Mail Call

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Well, the helping hands have now been withdrawn for everything & forever!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

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~ by namegoeshere on August 26, 2011.

13 Responses to “Mail Call”

  1. May be helpful to get the repayment details put in writing ~ legally ~ and ‘formalise’ this arrangement so there’s no argument down the track as to how much as been repaid, how much is still owing. Some people confuse sex with love, others money with love. Do you know that paedophiles, when caught, always justify their abuse in materialistic terms: I bought them this….I gave them that….how dare they call the Police and sever the contact!

    • The ‘Loans’ were gifts, given freely, not really needed nor asked for. They became ‘Loans’ later when I extracted myself from their drama. I understand what you mean about confusing money and love, and the ‘loans’ stopped when Dad sent a check ‘just to help out’ with something, and I didn’t cash it.

      Entering into any kind of repayment terms would just encourage them to remember more ‘loans’, which would lead to more repayment terms. Eventually I would be paying for my diapers and formula – with interest. No thanks, I’m not starting that process.

  2. I’m really sorry to read that because I understand how painful/perplexing/anger-inducing that kind of irrational thought pattern is. I never cease to be amazed at how my own Dad continues to enable and validate my Mom’s warped perceptions of the world. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much less stressful my life is when I don’t try to reach out and I don’t have contact, when I don’t try to take the moral high ground and try to keep some kind of connection — with the idea that if my Mom gets better, I can be there for her and my Dad. I’m almost at the conclusion where I think it’s better not to try anymore.

    You could mail the letter back and write on the envelope, “Please try again – this letter did not make me want to connect with you.” But at some point all of us who have to deal with this situation among family members must decide if it’s worth the energy to keep them as part of our lives. I’m still deciding…

  3. I just came across your blog, and while I don’t have a very insightful comment to make, it is comforting to know that I am not alone in this. My mother is bipolar and agoraphobic and tonight had one of her meltdowns in which she came downstairs and yelled at everyone, threatening to leave the house and never tell us where she is or how her ill mother is doing. It’s always hard when this happens, and like you, I think I have gotten past the point of wanting her to get help. I just want her to go away and stop tormenting the rest of us with her threats and verbal abuse. I’m 23, but I have two younger siblings and for their sake I just want her out of their lives. I feel guilty for just wanting her gone, but it’s almost…reassuring to know that I am not alone in feeling this way towards a bipolar parent.

  4. Your parents are being nasty to you. That sucks and I’m sorry for it. I’m not sorry for you though because you are NOT an ill person. You are somebody who is healthy and so you recognize and react to the sickness in your parents lives. Not only your Mom’s disease but the disease that they share. Sane people don’t talk to each other the way your parents are talking to you.
    This letter is just a trick to drag you into the sick relationship that you have decided not to be a part of.
    First off, nobody who doesn’t want to EVER talk to you again says something like
    “Mom’s cell phone # is if you care to call & attempt to reconcile, if not there will be no more contact between us.”
    What that really means is “please call me so I can drag you in.”.

    I’ve been down the road of wishing my Mom was dead. It’s not good or bad or evil or anything. But, it is a waste of energy. Maybe it’s even a necessary road to go down. I don’t know. I learned something on that dark road though, and it’s that there are a TON of people on it!
    You’re not alone in this.
    Good luck with whatever you’ve decided to do.

  5. I am writing to thank you for all the posts you have written. You have no idea how much they have helped me and how much I appreciate it. I am 20 years old and am struggling with my own bipolar mother. She has not been diagnosed and I don’t believe she would accept the diagnosis even if it came from a doctor so I spend a lot of my time looking out for her and monitoring her moods which can be immensely frustrating, especially when she is manic and abusive or hopeless and depressed.
    I’ve been reading your blog for years and it is the only resource I have found on bipolar that has been emotionally helpful for me. Other articles online that describe symptoms and treatments don’t come close to the power of your words. This is truly the only thing I’ve read on bipolar that has made me feel that I can cope with my mother, that I am not alone. I feel as though I understand your experience and wish to commend you on your handling of the countless issues over the years. I only hope that in the future I can be as diplomatic, resilient and tactful as you have been. Make sure you keep living your life for yourself, your wife and your children, though I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that as you are far more experienced than I am.
    Thanks again, from the bottom of my heart.

  6. I just came across your blog. I recently started mine a couple weeks back. I wondered if there were others out there like me. I’ve only read one post here and already I can feel I am not alone. Thank you for sharing. It’s a tough road to be on.

  7. OMG! Your mom& mine are like twins. Scary twins. Thanks 4 the blog. Growing up U always guess there R others out there who can understand the horror, guilt, misplaced feelings of responsibility, or my personal fav. “if U R her kid U must B crazy too” (short list) …but seeing this blog… reading these all too familiar words… thank you. Congrads on UR family (spouse& kids) they help us more than they know, I think. Take them out to dinner for me! Ha ha ha! Cheers-

    (edited for profanity)

  8. I just received my own “mail call” two weeks ago with all the associated crazy assertions. I sat on how I was going to respond, and I’ve now just mailed my decision. I asked my mom to acknowledge that she has a problem and to please seek help. Until that happens, I will limit my contact with her. My husband says, “I suppose this will free up summer vacations?”

    I wonder if this means she will never speak to me again (it’s not that I haven’t told her before that she needs to speak to a doctor about her mental health, but it is the first time that I’ve felt that I really don’t care if she does or if she sulks and has no contact with me until I eventually initiate it.) I feel like she is already dead, and when that physically happens, it will be a relief because it will make real that which is the current state of our relationship.

    I feel so thankful for my husband, for my children, for my father-in-law (even with his own brand of oxycontin craziness) and for his partner who has adopted my children as her own grandkids. I have to focus on what I have, and be thankful for that.

    Thank you so much for your blog – it has made me realize that I don’t need to feel guilt, that other people out there are experiencing the same things, and that you cannot change other people. You simply need to move on, and appreciate what you do have.

  9. This kind of thing both interests, and boggles me. After reading your blog over a year ago and along with some other books like the 80/20 principle and 4 Hour Work Week, I decided it was time to cut ties with my mom. Unfortunately, my younger brother (who never had/nor has bipolar tendencies) lives with her, and not speaking to her could mean him as well.

    But as this process was finalizing (about to block her phone numbers via Verizon, moving and not providing an address, etc) I started to get text messages from my brother that made me question their authenticity. Statement directly from her, statements that I’ve heard a thousand iterations of. But the texts seemed to have enough of my brother (or rather enough of a lack of mom) that made me think he in fact wrote them…

    It bothers me because I can’t see any other explanation than brainwashing. Perhaps not intentional, but due to extreme, prolonged exposer. And I wonder about the long lasting effects of this. Could my brother become sensitive to things like my mom? In 20 years will he still sound like her? It really is creepy, like talking to a Scientologist creepy. You see/hear/read what their saying, but you just can’t believe they believe it.

    But it looks like others have the same issue as me… Glad I can be apart of the club! Thanks.
    @russ152

  10. Ur mother is not 100% out of control every minute so there r times she is herself. She still is ur mother n should b respected. U know she has an illness yet u don’t see the illness when she looses sanity. All u see is ur mom acting crazy. I know it is hard to remember it’s the illness n not her but she is still ur mom n needs ur respect. It’s not like she can ever have full controll of it. She lives in this hell n it is worse for her than for u Take pity on her n b thankful u r not the one who has this.

  11. I cannot, CANNOT believe how similar your story of the relationship with your mother echoes to mine. My mother was diagnosed with ‘manic bipolar’ in the 90’s. She tried meds a few times, but in classic bipolar fashion – stopped when it wasn’t helping or (more frustratingly) when it was.

    I started working for my family business (in a family home office in the basement of my childhood home) 3 years ago, and last year I had a target on my back. Being the focus of her bullshit – opening my pay stubs, leaving me dry erase board notes about how to calculate the # of hours I worked vs how much I was making (she made it impossible to show up at their home office, and wouldn’t let me talk on the phone to my dad/boss for MONTHS), treating me like I was the reason she was pissed off (she treats my dad like shit, and I struggle watching him take it).

    At a certain point, when I told her she was ‘cut-off’ from socializing with me, she compares me to her oldest daughter, my 1/2 sister who use to abuse me as a child (she has cut my mother out of her life several times). That’s her ammo to make me fly off the handle, and then it’s, “Stop yelling at me! You always accuse me of yelling, but- Look. At. You.” Last year she was feeding her ghoulish inner child by making cracks with her friends about my boyfriend of 5 years being her ‘Sin In Law.’ Telling her family how I was greedy and living in sin. This is why I officially cut her out for 3 months. In that time she sent me a looooong winded text from my father’s phone, ‘maybe you should apologize to mom and realize she is stressed too, and you are not helping’ etc.

    Then, magically my father’s cell phone went missing. It was a new s5, just poof. Into thin air! Like magic!!! My mother STILL TO THIS DAY denies hiding the phone or texting me. But she did find the phone 9 months later hidden in a love seat in my old bedroom. Isn’t that something?!?

    This year she got into a fight with my brothers wife, a beautiful quite woman originally from Vietnam. My mother came off a long phone call with a doctor’s office dealing with a knee surgery that didn’t go well. She was worked up and started being rude and demanding to my dad. This is where my sister in law had hit her breaking point, watching my mother treat my dad like shit. Words were exchanged, it got heated, and at some point my mother spewed out, “Well maybe you need to go back to Vietnam and learn some manners!” After my brother took his wife and instantly left, my mother texted my sister in law on my father’s phone- ‘you need to apologize’ with spelling errors. My sister in law responded, “I have done nothing wrong and I will not!” She is such a strong woman, and I am so glad my brother found her!

    For about a month and a half she said that those words did not come out of her mouth. That my sister in law must have misunderstood. It wasn’t until my brother confronted her that HE HEARD IT, that she said it must have been misunderstood, and that she still wants a relationship with him. She shows no interest in apologizing to his wife.
    I personally have just entered therapy because I was afraid the anxiety attacks and depression I was experiencing was bipolar showing its ugly face. I am only a few sessions in, and came to the realization (my therapist did) that I am suffering from childhood PTSD from my obscenely abusive 1/2 sister, and growing up in a unstable household. I learned just yesterday that there is no hope for mental wellness while working for my family. I feel like a failure. Like I still want them to be proud of me, I want to be the person that gets my mom to get help. I want to be the person that gives my dad a backbone and stop taking her shit. I was trying to get her to apologize to my sister in law. And in wanting all these things, I get drug back into being a scared little girl who thinks this is her fault, and that I HAVE to try and fix it. And my therapist told me, I have to take care of myself. Which ironically enough is even scarier to me…
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. Feeling like I’m not the only person to go through having a bipolar mother and a passive father is oddly supportive. I’m scared for the next steps in life, but I believe I can live happily without the daily impact of bipolar. Gosh I hope so…

  12. Hi,

    I cannot help but empathize with you. It’s such a challenge to have to live with a bipolar mother and a father eho consents to what she does and how she perceives things in her crazy world (i’m not even so sure if it’s just extreme patience, he doesn’t acknowledge the existence of bipolar or he actually believes her illogical shit).

    I have been reading your blog for years now and sometimes revisit, i do hope there is an update sonn because it’s enlightening to realize that other people are experiencing the same hell (and concurrently find out ways to just deal…). This is esp since my brother is leaving for another country( he’s at this stage where he’s given up and just want my parents to stay away, risk is too high to keep dad since it’s a pa kage deal) and i’m going to be left in the house and i’m at the high moral ground state.

    I look forward to an update on how your life is now, and if contact has totally stopped. I wish you all the best and if you could give advice on how to deal also while i’m living with my parents and at this state, it would be most welcome.

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