Drama with my Mom

I come here writing to you guys for suggestions and advice. I am 25 years old and happily married. My parents divorced when I was young and I grew up living with my Mom. Over the span of the last few years (especially since I’ve gotten married and moved out of the house) my Mom has been growing more and more depressed and angry. She doesn’t work and was living off of my Dad’s support. She is constantly worried about everything. She worries about money, about things breaking down in her house, and being alone. She is the most depressed person I have ever met! A majority of her conversations end with her talking about how she can’t wait to die. More times than not I feel like the mother and her a teenage girl! I know she is lonely but she refuses to go out and do stuff. I have insisted that she get involved with the parish so she can meet people but she just spends her days locked away in her house. I have tried having conversations with her about the importance of finding her strength in God. But anything I tell her goes in one ear and out the other. I even found a therapist that she could go talk to, but once again she refuses to go. So now I always end up feeling lousy whenever I talk to her so barely ever call her, but I love her very much (after all she is my mom). All I have been doing for her is praying for her, but I don’t know how I should act around her or how often I should call her. It’s hard when our conversations are nothing but her complaining about things. She pushes her stresses on to me and I become stressed out. What do you guys think I should do? It’s hard for me to see my Mom so sad. I hate seeing people upset, especially people I love.

Depression is an illness and someone doesn’t get over it by simply wanting to. Encourage your mother to see her doctor and keep encouraging/nagging until she does. Treat this the way you would treat it if she were running a fever or showing some other physical symptom.

It sounds like you’ve tried everything possible to get her motivated to get help. It’s easy to give advice to someone else, but I did have a similar problem with my father, though no where near as bad as yours. In this and other similar situations I think it’s best to decide, since you love her and she is your Mom, and you don’t want to abandon her completely, decide ahead of time how much time you want to give her: for instance one phone call a week as long as she wants to talk. Listen and be respectful but don’t feel that you have to solve her problem. I used to make (what I thought) were helpful suggestions and then leave it to my father whether or not to accept them, and I would talk about things that I knew he was interested in (or had been interested in), to give him something positive to think about, and also remind him of the good times and tell him how much I had enjoyed them, and appreciated them and him. I prepared ahead of time for things I wanted to talk about, not just follow him down a gloomy path. I also told him when I wanted to go somewhere, like a concert, and that I needed some company, so he would come for my sake and then he would enjoy it. I befriended him. It took me quite a while but I started to look on it as a challenge. I read books and looked for helpful suggestions from others. I thought of all the times he had helped me as a child and realized that now it was my turn to help him, and looking at it that way stopped me from feeling resentful. We both had our Catholic faith in common and that was a big help. I wish you good luck and hope these thoughts have been helpful.

if she were having chest pains, repeated low blood sugar episodes, symptoms of cancer or any other illness what would you do? she is ill and desperately in need of medical care. do what is in your power to see she gets it.

I am with Puzzleannie on this one - and one thing you might want to try is saying to her, “That is so sad Mom but you are sick and need help. When are you going to get it?” after everything she says.

I had to do that with a relative only I had to say it like this: that is interesting information you are giving me, but the problem is you are an alcoholic and you won’t stop drinking.

It took a year but eventually he stopped drinking to prove to me that it was not the drinking that was causing him all his problems.

Today he has three years of continuous sobriety and his 11 year old told him yesterday that he was the best dad in the entire world.

I guess he showed ME.

I am sorry for your struggles. All I can say is a phrase that someone once kept repeating to me:

“Good boundaries make for good relationships.”

Amen to that

I want to thank everyone for your replies. I plan on calling her today to see how she is doing. Some days she seems fine while other days she is very disturbed. She is very much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I think I just need to be more frank with her. I’ve always been afraid to be bold with her because I don’t want to hurt her feelings or anything, but I’ve realized that that is what I need to do. I’ll continue to urge her to seek help, I just know every time I mention it she claims she can’t afford help. I guess with God’s strength I’ll figure something out. Thanks again for your advice!

I know first-hand how difficult it is to deal with a depressed mother. Something that I’ve had to remind myself many times over is that I cannot fix her problems. I can encourage her to get to the doctor, but I can’t fix her.

Make sure to tell your mom that you love her, but please keep trying to get her to seek help.

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