Saturday, October 10, 2009


I just received a phone call from Global Assets, Inc. They were looking for my adult child.

"Is XXXXXX Viere there?"

Oh no! It's another bill collector

"No, he does not live here."

"Is this his mother?"

Certainly he knows, I am not legally responsible for my adult child's bills!

"Yes, sir, I am his mother."

"What number can I reach him at?"

Be polite, Diane!

"Sir, I do not know what number you can reach him at. May I take you name and number and when I see him next I will give him the message?"

"What kind of mother does not know how to reach her son?"

Really? He's gonna use this approach?

"Sir, your comment is hurtful. To suggest that I am a bad mother because I don't know where YOU can reach him, is offensive."

"Why do you say that?"

I HATE when people act stupid--I mean innocent!

"Sir, you asked, 'what kind of mother?'"

"Yes, and you responded on a recorded phone call, that you did not know what number I could reach him at."

Good, I'm glad the call is recorded, maybe your manager will take note of your horrible approach!

"Your point? Perhaps the point is you should have your Training Program Managers teach a little compassion training!"

There take that!

"Compassion training? Why are you so defensive?"

This boy wants a fight!

"Defensive? You called me and asked to speak to XXXXX Viere. I told he does not live here. I am not responsible for his life. What purpose could there possibly be in bullying his mother?"

Certainly, he is NOT heartless????

"Why! are! you! so! defensive!?"

It's the Tin Man!

And yet, this is where I continued--enabling--it's a hard habit to break. Maybe if I just say the right thing--I will help him understand!

"I told you, you are suggesting that I am a bad mother because I don't know how you can reach my adult child. Haven't you been trained in understanding that sometimes bad things happen to families? I'd be happy to have you join my family counselor and I in a conference call to help you understand?"

"Why would I want to talk with your counselor?"

Someone! Please stop me!

If I can't reach his heart, I will appeal to his logic!

"Because your method of performing your job is offensive...and not very effective. I would think it would behoove you to find a better approach."

"M'am, calm down, I think you should call your counselor now!"

Diane! Wake up! You are engaging in a dysfunctional conversation--find a way out!

"Sir, I think this conversation could have been best avoided if, when I saw on my Caller ID, that you were, yet, another bill collector calling for my ADULT child, I would have ignored the phone call or simply hung up on you. I will be doing so right now. Good-bye."

How did THAT happen!

It is not easy NOT enabling at times like these. I don't like appearing crazy in a means to be sane! The simple truth of the matter is this: I am not responsible for my adult child's choices. And yet, many times, even with the best efforts, I suffer the consequences of his poor choices.

And yet, I began to reframe my thoughts: I really didn't suffer--I had the opportunity to demonstrate strength in truth. And then the phone rang......


"Why did you hang up on me?"

I can't frickin' believe this! He called back!

Taking the phone from my ear, I read, "Global Assets, Inc."

Visualizing my little yellow post it note: You are engaged in a dysfunctional conversation--get out!

"Sir, I did not hang up on you, I told you why I was saying "Good-bye."

"Well, whatever, will you take my number and have ......"

Interrupting this gem of soul, I was short in my reply, "No, sir, I will not take your number. That would presume that I was willing to engage in consequences that I am not responsible for. Furthermore, since I no longer engage in enabling behaviors or dysfunctional conversations, please note: You have my permission--no, I am demanding, that you and Global Assets remove my home phone number from your files. I do not owe you money, I have not acted irresponsibly. Please do not call me again. Have a nice day. Good-bye!"

Amazing! I am tempted to feel as though I was mean to this young man who DOES, at least, have a job. However, I wasn't mean; if I erred, it was in trying to reason with a thug!

I am writing a new yellow post it and posting it on my cabinet door by the kitchen phone: it reads:

I do not take messages from bill collectors for my adult child--IGNORE, DON"T TRY TO REASON, RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO BE CIVIL.

Even at our best, we lose the battle when you try to reason with insanity!

I do not take messages from bill collectors for my adult child!


groovyoldlady said...

Ok...I'm laughing. Not AT you, goodness no. I'm laughing because I can SO identify! Scout's debt collectors were calling us and calling us and CALLING us. They never got quite that offensive and whacky, but they were so obnoxiously persistant that we changed our phone number and went "unlisted".

However, now I get calls looking for "Scott Martin" (whoever the heck HE is!) to pay up. Will it never end?

Warren Baldwin said...

Hi. We just connected on FB so I thought I'd link over here and see your blog. The title intrigued me.

To this first article of yours I read all I can say is "Wow! Well done!" You have made yourself vunerable here on several levels to help your readers and those who may be dealing with a prodigal. I am going to recommend this site to others.

Great job handling the guy on the second call! I was getting made at him just from reading your post! You are a good writer.


HolyMama! said...

Good for YOU! (and I think I've talked to that guy myself. Yuck)

E @ Scottsville said...

Oh boy, it seems we just might have a lot in common. Hi! My name is Erica and I was referred to your blog by Warren Baldwin who has read my blog and knows about my 20 year old son who... quite sadly... sounds a lot like yours.

I even use post-it notes on my blog! ha ha ha

Nice to meet you!

nancygrayce said...

I love caller I.D. for this very reason. I will admit that once when I got one of those calls, I asked how they got my number and they said he put me down as a reference! I said very sweetly, well, maybe next time you should call BEFORE you sell him something!

Cynthia said...

i loved this post. I am goin to get me some post-its! I have to constantly remind myself i am not married to a dysfunctional man anymore, not responsible for his bad behavior, and am not obligated to enable, cover for, or otherwise engage in conversations that are fruitless with him anymore. I will not take on the guilt that is not mine to bear. You got me stirred up .LOL>..i love you....

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

WOW!!! I can't believe HOW rude that collector was. Incredible!!!

{{{HUGS}}} to you girl!!!

Allison Bottke said...

Oh my...this totally cracked me up. Love it! Love you! Sounds like a very SANITY-filled conversation....

Dionna said...

Wow. I'm so sorry you went through that! That is just horrible and the other person on the line - well - there are no words.

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