Thursday, September 17, 2009


As I mentioned, I've been spending some time every week with Maxim.  In order to avoid Presbyterian Church, and to have an opportunity to get things out of me, he thoughtfully decided that he'd go to Mass with us each week. His "order" was that he wanted to go with "just you, Mrs. Kitching - no kids".  Well, I am silly enough to have complied with this absurd request for a couple of weeks - ignoring totally the underlying idea that Mass is all about unity and community.  However, I fondly figured that he just "wanted my undivided attention".  Sure.  He wanted me alone all right, so he could terrorize me at will as described in this previous post about a Sunday Mass excursion gone awry.  So, rather than go to Mass twice a weekend just to accommodate this young criminal, Sunday before last I just picked him up with kids in the car.  He wasn't happy, but he came along.

Mass was fine; I dropped Sergei off at home, and kept Anastasia and Zhen with me as I drove to drop Maxim off, figuring he'd have to "behave himself" with them in the car.  This was not the way it worked out, unfortunately.  In fact, we had a near reenactment of the horrific episode I described in that last post....except it lasted longer since he didn't accelerate the nastiness of his behavior quite as quickly due to the witnesses.  I'd actually pulled up in his family's driveway this time, too....  But I was persistent and he eventually got very ugly, upping the ante in terms of threat.  Finally, when he began to use profanity every other word, became threatening, and refused to get out of the car,  I told the kids to get out and go up to the P's and I grabbed my purse and ran after them. 

I didn't tell the P's the whole story, but frankly was too upset to be able to pretend I was just dropping by to say "hi".  As I stood in their vestibule I was wondering if we'd need the police to eject him from the car....but no.  As we talked I saw him get out and walk away.  I could certainly understand why he didn't want to come in!

We left, I dropped the kids off at home, and as is my constant burden this time of year headed back to my office.  I dropped by the church first to pick something up - and church keys were not where I thought they'd been.  In the console.  Well.....I'm not the most organized person.  They could be anywhere.  I checked the purse, under the seats.  

Actually, I hadn't really finished checking the car before the vision came to me - that is all I can say.  A fully-formed vision of Maxim taking my keys with him from the car, with the intention of holding them ransom.  I even knew somehow where he'd taken them - he'd taken them to the empty house next door.  But my conscious mind told myself I was hallucinating;  that was crazy.

I spent the next couple of days with the periodic fearful lurch of my stomach at the idea of having lost the church keys (I'd just put those three bright, shiny new ones on this ring, mind you) and the memory of the relief of finding them again was still new - HOW could they be gone AGAIN?????  I searched all over, but frankly, I did in a perfunctory way.  Because that vision was so clear.  Maxim and the keys. I knew why he'd taken them; I knew that hadn't worked out for him (holding them ransom for cigarettes, because I'd left and he wasn't going to do something like that over the phone.)  I was fearful that he might just throw the evidence in the P's dumpster.  Yet, in my other life I was also looking under couch cushions all over my office, etc.

I went to far as to call the P's.  Mrs. P hesitated to ask him about them, as she'd just had a wonderful talk with him, felt close to him and didn't want to jeopardize that.  Believe me, I'd been there and understood.  A day or two later I asked Mr. P if he'd happened to have seen them, or mentioned it.  No.  Finally, my distress was out of bounds.  And I was having trouble doing my work as I could only be in my church office during office hours (I have to tell you there is no way I can get my work done during office hours!)  So, one night I called and asked to speak to Maxim.  As they went to call him to the phone I could hear his cheerful voice in the background.  Good.

"Uh, Maxim...[pause] Any chance you've seen my church keys?"  I somehow knew he'd confess and he did.  I asked, "Are they where you could give them to me?"  He said they were; I came and got them.  I saw him run out of his house and lope (yes) to the house next door where he retrieved them from the porch.  I nicely thanked him and gave him a coke and a bag of candy.  To my surprise, he gave me a handful of Russian candies.  That was big.  Quite a sacrificial "sorry" from him.

I do not know why in retrospect this episode amuses me.  I think it is just because I realize that I know him so well.   I knew he took them.  I knew why.  I was pretty sure he'd give them back, if possible.  And it all worked out just that way. 


Lisa said...

So glad this ended well. Was sitting on the edge of my seat till the end. PTSD???

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

I really think you should take a break from him. It would teach him to treat you better. To earn your trust...It almost scares me to read what you write about him. He seems very mature in his manipulations, and that could get dangerous.
We teach people how to treat us, and you would hate your little guys to learn how to treat their mom this way!!

Milena said...

Really. Take a break from him before something really dangerous happens. It gets worse and worse, and it will end in violence. Right now you choose him before your other children! Is that really what you want? Like in any other case of domestic violence, right now you're in the middle of it and can't see it. Sorry about this brutal honesty, but I'm really afraid about what I'll get to read next time! Please stop seeing him!

RML- Being More Through Having Less said...

Look after yourself Annie, you are too important to too many people. Hugs!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

You know him well all- right, sheesh, down to where he hid them!

I am guessing therapy would be a mere drop in the bucket, but does he go to counseling? And if not, that might be an idea, including all of you that are important to him right now.

Tina in CT said...

Annie, I say it as it is so..... Maxim is a powderkeg with a short wick. You need to sever ALL TIES with him and have nothing more to do with him.

He could have grabbed the steering wheel as you drove, caused and accident that could have had death/s as a result. He is a wacko.

I told you that I tell it like it is.

Do not wait until he injures you or your children.

Being with him is not helping him and the 3 years he was with you proves it. He has deep, deep issues and problems and needs professional psychiatric help.

We just had a grad student killed at Yale here in CT. Don't become a statistic in MI. I really fear that he could become violent.

You have to guard yourself and your 4 younger children.

There, I've said it and hope I haven't offended you but I worry about you.

babyyahyah said...

well, i would just make a couple copies of those keys!

MamaPoRuski said...

As much as I love your continued support of him, you let him continue with his behaviors and disrespect you and your children. I know giving up after three years is hard, but your kids need you to role model clear boundaries with others and that you will keep THEM safe as their parent. Glad things worked out this time.

Annie said...

PTSD - yes.

And I do think that part of his recent behaviors stem from his feelings of being abandoned by me. The cigarettes, I think, sort of stand in for suckle. I wish he'd just substitute some hot chocolate or something.... I don't feel right giving him something illegal...that his family wouldn't provide on principle. They know he smokes, but it just does not seem right for me to provide him with cigarettes.

I thought this was sort of a funny post. The fact I know him so well by now is what makes me shake my head with amusement yet.

It does interest me that everyone feels I need to separate from him more permanently than I have done. It is very difficult to know what to do. What is the truly loving action? What would Jesus do?

Any thoughts?

Elena's Mom said...

Sorry! I have no thoughts as to what you should do since it is something only you could decide and it must be a difficult decision. I know you do love him. So I don't know. I am curious, though. If your husband were home, do you think would Maxim terrorize you the way he does now?

Rachael said...

Glad it ended well at least!

I worry for you too! Someone else used the example, and I've often thought this when I read about him and you - it's sort of like an abusive domestic violence relationship, and you can't see clearly for being in the thick of it. Plus, despite all his faults you love him. But, from afar to those of us not emotionally involved, it seems like nothing good can come from this.

What about a 6 month break and then reassess? Or, no physical contact but you can write letters or speak on the phone. I realize that he's still a child and you don't want to add to his abandonment issues. But, I think he could also stand to benefit from some tough love and to be taught that violence and manipulation are not acceptable ways of getting your way in the world. I shudder to think how he might treat a girlfriend or wife when he perceives his needs are not being met. I would at the very least tell him that you cannot tolerate the threats and PLEASE return the next threat with a physical restraining order: given out of LOVE.

The Combes Family said...

Interesting that you bring up "what would Jesus do?" I did not find this post humorous; it gave me a very nervous stomach! I worry for you! For your other four children who NEED you! They need you to be STRONG and not let Maxim maniuplate you! Maxim is a ticking time bomb and I worry about how high he keeps upping the ante. Honestly, it is domestic abuse!

I know you *love* him but I agree with the other's time for TOUGH LOVE!!! He is craving that and calling out for that! You do need a break from him. He is NOT good for you! Jesus would not want him acting like that to you!!!

I care deeply about you Annie and about your other four children! Please consider what these other commenters have said. I think you might be too close to the situation and not seeing it clearly.

Love you!

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

I think Jesus would continue to teach him Love. But knowing that we can only strive to be like Jesus, I think since Jesus was the father to us all, He would protect His flock...
You can continue to love him by Teaching him..and teaching him to treat you well, and your children well may just mean a separation. You didn't abandon him, he wanted to leave. The love will be there, but so will your safety. Just like Jesus, we should never turn our back on anyone, and you can write him letters, send him treats when he earns them, attend his activities when he invites you, just don't provide any transportation. And never choose his way, as in, ( leaving your children at home so he can have your time) You are what you are, and that is a mother of other children, so he has to learn to accept that. He chose to leave you as his mother because of other children in the house, so he should not be able to dictate how you parent them..
I love your passion for this. I love it that you are not willing to give up, but your other children should see how to treat you by others, and you are too wonderful to have anyone treat you poorly!

June said...

Hey Annie! It's Jen, from Ivanovo. I keep stumbling across your pages--you're like an internet celebrity! Anyway, sounds like you're having a rowdy time with Maxim. Hope life in general is going well for you and yours. Elena's doing great! As an aside, you wouldn't happen to know how to get in touch with Andrew of the driver/translator from Moscow fame, would you? I sent a letter to him with my parents when they went to get Elena, but haven't heard back (in spite of my parents' sworn testimony that he was thrilled to get a letter from me). I've kept in touch with Natasha and was hoping to keep in touch with him too. Thanks!!

Annie said...

This is the last e-mail I had from Andrew. However, I think he only answered me once. Not an e-mailer - but perhaps that was just with me!

I'll see if our agency has anything different or updated.

Tina in CT said...

Another way to look at it is, what would your other children do if Maxim's actions injured you? They are your children and responsibility and Maxim is not. I know I sound cold but I really feel that he could harm you or the others whether it's intentionally done or not.

As for buying him cigarettes... Why would you do that? I would not buy them for my elderly neighbor when she could no longer drive. She had lung cancer and I just could not contribute to her going any quicker. So, she ordered them from some Indian reservation in the South.

I really worry about you and the kids as I wouldn't trust him any farther than I could throw him.

Annie said...

I bought him cigarettes briefly after the anti-smoking counselor I took him to, told him that he didn't have to go "cold turkey" that he should do his best to quit, use the gum and if he really had to have a cigarette then have one. I told her the only way he'd have cigarettes was if he got butts off the street and she suggested that was a lot worse than smoking. So, I told him I'd dole out cigarettes until he quit. And, actually he did quit. He didn't smoke until he was about to move. But, when he started again I refused to buy any....yet he keeps "hoping". I really think he felt it was some sort of symbolic caring for him in some way.

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

I am not preaching here, just gonna share this last thing...
I am a smoker. It is my shame. I do everything I can to stop. I have quit 3 times, and about to quit again. I hate myself for it. Really, it's so gross. None of my friends smoke, and they HATE it that I do. If someone ELSE had the power to keep me from doing it, I would love them for it. Maxim is so young, and keeping him from smoking NOW will save him a lifetime of agony. And it is. Real agony. The truth is, I wish I would have been younger when I started so my parents could have forced me to quit, and I wouldn't be 41 and still trying to quit...
It's now 21 years of smoking for me, and it is like my secret best friend...
OK, that's all.

Nora said...

Annie, I love you dearly. You are my friend. I am godmother to one of your children. And with love, I say this: you can't sacrifice your children for Maxim, and you are sacrificing their peace, well being, and safety in order to help someone who treats you with loathing disrespect. You are teaching your sons that love means tolerating abuse, and this is something Zhen, Ilya and Sergei are watching, and observing, and may end up modeling with their future wives.

Craig is not there right now to provide the positive Alpha Male role model. Maxim is the Alpha Male in your home and would you want his methods of showing "love" to be what your younger boys are learning? All of our Russian children came from rough upbringings in the orphanage. I'm sad that Nastya and Zhen had to witness you being attacked by Maxim.

Perhaps Maxim's earlier disruptions came from his behaving in this way to those families, and when he said to you "I really don't know what I did to deserve this" is probably true, he likely *doesn't* know that threats and violence against women is wrong if it can get him what he wants.

Remember when I told you when Sasha was diagnosed as a sociopath, and you thought that may well be true of Maxim?

Sociopaths have no regret. No remorse. No ability to see how harming others is wrong. Sasha tried to poison Ken with boric acid. When she called a week or so ago, she admitted to the act, and was very upfront about it, unapologetic and unconcerned of what she had done. There is no way we could ever allow her back into our home, and her contact with her brother *must* be monitored as she is mentally abusive to him all the while proclaiming her "love" for Vita. Our love for Sasha is there, it breaks Ken's heart that she rejected us as a family. But, the loving thing to do is to have her with her current family who can, and do, provide for her needs much better than we could. That disruption, and it was hard, is the act of love we gave Sasha.

Stop seeing Maxim. Tell him why. Tell him not to call, not to come to your home. If he is with this family he should be going to Church with *them* in order to bond with their family. If he wants to go to Mass, then they should take him.

Write Maxim a letter in which you tell him of your love, and then tell him why this relationship is not healthy or positive for either one of you.

What would Jesus do? He would cast out Maxim's demons. Jesus would not accept abuse in the name of love. Your act of love for Maxim is prayers, prayers, and more prayers. And change the locks to your house!!!

I love you my friend.

Milena said...

I so agree with Nora! Please listen to her if not to us, since she's someone you know IRL! Please!

Tina in CT said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one to write that he is dangerous and that you need to sever all ties immediately.

Please listen to Nora. She is a good friend of yours and knows you IRL.

I also feared the message your children are getting from Maxim's abusive behavior.

Lucy said...

Hi! I'm only nineteen, and I have no idea how I stumbled upon a blog about parenting! I have to tell you though, that you and another blog you've linked to, have made me think more seriously about adopting (when I grow up!) from overseas.

I'd always been kind of a "I'll never have kids" sort of girl, for all sorts of reasons, relating to overpopulation and things like that... Anyway, I think in the future, when it comes to that point, I'll probably think of these blogs as the first place I heard of international adoption, other than in celeb magazines.

It's probably really weird to say this now, right? When I'm not at the stage of having kids at all! Hope you don't think I'm just some mad, stupid kid.

I really admire how patient it seems like you've been with Maxim, by the way. I hope he settles in and becomes happier with his new family, and that you can continue to have contact without these episodes.

Annie said...

Lucy - your comment absolutely made my day.

June said...

Annie! You're a doll! Thanks a million! :) I'll give it a shot. stalk him on vKontatke!

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