Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Mom... Again: An Email

This one is from January 2007, the year before I cut ties with my mother.  My parents were mid-divorce, my dad was back in the hospital, and my mother had come out of her lengthy bout of not eating or moving or bathing to refinance the mortgage on the house and become worse than ever before.  

When my mother refinanced the mortgage, the monthly payments increased by about 50% (until the first rate adjustment, when it increased by about another 20%) and the mortgage reset for another 30 years of payments.  In exchange for this deal, my mother would receive $40k cash (as referenced in A List of Mom's Antics While Dad's in Hospital).  In order to ensure my dad's compliance since she needed his signature on the refinance paperwork, she promised him half the money.  I honestly think he would have signed no matter what because he tended to do whatever she demanded and then throw his hands in the air and claim he had no choice, but whatever.  

When she spent her half inside three weeks, my dad moved his $20k from my parents' joint account to the new joint account I had opened with him so that my mother couldn't spend it too.  That's the $20k referenced below.  Since she didn't appear to monitor her bank account back then (or ever?) and simply spent until it was empty, I hadn't expected her to notice.  Seriously.  It normally went from five figures to empty in a matter of days anyway.  It might seem odd to a third party that I didn't try explaining to her, "You promised that half of the money to Dad," but knowing me and knowing her, it wasn't odd.  It wouldn't have lessened the yelling or the retribution, and my primary wish back then was to stop getting yelled at.  In my family, telling the truth tended to go badly.  Lying was easier and more effective.  I just wish I'd learned that fact before my twenties.

It gets a little dark at the end. 

Dear Jerry,

I think I mentioned the last time we spoke that my mother had started calling again.  I've found the best way to get through her tirades without dissolving is to put her on speaker phone and watch the amused reactions of Michael and anyone else who happens to be in the apartment at the time.  They reinforce that she is crazy, which means that I am, by default, sane, and this is always a reassuring thing to find out.  

Today was the worst since the "day of inappropriate voice mails left in irrational anger."  First off, the bank sent a letter to my dad confirming that he had transferred $20k to our new joint bank account.  Of course, my mother opened it and read it, as she does with every piece of mail that enters the house, regardless of to whom it is addressed.  The only thing I could tell my mother was that he had wanted to send me money for the wedding.  I had planned out the entire story in minute detail beforehand -- explaining that the money was for my wedding, which she had told me she'd pay for and clearly would not be able to, was the only way she would consider it a lost cause and not try to recoup it later.  Now she is under the impression that my father just gave me a $20k gift and she is trying to convince my brother, who is holding my dad's favorite guitars for him so that my mom cannot sell them, that my dad only cares about me and clearly does not love him.  I had to relay these new developments to my dad so that he could try to explain things to Dante as best as he can without having to trust him with too much information.  Luckily, my mother's interest in anything I have to say wanes the second I open my mouth, so I mostly looked like a spoiled daughter who has no idea what is going on in her finances.  

My mom then asked why I ignored everyone at Christmas.  I think she was referring to the fact that I didn't send her a present.  Neither of us mentioned the fact that no one in the entire family contacted me at Christmas, either by mail or by phone.  She probably didn't think they needed to; I just didn't mention it because I didn't want to get involved in the fight she was trying to have with me. I had meant to send everyone cookies like I did last year, but by the time I had enough time to bake them all, none of them would have gotten to their destinations in time.  I explained that I didn't call her because I didn't want to get yelled at.  I can't think of a nicer way to say it, so that's how I say it.  I have told her this before, but apparently I should know that I deserve to be yelled at and I should stop trying to avoid my punishments.  

The part I remember best was when she told me that I should buy cards for everyone and treat my elders with respect (I guess this was a reference to the fact that my grandparents and I don't write to each other anymore -- she used to get angry when we did because I wasn't writing to her) and that I'm 25 years old and "need to grow up."  I'm already planning to use that line on her the next time she cries about not having enough money to care for herself.  "You are 56 years old, you have never had to work for a living, you can't manage to take care of yourself when handed $6000 per month, and you blame all your problems on everyone but yourself -- it's time to grow up," I'll say.  "I shouldn't be the one to tell you that you have to learn to take responsibility for yourself, but since you've alienated everyone else you know, it seems I'm the only one who will."  That might be a little too preachy.  Maybe just, "Stop whining!  Take responsibility for yourself!" or "Good god, I'd like to set you on fire!"  That would be the most frank.

I hate her so much.  I hate myself so much.  Her calls just make both worse.  I've never been good at taking these things in stride.  I try to act stoic, and I'm trying to be strong for my dad, but I hate her so much.  Every time I hear from her I feel more useless and hopeless than before.  I'm a bad person and everyone in her family apparently thinks I'm a deserter and a "selfish little bitch," and if my genes come from her, what if I get more like her?  What if I have children and ruin my marriage and their lives?  What if they hate me as much as I hate her?  Part of me is totally fine and hopeful and wants to see the world and do big things, but the part that she talks to just wants to kill myself.  My logic is that, even though she'd still hate me for doing something so self-centered, I wouldn't be able to do anything to make the situation worse.  

I'm sick of things being my fault, and if I'm dead, I can't be blamed, can I?  Not logically anyway.  I don't think too much anymore about all the stuff I'd need to put in order beforehand -- since she wouldn't be the one going through my things, what do I care if I haven't destroyed everything I ever wrote? -- though I would want some sort of will in place for the money in my bank accounts.  I've done a little research but the internet isn't terribly helpful.  I don't know what to do.  If I died, I think it would kill my dad, but I don't know what to do.  If I someday decided this is what I want, I don't know if anyone would support me, and I'm not sure of the legal ramifications if Michael knew in advance.  I don't know what to do.  I'm sorry if this sounds stupid or silly.  I don't make rash decisions, so it won't happen tonight, but I've been thinking about it for awhile now, and I think I might do less damage in the long run this way. 

I hope you had a good trip to New Orleans.  Did you do anything fun?  Sorry for the long, depressing email.  -- C

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