Fallen Branch and Dad’s Neighbor

Mom left me two messages on Friday, which I ignored until Saturday afternoon. The ‘informational’ part of Mom’s messages was that a branch had fallen from Dad’s neighbor‘s tree into his driveway, Dad’s cell phone was turned off, and she was concerned since someone was trying to contact him. The ‘non-informative’ part of those messages was that Dad had abandoned her, he’s hiding from her on his birthday, and she doesn’t want him back anyway because he is just a worn out old man.

Oh, and I’m still a ‘disgusting disgrace’. My Evil-Alter-Ego(tm) wants to send her a thesaurus with some words highlighted.

So, on my way to the hardware store for gear for my weekend projects, my Wife and I stopped to see about the branch. Dad wasn’t home, and there was no branch to be seen. Dad’s neighbor was outside, so we went over to say hello. An hour and a half later, we were finally on our way again.

Dad’s neighbor is a nice old man, and very well intentioned. He just doesn’t have a clue as to what Mom is really like. She lies to him (knowingly or otherwise) and he believes it. Some of the stuff that we talked about was:

  • Dad has always been controlling, and she’s helpless since he abandoned her. When I tell Dad about it, he’ll laugh pretty hard. I did. Dad has given Mom everything she has ever asked for. Partially because he loves her, and I’m sure partially to appease or placate her.
  • Mom had told him that she had canceled the boys college funds. He wasn’t happy about that and told her that she needed to treat the kids equally. He was not happy when we gave him a few other examples of how Mom only values my Daughter. He was really not happy when we told him about my Son’s birthday present, which was just a card – and a gift for my Daughter. He couldn’t believe that there wasn’t even money in it.
  • He seems to think that if we all got together we could come to some kind of agreement and smooth things over. I told him that you don’t negotiate with a rattlesnake.
  • He said that we just need to forgive her. I tried (I’m not sure how successfully) to explain that it wasn’t that we hadn’t forgiven her, but that it was more a matter of protecting the kids from a very damaging influence.
  • Words, anger, and bitterness really only hurt the person that is angry, and can’t do damage. Which is true (to some extent) but that the tongue is sharper than a two-edged sword. Especially with the kids, things that are said can have a significant and long-term impact.
  • He asked what it would take to convince me that Mom was really trying. In a nutshell, nothing. Unless she is willing to own up to what she has been doing, then I have nothing to say to her.
  • He told me about Mom going to the counselor, and how Dad had been going but quit. I explained the normal sequence of Mom and counselors. When they realize that she has a problem and mention it to her, she finds something new to blame.
  • He had apparently gotten an earful about my Wife. He was shocked when he found out that the same stuff was said to the kids ‘because they need to know’.
  • Mom just needs love, prayers, and understanding. I wanted to, but didn’t compare Mom to Old Yeller.

He also told us that he talks to Mom sometimes three or four times a day. He will also trade off with the other neighbor (from the mechanic) sometimes.

I’ve gotten a few other messages that I haven’t blogged yet, and they’re good (in the sense of interesting for blogging purposes).

I’m in the process of learning how to convert the MP3s that I have of Mom to video so that any who are interested can hear just what I’m talking about. Unless you’ve been there, you have NO idea what they’re like.

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~ by namegoeshere on May 25, 2008.

3 Responses to “Fallen Branch and Dad’s Neighbor”

  1. I stumbled across your posts and invite you to visit my website at katemclaughlin.net
    Two of my three children have bipolar disorder and I’ve lived with depression (well-managed for many years now) my whole life.
    As a writer, I switched gears after my kids’ diagnoses and began writing, speaking and advocationg for the mentally ill and those who love them.
    I update my blog M-F with current science & research based material, along with a fair amount of motherly love and acceptance. The site also has loads of information and links for anyone dealing with bipolar disorder or depression.
    You may also want to read my new book:
    MOMMY I’M STILL IN HERE: One family’s journey with bipolar disorder.
    It has been praised by Tipper Gore, Rosie O’Donnell and Maria Shriver, among others.
    I hope you soon visit katemclaughlin.net and go to the ‘contact Kate’ page. Let me know what you like, dislike, want more of, and could do without.
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    * Edited to remove hotlinks to commercial site

  2. Crazy thing is that I had a schizophrenic father. A lot of the moments that I dealt with him were sad but then there are these moments where you’re like, “OK. I need to laugh at this or else I’m just gonna cry.”

  3. Wow, I have found someone in a very similiar situation. My mom is about to be 70 and has been bipolar since she was a teen. She was well managed when I was an adolescent and did fairly well up to a few years ago. Although my sister, who is 10yrs older, said that she was NOT managed at all when my sis was young. In 2005, she started to go into another manic episode and I pushed her to sign herself into the hospital. After that she became angry with me and felt I “caused” her to go manic. A couple of years later in 2007, she took the “advice” of someone and revoked me as her POA (she started to think that I could do anything with her even when she was fine) I begged her to find someone she trust to be her POA because I knew another episode would happen. Well, she never did get a new POA and one year later I started to see the signs again and encouraged her to go in and get her meds straightened out. She refused and one week later the police were sent to her apt because of her “strange” behavior and she had to be involuntarily committed by the coroner. I tried to help but after a few horrible visits with her in Geri-pysch, I decided to walk away, my sister had done this a long time ago. She is out of the acute manic phase and now living in a long term facility. She thinks it was a conspiracy at the assisted housing that got her where she is. She sends me 20 page letters which ramble on about her and my dad’s family often repeating the same info in the letter. I can’t deal with her in her present condition and have let her know. I realized what I am doing is called “self-protection”. It’s been hard since I have been the ONLY person who handled her after my dad had his stroke but I can’t do this at the expense of myself. I would like to say that keeping your children AWAY from your mother is the CORRECT thing to do. Don’t let them have to deal with her words which would stay with them for the rest of their lives- like me and my sister. All my best,

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