My mother's letter to difficult child....VENT

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OOpppss....Can a moderator please move this to the WC? TIA

    This is in repsonse to letter difficult child wrote to her describing his daily schedule, his current grades in school (all A's & B's except for 1 C) and asking how she is doing and if she got her heat repaired (it works but has a problem). Then in a PS he asked her to remind me to keep his dog on a strict diet. (this is because I had told him she had put on weight so I'm cutting treats back- I had been feeding both our dogs too many since being home so much.)

    My mother sent back his letter to me with a letter to me on the back saying she is going to work with difficult child to remind me how to feed the dog and said she was sending his letter back so I could see for myself that he asked for this (and underlined his PS statement) and said he carefully asked it- I suppose that's an insinuation that he's scared of me or something. Then she writes (still to me) that she was impressed with how much he showed his deep love and concern for his family in his last letter (???) and she's "very impressed with his ability to articulate his deepest feelings and is flattered that he's sharing them with her- his grandmother". Now I think my son can be thoughtful and articulate at times but I really didn't get all that in his last letter to her.

    Anyway, then in her letter to him she writes that she's proud he's doing so well and she's sure "with a little more applied brain power he can bring the C up to a B". She talks about some time he spent at her house when he was about 3 or 4yo and how much money it will cost for each thing she needs to fix for the heat to work better and how she can't afford it and it's cold. Then she tells him not to worry about her reminding me how I should be feeding the dog (in detail) because "we don't want the dog having a heart attack or developing diabetes from obesity" and we don't have to worry about the other dog becoming overweight. Then she tells him her eyesight is blurry and she's going to have laser surgery next month but it's not too serious and she can drive herself and she's counting the days until he can come home.

    I see way too much of her "never good enough", "poor me" and "we'll stay on your mom because horrible things could happen if we don't" attitudes in this- which is her typical way. He just turned 15yo and I don't think he needs this. She doesn't get appropriate boundaries and even though she tells me 1/2 the time to remind her or just let her know and it will be ok, she spends the other half the time raising cain when I do. I know it will be a big issue with her if I don't forward a single letter to difficult child but I just may have to face that.

    She actually emailed me yesterday and asked since I had mentioned (and only mentioned) a couple of weeks ago that I might be visiting (but then I canceled) to come to an interview, could I come now on a specific day so I could drive her to and from the laser surgery. I emailed back and nicely explained that I could not. You know, when you are around 70+ yo and you choose to live in a state where no other family lives, with a very old car, when you have panic attacks driving and have been sued due to accident before, you stab your daughter in the back and lie about it for the umpteenth time claiming that it's out of love for a child that you won't even go visit, threaten to cause your daughter more problems, and bad mouth her to everyone else in the family, it takes a lot of nerve to think daughter is going to drive 5 1/2 hours to take you to a dr., in my humble opinion.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Geez....I thought my mother was dead! Sure sounds like you have my mother.

    She probably will get a lot of sympathy from her cronies about her "neglectful daughter". It will give them something to gossip about. I feel your pain. They were supposed to actually love us, were they not???
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sounds like my mother in law. I'm sorry she's such a pain.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Sounds similar to Miss KT's grandmother.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL! I don't think she has any cronies down there- she used to have a few middle-aged people helping her, and she would pay them, but I think they got tired of trying to cater to her every "need" and figured out she might not be due all the sympathy she tries to get since she brought so much of it on herself so they are not coming around anymore. She doesn't want to move because she "wants to keep her independence", doesn't want to lose money on the house, and doesn't want to give up living in this really nice, big house. Well, as far as I'm concerned it's like she told me when I got married and my husband became physically abusive toward me- "you made your bed, you lie in it, and if you don't want to stay then since you got yourself into it, you can get yourself out of it". I was 17- she's plenty old enough to make her independent decisions on her own. Yet I swear, I'm the one who gets accused of being controlling- you should hear how much she tries to tell me what to do and how to do it. (**clears throat**) Which one of us is trying to control the other here?

    I don't think I'm comfortable forwarding this letter to difficult child- what should I tell my mother about it (I'm sure she'll ask)? In her email yesterday she said she had a letter in the mail and "hoped it was alright and that I would forward it". I know darn good and well she isn't as ignorant as she acts. PhD in psychiatric, remember. Yeah I know that doesn't mean the person gets it or doesn't have a host of their own problems, but I tend to think my mother is much more manipuklative than stupid, although I don't think she';s the brightest thing to fall down the pipe. As I heard on tv the other day- "I think her cheese slid off her cracker". LOL!
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The way I read her letter, she's trying to milk people for money. Does difficult child have access to any funds? Because what I hear in that letter to him, is "cough cough... poor me, I'm so poor I can't even afford to fix the heat, but [emotional blackmail] I'll be fine."

    It's a sort of "I can't hear you properly, just let me take my head out of the oven..." which makes you (if you're cynical) feel grateful she can't afford to pay the gas bill!

    Surely there are communnity service transport schemes she can approach for help getting to and from the hospital? Doesn't the hospital have a social worker whose job it is to ensure that patients have appropriate support in this sort of situaiton? It must come up.

    Mind you, there are always those people who refuse such help and insist that their family has a responsibility to step in, even when they've alienated them. My friend went through this with her parents - they needed a lot of home help which was freely available, but refused all outside help because "your father won't have strangers in the house" but expected their 50 yo daughter to give up her job and her home and move in with them, becoming their carer. Knowing full well her father had always been abusive and this would not change.

    It's another form of abuse.

    As for sending on the letter - I wouldn't. There is too much in it which is manipulative. However, in your letter to him, mention that grandma has written a letter to him in which she has said a few things, including... and then list the things she's said which you are comfortable with him hearing. Then write back to her and let her know what you have done, and why. Exactly why.

    She may not have a clue that she is being manipulative - such people don't always see it because it's second nature to them. But the main issue here is, what is best for difficult child? He needs to know he is loved, but he doesn't need to be loaded with guilt. I would tell her this. Maybe give her the benefit of the doubt in what you say (even if you're convinced she deliberately has chosen to be manipulative) and say, "You may not have realised that the way you phrased the letter could have possibly worried him needlessly."

    Maybe even make it clear that you will keep her letter for him to read at some time in the future, when he is strong enough.

    As for her needing transport - I would be writing something like, "I hope you come through the surgery and find it helps you. I know that a loving, kind person such as yourself must have many friends who care about you and would willingly step in and help you in this, people who live a lot closer to you and who see you every day. I'm sure that someone will willingly help you, as I know you undoubtedly help other people."

    And if she hasn't got anybody - there's always a cab. As you said, life choices come back to roost.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I like that a lot! Thank you!

    My mother sounds a lot like the one in your friend's situation. I used to think my mother had no idea how she was because she'd always been that way- and to the people who love(d) her most- because she grew up in dire poverty where people only struggled to survive and most were uneducated. (Although she became a career student and got a PhD). But after she stirred my bro and I found out she had something to do with him filing for custody and I told her some things on the phone about how I felt about it and said something about her inability to ever see things from anyone else's point of view...well, for instance, when she was a single parent if her sister had ever filed for custody of me, even when she had her concerns about my mom, I asked my mother what she would do and my mother told me she would NEVER had spoken to her sister again. I said something else (I don't remember what) and my mother said "look, I know I do things like that; I know what I've done". She elaborated enough to make it obvious to me that she knows she is this way and has always been this way. Then she apologized profusely which is the ONLY reason I even have minimal contact with her, and not wanting to completely wipe her out of difficult child's life since he doesn't have any other family in his life. I honeslty think she does these things for two reasons- 1) it has always worked in getting her the attention and someone to jump in and take care of her and give her what she wants, and 2) she has some real issues of her own and this is her way of keeping them "hidden" in her mind- in reality some people figure that out but it's really keeping her from doing anything about her own issues.

    Anyway, my therapist from my early days (the one who really did help me) told me my mmother would never change and not expect it so protect myself and never get back into that mode. Emotional blackmail is exactly it- and difficult child has already started down that road and I don't want his becoming a habit or extending beyond the typical teen manipulation trials.

    I did suggest to my mother that she try to contact one of the people that used to help her or check into one of the public services that might provide transportation to senior citizens in my email back to her. I told her I was sorry I couldn't help her but I couldn't come down there as long as I can find work here and especially with our unpredictable winter weather right now.

    Really, I'm not sure how to articulate it well but I can see clearly now how she works. She went thru husbands, then a best "friend" getting them to support her and give her everything and revolve their lives around her, and they did. But now they have all passed away. I was always the child that she manipulated to make her feel good, but then she would bad mouth me even to the point of lieing many, many times to her friends to get the friends to feel for her. She bad mouthed me so much that she couldn't then act like she needed me- but she didn't want to either because she's never had any respect for me and she thought my bro would be there and do everything she needed when she got old. I think she used the difficult child issue to get sympathy from my bro- actually, I'm sure she did because that's how it started. She called my bro crying and saying she couldn't stand what poor difficult child was going thru. Somehow in the conversation, my bro decided my mother would help him get custody so he filed and told GAL to call my mom. My mom changed and told GAL that difficult child she live with me. This is why my bro will never speak to my mom again. He thought she really wanted him to have custody (that's all he has ever wanted)- she didn't. She wanted symptathy at my expense, again. Now she has no one but me and he sister. She spent years trashing her sister and doesn't want to move to where they are. She is trying to get either her sis and brother in law or me and difficult child to move down there with her- in HER house, on HER terms, to take care of her.

    Poor difficult child thinks she (and my bro) really loves him so much. She never even came to the hospital when he was an infant in an oxygen tent. I could go on and on but I won't. It pains me- all she's really doing is trying to prep him to either take care of her or be her scapegoat or take my place in the way she treated me. I want to help difficult child open his eyes to this but I don't know how. He has figured out though that "she is different" and he has said there's something wrong with this family and he knows how she is. And it's not that I have ever bad-mouthed her to him- I haven't.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You are doing the best you can - distance yourself, and insulate difficult child from her. You need to keep telling yourself, "I am not responsible for my mother or how she feels."

    Keep telling yourself. And try to believe it. Certainly try to act on it.

    Hang in there.

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    K...I didnt read completely through Marg's reply but I will tell you what I would do with that letter. I would trash it. I would write your mom and tell her that you sent it to difficult child and tell her that you cant make it down there to take her to the eye appointment but you are sure someone she knows can or there should be some other way to do so and you hope she does well with it..blah blah blah.

    If anything ever comes up about this stupid letter...act dumb. Say something like...well I know I sent it, gee...maybe the facility lost it or gosh, you know how the postal system can be...they lose things all the time gosh darn it all. I'll be darned! Or maybe difficult child just doesnt remember this particular know how boys are. Just play it off. Whatever. Lie...she does.
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would do exactly what Janet would. Your mom will not learn. Just let it go.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911


    There are people in this world that have never learned the art of effective communication and are just fine with how they communicate to others. There are also toxic people who say hurtful things, and there are people that say things to evoke emotion in others for a reaction or debate because they live for it.

    Over in PE I put up a post about a book I'm looking for. Read what the msnbc interview with the psychiatrist said about parents who are toxic. I think you would benefit from that book. Just read the blurb about Fiona and how that woman handled her Mom. Really amazing.

    As far as what your Mom wrote to your son? I think the letter would be just lost. If she said "Did X get my letter?" I would reply "You know what Mom? I put it down to send it to him and missplaced it. My apologies. If I get a card and send it to you postage paid, how about sending that back to me and I'll see he gets it?"

    Then find a very encouraging,uplifting the postage paid as promised....and send it to her. Have her send it back....and if she sends it back and IT is still negative....loose it too. Maybe she was just in a bad place that day? Maybe that's her whole life? Negative. If so? Loose her letters to your son, and keep her distanced from you, like you are.

    You, are a good person. Despite however and whoever raised you? You should know that. You have done a good job raising your son, you have done the very best you could. If you didn't get encouragement as a child? Then you should be happy in knowing that you now have good friends here that will prop you up when you feel slumpy, having never met you, who care despite not really knowing you -only based on what you write daily...and who encourage you and really mean it. How lovely is that? You are a part of this family, and it's give to get nature. Pretty cool actually. So you can move on from <-------there and you are very wise NOT to allow your son to stagnate in her sadness. Good job Mom. Good job friend.

    So that you have a solution.....go make me something pretty. HA......

    Hugs & Love
    Star.......OH and if it's a small card? She can't write much can she?
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    **sniff** **sniff**

    Thank you, Ladies!! Other than that, I finally feel speechless- it's so nice to "know" people who really get it and give emotional support while still keeping me in check!

    difficult child called last night and I told him his grandmother had written but I didn't think I should forward this letter (I have forwarded ALL others to and from her) because I thought she read WAY too much into his letter. He said "don't worry, I know how she is". I gave one example only and told him about she went on about telling me exactly how I should feed the dog and that the two of them would stay onto me about it. He carcked up laughing and said send it to him anyway and he'll write her back and tell her he was just joking about the dog- it's not a big deal. I'm not sending it to him because I know he's not mature enough to see the other manipulation in it and as Marg says, it would cause him worry in the long run and it is needless. The last thing my son needs is more neurosis passed onto him- he already has to deal with whatever I inadvertantly "leak" to him. LOL!

    Ok, I guess I haven't reached complete "speechlessness" yet.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010