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This is a question The passive-aggressive guilt trip

My mother is an expert in the guilt-trip. Last week she phoned to say "Happy Birthday" and, after a 10 minute conversation, finished with, "Well, I hope you have a nicer time than I did on the day you were born."

She also stated that she was going to kill herself when she reached 65. On Christmas Day morning. Having rung up to see if there was anything she could bring for lunch.

I think it's just a mother thing, but how good are your relatives and friends at the passive-aggessive?

(, Thu 13 Oct 2005, 9:52)
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Fathers... I think they can mess you up
My Dad was first class at the guilt trip thing. He'd cheerfully leave me with strangers I'd never met, to be bullied, harassed and terrorised once he'd left for a six month jaunt as a holiday rep. Eventually I persuaded my nan to take custody of me, got it all through the courts, and told him. Was 11 at the time.

In spite of this...

At 18 my nan died. Thankfully I'd just got my first job so I soon had a paycheck. Dad left it up to me to deal with the funeral arrangements and so on, and two days before the funeral of his mother he buggered off on his annual jaunt to South America.

Still, I just carried on. The good old National Abbey (name made into a tough anagram to protect the innocent) cheerfully refused to let me buy the house my nan had lived in, so it got repossesed and they could make a huge profit on selling it on.

At this point, I'd scraped together what I could and bought a flat. And a car, because I needed it for work. I was, quite frankly, skint.

Now, sorry for all the pre-amble, but it's important to set the scene as to what a cunt my father could be.

A few months into my new flat I was getting by ok. Then it started. I got a letter. He'd been robbed in Ecuador (IIRC) and needed money to get by. About £1500 was needed RIGHT AWAY or he'd be in deep trouble. This was 1988, I was 19 then, and so it was quite a lot of money for me. So right away I telexed over what I could manage - about £100.

So the guilt trips, mostly by post, then started. Often written on scraps of mismatching paper.

"Is that all you could send me son? Don't you know you're the most important to me... the only one of my children who talks to me. It's very lonely being out here, all alone. No, I didn't take out travel insurance, it's too expensive. You need to help me son."

I had another £50. Sent that. I was trying to arrange a loan, but that was taking time as my credit rating was shot to hell by all the money I'd had to borrow anyway.

Next letter was along the lines of:

"Son, you're my only hope. The latest money you sent is barely enough to keep me alive. Every day I check to see if something's arrived, but I see nothing. I tell me friends here what a wonderful son you are, that you'll come through for me. But when they see I've yet to get any help from you they just shake their heads and tell me all kids are the same - they don't care about their parents. But son, I know you're different."

Bollocks. Thing is, I fucking hated him at the time. I knew what he was doing, but I wanted to help. I sent another little bit along, in spite of realising that he'd always been exceptionally vague about what he actually did in South America.

"Son, I'm really struggling now. I'm ill and really need more money in order to pay for health care. My sight has been failing me. I'm working illegally now with a travelling circus so it's very difficult for me to know what to do. I'll be at this phone number on the nth."

Panicking now about his health problems I started doing all sorts of things to try and solve his problem. I was severely bollocked for ringing Ecuador from work, but thankfully the boss started giving me contacts in the foreign office. The £600 loan came through, so I sent that off.

After a couple of days I'd got an agreement to get him flown home, paid for by the foreign office (as a loan to him, but with open-ended repayment terms), due to his ill health. I rang him with the good news.

To which point he asked me why he should come back to the UK where he'd still be ill, poor and no better off. He then said "And you've only sent me £600! What use is that? I told you I needed £1500! Don't you have a good job? Have you just pissed away your money?!"

That's when I gave up, silently hung up on the ungrateful bastard, and haven't spoken to him since. I had to sell the flat anyway coz I was skint, the car had to go and be replaced by a banger, and so on.

I'm going to Peru soon for a wedding. If I bump into him I'll forgive him for being a twat. But if he ever asks me for anything, ever, I'll want to kill him. Of course instead I'll probably just feel horribly guilty and cry myself to sleep - my heart keeps being convinced that I was a horrible and cold person for giving up on him, while my head keeps saying I was doing the right thing.

Length?! I could write a book about the guy.
(, Tue 18 Oct 2005, 19:56, Reply)

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