Author Topic: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts  (Read 1208 times)

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kathleen

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Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« on: August 13, 2010, 05:56:23 AM »
MIL's,

This is a little off topic but I could use some help getting through it.

Yesterday I received an awful email from my cousin.  Actually, she sent it to my husband (he is wonderful, I am terrible.)  It was so insulting. 

We went out three years ago to help her when her mother died; she is an only child and has managed to alienate just about everyone from her life, except her therapist, with this kind of behavior. (The therapist acts unprofessionally but keeps her coming, we think my cousin is a cash cow for this woman.)  At every turn I asked her, did she want to do this, was she ready for that, and she always said yes, she was.  We were on the road when we got the news that my aunt had died, and I even asked her if she still wanted us to come.  We stayed three weeks and worked like Trojan horses.  The trip cost us $2,000, being a 1,500 mile trip one way.

The house was in a complete shambles, and I mean complete.  Mice had created whole generations in the pantry and my other aunt, age 83, came over and cleaned this all out on a hot day.  It was filthy work.  She then got accused by my cousin of "stealing" my aunt's worthless things.  It was totally untrue.  A friend of my dead aunt's was there organizing stuff for a garage sale, and she told my other aunt, who had done so much cleaning, "Take anything you want from this pile."  My cousin then called and screamed at her on the phone that she was nothing but a thief and my cousin hasn't spoken to her since.  Aunt-as-thief is repeated again in this email yesterday, asking my husband how he can "condone stealing."  The stuff my aunt got---ancient 35 records---was utterly worthless to anyone else.

As much as I want to be able to ignore things like this, somehow I can't.  I was so hurt to read myself described as "she needed to be in charge, but THEY (who they are we don't know) told me at the time to stop her, but I didn't."  As much as I want to tell myself to rid myself of all thoughts and relationship with this cousin, it still hurts.  Should I reply, or should my husband?  Almost every statement she makes to him is untrue.  Amazing that she would think he would be receptive to an email trashing his wife and my beloved, other aunt, whom my husband adores (she never starts trouble with anyone.)

I wish I could be like my husband, get angry, let it out, and move on.  Yet I would like to put a stop to this cousin. I would like to prevent her from making false accusations in the future.  It is not the first time she has accused an elderly aunt of a crime.  She is a menace and I know now I am better off without her.  Yet, from childhood closeness, I am still hurt.

Have you gotten something like this and how did you manage it?

Kathleen


cremebrulee

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 07:13:02 AM »
Kathleen,
your feelings are valid...important and real...it's ok to feel this way, but hun, this is one woman your not going to be able to fix...she sounds like she's got real problems...I mean really....big...problems....

Best thing you can do is forget trying to fix her, it won't be done...unless everyone gets toghter and tell her, listen...you can't talk to people like that, least of all me....and so on....and tell her she's acting a little nutty...but who would have the courage to tell her that?  So, that isn't going to work either...

So, since you don't have to see her that much...I would avoid her as much as possible...and not allow her to make you sad, hurt or miserable....

You see, we women want to fix everything and some things and people just can't be fixed....as a matter of fact, (and I hope I can explain this right) your cousin is on her own journey in life....she will either some day get it, or not....but no matter what, she is where she is supposed to be....maybe one day, when she has exhausted every one to the point of not having any friends she will get it...

My real mother is like her, and for years as a child and an adult I tried so hard to make her understand, I wasn't a bad kid, I didn't steal, didn't have to get married, she ran me down constantly...not to mention go quit physical with everyone....and one day I woke up and realized, there was nothing I could do...my mother was the way she was, and I had to stop and realize, she is the best that she can be, due to the life she lived before me....so, I stay away...and she has no friends...none....it's very sad.  Once I told her, "I'm all you got, you'd be smart to try and be nice to me once in a while".  She is such a user and when she's sick, it's the worst anyone can have...I really believe she is extremely narcissistic.
I used to pray so hard as a child to never ever allow me to be like her....that was and still is, always one of my biggest fears...

So, what I'm trying to explain...sorry I got side tracked there....Kathleen, some people just can't be fixed....and she probably doesn't even realize, believe it or not, that she's being mean to people, it's her way and how she thinks your supposed to talk to people....plus she sounds a bit bi-polor or something, but your never ever going to be able to live up to her expectations...she is happiest when she is miserable, and negative people are very jealous people...plus, she will do everything she can to be contridictive and contrary....it's her, it's not you...believe me, I wouldn't take it personal the least bit, and besides, you don't have to live with her, thank God.

Now, how bout a cup of coffee, I could sure use an iced coffee? 

Hugs gal, and hope things go better and you have a simply marvelous happy day....
lets talk about your plans for the weekend, or think about how lovely it's going to be...
and forget about people who don't realize they are acting out like a child....

big big hugs
Creme

Orly

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 07:55:05 AM »
Yes, it does hurt when you are doing a loving service for someone and they accuse you of all sorts of infamy.   It sounds like your deceased aunt was a hoarder.  It also sounds like her daughter didn't fall far from the tree with "mental issues".   She gave you a perfect example why she is distanced from the family. 

I would chalk this up to a learning experience...put the cousin on the "not quite right" list and ignore almost all of the stuff she sends you.  I'm sure the other family members will concur you aren't the ogre she wants to paint you out to be.  You can remember her as your childhood buddy and keep those memories.  Just remember also, THAT person is long gone and you are dealing with someone totally different in the now.

Offline Scoop

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 08:35:33 AM »
Kathleen - I don't think that you or your husband should answer.  This cousin is obviously mentally disturbed.  She's not thinking rationally, so you shouldn't try to deal with her rationally - she CANNOT (not WON'T, but CAN'T) see it.

Also, you should never, ever, JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain) your actions.  If you know that you've done nothing wrong, you don't have to justify it, or argue about it, or defend it or explain it to ANYONE.  Particularly someone who is not in their right mind.

What helps me when I've been given a "rotten" thing, is to turn it around and have something GOOD come out of it.  (MIL left me some rotten bananas once, so I made banana muffins and brought them ALL next door to the lady who was being treated for breast cancer).   So maybe you could use this opportunity to send a "thinking of you" card to the 2 aunts mentioned.  Maybe they got some hate mail too and would appreciate a nice little note from you.

kathleen

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 03:06:09 PM »
Thank you so much.  I have printed out your replies and am sending them to my elderly aunt who was accused of stealing.  She will be much comforted, as I was, by your kind writings.

I agree that my cousin has mental problems and that she is not being helped by her current therapist.  Nor am I in any position to advise her.

I love this list,

Kathleen

Offline Scoop

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 05:44:26 AM »
Kathleen, if you haven't already done so, please do not send my reply to you, to your aunts.

First off, I only know your condensed version of your side of the story and I was giving YOU advice.  Second, it will look like you're passing gossip around the internet about your cousin.
Third, it sort of looks like you set us up to see that cousin is irrational, and when I replied that she seems irrational, then you're going to pass my opinion around, as if I'm an expert, in order to not have to say the words yourself.

My advice was to let it go.  Sending my response is not letting go.  It is in fact JADE-ing your position.

Please, just send them a nice note, completely unrelated to the cousins mail.

kathleen

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 06:22:36 AM »
Will do.  I thought reading the replies would help explain things to my aunt (one only), who has been trying hard to understand what happened, and with some fear.  I saw it as finishing this, not keeping it going, but perhaps I was wrong.  I do NOT wish to keep it going with my cousin, and I do not see reporting what she has done as "gossip" about her, particularly since there were no identifying details whatever from which she could ever be identified.  Scoop, if we report what others have done here, when we are trying to understand behavior, is it "gossip?" Gossip to me is repeating second hand what someone else has told you about a person's actions or statements.  I experienced this with my cousin first-hand in a written email, unfounded accusations.   Also, anyone can sign up and read what is posted here and my aunt could do so if she wished.  Finally, I didn't have a position when I wrote my first post.  I was trying to figure out what to do, if anything.  I was in that stage, but there is nothing that can be done.  My main concern was an accusation of criminal conduct against an aunt who lives close geographically to this person.  I felt hurt by my cousin's criticism of me, but it was secondary to concern about my aunt who is elderly and in frail health.  Perhaps I did not express this very well.  I actually felt fear when I read the accusations in a written email.  Then came the anger, after my post, and I considered contacting some authority in my aunt's state to see if there was some way to stop this from happening again.  My husband felt there is nothing that can be done.

My cousin in the past (years ago) made another criminal accusation against another elderly aunt.  At that time I did not know what to believe about her. I didn't know the circumstances and thought those accusations might be true.  Now it has happened again and this time I am certain it is false. She is a dangerous person and I plan to stay completely away from her from now on and put her out of my thoughts.  I feel lucky I don't live close to this A-list troublemaker.  She may or may not be irrational, I don't know.  I think she is in charge of what she does; her mother wrote similar letters to people.  I don't know what I thought going out there to try and help.  THAT wasn't very rational, even though my cousin said she wanted it.

But don't be worried about your confidentiality.  I'll protect it.  This chapter for me is closed.  Thank you again for your input.

Kathleen

miss_priss

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 08:21:00 AM »
Quote
Also, you should never, ever, JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain) your actions.  If you know that you've done nothing wrong, you don't have to justify it, or argue about it, or defend it or explain it to ANYONE.  Particularly someone who is not in their right mind.

Scoop - I LOVE this.  :)

miss_priss

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2010, 08:29:34 AM »
And Kathleen - I have to agree that printing this off and showing it to your aunt is only perpetuating the issue. 

My MIL does this, quite often actually.  She posts "half-truths" on Facebook as her status in order to get her facebook friends and family to side with her and tell her she's right and feel so sorry for her, then she will copy and paste this and send it to her son (and others too), stating "Look, all these people think your wife is to blame for this!  This is NOT my fault!"  Those poor people have no clue what the real truth is, because she conveniently excludes all the details of her OWN actions.  She only includes what makes HER look good and what makes US look like monsters who are victimizing her.  It's really sick.  What she does is shameless, relentless, annoying and downright poisonous...yet she insists on doing it so she can justify herself, her feelings, and her actions.  But it makes her look like a desperate fool. 

I realize the two situations are very different, and I'm not implying that you are doing the same as my MIL does...but I hope you'll take into consideration that the "comforting words" of the ladies on here shouldn't be taken as justification.  I hope you'll reconsider printing this and showing it to your aunt.

kathleen

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2010, 01:51:58 PM »
After your posts, I re-read the rules of the list far more carefully than I did coming on.  I've certainly been making one mistake, and that's using capital letters for emphasis.  I haven't participated in many other lists and didn't realize this could be construed as shouting. 

I couldn't find anything in the rules that indicated it was wrong to share opinions with those outside the list, but I think there should be such a rule.  In a professional capacity I worked a great deal in positions of confidence with women, and should have realized it was a violation of confidentiality to share what I didn't have permission to share. I personally would have no problem if someone shared any of what I write here; much of my motivation in writing is to try and help others; but I really understand that not everyone---maybe no one---else feels that way.  I certainly apologize for any anxiety I caused. 

My motivation was not to gain sympathy from my aunt for my "opinion," because she and I are in total agreement; I'm not looking for converts. I never asked for help in what to say to my aunt; if you read the email, I asked what to do about the destructive behavior of my cousin.  My purpose in writing was to get some advice as to how to handle her, hopefully to share advice with my aunt, who is worried, 83, and in frail health.  She has been accused of a crime and would have no resources to defend herself with a lawyer if it came to that, and she does not know what to do, if anything.  Previously this cousin did call the police with a false accusation against another aunt; no police action was ever taken against her because again, there was no proof of any wrongdoing whatsoever.  At that time I didn't know what to think of it, because I wasn't there.  It put a deep rift in the family, and that aunt certainly did have to defend herself against what she knew wasn't true; one does, when the police get involved.  I know now it most likely wasn't true, as this latest one I am 100% certain is not true.  The manipulative motives you ascribe to me here are untrue as well and frankly, it's up to me to decide what "perpetuates" it with my aunt or not.  I thought it might comfort my aunt to know that others agree with her; she is very shaky right now.  But it was not my place to do so.  I love her deeply and would do anything for her that could help.  I replied impulsively about sending the opinions and did not stop to think it through.

It's great to say, cut this off here, but just because we want to end an issue doesn't mean someone else's destructive and trouble-making behavior is going to stop.  I am my aunt's sole emotional support of any strength right now.  My cousin has kept up these accusations against her for three years. We hoped she would stop; we ignored her; instead, she put them in writing to my husband last week.  To me, that's serious at this stage.

I couldn't help but feel compared to your MIL, Miss P, as you included this portrait of her along with your advice to me, and thus to feel badly about your portrayal of her.  Perhaps indeed she is nothing more than the "sick" creature you describe, but somewhere in her life someone or something has made her feel "desperate."  Maybe it's a longing to be self-righteous and really show others how wrong they are by issuing insulting emails and ascribing negative motives to others that aren't there; but maybe somewhere she's been maltreated, and feels like the wagons are circling around her, and that people are falsely accusing her, and that others don't understand, and so she lashes out in a defensive posture.  She may simply not know how to handle it and so she seeks support in inappropriate ways, as I have with this issue on this list.  She certainly appears to have no sympathy from you, her daughter-in-law, that you state here.  Your extremely negative opinion of her was mildly interesting, as it is possibly akin what my DIL thinks of me.  It sounds like she has not a single friend or support in her family, the "her and us" of your language indicates, and that she has reality on her side in thinking a group is against her.  But, you are on the scene and know best as to her motivations, personality, and situation. 

You also sent this after I told the other writer I was not going to send things to my aunt.  I could conclude one of two things:  that you wanted the opportunity to drive things home about your MIL, or that you were genuinely trying to help me.  You can see from this how either positive or negative motivations may be ascribed.

I have no idea what you meant when you said "what the ladies say here shouldn't be used as justification."  I was not looking for justification.  I feel now I need a professional opinion if I decide to move forward with any action.  I came to the wrong place, and for this I am sorry.  These issues are out of place here and too serious for this situation. I do feel both your posts were asking for an apology, and you definitely have it.

If there's a next time you feel I am in error, a simple, "Please don't take this action" would be so much appreciated.  Thank you.

Kathleen


Offline Scoop

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2010, 06:51:50 PM »
Kathleen, I know I worded my response badly, but I couldn't figure out another way to say it.

It was not about confidentiality, I know this is a public board and anyone can read it.

It was not even supposed to be an accusation that you would be using the print outs to gain sympathy.  It was more about 'the appearance' of using the print outs to gain sympathy.  In my work, we get ethics training and part of it is that we're not even allowed "the appearance" of wrongdoing.  I guess I was thinking along those lines.

I stand by my answer that you can't change this cousin's opinion, that you and your aunt (I just typed in "a nut" there in stead of "aunt", is this aunt really A NUT?) know that you haven't done anything wrong, and that's all you need to know.  If you and your aunt can see that she's full of baloney, others will see the same thing.  If they can't see it, and are not even willing to ask about "the other side" of the story, then their opinions are equally suspect.   And really, you can't do anything about it either way.



miss_priss

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2010, 07:12:54 AM »
Kathleen - I also worded my response badly, for that I apologize. 

I did not mean to make comparison between you and my own MIL.  I surely hope you don't conclude that I view all MILs like I do her.  Pity is what I feel for her, it replaced the hurt and anger I felt towards her for a long time.  When I went back and read my post, I see your point and how you may have mistaken that.  And I honestly did not see where you posted that you would not print off the responses for your aunt, I apologize that I missed that.  But I feel like you are assuming that my intentions were bad, and you have speculated as to my reasoning for my post.  I did not mean any harm to you, and I certainly did not mean to put you in the same category.   

What I did want to get across to you, is that what you had wanted to do by printing off posts to show your aunt, IS exactly what my MIL does.  Somehow it makes her feel better and "justified" that someone sides with her, agrees with her, or justifies her actions, but she looks like a desperate fool.  My point there was "don't be like her," not "you are like her." 

And I can understand your tendency to empathize with her, it shows that you want to see the good in people and that is admirable.  You look for a "deeper root cause" for her actions, and I appreciate that in you.  I wish she had friends like you, and like all the ladies on here, who have good intentions and enough wisdom to pass around the whole block.  All she has for support is her sisters, who for the most part are just like her in her malice and "get even" attitude (her other sisters haven't spoken to her in decades, for those very reasons).  Her sisters treat their DILs exactly the same way, and they are all in the same boat accordingly.  I'm absolutely positive, Kathleen, that you are correct in your assumption that she was maltreated somewhere along the line.  I know that her own MIL treated her badly, even hit her once.  Her husband is also a lay-down kinda guy who does whatever she says, I've witnessed her scream at him for nothing and he just hangs his head in shame instead of defending himself, so I pity him as well for reinforcing her behavior.  Her own son "swept it under the rug" until he realized that what she was doing to him was emotional and verbal abuse, and he did not want his daughter or wife exposed to that any longer. 

However, as adults, we can choose to either continue that cycle or break it, and we each have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and thus we cannot use prior "maltreatment" as justification for abuse and mistreatment of others, and I can not sympathize with those who do.  She chose to continue the cycle of abuse towards her son, and malice towards his wife, and for that she was discarded. 

All of that being said, Kathleen, I can tell you are hurt and angry over this entire situation.  It's a difficult one for sure         

Offline Pooh

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 07:24:50 AM »
And THIS, my friends is why I love this forum sooooo much.  We can see each other's sides, we can write things badly, we can take things badly, and yet still manage to hear each other and see where they are coming from.

Kathleen, I have tons of respect for you for taking the time to write out how those posts made you feel and not just say, "I'm done" with this forum.  Know I read your posts and take away very good advice from them and hope you stay.  And Scoop and Miss_Priss, tons of kudos for going back and seeing how your posts could be read two different ways and apologizing for how they were taken.  I love your insights and advice as well.

I just love you guys!!!!!!!   ;D
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

cremebrulee

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Re: Yesterday I Received Hate Mail and it Hurts
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2010, 07:38:24 AM »
I not only agree with you Pooh, but so admire you all....

in this forum, we are learning, even when we're not aware of it....

Bravo to you all!!!!!!  You make me very proud to be a part of this team.