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Old 12-26-2007, 07:08 AM   #1
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Is this a good or selfish idea?

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

In the three years I have been with my husband I have never really gotten into my childhood. He has opened up to me about a lot, I however, will say something like "I have blocked most of it out" and leave it at that. I wasn't abused or anything like that, but it was pretty damaging IMO. My mother was very selfish and neglectful and my father worked all of the time. I won't go into too much other detail other than to say I was the typical "forgotten child" out of the four of us.

Well, as you can imagine this past weekend leading up to Christmas was very stressful. Sunday evening I was just exhausted and going to mother's house for a family get together and dealing with my sister's phoniness to the extended family was about all I could take. So we came home and I was in a NASTY mood. We put the girls to bed and opened a bottle of wine and relaxed. My husband knew I was upset and tried to get me to talk. Two glasses into the first bottle (it was a long night) he finally broke down my wall so to speak. I told him things I have too embarrassed to in the past. I then got into why I miss my ex friend (the former?? heroin addict). Her mother basically taught me everything my mother was too busy or too neglectful to do. Words can't even describe how much she meant to me, and still does.

So, at the end of all my tears and my husband just holding me for a while he started urging me to write her mother a letter thanking her for everything she did for me. I do think it is a good idea, but I don't want her to think that I am trying to get anything from her, if that makes any sense. I know my ex-friend has said some nasty things about me trying to cover up her addictions and I honestly don't know what her mother must think or believe. I don't want to upset her by sending her any such letter. My husband said to leave my friend out of it and focus on the relationship we shared. He also added that she can't think that badly of me since she was so warm and invited when I showed up at her sister's funeral last year.

I guess my question is this, do you think this is a good idea or is a selfish thing on my part? I know it will lift this weight I have since I have never properly thanked her. But is it too little to late? Will it somehow upset her given the state her daughter is in? I just don't know. I started writing it and I want it to be just right and say everything I need to say but I am nervous of the outcome. I don't want her to think I'm looking for anything in return. I don't even want a reply.

I do have to say that since I have opened up to my husband I already feel like a lighter person. I can imagine that doing this will only make that feeling better. But is that a selfish reason to do this?

 
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by happymom28 View Post
Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Same to you.

[snipped text]

I guess my question is this, do you think this is a good idea or is a selfish thing on my part? Happymom, maybe I am not the most suitable person to answer this, because I don't know your story very well, but from my "detached" perspective, I would say it is a great idea. Writing letters of gratitude is always a great idea. We owe so much to so many people, and strange to say, we often take this for granted. So, please go ahead: paper and pen is better than typed or printed. I know it will lift this weight I have since I have never properly thanked her. But is it too little to late? Oh, never too late. Even if she were dead, you could write her a letter. Oh, what am I saying? Never mind. That was what I said. Will it somehow upset her given the state her daughter is in? Who knows? Maybe. But it is not for you to feel to blame. That is not your goal. If it happens, it is only a side-effect, so to say. It is for you to decide if it is ok to mention her daughter and possibly send your sympathies/empathy. If I understand well, the main thing is to show gratitude to this woman. I am almost sure she will get your message and will be happy about it. I just don't know. I started writing it and I want it to be just right and say everything I need to say but I am nervous of the outcome. I don't want her to think I'm looking for anything in return. I don't even want a reply. If she replies, you must acknowledge it, but you may want to stop your exchange there, unless she clearly states that she is need of something you can provide her. This is a point for you to consider. I am not saying that she will take advantage of you, but who knows she may understand that you are also offering her your ear so she can vent a little about her own pain. Would you be ready to help her? Or wouldn't you like to get involved with her because of her daughter?

I do have to say that since I have opened up to my husband I already feel like a lighter person. I can imagine that doing this will only make that feeling better. But is that a selfish reason to do this? What is wrong about being selfish? I don't know if it is selfish or unselfish. I prefer to think in different terms: it is an adequate thing to do. You can never be totally sure of the correctedness or of the results of most of your actions, but in this case I think this is the right thing to do, no matter what may ensue. Boa sorte! Good luck!

 
Old 12-26-2007, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Thank you pendulum. A lot of what you said echoed my husband's thoughts.

To answer your question, of course I would be there if she wanted to reach out to me. There are just so many unknowns since I haven't talked to my ex-friend since this past April. I know in my heart I had nothing to do with her addictions, but I also know that she has lied about so many things and I guess I am just so affraid that she will think I was the influence. Afterall, we use to get into a lot of trouble together as teens.

But you are right, it is never too late to express gratitude to someone. Thanks again!

 
Old 12-26-2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

You happymom28 don't have to worry about anything. You always write articulate advice/letters and I can tell you your ex friends mother will be very happy to get such a letter. She knows all too well what her daughter is about so you don't have to talk too much about that but I can tell you she will feel really special that she somehow influenced someones life. What mother wouldn't want to know that she actually touched someones life and can see you turned out well. At least she will know that she wasn't such a bad mom after all...her daughter took a different path that she couldn't do anything about so it would be a nice thing for her to hear how much you appreciated her. Don't dwell on how you put your thoughts together just let them flow from your heart and if this is all that it would take to lift a weight in your life then go for it and you in turn will also lighten this ladies burden and give her a ray of sunshine and perhaps give her the needed strength to keep going with her own daughter. This is not a selfish act at all and only good can come of it. Your husband sounds like a very good person. Happy New Year.

 
Old 12-26-2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Happymum,

I am very pleased you had a wonderful Christmas as you well deserve...and I totally agree with Ann: I think you will make her day by writing this letter, and maybe even give her some happiness that her daughter has been incapable of giving her. This unexpected thank-you will surely make her feel appreciated and cared for. There is absolutely nothing selfish in that; if anything Happymum, then it is her daughter, with her self-centred habits, who should feel selfish and definitely not such a thoughtful grateful woman like you.
I have no doubt that you will make her proud and that you will add warmth to her holidays, so go for it!

Again Happymum, I wish you and your family all the love that the holidays may bring. Hugs , Nina X

 
Old 12-26-2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnD
What mother wouldn't want to know that she actually touched someones life and can see you turned out well. At least she will know that she wasn't such a bad mom after all...her daughter took a different path that she couldn't do anything about so it would be a nice thing for her to hear how much you appreciated her.
I didn't even think of it like that AnnD. It didn't occur to me how she must feel as a mother to her. I think of my disappointment in her as a friend and basically a sister. I can't even imagine how it must feel for her as her mother. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I can't believe I never thought of it that way.

Thank you Nina and I hope you had a great holiday as well (inspite of all the turmoil you have been feeling). How are you doing, if you don't mind me asking? {{{hugs}}} I wish you a new year full of the love, happiness, and new beginnings you deserve!

 
Old 12-26-2007, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Thank you so much for your wishes and for asking HappyMum. The weekened away has helped me put on a smiling face for Christmas, which went fine: I spent it here with him..we were civil and courteous to each other, but that is all. I had a lot of nice gifts from his family, but once again, he ended up the only one missing the family Christmas dinner..for reasons that you know!

I am still trying to save things from falling apart at this very moment...and this is simply because I can't deal with change right now. Will have to create a peaceful atmosphere for my study, even at the expense of other important values that I always maintained. Will have to see...he will be sleeping over at his mum's soon...for a family get-together that he missed yesterday.

..I won't divert your thread ...

Love X

 
Old 12-26-2007, 06:04 PM   #8
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

I think in a world where we are so quick to complain to authority and write nasty letters, it would be so nice of you to write a positive letter to this lady.

As they say, it is so much easier to remember the bad, but many people forget the good. Kind of reminds me of those, "how is my driving" bumper stickers that come with a phone number for the public to call. Do you think anyone ever calls that number to tell the company that the person driving the company vehicle is a courteous driver? LOL!

 
Old 12-27-2007, 02:05 AM   #9
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by happymom28 View Post
... I wasn't abused or anything like that, but it was pretty damaging IMO. My mother was very selfish and neglectful and my father worked all of the time. I won't go into too much other detail other than to say I was the typical "forgotten child" out of the four of us.

...
Hey Happymom, I would like to say something about this, but I am afraid this would properly belong to a different thread.

Anyway, briefly.

Now that I am on the parent's side, I can see how difficult it is to be a parent. Your first obligation is to provide your children with a material basis for life or survival, if you prefer. This is not always easy, and what is worse, this may consume your health and patience and leave very little room for either being affectionate to your children or being their mentors in life. That's why children often need other adults in their lives, because parents hardly can be mentors, if they have to be first of all providers. If a mentor had to live with his pupil twenty-four hours a day, I guess the relationship would become strained, if you see what I mean.

The majority of us do have complaints about our parents, and that is right. Some parents can be cruel and abusive, but maybe these are cases of mental illness, I don't know. Anyway, once you are in their position, you may start to realize that they often did their best and if their best still seemed far away from being good, that is what they had to give. And they were always giving, you know. If you look closer, you will be amazed to find that there were times they were really there for you, invisibly, and you simply overlooked it.

What I mean to say (and I hesitate lest I may sound too forceful or authoritative) is that, in my opinion, every parent loves their children, all of them, even if the outward manifestation of their love appears to be different in size and shape for each child. Any discrepancy has perhaps to do with jealousy among siblings and flattering or with misperceptions from the children proper.

The fact that you felt "forgotten" has shaped your worldview, a worldview that already belonged to your essence when you were born. In some way, that was the way you "required" to be treated by your parents, because that was the only way to allow your empathy for others and your natural inner strengths to develop.

If they treated you like that, it doesn't mean, in my opinion, that they did not love you enough, or loved you less.

Last edited by pendulum; 12-27-2007 at 02:06 AM.

 
Old 12-27-2007, 04:42 AM   #10
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

I think that this letter is a wonderful idea. I totally agree with Ann about this lady being thrilled to know that she made a difference to you. Nothing but good for all concerned can come from this since it is an honest expression of your appreciation from your heart. I have been through EST and one of the things they have you do is to get in touch with somebody significant in your life (past or present) and tell them what they mean to you. I did it with a few people and it is wonderful to do - just for closure sometimes, or to show appreciation, whatever. I would go further and write to your mother, not necessarily to send, just to lay it all out. It is amazing what seeing your hurts and resentments written out can do. It will bring up a lot of stuff which you can then look at and mend or discard. It is really worth doing. A wonderful first step in sharing it with your husband; he sounds like a wonderful man. Sera

 
Old 12-27-2007, 07:11 AM   #11
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pendulum View Post
What I mean to say (and I hesitate lest I may sound too forceful or authoritative) is that, in my opinion, every parent loves their children, all of them, even if the outward manifestation of their love appears to be different in size and shape for each child. Any discrepancy has perhaps to do with jealousy among siblings and flattering or with misperceptions from the children proper.

The fact that you felt "forgotten" has shaped your worldview, a worldview that already belonged to your essence when you were born. In some way, that was the way you "required" to be treated by your parents, because that was the only way to allow your empathy for others and your natural inner strengths to develop.

If they treated you like that, it doesn't mean, in my opinion, that they did not love you enough, or loved you less.
"Forgotten" is very vague in the way I used it. I know my parents tried their best with what they had, believe me I do. I love my parents. My father has become a completely different man since his cancer diagnosis a few years ago. We have a better relationship today then we ever did. My mother is still my mother. She is still one of the most selfish people I have ever known, but I have learned to accept that. The few time I REALLY needed my parents they let me down. I've lost a lot of trust in them because of that.

I said I was not "abused" in the physical and sexual sense of the word, however I was verbally and mentally abused by them. Again, I have learned to forgive but it was hard. There are serveral more things I could tell you that would completely shock you but I would need a lot of space and time. The few things I told my husband the other night made him understand why I am the neat freak I am today. Honestly, how the child protective services never took us is beyond me. I worked very hard at building my self esteem and realizing that I am worthy of a healthy relationship.

I am not a materialistic person, never have been. I grew up with very little and I don't feel the need to have material wealth. I feel true wealth is in your family and your friends. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband (the second time around ) and two healthy children.

Being on the parental end of the spectrum now I know exactly how not to treat my children. I tell them I love them several times a day. I don't yell them or call them names. I don't make fun of what they love. We do things together. I provide them with a clean and warm home with the healthy meals they need. I don't spoil them with material things, but I do spoil them with my love. I guess in a way my parents' taught me to strive to be the best parent I can be.

 
Old 12-27-2007, 07:16 AM   #12
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Re: Is this a good or selfish idea?

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I would go further and write to your mother, not necessarily to send, just to lay it all out. It is amazing what seeing your hurts and resentments written out can do. It will bring up a lot of stuff which you can then look at and mend or discard. It is really worth doing. A wonderful first step in sharing it with your husband; he sounds like a wonderful man.
I have to be honest and tell you I am really scared to do this. I know I have "forgotten" a lot of things. There are things my siblings will say to me that brings these memories flashing back. My husband has told me it time to stop running and just face it so I can move on and I know he is right. I just hate feeling vulnerable and out of control and I know opening that "can of worms" will cause me to feel that way. I will give this a try, but I'm not sure if I can do it right away.

 
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