the area, and he would like to stop by and see the kids.

I called him back – about an hour after he left the message, and found out that Mom was at the hairdresser and he only had a little over an hour before they had to leave for a function.

He came over and He and the kids and I talked in the front yard for the entire hour.  Not about anything major, just normal stuff.

He wasn’t surprised that the kids had grown, but it had been over a year since he saw them last.  He also hadn’t seen either of our puppies, the 18 month old male that we got last January, or the 5 month old female we got last month.  They’re the same breed that I had when I was little, and he got to tell some of the stories about them.

A pleasant hour later, he had to go.  He mentioned that they would probably be in the area more often, at least until the summer, and that he would be back over to see the kids again.

 
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