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Bug

What would you do?

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My ex-wife had an ex-husband who was very strange the first time I met him.

They had a son.

When Ex-husband ran out of money,and couldn't get a job, he lost his apt, truck and freaked out. The stress triggered a semi-latent schitzophrenia and he started hearing the voices of "five evil demons telling him to kill his son".

We filed a restraning order and I served it to him in a soup kitchen (awkward, painful, now 10 years ago).

Ex-Husband falls off the face of the earth. I saw him now and then but his own son has now gone 7 years without seeing him or hearing from him in any way.

Yesterday was my birthday and I was in a happy mood as I kissed my girls goodbye and left for work. As I pulled out of my driveway, there was ex-husband pulling in next door. It takes me a few minutes to process. I go back to say "Hi" and see if he is looking for me/a danger to my daughters. It quickly becomes clear he has no idea I live nearby and he even cheerfully asks how "my wife" is. That would be his ex-wife. He does not ask about his son. I ask if he wants to get together for coffeee that night. He agrees to meet. I know the chances are slim to one but.... this is where you come in. I call ex-wife and tell her about the meeting and appointment so that she can arrange to have her son meet his father (son is now 22). Father never shows. Son is sad. We talk about the effects of mental illness etc but I do not think it registered.

Appropriate? Would you have arranged this meeting? Stay out?

Discuss.

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I think you're lucky the father never showed. They both have to be willing participants in the reunion. It's going to be stressful and springing it on both parties like that would have had a completely unpredictable outcome.

 

My oldest sister was put up for adoption before I was born. I didn't meet her or even know of her until I was in my late 20's. The adoption service has a reuniting service and they refuse to give out any information until both parties have applied to find the other. I have an older brother out there somewhere...

 

Given the father's mental condition I would say this should best be done under some professional supervision.

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Thanks, being a paranoid schizophrennic, he would not participate in anything too organized. So sticking to professional avenues means son never seeing father again.

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Why did he show up next door to your house? Is he living there?

He had some kind of temp job near there.

Thanks, that reminds me to look where he said he was going to.

 

But here I am again. Do I push this?

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What is the benefit of reuniting them?

 

What is the best/worst case scenario? Which is more likely?

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What is the benefit of reuniting them?

 

What is the best/worst case scenario? Which is more likely?

Benefit; Son (now adult) sees father and gets to see how mentally deficient he has become thereby alleviating the feelings of abandonment. Perhaps he would even have pity rather than anger.

Worst case: Son does not recognize mental deficiencies and retains or re-enforces bad feelings.

 

Bear in mind that the voices from ten years ago were products of stress which induced the episode. He has since been homeless, living in his van realatively stress free. No bills, no responsibilities other than the occasional day job to cover gas and food. He is also vaguely aware that his circumstances are not "cool" and does not want to be seen by his brother, sister, etc. I suspect that he would react to his adult son similarly.

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Wow - what a situation. I really commend you for trying to do something - shows a lot of compassion on your part. My dad was kind of a fuck up and was out of my life for many years, but not because of mental illness - he was just a too-young father who was an idiot/musician. It took me a long time to want to see my dad when he eventually realized the error of his ways and sought a relationship with me. So I would ask the son if he wants that or not. If he wants a relationship, then yeah, I think you could help try to set up another meeting. The son may not be ready for it, though, and may just have to be angry/feel the sting of abandonment for a while... I was about 28 when I finally wanted to begin to have a relationship with my dad after not having much contact at all since the age of 5. And, amazingly, we're really close now.

 

As for the dad just coincidentally being in the neighborhood - weird - I'd check that out for sure.

 

Good luck! I think you're doing the right thing by caring enough to try and explore the issue.

 

 

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From Bug's OP, sounds like the son wants to see his dad (Bug sez: "Father never shows. Son is sad.").

 

So it seems the kid is ready, but it sounds like Dad is not. At the very least, he sounds like he'd be embarrassed to meet Son now (Dad believes/recognizes his predicament is not "cool" to his own siblings, so he's likely to believe/recognize it's not "cool" with Son, as well).

No sense forcing more embarrassment on the old man. Just might tip him out of his chair.

 

I wouldn't push it, but kudos for getting involved, Keith.

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Thanks for the feedback.

I guess I don't give the dad's wants/needs much thought.

I kind of think of him as dead.

It is so sad to see his body and think about what good things good people have to say about him when he was healthy.

Now I am just trying to salvage as much of the son's childhood as possible.

But I am a debutante and should back off.

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...I guess I don't give the dad's wants/needs much thought. I kind of think of him as dead...

Well, he's still 50% of the equation. Can't write him off, even though he wrote himself off.

 

But I am a debutante and should back off.

At least you had the empathy to get involved in the first place. That's a plus in my book. :tup:

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Thanks for the feedback.

I guess I don't give the dad's wants/needs much thought.

I kind of think of him as dead.

It is so sad to see his body and think about what good things good people have to say about him when he was healthy.

Now I am just trying to salvage as much of the son's childhood as possible.

But I am a debutante and should back off.

 

The son is lucky to have you around - a father figure is a great thing for a kid w/o the real deal available to him. I know I really valued having an involved step-dad in lieu of the real deal.

 

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...I guess I don't give the dad's wants/needs much thought. I kind of think of him as dead...

Well, he's still 50% of the equation. Can't write him off, even though he wrote himself off.

Yes and no on both counts. He did not chose to be the way he is any more than an alzheinmers victim choses that kind of brain mallady. And as such, I think you have to weigh

1. What he would have wanted for his son when he was a healthy dad.

2. How much it will hurt or hinder him to be "used" now vs how much it might help his son.

 

But I am a debutante and should back off.

At least you had the empathy to get involved in the first place. That's a plus in my book. :tup:

Thank you for your responses.

It is good to have a sounding board.

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BTW, Keith...

 

I didn't see a thread about it, so...

 

Happy Belated Birthday (for yesterday).

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Ah yes.

 

I got a BD Gadget headlamp and a pair of Sabertooths.

 

Thanks!

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Thanks Kev. He has been actively looking for him for 7 years.

The father's family has even hired a PI to find him. No deal.

He hides well. He is paranoid.

 

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The desire for a "relationship" seems dangerous to me. I understand a kid/young adult wanting to know about a missing parent, but a potential meeting might be more about closure than the start of a new relationship. If there's a expectation that a meeting might turn into a relationship, then disappointment may very well follow, particularly with mental illness in the mix. I can't speak for others, but I know that my understanding of metal illness (and human psychology in general ) was very limited when I was in my early 20s, and I probably wouldn't not have really understood the situation.

 

I've dealt with a similar issue and am OK with the outcome. I was adopted at birth and finally met my birth mother a few years ago when I was in my early 40s. I flew down to CA and met her in a hotel lobby (she was paranoid, due to emerging dementia, and wanted to meet in a public place - probably not a bad idea). We had a great conversation for about an hour, filled in a lot of details, then parted. I haven't seen or heard from her since, even though I've send xmas cards and followed-up on my offer to set up a meeting with her grandson. I think the dementia has probably progressed now to the point where she wouldn't know me anyway at this point. The point about all this is that I did not expect to get a second mom or establish a close relationship, and obviously neither did she. If I had built a lot of expectations on this, I would have had a hard time with the outcome. However, I'm really glad I had a chance to meet her and get a feel for who she is and what her circumstances were when she put me up for adoption. I also gained a lot of insight into what parts of me are nature versus nurture, but that's another topic. That meeting was the closure part of it for me.

 

That might apply in this case too.

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Appropriate? Would you have arranged this meeting? Stay out?

 

You thought this meeting was appropriate at the time of organizing it. Why would you ever have a motivation to do something wrong? I think your motivations are comendable.

 

Good for you for trying.

 

You are appearing as a father figure for the son that is not yours. Great for you! As you know with your children, you must teach them some of the pitfalls of life--and as such you must teach the same lessons to the "son" who is looking up to you.

 

IMO, parenthood never ends no matter what age your children or you are at.

 

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So if the dad is working nearby, and he hasn't seen his son for years, there is no way Dad is gonna recognize kid.

 

Send the son by at a distance to scout things out. Eg. if the father is parking van and walking from van to work, son could be walking the dog down the street or whatever, and "coincidentally" by his dad (who won't recognize him).

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Dad has not been seen again since that one chance meeting.

And yes, he would not recognize his son.

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