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I moved out to live abroad and my Mum can't cope with the situation

Community Member

Hi there,

I am seeking some advice on my situation.

My Mum has had increased anxiety issues since I was born (I am an only child), and has had depression since my parents separated. We lived in France but my father was from Australia. After my studies I decided to move to Australia for a year. This triggered a great crisis in my Mum's life, who despite having a partner at the time, could not handle having her daughter so far away. She had episodes of depression, and started drinking.

I returned to France after a year, but was then offered a permanent job in Australia and decided to go back. As soon as she heard the news, the drinking became worse, she threatened to commit suicide, and made me feel very guilty. She was working at the time; as soon as the weekend came, she would start harassing me over the phone, saying horrible things to me hoping I would change my decision. She started victimising herself, and would only consider her view of the situation. My family and friends told me I could not live for my mother and that I had to stick with my decision. So I left again for Australia. I soon met a partner there. After a couple of years of depression and alcoholism, with me worrying everyday of what my Mum would be capable of doing to herself, she hit the bottom and considered seeking help. After a few months of therapy and medication, she got over the alcoholism problem. 

Our relationship went back to normal, we talked and messaged more often, she was happy and went back to catching up with friends/family and doing activities.  Soon after though, her partner passed away. I went back to France for funerals but had to come back to Australia for my work. A few months later, she had a major depression again, not coping with loneliness, and stopped taking her anti-depressants properly. She was placed in an psychiatric institution, and after a few weeks of therapy and new medication finally came out of it. 

This recovery episode didn't last for long. She then retired and recently had to place her Mum in a retirement home. Now, she is feeling more lonely than ever and cries every time we Skype, saying she isn't happy by herself, and that she cannot live without me.

I'm not a depressive person myself. Throughout the years, I listened, helped her seeking help, consulted her friends and family to help with various things. But since we have been through this for so many years now and I see no improvement, I just don't know what to do anymore. Any thoughts?

2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi ladybird, welcome here

Your family and friends are correct with their advice. But I'd take it a bit further. All of my advice however might not entirely fit your situation so take from it what you will.

I cant think of many other threats worse than the threat of suicide. I've had this myself ay the tender age of 10 when my mother grabbed a bottle of Valium (I didn't even know what they were at the time) and stopped her feet like a child and said she'd swallow all of them if I didn't do ask she commended. Then at my age of 27 she did the same if I didn't break of with a girlfriend she didn't like. Then I read one chapter of a book from the GROW organisation called "emotional blackmail" and it all fitted in place. A short time later my mother threatened to "go up the country for a few weeks if I didn't do as she demanded...my reply "do you want me to help you pack"

From then on I had a lot of friction between us. But I learned that she had big issues that should be tackled be professionals. She never got that help, total denial.

In my mothers case (maybe your mothers to) I realised in 2010 that she might be suffering cronic BPD.I read Dr Christine Lawsons book "Walking on egg shells". You can get an idea of this concept by googling "waif,queen,hermit,witch". Well worth your while reading up on these 4 characters.

You need to get to a place (if you haven't already) of resisting her controlling ways and making you feel guilty. In my case once I realised my mother was wrong and she was not going to admit it (ever) then if she carried out her threats then what ever the consequences I was not to blame.

In my case I also had the ghost claims of heart attacks, going blind, living a short life, and so on. She is 83 now and from what I've heard is in good health. I have made the decision (along with my sister) of not ever seeing her again. Such has been the impact of her behaviour. It's been 5 years now and the longer I am separated the better I feel. Sad as it is. She has left a train wreck where ever she has been...split up families, ruined my first wedding, manipulated many and to this day has caused me to lose many of my relatives. Her manipulation is such that her sister in laws, nephews etc side with her. But I ask them "I never get involved with your arguements with your family, how is it you get involved with mine"?  Because my mothers demoning is so effective.

And your mothers drinking is added to all this

Have a read.

Tony WK

Thank you very much for your reply and advice. Some food for thought indeed.

I have considered cutting bonds but I am not sure I would cope with the consequences much better. I will definitely work towards finding a safe place for me. In the past couple of days she has decided to use the mean approach, again, where she tells me very hurtful things about our past, I am not sure to achieve what purpose though. I guess its her way to show her loneliness and her pain of having me so far away. But it feels like she wants to make me unhappy too, so that she's not the only one. 

 I really like my life here in Australia and I am truely happy with the people around me. Of course I miss part of my life back in France, but I still am happy. I feel the only things that brings me down is her and her ups and downs. 

I am considering seeing a psychologist to help me figure out the best way to deal with this situation for myself. 

 I'll also look into BPD which I had never heard about before. 

Thanks again.