In the holiday spirit many people get messages from their abusers who believe their pets who went no contact weak and susceptible to manipulation. My parents thankfully go for all out ignoring all year round as punishment. But the messages from other abusers to their pets had me reminiscing. So I thought I’d go back to messages my parents have sent me to analyse them a little. Let’s start with what was the pinnacle of my parents we get what we want or else. Which is arguably in the middle of it all. The brief story is I had a fight with my brother, my mother would not stay out of it despite being told repeatedly to do so. So escalation and subsequent no contact. My parents tried to bribe me back by organising a roadtrip to see a show together, laid guilt trips, played victim, feigned ignorance of what is wrong, graciously allowed me to come crawling back and apologise to get abused some more and so forth you get the picture. Fast forward 1.5 years in my father gets very very sick very suddenly. I’ve been told consistently by numerous family members that he was either in life threatening condition or at least feared he was going to die. communication from my parents at this time was a bit weird. So here is what my mother wrote translated into english:
Hello, 20th Oct 2012 18:21 Your father has been admitted to the hospital yesterday. We have called an emergency physican [yes i translated my mothers spelling mistake] yesterday morning. He almost couldn’t breathe anymore. After several tests he presumably has a delayed pneumonia and water somewhere at the heart where it isn’t supposed to be. We are happy and thankful (!) that it wasn’t a heart attack. He will be in hospital until the end of next week. Mommy
As we can see it is extremely unusual that anyone in my family is happy and thankful for anything. Hence the exclamation mark. Also this email is largely devoid of emotion and could have almost been read in the evening news. Nothing spelled out here suggests anyone wants me to visit. As always I was supposed to work that out on my own. Also I have received no communication whatsoever from the man in question himself. And since my mother is an early riser it’s interesting to note she wrote me almost two full days after it happened but given our relationship was strained it’s understandable. But of course she does not mention anything like that. She is afraid to talk about things. Partially because I have let her know very clearly what I think of her style of communication. Well I did unsurprisingly work out what they wanted me to do and here is my response:
Hello mama, 22. Oct 2012 21:36 thank you for informing me. I have decided against contacting father. Some time ago I decided that under the conditions I faced then it’s more terrible for me to spend time with you than missing you. Since you [plural, addressing my entire family] did not show any interest so far to reflect the conditions and look for ways to find a good compromise I’m still facing the choice between being rejected at your place or being rejected in my refuge. I’m always missing you [again plural], this doesn’t just start when one of you is (very) sick. Of course I am making mistakes and it’s not like I’m not ready to compromise but by and large I do not regret deciding against continue as it was until now. I feel much (!) better, I’m sad about needing to hurt my family for the sake of my health and still continue to hurt them, but I could not go back even if I wanted to. your child
For new readers of this blog not wanting to read about the entire drama to understand this one post: my health issues I am referring to are the consequences of abuse such as depression, anxiety, complex post traumatic stress disorder, memory loss, depersonalisation, severe sleep rhythm disruption (meaning when I wrote this email this was potentially my morning thus I pondered my answer one day and two nights), issues with eating, hygiene, a crucially low energy level and so forth. Most of it present for much longer than a decade. Here is mothers response:
Hello [Name], 24th Oct 2012 17:49 how nice of you to answer. We have felt your last mail from 2nd of June was very insulting and hurtful. It instilled the feeling you did not want contact with us anymore. That is why we did not contact you again. Of course all of this occupied us during the last months, we three [parents and brother] have talked a lot about it. But it has left traces in all of us. Furthermore we do not know the actual trigger of our fight was and why you retreated so from us. At the moment we can not look into this intensively. I’m not well myself and while papa is that sick I can’t think of much else. Despite all we miss you! It is our wish to work through this with you. Mummy
So there it is. Completely ignoring my last mail altogether (which she directly responds to) and instead going back to a mail that gives her more ammunition to accuse me for. While doing so conveniently overlooking all my recently expressed pain, my desperation, my wishes, actually anything I have uttered relating to my emotional state. As if my last mail just does not exist at all. This is actually a response to a mail that was at that point almost 5 months old. And it’s all about them. And since it’s all about them they can not for the life of them figure out what is wrong. Because they are fine as things are. She also does not mention anything beyond me being talked about, no content whatsoever. Which gives plenty of room to imagine how they commiserated on the fact that their lost child/sibling is the odd one out and needs to be fixed. Even if they didn’t talk like that I always had imagination like that. Even as a small child when just leaving the kitchen to go to the bathroom I imagined my parents turning into ugly monsters and laughing about me. Also mother gives a nebulous wish to sort things out while claiming innocence (no idea what is wrong) but not now. No commitment, not even the faintest hint something in her behaviour may need to be revisited. But right now I’m supposed to come back on the promise that one day my mother might be well enough (she is actually getting progressively worse from what I hear but she is my primary source of information). I also doubt that it is actually the wish of all of them to work through this. I think brother and father want me to come back but not work for it. And mother wishes it was the wish of all three of them. Lack of empathy really runs amok in my family also wishful thinking instead of seeing and fixing problems. So there is my mother and lo and behold I consider her the reasonable one. Fast forward some months (because emails get apparently responded to months later for no reason at all) and see my fathers mail.
Hallo [Name], 18th July 2013 22:28 we have received your mail [a more recent one than the one I just posted]. Again disgussed [another translated spello, I’m honest and unvarnished…] with no outcome, thought about things, wrung hands to formulate right and stretched out a hand. What I am writing now is only my position. The material things should not stand between us. I am for stopping our monthly payments to you. Then this topic would be over. Your mother has a differing opinion. Let’s wait and see. Sort this with her. I’m also fed up with your accusation about your gruesome childhood. This mail is the end point for me of many hopes and many disappointments. You can not expect to have a person pay your bills each month whose life does not matter to you. I also do not want an answer to this mail. From today on I only have one child. Do what you think is right. How many discussions, tears and desperation you have brought into our family I can not count anymore. So many family member have worked their butts of to facilitate your stay abroad. And how do you talk about everyone? Every effort for you is labelled “pressure”. Everything one does and doesn’t do is of course negative. What is all this for by now? I do not know any advice only that the situation of the last years is making my life bitter. I do not know how much I will manage to let go, but things need to change for me. farewell
So you may have had your doubts about mother being the reasonable one. Do you still have them? I can also fill you in with some neat details. First and foremost obvious facts. At the time my father wrote this email and in the situation that I was he was still legally bound to provide for his child. He was thus threatening illegal action by withdrawing monetarian support. And now for the truly funny part it was MY money he did not want to pay me anymore. Money I saved up long ago and my parents had it in a trust for me. I had so little money paid from the trust that I now feel as if I’m rich now that I am on state welfare. My father has conveniently forgotten this little fact. Maybe because my parents were big on lending money from me all my life (mother did pay back as far as I am aware) but never big on spending money on me. Hand me downs and no hobbies that cost anything. Lowest pocket money in class, both me and my brother respectively. You get the picture. So there kid, you can’t expect me to pay you your money even if you have a legal right to have me pay you my money. And why does his life not matter to me again? Oh right I did not do as he expected me to. It’s not like he voiced any expectation, he just twists it to suit his rhetoric. But he actually is more correct than he is aware of. Through his neglect he never was much of a father figure to me. The only reason I’m somewhat holding on is that he donated half of what I am made of. He is half of where I am coming from and that is why being disowned hurt. He also formulates in a very interesting manner, first material things should not stand between us. That is why he cuts me off in the next sentence. And that is why I’m supposed to sort this out with my mother who apparently holds an opinion much closer to my own than to his. He just does not want to be involved in the dirty business of sorting anything out. Then he can pout if things do not go his way. Next my gruesome childhood accusations are not true. That is why he is a good daddy and disowns me. If my father is dis-appointed it means he previously appointed me to things I’m not up for. Somehow I’m not sorry this truth hurts him. That’s his self baked cake and he gets to eat it. Also all this discussions were never with me but with other family members. It’s not like my opinion on how to proceed actually is worth anything or might contribute to at least educate him about how manipulation, guilt trips, ignorance, threats and bribery do not count as stretching out a hand if someone withdrew with a long list of severe psychosomatic health issues directly related to the abuse dealt by the one who is now thinking about how to formulate their complete lack of interest right. The hopes of my father who (have sadly not been) ended were about me admitting defeat over his games. I’m indeed a huge disappointment there. Do what you think is right is a control freak admitting he lost control in a rather pouting manner. He ran out of things he can hold over my head. Which is funny in a morbid way. He never tried any version of emotional manipulation. Just one example I love animals more than people. There is one member of this household that I’m missing desperately. The one lying next to me when I was in pain an who even uttered the same cries of pain in his sleep. The one changing his sleep rhythm to spend more time with me and the one who pointedly bonded emotionally with me. But that his cat is of any worth to me is beyond my empathy disabled father. It’s not like simple observation and listing wouldn’t already give a clue about as big as the Rocky Mountains… Instead he tried to guilt me about our family doing things for me. Let’s see… Ah yes sure my cousins helped me with the language test is had to take for the internship, they were abroad before they knew how to do this… NO Like for my cousin before all the family sent me a little money to cover my costs… NO Well travelled family members giving me advice on how to pack for a flight… NO Maternal grandmother ranting forever about all the things I’m going to mess up YES Paternal grandmother ignoring the entire endeavour because she does not approve… YES Complete strangers offering me help with sorting medication out and organising it at a discount… YES Doing all the paperwork with numerous offices all on my own… YES Organising a printer somewhere else for all the documents… YES In my fathers defense: my mother did try and help me look up information and my parent drove me to and one of my cousins fetched me from the airport upon departure/arrival back which was a long drive. That was indeed nice but somehow my fathers story sounds vastly different. Especially since he is using the help of other people to bully me back to him. I’m not sure he’d have driven me if it wasn’t for mother. It also needs to be noted that at the time my father wrote this email I did not talk to anyone about anything family related except to my family. I guess I’m also guilty of not singing my abuser praises because the only thing I could have done wrong were the things I did not do. Which has of course absolutely no causal relation to anyone’s behaviour other than my own. Now I’m famous for finding a bright side in everything. Here is the good thing I found in fathers mail: he realised things need to change. Hooray!