Sunday, 16 November 2014

You don't know how strong you are until the only choice you have is to be strong.

This weekend I collected another entry in my new experiences collection – I visited my Granddad in prison.

I did say, not so long ago, that as far as I was concerned he could rot there and that I would never visit the man who abused me emotionally, financially and physically after the death of my parents. So what made me change my mind? 

Money is the answer. Before I can sue him I have to be able to show that I tried to “settle out of court” and the quickest and easiest way of doing this is to come up with a number of proposals and then present them to him. Of course I didn’t go on my own, my “no win no fee” attorney (USA) / solicitor (UK) went with me and she did most of the talking. 

There is lots of paperwork involved in a prison visit to say nothing of all the waiting around and being searched once we arrived at the prison. But the prison staff were pleasant enough and I think they appreciate that the visitors haven’t done anything wrong and so they try to make the business as painless as possible. 

My solicitor gave me some advice before we spoke to Granddad, “You cannot change somebody else's behaviour; you can only change your response to it.” Granddad hates me but he hates being ignored even more and he hates “not being treated with respect” worst of all. So the advice I was given was not to respond to any provocation from him and to remain calm and focussed on getting him to sign at least one of the settlement documents. Granddad had been told in writing prior to the visit that if we could not agree on any of the possible settlement proposals then a court case would be the next stage “without any further communication between the parties.” 

I don’t Granddad has learned anything from his time in prison. He is just as bossy as ever and still in denial that he did anything wrong. He doesn’t deny what he did to me just that he thinks he was entitled to do it. He is a very strange man and I think he is very dangerous. 

Within the first 30 seconds he refused any proposal that involved paying me any money from his many bank accounts and I thought the whole visit had been a waste of time! But suddenly he did agree to pay me all his monthly work pension for the “entire time he is in prison”. I couldn’t believe he agreed to this because it will cost him far more than the other alternatives would have cost him. The solicitor gave me a gentle tap with her foot to warn me to keep quiet while he was ranting on – so she had also worked out that I was getting a good deal.  

Once it was all signed and witnessed we left and I will not be visiting him again. We think that he is planning an appeal against his conviction and so he thinks that he will not be paying the monthly payments to me for very long. He is so stupid if he believes this because he entered a guilty plea at the trial and so how is now going to claim he is innocent after all! That will teach him to sack his own solicitor and represent himself.  

You don't know how strong you are until the only choice you have is to be strong.

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