Post # 1
I can’t believe I’m even posting this, but everyone has been wonderful so here goes:
My mother and I don’t really get along. I find her to be childish in the most irritating ways, which have gotten WORSE over the years as I’ve gotten older and her irresponsible doctors have put her on a cocktail of narcotics, benzos, etc. for all of her health problems. She is severely depressed, passes blame on everything and everyone but herself, and I am tired of bending over backwards for her.
The straw that hit the camels back today was a phone call I made to check in with my folks before my trip. My mother went on and on about a television show she was watching, and then lamented about her failed Avon drive (No one ordered from her). No one ordered because she didn’t try to sell anything. The most she did was send an email out to 5 people with her website. She has not gone out to hand catalogs and she blamed it on “not having a large enough family”. Last week when I visited for a grueling three days, she blamed it on “being sick” and “not being able to go out”. She had a cold.
She is in denial over everything in her life, from her depression to her over-medicated prescriptions for diseases she should suck up and deal with. I previously reached out to her because she has a very small social circle, but all she did was complain about everything from my father’s job loss (no fault of his own. she cannot work or collect unemployment or disability) to how my siblings don’t talk to her much (I wonder why?). All she does is eat, watch TV, and doesn’t care for her appearance. At the time in my life where I envisioned my mother helping with wedding dress shopping or planning, she is useless and will be useless. I would not even be able to get her to perform the smallest task without her “forgetting” or “not feeling well enough”. I know the time will come when she asks what she can do to help with the wedding, or even the time she will want to be a grandmother to my child – and frankly, I am petrified. I don’t want her to be.
Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but you can only deal with someone for so many YEARS who continues to live in denial over their behavior.
I feel guilty because I no longer want to reach out for our “daily” talks as I had before, but my sanity is at sake. If I continue to do so, I feel like I’ll reach a breaking point and disown her completely.
Does anyone have any advice?
Post # 3
(((hugs))) I am so sorry you have to deal with. I don’t know what advice I can offer. My mom is in a similar situation with her mother, and she hasn’t yet been able to figure out how to handle her. The easiest thing for us sadly, is to keep her at arms length and not let her get too involved in anything. 🙁
Post # 4
My mom went through something similar with her own mother. Her mom was mean rather than depressed, but the level of complaining and blame-passing sounds the same. She tried keeping her at arm’s length, but it never worked. Eventually she (and her sister) just had to cut off all contact. It’s very hard, but sometimes that’s the best way to deal with toxic people in one’s life.
Post # 5
- Wedding: January 2010 - Trinity Presbyterian Church/Harrison Opera House
I know it must be very difficult to deal with this issue. I would suggest setting some boundaries and enforcing consequences. If she’s bringing you down on the phone, gently say, “Mom, I love you, but this kind of complaining is not good for me to hear and I have to ask you to stop. If you don’t, I will not be able to stay on the phone with you.” And if she goes on, you must hang up. It’s a kind of training. If she wants to continue your all’s relationship, she’ll start to shape up. And if she can’t or won’t, then you’ll be preserving your sanity. I know this is easier said than done and won’t always have positive outcomes. But for your sake and your future family’s sake, drawing these boundary lines now is really important.
Post # 6
It sounds like you guys could both benefit from counseling? I’m not sure how I’d approach it with your mom, especially since she’d really need to confront her issues before/when she goes.
Post # 7
Wow…I’m really sorry you have to deal with all of this. My mom is similar (though she’s not on any medication to help rectify her behavior), and she’s a handful as well. So I can sympathize. I hope things start to improve, and if not, I think not being in as much of contact with her will help you. Sorry again, and here if you want to vent some more!
Post # 8
Secondly, I can (sort of) relate. With me, it’s not my mother, but my father. Growing up, my father was (still in recovery) an alcoholic and none of us knew anything about it. When the economy plumetted, he lost his job (no fault of his own. He is extremely smart). And he would find another. And every company would fail. This sent him into depression and further into his alcoholism (depression is genetic in my family. His mother, my grandmother, is highly depressive). He would lie around the house and do nothing all day.
Last year, on the day I moved into college, my dad had a seizure, linked to the alcohol. My move in day was spent in the emergency room.
After this, my dad began treatments for his alcoholism and depression. Then he became over-medicated, like your mother.
I could never understand why he was acting like this and why he DID this to our family. Through family counseling and ALOT of reading about alcoholism, I have started to understand that it is an illness. I use to blame my dad, thinking that he was weak and couldn’t deal with things.
Finally, he had to check into a rehab clinic because he couldn’t do it on his own. After so many years, I have a dad who wants to do things again. Go out with me and my sister and calls me 🙂 But it is an uphill battle, and will be, for the rest of our lives
I know that there are depression clinics. Has your mother tried one of these? I’m so sorry that this happening to you. I can only tell you to be strong and try to keep communication lines open with her. One day, hopefully, she will get a treatment that she needs (and better doctors!!)
Post # 9
She refuses to believe she is depressed, and even when I had offered to pay for a counselor she refused. So no go – she doesn’t want help because she is in denial.
And frankly, I am becoming apathetic to this.
Thanks everyone for your responses and support.
Post # 10
yep, same thing with my dad. Until the seizure. It’s sad to say, but sometimes, something bad has to happen before they realize that there is a problem. Until then, I don’t know what to tell you, but GOOD LUCK!
Post # 11
I thought of another suggestion. I know my mom benefitted from going to counseling. She never suggested that her mother go, she just went for herself. The therapist gave her lots of ideas on how to manage her relationship with her mother. You might want to consider that for yourself 🙂
Post # 12
I hear what you’re saying about your mother refusing to think she has a problem, but I also agree that if you don’t want to cut her out of your life she needs to change her lifestyle. I think that you should try Lamb’s suggestion of “training” her to be less negative with you on the phone. I think the best you can do is be completly straight with her: you love her, but can’t abide her attitude, so if she wants you around she needs to make steps to change. If she doesn’t change, you’ll be left with what you’re already considering – distancing yourself from her. Plus, you’ll have done what you could to help.
I’ve had people like her in my life (though no one so close as a mother) and know it can be so draining to try and support them. But you do what you can for the people you love, up to the point that it’s affecting your life. Stick with her as long as you can stand it.
Post # 13
I 100% hear you! My mom refuses to get counseling too b/c she thinks that the issue is everyone around her, not herself. She doesn’t get along with my brother’s in-laws, my in-laws or anyone else for that matter, but it’s always them. It’s never her. Sigh…I absolutely understand! It’s exhausting.
Post # 14
It sounds like your mother may have a personality disorder. My grandmother does, and exhibits several symptoms similar to your mother’s. Is she seeing a psychologist?
Post # 15
I am so sorry. I am not in the same boat…but I have also had a lot of issues with my mom…and my father actually
My suggestion is that you see a therapist.
You cannot change your mom….all you can change is you and your reactions. I think Lamb hit the nail on the head when she talked about setting up boundries. It is 100% ok to take care of yourself. And sometimes as we get older, he have to draw a line in the sand. She may be your mother…but she may also have a negative affect on your life and emotional well being.
I have issues with my parents also. All the wedding stress ended me up in therapy. I talked about my guilt of not wanting to cut my mom off and feeling guilty when I hurt her. We talked about about what is reality…and what is not. For example…I KNOW that I am not respeinsible for my mom’s happiness….yet my actions don’t match that. I seem to FEEL like I am. It was really helpful to talk to a pro who could help me sort out my feelings and figure out what is real and what’s not. It really helped me to talk about setting up boundries and to know that I am not a terrible person or daughter by needed to do so.
I think your best bet is to get in and see someone for yourself. Talk about your feelings and all the stress and pain your mom causes you…and come up with a plan to make it better. And maybe that means talking to her less. Maybe it means not expecting anything from her for the wedding…..maybe it means lowering your standards when it comes to her. Whatever it is…I really think the best thing to do it is talk to a professional and see what you can do to better cope with your mom
Post # 16
I think it would be a good idea to distance yourself a bit, perhaps call and visit a little less often since this is making you so upset.
One thing that stood out from your post is how many times you called her “useless”. I understand that she is hard to deal with, but I really think you should not focus your energy on thinking about how “useless” she is and try to focus on her positive qualities. I’m sure she must have some…if nothing else, she probably does love you a lot. She is going to pick up on how useless you feel she is and that will probably make her feel even worse. In the end, she is who she is and there’s really nothing you can do to change her into the mom you want her to be.