Hand-delivered note from mom

I went out my front door and found the following note stuffed into my mailbox, hanging out. I recognized my mom’s handwriting at once. Here’s what it said:

“July 9, 2010

Hi [SDW] & [Wife],

A long time has passed. Maybe we could meet for “coffee” tea” soon.

Love Mom”

and then on a separate piece of hotel notepad paper (they were small, and printed with the hotel’s address and phone…).

“Just so you know, Joetta [her dog] died yesterday. I called B—- [the dog’s former owner], she came to see her. She developed Cancer that spread. She couldn’t walk. I had her checked at the xxxxx Vet Hospital. xxoo”

Why would she travel so far (to my town, a journey of perhaps 5 hours) to have her dog put down? Perhaps because the former owner of the dog lives here, or perhaps because my brother was here to offer emotional support. That seems more likely.

I’m relatively calm, but I had a sudden impulse just now to burn her notes. I spaced out a little, because when I went to find the notes to transcribe them here, I was surprised to discover I’d put them back in the mailbox. I instantly came in and wrote her a reply.

I’ve sealed the envelope now, but it reads roughly.

“Dear Mom,

I’m sorry Joetta died.

I’ve been waiting for a written reply from you to my letter. I would welcome a written response with some of the information I requested.



PS: [my wife’s name] and I are doing well”

She’s having an emotional crisis and needs her mommy – me. Generally the safest way for me to be with her is ‘big sister/therapist’ since it meets her needs enough that she stays relatively calm. In fact I think she’d like me to be like this forever. She thought given the situation, the death of her dog, that I’d feel socially obligated to be nice to her and let bygones be bygones. I’ve let two Christmases and birthdays pass without contact, so she’s getting desperate perhaps. She was hoping I’d call her at her hotel and all would be forgiven. It creeps me out a little that she was here and I didn’t know, although my dog was barking quite a bit earlier today. Perhaps it was when I was out for breakfast, since I didn’t go by the mailbox on the way back. Yick.

I think my response sets the boundary I want to set: I’m not speaking to you unless it’s on my terms. Whether she abused me directly or not, she overlooked my father raping me so brutally that I had large tears on my vulva. When I remember that, I hold firm.  I expect I’ll have feelings later, and I’m going to leave my house in case she comes by again. Ick.

17 thoughts on “Hand-delivered note from mom”

  1. Pingback: Letter from mom on it’s way… | May We Dance Upon Their Graves

  2. Pingback: Is my mother another abuser? Was I abused by a woman? | May We Dance Upon Their Graves

  3. Hi SDW,

    Having someone else read it is a good idea. I’m glad that you have some space between her and you. Good and healing thoughts to you.


  4. Alright, if you’re so encouraging, here’s my two cents on the icky, creepy factor.

    I have a whole lot of it regarding my father.

    I’ve not been raped, nor submitted to violence – I suffered “consensual child-touching”, nothing was ever done to me that I had said no to. Pretty awful guilt afterward, as a teen and a young adult : “I could’ve said no and I didn’t, I kept it going, I’m shit”. Now I’m at a better stage.

    Anyway, the whole thing began to feel somewhat not right at 12, enough to make me impose a “no touch” policy on him. At the end of that year, he threw me away from home, by letter, when I was away at my grandmother’s, “because I wasn’t his daughter anymore if I wouldn’t let him touch me”. I showed the letter to my mother, she went back home to arrange a separation and a divorce. She fetched me after 2 months, and to my surprise, when I saw my father from a distance, I found myself in hysterics. But that was only after the abuse had been discovered, before, I felt nothing more than the usual disgust.

    As for my husband. Psychological maltreatment, that’s what he’s done to me for 10 years. I do have some light icky feeling when I meet him, but not too strong, and it’s only since he’s endeavored to make me commit suicide, after separating.

    I have no creepy feeling regarding my mother. She did not protect me. But then I never felt assaulted, so I never longed for help. And she did protect me when the letter came. She feels shame, she’s sorry for her blindness, for her marrying this scum – she wants to make it up to me, she’s very supportive in my marital woes, and we have a very good relationship.

    So, for me, only people who are verified abusers (and some unknown people whom I took pains to avoid) bring out the creepy, icky feeling ; not blind witnesses.

    So, based on your corporal feelings, and the warped relationship she’s trying to have with you (guilt trips, complaints, exactly like my father), I’d say that your mother too has done you tremendous wrong. Which could be, having denied you help, or worse. Good thing that your wife is willing to read and summarize for you anything she writes.

    Be strong, you’re not alone, you’re not that different, there’s a whole world full of us, and your voice gives us the right to exist.

    Be strong, you’re not alone !

    1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this. I just found it again today. It’s hard to respond to, since I really don’t know one way or another if my mom did anything other than know and fail to protect me (which is enough, really).

      That’s a good point about the creepy being a body-sign of the abusers. My mom wasn’t even close to being helpful and definitively protective like yours, so perhaps my mileage varies because of that. Mine stayed with the sociopath after she knew, and wouldn’t answer police questions once I reported. I think she was definitely complicit, in that she knew and made some sort of devil’s bargain with him to keep quiet if he stopped (which he didn’t) which could account for the creepy. It’s certainly possible there’s more memories in there, but you’d think they’d have come up by now. The only first order relative I don’t ever have creepies about is my younger brother.

      I’ve certainly had suspicions at times, based on some creepy feelings and one very odd flashback. However, if that’s the case, it’s not ready to come up yet. I’m in a very safe, stable place in my life and have been for a long time, so it seems like it would have if it were going to.

      That being said, if that’s what comes up, I’ll deal with it.

  5. Hi SDW,

    Too creepy. So sorry she is acting out in the way. Good for you. You are doing a great job of dealing with her.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    1. Hi Kate,
      Yeah, definitely creepy. I seem to be good about it now though. We’ll see if she responds to my note. I’m predicting a letter full of accusations, guilt trip attempts and complaint that I would call her on not responding to my letter. I’ll probably get my wife to read and summarize anything she sends from now on, if she does.

      Good and healing thoughts to you too, Kate,

  6. A sure sign that she’s a toxic influence in your life. It’s the same for me when I come in contact with the main jerk in my life right now ;-). The body tells us to avoid them.

    I’ve decided to listen to myself, and not to good manners and propriety. Even if your mother ends up owning to her silent complicity in the abuse you’ve gone through, feel free to never meet her again, and to never think about her again…

    She’s no victim, even if she ends up telling you she’s been raped herself in her childhood. Having suffered abuse is NO EXCUSE for becoming an abuser or an accomplice to an abuser.

    Had she been honest in saying that she never was aware of your abuse, in spite of every probability – I cannot understand how a badly hurt child, who’s frightened out of her mind, can behave as not to make her mother wonder – she would not have covered for him. She would have acted with horror, and deep guilt of having been blind and unable to protct you, and she would have tried to know when and where, but she would not have dismissed as lies what you had to say.

    I hope this comment doesn’t unsettle you – I appreciate very much what you’re doing for us, the silent survivors, in writing about it with so much humanity.

    1. Not offended at all, balbrouckan, I read it as support. I’m good never to see her again. The scars were all the proof I needed. I’m with you, she had to have known. Even if she was really really dissociated, or drugged into unconsciousness for the month after every time I was raped, it doesn’t scan. If she doesn’t own up, she’s dead to me. Unfortunately, mothers dismiss as lies disclosures of abuse all the time. There’s apparently a certain kind of dependent personality and scenario type that often leads to mothers completely flaking on their responsibility to protect. I’ve been researching it, trying to find some studies on why exactly mothers side with their abusive spouses. I’m thinking its a variation on stockholm syndrome, but really even if she had a great reason, I’m not accepting it, flat out. I only have to look at my picture of the scars and my resolve is firm. I’m still not entirely sure she didn’t abuse me herself, there’s so little I remember, but I have some icky body stuff around her, so really I’ve got no reason to let her in again.

      Thanks so much for commenting, it makes me feel connected to other survivors. I really appreciate it. It’s a bit part of why I write and the comments make me feel less like alone and different.


  7. butterflysblog

    Warrior – no one can deny what you have been through, what has happened to you, what he did to you, what she obviously knew about and turned her head away from. You are turning her head back in the right direction. What a luxury she had, to have the ability to just ignore it. You didn’t have that luxury, and you have the scars to prove it.

    This must have been so painful, to walk to your own mailbox and be surprised by such a note. I think your response note was perfect.

    – Butterfly

    1. Thanks. When I wrote the note I felt calm. I only realized how much it had upset me later. It was quite upsetting. My wife pointed out it always takes me about three days to recover from any kind of contact with my mother, and she was right. The first night I was weepy and fragile, and after that just a bit unsettled. Even though I didn’t know she was there, the fact that she’d invaded my space like that was yucky, along with the fact that she’s still ignoring what I’m asking for. Yes, I think if I was going to give her a report card it would be “has trouble staying on task and owning responsibility for her mistakes. Needs frequent reminders…”

  8. One of my friends, who has met my mother, said when I told her “fuck her! I’m a mother, I always notice when my kids have had something bad happen, even if they don’t want to tell me about it.” Hell, I noticed when my *dog* was in pain, even though she didn’t have any outward signs (she’d swallowed something sharp and we had to take her to an emergency vet to have it removed). When you love people, you notice and you look after it. There’s no way she could not have noticed this one. She’s been lying to me for decades.

  9. I left the house after this and went to where my wife was playing baseball. When I saw her I cried for a bit, and we stayed out of the house yesterday evening. Her friends didn’t know what was going on but were kind, which was a blessing, and left me alone to chill out, in a kind of compassionate way. I feel a lot better this morning. I’m pretty certain my mom has gone home. As my wife pointed out, she’s a workaholic, so wouldn’t have taken much time off.

  10. Your response to her note is quite adequate. And still nice. A lot nicer than what you owe her.

    Pardon me for venting my own anger, but I can’t with this act of : ” I was an innocent bystander, besides nothing happened, and now see how that makes me sad that you’ve excluded me from your life ? I’m the real victim here ! And you’re making me suffer !”

    That’s my father’s act.

    1. Yes, my mom does that act too. It’s so ridiculous. My younger brother bought into the poor mom thing too until I set him straight. I’d spared him the gory details of what had happened to me (he knows the general). I’m only able to be tactful with my mom because I actually really want the information I asked for, and actually I’m not wanting to get all wrapped up in my own anger at her again. However, I would be quite at peace if she never gives it to me and I never see her again. I just think about the scars on my body and the sure knowledge that she knew and didn’t even get me medical attention and I hold firm.

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