7

I'm aware of this question but I think my situation is different.

I cut off contact with my parents 5 years ago after a physical confrontation with my father that continues to scare me. I ignored all communication from them and several years later, they stopped trying. I hope I never see him again.

But my mother is a good person and has always loved me. I'm not sure but I think she would want to get back in touch with me. And not talking to her and not knowing what has happened to her after all these years has made me incredibly sad and the burden continues to grow. To make things worse, I have a child that I know my mother would love.

I expect that my father would exploit any contact between my mother and me to force himself back into my life. If I get back in touch with my mother I would want to do my best to make sure he doesn't find me or think that I will talk to him. But he has probably lied to my mother about the incident to gain her sympathy so I'm not sure she would side with me to keep him at bay.

Assuming my mother is still alive and is receptive to being contacted, how should I do it? I know I would need to apologize but beyond that I'm lost.

  • Was there a specific thing that your confrontation with your father was about? – apaul Mar 1 '18 at 2:00
  • This sounds interesting but I suggest you concentrate on one question. And please highlight that single question. – user8838 Mar 1 '18 at 2:00
  • @apaul It had nothing to do with my mother and she wasn't there. – guest Mar 1 '18 at 2:02
  • It seems a big part of this problem is that you will possibly be in contact with your father again. What do you fear? If you want to see your mother it is likely that you will be directly or indirectly in contact with your father again. It seems you have to "solve" that problem first. – user8838 Mar 1 '18 at 2:03
  • Why did you cut off your mother for such a long time if you only have problems with your father? – user8838 Mar 1 '18 at 2:05
9

I will assume that you remember your parents' phone number, and that it hasn't changed.

Start with a phone call from a phone that's not associated with your name. If your father answers, hang up, note down the time of day (to avoid it in future), and wait at least a few days before trying again.

With this approach, you'll probably be successful sooner or later in speaking with your mother.

Identify yourself, and ask her how she is. Give her a short version of how you are. Keep it to about 10 minutes this first time. Tell her that it was great to talk with her. Be sincere but go easy on the drama.

Ask her if it would be all right to call again. Ask, "What are some good times to call, when you're on your own in the house?" If she presses you to talk to your father as well, explain briefly, e.g. "I wouldn't be comfortable interacting with Dad." Don't get into explanations in this first call.

Gradually, over a series of phone calls, you'll want to find out if there's a way to send a letter such that it won't be intercepted. Gradually, you'll want to evaluate how your mother is doing, in terms of health, well-being, and so on -- five years is a long time.

Wait until you feel you can trust her to be discreet before sharing your phone number with her.

@OldBunny2800: The goal of what I outlined is precisely to minimize the chances of father hearing/learning of the contact. There's no guarantee, of course.

  • Wouldn't it be easy for OP's father to hear/learn of the conversation between OP and their mother? – OldBunny2800 Jun 22 '18 at 3:56
1

After the apology, a good segue into explaining the reasoning behind occurred is that explaining that your contact with your mom cannot involve your father. This is obviously the most important thing to you when it comes to getting in touch with her, so this is what you should aim to clear the air about first. It'll both give you a chance to explain your side, and to gauge just how much misinformation your father fed her.

If you are worried about your father being able to be contact you after a phone call, there are services online you can use to mask your phone number with a 'fake' one, or *69 if you're in the United States. This way, you can retain control of when you're contacted.

-3

Assuming my mother is still alive and is receptive to being contacted, how should I do it? I know I would need to apologize but beyond that I'm lost.

This is awfully reminiscent of a problem I'm currently having, but with my father: I think he could be dead and nobody in my family bothered telling me. I hope that you aren't also insinuating something similar. That is, your mother has passed away, nobody told you, and so you never got to attend her funeral.

But my mother is a good person and has always loved me. I'm not sure but I think she would want to get back in touch with me.

You realise what you're saying? Because you've ignored your parents for 5 or so years, you've totally killed the maternal bond you have with your mother to the point that she wouldn't want to see you again before she dies. Even if she only loves you half as much as you think she does, I would say that she really misses you.

But he has probably lied to my mother about the incident to gain her sympathy so I'm not sure she would side with me to keep him at bay.

She might placate him just to keep the peace, but I bet she knows how much of a dick your father is.

If I get back in touch with my mother I would want to do my best to make sure he doesn't find me or think that I will talk to him.

More likely the latter. That is, that all is forgotten and you're all cool. This complicates matters a little because if you want a meaningful relationship with your mother, you will have to interact with him in some awkward way or "sneak around" to meet up.

To make things worse, I have a child that I know my mother would love. Assuming my mother is still alive and is receptive to being contacted, how should I do it? I know I would need to apologize but beyond that I'm lost.

If you're concerned that you're not going to be able to keep your emotions in check i.e. cry, then I would suggest a very brief letter.

Tell her that you have a kid now, and that being a parent to that child has brought back memories of your own childhood, which made you think of her. Tell her that you miss her and that you'd really like [Insert Child's Name] to meet grandma [Insert Mother's Name].

Include a photo of the kid, but only if you don't think she'll consider it a form of emotional blackmail, and include your phone number. Don't mention your dad.

I'm sure you have your reasons for wanting to apologise to her, but I think if you want to apologise, you should wait to see her in person to do that.

Best

  • Is the sentence after "You realize what you're saying?" meant to be rhetorical? If so maybe you could make that more obvious like quotation marks. – Em C Jun 22 '18 at 13:58

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