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Advice Me Pls

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LotusBlossom
LotusBlossom's picture
Advice Me Pls

Sooo, my PPs have some mental health issues and some are fairly severe, but they do the best they can and all do attend therapy.

There was one I was writing with, he got very angry with me when I got sick with a cold and didn't write back for a few days and he said some not so nice things to me, I told him that was really mean, and walked away because while I love my pals, I know enough to walk away from verbal abuse, it's not about me, it's about that person being angry.

He did apologize in another letter, gave me some space, sent another letter apologizing and him saying he really wanted to do better, he was so sorry he screwed up, I was still sore from his comments.  I forgot all about it and then got a letter today that was very chill, he just wanted me to know he thought about me and hoped one day I'll give our friendship a second chance.  It talked a lot about his hard work in therapy and I honestly am so freaking proud of my pen pals because there are so many people who bash the mentally ill/people with addiction issues, and often that's the very reason it lead to their imprisonment.

I decided to let bygones be bygones, we all say crappy things and we grow up and get over ourselves.  I support people 100% who deal with mental illness and addiction and want nothing more than to get better.  So I wrote him back and said not to worry about the past, and I'd like to be friends, I just don't want to talk to people who like to fight or guilt trip me because that's not my scene.

So, opinions or stories are welcome, anyone else ever give a PP a second chance after an incident ?

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hey Lotus, been there. And now, I must thank my dog who trained me on the whole concept of separation anxiety.

I’m in this for the long haul, and I’m not about to go riding off into the sunset on my buds if they’re having a bad day and throwing it my way. I’m not the type to get bent out of shape over that kind of thing anyway. They’re entitled to have a bad day about a gajillion times more than I ever will. Maybe I’ve lucked out, in that the friendships I’ve forged through letters, phone calls, and the rest, have such solid foundations that it would take an act of God to topple them. So, second chances, third, fourth, whatever… when the foundation is solid, none of that really matters to me. I get that they’re in a highly pressurized environment, so, I figure that blowing off a little steam kind of goes with the territory.

Re: addiction, my one friend gave me a graduate-level course in what that’s about, what that’s been like for him, a constant struggle that never goes away. I love this man like my own brother, and from that station, it hit home for me ferociously. I had no idea until someone I love, who happened to be in prison, told me what it was like. Holy fucking fuck!!! I am so freaking proud of him for conquering those demons every day!

One constant I’ve found, and maybe it takes a convict* to really show you this, is the concept of respect. I mean, we all get along like we’ve known each other all our lives, but in a blowing off steam moment, or any other moment for that matter, any words to me or back to me have never ventured into the land of disrespect. Not once. Not even a glimmer. But respect is a two-way street, right? And geez, I’m usually too busy reminding my buds of how awesome they are anyway. Battling demons every day? I honestly don’t know how I’d hold up doing that.

But you asked for advice. Here’s mine: Let them blow off some steam when needed, but don’t ever tolerate disrespect.

 

*convict not in the pejorative sense, but in the inmate vs. convict sense, where people who self-identify as convicts hold themselves to a higher standard.

LotusBlossom
LotusBlossom's picture

 

Thank you, Mr. Motorcycle, that made me feel a lot better and not so much like I was being too soft.  I honestly don't even remember what exactly was said at this point when it happened, so I'm glad my former PP reached out at just the right time, especially now I have lots of time to write !!

On a different PP topic, I just sent out a long letter to our mutual friend!  I worry about him with all this virus mess going around, but I sent him six letters filled with pages of all pictures last week lol, so he's going to be busy for awhile.  Thank heavens he actually gets them this time around !!!!  

Candela91
Candela91's picture

Hi Lotus & ST4 

This won't help with your question as I haven't experienced that yet. As you know I'm veryyy new to the PP world. I just wanted to say how grateful I am for your guys. I've learned so much from you guys lately! And you gave me a whole new perspective and way of looking at the relationships I'm building with my PP. I feel lucky to have you guys to guide me through and your PP's are Fortunate to have such great people supporting them!! <3

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hey Lotus, thank GOD! Our friend has been missing you! And I’ve been under a rock here lately, trying to fit a thirteen-week project into six (and coming on here to change gears apparently, but everyone needs a break, right?) So, something’s gotta give and I’ve been a rotten correspondent. I gave everyone a heads-up beforehand though. And now, with this COVID-19 lockdown thing, I’m putting some of it to use catching up with my buds :-)

Hey Candela, you bet! Back when I started doing this, I was the biggest lurker here. There really aren’t a whole lot of places to go and get a feel for what this whole prison pen pal thing is about, and I still learn new things on here all the time. I’m kind of set for now, not really looking to expand the number of folks I write to, but it’s hard to ignore all the new profiles rolling in like a flood, and all the people on the needs mail list. It’s such a huge unmet demand. If I can encourage someone like my pre-pen-pal self to jump on in ‘cause the water’s fine (but to be vigilant for sharks, of course) it would be an honor.

Now, to your point that our pen pals must be fortunate to have us, I really see it the other way around. These guys went from mysteries to treasured friends. I look forward to hearing from them like you have no idea!

mjuran
mjuran's picture

ST4s, 

"Let them blow off some steam when needed, but don’t ever tolerate disrespect." -- Amen, with bells on.

I've been in extremely verbally (and otherwise) abusive relationships with mentally ill and addicted people.  I can't say I know the answers there, but your advice is on the nose, I can testify to it.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

I'm into the process of doing that right now, i.e. rebuilding a relationship with a penpal. There's a difference with what you were saying, though, Lotus and that difference is that there were no mean things said (by no one), but he simply didn't write back. I wrote in a few times after that, but got no reply. Then I paused, as I didn't want to be intrusive or pushy, but I never forgot about him  & I always thought there must be sth. really wrong, because before it happened we both were quite regular writers (once or twice a month, as it came to happen). Him being in TX we can't phone, as TX doesn't allow international calls.

It was ST4s (yes, I will mention that and I don't wanna hear anything like "I didn't do anything"!) who made a call to the prison for me. They didn't tell him much, but obviously they informed my pp about the call, plus I sent a Jpay round the same time.

And this time my friend did reply, telling me a lot of personal stuff I didn't know. Coming from there, I could and can understand a lot better what was and is going on for him. Now he opened up in a way he never did before and I hope I can help and encourage him to get some of the help he needs (i.e. medication, i.e. therapy, i.e. just having someone who believes he will successfully go through it, etc.)

When I knew what was going on, it was no thing of "second chance" any more, it became "Oh, now I can see why you withdrew. Take a bit of a break in the shell if you need it, but I'm still there."

When he finally wrote to me, he said, he'd understand me being upset with him and asked me to forgive him for not writing. But when I had read the whole letter (that forgiveness request was quite at the beginning) there wasn't anything left to forgive, as there was no wrongdoing, but a guy who drew back because he thought he (or what he would#ve had to say had he been open) would've been "too much".

It's always worth to look at motivations, before closing the book on someone.

Jujay2014
Jujay2014's picture

I recently had a rough family situation and one of my pps who called me every day, up to 4 times a day, I told him I need space and time for my family in this moment as I can’t sit around and be with my family and chit chat on the phone with him. So he wrote me back, very understanding at first. Now that almost 2 weeks have passed I reached out to him, letting him know even though we weren’t talking on the phone or writing, I didn’t forget about him and I will be back talking to him soon. This was the response I received. I edited some parts of it.

Despite the contents of your last email I must say it's a relief to hear from you and know that you're doing fine. But as much of a relief it is to read your email, I can't say that I'm excited. Instead I'm flooded with uncertainty and a discomfort in my gut, I really don't know what to say or expect. 
Back when I first got your introduction email I sense that there was something genuine and heartfelt about you, so I was eager and confident in responding back. Then after our first phone conversation I said, "This is a woman I can actually be friends with". (Removed) I don't know what's your true definition or terminology of friendship, but it's definite one who feels a friendship/friend should be available only when it's convenient for them. Seriously  did you really think hard before coming into my life and establishing a friendship with me? I'm not someone that has a lot of time in here to be playing around and toying with people who are just thinking about a moment with me while I'm in here, when I'm in here planning for a life out there in hopes of having a friend to trust and share it with, being it's only months before I'll be out. You talk about going through things alone and not allowing someone to be there for you, but how about you being there for them... what about what is needed in you as a friend?  you're not the only one that's going through shit? Did you ever think of what I might need in a friend, rather than your own feelings? In case you haven't notice, . (removed).... sense of security and a home for the first time in 25yrs. That's just a few on top of the many problems I have and need to be concern about. So I don't know what you want from me or a friendship. You don't want nobody to share your problems with and that can be emotionally & mentally available to you, and than yet, you don't want to be emotionally & mentally available to me or anyone else, so I'm confused to what you're looking for and needing. I don't know how to be a part-time friend. I don't know if I can turn myself off & on to be mentally and emotionally available when it's convenient for you to even be that part-time friend. I'm looking for a full-time friendship with someone who allows us to be there for each other. . You really hurt me in your last email when you wouldn't allow me to be there for you, let someone in to feel and give you some emotional catering and attenti on sometime. (Removed). A true friend knows how to be available at all times, not some of the time. I can't keep being distant and hurt everytime you feel a friendship with me isn't necessary at a certain point or time in your life. I deserve better, and you should want better as well. I just can't be a half-ass at nothing I do... either I'm all in, or all out. And rightnow that's where I'm at with being friends. I'm sure you can piece together everything you need for you through all your other friends to make you feel secured and emotionally safe. (Removed)

I just received this yesterday and I’m hurt and upset. My response was that I’m still the only one who would decide which part of my life I share with whom and that if he can’t understand that, he can’t be a part of my life amongst other things. I can’t put my feelings on the back burner nor my family, he doesn’t understand that... well I wished him the best and removed him from my jpay. 

 

Jujay2014
Jujay2014's picture

I know this was about giving your pp a second chance but I’m pissed right now so I thought I share. Not really up for another turn at this time. 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

That's a classic of what can happen if two ppl need empathy at the same time and neither one can get it from the other.

Jujay.... I read sth. different out of what he wrote (or what you quote of it here). I'm not saying you should've reacted differently or he should have acted in a different way.

But if you're (now or later) willing to hear a different interpretation (it's not anything else than that, just a different angle of looking at it, no attack,no reproach) just let me know. If not, I'm ok with that, too.

Greetings from Bonn,

Kirsten

LotusBlossom
LotusBlossom's picture

Candela, I'm glad you enjoy our posts!  I've been at this for awhile now and I find I need help sometimes, the prison system is so complex, and people are even more so.  I'm glad you joined the forum and have been chiming in a lot, I look forward to hearing more of your experience and journey as a PP.

Kirsten, thank you for sharing your experience too.  It gives me some hope, not just with PPs, but with people in general that sometimes just seem to fall off the radar, that maybe I'll hear from them again one day, and that life doesn't have to be about slamming the door or cutting people out entirely over misunderstandings or hurtful comments, which I honestly think most people don't even mean.  They seem to be reacting from how they're feeling.

Jujay, it's understandable you're feeling hurt.  I see where that could come across accusatory and unfair towards you.  You are right, you have to take care of yourself and your family first.  And no one expects anyone to just get over that type of feeling right away.  The pen pal who reached out to me, we had stopped talking in Nov.  There are a few other PPs I've had it just didn't work out with, and the best thing to do was go find other PPs.  I appreciate this PP making an effort to sincerely apologize and go be the best version of himself.  I think you'll definitely make the right choices in this situation, or any PP situation no matter what they might be.  You're a smart cookie.
 

I think that time truly does heal.  I like forgiveness and I also want to do the right thing in this friendship and not carry a grudge and throw it back in his face, because I've had that done to me by people who are spiteful and angry "remember when you did this or that" types.  So I am determined to do round two the right way.  If he brings it up, still worried, I'll tell him I've forgotten all about it, and change the subject.

 

 

 

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hey Jujay, wow! For whatever it’s worth, one of my buds (who was down for over a decade) was at his most uncertain pinnacle, and at his emotionally neediest, in the months leading up to his release. Going from prisoner to citizen, from every moment of his life micromanaged to being self-reliant – it’s a sea change. But if you’re amid your own rough seas, even the Coast Guard doesn’t reach out to someone until the platform is solid. You do have to take care of yourself first.

Zero judgment here, and best wishes :-)

Viele Grüꞵe aus Amerika

Jujay2014
Jujay2014's picture

Kirsten I would love to hear your view on things. I know that when I get my feelings hurt my emotions cloud my judgment, so please I’m always open to hear another point of view. 

Lotus thank you dear

ST4s it made me smile that you wrote your greetings in German, thank you. I think sometimes I just need someone to push me off the im so mad wagon. 

 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Jujay, lass uns mailen oder telefonieren. Es ist einfacher.

Jujay, let's exchange an email or two or just talk over the phone. It's easier, then.

g e s p e n s t e r k n u d d e l n @ g m x . d e ( take out the spaces, of course)

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

P.S. Rather email, I'd not want to take more family time away than he did already, sorry for having been thoughtless ;-)

Jujay2014
Jujay2014's picture

Okay Kirsten ich schreibe dir. I will write you. 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Ja, Kirsten ist FAAAAbelhaft! And I only know enough German to be dangerous. Maybe you can ask her about the spätzle incident and have a good laugh at my expense ;-)

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

ST4s, I can only flatter you back! :-) And trust me, I could never laugh at your expense. Only with you. ;-) You've got a heart of gold yourself and what you did for me with that phone call (see post #7 in this thread) you aren't even slightly aware of. Things are really starting to change and only because you were able to do a call TX wouldn't allow me. 

Sometimes you just through a pebble into the river and don't know what the ripples might bring.

@Jujay: Ok, do. I'll respond when I get it.

@Chiaretta: Sorry, just found an older email of yours that went into my spam folder. *arrgh* Will repond to that one in a minute and update my address book.

Greetings from a sometimes pretty blunt, but otherwise (I hope) non-dangerous German ;-)

Kirsten

 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

throw I meant...hello autocorrect I really want the edit button back

Jujay2014
Jujay2014's picture

ST4s Only if you join the conversation. I bet it will be more fun that way : ) 

Kirsten the email is out