Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by emotionallybankrupt, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Since difficult child has been out of the house, I've realized one thing in particular I did RIGHT with her and wanted to share.

    Some years ago, I began writing (on the computer) letters of encouragement and love to her, especially during holiday times I knew were difficult for her after her dad died. I always had a special Father's Day letter for her, birthday letter, and many others. I knew that she had more than a tendency not to listen to me when I talked to her, especially during a loaded emotional time, and well as the pattern of distorting my words later. This often would lead to confusion on my part...Did I really say what I thought I said?...Is my own memory distorted?...Did I really not make clear how much I love her?

    At the times I'd give her those letters, she'd frequently huff and toss them aside, commenting that she didn't know why I didn't just talk to her like a "normal" mother would do. But guess what? When I packed those boxes of her things when she was ready to move out, I found those letters. She had kept them, and she had read them--more than once would be my guess.

    Now, for me, I have those letters stored on my computer and plan to print them off this weekend for myself. They give me a very comforting reality check when I get all those messages about what a terrible, unloving mother I have been. It's been so easy for me to get confused at times in the face of her so convincing statements.

    On the other hand, I have also through the years typed up documentation (just for myself) of some of the ugly incidents right after they happened, while my memory was fresh. This has also been a valuable reality check for me to help me be sure my memories really are accurate, that I didn't just dream up some of the facts she denies having happened. This helps me stay clearer on the path I need to be taking and helps me greatly in controlling those guilt impulses and those thoughts of, "If only I had done more for her...."
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    It's nice to have concrete evidence of your efforts. This post is a nice synopsis so you might want to print it off and add it to the stack!

  3. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Thanks, I think I'll do just that. Along with the e-mails.

    She and I have had so many e-mails flying back and forth in the past couple of weeks, since I learned of her pregnancy. I think I said somewhere in another post that I'm refusing voice calls because I don't think I can handle that emotionally. It's serving another purpose though, I'm finding. It shows me very concretely how my words said out of love and concern keep being twisted into something hateful and accusing. This same dymanic always happens in voice conversations too, of course, but without having a step-by-step replay, I often really do come out of it bewildered. Definitely, as long as written exchanges keep taking that nasty turn, I know it would be a bad choice to have conversation in person or on the phone. She's just determined to be the "victim" at every turn, which I've always thought serves the purpose (in her mind only) of taking all responsibility for bad choices off of her.

    Besides keeping my own brain as clear as I can, I'm also thinking ahead to the future, as I also did with my divorce. Someday, this little girl I'm still raising will be asking me many questions about both her father and her sister, and about why I made certain decisions. Some things I've kept in order to help in those explanations if needed. I have no interest in bad-mouthing my ex (easy child was too young at his death to have any memory of him) OR my difficult child, but I can't at this time predict what easy child might need as an adult to satisfy curiosity and bring peace to those questions that are bound to come up. If difficult child keeps this baby, I may someday have some questions from that adult child, which will deserve clear answers.

    difficult child wrote me a very long, rambling message last night, which she wants me to give to her sister. Wow. This would be so confusing to easy child. Basically apologizing for all the times she scared her with her temper, got mad for no good reason, didn't want to spend any time with her, refused to help her with anything when she would ask, and on and on. I thiink it's interesting that she gave no reasons for any of these behaviors, and in my response I told her that her sister would need that piece too in order to have any understanding, and that the message would have to be delivered in pieces. difficult child knows this. I think the message is an emotional dump on difficult child's part, so that she can say, "Ok. I've apologized now. All responsibility now erased." I also think there's just a CHANCE that she's THINKING. I sure do hope. difficult child may be truly sorry for some of her mistreatment of her sister, and those issues are bound to be coming to the surface now that difficult child is pregnant. (Note that no apology to me for anything was included anywhere....) easy child has had huge health and developmental issues (part of why difficult child's rambling apology would be such an inappropriate, confusing message for her now). difficult child told me several times within the past year that she knew she never would be able to handle challenges like that. I've reminded of that lately, and pointed out that some challenges she could be dealt would make easy child's look like a mere inconvenience.

    difficult child's frequent rages and selfish attitudes put this baby at terrible risk, even if the child turns out to be a easy child. difficult child has never before been willing to cooperate with any therapies at all, but even if that has changed finally, she's now faced with an unrealistic time limit to fix these severe and long-standing problems.

    I'm trying so hard to help difficult child be realistic. Of course, that means throwing out some hard truths, which difficult child naturally interprets as cruelty on my part. I've been noticing, however, that it takes an average of about three days for me to receive a response to a blunt e-mail. I thiink she's thinking and processing. It's unfortunate that this process has to be fast-tracked on my part. She's due in six months. I'm just stumbling through the dark with no road map, hoping I'm saying some of the right things.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  4. maril

    maril New Member

    Thanks for sharing. I can certainly relate to documenting things.

    So much has occurred with my difficult child in the past year+ that, at times, my recall is poor or cloudy. In addition, in conversations with him, he sometimes twists things, so, it has been helpful to have treatment, events, school issues, etc., documented.

    I am sorry for all you are facing and hope things will improve with time. It sounds like you are doing the best you can in a difficult situation. Hang in there. :D
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  5. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I also want to share this curious tidbit. Obviously, my children--both biological and having the same dad, are very opposite in many ways, in personality, gifts, and challenges.

    easy child has had health problems since birth, three surgeries (one of which was especially difficult with a very painful recovery involved), and developmental delays which continue to separate her from her peers in achievement levels--although she is gaining. BUT SHE IS HAPPY and always has been. At school, she has had the special gift of bringing out the best in others--particularly "difficult" peers--due to her sweet, gentle spirit. Those who "pick on" everybody else are sweet, helpful and protective of her, which has been interesting to watch. She has also proven by her progress that sometimes more is possible than certain "professionals" are willing to consider. In short, she was quickly "written off" by the "quick to judge" sort, and has now made them eat their words.

    Now, there's difficult child. Gifted and talented in so many ways, never a struggle in school or in development. Probably IQ 130+. Could be a singer, a writer, or a standout in most any profession if she were just able to "get it together" with her choices. But...she's one of the most negative and unhappy people you would ever meet.

    At one point, I asked her, if it were possible, would she have wanted to "swap places" with her sister. She has always been so extremely jealous of the attention that had to be diverted from difficult child, in order to attend to easy child's particular needs. The answer was an immediate and emphatic, "NO."

    Maybe she's not so jealous after all? Maybe she enjoys that role of "playing the victim"? I've never been sure what that says about difficult child, but I think it's an important admission on her part.
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    It's nice to get that "proof" that your efforts weren't completely in vain. Hugs xo
  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

  8. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Yes, the archives are good, and I have let too much drama creep into the exchanges during the last two weeks. That's when I learned about the pregnancy. I think I'd done a decent job of backing off until then, but that one threw me. I need to back off again. There's really nothing left to say. It's all been said, maybe more than should have been said.

    Along with the current drama, I've also been doing a lot of reflecting and processing past dramas, and that's what has come through in some of my posts. The conversation she and I had about whether she would have wanted to trade places with her sister happened probably a year ago, when she was complaining about "favoritism." Up until now, dramas have happened so quickly on top of other dramas that I had no time to process and am just now beginning to untangle.

    Again, though, the pregnancy threw in a huge, unexpected drama. I'm worried about the child. I can't fix it, though. I know that.