This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why does he do this? Edited

Bear asked me to forward a letter to a former behavior program teacher at the high school. I'm at a loss as to whether or not to send it since it's so full of lies and half-truths. I don't know if it's a good idea to perpetuate/ reinforce this stuff.

Dear Ms. D,

How are you do?  Well I moved to Ok after grad.  I don't know why I was so danm hard headed in school, I wish I would have listen to you and mr. p {another behavior program teacher}.  I'm sorry for being a pain to you guys.  Well, if mom hasn't told you guys Yet I'm in Jail in O.k  If you guys want you can write me and can you tell my teachers I said hi Please.  Will you tell some of my friends I'm In Jail and Im thinking about them and miss them and give them my address so they can write me Please.  {lists some kids names},  and the {mascot support team he was on}tell {kid name} and Mr. V {ag teacher} were I'm at and the address to here if they want to write me Please and thank you.  I'm going to bootcamp or prison  I think  I hope I don't have to but that's the worst if I do Bootcamp is 6 months {more like 18months}and if I go to the pin it will be a max of 1 to 5 years {more like up to 40].  But Im hopeing for perbation.  O right be for I left texas my ex told me she was pregnant with my son {total lie! I checked, the girl is NOT pregnant}.  All the years I said I wouldn't be like my bio dad and I'm Just like him in Jail I wont even be there when hes born but his name is going to be Dakota B M___{misspelling of the girl's last name}, the B is for B____ {Bear's middle name which was his last name before his adoption}.  I wish I could turn back time and have stayed in TX, But I was on drugs and wanted out so I moved and they followed me {not sure what he means by "they" - could be drugs, could be his issues - which we always warned him would follow him}.  Well I got a lot of tatoos know on my neck, Back, chest and arms. {No idea if this is true or not, he's told us he's gotten some}.  I hope to hear back from you soon.   Bear "B___ Our last name"  {I have no idea why he put his middle and last name in quotes!}

So what would you do?  Should I send the letter as is?  Should I attach a note including the facts?  Should I confront him on the discrepancies/lies first?

Edited to add:

Bear's done stuff like this before. CASA did a presentation to the church youth group, and he stood up and gave a testimonial about what it felt like to be a foster kid, and how grateful he was that he was adopted. He got a ton of back pats and attention, and they asked him to speak during the next presentation at the following service. I happened to be around and heard it. He rambled and lied. The CASA people asked him to give a presentation to their board (he never had a CASA rep, but was supposed to give them a look into the life of a foster child). He started trying to set up presentations with churches in the area, but I shut that down, because I didn't see it helping anyone, and it seemed to feed his issues.

Honestly, I think this current letter is because he's bored and lonely and wants someone to write to him (and accept his collect calls). He's totally RAD and not emotionally attached to any of the people mentioned so I don't think it's that he's wanting a real connection.

I think I've decided to confront him with the lies (knowing that he'll deny it), and let him know that I'm not comfortable forwarding a letter full of lies and half-truths. I can give him the option of rewriting it or sending it on with me providing the actual facts.  The reality is that some of his teachers have already allowed contact, even without all the sob stories.


Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

I say send it...they know him...if they or he writes back he will forget what he said in the first place...i doubt they will forward his address to any of the kids, i can't imagine their parents would appreciate them facilitating a relationship with some one in jail/ maybe soon to be, it is fairly harmless...i know it is hard but maybe it is time to let him deal with the consequences of being caught in (not very believable) lies with out mommy softening the blow...that is, if his teachers feel compelled to keep up communications with him. And if they do let him navigate that on his won....he needs lots of practice....and have some relief from his boredom....maybe???

marythemom said...

Sunday - my only concern is that no one ever questions his lies, or even if they do, they never call him on them, and that's what I'm afraid reinforces his issues and makes him worse. He's chosen some lies that pretty much no one will be able to catch him on (ex-girlfriend didn't go to his high school for one thing).

RADMomINohio said...

That is really a hard one. On one hand you don't want to feed into his lies and manipulation but then on the other hand he is lonely and bored. He needs aa "pen pal" who will be supportive but not buy into the sympathy route he is trying to play at. I agree, that won't help him.

Lisa said...

I wouldn't send it at all. You have no control over the things he tells others about his life/upbringing, etc. in general. You DO have control over perpetuating the lies he's asking you to pass on in this instance. If no one is calling him on the lies and just buying into the bull, it's feeding his illness. You may not be able to fix him, but you can choose not to participate in his lies by passing the note along. If it's important for him to contact these people, he can find another way that doesn't involve you being the middle man or requiring you having to explain away everything he's saying (odds are the people won't really believe you anyway - people tend to believe what they want based on their own life experiences). I have done this with my dd19 in the past and I just make it very clear that I love her, but I will not participate in any deception of ANYONE for ANY reason. He can take it any way he wants to.

r. said...

How about you just send him a sheet of paper demonstrating how to address a letter to the school? That way you don't have to worry about having a role in forwarding this type of stuff.

This is my take on the "call him on his lies" rationale: For it to really make a difference in his eyes, maybe the non-mom people have to be the ones calling him out on his lies. Otherwise it's just like everyone telling him he can join the military and mom telling him he's not eligible--you're the bad guy who's out to destroy his dreams and everyone else is right.

So consider the potential outcomes:

(a) You tell him you won't forward the letter because it has lies: Mom is the bad guy, no lesson really learned about lying

(b) You forward the letter, and nobody responds to it: Bear's not called out on his lies, but you're not the bad guy

(c) You forward the letter and the teachers ignore the lies because they know how he works but otherwise carry on some conversation: Bear's not called out on his lies, but you're not the bad guy and Bear at least gets to practice writing and gets something constructive to do while in jail

(d) You forward the letter and the teachers believe 100% of it and engage in correspondence. Yes, Bear's lying is rewarded but other than that, the lies aren't really harmful. It's not like the rewards he gets are huge. It's just that someone continues the conversation with Bear. And, of course, you don't have to be the bad guy.

(e) You forward the letter and the teachers do respond and ask if he was lying-- Bingo! Constructive stuff is done (yeah, we know, not a likely outcome)

(f) You forward the letter and the teachers ignore it. He's still not called out on his lies, but you're not the bad guy and really, is any harm done?

And of course, you could always forward the letter with a brief intro note stating in bullet points the things you don't believe are true.

My main point is this: Why the confrontation if you know from experience that Mom saying it doesn't mean anything to him anyway?

Miz Kizzle said...

I'd say send it without any corrections or comments.

LH said...

i would send it back to him with the address of the school and let him address and send it himself. I agree with r, this way you aren't the "bad guy". I also think if he is asking for probation he needs to be able to spell it but I am sure you have already deep sighed about that...

LH said...

Oh and Mary, I have read your blog for years and I have always wondered how you managed. You have done everything possible and more than many would have to make his life better. Unfortunately he is 18 and will need to learn this on his own. Hopefully he will receive the meds he needs soon. Go easy on yourself...