Nasty letter from father...where my difficult child is living now

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BackintheSaddle, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Hello All-
    I thought I'd write because I got a letter today from my father that was downright nasty-- I blocked him from email so he snail mailed it...he's the narcissist who is now housing my 19 yo difficult child, been writing me nasty emails about how there's nothing wrong with my difficult child, he's a great person, and I'm the problem, disinherited me (he's wealthy you may recall, LOVES holding money over family, big time controlling jerk) because of the latest with difficult child (he doesn't think I should have called 911 when difficult child grabbed and shook me, said 'so what?' and our house is our difficult child's house just as much as it's ours)-- by the way, this is MY father....I fluctuate between shock, anger, despair...I shouldn't have read the damn thing but I couldn't help myself...I did burn it!...;-)...in the past, I would have added it to the pile of similar letters I've received over the years and obsessed for hours/days over how to reply (he disinherited me the first time when difficult child was in 6th grade and hospitalized because he attacked a girl at school-- grabbed her wrist and twisted it--- he thought I shouldn't have him get treatment because difficult child would be 'labelled' for life)...after 3 years of him and my mother totally abandoning me and difficult child, he finally wrote a decent letter (not an apology mind you!-- I think he'd choke if he ever said 'I'm sorry'!), it was Christmas, and I went to their house to put the water under the bridge...worst mistake I ever made was trying to make peace with them...since that time, it took awhile, but my father is THE MOST INFLUENTIAL person in my difficult child's life...difficult child believes everything he says and he says horrible things about me...let's see, the points in the letter are that he's 78 and his whole family is in disarray and it's all my fault- I'm on the outside...even my brother and sister agree that they had a happy childhood so my claims of it not being so peachy keen are clearly my imagination...he brought up mistakes I made as a kid from 40+ years ago, comparing those to what difficult child has done (for example, I called my Dad a male chauvinist pig when I was 12 yo and the Bobby Riggs tennis tournament was all over tv-- the media was using it as a joke so I thought it was funny-- I didn't know what it meant and it was 40+ years ago and god only knows how many times I've apologized for that)...those are the types of horrible things I did that make me the outsider now (he is a male chauvinist to this day---'pig' probably wasn't appropriate though)...;-)

    Anyhow, I thought writing to you all about it would help me figure out what to do with all these feelings!!...I tried yoga but can't sit still long enough...I want to go outside and scream at something but it's freaking cold and wet here again...I started to pull out all the documents I have from difficult child's past-- from the school IEP and issues every single year since 2nd grade, and I did keep a notebook of all the nasty letters my father wrote to me a few years ago...that letter is FROM MY DAD...I don't care who you are, it's hard not to wonder if HE's right and I'm the one who's wrong....I'm not replying, I burned the letter and I'm not even going to tell difficult child I got the letter (I doubt he knows about it and would be pissed at granddad)...that's growth, right? how do I stop him from taking away what little empowerment I've built up in myself over the past year? how do I stop doubting myself? does that ever stop? he has my difficult child in his corner...my difficult child, who is so very unhealthy, is surrounded by toxicity that is targeted right at me...there's no hope for reconciliation as long as that man (and my mother) are filling him with poison...my difficult child is an adult but only because of his physical age...he's not mentally an adult and that man can say anything and difficult child will follow him over a cliff...talk about having no control...and no family since he's isolating me from siblings and child...
     
  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ugh. What a scary lonely place you are finding yourself in today. I am answering so you know you've been seen, heard, and that the group is out here with you.

    I don't really have much to say...I don't have a shared experience for this. My dad was very critical, intimidating and shaming, but he died before my kids were born. What would I do if he practiced those skills on me today?

    Burning the letter was really really good. Good for you for not keeeping it to read over and over.
    Remember that time is very very long. People have a way of learning to see with their own eyes, and one thing that seems clear is that other people will see your dad's toxicity...even difficult child will start to wonder why your dad has to attack you all the time.
    Maybe your siblings had a different experience of growing up than you did. that happens...slightly different ages, parents in a different place, finances different. And then we all choose which memories to emphasize, and that can shape a life. That doesn't mean your experience is wrong, just that theirs was different. Certainly that happened in my childhood home, where my older sister was clearly picked on by my dad for no apparent reason...and we, being little and vulnerable, went right along with him. We stopped when we were old enough to know better, and as my dad's toxicity became more apparent...but by then the damage was done. She has never really felt 'ok' in the world.

    I don't think there is much you can do here. You can take care of you...do that screaming you need to do, and cry into your pillow. Then wash your face and take some deep breaths and feel what it is to be alive, to feel pain, to know it will pass, as does everything. The intensity of your anguish will pass.. that is the way of emotions. Days will pass, and things will change in ways we can't know or predict.

    You have been a loving caring partner to your husband, a devoted mom to your difficult child...these things will out. YOu've said your parents are elderly...they will lose their power eventually. Try to be patient. Try to be calm. Try to find that small quiet place in you that knows who you are, that knows you are not as they say, that knows that bringing up Bobby Riggs at this point is just plain crazy, and desperate.

    I am sorry that you feel so afraid. Our parents can do that to us. I know others will weigh in, probably with wiser words than I. I'm holding you close tonight, though. You aren't alone in these struggles.

    Echo
     
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  3. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    thanks for replying, Echo...it is a lonely place...I'm pretty sure he lied about what my brother and sister said but even if I ask them, they're both in their 40s and financially dependent on him so they won't 'side' with me either way...but since my brother had to come live with me to get away from them at age 16 and my sister recently talked about how mean our father is, I'm pretty sure my father is manipulating me with yet another lie...alot of what he said was a lie on me or someone else, a totally misrepresentation of what happened...but he knows the rest of the family is scared to cross him so he's safe in 'lying' on their behalf...

    such toxicity and meanness....hard to believe I came from that...I really have gone through a lot of pain and agony to detach from that family with years and years of therapy...I started my difficult child in therapy in 2nd grade, went with him every time and worked hard to be the mom he needed... my parents never once would have done that for any of us even though my father was a horrid alcoholic-- all their issues were always my fault or someone elses'...anyhow, I'll stop rambling now...thanks again for replying
     
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh BITS, I am so sorry. What a terrible toxic dump onto you. Your father is a difficult child. You are in the middle of a difficult child sandwich. That really sucks and my heart goes out to you. You are the healthy, sane, kind, real one.........in dysfunctional families a scapegoat is necessary for the system to exist, so it appears that's been your role for your life. The way out is to not reply, do not engage, once you are out, out of the system entirely, the system will need to find a new scapegoat in order to survive, which may turn out to be your difficult child if he doesn't play by their rules.

    I recall when it dawned on me that I was in the middle of a difficult child sandwich too...............it was shocking and it hurt, but as I began to get through it, it also started to make a lot of sense as to how I felt and what had happened to me........how it all impacted my whole life.

    You are bigger then this family movie you were cast in. It is their movie and they are the stars...........it exists because the damage was done to little children, not adults..................you are a grown up now, you have choices, you can choose to see the truth of who they are and remove them from your life..............unfortunately at the moment, young difficult child is ensconced in their world.............and you need to detach from your son since this is the choice he has made. There may come a time when he opens his eyes and sees the reality especially if he is scapegoat number two.

    Often in dysfunctional family systems, the healthiest, most sensitive, most compassionate one is the one the family attacks..........you may want to check into Brene Brown's books on shame or any of her TED talks which you can go on Youtube and watch for free. Her ideas had a huge impact on me and changed the way I saw myself in relation to the people I invited into my life to continue the damage my parents began. Her books and talks may be able to open your eyes to the truth and allow you to see that none of this has anything to do with YOU, it is all about them and their need to powertrip and harm and do damage to a vulnerable and authentic human being.

    Burning the letter was the best thing you could have done. Native Americans look upon burning as a release and a powerful tool for change. You knew that intuitively and it works too. If you can get that energy out of your body, like actually screaming or taking a bat or some large item like a bat and beating a pillow.............you don't want that angry energy stuck in your body. I used to get in the car at night and drive down familiar roads and just scream and scream. Of course you can only do that for a short time because it is literally exhausting. But it helps a lot to get that crappy energy out of you.

    Listen to me BITS, DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF! Seriously, do not allow another to define who you are or what you've done............in particular, your toxic and disturbed father who is obviously not only a difficult child, but likely has some personality disorder or mental issue...........people don't stay angry for 40 years for something an innocent child said at 12. Give me a break. Open your eyes BITS, your father is quite disturbed to act in the way he has. Sending you a letter and disinheriting you is disgusting and cruel behavior for an adult, do not let someone who is sick in any way make you doubt who you are. You are much, much more then what he can see............you know who you are............he doesn't and never will. Look in a mirror, not in your fathers eyes to define who you are.

    There is a lot to let go of here BITS, but somewhere inside of you, you must have called this in...........the need for peace, the desire for freedom, wanting to learn acceptance...............whatever you were wishing for, this is the way to attain it..........this is what is in your way to get what you desire................a tall order for sure..........like me too, I had to let go of my sister, my brother, my mother, my daughter and a number of my closest friends. But, you know what..............after all of that, all of that suffering..................I really was free............I really did find peace...............all of that was IN MY WAY!!! And, the only way to get through it is to walk through it...........that's the yucky part................where you are right now.................but this will not last...............you will get angry...........you will cry...........and then, in a little while................you will be okay. Not only will you be okay...........you will feel better then you ever have.

    Hold on BITS, hold on tight and feel what you feel...................this is meant to be so you finally can see the truth and put the onus on the people who deserve it.................Dad, Mom and difficult child. NOT YOU. You didn't do anything, not one thing wrong.................all you did was try to figure it all out and you didn't have the tools, but now you do......................go scream................go cry.................then stand up tall and recognize all the way through you that you didn't do anything wrong, none of this is your fault............you are the light in this vast field of darkness..............that is the truth.
     
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  5. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Back,

    Hey there and hugs. I agree with Echo's comments. Wish I had additional wisdom to share. Please know that i read your post and feel for you. We have formative history with our parents and they can reduce us to vulnerable kids with just a few words.

    Stay strong. KNOW that you are doing what is best for your difficult child and you. That is the most we CAN do. If some other avenue would work better, we would be on it in a second. But, WE know what has not worked. It matters naught what others SAY we should do; they have not been on our journey.
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Accept what your father has written, although it would have been better if you hadn't read it. He's going to do what he's going to do and you can't change him. If he wants to disinherit you, he will. Sounds a bit like my father who threatens to do that whenever he is unhappy with me. After his last threat, I finally decided...so what? I told him calmly, "Dad, that is your decision. You have to do what you feel is right. It isn't going to change what I do, whether you disinherit me or not." He was so shocked he couldn't speak for a few minutes, but I meant it. I found out that I feel freer than a bird when I realized that I could live and live happily even if he disinherited me and that I would not change my behavior because of it and, better yet, that I didn't care what he thought of w hat I was doing. Through the years he has always been very critical. It doesn't matter what he thinks as long as I feel I am doing the right thing.

    Think about it. Why are you upset? Because your father, who never approves of what you do, disapproves of what you do and is threatening to disinherit you? So he was angry that you got help for you son when he was younger? (by the way, this is proof that your son's problems go far back, but that's not the point in this response). Whatever your father is going to think, he is going to think and you can't change his mind. Whatever he is going to do with his money, he will do with it. Do not let either his opinion of you or his threats impact your happiness. You can control how you allow him to make you feel.

    Personally, I'd delete anything he wrote you. There is nothing good to be gained by reading his criticism. You have a right to make your own decisions without his input. You are a grown up. You are allowed to call 911 when your son physically attacks you. Now if your son attacks HIM he is free to allow himself to be choked and do nothing. We all have free will.

    What he doesn't deserve is you reading his frivolous, controlling, and meanspirited/threatening e-mails. Restrain from reading his threats from now on and keep on truckin', as they say. Go on with your own life, building a new priority that is yourself, and those loved ones and friends in your life who treat you well. Right now, he doesn't deserve to be a part of your life. I personally (and we are all different) have no trouble making a determination when my father, who is quite nasty, is wrong. I don't have that problem of thinking he must be right because he's my father. I am old enough to know what is right in my circumstances. I have no trouble not listening to dysfunctional family members. You're not daddy's little girl anymore. You are a proud, strong woman and you don't need his approval.

    Hugs and more hugs for your pain. May you have a peaceful night and may you see your father for who he is and accept him...and decide then if you really want to read his opinions right now. I think you should do all you can to baby yourself...that bubble bath with scented candle and great book, and every time you find yourself thinking about him, change your thoughts to something wonderful. Close your eyes and picture the ocean or anyplace you love. Think of vacationing with your husband and other child or running free in a grassy park. Or watch some mindless reality show that makes you laugh. Every single time you think about Dad again, tell yourself "STOP!" and think about something else. Keep doing it. Obsessing over his cruel, meant-to-control-and-hurt words won't c hange him or help your state of mind...so practice getting him off your mind. This was a wonderful and pretty helpful coping skill that I learned from a wonderful psychologist. You can even put a rubber band on your writs and snap it every time you go back to thinking about the "bad thoughts" to remind yourself, with a slight jolt, to stop and move your mind to something else. Do not make your father's words an important part of your life.

    Move on, detach from Dad too. Your family is NOT your DNA. Your family consists of those who love you, respect you, treat you well, appreciate you, like to be with you and are there for you when the chips are down. I'll bet you have plenty of family, even if not all of them share your DNA.

    You sure have us :)

    On final comment. Your difficult child is an adult. Mentally he may be five years old, but so what? Some fifty year olds are mentally toddlers. They are adults who refuse to grow up. Your son is an adult. If he is young for his age, then he needs to do some catch up work. And who can help him grow up at his age? One person. Himself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I want to add that it is sad that your 40 something siblings are financially dependent on your father. Interesting too. difficult child also wants somebody to support him. Your father was toxic to his children and used money to make them dependent on him (and it worked, except for you. You must be the strong one). Hopefully your difficult child will not follow their footsteps, but you can't control that and don't dwell on it. Only think about now because the future is up for grabs and nobody can predict it.

    Hugs.
     
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry this is happening, BITS. I am so glad you shared the trauma of it with us. With each of us replying, there will be tiny pieces of truth and healing and strength coming in to expose and verify the toxicity of what is happening and to help heal the hurt and the shame of it.

    Bad as this stuff is, it's worse when we are alone with it. But you aren't alone with it, anymore.

    ***********

    I know what you mean, about the power in any communication from father to daughter. You are being hunted (snail mail once you defied him re: email) by someone who understands he can torment you because he is your father. He fully understands what he is doing, and he is doing it with malice aforethought.

    This is so eerily cruel.

    There are parents who create and then, fasten onto their children's vulnerabilities, BITS. My mother is one. Your father is one. I think it would have been worse, had my father been the one out to destroy me. That would have been like, global condemnation. A mother's condemnation had to do with who we are as women. The men in our lives can teach us a different truth where those hurts are concerned.

    But who can help you know what is real if it is the father condemning you?

    When we stand up, when we begin to get healthy and start to see ourselves and our situations differently, those who have a vested interest in keeping us broken are going to take their best shots.

    Even if they have to resort to snail mail to do it. (That was a little attempt at humor. It may have fallen flat. :O)

    And the crummy part, the even worse part, is that even if you hadn't read what he so carefully tailored to weaken and destroy you? He gets to believe that you did, gets to believe the toxicity he sent out hit home. And that is why he mailed it. It has nothing to do with you, BITS. This is the nature of your father's illusion. He has enough money to keep everyone dancing to his tune.

    So, you are sort of trapped.

    And that trapped feeling, that desperate hollow feelings, is the taste of the shame that is the source of his power over you, BITS. It is how he has controlled you, all of your life. Like my mother did when I became an adult and discounted her toxicity, your father, always the opportunist, struck at the vulnerable place that was opened in the adult you through the pain you were in over your child.

    I believe you are correct in describing the isolation from family as an outcome your father planned for you once you defied him by taking back your power when difficult child was 6.

    I think you posted one time that difficult child quickly became your father's favorite.

    That again is eerily cruel, and is pretty heady stuff for a kid.

    From that, I am going to guess that, like my mother, your father too plays favorites for the purpose of setting up competition between those family members for whom love should be a given, but becomes a prize, instead.

    It's an especially nasty, hurtful game for grandchildren, and an added vulnerability for the parent.

    So, a piece of all this would be, not just who gets to inherit, but that he was smarter than everyone because he made the money in the first place. He is 78. He needs to get his family in order before he goes...implying you are all too stupid to make it without him or his money.

    And then?

    He disinherits you.

    Hmmm....

    For the second time.

    It is important for you to recognize the patterns, the taste of the shame and humiliation, so you can see through the Wizard of Oz facade your father has erected. Like me, you are Dorothy, looking so desperately for the safety of home and family. You are the Tin Man, wishing for a heart. You are the Scarecrow too, wishing for his brain and the Lion, wishing for courage.

    And you know what happened for each of them, once the Wizard was exposed for the charlatan he was.

    Recovering was right, when she suggested Brene Brown's books or TED talks. She teaches that rather than try to stop the pain, we ride it's edge. Seek to stay with it. Refuse to be afraid of it. I have been doing this as a practice? And the result is that we see through our own eyes, instead of through the eyes of whoever it is who likes to twist and torture and condemn us. We lose our vulnerability to them because we know we will not cower away from the pain, but will eagerly ride its edge, keeping it with us, watching and feeling and tasting it until we have no fear of it, or of our tormentors, at all.

    I think that is the only way out, the only answer there is.

    I loved MWM's "free as a bird" paragraph:

    So, that is what where you are going looks and feels like.

    I have no answer for the hold your father has over difficult child or for the isolation he is forcing upon you. Know that it is part of his sickness, to do these things. It helps me, when something especially rank has happened with my mother or my sister, to mourn not only what happened, but to mourn the good things that could have happened but did not.

    It helps me to see my situation with greater clarity.

    It isn't just what we got that matters, BITS ~ it's what we should have had, and did not get.

    There is anger there, in those kinds of thoughts. And with anger, comes strength, strength enough to begin to redefine your situation relative to your father. What did you need when you were 12 and made the comment about the chauvinist?

    That is what you should have had, BITS.

    And that is the nature of your father's crime against you.

    And he hurt you instead back then, and he is hurting you instead, now.

    It is good to see the toxicity clearly. Then, we don't accept it into our hearts.

    Keep posting about it, BITS.

    We will be angry for you until you can see with the clarity you require.

    For now, for today, your son is where he is. Life is very long; you will outlive your father.

    You are difficult child's mother.

    Grandpa is not going to win this one. Not in the long run.

    Cedar

    I forgot to add that you are married and don't need his money. That must so rankle him! My mother hates my husband for that reason, too. One time? We bought this house and whatever. So, my parents come to see it. My mother starts making nasty comments right out loud about "rich man's hostas." (Just to clarify a point? We're not rich.) Anyway. So, I tell my mother we'll be happy to give her some root stock so she can have them in her garden too, if she likes them. Do you know that my mother, dressed in clothes for dinner, went directly to the hostas and started trying to tear them out of the soil?

    It was one of the craziest things my husband had ever seen.

    Me? Unfortunately, I was all too familiar with having my mother destroy my things....
     
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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  9. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    BITS...what she said! We will be angry for you.
     
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to chime in, it was my mother who tried to destroy me. In my younger years, I almost let her do it. Either parent can. It is our job, if we want to function, to do the best we can to stop trying to get our parents to accept us for who we are. It isn't going to happen and we can't make them. That was something unique to my thought processes, but once I learned it, I could do it. Before that I'd think, "If my mom doesn't love me, who will???" Answer turned out to be, a lot of people. But we have this societal bias clubbed into our heads that our parents must approve of us or we are worthless. Doesn't make sense, really, but very strong message. Then we must detach from them too. Not throw out the door forever...just detach from their cruel words. My father is still rather cruel, but it goes in one ear and out the other. He's 89 and unlikely to suddenly be a nice man. His loss.

    I do hope this difficult child sees the light about this controlling grandfather and his aunt and uncle who still kiss his feet because he is The Bank. Terrible message to send to your heirs. But each person decides his own destiny. I am angry for you, yet frustrated because you allow his sick, mean old man, who by accident of birth is your DNA father, make you crumble up like a little kid inside. I hope you can use coping skills to get past it. This is not a stable, loving man and what he says to you is not with good will, but from power and control. Detach from him. Prayers sent. And gentle hugs for this garbage of hurt sent to you for no reason other than to...well....hurt you and make you feel bad. So sad, so sad. So sorry.
     
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Your dad reminds me of my former father in law. He was a cruel, mean, vicious man who loved to taunt people and control people. I believe he may have been a sociopath. He was definitely an alcoholic. He is the meanest person I have ever heard about or experienced (your dad sounds like his cousin).

    When my husband (now ex) and I decided to get married, he called us to an upstairs bedroom where there were 2 chairs lined up. We were instructed to sit in them. And for the next two hours he walked back and forth in front of us (he was retired Lt. Col. from the military so you can get the picture...), and mercilessly questioned us. Why were we getting married? (we had dated for four years, were college grads, etc.). What did we expect marriage to be? Why were we having a wedding? Why were we having the wedding we were having? On and on and on. My poor fiancee, who had lived with this monster for all of his life, just sat there. I began to think I was the crazy one. They were acting like this was supposed to happen. Finally, I started getting mad but I kept trying to answer, be respectful etc. I was 22 years old. I didn't know anything about anything. When he said this, I was done: Are you having a big wedding for your ego? For your mother's ego? For your father's ego? I don't remember what I said or what my fiancee said (if he said anything), but I saw red. I said I'm done here. And I got up and walked out.

    I should have known then that something was bad, bad wrong with that family, but lol, I was In Love. Anyway...

    He proceeded for the next six months to create drama around anything he could about the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, whether or not he was going to wear a tux or not, whether or not he was going to come or not. The day of the wedding, we still didn't know. He did show up and in the tux in the end.

    This man was toxic. He was as close to a "bad person" as I have seen. And he did it all---this is chllling---with a smile on his face.

    We always joked (well not really joked, but...) and said when he goes, he will be in a nursing home (cause none of US were going to tolerate him in OUR home) for 20 years, driving us all crazy and summoning us to the bedside. LOL. While my mother in law, a sweet, smart (well, not that smart, she stayed with him, somehow, barely all those years), caring---would go in a flash. Cuz only the good die young, right? Well that didn't happen. He died very quickly one day of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was the one in the nursing home. I loved her very much.

    There ARE crazy, mean, toxic people in the world. And they can be in our families. You had one BITS, and you rose beyond it above it and are still doing the best you can do to be a good, honest, caring person in this world. Regardless.

    If you peel away the layers, my father in law's father died when he was a baby in a house fire and he was raised by his mother and two aunts who evidently doted on him and gave him every single thing he ever wanted. He ruled the roost. Then he went into the military and ruled that roost. He ruled the roost at home and nearly ruined every single one of his four kids---they are all severely damaged from his abuse. Physical, verbal and emotional.

    My ex was the most functional of the four but he also became an alcoholic and had lots of shame, self-hatred and lack of self-esteem which of course, impacted everything in his life.

    YOU are NOT the crazy one, BITS. Even though those you love so much nod and smile and say, well, we are doing it all right and YOU are wrong. That is so hard to hear and to bear and you do think: Maybe, just maybe they are right.

    But they are NOT. When a person is true, honest, caring, kind, compassionate....and ACTS with those qualities...that is where the truth and goodness lies. Not in people who push themselves on us, who utter hatred, blame, tell us we don't remember right, we are crazy, basically put nothing GOOD out to us...that is the telling part. They threaten us, they belittle us, they manipulate and control us.

    That is the telling part.

    And burning the letter and waiting to see what you will do---that is the telling part. YOU are the one who is the sane one.

    All you can do, all you can do, BITS, is be the very best person that you are. Continue to be honest, to set boundaries, to be loving and kind and compassionate and generous, to make mistakes (of course!) and to forgive yourself and even them.

    Even them someday. Not today, while the pain is fresh, but someday. For yourself.

    There is a person who was very, very mean to me about two years ago. He talked to me like I have NEVER been talked to by anybody in my life. It crushed me. I felt shame, I wondered if he was right, I was embarrassed, I wanted to hide. I hated him and I also thought maybe he was the only one who could see the incompetent person that I really am, the person I hide to the world. Maybe he saw the real me and he let me know that. It was truly awful and I tortured myself with his words over and over and over and over and over again. Finally one day I read something and although I DIDN"T WANT TO DO THIS AT ALL, in any cell of my being, I decided to try it. I decided to pray for him. Ugh, it was repellent to me. It still is. And I can truly say that my heart has softened toward him. And as my heart softened, I saw the truth. I couldn't see it when my heart was a hard granite rock toward him. I saw more and I understood more and I WAS CHANGED. In fact, I have seen him multiple times and I am able to look him in the eye and offer a cordial greeting. I will never trust him nor do I want to spend more than 60 seconds in his presence and I won't and don't have to. I have almost let it go. Not completely, but almost.

    BITS, you know the real truth. You know WHO you are. You know how hard you try to always do the right thing and be honest. You always have. I know that from reading your authentic posts. You reveal your true self. We do that here.

    Take care of yourself today and know that we are on YOUR SIDE. You are not alone.
     
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  12. Sabine

    Sabine Member

    I'm *speechless*, the above posts of love and support are amazing.

    I just wanted to add a little tiny thought.

    I know why you opened that letter. In your deepest heart of hearts you were hoping to catch a glimmer of goodness coming from your father. Maybe difficult child did something, and now Daddy is writing to say that you were a good mother after all.

    Instead you got a kick in the teeth.

    I would love to see you write your father out of your life completely. Every time he tries to contact you, don't let him. One day he MAY decide he wants to apologize.. 10, 15 years from now, even. And when that day comes, YOU will have the power over him to deny him access to you. The door can be shut forever, if you're willing to do that.

    Of course, this is what he's doing to you, shutting you out of the will etc.. in an attempt to exert his waning control.

    In every relationship, there is a leader and a follower. Healthy friendships and partnerships allow each party to be leader part of the time. (Sam: What do you want for lunch? Suzy: Pizza!.... Suzy: What movie do you want to watch? Sam: The Terminator)

    Even healthy parent/child (or boss/employee) relationships allow the sharing of leadership roles, with the knowledge that the parent or boss has final say. (Mom: Do you want chicken or fish? Child: Ice cream! Mom: Chicken or fish? Child: *sigh* chicken).

    The situation at hand is a dysfunctional one. There is no give and take, it's all just take, take, take. This relationship CAN NOT be fixed. So, there are only two choices.

    Dad is the leader...

    or..

    Daughter is the leader

    If Dad is the leader, daughter has to receive toxic emails and letters.

    If Daughter is the leader, she can prevent communication TOTALLY. Email has been blocked. Letters can be "returned to sender", unopened. If Dad were to show up on the doorstep, the door can be locked, police called, and restraining order filed.

    We all talk about power and control, as though they are necessarily negative. They definitely can be, but they don't have to be. Every person has an inborn NEED to have power and control over his/her own life. This is why teenagers that are given none frequently become anorexic (it's not a body image issue, it's a control issue.. at least at first).

    I have no idea what your dad's issue is, why he feels the need to control others. Whatever the reason, it's not really your problem, if you don't want it to be.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  13. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I agree with the others that the best way to deal with a control freek is to take their control away. Ignore or block text messages & emails, screen calls, either mark snail mail return to sender or pile it in a box and send it all back to him on father's day unopened.

    For when he shows up on doorstep I would have a sign to put in window that reads:

    NOT BY THE HAIR OF MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN
    WILL I OPEN THE DOOR SO YOU CAN COME IN
    SO HUFF AND PUFF
    TILL YOUR BLUE IN THE FACE
    THIS IS MY HOME
    NOT YOUR PLACE!

    No peeking out the window, if neighbor calls to say he's down on the porch call an ambulance but don't go out. Parents or not I would cut all contact with them. I reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't; therefore people who do nothing but aggravate me I don't bless them with a single moment of my time or attention. Even negative reinforcement (yelling back at them) is reinforcement and they aren't worth wasting my energy.

    Nancy
     
  14. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    wow...I feel so blessed that all of you took the time to respond and read through the mire that is my dysfunctional DNA source...;-)...you know, Nancy is absolutely right...my husband and I looked at that envelope and he suggested I not open it...and I said 'what if....'.....what if somehow he's realized that difficult child really is a handful that they can't handle...that he has these strange behaviors that they heard me talk about but never witnessed until now...but of course, I don't know that my father can be enlightened (but MWM, it's scary to think he could STILL be here 11 years from now-- ugh!-- like you're Dad-- I now believe there is such a thing as living too long)...growing up, my mother was the nutty one (I believe she has borderline PD)...I was the oldest and she always drew me into the dysfunction between her and my father...as his drinking got worse and she picked a fit with him, I'd get in between them to stand up for her and the verbal abuse he was spewing out...the perfect child in that sense but I am also the only one who got away and got treatment and enlightenment...it was really only by fate-- I got a job right out of college as a researcher for a local substance abuse treatment center and worked for a psychologist...she was a wonderful mentor and eventually, I worked my way into individual work with patients...that job was a godsend in that I learned all about why I felt so crappy about myself...the more I learned, the more I saw the truth of my childhood and my parent's ongoing dramas, and the more I stood up for myself and didn't allow myself to get sucked into their crap....so since my early 20s, I've gradually become the child who's the scape goat because I'm the only one who will stand up to my father (how dare I!), the only one who will say outloud what a drinking problem he had (he's got heart problems now so drinks less but still is a binge drinker)...my first husband had cancer and died when he was 29 and I was 27 and it was through that loss that I decided to go back to school because I NEVER wanted to be in the position of having to depend on my father for money...I could see how he was already using money to try and control my brother (who was living with me at the time) and that my sister was probably the kind of person who would never stand on her own two feet...so I went to grad school and have supported myself even after my husband died...I support my husband now and he takes such good care of me and our farm and animals...he loves what he's doing, I love my job, and I get to be my own person...and it has driven my father nuts...we bought a new truck last year to haul our horses in a trailer and he had a fit about that-- WE bought it but HE thought we were wasting our money and haven't let it go...in that nasty letter, he brought it up again about how can we buy a truck like that and not pay for difficult child's school!

    all of that is to remind myself (and tell you) that my struggles with my parents have been very long and hard but when they did what they did 7 years ago (disinheriting me the first time), that was so difficult to go through-- not only were they abandoning me when I really needed support (my 6th grader was in a psychiatric hospital) but they also abandoned him...man, that was a hard time...I remember my difficult child going for a walk on the beach afterwards and asking me if I'd ever do that to him ('disown' him)...I'd never do that even to my difficult child...I'll distance myself but if he ever wants help/treatment, ever wants to find peace between us, I'll remain open (and hopeful) of that...It's been a lot of hard work to grow away from my birth family and I have accomplished a lot...my father doesn't like it because he knows I don't need him in my life and the only 'control' he has over my life right now is having difficult child there...but, he doesn't know me and seems to not realize that I've grown a lot more away from him perhaps than he had imagined...I had an ok day today and slept ok last night (was kind of surprised about that)...I'm finding it pretty easy to let him go (compared to last time)...we got a beautiful snow today (in the south, not a common event) that's still coming and it's so easy to look out the window and forget about all that mess with that old man...I didn't respond to him and never will again...and I LOVE the idea of returning to sender, that will blow his mind and feel SO good to take that power from him...great idea!

    I'll look up those videos and books-- open to any ideas...have been reading Chodron (sp) because Recovering recommended her, started yoga (instructor recommended 'wellspring of compassion: self-care for sensitive people healing from trauma' by Connolly which is very useful now), trying most anything to get my feet back on the ground...I'll work up to the praying-- I have to say, maybe it's just me, but all of this has rocked my faith...it's hard to see God in all of this-- maybe his direction for my life is how I got away from all of that but did I really have to sacrifice my only child for that freedom? maybe you're right, difficult child will see the truth...but he's gotta realize at some point that he's not looking through exactly clear eyes-- not in examining his own life and in how he views my father...

    thanks again for your time and support...I wish I'd known about you back when this happened the first time!..
    ;-)...but I intend to take full advantage of my new friends this time!
     
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  15. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    sorry, it was Sabine who knew why I opened it...but I love that poem from Nancy and plan to put it on the door!
     
  16. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    It's going to be hard with him living with them to be able to separate the issues with your dad from your son's stuff. I don't think that you sacrificed your son by teaching him as an adult grabbing and shaking another human being is unacceptable behavior. in my opinion you didn't say "goodby see you never" or disown him you simply set a boundary and held firm when he violated it. You can love your son and still hate the way he treated you, your dad doesn't fight fair don't bring this conflict with your son to his level.

    You may not be ready for a sit down with your son yet but might want to send him a note telling him that you don't hold him responsible for what is going on with his grandparents (this has been going since long before he was born) and work on his life without letting grandparents pull him into their drama and use him as a pawn.

    Your son can use old man money bags for a free ride while he gets his act together without giving up his mom or believing your dad's BS. If he understands your dad's game your son might decide to make his own money so no one ever has that kind of power over him. Kind of the way you did.

    Nancy
     
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am sorry you are another one of us here who had a horse's behind for a parent. My mom also attempted to write me out of her will but in the end it didnt work out to well for her. My mom's will actually said that anything she had left was to be left to my oldest son while ignoring me and my other two sons. She left one of her friends as executor. I got around this because as an only child I was left with having to take care of her when she got alzheimers. I cleaned out her bank accounts. First of all I had to buy a new place to live because before that we only had a singlewide 3 bedroom trailer and there was no way we could all live in that. After that I had to deplete what was left of her accounts so she could get medicaid to get into a nursing home. I ended up paying some stuff for her but I also paid me and my family for taking care of her. Oh well.

    Oh she was also one who did her very best to ruin my life. I am sure there is an FBI file on her somewhere with CRACKPOT on it. She wrote at least once a week to them, congress or even the President. She also wrote to everyone she could think of to make life bad for me. I was working for DSS and she sent them a letter telling them a ton of lies about me. Im lucky I didnt lose my job.
     
  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    BITS, you have a great background, support and tools to move past your past---keep on with your new program of work.

    Your precious son will also have to learn about life one day at a time---just like you did.

    Let time take its time. Things change even when we don't do anything. Sometimes they change in amazing ways we never could have imagined.

    Both your father and your son are living in la-la land. One way for them to come down to earth---fast---is to live together for a while and to see each other in full living color.

    Right now they are in the honeymoon phase---united against you---but that will wane. They will have to get down to some sort of routine, and then they will go back to being who they really are. Then, let's see what happens.

    I bet they won't be able to tolerate each other for very long once their eyes are opened.

    If you can, wait. Work on patience.

    Peace and blessings for you today.
     
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm glad you feel relatively okay BITS. I'm sure this felt like a sucker punch to you. I completely understand the feeling of having to "sacrifice your only child for your freedom" since I have a very similar story to yours.................highly dysfunctional biological family littered with mental illness rather then substance abuse...........end result the same as yours where we kids were concerned. Me? Oldest, most sensitive, only one to escape the genetic map. My only child? Some kind of mental illness not diagnosed. Much sorrow which I've learned from, grown from, healed from and moved on from.

    Now I'm raising my granddaughter, the final piece in my parenting career. I also raised my sister who skipped out of my life about 18 years ago blaming me for what my parents did. I very much understand how you are feeling right now. Three years ago, my granddaughter went to live with her Dad's parents who are similar to your Dad and Mom's messed up lives. Oddly, her therapist told me this is something that was necessary for her own growth..............her Dad had committed suicide so this was her link to him and she had to find out for herself who they were. That was a crushing blow to me,the one who was always there, always providing for her and loving her. We all agreed that she would stay one year, through the ninth grade, although there was a possibility it would be until she went to college. During that time I continued to be present for her, loving her, sending her cards, notes, being available. Within a few months she wanted to come home. I insisted she live up to the agreement we had all made. (that was hard to do) They were not harming her, they were just showing her who they are. One year to the day she returned. About a week later, (she was 14) she told me she was sorry she had been such a "brat" to me, that she had an "epiphany" about treating me badly now understanding that she took all the anger she had at her Mom and threw it at me. She said she now knew that her other grandparents were messed up and she could see what her father had had to deal with as a kid. In other words, that year changed her whole life. She came back a different kid and our relationship blossomed.

    Your son is likely in a similar position where he will need to see for himself who your parents are..............all you can really do is ride that out.

    I am sorry you have to deal with any of this, I truly am. However, you are having to deal with it and I guess what I am trying to tell you is that on the other side of all that loss really is a whole new vista, a whole new sense of peace and although in some ways I too have "sacrificed" my daughter for my freedom, to use your words, I don't look at it that way...........the word sacrifice implies that I did that and I didn't, it happened to me and I dealt with it. Mental illness has it's own agenda and I crawled out from underneath it and survived. For me it is a triumph of what we humans can accomplish. And, yes, my daughter is still mired in her own muck, by her own choice.........and as I wrote on another post, in running into her the other day, I remained okay, I remained in my own centered place and life moved on. Not to say that is perfect by any stretch of the imagination...........but it is what it is and I am okay. You will be okay too. You have had a rough ride as well, and yet you've been given a lot too.....your SO, your career, financial freedom, a beautiful farm, horses, a life of comfort and most important, a sense of yourself which is deep and real................it's where we put our focus that counts and I believe over time your focus will shift and your perception will change, regardless of what your son or your father or anyone does or doesn't do................. And then we have peace of mind. That is what I always wish for all of us, because if you have that..............you have it all.

    I am sending you gentle hugs BITS, understanding thoughts and prayers for you to find peace............God Bless...........
     
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Just wanted you to know I am reading along too, BITS.

    Cedar
     
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