I am finally coming to accept that my mother has a variety of mental illnesses.
I’ve known all my life something was wrong.
Mostly I have ignored it, and even joked about it, trying to blow off steam.
Nothing was ever good enough for my mother. If I came home with B’s on my report card, she would want to know why they weren’t A’s, saying that “I could have done better.”
My father only talked to me about how to fix something. He never shared much about his life, other than stuff about his job. He would tell stories for hours that went on about nothing. In lieu of parenting us, my mother just bought stuff for my sister and me.
Mom was also a bulimic. Day after day when I was growing up, I would hear her in the bathroom throwing up after every meal. If we asked about it, she would deny it and change the subject. Dad defended her and said it was “none of our business.”
My grandmother knew they were incapable of parenting so we stayed over at her house as much as possible. My grandmother basically raised me from the time I was 12 years old. I moved in with her and took care of her after her first heart attack.
Sadly, I was an adult from that day on. I cooked, cleaned and ran her house. We had a great relationship.
Then, my grandmother found out I was gay. She told me I was a sinner, an embarrassment, and told me I wasn’t her grandchild anymore unless I was “healed.”
So I moved out on my own for the first time. We didn’t speak for years.
After Granny died, and later, my father, Mom was on her own. For the first time in her life, she had control of the bills.
It took her less than two years to spend all of the money in the saving accounts that both my dad and granny had left. She then mortgaged her home in order to go shopping and go to the bingo halls. She recently moved in with me because she had no choice: it was me or the streets. She couldn’t manage her money and had gambled it away.
Mom has always been controlling, She gets mad if I leave the house without telling her where, when, and why, even calling my friends to find out where I am. She argues with me over everything: the food, and even the type of trash bags I buy.
She claims that “I owe her” and refuses to chip in with the utilities.
If she is driving in the car with my sister or me and she doesn’t like the music or the conversation, she tells us that she’s going to ram the car into a tree.
She is home all day alone while I go to work. When I get home, if she hasn’t already called me ten times, she has had the whole day to get worked up about something – anything. She will unload on me as soon as I walk in the door.
She gets “nervous” about some story on the local news, or something she heard on the police scanner she listens to all day, or something horrible a friend told her about, and has to tell me that it could happen to me so I must be careful.
Almost every night is a war and a screaming fit complete with her shaking her fists and slamming my door. The next day, she says “Good Morning,” like it never happened.
Tonight she screamed at me, told me to go to hell, and stay there and slammed my bedroom door. I can’t stand it anymore, she refuses to go to a doctor. Tonight I told her if she didn’t get help, I would call an ambulance and force her to see a doctor. I have no support, no family to help.
She badmouths me to her friends, and they always act like I’m such a jerk.
Despite how it sounds, I love my mother.
I know there is help for her, but she will not go. She says therapy is stupid, and she just bites her nails when she gets upset.
Balancing compassion for a mentally ill person and the need for self preservation is incredibly daunting. I have struggled with this my entire life with my mother. I absolutely get this. Big love to you.