My mum is mentally ill but I live away from home, what do I do?


#1

I'm a university student, living about a 2-3hour drive away from home. I only go home for a week or two at easter, summer, christmas. So I've only been home three times in the last year, and I moved out just over a year ago.

When I moved out the relationship between me and my mum was very poor. We argued a lot. She was very... odd at times too. Two occasions illistrate her odd behaviour really well. The first was when I was helping my little sister, who was about 12 at the time, with her homework project. I spent about 3 hours one evening sitting down with her at the computer and helping her make the powerpoint presentation. We showed it to dad when we were finished and he liked it, but mum thought it was rubbish and she even described it like that. Didn't have anything nice to say about it. She told me to do it again from the begining. I refused to do it again because me and my sister had spent so long on it. She refused to help my sister make all those changes that SHE wanted. My sister was happy with it. The argument went on for a while, and eventually my mum asked my dad to step in, and my dad took my side. My mum... went crazy. Ran upstairs and was crying hysterically, slamming doors, stomping her feet. The second example was when she was brushing my sister's hair. She was brushing quickly because my sister was almost late for school, and my mum must have brushed through a knot very quickly cause my sister cried out that mum had hurt her and had brushed through a horrible knot. My mum started shouting repeatedly "It wasn't me! It wasn't me! It wasn't me!".

She's aggressive and controlling as well. While living at home I boiled a kettle once everyone was in bed, it was about 10:30pm. Mum must have been awake, cause she came down, and shouted at me for daring to be so selfish, then she walked of. I went back into the living room alone, but she came back again to shout again. I got so frustrated I hit her. By that point I was suffering from depression and anxiety from the constant emotional abuse because of how everything I did was wrong, and it got too much. She slapped me full across the face and kicked me out of the house. I felt awful for hitting her - I didn't hit her hard, it was more like the kind of tap you'd give a child. I wasn't aiming to hurt, just to make a point of how angry I was and to try and get her to go away. At the time she had her face pressed up to mine and was spitting at me she was that angry. I was allowed back "home" again, but only a few weeks afterwards she kicked me out because I threw something (can't remember what) at a wall in frustration. I was frustrated because she confisgated my iPod and told me I could have it back if I did ___. I did do __ and therefore asked for it back. I was told I had to wait another 2 weeks to have my iPod back cause I was "cheeky for asking for it instead of waiting to be given it". My iPod was very important to me because I had no friends who would walk the 40mins to school with me, therefore it was the only company I had.

She is a hypocondriac but is afraid of doctors. She's also afraid of transport in case there's an accident (cars, trains, buses, etc). Also afraid of dying. She has relationship issues with her mum, and stepdad. She has never met her real dad, nor knows his name.

I moved away deliberately to a university far away, on the other side of England. Strangely though my mum agreed to pay half of my tuition fees, and she still helps now.

Things have changed a lot since I moved out. Here is the details divided up by holiday.

Christmas - I found it very hard coming back home, because it brought lots of negative memories back, I missed my boyfriend, and my mum was unusually nice. Eventually though the arguments started, and as normal my dad always had to take her side or she'll be mad at him too. Spent most of it on the phone in tears to my boyfriend.

Easter - My mum was still the same, but different. She wasn't going out as much. Not even to walk the dog. She was a lot more childlike in her personality. My boyfriend came with me this time, and even in front of him she was nasty. I started a lot of the arguments though, because I was frustrated with her being childlike and pretending everything was okay, and still had a grudge the next day, every day, because each day she'd argue with me in front of my boyfriend.

Summer - My mum was a social recluse. Hardly ever left the house. If she did, it was only with my dad, who is now working 7 days a week sometimes. She only ever went out with a walking stick cause she was scared of falling. She's only in her mid-40s. Was just as unbearable to talk to without arguing as normal.

I related all this information to some of my friends, and they think I should call my GP to express my concerns. What should I do? :( She's declining really fast, I'm worried about my dad working so much and how this is going to effect my little sister, I've been treated for depression, and when I was kicked out the school referred me to their counselling service and to the council for "family therapy" which never happened. I had to live at several different friend's houses for days at a time, and declare myself homeless at one point too. My school phoned my mum and told her I would have to declare myself homeless if she didn't take me back, and she said she didn't care.


#2

I'm so sorry to hear you're going through a tough time.

Have you talked to your Dad about your concerns? It may be that something is being done at home and since you're at school so much you're not seeing this. Or it could be that because your Dad is so close to the situation he can't see the forest through the trees, so to speak.

Another idea might be sit down with your Mom and mention that you're concerned for her and is everything okay? It could be that she's bottling some emotion up and it comes out very badly at times.

I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't necessarily go to a GP (I'm assuming that's a Doctor?) just yet before you talk to the parties closest involved. However, I definitely think that you need to make sure you're cared for (physically and emotionally) before taking on this other burden. Make sure you've got a roof over your head and are dealing with your depression professionally.


#3

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:1, topic:215283"]
I'm a university student, living about a 2-3hour drive away from home. I only go home for a week or two at easter, summer, christmas. So I've only been home three times in the last year, and I moved out just over a year ago.

When I moved out the relationship between me and my mum was very poor. We argued a lot. She was very... odd at times too. Two occasions illistrate her odd behaviour really well. The first was when I was helping my little sister, who was about 12 at the time, with her homework project. I spent about 3 hours one evening sitting down with her at the computer and helping her make the powerpoint presentation. We showed it to dad when we were finished and he liked it, but mum thought it was rubbish and she even described it like that. Didn't have anything nice to say about it. She told me to do it again from the begining. I refused to do it again because me and my sister had spent so long on it. She refused to help my sister make all those changes that SHE wanted. My sister was happy with it. The argument went on for a while, and eventually my mum asked my dad to step in, and my dad took my side. My mum... went crazy. Ran upstairs and was crying hysterically, slamming doors, stomping her feet. The second example was when she was brushing my sister's hair. She was brushing quickly because my sister was almost late for school, and my mum must have brushed through a knot very quickly cause my sister cried out that mum had hurt her and had brushed through a horrible knot. My mum started shouting repeatedly "It wasn't me! It wasn't me! It wasn't me!".

She's aggressive and controlling as well. While living at home I boiled a kettle once everyone was in bed, it was about 10:30pm. Mum must have been awake, cause she came down, and shouted at me for daring to be so selfish, then she walked of. I went back into the living room alone, but she came back again to shout again. I got so frustrated I hit her. By that point I was suffering from depression and anxiety from the constant emotional abuse because of how everything I did was wrong, and it got too much. She slapped me full across the face and kicked me out of the house. I felt awful for hitting her - I didn't hit her hard, it was more like the kind of tap you'd give a child. I wasn't aiming to hurt, just to make a point of how angry I was and to try and get her to go away. At the time she had her face pressed up to mine and was spitting at me she was that angry. I was allowed back "home" again, but only a few weeks afterwards she kicked me out because I threw something (can't remember what) at a wall in frustration. I was frustrated because she confisgated my iPod and told me I could have it back if I did ___. I did do __ and therefore asked for it back. I was told I had to wait another 2 weeks to have my iPod back cause I was "cheeky for asking for it instead of waiting to be given it". My iPod was very important to me because I had no friends who would walk the 40mins to school with me, therefore it was the only company I had.

She is a hypocondriac but is afraid of doctors. She's also afraid of transport in case there's an accident (cars, trains, buses, etc). Also afraid of dying. She has relationship issues with her mum, and stepdad. She has never met her real dad, nor knows his name.

I moved away deliberately to a university far away, on the other side of England. Strangely though my mum agreed to pay half of my tuition fees, and she still helps now.

Things have changed a lot since I moved out. Here is the details divided up by holiday.

Christmas - I found it very hard coming back home, because it brought lots of negative memories back, I missed my boyfriend, and my mum was unusually nice. Eventually though the arguments started, and as normal my dad always had to take her side or she'll be mad at him too. Spent most of it on the phone in tears to my boyfriend.

Easter - My mum was still the same, but different. She wasn't going out as much. Not even to walk the dog. She was a lot more childlike in her personality. My boyfriend came with me this time, and even in front of him she was nasty. I started a lot of the arguments though, because I was frustrated with her being childlike and pretending everything was okay, and still had a grudge the next day, every day, because each day she'd argue with me in front of my boyfriend.

Summer - My mum was a social recluse. Hardly ever left the house. If she did, it was only with my dad, who is now working 7 days a week sometimes. She only ever went out with a walking stick cause she was scared of falling. She's only in her mid-40s. Was just as unbearable to talk to without arguing as normal.

I related all this information to some of my friends, and they think I should call my GP to express my concerns. What should I do? :( She's declining really fast, I'm worried about my dad working so much and how this is going to effect my little sister, I've been treated for depression, and when I was kicked out the school referred me to their counselling service and to the council for "family therapy" which never happened. I had to live at several different friend's houses for days at a time, and declare myself homeless at one point too. My school phoned my mum and told her I would have to declare myself homeless if she didn't take me back, and she said she didn't care.

[/quote]


#4

[quote="takers, post:2, topic:215283"]
I'm so sorry to hear you're going through a tough time.

Have you talked to your Dad about your concerns? It may be that something is being done at home and since you're at school so much you're not seeing this. Or it could be that because your Dad is so close to the situation he can't see the forest through the trees, so to speak.

Another idea might be sit down with your Mom and mention that you're concerned for her and is everything okay? It could be that she's bottling some emotion up and it comes out very badly at times.

I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't necessarily go to a GP (I'm assuming that's a Doctor?) just yet before you talk to the parties closest involved. However, I definitely think that you need to make sure you're cared for (physically and emotionally) before taking on this other burden. Make sure you've got a roof over your head and are dealing with your depression professionally.

[/quote]

I'm not depressed at the moment, but I do have dark moments where I feel that way fairly often.

I haven't spoken to my dad about it recently, but I have mentioned it before about a year ago. He says that he knows she's "like that" sometimes, but its "just how she is" and I have to learn how to get on with her. If my dad disagrees with my mum, he just gets shouted at. I could try talking to him about it, but I know that if he speaks to mum she'll either be very defensive and come up with reasons justifying why she's like that, rather than turning the discussion into ways of overcoming her problems. My dad may get offended on her behalf if I suggest she gets some counselling to help with her confidence. I love my mum but it's difficult to love her as my mum sometimes.

I won't be able to speak to my parents face to face until christmas. If I mention it on the phone or, in fact, face-to-face, that she won't take me seriously. How do I come across as serious and help her overcome her fear of doctors?

A GP by the way is a doctor with extra qualifications who specialises in looking after people in the community. If you have a chest infection or something which doesn't require treatment in hospital, it's your GP's job. He also deals with people's sexual health (contraception, screening, pregnancy check-ups) and your mental health. One of their main roles is signposting you to other free services to help, or other professionals - mental health charities, physiotherapists, etc.


#5

Your mom sounds angry and depressed. Has she always been this way?

She also sounds controlling which is what people try to do when they feel their lives are out of control.

I would not go to your dad for mediation when your mom gets like this because it probably makes your mom feel as though her husband is against her when he should be supporting his wife. Even if she is wrong it's very important for a husband and wife to support each other.

Do you think your mom would like to see someone ? Would you even be able to ask her without upsetting her? Why isn't your father handling this if he knows your mom isn't doing well? He is the person who knows your mom best, so he should be dealing with this.
Can you talk to your dad about your concerns? If so,That's what I would do next.


#6

Praying.


#7

so now your sister is about 14? is her relationship generally as bad as yours was with your mother?

your father should be ashamed to let his children bear the brunt of uncontrolled mental illness. this is more his responsibility as it is your mother's. she's ill. unless he too is mentally ill, he has no excuse. his placating haSNT helped his children at all.

my only advice is towfold:

storm the gates of heaven-- never stop praying for yours and your sister's (especially) well-being. go to the Blessed Mother. ask her to mother you and sis.

and talk to your sis. let her vent. call her just to say hi. say a little prayer with her. write her letters. friend her on facebook, message her with support and love all the time. you two need each other because for one reason or another, your parents arent your stronghold. so be that for each other.


#8

Oh,my, this is difficult. You do need professionall support in this. I hope you get it. It is not easy to live on eggshells like you do. Yes, your poor mother is a bit out of her mind. Or a rather, a lot. Not surprised your father works a lot - probably prefers not being home. Perhaps you can appeal to him re: how much your 12 years old sister needs the presence of a normal parent. And a normal sister helps much too! Just your knowing* look* at your sister, when she is in the thick of something, acknowledging that what is happening to her is not fair and not right - that can save her from getting warped by the mistreatment. It validates her. Its a most valuable gift you can offer her. Even though you can't always be there.


#9

[quote="monicatholic, post:7, topic:215283"]
so now your sister is about 14? is her relationship generally as bad as yours was with your mother?

[/quote]

Strangly, their relationship is good. My mum always referred to my sister as her baby though. My sister is 14 yes. My sister though is a lot more tolerant of my mother than I was, so while my mother is acting strange my sister acts like my dad - does anything to placate/avoid/please her, including my mother's strange rules which change all the time. While I was at home, sometimes it was okay to turn the TV on without asking. Sometimes it wasn't. I aruged, my sister doesn't.

your father should be ashamed to let his children bear the brunt of uncontrolled mental illness. this is more his responsibility as it is your mother's. she's ill. unless he too is mentally ill, he has no excuse. his placating haSNT helped his children at all.

I always used to accuse my dad of being her lapdog. If me and/or my sister did something she didn't like, she'd call my dad in the room and without even asking what went on he'd come in and either hit one of us or send us to our rooms. And THEN ask her what went on.

my only advice is towfold:

storm the gates of heaven-- never stop praying for yours and your sister's (especially) well-being. go to the Blessed Mother. ask her to mother you and sis.

and talk to your sis. let her vent. call her just to say hi. say a little prayer with her. write her letters. friend her on facebook, message her with support and love all the time. you two need each other because for one reason or another, your parents arent your stronghold. so be that for each other.

I pray all the time. I will try to call my sister more often, I think when she grows up a bit more she'll start to question my mum's behaviour more, the same as me. I have personality problems which I think is due to my upbringing - I struggle to trust people, I'm anxious, and prone to depression.

Thanks everyone for your advice, I'm still stumped about how to ask my mum what's going on. :(


#10

When someone in you family is mentally ill, it's difficult to reason with them.(It very easy to understand why you often end up arguing with your mother) They just don't understand things from the other person's perspective. The mentally ill often think and act selfishly. It's one of the most frustrating things about them. It's hard to make them see their selfishness.

Some mentally ill people simply refuse to get help. My mom was alot like yours when I was growing up. She was always screaming and making up reasons to create drama and discord in the family. My dad's solution to the problem was to divorce mom. I wouldn't want this to happen to your family as it was the worst thing I have ever gone through.

Your dad has a obligation to care for your mother- that is his first priority.
Support your dad, encourge him to get good Catholic counselling, if he doesn't, accept that you can't change him either.

You and your sister can learn from your parents mistakes. You can make a very good life for yourselves. Just hearing that you pray, tells me that you are well on your way. Trust in God, He will guide you. I am also glad to hear that you are attending college this is a very good step toward living a sound independent life.

I hope this consoles you because I don't know if there is anything you can do to fix this one, but you can continue to do things for yourself that will make it better for you.

I'll say a prayer tonight for your family, God bless you!


#11

Thank you all.

Next time I speak to my dad on the phone I’m going to suggest he speaks to the family doctor next time he has to see him (my dad has recurring back problems so goes to the doctor’s regularly for medication and treatment). I’m not sure he will though. My dad has got used to living on eggshells.

I find it spiritually challenging. How am I supposed to honor my mother and father if I cannot respect my mother? I love her but I cannot respect her as a person. She’s done too much hurt.


#12

Hi - I just wanted to give you some encouragement. My husband had a similar situation. He even had to leave college to rush home, 4 hours away, to pick up his mother who was wandering the streets of her town naked. She was in and out of psychiatric wards in his childhood. Very young, he was shunted to relatives, but later he relied on his 10 year old brother to feed him and care for him.

Life was very, very difficult, and my husband suffered from guilt and self-loathing and depression. It wasn't until a Christmas visit to the psychiatric ward on an emergency visit when the staff's chief psychiatrist took him aside and said, "this isn't my place, and you aren't my patient, but I'm very concerned about YOU, not your mother." He said that when someone is that far gone, that it was my husband's responsibility to himself and God to get on with his own life, and that in his professional opinion, that meant just cutting off all contact, at least for a while.

Now, years later, my husband is a terrific husband, unbelievably caring father to our son with special needs, and enjoys a good life. He still struggles with depression at times, and regret that he had such a horrid childhood and young adulthood through no fault of his own. But all in all, he is so happy that he chose life instead of drowning in the mess that was his mother.

Sorry you are going through all this, but wanted you to know you aren't the only one and only you can CHOOSE to move forward and cherish the blessing of life that you received from God.


#13

sojo - Thank you for that bittersweet summary of your husband’s early life. Thankfully my mother is not that ill, but I fear that if I don’t intervene my mum could get worse. I hope that your husband beats his depression and continues to be a blessing to your family. :slight_smile: Thank you for your words of support also.


#14

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:13, topic:215283"]
sojo - Thank you for that bittersweet summary of your husband's early life. Thankfully my mother is not that ill, but I fear that if I don't intervene my mum could get worse. I hope that your husband beats his depression and continues to be a blessing to your family. :) Thank you for your words of support also.

[/quote]

LemonAndLime, I am very sorry for your family situation. I will pray for you and your family.

I don't know your mother or your other family members but I do sense the frustration you feel. I think you have to look carefully at sojo's story about her husband and the advice given to him by the psychiatrist. You can have a good life. But it may not be a good life that includes the kind of relationship you'd like to have with your mother, or even with your father.

I'm going to tell you something that you know but may not have thought about it this way. Your mom's apparent mental illness may not be super serious but it's evidently bad enough. Imagine that your mom thought that the laws of gravity did not apply to her. She would be probably be constantly getting hurt and being very frustrated when she fell or dropped things. She'd wonder what was wrong since the world wasn't working normally. And she'd be angry with other people and think that they are deliberately trying to annoy her when they suggest to her that she ought to behave like gravity works the way it works. From your mom's perspective there is something wrong with everyone else because because they are not recognizing the "truth" about gravity. Now imagine that your father and your sister are doing their best to make it so your mom can continue to believe she doesn't need to worry about gravity. But you keep trying to convince your mother that she needs to believe in gravity. It makes you seem like the problem member of the family.

Your mom has some problems that are not unlike disbelieving in gravity. And your father doesn't want to fight with her about it. Neither does your sister. They think life is easier if they just let your mother think and behave what her illness is telling her is "true". It will be a lot of work to convince her she has the problem (rather than everyone else and needs to get treatment. Your dad does not really want to do that work. You want your mom to act a way she can't unless she gets help to fix the wrong thinking in her brain.

You can pray for your Mom and and family. You can encourage your father to try and get help for her. But you can't expect to fix things. When you came up with the title for this thread I think you meant it to be a problem that you live away from home. I think that living away from home is very like the solution to your problem.


#15

That is an interesting way of looking at it and it is spot on, that is the situation exactly. I will pray and hope that Our Lady interceeds on my sister's behalf to give her the motherly support my sister may lack in time as my mother is surely getting worse.

I agree; I think that moving away was the best thing that I could have done for myself. I just considor myself selfish for it sometimes, especially as my parents continue to support me.


#16

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