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Emotionally exhausted re mother

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BeanieDownSouth

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Jan 26, 2021
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Hello everyone. This is my first post.

Some background: I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in 2006. I've been on disability since 2007. I currently share a house with my 80-year-old mother (my Dad died in 2009, I got divorced, ugh, so much happened to get me here).

I've felt like a loser since having to leave work and go on disability. It's still a source of shame, though less so now. But, crippling anxiety and depression are daily problems. Some days are okay; some are beyond awful. I long for death often. And that's without dealing with my mom, whom I love, but who is emotionally unstable. I never know which mom I'll wake up to, the one who's funny or the one who's angry at EVERYTHING. (It's not just aging; she's been this way all my life). I do not have the funds to leave, plus I'd feel like I'm abandoning her. (She has some physical difficulties). 90% of the time, she's fine. But that remaining 10% drains me completely. She's emotionally abusive. (She will ignore me for hours or days, depending on how much she feels I've slighted her in some way. Again, something she's done all my life.) She drives my brother crazy with her bouts of anger and judgements, so I do have someone who gets what's going on and is helpful. But he doesn't live with her. (He doesn't understand how I do.)

Gah, what am I even asking here? I guess I want to know how to live with an elderly parent who has zero respect for boundaries, zero respect for me as a person with needs she neither understands nor wants to understand. (This is a woman who self-identifies as selfish and seems to think that somehow makes everything okay. It doesn't!) She discounts my mental health entirely. ("Think happy thoughts!" As if she'd ever listen to that advice when she's railing or depressed about something.) I know she's toxic. I know this. But even if I had the financial means to leave (I do not), I couldn't just abandon her. I cannot do that to my Mom. To be clear, I don't want to be a martyr, and I'm no angel. I'm just trying to figure out a way to navigate the cess pit I live in. I'm already predisposed to depression and anxiety. I do NOT need her pushing me to the edge of the abyss. I don't know how to reach someone who seems to have no respect for me as an autonomous person.

(BTW, she forces her opinions on everyone, not just me. She cannot conceive that anyone thinks differently than she does. Ever. I want to bang my head through a wall.)

I'm sure there's a lot I'm not seeing or understanding. That's why I'm here. I cannot count the times I've planned to shuffle off this mortal coil. Actually planned. But I'm still here. I have reasons to still be here. She's just not one of them. I sound like a hideous human and an ungrateful, horrible daughter. I don't mean to be.

Ugh this is so hard.

I've rambled. I'm sorry. I'm just so tired of trying to navigate the eggshells at home. So very tired.
 
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timing

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Jul 6, 2020
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Location
Indiana, USA
Know that under the best of circumstances caring for a family member is one of the hardest jobs.
I cared for my dad for the last years of his life. I cannot imagine what I would have done in your shoes.

One thing that is necessary for all caregivers is time for you. Could your brother come and stay with her so you could get away for a bit? I had a lot of siblings and sometimes I would have one stay with dad and I would spend the weekend with another.

I didn't escape my own depression and anxiety and was hospitalized once during those years. I do know if I had not had some time for me, I would have failed. Sometimes it takes getting the whole family involved with the care, especially in your situation. Gather the troops, so to speak.

Another possibility is to get Mom out of the house if there are any senior activities available in your area. She seems to need a major prospective change. Other than an out right intervention for Mom, I am not so sure your living situation is at all good for you.

I hope you can get some ideas from this forum on options. Lastly I will say, there is great honor in what you are doing. Keep reaching out where you can.
 
J

JeanPierre

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Jan 4, 2021
Messages
2,090
Location
Southern USA
I'm so sorry.
Both being a caretaker and/or living with family is hard. Especially a mother that makes you feel that way. Don't do anything rash. This is a good place.
I hope you find your answers. Peace tonight.
 
C

celticlass

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Scotland
Have you considered your mother may have an undiagnosed mental illness? Possibly even bipolar?
 
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timing

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67
Location
Indiana, USA
It might be help to call her GP before her next appointment and leave a message for him/her and give a list of her behaviors. Sometimes that generation will listen to the doctor and not a family member. It helps to be very specific of facts that are of concern for you.
 
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BeanieDownSouth

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Jan 26, 2021
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Thank you 💖

She's fairly autonomous now, so having someone stay with her isn't an issue at this point. Since Covid, she ventures out less, so I have more alone time. Concerts in the car, when I can sing loudly and badly ("badly" being the only way I can sing) does wonders for me. Brief respites in the midst of it all.

Your attentiveness to your father warms and breaks my heart. This is really difficult stuff.
 
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BeanieDownSouth

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Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
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35950
Have you considered your mother may have an undiagnosed mental illness? Possibly even bipolar?

Yes! My brother and I have discussed this. She went through a pretty awful depression after my Dad died, which is to be expected. But more is (and has been) going on than that. Mental illness runs through both sides of my family. The only "official" diagnoses are of my brother and me. Going by the rampant alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicides (attempts and, sadly, successes), mental illness is generational in our family. My mother's side included.

She doesn't trust psychology in any form and will NEVER seek treatment. She also will never take medication. She is terrible about that with "normal" doctors. Just going by my experiences as bipolar 2, and having friends who are bipolar 1 and unipolar depressives, I'd guess bipolar 2 for mom. I'll never know, though, nor will she. It's all hocus-pocus, BS, liberal "give-me-free-money" crap, she thinks. (Her words, not mine. Yeah, that makes me feel great and is really encouraging. Politics are anathema to me. I don't go there.)

My mother's father was, at least by anecdotal evidence and what I witnessed (and experienced) first-hand, a malignant narcissist. He could be a monster. He was a womanizer who demeaned my grandmother, my Mom, and my aunt (my mother's only sibling by my grandmother), though not the only sibling, as she and my aunt discovered later. He told my Mom, aunt, and grandmother repeatedly that they were pieces of ****, would "never amount to anything," and basically earned what they got from him, meaning nothing, really, except disdain, unless he wanted something from them.). So the issue is generational abuse, too. We're also fairly certain he actually murdered someone, but we don't have enough details to know where so that we ease another family's grief. I would in a heartbeat. He nearly killed a cousin with a hatchet (over some perceived slight), and the only reason my cousin didn't have him arrested for assault (or worse) was that my grandfather had already been diagnosed with throat cancer and was dying. Narcissistic injury (even so much as "no" to one of his seemingly benign requests) was always my grandfather's go-ahead for rage and violence. It was just awful. Don't for a moment think he spared his grandchildren that. He did not.

Oh the can of worms.

Neither my Mom nor my aunt rejected their "illegitimate" siblings. They'd all been victims of my grandfather's selfishness and bonded in that way (at least the ones who were receptive...yes, there were many). That bonding helped them heal, in an odd way, and I'm so thankful for that.

I don't doubt that my Mom's selfishness is, at least in part, a result of her father's. It was how she coped. How she still copes. (My aunt was the opposite. I'm more like her, I know.) I'm not saying that justifies any of my mother's behaviors. It doesn't. She's an adult who should know better. (She knows full well what living with a monster is like. She doesn't see herself as so much like him, though.) I'm only pointing out that it's a window into why she is how she is. Just one window, however.

I feel stuck. It's a generational nightmare. My brother and I try as best we can with the cards we've been dealt, so to speak. But he's not living with her. He knows that. She can give him hives within a couple hours. I've seen it happen. I, instead, just shut down entirely. I learned early in my life that expressed vulnerabilities can be used against you, oftentimes frequently, in the hands of the wrong person. One of those people is my mother.

TL;DR: yes, she's mentally ill in some way. That fact changes nothing. She will never get help, not even if a doctor she trusts tells her to. If it's not what she wants to hear, then it's fine to ignore it. Consequences be d****d.
 
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