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Posts Tagged ‘contact with abuser’

Oh, the irony. We just spent yesterday talking about my mother/abuser (m/a), and then I got a letter in the mail from her in the afternoon. I was torn about whether to read it at all, so I decided to skim it. It did wig me out, but I am grateful that I read it because, as painful as it was, I finally saw the manipulation in it.

First of all, I have told her several times that she is not to write about reconciliation, and yet she did it again, just as she did in her last letter. Second, even though my sister told her that I would be out of town on the weekend that she is planning to visit relatives in a nearby city (over Mother’s Day weekend, no less), m/a asked about me meeting her along the Interstate to pick up an item from her, which leads to point #3.

Third, my sister told m/a that I would like to see a video of some fool thing that she has been doing. (Too long of a story to go into.) I said it to my sister because I would laugh my tail off at m/a looking incredibly stupid, but m/a took it to mean that this is something I really care about getting. M/a’s letter wants me to meet her along the interstate to pick up the DVD she had made for me. Of course, mailing a DVD is dirt cheap. This is a carrot.

And, finally, we have a lie that she is dating some guy, who she has specifically told my sister is “just a friend” and that she has no intention of dating. Why lie about it? My guess is that this is a manipulation as well. She has not dated since my father passed away back in the 1980’s, and maybe she is hoping that a dating story will pull me back in. It won’t.

I thought about putting the letter back in the envelope and writing “Return to Sender,” but I ripped it when I opened it, so she will know that I read it. I have decided that any further letters will get “Return to Sender,” and I will not open them. I never feel like I have the option of not reading a letter she sends, so this will be huge for me. As for Mother’s Day weekend – I will be out of the state, so it won’t be my problem. If she does choose to drop by, I guess hub will have to deal with her, which will be quite amusing.

There is truly not one ounce of me that feels grateful for this correspondence. I hyperventilated and got a bad headache. That is the little girl inside of me saying, “Enough!”

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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For those who have not been following my real-life drama, today marks one week until I leave for my sister’s graduation. As happy as I am for my sister (who dropped out of high school after ninth grade and is now graduating from college with honors), I am not looking forward to seeing my mother/abuser for the first time in six years.

Until this week, my last communication with my mother/abuser was when I mailed her the “back the f@#$ off” message in September. On Monday, I mailed her a nice Christmas card – the same one that I mailed to about 70 people that shows a picture of my son and came prewritten with “Love Hub, Faith, and Child” on it. I am hoping that will ease the tension a little bit, and it did not bother me to send it.

I really thought that I would be in a horrible funk for an entire month before the graduation. I did okay until Thanksgiving rolled around. I don’t know what it was specifically that triggered everything, but I went through a four-day period in which I was extremely depressed, and all was black. I assumed I would stay in that dreadful place until the graduation, but I didn’t. I started improving on Saturday and Sunday and then was back to normal by Monday. I have been okay all week.

I have no explanation for this other than the grace of G@#. Seriously. Yes, I am a strong person and have done a lot of healing work, but this is H-U-G-E. The graduation is a week out, and I am okay. This is even during the Christmas season, which is also a trigger for me, and I am still okay.

I thought that I was going to take a nosedive again yesterday when I got upset about something going on with my kid at school. It’s too complicated to go into now, but the bottom line is that I will be going to his school this morning to advocate for him. Since I have trouble separating out my actual child versus my inner child, I thought I would go back to that bad place of believing that my inner child was unsafe, but I didn’t. Who knows what I will be blogging about on Monday, but at least for now, in this moment, I am okay.

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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I received a hysterically funny letter from my mother/abuser. If you are not up to date on the letter drama with my mother/abuser, read this blog entry beginning with the links at the top.

Since I wrote that blog entry, my mother did write me another letter a couple of weeks ago to tell me of some health issues she was having. I briefly considered responding, decided to ponder whether to contact her, and promptly forgot about it. Then, I received the following letter, which had me in stitches laughing.

Before I share the letter, I probably need to share that my father died suddenly from a heart attack when he was 43 years old. Also, the letter does cover some religious topics, but the usage is so “out there” that it probably will not be triggering. However, I will slap up a trigger warning just in case.

********** possible religious triggers **********

Dearest Faith,

I’m concerned. Your sister told me that you have been concerned that as you get closer to the age Dad died, you think that you will also. Don’t let Satan lie to you, for God has a long life for you to fulfill.

I realize that you have seen death come to those that you loved. I’m sorry that you had to deal with that hurt. But don’t let this fear of death enter into your mind. And don’t push me away thinking that by doing this, you would be saving my life. My father God has promised me another husband and long life.

Last night I had my cell group at church pray that God would remove this fear of death at age 42 from your thinking. Faith, you are a Christian. You read your Bible, you teach or have taught a Bible study. Trust Jesus. After all, He made only one of you. He gave you, your personality, your looks because he loves you and, has accepted you as His child. You are unique. He has also promised you long life.

So no matter how you treat me, I will continue to write letters and at times, phone you. Maybe one day I will show up on your doorstep. I will continue to pray and do everything I can to keep you from pushing me away.

I love you, Faith. I have and always will. I love you unconditionally. That means I love, accept, and like you, just the way you are. After all God gave you to me, when you were born. You are my daughter and I will treasure you always.

I love you,

Mom

Clearly this woman is on another planet. I called my sister and asked WTF?? She has no idea where this is coming from. I left the punctuation errors in the letter on purpose, but this is a very well-written letter for her, so I suspect someone else has put this idea in her head. I am probably the person least afraid of death on the planet. I also find it humorous that she cannot even remember the age her own husband was when he died.

You should be proud of me for laughing hysterically instead of freaking out about the threats to start the letter campaign and possibly show up at my house. As a friend said, she is clearly on another planet, and MapQuest isn’t going to get her this far. At the moment, I am ready to tell her to f#$% off if she has the audacity to call my house. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but right now I am dying laughing at the absurdity of this letter.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on this saga by reading these blog entries:

I received another letter from my mother/abuser last week. I arrived right as I was heading out of town, so I threw it on the counter and did not think about it again until I returned home from our Memorial Day Weekend getaway (which really SUCKED because both my son and I were very sick … so sick that I never even laid eyes on the beach … but I digress …)

I asked a friend to open and read the letter and let me know if there was anything in it that I should know. My friend said it was safe to read. My mother wrote it right after visiting my sister and having the conversation about overstepping her boundaries with me. Here is the letter:

Dear Faith,

How is everything going? I drove down to see [sister’s kids] get their awards. It was fun being part of their lives.

Faith, if I offended you by writing letters and phoning you, I am so sorry, if I overstepped my bounds. So now I will let you make the next move, that is, if you want to. If will not pressure you anymore. I do have an email address that you can write to, that is, if you want to.

Have a wonderful day, and I hope you will be able to come to [sister’s] graduation. I’ll be there but we don’t have to talk to each other. Let’s just be there for [sister]. She has tried so hard and she needs our support.

Lots of love,

Mom

So, what do you think of this letter? I am relieved that she is backing down on her own. That means that I don’t need to send the letter that I had planned about not wanting her in my life due to the child abuse. That being said, I still see manipulations about how nice it is being a part of my nephews’ lives and how I need to be there for my sister. I have a hard time gauging my own reaction to anything that she writes, though.

I can’t remember if I already shared this, but my sister dropped out of school after ninth grade and got her GED. After her divorce, she enrolled in college in her mid-thirties as a single mother. She has worked her tail off and will be graduating in December with honors with a double-major in biology and philosophy. I have been along for the entire ride, from encouraging her when she doubted herself to reviewing each paper for grammatical errors. Of course I am going to her graduation! I am also taking her on an all-expense paid trip to Disney World to celebrate afterward. So, that comment rubbed me the wrong way.

Any thoughts on her letter? I am not sure what to do about it, so for now, I will do nothing.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Those of you who read my blog regularly are aware that my mother-abuser has been contacting me over the last few months and trying to force a reconciliation between us. That is not going to happen. You can catch up by reading these blog entries:

I ultimately wound up paying a visit to my therapist (I ended therapy a few years ago) for advice. He suggested that I write her a short note telling her that, due to the abuse I suffered as a child, it is not safe for me or my family to be in a relationship with her. Do not contact me again. My sister asked me to wait to send this note until after she finished with her finals (she is a senior in college).

My mother happened to call right before I left for the therapy session and has not called or written since. I thought it was odd that she was calling and/or writing at least weekly for months and then abruptly stopped. I have not sent the note since there has not been a need to do it.

I finally got my answers … My mother visited with my sister recently, and my mother raised the subject. (I had asked my sister not to put herself in the middle, so she had not raised the topic herself.) She told my sister that she had been trying to contact me on the advice of her Christian counselor (I knew it!!) who told her that she needed to “mend fences.” However, because I had not responded or contacted her in any way (including Mother’s Day), she feared that she had “blown it” with me. (Ya think??)

My sister pointed out that I had set boundaries with her and told her what I was willing to give (monthly contact by letter only). By my mother overstepping those boundaries, it was like “spitting all over” me. To the extent my mother is capable, she seemed to get it, so I **hope** she will continue leaving me alone.

Things got worse on my sister’s end, though. My mother kept going on and on about not understanding what she ever did that was so bad. (My sister just gritted her teeth.) My mother then became much more clingy with the one daughter who is still in her life, which is about to drive my sister up the wall. For the first time, my sister said that she is beginning to see the wisdom of my ways. She says that her limited contact was barely tolerable. This clinginess is about to put her over the edge.

I am not sure what my sister is going to do, but that is not my issue. My sister needs to choose her own path, just as I have chosen mine.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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As I have shared before, I cut my mother/abuser out of my life back in 2003 when I entered into therapy to heal from the mother-daughter sexual abuse. I told her that there would be no more personal contact (visits or phone calls). She was emailing me to death, which messed with my head, so I cut that back to monthly. Since then, she has canceled her Internet service and just sends me monthly letters through snail mail.

She does send me a one-page letter every month. For the most part, it complies with my boundaries – no talking about the past, reconciling, etc. Since we have nothing in common, there is not much substance to it. I respond when I can handle it, which is often a few months later. If I go too long without responding, she comes up with stupid ideas like trying to call me, which I really, really don’t want.

So, she sent me her letter a couple of week ago. The mere fact of receiving a letter from her triggered me, even though she said nothing “bad” in the letter. I set it aside and haven’t done anything with it since it arrived.

Yesterday, I decided to get responding to the letter off my to-do list. Generally, I write a letter to someone else I care about and fill her in about my life. Then, I strip out anything that matters and send that version to my mother. It makes it much easier for me to write a page, and it takes very little time.

Even with these precautions in place, writing to her is very triggering for me. It finally hit me why – the pretense of these letters ignores the realities of the damage she inflicted upon my life.

I send her letters like this:

Hi, Mom.

It’s good to hear from you. I am glad that things are going well on your end.

[Insignificant information about my life that everyone around me knows.]

Take care,

Faith

It does not include that, thanks to her choices, I cannot sleep at night. My dreams are filled with nightmares. I have spent thousands of dollars on therapy to recover from the damage she inflicted on me. Every single area of my life has been tainted by her choices during my childhood.

Her responses are never about the stuff that matters. Her letters talk about how she wants to counsel other people – what a joke!

So, why do I continue the contact? I don’t know. At first, it was to stay true to myself – my way of showing her a kindness by having this little bit of connection with my life. But now … I don’t now … now it feels like I am continuing to betray myself by pretending that it is okay that she did the things that she did.

I am not sure where I am going with this or what I am going to do with it. All I know is that I sent her a letter and then had a bunch of nightmares centering around her. I awoke at 5:00 flooded with adrenaline.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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