Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents

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Adult Children of Mentally ill Parents
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Need Help with dysfuntional relationship

Ok. I have been dwelling lately over my mentally ill mother and how I want to move forward with our relationship. My delima is that I have a hard time cutting her off completely without feeling guilty, however her emotional abuse is too overwhelming for me to handle (especially since I am recently married and have a baby on the way). Any advise or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Some characteristics of my mother include (but are not limited to)

- she has a very low self esteem.
- she masks depression with over whelming enthusiasm
- she is an alcoholic
- she has been married 4 times in 30 years
- she is incredibly self absorbed

Some of the things that she has done of the years include:

- Taking my 6 month old niece to a bar when she told my brother and his wife that they would be back in 30 mins to an hour. 3 hours later they had been sitting in a bar drinking with their friends... and the baby.

- Owning a vicious dog and keeping the dog inside the house while their grand kids are around, when the dog has in the past growled and snapped at small children. When asked to put the dog away, they insist that it is not "fair" to the dogs.

- When we were kids, my mother was hardly ever home. Instead she was always at the bar "working". We lived in a family owned home, which she did not pay rent to, but she said she was working all the time. Most of the time, we did not have a phone, shoes, and hardly had food. When I was of age and would talk to her about a budget, she would get highly defensive, cry, yell, and so on. She was also taken to jail several times for writing hot checks.

- Recently she threw a fit about my decision not to have my reception party at her house (because of her dogs, after offering to put them in a kennel for the day, and her "declining" my offer) She proceeded to call me names, compare me to a person whom I can't stand, and tell me that nobody likes me. All a few weeks before I was getting married.

- She loves to tell people how much of a pain I was when I was a teenager after I have apologized for being such a wreck. However there are no apologies coming from her for leaving me and my brothers alone all those years. We had no guidance, and were left to raise ourselves. I was cooking and cleaning since I can remember. In fact instead of sending us to day care, I was watching my brother before I was even in 1st grade! I was left my myself when I was about 6, when I climbed a brick wall, grabbed a lose brick and fell 8 feet before the brick came down onto my head.

-I used to defend my mother to no extent. CPS was called several times over my childhood years, and I would make sure that everything went well and turn our dysfunctional home into a much more pleasant environment (and lie through my teeth), so that my brothers would not go to a foster home. (My fathers family was very stable, I would have been taken care of, but my brothers would have been taken lost in the system.)

I could go on and on, but as of this point, I know that she will never apologize and everything is my fault. When I try to better myself, she says I think I'm better than everyone.

Not that I am having a baby of my own and I have a great husband, I don't feel like I need the negativity in my life. The problem is, we live in the same town and she loves to post on facebook "Daughters are blessings" "I love my daughter so much!" bla bla. Of course this doesn't stop on facebook, she is all over town talking about how "mean" her daughter is who doesn't come to visit her and so on. Anytime I have ever tried to confront her about anything that upsets me, she cries and cries and says "I know, I am just a horrible mom! I am just a horrible person! I give up!"

Sometimes I think that she is mentally challenged and I feel sorry for her and other times, I think that it just can't be my problem anymore.

What to do... Besides years of therapy?

Re: Need Help with dysfuntional relationship

Hi Michelle-
First of all, you are not alone! Second, something I've had to learn to do (and am STILL battling it!) Is learning how to be brave. I also have problems with my mother and I find that it is really difficult to let a family member go, but in your case, if alcohol and children are involved, that gives you every excuse to make changes. One thing is STRONGLY recommend is to find an Alanon meeting near you. They recommend trying out a few different types of meetings and attend where you feel comfortable.
I actually started going because my long-term boyfriend has issues with alcohol and wanted to learn how I can support him. While attending, I realized there was a WHOLE lot more there for me that helped me to understand and cope with my mother who has a severe personality disorder. I think there, you will find the strength, support, and energy to make the right choices. Usually the thing they say to do is to cut off the person as the ultimatum.

Good luck! I will keep you in my thoughts.

Re: Need Help with dysfuntional relationship

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. A few years ago, I cut off my relationship with my mother because of her behavior. She eventually began treating me better. I suppose she realized I wouldn't be in her life if she didn't change. This doesn't always happen, though.

Yes, I felt terrible, and people are incredibly judgmental if they don't know the story other than you don't see your mom. However, it was a fantastic decision for me. I can't say what you should do, but if you have children to protect, do what you must to take care of them.