Let me tell you a cautionary tale folks. A tale of good intentions and seemingly eternal hope gone awry. A tale of parents who in choosing to protect one child put everyone else in their family and countless others in harm’s way.
I know of a man that regularly abuses his partner, sometimes in front of their minor children. This man has physically assaulted his father a couple of times, shoved his mother, and pretty brutally beat his brother (on Christmas Eve no less). He has verbally abused everyone in his life from parents to children. He has had a long-running struggle with chemical dependency and is now back to shooting meth. This man’s mood can change with the snap of your fingers from jovial to violently aggressive.
What would you do if this man was your son? If the children in the household were your grandchildren? If the brother that was beaten so severely was your other son? Would you call the police? Would you stage an intervention? Would you cut him out of your life? Or would you hope for change? How long would you hope for change? One year – five years – ten years?
It is a sad state of affairs when one of your children becomes a threat to everything else in your world. I imagine it isn’t easy to take action against your own child when you know that it may mean institutionalization or prison for him. But where do you draw the line?
I have considered this man to be a serious threat to my daughter and her family for a few years now. I have been privy to the patterns and practice of this man’s troubled existence. I have wrung my hands, paced the floors, cautioned Sarah endlessly, sought counsel from law enforcement friends, and spent sleepless nights worrying about how this man’s tortured existence would finally end. But always I have been begged by Sarah to keep my mouth shut because this man’s parents continued to do their level best to contain his messes and keep his behavior under wraps.
A few weeks back things got a whole lot worse. The man’s violent and erratic behavior started escalating. He made concerted efforts to remind Sarah and her family that he knew where they were and that he could get at them. He attacked his father again – verbally and physically. Despite the fact that this man is clearly a loaded gun ready to go off, his family still has not taken action to protect themselves or others from him.
But then this man made a critical misstep. He took some items out of Mike’s car at night while it sat in our driveway – silly, sentimental, but otherwise worthless, items – and put them in Sarah’s mailbox. I am unclear as to whether that action was intended to threaten me directly or to threaten Sarah by making her believe he can get to me. It really matters not who he was trying to threaten, the point is the threat was made.
That man probably should have thought twice about that, because I am not his mama and I have no compunction to protect him whatsoever. In fact, I think the kindest thing someone can do for him is to see that he gets the help he needs and that has to start with accountability for his actions. All the years of sweeping his behavior under the carpet has only made the situation worse. His current behavior is so out of control that it seems as if there is no other way for it all to end but badly.
Mike and I filed a police report about the theft and threat. It is time for this man’s erratic and threatening behavior to start being documented. It is time for someone to stand up and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
I don’t take kindly to threats and I take even less kindly to someone threatening my family. Apparently, this man thought that I would step in line with his family’s approach (that has been in place for about 20 years now). Not a chance. I would have shut down his behavior long ago if I was his mama – I would have never allowed him to do so much damage to himself and other people.
But I am not his mama – and that is the point. I am not keeping my mouth shut about his criminal behavior. The carpet has been picked up and all the crap that has been stored under there is finally going to get cleaned up. I will do for this man what his mama should have done long ago – I will hold him accountable.
Day one thousand five hundred and twenty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da