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How to get over this and move on?

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Opally
Opally's picture
How to get over this and move on?

*** I'm need to get this off my chest so I can feel better about my situation.

I found out two days ago that one of my two pen-pals was only interested in my money, and as soon as we finished talking about how odd it was that he expected me to send any, there hasn't been a reply since. I know I should feel happy that I'm not wasting any more time on someone that doesn't care about me as a person or pen-pal, but it kind of hurts knowing I was led on to believe he was a friend. Also, I did send him a birthday card, but he never even thanked me for it, so... ouch. His loss, right? I'm just mad at the fact that he has my number and my mailing address (since I usually stick with JPay)... lol. I'm trying not to blame myself, but since I didn't follow the whole "Tell them you aren't a bank!" advice, I feel like I'm at fault. It's as if my company wasn't good enough for him. You live and you learn, I guess. 

But how do I move on from feeling bad about the situation? Has anyone been through the abrupt ending of correspondence with no closure? Has anyone dealt with a pen-pal trying to use you for money?

Opally
Opally's picture

Also, I apologize if this is deemed too personal or dumb to even talk about. I trust everyone here enough to share my experience -- no matter how positive or negative it is. Obviously, I have to have thick skin to talk to inmates, but I'm definitely a softie at heart and care about the connections I create. And I know I have to realize that this will and can happen more than once.

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Not too personal. Not dumb at all. My favorite quote from Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, is this: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". And you, my dear, have lucked out, because it ain't 10,000, it's only one.

annemariehhh
annemariehhh's picture

Sigh..this does happen...despite some having their head stuck in the sand and ass in the air..and saying it doesn t...but just lately there has been a lot of cases/ evidence proving that it CAN happen...so I expect the arguers will STFU having been shot down in flames.......that said I can imagine it stings...but he's a douche..its not about YOUR company..being not enough or interesting or whatever...you just ended up with ONE of the bad apples...theres a facebook group trying to prevent and warn other women whenever an inmate like this pops up. Connect with someone else and chalk that asshole up to experience.

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

I’m so sorry this has happened to you! Definitely his loss! From what you’ve posted on this forum, you’re sweet and kind and smart and he doesn’t deserve you as a pen pal or friend. I think be grateful you for our if it early before he swindled even more out of you. You deserve so much better and even though it hurts now, you’ll be better of in the long run! Keep your head up xx

Opally
Opally's picture

Thanks, guys. I truly appreciate your kind words. :) I think I'm going to search for another person to write instead of wasting all my energy on thinking about him or this situation. Ughhh... it's so sad how people try to take advantage of others.

Northernyank
Northernyank's picture

You put your heart into this with him, so you have every right to feel hurt, don't beat yourself up over it. This isn't your fault in any way. It will take time, but you will get over the hurt and the loss of what you thought was genuine friendship. I had a pen-pal that I wrote to because I really liked the things he had to say, and how "genuine" I thought he was. From the first jpay I received from him, I could tell he wasn't the original author of it. That kind of bothered me, but I thought hey, what the heck, I'll stick around anyhow. He told me in order for him to be able to send me emails he would need a pre-paid. I didn't mind, but he let it slip once that he was using all of his stamps he purchased on "other" women. At that point we had been friends for a few months. That left a bad taste in my mouth, because why should I foot all the bills? This was not a romantic relationship, although he did try a couple of times to cross that line. 

He complained about not having money and not having food all the time. I remember him telling me about a fundraiser where he could get real burgers and fries for $18. Although he was hinting, I offered to treat him to it. Once I agreed, he told me he would actually need $36 because his state (Michigan) takes half of what comes in. I was annoyed, but let it go. 

I became his secretary as he would send me all the emails he received from WAP to make sure they were not catfishing him. I was shocked that almost all were. A couple were men pretending to be female, weird. Then he requested me to look up an old gf, I declined. He wasn't pleased. What did it for me is when he tried to get me into some sort of money scam, and I was like "nope, we're done here". 

I'm not going to say the friendship was all bad. I understood the place he was coming from, and the battles he had fought and will continue to have to. He could be really funny at times, but I looked at things like "it's just run it's course". Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever, sometimes a short time is just enough. 

Opally
Opally's picture

Wow, @Northern... that really helped more than you know. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that. It's so weird how he sent you WAP emails. I think I brushed a lot of things off when I shouldn't have, too. He seemed so genuine during the beginning and then he just got so lazy after his tablet supposedly broke -- and when I mentioned that, he tried to guilt trip me for it. And I still gave second chances. But, hey, everything happens for a reason, right? Things happen and, like you said, they run their course.

Northernyank
Northernyank's picture

@Opally take comfort in knowing you did all you could. 

ShadeyBiz89
ShadeyBiz89's picture

Opally, don't beat yourself up. This is a tough situation to be in, while I've never had anyone guilt trip me or use me regards to money, I know and can imagine it would hurt anyone to feel like they've been deceived in any way. Lies and manipulation period don't feel good to be on the receiving end of, so I can understand your position and honestly, you have every right to feel as you do.

He doesn't deserve you for one more second, people who take advantage of others don't deserve to have genuine people in their lives because all they will do is inflict pain on well intentioned people as a result of whatever's going on in their head and continue the vicious cycle. Just take the situation as it was, you've mentioned and are aware of things you could do better for next time, situations like this suck at the time but later are very beneficial as you move forward in your writing experience. As you said, find another person to write to, as much as there are people like him there are also people who will value you for who you are and not simply what you can give or do for them. I wish you luck and happiness in your writing experience! 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

This is a two edged sword, I think.

For one, I do not want to belittle your hurt or feelings and talk in favor of somebody I don't know, but... money and how to deal with sending or not sending it is an issue that almost always comes up at some time.

This does NOT mean that all inmates will ask you for it, three of the six guys I wrote or write to never did it to this day, but it will be mentioned one way or another by most, even if they're NOT giving any hints to you to send any.

The reasons why this is so, have been thoughtfully and eloquently explained today in the "A perspective" thread on the forum.

I did and do send money occassionally, but never big amounts, nor regularly. I did and do not want to create expectations or dependency. Nor do I have the means to sponsor 5 guys equally.

The only thing I can say is: Go with your gut feeling and be clear with (and about) your boundaries. And never give things you don't want to give or can't afford to lose.

Juventinean
Juventinean's picture

Hi Oppally...this is my first post on these forums in YEARS, but I've been through what you're going through, so I think this is a good topic for me to start posting again.

Just like other situations in life, there will be people who want to take advantage of you, and the pen-pal game is no different. It certainly doesn't make you an idiot, or gullable, or anything of the sort. It's also not your fault that you didn't include a long list of disclaimers when you first wrote to him.

You gave him genuine correspondance, which is more than most people are willing to do for an inmate, and he took it for granted and had a different agenda. It may feel crap for a little while, because you lost what you thought was a real friendship, but that feeling will go away quicker than you think...especially when you are reminded that there are people out there who truly appreciate your correspondance and reciprocate your kindness.

Hope you feel better soon :)

Opally
Opally's picture

I just wanted to thank you all for your wisdom. It really helps and has helped me think about things and learn to let things go instead of letting them hurt me more. I truly do appreciate all of the replies and I've actually moved on pretty fast because of them! So thank you again and I can't wait to find someone that actually appreciates my effort. :)

annemariehh
annemariehh's picture

You'll find someone worthy, who's happy for your company not your $$

rtaylor1012
rtaylor1012's picture

Hey! I remember reading this thread awhile back and @Opally your situation totally resonated with me! I (think?!) I might be going through a similar situation. Maybe. So I'm pretty new to this and have two penpals - one female and one male. (I'm female). I've sent both of them pictures of myself and just random bits and pieces from my life and they've both seemed to love receiving them. They've even sent me some pictures in return which I loved!! I've actually spoken to both of them over the phone and all of the conversations have been great. My trouble is with my male penpal. We've exchanched a handful of letters so far but the most recent one he seemed troubled. From what I could tell from his writing he was really down and talked about how he wished he could call me more but couldn't afford to. Then came more remarks like "I wish I could listen to music in here but I don't have the money for songs" or "my family only puts a certain amount of money on my account so I have to be careful where I spend it because it's never enough". In my previous letter to him I had said that I would try and send him some books via Amazon but never brought up anything else related to money other than that. He followed up with I was more than welcome to but he didn't want me to feel obligated to do anything. My question is....am I being set up here? I'm not looking for a relationship at all (he's aware of this) I'm just trying to be as supportive as I can as I know he's in a tough situation. We've only just started our friendship and I feel uncomforable even discussing money at this point although MAYBE I wouldn't be adverse to the idea of giving money in the future. Am I just being paranoid? I wrote him back and said I understood if he couldn't call or write as often as we'd like because I understand that's just the way it goes sometimes. I gues I'm just trying to figure out if this is some attempt at testing me to see what I'd say in regards to money or if he's just generally miserable because of the circumstances. Any thoughts??

rtaylor1012
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And @Opally, I totally agree with what everyone else had to say about your situation! They are right - go with your gut and it's their loss. I hope the new pals you've found are as awesome as you are !

Opally
Opally's picture

Hi @rtaylor! I’m so glad my thread could be of some use to you! From reading your dilemma and going through it myself, here’s my opinion. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a test, but the fact that he’s saying it multiple times and saying various “I wish...” could mean he’s looking to get money out of you. I think you posting this and questioning it really tells you how you should go about things, but I say to tread lightly. Don’t send any money. Just let him know you won’t be able to help out money-wise, and if he continues to hint or ask, you have your answer right there. If he lets it go, he’s probably just miserable about the circumstances he’s in. Do you guys get along and talk about anything other than money or is it always leading to money? Trust your gut!

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hi @rtaylor! I've been there too, getting those "I wish..." comments. I'd expect it happens a lot. I take them at face value though, as opposed to them being a setup. For example, I could write back, "I wish a Ferrari landed in my driveway with a big, red bow around it," or "I wish I had a __________(insert your own object of desire here)." These are just wishes though. We all have to live in our respective realities. It's a budgeting thing, wants vs. needs. How did the Rolling Stones put it..."You can't always get what you want..." But it doesn't mean we can't dream, and dreams don't cost a thing.

Now, I don't know your pen pal at all but I grasp his situation. It's probably a universal desire: getting one's head out of prison. I'm certain your phone calls do that, and music would too, but I think you're onto something with the books. You can usher him out of there on a journey to somewhere fantastic, and if you're so inclined, I'm sure amazon will help you do just that.

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

Just wanted to say +1 to everything @ST4s said 

rtaylor1012
rtaylor1012's picture

Thank you guys for responding!

@Opally - I think you're exactly right about trusting my gut and the part about saying it multiple times. We get along super well- other than the few instances he's been subtly bringing up the money thing. I trust somebody with the experience you do! I did send out a response and in it I just didn't even mention anything related to gifts or finances. I just tried to continue writing the letter as I normally would - in a friendly, constructive and positive way. You're right: If it comes into conversation again then I'll have my answer!

@ST4s  - Thank you sooo much for putting my mind at ease with taking them at face value as opposed to a setup. Your Ferrari comment had me laughing. So the most recent letter I was talking about also happened to be the most serious set of writing I've received so far. I don't want to betray the trust there (for obvious reasons) but many past traumas were brought up and he seemed just very depressed which has been unlike the previous letters. I feel very grateful that he shared some of his story with me and honored that he felt like I was in a position to be able to hear about things that must be so painful to even talk about. I'm going to choose to believe that the floodgates must have opened and allll of the feelings came out at once which is why he brought up the money thing. Regardless I think I'm going to send him some books to try and lift his spirits! I want to believe the best in him (staying positive seems to be key with these sort of relationships) and I think I'll just continue to write unless I'm proven wrong!

@Cleo - *hugs* !

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hi again @rtaylor - glad to hear it! And you bet! We're all just here to help each other figure this stuff out.

Re: floodgates and feelings and trauma and books, I have a book recommendation for you to send to your pen pal...maybe. You'll have to read the synopsis and reviews and see if they apply. I wish I remembered where I heard about this (probably here or PrisonTalk), and should probably get a copy to read myself, but anyway...

In the case of one pen pal, who experienced unthinkable trauma as a child, and then a revolving door of addiction, criminal behavior, and prison, I sent this book and he said it literally changed his view of himself and his life, which is about as profound an endorsement as you can get: Houses of Healing: A Prisoner's Guide to Inner Power and Freedom by Robin Casarjian. One review I read somewhere, by an inmate or an ex-con, went something like this: if he were stranded on a desert island and could only have five things, this book would be one of them.

@all - has anyone read this?

Opally
Opally's picture

I haven't read it, @ST4s, but I think I might. It sounds like a good read from the few pages the Amazon preview gave. Thank you for the recommendation! I'm putting it on my to-read list right now.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Yes, me. I actually talked about it with one of mmy pps and I got a copy of it here and it might as well be you read my recommendation of it, though, of course, there may be one one prison talk as well. Being no member there, I wouldn't know about it. 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Aha! It had to have been you, @Kirsten. And thus, you've changed the life of someone you haven't even met.

Why does this not surprise me. Dankeschön!

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

I had previously (before houses of healing) stumbled on a book on forgiveness by the same author. Since she had been a victim herself (of rape, if I remember correctly) what she had to say about forgiveness and how she later founded "Lionheart" which also led her to work with inmates (among other groups of population) inspired me deeply, so I was curious about her work.

And one of my pps is dealing with a subject she vividly describes in one the "house of healing" chapters. Therefore, I sent him the book and we talked about it and we both (me too) did some of the exercises mentioned and talked about the effects. That's how it happened.

Besides, @ST4s, we all change lives of ppl we haven't met and let our lives be changed and inspired by them as well.

You don't happen to be from Seattle, do ya? I recently read about an architect in Seattle and what he's doing about facing homelessness. I don't think necessarily it was you, but since you once told about being an architect, it made me think of you. I think if you type "Seattle" and "facing homelessness" you might find sth. about him. To me he was an inspiration; but for the sake of my Mom I can't remember his name atm. I'm no good at building homes/houses, but you are, so maybe you'll understand what he's doing on a practical level much better than I do.

You're welcome, being a lighthouse yourself.