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A Hard Line With My Parents

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The summer has been a whirlwind. Just when I thought I'd have time to process, I was wrong and something else happened - hence why my last post was in JUNE. :scratchhead:


In early July, my mom was moved from the Adult Care home into an assisted living facility where Dad would meet her at the end of the month. Dad was released two months early for 'good behavior' and 'work credit time' where he was able to reduce his sentence by working in the kitchen. I am very glad his sentence wasn't longer, for in the 4 months he was there, he dropped 40 pounds! Not that he didn't need to lose some weight, but it was becoming unsafe for him with regard to his health.


Because there was no one else, I stepped up and helped put things away for mom in the new place - they have a studio apartment in one of the best assisted living centers in our city. I am so tremendously grateful that through state subsidy everything is being paid. They were given a bed and had other needs met so they could live comfortably.


I stepped in a couple of times to help out and then the insanity of August hit. I told them I wouldn't be available for anything until after Labor Day. Towards the end of August I ended up receiving some very nasty and abusive phone calls, the last of which was full of venemous comments and insinuations that I was not a good daughter. :shakinghead:


After pacing back and forth and being agitated for a couple of hours, I calmed down and realized I had something snap inside of me - after all the time, effort, money, and tough love, they STILL weren't respecting boundaries, taking hints, and being respectful to me as a person. :banghead:


When my husband came home, he could see something was wrong. How is it people can suggest the most obvious things that we would have thought of ourselves had we been in a better head space? He suggested writing a letter. I went to bed and fitfully slept - and penned the letter the next morning.


In a nutshell, I told my parents I needed space and time to heal, that the past few years were brutal and cost my husband and I dearly on a number of levels - and I took time to explain each one in great detail. I also added that I didn't appreciate, nor would I be accepting any more abusive phone calls and that they needed to make plans for the holidays, for we were going out of town. Now, mind you, it wasn't this abrupt, but went on for just over 4 pages - well written, clearly stated, articulate, and TO THE POINT, emphasizing that I did love them.


When I let my husband read it, he suggested some minor changes, which I made. He said, "You are sending this, right? This is too powerful to sit on your hard drive." I blinked a few times, printed it and mailed it yesterday.


I should have dropped it by the PO, but had stuff to do here at the house. So there it sat in the mailbox, waiting for the postman. Every time I thought about yanking it from the mailbox, I remembered those toxic messages and stopped short because my parents need to realize that a lines have been crossed and I will not be tolerating this behavior any longer.


My husband also reminded me - "They don't listen. They don't respect you - they never have. You have communicated your wants and needs to them. They are driving you to this point. The lack of relationships in their life, including yours, is their choice and their problem - not yours." Yes, he got a big 'old smoochie for that. :darlenedance:


So. I do anticipate a few more vitriolic calls from them, but this needed to happen.


And for the first time in years, I'm beginning to feel free and rediscovering myself and my husband. :hapydancsmil:


Thank you for all your listening and encouragement. You are such a gift and a blessing. :grouphug:



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The letter was a good idea. When you talk to them they could easily tune you out and not 'hear' what you are saying. When they read the letter they will be paying attention. Also they can refer back to it if they 'forgot' what you were trying to convey to them. Also in black and white they can't deny what you said...or didn't say. Good job Doc!

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Voice of experience - don't feel bad if they *choose* to totally take your letter ALL wrong. That, too, is NOT YOUR FAULT. :(


My brother in the Army sent his pregnant wife to the States from Korea. Mom was *supposed* to take her in, but conveniently hadn't yet prepared any place for her. The wife thought that EVERYBODY in the US was rich and so what she *expected* wasn't us. We think my brother had promised her the rental house "of her own", but it was being rented already. And of course they had absolutely NOTHING in household goods.


I wasn't yet married, but had bought a small house of my own. So I offered to TEMPORARILY let her stay until Mom got a place ready. Days turned into weeks, and the baby was coming. I was working all day; it wasn't safe for her to be alone, even with the phone. She was manipulative, dishonest, and had already tried to "pound" the baby to lose it, when we saw her do it. She claimed she wasn't "able" to eat anything, but I presented her with the thrown-away evidence in my trash bin. I was afraid for both her and the baby she carried.


I tried to talk to my Mom, but she purposely twisted everything and made continuing promises that never materialized. Dad fully understood, but couldn't do things or Mom would get mad. I finally wrote my parents a very nice letter explaining how it was not my responsibility, but theirs, because this was their son's wife and their grandchild. I explained how much I had tried to help, by providing food, shelter, practical things she needed, but that now I feared for the health of both mother and baby because I could not BE there with her all the time. I even ran it past my dear boyfriend (who became my dear husband), and he thought it was quite carefully explained and nicely done.


Mom TOTALLY took it wrong, and was quite nasty. Dad could only shrug his shoulders, and stopped to visit when Mom wasn't with him. She was furious, and told everybody she knew how "awful" I was. Not telling the WHOLE story, of course.


The baby came very quickly, nearly immediately after they prepared a room. And it was "back pain", which they didn't immediately recognize as labor. It was VERY important that she was there with my parents and got help fast. His wife pretended to fall several times, once at the hospital, where she got lots of attention, and a couple of times at Mom's, where Mom caught on and ignored her. (Amazingly there was never any sound, just her draped dramatically on the floor.) Other odd things happened with her and the baby, where he would suddenly start crying HARD. Years later, we feel that she started abusing him very early. She left when he was 15 months old.


Over a year later, Mom asked me to get something from her purse for her, and I found that letter I wrote still in it, where she carried it as a reminder of her "terrible" daughter. I asked Dad about it, and he just looked very hurt, so I let it go. Dad understood.



As I said, personal experience says that IF they choose to take it badly it's NOT YOUR FAULT, either. :hug3:

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Hon, just don't expect any improvement from them. Think of the letter as catharsis for yourself and let it go at that.


What I think is sad is that so very many of us here can empathize deeply with you because we've had to deal with similar family drama and difficulties. At least you are not alone. Don't ever think it is your fault that any of this happened. Some people are just not fixable. Sometimes they are parents. Children cannot fix parents that are not fixable.

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Thank you all.

They have made their choices and their lives are evidence of that. I know full well I can't change them but neither will I be party to their dysfunction and hurtful words.


I've even gone to far as to tell the neighbors if they see my dad lurking to call the police, for he has no business here.


On a positive note - I am getting rid of two boxes in the study - one of their bills from the past six years and one of Guardianship papers. I do need to keep it, but I don't need to keep it close. It can live in the basement. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cat - you were right. They have chosen to interpret things in their own way. Basically, they are telling what friends they have left that I have "put them in a home and cut off all contact", when all I did was request time and space and tell the truth about the toll their choices have taken on my (our) life (lives).


A family friend tried to get me to visit them with her - and when I politely declined, she said, "Well, they said you wouldn't, so fine." It rang loud and clear of the manipulation my parents have been playing for a while - if I won't bend, they will use others to get what they want. Same game that's been happening for decades.


I will say that I've not had a phone call since the letter and my body is finally beginning to 'stand down'. I am aware that I am dealing with some PTSD in some form, for every time I see a car that looks similar to theirs, my heart starts to race and I panic - and every now and again, I think I see Dad in a place where I know he would never be. I know it's my subconscience processing, but it is still quite disconcerting.


I also have been looking at the world through new eyes - for I see other people's parents who are the same age as mine - they're still working, healthy, making good choices, living independently . . .and I can't help but be envious yet glad for them that they have not experienced my hell.


Earlier this week, I had a chance to pass on some cookware that I'd had for years - a set of stainless mixing bowls and about 5 or 6 cooking pots. I've no idea where they came from, but I'd had them a long time. I was rather taken aback by my friends' genuine enthusiasm and sincere gratefulness. My husband hit the nail on the head when he said, "You've been around negativity and critical people for so long, you've been picked clean and don't know what it's like to have someone be genuinely grateful. That's just not right."


He's right. So - now begins the putting together of me. The best way I know is to do grounding things - and to process as I can (no pun intended on my name, lol).

Edited by Crazy4Canning
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Hate to say it, but I kinda saw it coming. :sigh: Experience, yanno?


Maybe relating my experience helped you be a *bit* more prepared. :hug3:

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