In laws/ Email

Ive wanted to write so many times, but I havent had internet at my house for weeks! Its so frustrating but here I am at the library.

And I’m 6 weeks pregnant 🙂

That time when I told Paul I wasnt, and he comforted me, and I was all sad….yeah, I actually was. It felt like normal PMS but I was wrong. Shocked actually. When I tested, the day my period was due, I wasnt expecting anything. And BAM! So it was just a few months of ups and downs this time with TTC and actually it happened on only my second cycle of actually having a chance. Other cycles before that we were "trying" but really we just werent preventing and never had sex around the right time. 2 cycles we did though, and on the 2nd cycle it worked!

Of course we are over the moon. Part of me expected it to happen this fast and part of me didnt. I wanted this, this is exactly what and when and how I wanted it. I am so blessed and overcome with gratitude. I believe that a positive attitude really makes everything fall into place, faith and trust, and hope, and love. And youll have what you want.

Im queasy right now and just spent the past 4 hours writing/typing for school and emails, etc, so i am all over the place and not thinking right now.

Just wrote a paper on candidiasis just to piss my professor off. Could have taken the mainstream approach but no, choose something "controversial" although it seems pretty fucking obvious to me.

Ive been writing back and forth with Paul’s brother regarding their parents. Brad and I see eye to eye on this whole mess, and paul doesnt get it at all. So im leaving Paul out and finding my own solutions. Here is the email he sent me:

So I spent a long while thinking about your situation there. Let me just tell you a couple of things I’ve learned along the way. Where should I start… So I went to CMU for a year or so after HS. A large part of the reason I left is that my parents were taking out loans in my name. I had no idea what was going on. All I know is that one day a financial aid person told me that I had taken out 6k for a parent plus loan. I talked with my dad about it. It was awful. It was last time I saw him get truly angry. He told me it was for them to pay for my housing, insurance, food, etc. and that I didn’t realize how much all that cost blah blah blah. At the time I wasn’t even living with them but he said they spend a lot on me that I didn’t know about. I said fine, I don’t want it anymore. Cut me out, just give me this money. He stormed off. I left really scared and confused. I also felt kinda bad for him. I was just some 19 year old who was giving him shit about his finances. I mean, looking back on those times it was just fucked in general. It’s really a giant blur. We were moving every year. From a trailer to a country house to some shack back to a trailer. I’m sure Paul has told you about this. No one lived with us. Just Paul and I. Sometimes my mom would stay there but she would just sleep on the couch. Paul was off hanging with friends. They tried to put me in charge of him. I always wonder if someday he’ll see the crazy things Lucy will do for attention and then consider that unconsciously that’s what he was doing. He wanted our parent’s attention whether he knew it or not and that’s why he pushed the limits as much as he could. That and no one ever stopped him. I would tell them that. They would say to me, when I was like 17, “what can we do with him?” Like I should fucking know. I was 17.

Anyway, after that parent plus loan thing I started to melt down and really get into drinking heavily. I knew that I had to get out of Mt. Pleasant because the shady shit would never end. So that’s when I went up to Northern. It was as far away as I could go but still pay in state tuition. So I took out a bunch of loans on my own and lived in the dorms and just started over. To this day my parents tell people that I “passed up free tuition”. It wasn’t free. But ever since then I never asked them for anything except for maybe $100 for an emergency here or there. I knew it always had strings attached. It’s shady as fuck but its classic poor people mentality. They look for opportunities to get a little cash wherever they can. turn tricks. And if you got a lot of nice shit they kinda hate on ya and think fuck you, you don’t need all of it. Gimme some. I tell people that I basically grew up in a poor black family. As soon as you get some nice stuff or try and do something good for yourself your mr. preppy-fancy-person.
Sorry, I’m venting, but I have a point coming somewhere… So basically as much as you can try and not be intertwined the better off you two will be. I really think (hope) that the last situation of them coming down was isolated to the fact that they stayed there so much. I think that if they had a place and you all went there to see them, even once a month, it would be way better on all of you. I know that can be a pain too but I think it would remove any possibility of them getting involved in your shit.
But so, I gotta say, the thing with you coming home after drinking and them giving you shit… I think that’s really stuck with you. And myself and Jen both were upset when we heard about it. It’s fucked. I’m sure you’ve seen how it operates right? My dad has control-issues. He has times to call my mom and if she doesn’t pick up he freaks out and acts like a child. Things like that. And I’m assuming that’s what happened with you and Marcia. They (he) couldn’t call you and then they just got childish and angry and said some real shitty stuff. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that and let me tell you what I would do… I would try and compartmentalize that situation and be as honest, yet bitter and shitty, as possible…
I told you I wouldn’t ask for an apology. I changed my mind. About three years ago when Anita and I were separated I was going to a therapist. A lot of what we talked about were my abandonment issues. She suggested that I talk with my parents about it. I actually memorized what I wanted to say. I told them:
I’m sure it’s hard to be a parent. You can’t do everything right. Leaving Paul and I in that trailer alone was a mistake. It fucked us up. And I’m not angry; I know you loved us and tried your best. But I want you to know that it’s something I’m still trying to deal with and understand why you did it.
My dad said it was for us. We wanted to stay in Mt. Pleasant and they wanted to be in Harrison. He said I was ungrateful. “Most parents would have just made their kids move.” I told him that in looking back, most parents would have been right. It would have been better to move than stay there alone. And I wasn’t mature enough to know that. We went around and around. I didn’t ask for an apology but all I wanted was an apology.  Not even for them doing it. Just an apology that it bothered me so much. It would have changed my world to hear that. But, without prompting my dad said, “I’m not going to apologize. I don’t see what the big deal is”.
As much as that sucked I guess I’m glad that I did

it. At least we all know what I think. So I suppose if you wanted to go down that road you should. They questioned your parenting and tried to control your behavior.  They made out like you needed their help and you do not. And what I mean about being bitter and shitty is this: next time they offer to watch Lucy “for you” I would just say, “No thanks. I’m not comfortable with that because of what happened last time.” Put it on them. I think it’s perfectly legitimate to being worried about them watching Lucy. Given what happened last time the rational decision would be for you to forgo any fun or relaxation and watch her yourself. Because if you don’t comply with their exact whims disaster ensues. And they aren’t babysitters. They are grandparents. If they are going to act like babysitters then when you come home give em $20. I guess those are the kind of things I would do hahaha.
Here is thing dude, you want a relationship with them. Not help. You don’t need their help and neither does Paul. The problem is that my parents, like most parents, ONLY know how to “help”. They don’t know how else to interact with their adult children. Ya know? They’ve been helping them their whole life and when the kids don’t need help they don’t really know what to say or do. And my parents, they love to be in position to “help” because it makes them look and feel better. Case in point: Marcia. So they want “help” with your child, your finances, your marriage, etc. Honestly I’m constantly struggling to have a relationship with my parents that doesn’t have any helping in it. The closest I’ve been with my parents since I was a child was my divorce because I needed “help” (i.e., someone to talk too).
In my opinion the other thing is getting Paul to realize no one saved him. He just feeds into their issues because to this day my parents still think they are “helping” him out. And if they dumped a bunch of money into him at some point for lawyers or whatever the fuck it wasn’t because they were doing him a huge favor. It’s because they worry that they are the ones that put him into those positions. You have no idea how much I’ve always wanted for he and I to just be able to complain about things without feeling guilty or him feeling the need to be defensive. I don’t want us to hate them or anything. I love them. I just wish he (we) could bask in his achievements and getting out of where we came from without giving the credit away. 
My parents won’t ever change. Could they change? Fuck yeah. But they won’t. They love not changing. They love saying “well this is just how I am” and they always will because it’s always easier to come up with an excuse or a reason than try something new. They just got a lot of issues. And the real shitty thing is that the issues that they know they have, the ones they will talk about, they aren’t even the real issues. The real ones are the ones we never talk about. The shitty marriage, the lack of parenting, the financial problems, the stealing and cheating. And that’s what makes it  so fucking hard to be around them. Knowing all of that is just out there and no one says a word. Drives Jen nuts when my mom talks about parts of my childhood. Oh shit, as a side story, my mom was here with Jen’s mom. My mom kept going on and on about how Jen’s mom needs to get some confidence and apply for job. And get back into the work force and get out of the house. Then later she starts going off on Anna for not having a job and stuff like that. Jen was losing it at night to me saying “why the fuck doesn’t she give this advice to your dad?!” HAHAHAH. Ugh. Yeah. It’s that shit that we just don’t talk about that makes it so hard.
Anyway, as lame as it is to end this long as email on a high note, they do love you both. But like most people from our family, they can talk a big game but don’t always know how to show it. You and Paul got a great thing going with each other. You are both some of the funnest people I know. As you get older and things keep getting better a lot of people are going to want get in on your good thing. I suppose the more you can just let people look at it from a distance, without letting them get in close enough to shake it up, the better off you’ll be. Okay, this got super long. I write for a living so yeah… sorry. okay. Talk to you later 🙂




Dont apologize that it was long- im so glad it was. I was hoping you would engage with me about this shit but scared you might not, and worried i might offend you by basically talking shit about your parents. Mine is probably about to get long too, sorry.
Some of what you said, "Paul probably told you about this" no. His perspective is very different. He agrees that living in the trailer was fucked up. He never really said you moved around a lot besides that. He always tells me that they really did let you guys live there FOR YOU, that he would have been so pissed if he was pulled from his highschool and moved someplace else, and he believes they did that because he wanted them to. He says it probably wasnt the right thing to do, but he knows why they did it. That pisses me off. He always thinks they did everything out of blind devotion to his needs. But even if that was true– your mom has told me many times that her FRIENDSHIP with you guys was so important to her, and she never wanted teenage brad or paul to "hate" her. And I think thats such a crock. Parents are not there to be your friend. You need a parent, to do the right thing, even when it will piss you off. paul was doing acid and obviously smokiing weed and stuff since he was 13. Your parents did nothign about it. He thinks they yelled at him and your dad "kicked his ass" and stuff…but im not seeing it. When i screwed up, my parents did whatever to fix it and stop me, even though i hated them at the time. And I did, but I know now they were doing the right thing, out of love. Not being a pussy and being afraid i might be mad at them. Im not saying my parents were perfect. Of course not!! When I first met your family, in those early years, I remember really enjoying the fact that we could talk to them openly about anything. With my family we never had those difficult convirsations that i needed as a teenager. I want to change that with Lucy. They were parents and NOT friends. Your parents have always felt like friends. As adults i think thats really good. For teenagers—thats bad. But now, I wish I never opened up as much as I have.
I couldnt agree more about your fancy-preppy person comment. All they ever talk about with regards to you, from the day I met them, is linked to class or wealth or money. The theme with their convirsations with us, regarding you, has been:
anita’s rich family, acting rich at your wedding, how poor you are while getting your doctorate and how rich you will be when you get it, how rich you are now that you got it and moved to indy, how nice and fancy pants your new place is, the nice TV they got you one year, money money money, how you are somthing apa

rt from them because your degree and status puts you above everyone else, and how on the other hand they are somehow a part of that status because you are theirs. Does that make sense? It drives me insane how fixated they are on wealth and status and money. They place all of their worth on money related things. They assign value to other people based on money. I love that saying about Poor being a state of mind, i cant remember how it goes, but I always think of them. They are chosing to be poor and acting like poor people. They could change their situation, but even Paul says they wont, but he applies a different set of rules onto his parents. Ive praised paul for getting control of his anxiety and changing his outlook, and i’ve brough up your dad doing the same. He always says that he is in his 60s and he cant change. WHAT?!?!?!?!? What a bunch of bullshit. He doesnt WANT to change. He didnt want to change even when he was younger and had 2 kids at home, like paul. It does make me mad. Your mom has made comments to us about jen’s family too. All she said was that they are severly poor and her mom doesnt work (cant remember about her dad). And she mentioned that stuff about getting confidence to find a job. I just wonder why your mom has had to continue working or doing thigns she doesnt want to do, when your dad hasnt worked for years. Lets be honest- why the fuck hasnt he worked for years?! Really- your job messed you up that bad? What a wimp, I think. You really let something like your JOB topple you? I am biased because paul is conquering that exact thing, and I am so proud of him. He is not letting his job ruin his life. His dad did though- how come Paul doesnt see that or care? I guess Paul lets the past be the past and takes personal responisbily for his own poor choices. hes never once blammed anyone but himself for his drug days. He says he just did it because it was fun and he wanted to party- that simple. I think everyone tries partying and drugs for that reason but you get deep into it only if there is something missing inside you. Normal people dont let themselves fall into the depths of hell, which is a self proclaimed place that paul was. He says that- he was in the depths of hell with a gun to his head many times and sleeping on floors with crack heads, of which he was one. I just dont see how a fun loving "im just here for the party" person does that, while his friends dont. Even fucked up Denny wouldnt smoke crack with him. And denny probably had a much worse childhood!
I digress. I worry about paul though. Because he doesnt see any of this and its hard to keep your parents from meddling in our lives when paul still has no barriers against them. Your dad text him last night even, and they talk about pauls issues at work. I kid you not- all your dad does is come up with "ideas" and "scenarios" he thinks are HELPING Paul, but all they are doing is instilling paranoia in him again. He told paul that seth was probably out to get him, etc etc etc. I have to talk Paul off a ledge every single time he gets off the phone with your dad. Paul says he helps him and they talk and work things out. "I talked to my dad today, he was really helpful". then he sits on the couch sweating telling me his new theory of how he is getting fucked over. JESUS. I told your mom this not to long ago actually. I told her that all gary does it make paul more paranoid, and they sit on the phone and theororize togethre and its not helping. She just laughed and didnt get it. Whatever. I told Paul he should cacoon himself and only talk to me about this shit, because no one else , ie your dad, is helping do anything but freak him out MORE.
When they were living here, its not like they were staying with us the whole time. Your mom stayed with us alone for 2 months. It got crazy right away. Then she got the trailer you stayed in at xmas. Your dad and marcia came down. They had their own place but it was still crazy. Your mom watched lucy for me so i could study every saturday. it wasnt like they watched her just that one night when marcia and i went out. We saw them nearly every day. They were completely intertwined in our life. Sorry im not doing spell check and there are typos. Anyway. Paul felt bad if we didnt see your mom regularly because he thought she was lonely (before your dad and marcia came down). Then he wanted to see your dad as often as possible to get father son time before they went back up north. We were with them constantly. It got ugly quickly . They made a lot of promises they didnt keep and there was a lot of back peddling.
There was the morning your mom flew our door open at 8:30am, completely uninvited and unannoucned, BAWLING HER EYES OUt, saying that marcia attemted to kill herself!
Omg- stop me now if you dont know that story. Maybe you know a VERSION of that story, but the truth is much different.
I’ll elaborate if need be, but marcia did not try to kill herself and your mom bold faced lied to us. it was the weirdest moment ever, second only to the day i got yelled at for doing what i was told to do (take marcia out).
Paul knew the whole time that she was just "exaggerating" and "being dramatic" and he said i was "feeding into it". But i couldnt imagine she was capable of that, and I really worried that marcia, who i care about, tried to kill herself. I was scared and i belived your mom. but it was all an act. I have no clue why they said that. marcia did have an anxiety attack the night before. She told them "You guys, i am having an anxiety attack" and it had the classical presenation. She wanted to be left alone. But of course your parents went crazy. Your mom lied about many of the details of the night. she also said that Marcia took a whole bottle of pills and drank a whole…something…of vodka. What pills? I dont know, because that was made up.
Thats when they asked me to take her out and talk to her, and help her. Then i got in trouble, that whole thing, which you know about. The part that hurt me is they accused me of running off with marcia and leaving my child with them. They said they thought i was driving her back to michigan and just leaving Lucy. They said ‘erin, we have LUCY here! come on!" FUCK YOU. I am still so mad about that. FUCK YOU. They stooped to the level of using Lucy to manipulate me or make me feel guilty. Lucy is mine, not theirs, and all trust is gone since that night.
That night brought me and Marcia closer though, because I saw first hand how crazy they could be and what Marcia was goign through. She started to tell me when they did weird things, because i encouraged her to, so that she wouldnt go crazy wondering if it was reality or not. A couple weeks later or something, your dad came home while your mom was at work. He sat Marcia down and told her he was hit by a car while walking in the park where they lived. He went in the ambulance but refused to go to the hospital because he didnt want Linda to find out. The ambulance cost 300.00, and would Marcia give him that money? He couldnt pay for it because Linda couldnt find out about the incident.
I mean thats just one weird thing that I started to hear about. Just one small one.
Paul and I are our 2 kids cant tolerate this kind of behaivor in our lives. I just will not have it. If they move down here again they will have their own place, of course, but they did last time too. We will see them less, and they will not be babysitting for me (except maybe Lucy alone, once in a while, for only like 2 hours tops, just to keep your mom off my back, but really i’d rather not. but paul says she is the best person with lucy and trusts her 100%. But even the little things—we tell her what to feed her, and she ignores our wishes and takes her for icecream and thinks its harmless, which is kind of is…but pissed paul off *more than me!*). They spent a lot of time alone in our apartment. now im freaked out about that, but the past is the past, and it wont happen again. I mean i’m even remembering now how your dad used our car, and the 20.00 bill we had in the visor was gone afterwards. I know he took it. DUH! I hate that so much.
Dude, you hit the nail on the head about having a relationship that doesnt involve helping. WOW. Bingo. Thats all ours is about too. They just sent paul a box full of fancy cameras. They are always trying to help or give. But it always backfires!
I still think that maybe they wont come down. I dont see your dad really comitting to it, and he wasnt happy here the first time. And i dont see how he could seporate himself from marcia, and marcia sure as hell isnt coming down again. That relationship is completely codependent. She is weak and allows all of it. and your dad especially, finds his purpose in helping her and keeping her down so that she always needs him. She is going to therapy now to help herself get out of this mess.
Thats a good idea about the babysitting, i should always expect and offer to pay them if they babysit. Maybe? I dont know. I want to keep our relationship more surface level. As long as it appears ok, and they can think everything is fine, but really its not deep or involved, then all is well, right? Its very easy to do that from Michigan/Florida. not so much when they are down here…because they would be comuing down here with the purpose of seeing Lucy more. But I wouldnt be allowing that as often as they would like. I just cant. And that would cause problems. if they ever wanted an explaination though, I could tell them. They wouldnt likely take responsibility for any of it, and we would get nowhere, and the relationship would no longer hold up on the surface, so that wouldnt go down well. But sometimes i rehearse in my head what i would say if I were to confront them. But there are too many things. Its complicated because I hold them responsible for the things I dont like about Paul too! LOLOLOL! I love Paul im not saying there are a lot of things I dont like about him….i mean his ‘issues" or the things I see in him that he got from his parents. Like when he talks about cheating, lying, stealing, manipulating to get his way….I have to remind him those are not things honest people do. I feel bad for him because he is a good person but he was raised to cheat the system as much as posssible, trust no one, assume everyone is out to get you, and "they are the the big man, we are nobody, they dont need the money, we deserve it, so its ok just to take it". He knows thats not right but its in the core of his being. Words like integrity are new to him since coming out of his upbringing i think. I fight for integrity at all times with the way we conduct our family. Doing the right thing, even if we dont benefit, is something paul needs to do to sort of heal his line of thinking, the line of thinking that his parents (i believe) still try to instill in him. everyone is out to get you! Watch your back! Do whatever you can to get what you want! find a loop hole! Lie if you have to! Ugh, how awful!
Ok im burnt out. I loved your email though and I will digest more of what you said. ~Erin


This is the majority of it I guess. I dont want them in my life but I have to have them. So I need to set boundries and limits but its so hard because they dont listen. They direguard and do whatever they want and feign innocense. They pretend they dont remember and act all nice. They MANIPULATE like the best of them, and i really think they dont even know they are doing it! I think they would never want to hurt their kids and their families– but they are, and they cant even help it. because thats just how theyve always conducted themselves and they dont know any other way.

So frustrating.


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April 22, 2013

congrats on the baby!

April 22, 2013

In laws, parents…#1 offenders of not respecting boundaries. Good luck! and congrats on the baby!

April 22, 2013

Congrats on the baby!! So happy for you guys 🙂 Wow… Your in laws sound like a new breed of crazy.

April 22, 2013

Congratulations on being pregnant. 🙂

April 25, 2013

YAAAYYYY!!! BABY! I’m so excited for you guys!! I (un)fortunately don’t have to deal with in laws because both Mike’s parents have passed away. It makes me terribly sad that Hampton will never be able to meet his grandparents on that side though.

April 26, 2013

RYN: I can handle my pic looking like Dr. House. Call me what you’d like just as long as it’s not late for dinner. 🙂

April 27, 2013

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think setting boundaries with all relatives are important. Finally, do not leave your children in any situation that you feel is not good. Who cares whose feelings that you hurt? Children need their parents to protect them from things.