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Unread 02-18-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Question My mom has lied to me my whole life

This is sorta complicated, so bear with me. When I was a teenager and went to apply for my driver's license, I realized that the last name on my birth certificate was different than the last name on my social security card. Obviously, this was quite a surprise. My father died when I was 2 years old, so my mother explained this by saying that the hospital had mistakenly put her maiden name as my last name (when this happened she claimed this was the first time she's even realized that my last name on the birth cert was not correct...). I'm sure you've already noticed a contradiction: if she didn't know the name was different until that day, how did she know the hospital made a mistake? Anyhow, I digress...The license place said they had to use the name on my birth certificate, so at the age of 17 my last name suddenly changed. The license place suggested from then on I hyphenate my last name to show both names that way I wouldn't have issues with registering for college and all the billion other things you have to do with both your birth certificate, social security number and your driver's license as proof of identity. Anyhow, I just accepted what my mom said, or really, I just let it go. It has bothered me greatly, but since my father had died so long ago, it wasn't like I could get him to have my certificate changed.

Fast forward to today. I finally went to the social security office to get a new card with the corrected name because I need to put my name on my husband's checking and they wouldn't accept the two different names...anyhow. I give the lady my stuff and explain that I need to change the name to the name I've gone by since 17. She asks me what my father's name was and I tell her Joe Smith (or whatever) and she goes "OH". And of course I was like "what"? And she says, "well it shows here than in 1976 (when I was nearly 1 year old) that your last name was changed by your mother". Which this is clearly surprising to me since she claimed to have never realized the mistake until after my father died. So, I said, what name did it used to have and she told me that it was my mom's maiden name (I'll use Jones for the sake of little story and I'll use Smith as my dad's last name). So apparently when I was born my social security card was issued with my mom's maiden name (just as my birth certificate indicated), but in 1976 she went to the office and had it changed. She changed my last name on the card to Smith from Jones. At the same time, she also changed who was identified as my FATHER. Originally it was a totally different name (I'll say it was James A. Brown). So I ask the lady if I could have a copy of this information and she said she wasn't allowed to tell me (at this point she hadn't told me the original father's name). So I spent about an hour chit chatting and getting friendly with her in an attempt to get her to tell me what my REAL FATHER'S NAME WAS. When I got all done with changing my social security card I had to sign some forms and she passes me this piece of paper and says, "I cannot let you have this, but if you wrote down the name there's nothing I can do about it." So I see that my real father's name is James A. Brown.

I proceed to walk outside, sit in my car and cry hysterically. I've gone my entire life without a father. The man I thought was my father died in a motor cycle wreck when I was only 2 years old. At several points in my life I have attempted to question my mom about the person I thought was my father but she has never really told me much of anything about him. Then about 3 years ago I happened to find that my mother and my supposed father weren't married until about a year after I was born. When I found this out, I asked my mom how this was (she had always told me she was married before I was born) and she SWEARS that she cannot remember and she's certain she was married before I was born and she has NO IDEA how they could be showing a different marriage date. So, I guess I've always wondered.

Anyway, I called her this afternoon to confront her with all of this stuff and she initially acted like I was telling her I had 2 heads and kept swearing she had no clue what I was talking about and said she never hear of James A. Brown and the SS office must have made a mistake. I pointed out all of the things I have outlined above and she started sounding really hysterical and kept repeating that "Joe Smith is your father" "Joe Smith is your father"...over and over. Again I tried to ask how this other name is recorded as my father and she says "That name should have never been on there!" So voila! She has revealed she DOES know James A. Brown and I ask who he is and she says its none of my damn business. Of course, I tell her it is my business and it ends up with her screaming at me and hanging up the phone.

So here I sit. 33 years old and find out today that the person I believed to be my father is in all probability not my father and that my actual father is alive somewhere. I've lived my entire life without a father and she refuses to tell me anything. What would you do? She is not going to give me more information, but I do know that a few other people may know (my ex-step dad for one). I need to know the truth. How should I go about this? Do you think there is anyway to compel her to tell me?

I'm seriously on the verge of a nervous break-down. Aside from my brother dying, this is the worse pull the carpet out from under my feet situation that has ever happened to me. I don't know how to function. I don't know what to do.
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Unread 02-18-2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

You might be able to get the information you need from Latter Day Saints Family History Library. I doubt if you will get the information from your mother.
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Unread 02-18-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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Heart Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

Wow! That truly must feel like not only the rug has been pulled from underneath you, the very Earth!!!!

I would hold fast to the truths that ARE still truths in your life- it sounds like you have a family of your OWN at least a husband of your own- is he a comfort in the midst of all this?

You are still YOU and a very special You at that.

Others can have ideas on how to get the info you need...but I wanted to extend EMOTIONAL support to you
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Unread 02-18-2009, 04:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

We are only as sick as our secrets...

I am sorry perpetuallysad...that is hard....I had a similar situation in my life..right befor my Mom passed away she shared that I had a sister I never knew I had...She had an affair and gave the baby up to keep me...we all lived under the threat(darkness) of this secret....

I would wait a few days...and then ask her again,,explaining the need for you to know your genetic history..to be aware of any and all health issues you might face in your or your childrens life...It is you right to know...

It would be hard for her to keep this secret buried when facing issues relative to your or her grandchildrens future...

Again,,,I'm sorry...but this is not a problem without a solution...but one you might have to work for..

With Care,

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Unread 02-19-2009, 12:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

Thanks everyone for responding to me. Coincidentally and quite luckily, I had an appointment already scheduled with my psychiatrist for today, so it was helpful to go and be able to talk with him about all of this. That's not to say I'm all better or anything, but at least I am able to accept him as an authority and it helps me to allow myself to be angry at my mom. My mother has continuously done extremely damaging and painful things to me and my siblings my entire life and I still cling anxiously for approval I will never get from her. I guess if nothing else, I have finally gained the incentive to cut her out, like I have needed to do for a very, very long time.

To give an idea of how she is and how she reacted to me finding this information, I'll paste the email she sent me this morning.

Quote:
[perpetuallysad],
[Mr. Jones] is your biological father. I don't know how that other name got on the birth certificate. I did not in 1976 get one with his name on it. I am not sure how that happened.
I will tell you this, your behavior yesterday on the phone was unacceptable. I answered the phone and you started screaming. You had taken a molehill and made a mountain, again. And you did it in front of [my son's name]. how dare you?
he is not your psychiatrist, nor is he someone you are supposed to tell your problems to, he is a CHILD, you are supposed to protect him to the best of your ability and give him the best life possible, not dump on him.
if you or [my sister's name] ask me one more time, or if you keep looking into this person and i find out, i will walk away and never speak to you, [my sister's name], [my brother's name], or any of the grandchildren again. I am dead serious about this. so remember that your actions [perpetuallysad] have far reaching consequences
do you want all of you cut out of my life just so you can go through one of your little dramas?
this is the way it is going to be, so put on your big girl panties and deal with it.
This is the email verbatim with the exception of my family members' names. And no, I wasn't in front of my son when I called her and I wasn't screaming at her.

Anyhow, I guess, geeze, I really have no idea what to think or feel or do.
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Unread 02-19-2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

First of all, sad to hear about the loss of your brother. I have a brother, I love him so much.

Could there be some serious reason why your mom isn't telling you the name of your real father? Maybe he is not a good person, maybe he had done harm to your mom? How old was your mom when she had you? Young pregnant mothers are probably already quite scared about their whole situation. Maybe you mom's case was even worse since there wasn't a "stable" husband by her side for the much needed support. Maybe she REALLY does not remember, especially when that time of her life was so tough.

At this point and for the next hours nothing is going to change by not knowing your dad's name. If I were you I would try to calm down and see your mom's viewpoint. Of course what she did (keeping you in the dark) was not fair to you but I'm sure she had to do it to protect you.

For now calm down. Step by step you will get to the bottom of this. Good luck!
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Unread 02-19-2009, 12:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: My mom has lied to me my whole life

Hey,

I don't know where your from, but I am in Canada. We have the ability to get a long form birth cert. it tells you your parents full names at your birth (both) and thier birth dates. This also will tell where your parents were born. This would get you a start to finding your father. I hope you have something like this here you are.

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Unread 02-19-2009, 01:25 PM   #8
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Cutting her out just may be a good idea- I recently cut out my supposed 'best' friend and it felt freeing it felt very good.

As far as what to think or feel, I say YOU are still YOU, despite who you were parented by, biologically.

I believe my true father is my heavenly father.

Is your husband a comfort to you in the midst of all this?
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Unread 02-19-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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My husband is wonderful. And I am extremely lucky for that.

The major part of my pain is that this isn't even close to the first time she has lied, but this is, perhaps, the biggest lie. She's a very hurtful person and the email I pasted is a very good sampling of how she talked to and treated me for much of my life. Constant threats, constant guilt and constant reversal of the truth. Unfortunately, I have always sought approval from her which I will never receive. Its something I work on constantly with my pdoc, but cannot yet seem to accept.

And my mom wasn't young when she had me, or at least not overly young. She was almost 21 years old. And while there surely are some circumstances around this that she doesn't want to share, for whatever reason, I believe it is my right to know. She has never held back from telling me other "bad" things, so its a matter of her trying to control me as usual by not telling me about this now. Honestly, the betrayal of having a father (good or bad) ALIVE my whole life, yet never knowing is something that I can't even begin to cope with. My emotional stability on a super good day is tenuous at best. Right now its like my brain is barely functioning. All day I just blared the radio and cleaned (something I do when I am frantic). It keeps my brain drowned out so that my thoughts don't consume me.

Thank you all for listening to me. It means a lot. I've been a member of this forum for years, but mostly just read. Thank you very much for being here for me.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 03:39 PM   #10
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I am so sorry for the shock an pain that you're going through. Your mother, whatever her reasons, might have handled this better. Then again, maybe she handled it the best way she could.

I have a cousin that is 8 years older than I am. When he was filling out papers for college he too discovered that his mother's maiden name was on his birth certificate. Knowing his father, the man that raised him, he knew that something was wrong. There's no way my uncle would have been that irresponsible, let his mother give birth unmarried in the 50's.

So he decided to come up and talk to my father since my father discovered at 15, after the death of his mother, that the man that had been listed on his birth certificate was not actually his father. In my own father's case, my grandmother did not have a choice, she was legally married to her Mr. Brown even though they had been seperated for 3 years and living on two different sides of the country when my father was born.

So anyway, my cousin comes up, terribly upset looking for answers. Which my father provided for him, with the exception of the man's name. He said my cousin would have to ask his mother that question himself. It turns out that my cousin's biological father was not honest with my Aunt, and there was a whole drama surrounding this. Before my cousin left that night my father told him "your father is the man that raised you. X has loved you and treated you exactly the same as your brother since you were a baby." My cousin was mature enough to realize that his mother gave him a gift of a loving father. To this day his mother does not know that he knows about the circumstances of his birth.

So here's the thing, if you have to know ask her siblings, relatives, or her friends from that time etc. But what if you're wrong, what if she did the right thing by burying something in the past? What if it turns out that she was raped or whatever? But before you open up Pandora's box, be prepared to deal with the consequences. And in my opinion, you don't have a right to know. She should not have to relive something she so obviously wants to forget just to satisfy your curiosity.

And there is a possibility, however remote, that she's telling the truth. My daughter was listed at birth as an African-American male in her military medical records. We're so white we glow in the dark, and she is obviously not now, nor ever been a male. It was quite a bit of red-tape to clear that up as she was born over-seas.
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