Recital and Aftermath

The kids had a recital on Thursday. It was a little different than last years, as the day and time had changed, and one more instructor was involved – which increased the number of performers. This is important because we didn’t have the correct time to give to Mom until around noon on Thurs. She called and left two messages on my cell and a few at home as well. When I got the correct time, I called and talked to Dad and let him know – Mom was loud in the background, something about a hairdresser appointment for my daughter, which we wouldn’t have time for.

We got to the recital a bit early. My wife wasn’t feeling well but couldn’t miss the kids playing, so she sat in the back to leave if she needed to. Mom arrived about 5 minutes after it started – by herself – definitely not a good sign. The recital went well, and my wife lasted until our kids had finished before heading out. When it was over, the kids and I visited for a few minutes in the lobby with Mom before heading home. There was a reception afterward, but it was already about 9, and we hadn’t had dinner yet.

The next day, we got a few messages at home as well as on my cell. Mom was NOT happy (notice a recurring theme?) Apparently Dad had gone to the beach because of the confusion over the time of the recital (30 min. later than what I originally told them), and thought that I was lying to them in an attempt to keep them from attending. She also thought it rude that we left before the reception, as the reception is a part of the recital also, and they were expected to attend. SHE had been to a lot of recitals and ALWAYS went to the reception afterward. It was important for the kids to go, and learn how to interact at a reception, etc. She also said that we should have allowed my daughter to go to the salon and have her hair done so at least her hair would have looked nice. And she thought that the boys were being evasive when she was talking to them, had we told them not to talk to her? And then she started on the long list(tm) of things that she felt she had been wronged over.

Unfortunately, my daughter was in the room when one of the messages were being recorded and got angry at what Mom was saying (the long list(tm) part). Fortunately, the ‘at least her hair would have looked nice’ wasn’t part of that message.

Mom called again later, and I answered. She went over her complaints again, and when would she get to see the kids, and she wanted to know if there was something wrong with my wife, since she was rude last night in not welcoming Mom to the recital (even though she was late) and she never answers the phone. I got a bit sarcastic and told her that I ‘couldn’t imagine WHY she wouldn’t want to talk to her’, since Mom had always been so sweet and kind to her. Mom hung up. And she didn’t call back.

I got a message from Dad a while later. He was upset that I told Mom that she would NEVER get to see the kids again, and what she had wasn’t contagious (only partially true), and that Mom needed compassion and hugs, not more stress. I called Dad back a few times, but the line was busy. When I finally got through, the phone rang about 10 times before the machine came on and said that it was full. I wonder how it got full so fast???

We were away from Fri. night until late Sat. night. I called and talked to Dad today. I set straight what he had gotten from Mom – The boys weren’t evasive, Mom was talking at mach 8, and they were confused. Mom can see the kids, but on my conditions. We didn’t rush out after the recital, we stayed around and talked a bit, but it didn’t end until about 9. Dad isn’t planning on coming home until Mom goes back on her meds. Dad also said that he had to get a new answering machine because their last one ‘blew up’. He had talked to my aunt, and she is the only one who Mom trusts – he told her good, maybe Mom will blow up her answering machine. He called back a while later to ask me to see if Mom was still at home, and to let him know if she heads down.

I finally figured out a few things about Dad and will have to talk to him about them next time:

  • With Mom, he is like a gambler that lost a lot – hopefully this next time….
  • He doesn’t understand how Mom’s reality only partially intersects with what really happens
  • When Mom says ANYTHING, especially something that goes against what you already know, just discard it – no need to fact-check
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~ by namegoeshere on June 4, 2007.

5 Responses to “Recital and Aftermath”

  1. There’s a good program for family of people suffering from mental illness put on by NAMI (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) called “Family to Family”. It is a twelve week course that helps family members develop coping strategies for living with their loved ones. I think it could help you a lot.

  2. Your dad said “Mom needed compassion and hugs, not more stress.”

    Then why isn’t he there administering them? Why is he assuming that you and your family are the ones to do it???

  3. Joel: There is a bipolar support group that I am looking into for Dad. It is not run through NAMI, but has a good track record. My primary goal for the short term is to keep Mom from doing any more damage to my family, and convince her that she has a problem and needs help. The former is difficult, the latter is probably impossible.

    chocolatechic: Dad hasn’t figured out yet that Mom’s reality doesn’t intersect with reality very much. She called his machine and told him something – and he believed it until he found out otherwise. I no longer feel the need to counter anything Mom says for the purpose of setting the record straight. I know that Dad hasn’t done the things she says he has, he should know the same about me – and I will remind him of it the next time we talk.
    Dad also doesn’t yet understand (or hasn’t internalized) that even when Mom is at a more normal level of agitation, her reality still doesn’t match ours. He is still assuming that if she isn’t screaming/crying that she is ‘normal’.

  4. This is such a sad situation. I pray that your dad understands quickly, and that you are able to protect your family.

  5. DBSA is another good organization (that I am active in). But the NAMI program is the best out there and the twelve week class it offers is free. You need to put the short term in the context of the long term: how to deal with the refusals to take the meds, etc. while keeping your own sanity. And, from what I have read, you need to focus on your sanity without getting stuck in the tar baby of your mother’s illness.

    Good luck and do check out NAMI for both you and your father.

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