#86 When prison relationships fail
When Prison Relationships DON’T work.
Today I am writing on borrowed time…the basketball games are on and I am missing it for awhile…but its early, I don’t mind.
Today I woke up and decided to take a walk before noon, since the ACC and Big East Tournaments start at noon, as well as other conference tournaments. So I got up and decided to check my email before I left.
Amongst the emails was one from a reader that knows of my older blogs. She is from Canada and was a wonderful supporter, and I had not heard from her in awhile. I read her email and she wanted to know how I was doing.
She told me that her relationship with her loved one kinda fell apart. It seems that after he got out of prison, he went right back to what he was doing, and has apparently forgotten the support she gave him while he was in prison. In her email she makes a very good point in saying that it’s hard to change a person when they don’t have the tools to do so, and it’s hard to break out of self-pitying habits and harmful ways of thinking.
She is so right.
I wanted to email her right away, but I really needed to take a walk and get some fresh air, and with rain in the forecast, I needed to do it now. So I decided to come back and email her later, then blog. I went down to the mall, bought a Butterfinger and a Coca-Cola, and was caught in a short shower on the way back.
I got back and looked at my clock…11:59…how cool is THAT. Right on time for the games! I left at 10:40 and got back 11:59. Anyway, I dried off, sat down and emailed that person and then started this blog.
The question is one I could REALLY get into, but I won’t because I notice a lot of people are reading, but not asking…folks… I don’t read minds. A lot of you are reading my blogs because you have questions, but if you are expecting me to answer your question without you asking….you’re gonna miss out on a lot.
I can address the situation about what to do when prison relationships don’t work out, because with years of blogging, I have gotten many emails with people that had, or having prison relationships, and the struggles that they go through. A lot of women try their best to help their boyfriend or husband, but when he gets out, things don’t change for the better…they are either the same, or get worse.
Something that lady said in my email makes a lot of sense, and I want to touch on that. But before I get into that, let me say this…if you REALLY want me to talk about this, let me know. Don’t hide in the shadows expecting me to answer your questions when you won’t take the effort to open your mouth. Until you make some effort to talk about it, your problems will continue.
Now, my friend from Canada said two things that I like to add to, she said that it is hard for a person to change when they don’t have the tools. This is a very strong reason why many prison relationships fail. It’s not the person on the outside’s fault, they did everything they could to support that man in prison. And while a LOT of it IS the inmate, or ex inmate’s fault, I will not put all the blame on him. Society likes to do that, because we as a society are lazy and prejudiced to anything we don’t like.
Consider folks, what strains a relationship. Studies often say that the biggest reason for marriages that fail is money. Financial standing is often the reason why people break up, because as much as you may love somebody, love can’t keep the bills paid, or put food on the table. Its hard enough as it is for a “regular” person, but consider what an ex felon has to go through.
It’s so easy to say that any ex felon can get a job…but you are missing the point. No ex felon wants to work at McDonalds the rest of their life!
(he said, hungry for a Double Quarterpounder right about now….)
Its not about getting a JOB folks, it is about getting a career and a life. Ex felons want that, just like you do, yet often times people feel that a person with a background ought not deserve that kind of job…well, what do you EXPECT them to do?
We like to designate the lower jobs for ex felons, as if that is their lot in life, but get upset even when they get those jobs. Think about it, if you knew that a local store hired ex felons…would YOU go to that store…
Things like this make it very difficult for an ex felon to get an opportunity to find a better life. Nobody wants to work at a minimum wage job forever, do you? But prisons fail miserably at preparing a man or woman for life after prison…no tools to work with. Society is great to tell an ex felon what he CAN’T do, but is terrible at helping that same man get his life back. What good is it to tell a man 100 things he can’t do because of his past…but won’t give him a hint as to ONE thing he can do?
These things frustrate ex felons, and often times these things strain relationships, whether the ex felon wanted it to or not. Folks, it’s just hard to focus on a loved one when you have no future (or at least if that is what you believe).
Consider folks, if an ex felon was given a job paying $40K a year, along with even minimal support to keep that ex felon from straying off the path, do you think his relationship would be strong with his loved one? There is certainly a better chance than if an ex felon is kicked out of prison with the idea of “sink or swim”. If a guy tries to get a job and is constantly turned down because of a background check, or if he DOES get one and gets laid off because they find out about his past, what is he supposed to do?
Now the other side to this is that many ex felons can be lazy. Lots of guys, when they get out, want to go hang out with their friends, and fall right back in the problems they were in. I am NOT talking about those guys, because it appeared they never wanted to change. I am talking about guys that honestly wanted and desired to change… but are having a very hard time trying to get an honest life. These things can frustrate a person, and can, in turn, frustrate a relationship.
The second part the person mentioned was self-pitying habits, and harmful ways of thinking. This is interesting because what she identified is that often times in this genre, the problems are from the outside, such as society, and inside, meaning the person himself.
It is very easy for an ex felon to have pity on himself…believe me, I know. But this is a form of thinking that has to change if the inmate himself is going to change. This is NOT easy, because often times you are going against the grain. And to be honest, the prison system is not designed to help encourage anybody. The very nature of prison and especially after you get out, is designed to make you a scourge to society. We know this as a fact because simply being an ex felon gives you two and a half strikes, even if you have served your debt to society and paid any debts you owe. Again… take it from one who has been there.
But this breaks down prison relationships too because if a man cannot believe in himself, then he does not apply value to what he can do. This could force this man to be more self-orientated and defensive, and taking on that “me against the world” mentality. This sounds like stuff they talk about in sports, but in a relationship, you need your partner to believe with you. Lots of ex felons have so little value in themselves that they don’t care about others. Kinda a twist on the phrase, love thy neighbor as you love yourself. Well, if you don’t love yourself…how can you love anybody else…including the one that supported you while you were in prison?
And the problem is that prisons don’t teach self esteem, in fact it takes it away. A man doing time will lose more faith in himself and the good things he can do, because prisons don’t encourage that. But if you take away that belief, what is still left is the bad things a person can do. Consider a guy that sells drugs and get put in prison. If the prison does nothing to change the behavior, when that guy comes out, what will he have learned?
He learns that there is a punishment for selling drugs, but if the prison never tried to get him to change his thoughts to something constructive, what is he supposed to do? Yes, he has a choice, and if he makes the wrong one, then the punishment comes with it, but what if prisons and society could encourage him to make GOOD choices? Then you gain a good citizen… instead of expecting every ex felon to be one.
Folks, you are fooling yourself if you think every ex felon OUGHT to be good, for goodness sake (hmm, something Christmassy about that)….
These things can tear a prison relationship when the ex felon is not properly equipped to make good on his release, and when he has no self-esteem. Remember folks, prison is NOT just for incarceration…it is also responsible for rehabilitation. And I am not trying to say that every ex felon was snubbed by the system, that isn’t true. But I am saying that a lot who really wanted to do right simply can’t, and often times they resort to more negative behavior because there was no venue to do something positive. Consider that.
Like I said, I can talk much more on that, but I will leave that to you readers to ask me more about that. Right now I am working on an idea that one of my readers hipped me to. I mentioned to you that I was looking for support because I REALLY, REALLY need a new computer. I can’t install my print works to my computer because my CD drive is broken, which cripples my card making, certificate making and other projects that I used to do. And when I had to do that system recovery a month ago, it wiped everything out.
One reader asked me if I could install the programs I needed to a USB device (or memory stick as some call it) and then install it to my computer. I would need to use another person’s computer to do it. Sounds like a good idea. My mom has a computer, maybe I can do it there.
The person send me $20 and said that they wanted to try to help, and if I was willing to buy a 2GB USB or a 4GB USB, then maybe I can use my mom’s computer to install the print software there, then move it to the USB, then install it to my computer. Well, if that works, then I might be back in the game!
So hopefully today, or this weekend, I am going to try it. I have a USB, thanks to that person who was kind enough to send me some money to buy it, and I am going to try to install some printing software first on my mom’s computer, then see if I can move it to the USB. IF so, then I will see if I can either install it straight from the USB to my computer, or at the very least, get back to creating from it. If this works, then I can get right back into creating more prison cards, prison encouragement certificates and the like. I am really hoping this works, that way I can hopefully sell some items and maybe buy a new computer soon.
Anyway, the ball games are on, so I am going to go watch that for awhile. Make sure to email me using embarqmail.com and send it to derf4000 @. If you have a question, ask. If you want to support my blogs, ask. Until then…
(your support helps me to help you…please consider that)
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