The Letter

Well, it’s done. I’m exhausted, but it is done. I was asked ‘well, what if Mom gets a hold of it’ – I’ll print another. I can print more than she can destroy. It goes in the mail tomorrow morning with a 62min. CD of Mom’s recent messages. Thanks to everyone who assisted with it.

You asked me to reconsider allowing the kids to see Mom. I have. This has been a difficult decision, and I expended so much emotional energy and time on this over the last few weeks that I feel guilty about neglecting my wife and kids. To help you understand my decision, here is a disc with some of the messages Mom has left. I hope and pray that you will actually be able to listen and hear the messages. Like me, you may have to turn them off a few times and walk away. If you do listen to them, I suggest that you may want to have someone you can confide in listen with you. I am sure that your ears have become as seared and calloused as mine. It is automatic that you and I zone out much of what Mom says. Over the years we have learned to ignore anything being said until it reached a certain level. It has taken me all these years to realize that even in a normal tone of voice Mom’s comments lack control and propriety.
We have been extremely careful with the answering machine. If the kids ever heard some of the really bad messages, they would hate her. Whether you believe it or not, I didn’t want the kids to have that kind of memory, and quite frankly, downright hatred for her.
The vetting of messages did not begin after Mom came home from **holiday**. It started (this time) while you were there. Mom was leaving messages of how physically violent you had become towards her, how you had abandoned her, and how she feared for her life. The kids did not need to hear this.
You said that you didn’t believe the kids came to the decision on their own. Technically, they didn’t. Mom helped them with it. One of the messages that they inadvertently heard was Mom berating us about letting them go to some “damn dead baby’s funeral.” **daughter** was angry. ** son #1** was crying. In another message, which they thankfully only heard part of, Mom threatened to take our cars, put a lien on our house, and go to court to get the children. That’s why ** son #1** didn’t want to come over when ***aunt*** and ***uncle*** were in town, and why their behavior at the recital and voting was reserved.
The kids heard enough of Mom’s threats that they were scared. The boys were discussing their plan on what to do if Mom showed up at our house while they were outside playing. They decided that they should run inside and lock the door. They are afraid that Mom will try to take them. When they knew that Mom was still in at home and you were at the beach, they made us drive through parking lots to make sure that they wouldn’t run into Mom in the store. ** son #1**, on the ride home from his bowling outing with the church group, mentioned that it was a bad time for him to have a bruise on his arm. I thought that it had bothered him while bowling, but no. He thought it would look bad if Mom actually ended up taking us to court. Mom’s messages did that. Nothing else. If you listen to the messages you will notice that Mom’s major concern is only with **daughter**. The boys have said that they know she is the favorite one, and they are glad after hearing some of the messages Mom left for **daughter**. That is so wrong.
Mom has been seeking treatment for problems that, I question, truly exist. Recently she has been blaming her behavior on Sjogren’s and now allergies. If Mom really does have Sjogren’s, it is NOT the cause of her behavior. If Mom really does have allergies, it is NOT the cause of her behavior. Thinking that, and allowing Mom to think that only provides a temporary respite before the behavior appears again, and a new ‘cause’ needs to be found. Any ‘treatment’ that Mom gets only works for a little while. Initially, I thought it was a good sign. That Mom, at some level, recognized that she has a problem and eventually would lead to an acceptance of the real cause. She is now blaming her behavior on the meds that she was on ***on holiday***, and stopped taking a week after we got back. Her problems started long before that.
Mom has shown this pattern as far back as when ***brother*** and I were little. Over time it has just become amplified and more frequent. The current situation is only slightly increasing the severity of what was already going on. Untreated, I expect that it will lead to physical violence manifested by breaking things, or directed at you.
Mom’s excuses over the years have ranged from her miscarriages, your absences while deployed , menopause, ***brother***’s death, my marriage, Sjogren’s, and now allergies. Your reluctance in wanting to accept the diagnosis of bipolar is obvious. You have only heard it from three doctors, and psychology is not an exact science. It is understandable that you would prefer any other diagnosis to Mom being bipolar. It offers no hope of improvement if Mom is unwilling to get treatment. I think that Mom does have bipolar, but that there are other issues that play into it as well. Mom is a collector, and things are very important to her. You’ve seen the evidence of Mom collecting things: the worthless hoards of empty yogurt cups and food containers, pamphlets, and endless papers. She bragged about going out and climbing into the dumpster to retrieve trash that you had thrown away.
Mom is also a collector of injustices. Any wrong, whether real or perceived, is carefully stored away to be brought back up when it suits her. Mom won’t let these go any easier than she can throw out ‘important’ papers. Nothing is ever forgotten or forgiven. You know this by the way Mom will dig up things such as your absence on sea duty when your first baby died, and the $75 savings bonds for your uniforms.
I am willing to believe that Mom is suffering from bipolar or a similar disorder. There appears to be a strong family history of similar behavior. Failing to accept that diagnosis in favor of others is enabling Mom to continue to find more excuses for her behavior. The alternative to a psychiatric diagnosis is that Mom’s behavior is rational and normal. I can NOT accept that. I thought you had convinced Mom to get treatment a few years ago. Apparently it was the shock of your home being violated that straightened her out – at least for a little while. The really sad part is that the threat of missing your anniversary or of not seeing the kids doesn’t have a similar or stronger emotional impact as a violation of her things. After ***aunt*** and ***uncle*** left, I talked to Mom almost daily. I was looking for some degree of emotional control that never appeared.
You said on the phone that if Mom and ** wife ** could just hug and make up, that things would be better. I don’t think it is possible because of Mom. Saturday morning, a little more than 12 hours before we talked, Mom left another message. I recognize your desire to smooth things over, but Mom will Never be able to undo, or even apologize for any of the pain that she has caused – UNLESS she gets effective treatment.
** wife ** used to sing in church. We invited you and Mom. A vile comment from Mom (which has been repeated since) put an end to it. Permanently. It is truly a shame that you and Mom never got to know ** wife **. You’d be hard pressed to find a more kind, caring, compassionate person. Proof of that is obvious if you look at the kids. My influence on them is nothing compared to ** wife **’s. I’m on the road or at work for 12+ hours a day. ** wife ** is with them 24 / 7.
Judging from what Mom says, that probably comes as a surprise to you. Mom has perfected the art of taking a comment out of context and twisting it into something bad. ***cousin*** wasn’t “fired” from her job when she opted to take the early retirement they offered. ***Family friend*** told Mom that someone got fired because of ** wife ** – which is true IF Mom would have heard or remembered that it was ** wife ** who caught him cheating on employee time cards. **daughter** turning 12A so that she wasn’t a teenager was a family joke until Mom got a hold of it, twisted it, and made it somehow abusive.
Knowing that Mom does this, and out of respect for your privacy, I haven’t made any attempt to contact the people that Mom attributes these things to, or correct the evil things that Mom has said about us to others – not even when I got a sympathy card from the ***Family Friend*** on my impending divorce.
Even after all the abuse she has taken since we were married, ** wife ** is still willing to give Mom another chance. You probably don’t know, but it was ** wife ** who convinced me to give Mom another chance every time we have been through this. I however can’t put ** wife ** through any more, and if by some miracle Mom does improve, she will still NEVER be around my wife again. The most painful realization that I came to while writing this, is that I intentionally made a conscious decision that Mom’s happiness was more important than that of ** wife ** or the kids.
At this point, I have no other options. Mom, and only Mom, can not have any contact with the kids. I don’t want Mom calling our house. Ever. As long as she does, the answering machine will stay turned down and the phone will remain turned off. I can not allow anyone to answer the phone if Mom calls. I do not want Mom coming anywhere near our house. If she does and decides to take our mail again, I will report it.
If the situation changes and Mom gets help, we can discuss it. I have been burned too many times thinking that Mom was better only to have her turn on me in 6 months or a year later. I will not believe that she is being treated and that the treatment is effective without proof. I know that this is hard for you to take and realize what Mom is putting you through. I am sorry that you feel you must deprive the kids of time with you because of Mom’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for her own actions. The kids actually understand, but don’t like that you would wish to not see them since Mom is not permitted. They discussed times at at your house when they were playing and heard Mom yelling. **daughter** has even gotten mad at ** son #1** & ** son #2** when they would accidentally tell Mom about something that would set her off. They said that if you were to see them, that Mom would be mean to you.
I would like you and Mom both to be a part of the kids lives. Until Mom changes, that will not be possible.
I know that this probably sounds harsh, and that was not my intent. Putting this together has brought up a lot of things that, under other circumstances, should have remained buried. I do want to see Mom better. I do want the kids to have a good time with her. If my involvement in counseling will be a help, I’ll be there. I am hoping and praying that Mom gets help, but I doubt anything – even the kids – will convince her that she needs help.

~ by namegoeshere on July 2, 2007.

5 Responses to “The Letter”

  1. I think you did a fine job with the letter, as I am sure it was very difficult to say the least. I all ready told your wife this, but know that I keep you all in my prayers every day.

  2. Have you thought about sending this to your dad through his attorney with instructions that mom cannot be there when it is heard by your dad.

  3. I was going to suggest something like that Elaine.

    You did very well. I pray that it is received in the manner it was written. I also pray that you get some rest.

  4. Reading the letter is very painful and I experience a very little bit of the struggle you have gone through in writing this letter.

    I am adding my prayers that it will be received and that it will be a tool for good in your mother and father’s lives.

    Thank you for taking the boldness to share your story. That in itself will do much good for others.

  5. I believe that you did a god thing in writing the letter. I have a brother and former Mother in law that are bi-polar. I can tell as you well know that it is not easy. My first husband and I had to have his mother committed when her behavior got worse and she began to injure others and herself.

    I pray that your letter is received with an open heart and mind. I thank you for realizing what your mother’s behavior and actions were doing to your family. I can understand how you tuned it out because for so many years my parents and siblings did that. I commend you on your courage to face it rather than ignore it. I pray for you, your family and your parents.

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