Manipulation or just clueless??

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I posted more about this on my "court is over" thread in General but now I am pulling it out to ask opinions over here. This is what I emailed my mother 1-2 days ago:

    difficult child got recommitted to the state juvenile justice system- that is incarceration, not social services taking him away from home. He will be there longer this time than last time so that basicly blows his teenage years and a lot of possibility for getting things turned around. No matter who you want to blame for it, it would take some intensive therapy and rehabilitation to get him on the right track now and incarceration doesn't provide that. Social services does but due to the previous actions of you and Bro, I can't get difficult child help or transitional services thru them. I hope you remember that the next time you are "in a panic because you love him so much".

    This is what she emailed me back today:

    Hi klmno, glad you responded to my last e-mail and I's so very sorry to hear about difficult child. I hope and pray he will get his life turned around for the better. As far as who is to blame for all this happening to difficult child and you not being able to get him the help he needed, I don't think any one person is the cause of difficult child's problems because it started much too long ago before many of us were allowed in his life. True, we had no business getting involved to the extent we did when we were a part of life and I don't know what else to do except to keep repeating how sorry I am for my role in your and difficult child's problems. Stay well and take care of yourself. Tell difficult child to please think about his future and to remember that he can't do anything about what other people do or don't do and he alone is responsible for making something out of himself. I love you both, mom

    Now I didn't blame her for difficult child developing the initial problems and never have. Secondly, I never "disallowed" her or my bro from having a relationship with difficult child but after my bro kissed my son on the lips, tried to manipualte certain things with the GAL and filed for custody, I did stop that contact. With my mother, the judge was in agreement with me to start keeping that contact "monitored" and I did but never prevented or stopped a relationship.

    Anyway, I know my mother is toxic for me but I find myself back to the question of "is she intentionally trying to manipulate or is she just that clueless" in twisting my words and not getting that my issue is that she in fact did contribute to difficult child not being able to get any services thru dss, along with my bro who she instigated to get involved?

    Maybe it's one of those things that makes no difference- she's toxic to me and I need to deal with it as such. Otherwise it will only serve to lead me into talking to her more about it or fuming over it.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    K, I think that's your answer, right there.

    Getting into the why of it is mostly irrelevent. And really, who knows why. She probably is not sitting over there like Pinky and the Brain, wringing her hands, and devising a plan for world domination; she probably doesn't even know what consequence her actions may have, which is all the more reason to treat her as a poison in your life - you can never be sure exactly how poisonous she is.


    Take her apology out of that letter, and leave the rest behind.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Shari. I needed the support not to get tangled into this. A big part of me knows that she has spent her life saying and doing whatever it takes to get what she wants that she isn't really aware of the repercussions on others' lives. However, that doesn't mean that I have to sit and reap them all when she can't or won't come out of her own world long enough to think about how much damage her actions have caused others. My job is to take care of myself and to be as good of a parent to difficult child as I can and that is what I will try to stay focused on.

    Shewww.....I wish I could have found a therapist who got all this sooner but TG I have cyber-friends who can let me get some of this out and offer me emotional support.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think she is clueless about things. But I have to tell you that if anyone in my family ever said to me about either of my children:

    "True, we had no business getting involved to the extent we did when we were a part of life and I don't know what else to do except to keep repeating how sorry I am for my role in your and difficult child's problems."

    I would not have a clue as to what to do. I don't ever expect to hear from anyone in my family again. My children are messed up. I'm messed up. I don't know if you saw my FB post with Desmond Tutu's quote on forgiveness. I had actually posted it for a friend going through a nasty divorce who can't stop crying.

    She knows to some extent that she overstepped her bounds and she said she was sorry. Some of us will never hear that. You can still be angry at her and/or hate her. You're only human. But you don't have to live it. I know her response is like picking an infected sore right now, but I hope that you will be able to let it go. You can't change what happened. You can stop being consumed by it, and take away her power to hurt you (thereby making her a better person, too).

    {{{{{{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    I'm really sorry for all that you and your family have had to go through. It's been a terrible time for you all.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think your expectations exceed her capabilities. She has apologized and I don't see how she can do more than that. Acknowledging that she made mistakes, in my humble opinion, verifies what you believe happened so denial is no longer an issue. None of us can undo the past as much as we might like to do so...I know I sure would like another chance
    to recreate some history.

    You are the master of your future. You are capable and bright and healthy. difficult child is alive and safe. Try to focus on the future.....I believe you can make it a happy one. DDD
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I had gone past what she did when I was a child, as much as possible. But her habit of creating havoc then thinking an "I'm sorry" is going to erase it all just doesn't cut it anymore. At some opoint I think she should have dealt with her own issues that lead her to create havoc in others' lives. difficult child can't get additional services without being turned over to dss but then dss would have to send him to my bro. This is because bro has his name listed as wanting difficult child and wanting to make sure difficult child never goes anywhere outside the family. I was told this by the dss lady. And both my bro and my mother had told me that what instigated my bro to take this opportunity was my mother calling him begging him because she "loved difficult child so much". My mother of course has never taken any action the past few years to undo any of this, talk to my bro about undoing anything, etc. Not to mention that I was out thousands for a custody case.
    'Oh sorry" just isn't going to get me past it this time- I've gone thru too many periods of things like this that she instigated but never tried to resolve in the past.
  7. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I think that's it in a nutshell.

    There's probably a level of cluelessness there, and definitely a self-serving way of dealing with things but what difference does it make? She is manipulating you whether she means to or not because she has you all upset again. Whether it's by design or by accident, the result is the same. Take the apology, forgive her for your own sake and that of your difficult child, and move on.

    One of the mantras I learned when my difficult children were younger that has served me well is , "You can't control other people; you can only control your own reactions to them."
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well I don't know- if someone stole from you, how many times would you accept an apology when they never made any effort to pay back the money they stole but would turn around and do it again, expecting you to accept the apology and keep doing this?

    To me, when someone never makes any effort to really make amends or change their pattern that caused this, the apology doesn';t carry a lot of weight. difficult child's apologies don't carry a lot of weight with me anymore for this reason, too. But true, I can change how I handle it and where I go from here with things.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think sometimes folks confuse forgive with forget. And I think sometimes you should forgive but not forget. And I think this is one of those times.

    My dad used to say, "screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, and shame on me". That's a little extreme in most instances, but in this one, not at all.

    As I said, tho, accept her apology. That's the best she can probably do. And leave the rest of her garbage behind.
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Stepping back from this a bit, if I hadn't read your letter and known some of the background, I would say your mom's letter to you is written in a pretty classic "detachment" tone. I could have written a similar letter to Oldest at one time or another (under completely different circumstances). Just an interesting thought that occurred to me; for whatever reason, she seems like she's keeping a pretty firm boundary in place when it comes to you and your difficult child. I can imagine that's pretty painful for you :(

    One thing I've learned about writing/sending emails and letters to someone whose point of view is in conflict with mine, is I have to be careful of my expectations. I used to write letters to my kids' dad, trying to "explain" things to him, wanting to make him understand the how/why/what of the girls' issues, to no avail. Inevitably, I was setting myself up for another let down as he time and time again would either ignore those letters, or write back a scathing response that had nothing to do with anything (and always blamed me, once again). I finally realized that my letters to him were a waste of time and energy. Nothing I said to him would ever change his mind or point of view. Why was I bothering to try?! I finally stopped, and my stress level when dealing with him dropped considerably.

    It sounds like this is where yo are with your mother. You're beating your head against a brick wall. She is not going to change, she is not going to suddenly have an epiphany and realize/accept difficult child's issues, realize how hard you've been struggling to fight for him, and give you what you need from her. You said it yourself, and others have quoted it: "Maybe it's one of those things that makes no difference- she's toxic to me and I need to deal with it as such. "

    I think as hard as it is, it's time to just detach yourself from her, and let it go.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It seems a few are relating more to bein the parent of a difficult child in this situation which might be a typical response however my mother has been one of the biggest difficult child's in this family. She has a pattern of being emotionally distant unless she's trying to get something from a person and then she'll lie, cry, or do whatever it takes to get them to do what she wants. If she wants to manipulate a person for a different reason, she contacts them saying she's in a panic because of A, B, C, until she gets that person worried to death and all kinds of koi gets started up- and I'm not talking about just gossip- I'm talking about really effecting peoples' lives in a serious way. Then she gets defensive if that person gets mad at her so the distancing starts again and she leaves it with "I said I'm sorry that's all I can do; you're responsible for your own life" and the person is left to pick up the pieces from her koi. She has had this pattern all her life. Just like when she instigated my bro into filing for custody- oops, she's sorry- and I'm out thousands of dollars. Same with bring her bro to our house when she had been warned about it. Oops sorry- you're still responsible. Well, when is SHE responsible for what she starts or contributes to? I'm just done.

    Any of us could send a ssimilar message to our kids under certain circumstances- I wasn't trying to say there was something outrageous about her message in itself, it was that it did not accurately respond to the circumstances but that is exactly how she keeps the rest of the world believing that she must be the good mother and I'm the whacko.

    I've got too many other things to do- I'm going to drop the issue now.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  12. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    You have gotten many responses KLMNO. I understand that the response from your mother was NOT what you wanted to hear, but I wonder if you have thought about what you WOULD want to hear? What would be healing and what would give you some peace? I am not in any way absolving your mothers actions, but sometimes the healing we seek can only come from within. I hope you find the peace you are looking for.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I do think it's good that you are moving on. No one can change the past, all you can do is keep her influence out of your future. Nothing she says will ever be good enough, and I understand.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you, Ladies for just accepting my need to keep going. Mom 2 3, there is long history of big issues between my mother and me and when I was in intensive therapy as a young adult, my therapist concluded that my mother was worse than someone who sees the world thru rose colored glasses or who is in the typical denial. So, I had plenty of talks from her about detaching from my family, accepting I can't change her and so forth. But occassionally, the old question of "Why?" creeps up- as in "is she really that clueless or is she just that uncaring and selfish". More and more I am concluding that she is that selfish and uncaring. I mean really, how can you be raised with a bro who went thru the incarceration route and she saw where it led him and have a PhD in psychiatric and think a kid doesn't need more help than what a family can give him and be able to understand what his future might hold if he doesn't get that help?

    I know people want to give her the benefit of the doubt, but boy, if you knew some of the things this woman did you might not want to relate to her at all.

    My intensive therapist told me to always keep my family at arms length or stay away from them altogether. I made a grave mistake by choosing the arms length relationship so that difficult child might know some family besides me. I should have known better. This woman has done so much that would make your jaw drop to the floor that the biggest problem has always bee that most people don't believe me, but I rarely get into all of it because of that. On the rare occasions where I've met a person or had a therapist who actually was familiar with this extremity in dysfunction, they know I'm telling the truth. It just takes a trip to hades and back evidently to find that therapist.

    I don't recall who it was, but one of the members here suggested on a previous thread that I just move and not send my mother a new hpone number or email address and tell the juvenile legal people that I had no wya to know how to contact her because she said she was in the process of selling her house and moving out of state (that is true). I'm liking this idea more and more as time passes. Otherwise, if the future can be predicted by past behavior, then this tension between us will remain until I suddenly get a ton of emails or phone messages one day saying she is demanding to speak to difficult child because she can't stand not hearing his voice and knowing he's ok because she loves him so much and if I don;'t put her in contact with him (which I cannot do whil he's incarcerated- I can't even call him) then she will call his GAL and stir up all kinds of koi for me like I've ner seen before. Now, that would be true to her form. Never mind we are not welcome at her home and she hasn't come here to visit in ages. Then, after that whirlwind dies down, I'll hear "I had another panic attack". Fine, mom, deal with them some other way. After 50 years you should be able to do that.

    And Witz- you are right- nothing my bro could ever say would be enough and regarding my mom, when someone's negligence sets up a situation for a rape to occur to your child and the kid tells you and the first reaction is "how could you do this to me". And the person gets a PhD in psychiatric and still is never remorseful for any of their own actions in this situation or others, then "oops I'm sorry" will never be enough either. If she had ever approached me with "omg, I realize I should not have done A B C and I am sorry and want to help with therapy" or whatever, that I would have accepted. There's a ton more so I better stop now and just redirect my mind.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  15. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wasn't trying to imply that your m other wasn't a difficult child, k, or that you were, so I'm sorry if you took offense to my comments. I just found her response ironic, and sad. You're right, it isn't an accurate response.. but what I meant was, it never will be. She's treating you as if you're the problem, and using detachment language. That tells me that nothing you ever say to her will get through, if she's got that wall up. Moving on is really all you can do.

    I have a toxic family member as well, my brother. I've had to limit my contact with him, despite him being the only immediate family I have left (not counting my crazy homeless brother in Tucson, who is well beyond hope). It's very painful to have family who you can't talk to, can't get support from, I know. I'm sorry this continues to be such an open wound for you .. I really hope the tdocs at the VA can help you through this.
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you- after re-reading my response, I realized it sounds like I'm angry at people here. I'm not- I'm angry but not at you all here. Actually, maybe I'm just more frustrated with my whole situation and yes, still feel some anger toward my family every time I think about difficult child not having access to a group home, therapuetic care, etc that dss could give because my family is so insistent that they must have control and keep everything in the family and I'm angry at the system that lets them have that control so they can save a buck from their funding while my kid gets thrown away in front of my eyes and I'm helpless to stop it.

    VA- well I was told that because they agrred that a 45 min session with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) every 3 weeks was not enough right now, I would have intensive outpatient for stabilization of crisis until there was an opening with someone who had expertise and experience in sicko families or sexual abuse, etc. Then yesterday I got a message from the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) I'd seen there to begin with saying she might be the only person available thru this period. Wonderful. I am trying hard not to be picky or judgemental but I can't see myself having a good therapeutic relationship with a 20-some yo sitting there twirling her hair. Most people my age can't relate to half of my experiences- personal experiences or difficult child-dom. After all I went thru to get good therapy for myself, then try to find it for difficult child, I swear I think there has been NO progress in this field in 25 years. If it wasn't for that and my fighting the bneed to give up the dogs, I would be throwing myself at their feet- for my sake and difficult child's. I'm hoping they can get something going that would really be effective.

    I just heard on the news today that research has concluded kids with adhd and other forms of disturbances might benefit a great deal from CBT to learn coping skills. Gee, ya thunk? Haven't we warrior moms been here a while saying that tdocs need to learn that medications, behavior mod and behavior contracts alone are NOT working? I would think maybe it's just me, but difficult child had two well-reknown psychiatrists say similar things- and that getting the system to realize it is a big part of the problem but getting tdocs who can and will do this is a bigger problem. I realize that some kids really do need intensive help from early preschool years, but there are many parents here, I think, whose kids would not have kept declining if adequate care had been given in the early stages of difficult child-dom instead of pushing medications and blaming the parent for not rewarding and giving consequenxes 'adequately'. That's why I'm starting to advocate more for MH boards to get a clue and start expecting more from their professionals.

    I digress.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010