Tag Archives: mothers

Estrangements

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I found this telling poem written by William Pitt Root in a book called I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You.

A man and his wife are estranged.

They have a child

they love.

The child returns from a visit

with the father

carrying a sack of candy

the mother sees and takes

and throws away.

The child cries, the mother cries,

the father, if he knew,

would cry.

The father knows.

His wife has told him

of that illness, often.

How the hands chill,

the eyes glaze.

But the father loves the child

and the child loves the father.

Neither has a full knowledge of love

and there are things

to be put in love’s place.

So the child cries, the mother cries,

and the father, if he knew,

would cry.

Turn, Turn, Turn

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Dealing with Eliza’s paranoia is down right exhausting.  It just overwhelms me the way that she processes life.  Case in point, yesterday I received a letter from her that clearly displays what I am talking about.  She wrote under the guise of seeing how the boys were doing.  However, her real intent was to throw “verbal stones.”  Here’s an excerpt of parts of her long rambling letter that troubled me:

I have written all of my boys every week for the past two years.  After you stated that it was instructed for Evan not to be able to speak to me even after the court order.  I can’t help but to wonder if my baby is receiving all or any of his mail.  And it worries me.  I don’t know what these people were told but I am not and never have been an unfit parent so there is no reason why such actions should have been made without properly notfying me…

I pray that you can see my position in this situation…

If for some reason Evan hasn’t been receiving his mail I could only imagine the effect that it has taken on him.  Regardless of any past feelings toward me  it is in the best interest of Evan to know and feel that he is loved by his mom and if his mail has been or is being held this I know is very hurtful to him–not to mention it’s just wrong.  I pray this is not the case at all.  But Morocco can you blame me for worrying?  You know in your heart that I love my boys dearly and their good upbringing shows very clearly.  Evan’s behavior disability should not be taken advantage of by any means.  I pray me voicing my concerns have not offended you.  I apologize in advance if the contents of this letter has in any way.  However right now Morocco I really don’t know what to think.  But I do know that there are things that need to be addressed.  I can only pray that God continues His work with our situation.  He  has already begun and though we still may have ironing we can rest assure that God is still at work.

First of all, I have assured Eliza on several occassions that Evan has been receiving his mail.  I’m puzzled as to why she thinks that he doesn’t considering that when he writes back, he often makes mention of something she said.  We have nothing to gain by holding them from him.

Evan’s therapist did not feel that it was a good idea for her to get him more stirred up during his manic phase.  Again, she has no way of speaking to him anyway because she is in prison–the facility does not accept collect calls and I don’t think any judge would force them to do so.  She has not even been able to arrange a third party call to call our home to speak to Ethan so…??? I’m guessing that she just wants to have SOMETHING to complain about.

Unfit parent, hmm, I don’t think she is necessarily unfit (she did keep them clothed, fed, and sheltered), but I do think she is unbalanced and unhealthy.  She has killed someone in front of them, been in MANY fights in front of them, had them removed from her custody for neglect, been in MANY volatile verbal confrontations in front of them, alienated and kept them from their father–do you catch my drift?  Much of what has been told to the therapist came from Evan’s own mouth. 

Notfying her?  She is not the custodial parent so they don’t have to do so.  It hurts when the shoe is on the other foot, which is why I do keep her informed.  There are SO many things that she didn’t inform my husband of, but we don’t hold that against her because I know that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

Who is she praying to–the Devil?  Her blasphemy scares me.

I have told her several times that the past is the past.  Apparently it is not for her.  I think she remembers how she kept Evan and Ethan away for years and is afraid that we are going to sneak and use that against her one day.  I don’t know why she feels this way because we haven’t yet.  I take them down for monthly visits faithfully, I send pictures, school work, and report cards, I encourage them to write her, I keep her informed about their development, and I make sure that they acknowledge her on all special occassions.  What more can I do–seriously?

This is the second letter in which Eliza has mentioned how she has done such a good job with the boys.  I think she wants me to agree with her.  The problem with that opinion is that I don’t, so I can’t validate that for her.  We have picked up where she has left off.

Yes, I can blame her for worrying.  If she has handed her situation over to God as she has told me that she has many times, she shouldn’t worry.  I sent her the Serenity Prayer months ago.  The lack of control she has over this is killing her.

Behavior disability??? Try mental illness.  It blows my mind that she wants to keep her child crippled.  I can’t understand why she does not want him to get better.  We are getting him the help he needs–not at all taking advantage of him.  That was really hurtful to me.  I almost think that she has something to hide.

She doesn’t care about offending me.  She lives in her own world and plays by some set of imaginary rules that she created.  And she finds a way to contort any information that I provide her with.  I was momentarily offended and upset, but then I decided it was fruitless and made the choice not to be.  Being offended and angry about her character is like getting mad at a bee for stinging.  You can’t get mad–it’s what they do.  They were born to sting.

 The primary emotion I experienced after reading her letter was sadness.  I just feel so sad because she is making herself miserable.  I know she has a lot of time on her hands and is probably listening to the advice of many “prison lawyers,” but her paranoia is getting ridiculous.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.  We should use our problems as stepping stones to get us to a better place.  I am here for her, but only if she will allow me to be.  Though I refuse to allow her to enmesh me in her mess.  I knew one day soon the tides would turn, and surely enough, they have.  But I am not going to “turn” with her.  Here is my response to her letter:

Eliza,

Hi, I am well, thank you for inquiring.  The boys are doing fine, too.  They are both participating in the “Summer Spectacular Reading Program” again this year.

Evan is doing awesome! God has been answering our prayers.  He really loved the picture that you sent of your mom.  He was so excited to receive it.

Take care,

Morocco

I am proud of myself for not letting her manipulate me into something I am not.

sMother Love

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Through the conversations we’ve had and letters we’ve exchanged, I’ve noticed that Eliza has chosen to ignore the fact that she had help creating her children with the aid of another person–namely my husband.  She has worked rather hard to make herself the center of Ethan and Evan’s life by cutting out their father.  She seems unconcerned about how damaging this practice is. By constantly telling Ethan and Evan”our family consists of me and your brothers,”  eliminates my husband, myself, and our son from their lives.  It also sends the message that she is the only one who cares for them.  She is not completely off the mark in her train of thought because she is their family.  But we are also their family.  What is wrong with loving your children enough to allow others to love them? 

Eliza has never referred to them as “their” sons, but always “my boys.”  She never even mentions their dad. I know these might sound like trite examples, but there has been a lot of subtle brainwashing over the years that have helped her achieve this effect.  Loving your children is totally instinctive–this I know.  But it is possible to blur the line of sMothering them with love so much that they can’t function without the one who smothers.  This is a twisted, tainted, dangerous love.  Think Sante and Kenny Kimes

 The last two therapists working with Evan have commented on this phenomenon, going so far as to inquire if Eliza has ever been inappropriate with them.  In fact, last week Evan’s residential treatment therapist posed this very question, noting some of the troubling behavior that Evan displays that is consistent with children who have been molested by an adult.

That makes three licensed mental health professionals who have wondered about the appropriateness of Eliza’s love for her children.  This leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  For all of the opinions that I have about Eliza and her parenting skills, and I have plenty, I just can’t accept this.  I know it is possible, but I just don’t want to believe it.  However, I do think that she sMothers her children with love.  I sense that she is afraid of losing them and views them as all that she has.  In a way she treats them like she would a boyfriend, without the sexual relationship.  She even calls them “Mommy’s Little Men.”  When she has a real man in her life, she tends not to sMother them as much–to the point where they are often left to their own devices.

The social worker assigned to the CPS case felt that Eliza had an unhealthy attachment to all three of her children.  In fact, she described it as “emotional incest.”  I found this interesting considering that Eliza is an incest survivor. S he is may be emulating what she knows. Eliza’s main problem is that she does not know how to love in a healthy manner.  Her father obviously “loved” her inappropriately, which could explain why she feels that it is not important for her children to know the love of their father.  She has serious trust issues and in her mind she probably thinks that she is keeping her children safe from any potential danger, as imaginary and unwarranted as it may be.  Her father sent her the wrong message about men which has caused her to parent in a paranoid, possessive, obsessive manner. 

There are two novels that I have read in which the mom reminds me of Eliza.  The first one is called Loverboy by Victoria Redel.  The second, which I have posted about before, is Mother’s Boys by Bernard Taylor.  In fact, she is so similar to the character Judith Farrell that it chilled me to the bone when I read it.

Last month when Ethan and I went to visit her, she greeted him with the usual kiss on the lips.  This always makes me uncomfortable.  Ethan will be thirteen in less than two weeks and I feel that a new location for a kiss would be more appropriate.  Next she had him get her a piece of Kleenex and proceeded to give his nose a thorough, deep cleaning.  Call me prudish, but I was really mortified for Ethan.  After the intensive cleaning, she explained that it was her job as his mommy to get the “friends” out of his nose.  I remained silent and worked on keeping the look of disbelief off my face.   On the ride home I asked Ethan if he was embarrassed by her cleaning out his nose.  Much to my surprise,  he said no!  Nicholas at age 9 doesn’t even like it when I kiss him in front of his friends.  

Or maybe this is just one small way that she exercises her right to mother her boys under the situation she is in.  Sometimes it’s just so hard to tell…