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Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #54

Adult Child of an Alcoholic, ACoA, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Finding Peace, One Patient's Journey, Therapy For the Adult Child of an Alcoholic
Posted: February 15, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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–Sessions: 44 of 53
Monday, March 8, 2010 11:00am

I reviewed Pop’s latest emails with Elsie. She wasn’t amused. She said Pop could just send a check for one-quarter of the overall expenses if he wanted to help, no need for all the story. We discussed what I was and was not asking for. I was asking for a financial contribution, I was not asking about Pop’s relationship or interactions with our siblings in the past.

Else then asked me if I was mad about Pop’s emails and his offers to help, but not actually helping, at least so far. Elsie was interested that I wasn’t mad. I assumed this meant she expected me to be mad. I think I understood why Elsie expected me to be mad. Pop had offered to help, but as the chances to help went by, he didn’t actually help. Now that many of the tasks had been completed, and the expenses paid, he had not offered to help with the debts. I understand why this could make me mad, but, my perspective is different.

What I wanted was to be allowed to participate in my mother’s end of life care. I wasn’t allowed to even know that my father had died. Snap had asked me to help and that is when I was able to start helping. Whether Pop helped or not didn’t prevent me from helping. I had made many decisions during this process, and one of them was to not be manipulated by my family. What Pop did or didn’t do did not prevent me from doing what I decided I wanted to do, and therefore, his behavior didn’t make me mad.

After this session, I had another bizarre experience with Snap. I had been chasing down the various details about the bills that kept coming from the nursing homes. I was pretty sure that I had paid all of them. I got a voicemail that there was a refund coming from the nursing homes. It turns out that part of the confusion had been caused by one of the two nursing homes automatically billing Social Security while the other nursing home did not. This also meant that while I had been paying bills from one of the two, a small refund had accumulated at the other.

I was happy to hear that I didn’t owe any more to the nursing homes, and a small refund sounded like good news. But then, things got bizarre. I called the person in charge of billing for the nursing home to get the details. They told me that the refund would be almost $500 but that was an estimate, some of which might end up with Social Security. Then I was told that Snap had been calling frequently trying to get this refund paid to him! I was stunned. Snap had never told me there was a refund coming even as he was asking me for more money.

The person at the nursing home said they would feel better sending me the refund because I had made the payments that caused this refund, they said “it’s your money, your sibling (Snap) doesn’t deserve it.” They also confirmed that once the refund was distributed that would close out all the accounts at both nursing homes. I told them to send the refund check to me.

I was upset, perhaps in part because I had been proven to be a complete idiot. I actually believed Snap would appreciate what I had been doing. In reality Snap was working behind my back to intercept any money he could find. It was a real dick move. The next time Snap and I talked, I decided to mention the refund. I wanted to see if he mentioned it. I would allow for the very remote possibility that there was some reasonable explanation. Snap didn’t say anything. He didn’t express surprise that there was a refund, and he didn’t mention his attempts to have the refund directed to him. This was what I needed to know, namely that Snap really was trying to get the refund for himself. I wasn’t sure what to do about this, but events would soon tell me what I had to do.

Before our next session, I looked into what it would cost to have my mother’s ashes moved to the cemetery where her parents had been buried. I had the name of the cemetery and I looked it up on the internet and called them. I gave them my mother’s parent’s names and they confirmed I had the right place. I was told that I would have to get permission from the relatives that owned the crypt where my mother’s parents were buried. I would have to contact my mother’s brother’s children to ask for their approval.

I asked about the costs involved, assuming I could get the needed permissions. It started with $2000 to open the crypt and place the ashes. There were endless options that all added thousands to the cost. For example, did we want a name plaque? And if we did all this, and spent all this money, would Snap and Crackle expect to have another service at this cemetery? Would they expect me to pay for their travel costs as well as the cemetery charges? This operation could quickly run to $10,000.

I was already exhausted from all that I had dealt with. The concept of contacting more relatives to ask for their ‘permission’ to spend thousands more dollars was too much. I saw no evidence that Snap or Crackle could afford to help with the debts that I had already taken on, let alone this additional set of expenses. I would wait for Snap and/or Crackle to bring this up again. If they did, I would ask how they planned to pay for it and that, I assumed, would be the end of that. I didn’t plan on paying for this on top of everything else I was already paying for.

I received another email from Pop. He started out with a comment referring to Snap’s threats of violence and then told me that he would “not be able to send me any money.” Finally, an actual answer to my simple question! I also liked the way it was phrased, he would “not be able” to help, sounds like cosmic forces beyond his control had forced his hand. So much drama!

He then felt the need to tell me about how he was committed to supporting his children and his wife needed to retire. The need for lots of story just rolled on. He stated that he had “offered to be of help in any way”, but then it seems ‘any way’ was limited to talking to me and settling our mother’s personal affects. How, exactly, was offering to talk to me an offer of any real help? Pop knew that Snap controlled access to our mother’s personal property. Pop couldn’t even exchange emails with Snap but was ‘offering’ to help with the personal property? How would that have worked? Once again, Pop offered help that wasn’t a real offer at all.

Pop continues, repeating comments about Snap’s violent threats. Pop also described how much time and effort he had put into trying to rescue Snap, to help Snap get away from our mother. And then the ugliness that Elsie had predicted came to the surface. Pop told me that he had spent time and money helping and never asked for reimbursement. It seems he also tried to rescue Crackle as well.

It seemed I was asking to be reimbursed, as if I had gone on a business trip, spent money on all sorts of inappropriate things and now wanted someone else to pay for them. It also appeared that Pop had done so much in the past that he had no obligation to anyone ever again. How does Pop know how much time and money I had spent in the past? Of course, he had no way of knowing.

He told me that my ‘tone’ and refusing to speak with him was an issue, and he wondered if ‘the money had turned me against him’. Huh? This makes it sound like there had been a huge estate with lots of money and my greed had made me turn against Pop. He had more story all of which laid out more ways he was spending money on himself. I wasn’t clear how any of this was relevant.

Then he states that he simply didn’t have enough money to help. He wondered why I hadn’t been willing to maintain a relationship with him. Apparently I just wasn’t doing enough to meet Pop’s expectations. He again told me about all the money he had spent improving his home and cars. I couldn’t see how this even made sense. I guess my home and cars don’t need any upkeep. It couldn’t get any more bizarre could it?

Yes, it could. Pop’s last statement was unbelievable. He stated that the only thing he had ever asked me for was some of our mother’s photos. He wanted the photos of his childhood up through 1973. WTF? Pop would not have any involvement, but he was asking me to send him specific photos? Really? I also like the detailed nature of his ‘request’. He made it sound like I could just step into the archives and retrieve photos based on a range of dates and subjects. The reality was that I had many boxes of loose photos and photo albums that were falling apart. There was no organization of any kind. Pop had no clue what I was dealing with. Pop had no clue how much time and effort I was putting into all of this, completely separate from the money. But Pop could make demands!

No matter what else Pop had said, or how much he tried to make me feel bad, I finally had the clear answer I wanted. Pop had formally refused, in writing, to help with the debts. This was Pop’s last opportunity to help with our mother’s end-of-life care and he had refused. I was relieved. Pop couldn’t tell anyone, in the future, that I didn’t allow him to help. Pop had offered to help several times, but when I asked him how he wanted to help, I never got any definite proposal as to how he would help. This was the last opportunity he would have to help and I decided to directly ask him to help and he refused.

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