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I’ll try and keep this short.....but I am at my wits end with my mum!!! . My mum was widowed 27 years ago and has suffered with depression ever since. She is now 70 and sits at home all day doesn’t go out doesn’t make any attempt to clean her house, no one calls as she’s so nasty and negative with them. My days consists of texts or phone calls of ‘not good today, been awake since 3’ Or not spoken to a soul for days. She is quite able although she does have arthritis but she hasn’t been out of the house for over 5 years apart from medical appointments. I shop for her every weekend (she won’t have online order) then moans that she hasn’t seen me, but I am working full time and have been a single parent for 15 years. I really don’t know what to do anymore, she won’t accept help, she won’t consider moving. She says I’m uncaring but I’m fed up of hearing/having the same conversation every week.....the likes of, today’s not been a good day (that’s every day) I’m an only child and 48, 5 years ago I battled breast cancer.....even then she expected me to shop and do things while my hair was falling out and I couldn’t stop being sick, along with her suicide attempt I feel like I want to wash my hands of her. Last night she phoned me ‘for a conversation’ and said it was either ring me or the Samaritans then we went through the whole negatives again......sorry for my long post I just need to know I’m not the only one and open to any suggestions of help!! She is also very nasty.......when she thought she was going to die from her overdose she told me many nasty things about my dad and also that my husband (now ex) tried to have an affair........WITH HER but she only kissed him. I don’t care about him but she should have said something when I could challenge this not years after.
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I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I am very familiar with this type of behavior and I wish I could give you a simple answer. I can offer you some empathy, which I hope helps you feel less alone, but unfortunately, this may not be enough to help you manage your mother any better.
Here are my observations, based on decades of experience with this kind of treatment from my own mother: If your mother has severe depression and she is not getting proper treatment, then her behavior is not likely to change. If your mother has a personality disorder, and she is not getting intense treatment (or maybe even if she is), her behavior is not likely to change. So if that is the case, you have absolutely no ability to fix her, help her or make her feel better. You were probably groomed from an early age to believe that you do, but you simply do not have that power, even if your mom keeps saying that you do. It is entirely possible that what she wants from you is exactly what you are giving her...yourself as a target to dump her negative emotions on, yourself as an object she can dump unwanted tasks on, and yourself as a sacrificial lamb that she can blame everything on. Her behavior is not about you. She has no ability to manage her own pain or her emotions. She is unable to care for you or about you, because she is broken. If you are expecting authentic love, appreciation, respect, trust, cooperation, and anything else that a healthy person would give, it is not likely coming. Those parts of her are broken. So where does that leave you? If your mom is like mine, it not going to be a pretty picture. I strongly suggest your bring professionals into the picture as soon as possible (as in today.) The fact that she implied suicide is enough to get her hospitalized where I live, so do it. Your mother needs the equivalent of emotional surgery, and you are not a surgeon. We would never attempt to do open heart surgery on our parents, but what our moms need is just as complicated. You have been immersed in her mindsets your whole life, so you too likely need some support. I strongly suggest you find someone to help you unravel all the tangled loops your mom has created in your life. You are a good person, and that is why your mother targeted you. Find someone who can help you see that. You are valuable and worthy and caring, even if your mom can never validate that. Good luck.
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I have been thinking some more about your situation, and wanted to throw out some other things.
I think moms like ours start out simply trying to get their needs met. When they feel unsafe or lonely or afraid or abandoned or unworthy or unloved or in pain, they seek quick external relief, often at the expense of those around them. Unfortunately, they have an infinite appetite for safety, so they never feel safe or secure, no matter how much others try to fill them up. Some people fill their painful holes with substance addictions, which clearly both of our moms have done, but that isn't enough. They need more. In some cases, we become their substance. Instead of doing the hard work of learning how to live with pain or manage it in healthy ways, they demand constant attention and control and reassurance that they are loved and safe and worthy. They almost always seek it externally because they have no internal resources to handle life. So they do what they know how to do. This then creates pain in us. We, in turn, go seeking relief and safety the only way we were taught, which is to try to fix things and people-please and obey and seek approval. We feel as though we have to prove our worth and dedication in order to feel safe and "loved." We cannot feel safe if the people around us are not safe. Maybe we were told it was our responsibility. Maybe we were fed lies that this is what love looks like. This then becomes an unending loop that feeds itself....they hurt; to get relief they turn to us and hurt us; to deal with our pain, we try to appease them; they get a temporary fix, and then crave more, and then we begin the loop all over again. The only way off the merry-go-round is to get off. A lot of us are seeking permission to get off, but I can assure you it is never coming. They will never let us off. And many times society doesn't want us to get off. Honor your mother and father.... It is going to hurt to jump off, and a lot of us are already so very wounded that the idea of jumping off and doing something new terrifies us. Failure is a whole other set of issues. A lot of us have no room for ordinary human failure. We were never accorded that privilege. A risk where we could be judged as uncaring or imperfect is too much for many of us to take. Your comment about still having to "give "when you were sick (and clearly should have been graced with your support) is so painfully familiar. In dynamics like ours, we do not get consideration like that. The people around us have no capacity to meet our needs, so they pretend we don't have needs or they make us think we don't deserve to have support. The truth is that they don't have a capacity to love, and the easiest way to hide that is to make our needs go away. This can do a lot of damage to our psyches. If you are still reading this, I urge you to find resources to take care of your needs. If you are like me, there is a lot of pent-up grief wrapped around all these decades of pain. It takes time to process them, but I hope you will give yourself that gift. Praying that you will find relief soon.....