Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Omissions That Speak Volumes

I am currently holding, in my hot little hands, one book entitled, "When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don't Get Along" by Dr. Joshua Coleman. In that book is the original form letter, which I'm happy to share with you, notes from the author included.

Here is it, Dear Reader, for your viewing pleasure:

Even if you're moving toward accepting that your child doesn't want a relationship, you should pave the ground for potential contact in the future by writing him or her a letter that goes something like this:

Dear____________,
You are my child and I love you dearly. I know that I made terrible mistakes with you when you were growing up.

Or:

I know that you must be in a lot of pain to want to cut off contact with me.

Or:

I know that how I treated your mother/father when were were married (or after the divorce) was deeply upsetting to you.

Or:

You're own introductory line: "____________."

The letter would go on to say something like:

As you know, I carry regret about that. I have tried hard to make amends to you and am willing to continue talking about whatever is important to you about the past if it can move us closer together. I do want to hear what you feel and would always be open to a letter, a phone call, or a meeting with a family therapist if that would be helpful.

I really want you to be happy, and I am coming to accept that you don't want to have a relationship with me. It's heartbreaking, as your parent, to not be able to see you. At the same time, if you believe it's in your best interest, then I don't want you to feel guilty. You must have good reasons [note: even if you think they don't], and I can accept your decision if that's what you have to do. I want you to know that the door will be open for the rest of your life if you change your mind.

All my love,


Now, Dear Reader, just in case you've forgotten, here is NMIL's "letter of amends" to DH, which she wrote copied and sent to him at the beginning of August:

From: NMIL
To: DH
Sent: August 5, 2011
Subject: if you could please read this...


Dear DH,

You are my son and I love you dearly. I know I have made mistakes and for that I am so sorry. I am so sorry for the pain it must have caused. As you know, i carry regret about all that. I have tried hard to make ammends and will always be willing to start talking again about whatever is important to you about the past if it would move us closer together. I do want to hear what you feel and would always be open to a letter, a phone call or even a meeting with the therapist that we had tried to do.

I really want you to be happy,happy with [your wife], happy in your life, and I know you do not want to have a relationship with me. It's heartbreaking as your parent, to not be able to see you and your family. At the same time, if you believe it is in your best interest, then i respect that. You must have good reason and i accept that. I want you to know that the door will be open for the rest of your life if you change your mind.

All my love,

Mom


I took Coleman's book out of our library recently simply because I wanted to find the word-for-word document and share it with you. I know I don't have to point out the obvious to you, Dear Reader. There is only one simple discrepancy between the original and NMIL's copy: The following line of Dr. Coleman's suggestion read: "At the same time, if you believe it's in your best interest, then I don't want you to feel guilty." NMIL's version read, "At the same time, if you believe it is in your best interest, then i respect that." I find it so intriguing that the ONE line NMIL changed, was the part about not wanting her son to feel guilty. That leads me to believe that she had at least one very clear thought in her puny little brain while she was scheming her schemes: "I WANT him to feel guilty."

Believe you me, I wouldn't have believed the bitch, even if she kept that pretty little line in there. But still, I sat here and stroked my beard for a while, contemplating the fact that the one line she omitted from her fake apology, was the one in which she could have possibly shown any empathy for her "poor little son, who just couldn't possibly be happy without her in his life."

**Update: And seriously people? Only a moron would copy what is obviously a template apology letter and use it as their own. No wait, only an ignorant moron would copy what is obviously a template apology letter and use it as their own. No...wait, only an ignorant, dim-witted, lazy moron who is completely lacking in empathy would copy what is obviously a template apology letter and use it as their own. I mean, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that clearly, the author did not intend for any of the estranged parents running loose out there to copy and paste his example letter of amends to their estranged sons and daughters. NMIL, when someone says, "you should pave the ground for potential contact in the future by writing him or her a letter that goes something like this" they are NOT saying, "You should pave the ground for potential contact in the future by copying and pasting the following letter because you lack both the empathy and originality to write your own damn letter of apology."

Clearly, that is not what the author was saying.

4 comments:

  1. "I know that you must be in a lot of pain to want to cut off contact with me..."

    should read: I know that you must have wised-up, figured me out, and come to understand that I'm dangerous so you must cut me off to be safe from harm.

    Spot on, as always Jonsi! This dude has found himself a niche market: Non-apology templates for narcissistic parents.

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  2. Ha ha ha ha. When I saw the form letter, the first thought I had, was that the average narcissist would foolishly use lines from it that would obviously be lies. Such as "I have tried hard to make amends to you." Which the recipient would certainly know to be untrue. So of course what does your NMIL have in her letter? Ha, ha, ha! -- quartz

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  3. Jonsi,
    Wow. What a complete and utter load of crap! All I could think while reading the first part of your post was, "No Jonsi! Tell me you didn't buy the book and put even one red cent in this quack's pocket!" Thank goodness for libraries! Whew.

    I have zero respect for this guy based on this one simple direction: "you should pave the ground for potential contact in the future by writing him or her a letter that goes something like this." Form letter aside, a decent, normal, respectful and compassionate person would 'pave the way for future contact with a child who has asked for no contact by respecting your child's wish for such and instead focusing on what faults and/or flaws you as a human being can work on in the meantime so that you may live a healthier and happier life regardless of whether the child can overcome the abuse and/or problems that you have helped to cause."

    This is the diet pill fad of books on estrangement, I think, promising an easy and effortless 'fix' to the Narc's self-inflicted pain. Blech, vomit, gross. Talk about pandering.

    Much love to you,
    (brushing my teeth repeatedly) Vanci

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  4. My mother has tried a few canned apologies with tears include. One of her emails I showed to my counselor. He actually shook his head and said, "She has it totally backwards." The letter of apology for me became a pity party for her. I can see why Dr Coleman is attempting to teach people a different way. Some people choose not to learn something different.

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