The Upsetting Email
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 20, 2014
Continuing with Jorge, https://shirahvollmermd.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/the-lying-relative/ , he gets an email from one of his siblings who is one of the two executors of the estate. The executor/sibling expresses terrible disappointment in the lack of responsiveness from the “grandchildren” after having received funds from the estate. Apparently, there was an open request to send memories about their parents/grandparents, in order to make a book, but no one stepped up. Jorge’s brother tied the issue of receiving money with the unspoken mandate to exchange a tale. Jorge was cc’d on the email, making him “squirrelly” in that the email was addressed to his one adult son, who was perfectly capable of managing the email as he saw fit. On the other hand, Jorge explains to me, “my brother just disgusted me with that email. There should be no quid pro quo when it comes to an inheritance. However, I do know that money is really the religion in my family and it is used as a source of competition and control,” Jorge says as he begins to cry. “What’s going on?” I ask, not sure how his rage became sadness. “There is just no love in my family,” Jorge says. “If the grandchildren wanted to express themselves in writing that would be nice, but how can feelings be mandated to go public. Maybe some people want to keep their thoughts private? It is as if the money is payment for them to do a job, but of course that was never stated, so there is massive confusion, but clarity in the sense that the money must come with an exchange.” Jorge continues to cry. “What do I do? Do I write back and say this is not OK, or do I stay out of it?” Jorge asks, not really wanting my advice, but wanting me to understand that his family of origin just puts him in one bind after another. “There is an amazing lack of compassion in my family, and even though I have been on this planet for quite some time now, this always seems like new information to me. I guess I am in denial.” Jorge says, allowing me to sit back and watch him struggle with his defenses. “Yes, you keep hoping with each major family milestone that there will be love and peace and harmony, and with each marriage, each birth and each death, nothing changes.” I say, watching Jorge suffer disappointment after disappointment. “It is really hard to give up the notion that you got love as a child, that you were welcomed and wanted in this world.” I say, returning to the theme of our work, about how Jorge goes in and out of knowing that he grew up in an emotionally hostile and unloving household. Now, he has added on the feeling of “disgust” by this email. He hates to think of where he came from, but at the same time, it helps him to understand the battles he had to take to break out of the mold of his family. One email, one trigger, made for a very very bad day.