I received your card and I know the ball has been in my court. I don’t know what the future holds but right now I’m not ready to have a relationship. I hope all is well with your family & Jason.
Heather got a card from her mother finally. It’s been a year since her mother last made an effort to communicate with her. Heather has sent 3 cards out to trying to initiate some kind of dialog and all have been ignored. I guess in some ways this is progress because at least she looked at the last card and responded. That being said, this whole thing sucks
I am not sure that I have a complete understanding of what happened and obviously my perspective is skewed because I support my wife. You also have to factor in the fact that historically I have been a very vengeful person and emotionally have found anger to be the most vivid and influential of my emotions. I’m working on that, but it will probably always be a struggle. With this particular issue it’s particularly hard for me. I feel like my wife is getting subtly bullied and I can’t help but get angry. I’ll take a knock down drag out fight over this silent standoff crap any day; unfortunately, I have no power in this situation. Anyway, here is my understanding of the issue.
Heather moved out here when she was 18 years old, leaving the adoptive family in Utah that raised her to come to the biological mother in Oregon that gave her up for adoption but never forgot her. Her mother and her were looking for each other and the milestone of Heather’s 18th birthday removed any legal roadblocks there might have been for having a relationship.
I think Heather’s mother was hoping to fill an emptiness caused by giving up a child. I think she was probably expecting everything to be fantastic when Heather came out here. Instead she got a rebellious, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and irresponsible 18 year old bitch who wanted to know her biological mother but who also wanted the freedom from authority that turning 18 provides. Heather was not respectful to the wishes of her mother as far as respecting boundaries and rules and she did it in front of her younger and impressionable brothers and sisters which certainly made parenting even more insane for her mother.
This went on for about 2 years until I met Heather and she had some events happen in her life that prompted her to not be an asshole, unfortunately, in her mother’s mind the damage was done.
Heather and I moved in together. I always thought it was odd that her parents were so supportive of Heather and I moving in together; however, it soon became obvious that they were glad to be rid of her and her craptacular influence on their impressionable daughters. Over the course of the next few years, Heather and I lived with two of her sisters. Long story short, this was a slap in the face to her parents because they were using housing/money as leverage to keep the kids in line and our accommodations took the wheels off of that wagon. That in itself was bad, but everyone was still talking through the strained relationship. Then the real problems began.
Her 19 year old sister got pregnant and everything derailed. The pregnancy itself was perceived as Heather’s fault because her sister lived with us when it happened. Then to twist the knife, Heather was supportive of her sister’s decision whatever decision it was and tried not to force her sister into a particular direction. Her mother was pushing for her sister to use a specific adoption agency that was affiliated with the church. Heather’s sister was now the 19 year old rebellious bitch though, which her mother attributed to Heather’s bad influence, and she didn’t want to be pushed into a decision. Heather offered to take her to a different adoption agency that was not affiliated with a church thinking she was helping. She was trying to make sure her sister knew how hard it would be to be a single mother and how the decision was hers to make but that she needed to consider everything she was up against. She tried to be supportive in helping choose a family. Her sister went along with it, and Heather’s mother felt like yet again, Heather was corrupting her kids. We later realized that Heather’s sister had a tendency to just go along with things in certain situations so while Heather thought she was helping, she was actually just doing it for her sister which ended up being a completely different disaster, but I won’t go into that now. Her sister ended up making her own decision and it turned out how it turned out.
Her mother had a sit-down with her right around that time. Heather was really worried about it and we tried to imagine the situation from the perspective of her mother. We decided it would be best for Heather to just sit and take whatever came at her. We figured her mother needed to get it out and Heather is tough and can take anything. Her mother and her met and her mother let loose. I wasn’t there, but the explanation was disjointed and generally angry. It was all very unfocused and unspecific. Basically, Heather and I didn’t know what to do to fix things that didn’t stand in direct conflict with our beliefs. Heather tried to schedule another meeting with her and her husband and me at which point her mother told her she needed a break. They haven’t spoken since… that was a year ago. We had hoped to come up with some kind of plan and explain why we were doing what we were doing, but no one wanted to hear it.
Heather sent her mother some candy and a card right around that time trying to smooth things over so we could have our chat; however, we heard from others in the family that the letter was ignored because Heather was being “manipulative”. It’s common for this part of the family to co-opt common words and twist their meaning slightly so that they can use words that sound common in a way that better suits their needs. It’s strange to me and kind of unique. It also makes words like “manipulative” and “disgusting” carry a lot more weight than they normally do.
The second card was kind of a status gathering card 6 months later. We intentionally chose the most generic card possible so that it wouldn’t be misconstrued as being “manipulative”. Heather tried to word it dryly so no meaning that wasn’t intended could be read into it. It was also ignored.
She sent one out about a month ago that said something along the lines of, “The ball has been in your court for a year, I am ready whenever you are.” She got a response on that one which I posted earlier.
I’m not sure what to do at this point. Heather is a completely different person than the angry and irresponsible 18 year old she was. She is a 24 year old married woman running two profitable businesses. While I am sure she was a poor influence on her sisters, they made their own decisions and I am tired of Heather being held responsible for them.
Here was our logic at the time. If a family member needs a place to stay and we have room, then they have a place to stay. At that time it was a very simple decision. If family members make a stupid choice, we support them. If they make a good choice, we support them. Love is unconditional and family is always supported, even if we don’t fully understand the decisions being made. It seemed simple to me. I felt as if the parents used love, money, and anything else they could think of to force their kids into line. I may have been naive to think that if I was supportive of everything people would make good choices; however, they were naive in thinking they could control their kids by threatening to take away love and financial support. It’s a wash. We were all wrong. It turns out that when you accommodate people they continue to do what they would have done anyway only they use you to do it. Heather and I enabled her sister in poor decision making. I get it. We lived it. We learned something from it. The difference is that where I can admit failure, apologize, move on, and try not to make the same mistakes again. Heather’s family can’t and more importantly doesn’t want to. It’s easier to blame someone and it’s like they like being angry at someone.
People are their own people. Heathers sister is who she is. She does what she wants to do. She’ll do it regardless of anything I do. She is an incredibly interesting person because of it; however, she’s also a whirlwind of self-destruction like nothing I have seen. I think I know the reason I can deal with it and Heather’s mother can’t though. I’ll use a story to illustrate my point.
When I was 18 and irresponsible, I racked up tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Lots of people do this when they turn 18. Lots of people blame credit card companies for offering up the credit to people. The thing is though, I borrowed money from someone, and I had a responsibility to pay it back. It was my problem and no one in my family needed to worry about it or be involved with it until I asked them to. I never had to ask them for help with it, so it never became a family issue.
Heather’s family in Oregon doesn’t work that way. Everyone in the family is completely embedded into each other’s lives. The kids all tell on each other, even to this day. Everyone acts like their family members’ lives are their lives too. If someone in the family sees something they don’t like, they bring it to light for family scrutiny. It’s completely foreign to me. I would never rat my brother out to my parents unless it was life or death. Heather’s family does it constantly. Because everyone is entrenched in each otherâ€™s lives, every takes responsibility when someone in the family does something stupid. Heather’s mother feels responsible every time one of her kids does something stupid. She doesn’t want to believe that she failed as a parent because it has been her singular focus for her entire adult life. Instead of realizing that her kids are people and people screw up and that none of it is her fault though, she internalizes it. And anyone who blames themselves for every screw-up their kids make will go insane. To stay sane she puts the blame in the next logical place, her corrupt daughter that showed up out of the blue.
If I steal a car, it isn’t my dad’s fault. If I get a girl pregnant, it isn’t my mom’s fault. If I sit around unemployed and mooch off of people, my parents wouldn’t be proud, but they also know it isn’t their fault. I am my own person. Heather is her own person. All of Heather’s sisters are their own people who need to own their own problems. For a house full of Republicans I would think that this is a pretty easy concept to get. It’s the most emotionally socialist household I have ever seen though and unfortunately for Heather and I, it is easier to blame us than to look in the mirror.
I am not saying that my family’s way of dealing with things is right. I will say that my family doesn’t have the constant turmoil, emotional outbursts, passive aggressiveness, yelling, belittling, and just generally aggressive and destructive behavior. That in my mind is enough to justify my decisions.
Just for the record, all of this has brought Heather closer to my family and her own dad and mom (you’ll notice I refer to her biological mother as mother and the woman who raised her as mom… that is intentional). I don’t know exactly why I wrote all of this other than just to get it out there. Our whole family is awesome; I just wish we could sort this stupid crap out.
Anyway, I told my mom about all of this and she said it was actually her fault and to blame her. So there it is everyone, if something is wrong in your life, feel free to blame Heather, my mother, and me if it makes you feel better. Actually, blame my mom and me. Heather’s had enough.