Mother - Depressed / Victim
So we've had an interesting upbringing to say the least, with both parents having their own challenges within mental health. Don't get me wrong, I too have and will always suffer from anxiety and also a Nurse, so I have a very good understanding of mental health and have seen it and lived with it first hand, for as long as I can remember.
Unfortunately, my Mum is our biggest challenge. Yes, she suffers from mental health issues and has for as long as I can remember.
The challenge is that she is very good at playing the victim. Even when we were younger she never put in any real effort as a Mum, and was very good with words to show her way of love but no true demonstration was shown. A lot of weird behaviours, instances but I've moved on from that.
She has isolated herself entirely, never engaged in family gatherings, she has no relationship with her siblings or family and our Dad is much closer to her family than as she is. One of my siblings has cut all ties with her years ago, so in my opinion that alone speaks volumes. She is good at telling the same ol story, tearing people down to better herself. She has nephews now and still, she will find any excuse for her absence. It's always someone else's fault but hers.
I carry a lot of internal guilt, anger, sadness and concern for my parents, specifically my Mum.
I guess my question is if anyone has ever felt torn between a mental illness VS someone who just plays the victim and self sabotages their own relationships, its a fine line and I guess my guilt comes from the fact that she does suffer from chronic depression and anxiety but her dialogue has always been her playing the victim, she has and does no wrong ever. I guess that's why throughout the years I've never seen a true transformation or ah ha moment because honest to God, in her eyes she has never done wrong. EVER!
Anytime I try and kindly suggest otherwise it turns into her playing the victim even more, some tears and there is your manipulation.
What can I do? I am losing a lot of patience in this matter but I am the one who carries the guilt.
It's been like this for so long and her behaviour has become so predictable. Everyone around her has essentially given up on her, as people are exhausted by the merry go round and it really leaves it on me and one/two other members.
I am suffering in all of this and I am at a loss.
Welcome here to the Forum.
I have a suspicion that the more conatact you have with your mother the more guilt you will feel. I also suspect that one can get overly caught up in trying to decide if a person is ill, and thus needs endless help, or is simply a person that acts in an unacceptable manner, someone OK to avid.
When I was around 20 I had an ongoing dispute with very controlling parents. Although I was, in my eyes, doing right I still felt a great deal of guilt as a dutiful son. I was eventually disinherited and still felt guilt, even thogh that was not of my choosing.
As time went on I actually found my parents had unwittingly done me a favor. Guilt faded, my common sense prevailed and my life improved immeasurably, and remained that way.
It could well be that their over-control and back and white thinking resulted from mental conditions, in fact I suspect they did at least in part, however I was not in a position to deal with them. As it turned out attending to my own life was the correct thing to do.
Irrespective of the rights and wrongs concerning you mother's motivations you are not a bottomless well of strenght, and giving permanent open-ended support drains a person down until they can become ill themselves.
If you look at you own state and anxiety condition realistically do you think continuing on as you have been is a viable long-term solution?
May I ask if you have support, and someone caring to talk things over with?
I know you love your mother but I really think it's time to put yourself first. Your health and wellbeing matters, and I am concerned about the harm this relationship is doing to you.
For whatever reason your mum has fallen into the role of the victim and there doesn't seem to be any evidence to indicate that she will change. The only thing that can change is how you react to her. I know this because I have an aunt whose behaviour is very similiar to that of your mother.
I'd like to suggest you set up some boundaries for your relationship with your mum in order to protect yourself. You decide how much you can give to her and take from her.
Take a few steps back, a giant leap or walk away. In my case I limit contact with my aunt to her birthday and Christmas. It's okay to put yourself first. In fact, it's critical.
If you're having trouble letting go of the guilt I hope you will seek professional help. It gets better.
Kind thoughts to you
So sorry to hear how you have been suffering with this challenge and for so many years.
Something I have learned over time and have passed onto my teenagers involves how to use guilt as a constructive thing (by the way, I'm still mastering it). If we see guilt as asking us 'Who do I want to be?', it becomes like a compass of sorts, pointing us in the best direction. For example: 'I want to be someone who is supportive towards my mum but (at the same time) not supportive in her way of thinking or her behaviour'.
Wondering if your mum's inability to acknowledge responsibility is tied in with very low self-esteem. Of course, when self-esteem is low, it can be easier to blame rather than go on an internal search for answers and growth. A fantastic book regarding examining and developing self-esteem is 'The Six Pillars of Self-esteem' by Nathaniel Branden. In giving you the six pillars, I ask how many of these your mum practices in life (which may give you some insight into why she behaves the way she does):
- The practice of living consciously
- The practice of self-acceptance
- The practice of self-responsibility
- The practice of self-assertiveness
- The practice of living purposefully
- The practice of personal integrity
Of course, people won't reassess their way of thinking whilst they're refusing to take responsibility for it. It's a heavy burden for you to be taking the responsibility for your mum's way of thinking, in some ways. It's also highly frustrating, tiring and angering, playing that role.
If low self-esteem is an underlying issue, wondering if you've ever considered getting to the bottom of why or how this has come about. Do you know much about your mum's upbringing or her earlier years, before she had kids. Personally, I have a friend who is pretty negative and resentful of people but I love her especially because I'm aware of what caused her way of thinking. Throughout her life, most of the key players were subtly emotionally and mentally abusive towards her. She is a pretty defensive person and I can understand this self-defense mechanism to some degree. I do not support her way of thinking because it's destructive to her well-being but I'm supportive in other aspects regarding her life.
Definitely a tough one for you Kija as parents are typically supposed to act as guides in our life. Rarely do we receive instructions when it comes to how to best guide them.
Take care of your self and pay homage to your inner beauty, it is magnificent
Hello Kija, I'm sorry for what's been happening but it's not an uncommon problem.
What seems to be happening is that believes she is the victim and tends to push friends and family away, but you need to know is that no one has the right to make you feel bad.
No matter what she considers you or anyone has done wrong or what she thinks you should have done differently, you have to try and don’t let her make you doubt yourself.
You have a right that she treats you and anyone else who is still around with respect.
Never blame yourself for what has happened, nor think that you deserve it or that it is because you did something wrong, you certainly haven't.
Focus on the people you like and who make you feel better and stay away from her if you feel it's needed, make some distance, and to be affected by your mother is not doing you any good.