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My response to mother

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by yb44, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am stuck in my healing and I believe this is mainly due my inability to resolve conflict and forgive.

    The other day I received a call from my mother who I had not spoken to in about four years following a ridiculous argument between me and my brother and an even more ridiculous assumption on the part of my mother. Misunderstandings and miscommunications are rife within all families but this one got so far out of hand that neither me nor my mother could find our way back. The relationship, I have to say, was never good. I was the archetypical problem child, screaming adolescent and terrible teen. My mother just couldn't cope with me. So after a rather difficult long-distance telephone conversation that included copious amounts of shouting, accusations, name calling, dragging others into the mix…my mother asked me to decide whether or not I wanted a relationship with my family or not. If not, she would leave me alone for good. My mother is now 92 but just as quick-tongued, sharp-witted and ornery as she was 50 odd years ago. She requested that I email her my answer. Below is a draft reply. I would appreciate some help from anyone who wishes to provide me with their thoughts on this response. I struggle with asking for help and generally try to be the one to provide it but now I am asking.

    RE: your phone call

    The truth is, I am not sure at this point whether resumed contact is such a good idea or not. So I cannot answer your question at this time.

    It appears that we do not see eye to eye on anything. I say white and you say black, no matter what the topic. What would you like from me apart from an answer to your question? Do you want general "hello, how are you" emails? I can do this. Would you like me to repay you for any of the financial help you have given me over the years? Do you want me to actually stay with you if I were to visit? I would see you, preferably at a neutral venue, but I won't stay with you. As you say, you are 92 and thus are extremely fragile and vulnerable. I wouldn't put you under that amount of strain.

    Just for the record, I didn't want to speak with (my brother) four years ago. That did not mean I wanted to end the relationship with YOU. You assumed this and you couldn't have been more wrong. I merely handed the phone to (my daughter) so you could speak with her and thus avoid further confrontation with him. It was after this you went round telling everyone I was estranged from the WHOLE family, including cousins and nephews. I stopped speaking to you because I was deeply hurt by this. Certain members of my extended family have never caused me any grief and have been supportive throughout my entire life. They may not have agreed with everything I did, but they accepted me for who I am, warts and all. I'm not sure you can ever accept me. I do not wish for you to have to 'gloss over', as you referred to it, areas of my life. But I cannot change the past any more than you can.

    As I said I am prepared to take 50% responsibility for what has happened. If you cannot meet me halfway and continue to insist that I take full blame, then it's time to call it a day. If you can admit that you actually make mistakes, that you aren't the perfect parent as I am not the perfect child, if you can stop expecting me to apologise for being who I am, then we can agree to disagree and move forward in our relationship.

    Please note, I do not want any relationship with my estranged siblings. There is simply no connection there anymore. This is one of the reasons I haven't been in touch with you as I feared you would not accept this. I know at one point you remarked that your immediate family was reasonably okay compared to other families. Sadly, we aren't so different from all the rest.

    As one nears the end of their life, they want to make amends and 'put their house in order.' I presume this was the reason for your call and I accept that it was not done out of malice but I sensed from you an icy bitterness, not so much as a touch of warmth or compassion in your voice. I don't mean this as an insult, just an observation. It must have been very painful for you to call me. You must ask yourself now, will there be less pain for you if you resume a relationship with me or will there be more? I am leaving you to answer that question honestly before I will answer yours.
     
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your draft email to your mom reads good to me. You're offering to take 50 percent of the responsibility of what happened between you, your mom, your brother, and others in you family. She ought to be willing to take the other 50 percent.

    I had a falling out with my older brother years ago (can't remember why). Our mom kept trying to get us to reconcile, and I tried, writing my brother letters, but he returned them unopened. About four years went by and one day I just called him and asked if we could put our differences behind us and go on from there. He had apparently cooled down and softened a little over the years and said, "Sure." We resumed communication but never came even near
    having a brotherly relationship I've had with some friends.

    Mom always said "Never let the sun set on an argument," but didn't take her own advice when it came to getting along with her two sisters (they were easygoing) but Mom always had issues with or about them. Mom was very hard to please.
     
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi yb44,
    I think it's wonderful that you are trying to mend your relationship with your mother, and it does sound like it could be beneficial in your healing process. Reading your letter, it seems to me that you are trying to resolve the conflict so that you can forgive. In my experience, it needs to occur the other way around--we forgive, and then because we have released the past, the conflicts resolve. Forgiveness is about accepting someone in the present, free from judgments from the past. You take a deep breath and you let the past go. I don't think you can get there by saying I'll let go of 50% and you let go of 50%. You need to decide what you want and what you are capable of doing. Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself. It's all about you. How are you going to feel when your mother dies if you've not been able to meet her in a place of forgiveness first? It is not likely that your mother at 92 is going to change, but you can. And when you bring that change to your relationship, the past conflicts are resolved because you are relating to her in the present. When people see that we have dropped our judgments of them (however justified they may have been), they change. They are no longer defensive and lashing out in fear. They sense our acceptance of them as they are. It changes everything.

    I'm not suggesting this is easy. It may be one of the hardest things there is to do. That's why I'm saying you need to decide if you can forgive before you meet with her again. Otherwise, you will likely just be adding another negative experience with your mother to the list you already have, based on what you've said about how volatile your relationship is. I think it's OK to say I'm just not able to forgive yet--I'm not there yet. But I think it would be to your advantage to keep working on it because you will find healing for yourself there.
     
    Msunn and Lily Rose like this.
  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Every single word of this is perfect!

    with grace and gratitude,
    ^_^
     
  5. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're not kidding, Ellen, it's hard and it's scary. I had actually wanted to write to my mother for the last few months. I just didn't know what to say or even how to start. I wrote down some thoughts and this was predominantly a list of negative memories. I could have written a cracking letter but not one that I would have ever sent. I feel far more hurt than angry, keener to heal the pain of separation than to continue waging war. I don't know what to do but I feel I have to do it soon. I had a dream about a coffin last night.

    Thanks to all of you for your thoughts.
     
  6. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    I would keep it short and sweat,
    Dear mum,
    Let by gons be gone.
    Thank you mum for the life you have given me this is the most precious gift you and dad gave me.
    Your son .......

    My message to you is,
    stop investing energy in something that is out of your scope to change.
    The battle stops when you move out of the ring!
    And if it feels like a mountain writing it, go to a therapist and scream, rant and rave till you are so calmed down that you can write it.
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat Well known member

    Ellen
    I like what you write about forgiveness. I struggle with family members in that department because the things to be forgiven are not just in the past but they continue in an ongoing hurtful basis in our lives. Their behavior does not change as the years go on. So this makes it hard for me to let to of and move on from, when it keeps happening. And it gives me much stress and upset. Help me! I wish to not have these negative feelings about them, but something occurs with them and stirs things up all over again.
     
  8. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    Don't engage, move out, don't pick up their anger - its their demons not yours!!!

    Honor yourself by being kind and loving to yourself and that means giving yourself the space to breath and be safe!
     
    MWsunin12 likes this.

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