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Let the Past Go or Simply Go

Catherine Z8-ish PNW
7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

My Mother was always extremely difficult. It seems that she was very damaged as a child, probably by her mother.

We have been estranged off and on since my teenage years when my Father had me removed from her home, for cause.

As she is 88yo and not of good health I have been reaching out to her. This is what I have heard from her in the last week:

--Unbelievably nasty talk about a lovely neighbor of hers who is active in the Church that my Father and his Partner and I attend together.

--Playacting and lying about my ring that she wanted me to give her for some bizarre reason. Completely acting.

--She criticizes driving six miles to reach a mall 'walking' destination, citing the cost. OMG! She has more than ample funds to do with as she pleases. She knows I drive about the same on most days, to my post office and Hospital (where I walk). She prefers to walk around her traffic-exhaust polluted, stagnant, land-locked lake. With me! Hello? Even without COPD issues I have lung cancer. Can you spell mold and fungal spores and traffic pollution?

--She knows I have severe Agorophobia and it is vital to my well-being that I get out most days around plenty of people. Not for a walk in COPD hell with her.

I am willing to let the past be the past and she does not seem to be willing to do that. (For over 40 years she has refused to get professional help.)

Everytime we have a conversation she seems to be making 'pointed' references or asking 'pointed' questions ... about what exactly, I have no idea. My answers are usually off-the-cuff and then later I think of a much better, truly definitive answer.

I am extremely uncomfortable around her.

What can I possibly do?

(I have been trying to hang on until this Fall when I will begin an accounting program at a local school and work towards finalizing my divorce and re-achieving my independence.)

Comments (52)

  • Suzieque
    7 years ago

    Catherine - I'm so sorry for your struggles. From what you've posted, I believe that your mother is damaged. That damage doesn't need to be passed on to you. You deserve your own functional life.

    I expect that you will be kind to your mother. But work to make yourself happy. My best to you.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Suzieque
  • Jak Perth
    7 years ago

    Well, suck it up and be kind to your mother. When she is gone you've I'll have no regrets. Been there.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Jak Perth
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  • lucillle
    7 years ago

    Catherine,

    You sound extremely stressed. You already have indicated that you know that your Mom isn't going to change.

    What would make things better for you right now?

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked lucillle
  • User
    7 years ago

    Somewhere along the way, your mom's brain got damaged permanently. It fractured and now she is who she is. I'm sure it makes you sad on so many levels.

    I hope you can speak with a professional that can help you deal with the grief of knowing you will never know what good, pure motherly love is.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked User
  • User
    7 years ago

    blfenton- you're a saint for taking care of your mother! She doesn't deserve you.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked User
  • sushipup1
    7 years ago

    Boundaries! Set your own personal boudaries and stick to 'em. Like blfenton says, you choose the time and means of contacting her. And stick to it. No one can make you do anything. Just shrug and say, sorry I can't do that. And don't make excuses or tell stories or even explain. Just, sorry, I can't do that. Keep repeating yourself until you are comfortable saying it!

    Good luck, don't let her push you around.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked sushipup1
  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks to everybody! I agree with a lot of things said, I just feel completely powerless around her and as scared as I was as a child. :-(

    I need my body to be well so that I can move forward.

    Agree re setting boundaries. I have told her for several months that I would drive her to medical and shopping. Her response is pursed lips saying "Well that's all well and good..." In her speak that means she wants something more and I am not willing to give more at this time.

    She w.a.n.t.s. a companion and n.e.e.d.s. a friend. I am neither.

    Aaaack!!

  • gyr_falcon
    7 years ago

    Although we each have to make our own decisions, I agree with what blfenton wrote. After my last parent died, by biggest regret was not having walking away from both of them completely at 18 years of age. All those additional years of trying, and caregiving, only resulted in more heartache and damage. Nothing good came of it.

    That you wrote "I'm not angry, I'm scared." worries me. Do you know exactly what is scaring you? Don't feel guilty about taking care of yourself, even if it means letting go of her. You are not responsible for what happened to her, but she is responsible for how she treats you. ((hugs))

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked gyr_falcon
  • chisue
    7 years ago

    Why are you 'reaching out' to her now? What do you want from the relationship? What does your mother want? Are your expectations realistic? Are hers?

    My late MIL was a superbly manipulative person. Once I decided what I was comfortable 'owing' her (respect because she was my MIL), I was comfortable ignoring her unreasonable demands. As soon as I set limits, she stopped behaving badly. It was quite a revelation to me!

    What therapy have you had? Do you have someone now who could help you establish a direction for your future?


    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked chisue
  • socks
    7 years ago

    You absolutely need to take care of yourself emotionally. If this means distancing yourself, then so be it. If you fall apart from the stress of the situation, you won't be able to take care of yourself or her. Do the best you can while keeping yourself in a healthy mental state. Don't feel guilty. Treat yourself right.

    I agree with many here, especially blfenton.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked socks
  • Elmer J Fudd
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't believe in automatic relationships, whether with family, with partners or with friends. Relationships can be earned (and that takes mutual effort) or burned (that can be done by either party). It sounds like your mother has been burning her relationship with you for decades - why would you think anything will change now? And why are you allowing her to continue to cause you grief, that's her pattern and that's what she likes to do to you. Wake up! It's her problem, don't allow her to make it yours too.

    I had a parent whose attitudes in later years served to burn our relationship beyond repair. I walked away and it was a great relief when I did so. I refused to be a victim of their toxic words and conduct. It was an easy decision and one I'm still glad I made.

    blfenton, a firestorm? Only one of support. You're doing more than many would under the circumstances. My nasty parent, who outlived the saintly one, spent their last years without any contact with me or most of our family. They weren't lacking for care, more than enough money was available to provide for that. Life is about choices and they made that choice for themself.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • blfenton
    7 years ago

    mimipadv - You actually need to hear the voices in my head of what I would like to be saying to her - not so saint-like I guarantee you!

    She w.a.n.t.s. a companion and n.e.e.d.s. a friend. I am neither. Exactly!

    Home caregiver companies often have a companion option. If she would go along with that it might be an option to check out.

    But I can't stress this enough - take care of yourself first and as sushipup said - set personal boundaries.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked blfenton
  • nanny98
    7 years ago

    I could write YOUR book, or been there, done that, don't need a do-over.

    Mine's been gone for 20 years now, and I am almost the age she was when she passed away. In the intervening years, I have learned more about her life than I knew when she was alive. And, sadly, feel very differently about her and all the "ugliness" that seemed to burden our relationship in her waning years. I spent my young married years with my USMC husband and family living abroad and on the east coast.....24+ years, so returning to "the families" required skills MY family (of 5) had not developed or needed.....and continuing to cling to MY family (of 5) was pretty easy. Then my nest was empty and Mother became elderly and life got very tough like yours. I had many sessions with a University student phycologist (in training-like, just before graduating) and he helped me to learn to set boundaries with her....many of those sessions were recorded and shared with other students; and we did some role reversal so I could become more assertive with her. It often is challenging for a child (even at age 45)to be firm (and caring) while firmly setting boundaries. The hardest boundary that was difficult for me was her constant criticizing all the other Grands and especially re-hashing every fault my father ever had, and more, before his death long ago. I was able to do that....but it took lots of effort to constantly remind her that the subject she wanted to focus on was off limits or I was leaving....or she must leave. IT. WAS .HARD. At least for me to be "on guard" so often made things tense for some time. Unfortunately, I never learned to "like" her during her lifetime. I did care for her, and wished so hard that she could get past all the "negative" stuff that she was so insistent on keeping in her mind....but it never happened. And 'm sorry that she was so tortured by others' inadequacies.

    Today, I have admiration for her. By Golly she fought her way to the West and a better life for her two girls (me included). When I look at the photo's that I am proud to own, I see how she (probably) fought her way from that farm in Ohio and saw the Golden Gate in her future and grabbed the opportunity to reach for it. She sewed our clothes and drilled in our manners so we fit in with "the society" of haves that her Uncle showed her....pushed her DH beyond his dream to fulfill hers and became successful in that (then ) great city of San Francisco. It could not have been easy. I have had such a good life. I believe my DH's mother was cut from the same cloth....just a bit different in that she changed DH's frequently and died young; but instilled that ethic of reaching for something better and believing in honesty and our country above all. We and our children are all educated, worldly and wise beyond our parents highest expectations........and, you know.....I think our Mothers can rest on their laurels for that.

    My long last advice? Set Boundaries....Tell her the Boundaries. ("I can not go there with you" "I know ........bothers you and is on your mind, I have heard your complaint. I understand. I have to leave if you go there. Kindly)

    I hope you can discover the tribulations that she has suffered to get to this place in her life and understand, perhaps what made her the way she is. Best of luck

    (BTW...at this point in my comments, I usually press delete. I'm not often willing to share these ramblings)

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked nanny98
  • User
    7 years ago

    My parents are pretty much the same age as your mom. I totally get you.

    I get frustrated, too. I wish I didn't, because I would like to be assured that my children will think kindly of me when I am old and alone. I think the both of us can only do our very best under the circumstances we are in.

    I just wanted to give you a virtual hug...


    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked User
  • bengardening
    7 years ago

    I work in a nursing home. One of the head nurses told me some of the residents children stop for 10 or 15 minutes after work. It works out for everyone. You don't run out of things to talk about and they at least know you are thinking about them.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked bengardening
  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You people are the absolute best! I could cry for all this support!

    She refuses to discuss the past. Nanny, oddly enough she did hitchhike to Seattle from Boston. Married, had 3 kids, divorced and my wonderful Dad paid forever for everything for years. He still feels guilty for not staying. Her motto was, "I am a woman alone." Refused every date, etc.

    I used to feel so sorry for her, until she started confiding 'friend' things to me. That made me feel like I just wanted her to stop. I knew even in elementary school that her behavior was wrong.

    Now she has a $.5M home (paid for), blah, blah, blah.

    DH here gotta go

  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Anyway, my goal has been to see if we could establish enough of a relationship with her so that I can check in on her 1-2 times a week. Take her the places she needs to get. Get food, Rx to her per her needs.

    DH was here briefly and said she wants help with her garden. One acre. I am underwater with my quarter or third or whatever. Some surgeries pending also.

    I will probably regret it but I am going there right now because I cannot stanf this f drama.

  • blfenton
    7 years ago

    And this is when you have her hire a gardener/lawn maintenance firm. If she can't or won't then that's when it's time for her to sell her place.

    My DH went through this garbage with his mother. He hired a lawn maintenance/gardening company for her 1/2 acre and she had to give up the idea of having that perfect garden.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked blfenton
  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I absolutely believe that she will not enter any type of care facility or hire anyone. Too cheap.

  • sushipup1
    7 years ago

    Well, then, her yard can just go to hell, can't it now? It's not your problem.


    You said: "I will probably regret it but I am going there right now because I cannot stand this f drama." Wrong. You going over there just creates the drama. If you don't feed her little tantrums, the drama will be reduced. I know this is difficult, but you've got lots of people here to talk to and to help you thru it.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked sushipup1
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    7 years ago

    I cannot stanf this f drama.

    Then don't. I'm so terribly sorry that you are dealing with such a horrible disease as lung cancer and COPD. What is most important right now is that you do everything you can to get and keep yourself healthy.

    I understand about wanting a relationship with your mother and applaud your facing into it head on, but if it's too much, then don't do it...or do just what you can and no more. Take on only the exposure and responsibility that you feel serves you as a person, and seek that balance between her wants (unlimited) and your resources (limited) that will allow you to keep your self respect and your health.

    Accept the fact that at 88, she's certainly not going to change. If she changes at all, it will be that she'll become even more so as the "brain filters" that keep us from saying inappropriate things seem to deteriorate with age. So it's going to be a matter of finding how you can change your reactions to her to make your time with her more tolerable. I know role reversal is hard, but it is essential as we get older. You are no longer the child who is dependent on her. She is the an elderly adult who is dependent on you. You get to set the rules now.

    I think a lot of parent care is like an airline flight...put your own oxygen mask on first before you try to help someone else put on theirs.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • maggie200
    7 years ago

    I hope you find or have a good friend for yourself. Maybe there is no one now but that could be a goal to get out and share with others. There are so many who have stories inside them. I hope there is a special person again for you. If she has the insurance for an assistant that will help you. What you really need is someone to pull you out. We all need one or can be one.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked maggie200
  • lily316
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's good to know not everyone has had an Ozzie and Harriet upbringing. You need to put yourself and your health first and foremost. Your mother will never change. Mine didn't. Maybe it has something to do with the period in time they were children. When I see how young parents interact with their kids today, I am so jealous. Neither one of my parents ever gave me a compliment. Mine had the perfect marriage made in heaven, and I was the intruder and only child. I did my duty at the end by putting her in a lovely senior community a few miles from my house. There was never a thank you or any kind of appreciation. I went over every night after she had dinner in their dining hall, and visited for 15 minutes ....getting her mail and seeing if she needed anything from the store. But as for socializing....no. Only at Xmas or other holidays , but not on a regular basis. These mothers have to realize we can remember the slights and nastiness they inflicted on us as children. So limit your time with her. It will help your sanity.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked lily316
  • OklaMoni
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    BL and I must have very similar mothers. However I live clear across the Atlantic from mine. I have a clear conscience, even if I have no contact, except when I am in the country. And then only on my terms. She gave me life, and I sent money if there is a need. My sister is there, and makes sure nothing is lacking.

    No one can shame me in to doing or feeling anything more, no one but my siblings know anything about our child & adulthood.

    I do what is right for me.

    Good luck wthith your decision.

    Moni


    ps. I forbade my Mother any additional visits to my house in the late 80's, and refuse to go to her house since about 95. Best decisions I ever made in my life!

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked OklaMoni
  • Lily Spider
    7 years ago

    Someone once described my mother as toxic. It was the perfect description. As others have said, you must limit your exposure. You cannot let the guilt creep in. It's extraordinarily difficult but necessary. You have to put your own health and well being first.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Lily Spider
  • nicole___
    7 years ago

    Quality of life....yours! There's no way I'd spend my time with a miserable person...just making yourself miserable. Set boundaries, limit your time with her as others have said.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked nicole___
  • dandyrandylou
    7 years ago

    How sad that so many have the same problem with their mother. I'm of the "walk away" group since your trials are not appreciated and there will surely be no worthwhile change in her as she ages. My mother simply was never there for me even though I was the sibling who eventually took care of her in her waning years, unappreciated by her or anyone else in the family. Don't bother with guilt as that hurts only you, and you deserve to put yourself first emotionally and health-wise. Do it now as toxic treatment by a parent has lasting results in one's life, believe me. My heart goes out to you.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked dandyrandylou
  • eld6161
    7 years ago

    Just because someone can become a mother, doesn't mean they are a mother.

    Sad, but true.

    My mom had medical issues all through my childhood. As I became an adult, I understood that she did what she could with what she had. But, as a child, it was very difficult to see how other mothers reacted and were able to take care of their children when minet just couldn't.


    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked eld6161
  • sylviatexas1
    7 years ago

    I too had a poisonous toxic manipulative abusive sadistic psychopath of a mother.

    finally, I just stopped.

    After spending my entire life being gut-wrenchingly stressed & nail-bitingly afraid of everything all the time, after living with the twin emotions of guilt & dread all day every day, jumping when the phone rang, panicking when I saw her car pull in to my driveway or the parking lot at the office (she'd get her sister to drive her 60 miles to "see" me-without phoning ahead! surprise!), I just stopped.

    stopped going "home", stopped returning calls (thank goodness for caller id), stopped thinking that anything I did would make my mother act like I was a human being of any worth at all.

    stopped feeling guilty/responsible.

    As someone said, her garden can go to hell.

    Live your life & enjoy it.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked sylviatexas1
  • chisue
    7 years ago

    Do you know why you keep turning up for 'more of the same'?

    I do not agree with some comments here that a mother who had to be 'strong' couldn't be tender. I do think that few people can 'pass on' what they never got though.

    My DM was strong. She was also loving. Her mother was a bitter person, but her father was gentle. She attended a one-room school and later *applied herself*. She started working at 17. She worked her entire life. She supported her ill father and her mother through the Depression; supported my father as he built a business; supported herself, her widowed mother and me when my father left us (for a clinging vine) when I was two. She created a career and was twice the top-selling residential realtor for her Chicagoland firm. Dozens of people attended her memorial service because they respected her and had enjoyed long friendships with her. She cared about people. She loved me.

    My DH learned to be a good person by observing his mother's character and determining to be completely unlike her. (He was still *afraid* of her, though, and love and trust have been hard for him.)

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked chisue
  • blfenton
    7 years ago

    Catherine - How did your visit with your mom go last night?

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked blfenton
  • pattico_gw
    7 years ago

    I would stay away as much as you can....

    Just call her once a day just to check up on her.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked pattico_gw
  • cacocobird
    7 years ago

    My parents were both very abusive. When my mother couldn't live alone anymore, i moved her to a nice residential hotel for the elderly.


    Until Alzheimer's made her forget, she was still nasty to me whenever i saw her. Had a major depressive episode, and had a good therapist. We settled on me meeting her at Kaiser for her appointments, and that was it. The nurses at Kaiser tole me i was a saint.


    Moved 3000 and got away from her when i was 20. When i got pregnant, she followed me to California. No fun.


    Truthfully, i was very relieved when she finally died. i felt sorry for her, but no real affection. i was determined to treat my daughter differently, and we are close. i feel like breaking the cycle of abuse was one of the best things i did in my life.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked cacocobird
  • Embothrium
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What's confusing is when they are habitually outspoken and critical - yet still do things for you.

    Most of my family has died off by now, but I continue to wonder how long term exposure to certain overbearing predecessors may have affected my own character development, personality limitations I still have.

    Early next year I'll be 60.

    The two I was most bothered by both worked in elementary education! Maybe this was the problem, they had a particular interest in child development - which manifested itself in getting on my case.

    Over and over, like I was some kind of demon seed.

    Meanwhile my in-denial girlfriend joined the legions of back pain prompted prescription narcotics abusers some years ago, and now drinks all day on top of it. How many times will I mourn her, both before and after she dies from this?

    Yesterday while out walking for exercise the mantra that came into my head was "It's important not to be bothered". At some point you just have to step back, no matter who they are or what the situation is. Strangers don't care, and intimates must be placed in the same category if they become abusive, distant or hopelessly stricken - it helps nobody for you to go down with them. And like you (OP) I have health problems of my own.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Embothrium
  • cacocobird
    7 years ago

    i'm in treatment for PTST, partly because of the abuse i lived with.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked cacocobird
  • Julie
    7 years ago

    I can't add to the conversation except to say, I'm sorry to all the people who had horrible parents. Mine were not quite the Cleavers, but I had more love than I deserved. I was a sh*t in high school; partying, skipping school, bad grades, etc. Yet my parents both loved and forgave over and over. They both passed away young and unexpectedly. But I would rather have that than years of abuse and neglect.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked Julie
  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Good morning, all. Sorry if I seemed to be missing in action. Life is currently demanding more of me, physically, than I can handle right now. I want and need to accomplish so much before radiation treatments begin next week...

    Your support is incredible and I am very grateful for each and every person who has shared their insights. It is horrible to read how many others of you have had parental issues. My heart goes out to each and every one.

    As I write the following, I fervently hope that none of you feel as if I am rejecting you or disrespecting the caring that you have shown me in the short time since I delurked.

    For awhile, I have been growing and working on myself and my issues; as well as having the advanced COPD, lung cancer on top of that, major spinal pain issues and as of last week a disc herniation at the C7-T1 level. Aaack!

    As corny as this may sound, I believe that life has provided me with an opportunity to improve my worth as a human being on our planet. That opportunity is through the chance to support and care for my mother in her advancing years. (My Father and his Very Significant Other are well-situated and (so very thankfully!) I need have no worries on their behalf.)

    I have not really had any one huge epiphany. My feelings, now, stem from my desire to live in the present, rather than in the past.

    To that end, I have been working with a wonderfully smart, compassionate and insightful therapist. My life has become so much better with her help. I also have a man in my life who, suffice to say, everyone should be so lucky. He is extraordinary and has never failed to both intrigue and challenge me with his insights, wisdom and most especially with his love and human caring. His health is not the best. Our times together are filled with stories, jokes, love, laughter and we share that most valuable commodity of all--our time!

    I have had huge challenges in my days and I have met them all. Maybe not immediately head-on or always with true grace and finesse; however I can say that I have stood my ground and faced everything that came my way. (Except for that evening when my ship came in--unfortunately I was at the airport. Ha-ha.) Dealing with those challenges has given me some incredible gifts--strength of mind and patience are two that come to mind immediately.

    As my younger siblings will never be available, my Mother's care falls to my responsibility. I believe it is now my turn to act as her parent.

    Hopefully, you all "get it", and this does not seem hypocritical on my part. I have been thinking along these lines, off and on, for quite some time and feel strongly that, for me, this is the right path.

    My Mother gave me the gift of life. What I have had to face with my life's difficulties has prepared me to realize that it is really important for me, to now do my best for my Mother.

    My strong belief for decades was that she did the best that she was capable of doing on a given day. I now continue to believe just that, once again.

    I know this is my "red path" because having re-realized that truth, I feel very at peace with myself and the world.

    Thank you all once again. You helped me to focus on what is now my task. (As far as my health challenges are concerned, I have the best medical care available and I have no concerns or doubts on that front whatsoever.)

    PS--Part of me thinks this is way TMI and the rest of me feels very strongly that as you all have gifted me with so much from your own lives that I owe this full disclosure to you all. Thank you, again.

  • blfenton
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Catherine - I wish you all the best. It appears that you have decided to let the past go and sounds like between your therapist and your friend you have put the situation into perspective in such a way that it allows you to deal with it on your terms.

    Just remember we're here if you feel the need to have the odd rant.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked blfenton
  • User
    7 years ago

    Catherine, FWIW, I did almost the exact same thing. There were points along the way I strongly doubted I made the right decision. I kept my mouth shut (for the most part) and I helped as much as I could emotionally stand to do at any given point in time. Other times I had to emotionally pull back. It's not always a linear path.

    I was able to do that because, like you, I knew the situation had a relatively short time frame. Both my parents have since passed on, and I can look at myself in the mirror and be pleased with how I handled it.

    This will not be easy for you - so protect yourself emotionally. If it gets to be too much you can always walk away. But again, my hunch is once she's passed on, you will be glad you helped as much as you could at any given point in time.

    Catherine Z8-ish PNW thanked User
  • Catherine Z8-ish PNW
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    You cannot know how blessed I feel to have your support. Thank you.

  • chisue
    7 years ago

    As you have chosen to do this, you can also choose how you will structure it. Remember that the KT is a wonderful place to just come to *itch when venting is needed!

  • Embothrium
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The thing to keep returning to is how do you want it to be left after she is dead. Focus on that, for your own peace of mind - and so you don't put too much time and energy into it. You have too many other problems right now to be caught up in trying to discover the best way to deal with her - as ill as you yourself are it is a wonder you have been able to chase this monkey at all. Picture her gone, decide what level of participation in her last years would have been enough for you, and leave it at that.

  • sherwoodva
    7 years ago

    Catherine, my mother was so bad, one friend told me she was like the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. She used to beat me and called me stupid, clumsy, and worse. I left home at 18 and moved away. When I was 25, I moved back to the same metro area for a job. We never became close, but I tolerated events with the whole family. My mother "disowned" me several times over the years. When she was 87, she had a stroke. Then she became the nicest person. It broke my heart to think that I could have had that nice person as a mother.

    I'm glad you are in therapy, and I'm sure that you are stronger than I am. But please remember all of these stories and know that if it gets to be too much, you can walk away like some of us did. Big hugs to you.


  • trancegemini_wa
    7 years ago

    "After my last parent died, by biggest regret was not having walking away
    from both of them completely at 18 years of age. All those additional
    years of trying, and caregiving, only resulted in more heartache and
    damage. Nothing good came of it."


    My father is still alive but I have a similar regret. Both of my parents were completely dysfunctional, abusive, and if I had a do-over knowing what I know now, I would walk away in my late teens before they did even more damage to me.Some of the worst decisions I ever made was from fear of my parents, parents who did nothing but instill a sense of fear and neglect in me.

    Catherine, I could be wrong but I suspect because of her age, you are worried she will pass away without you resolving the relationship. I felt the same way with my mother, I jumped through hoops to make things right and she still died without ever giving me what I needed from her, to basically feel loved and accepted on some level. Losing the opportunity to "fix things" was one of the hardest things about her death. But eventually I realized that she was never going to give me what I needed, she just wanted to keep manipulating me and abusing me because that was her thing, that was her power over me and she wasn't going to give that up. If you haven't got from her what you've always wanted and needed by now, it isn't coming.





  • cacocobird
    7 years ago

    You need to focus on what you want for yourself, and not on changing your mother. You can't anyway. it's very hard to deal with.

    i remember my mother telling me that all her friends were nice to her and wanted to spend time with her. She wanted to know why i was different. i told her that maybe if she was nice to me, the way she was to her friends, things might be different.


    Her reaction? You're my daughter and i can treat you however i want to. That's when i gave up.

  • Yayagal
    7 years ago

    Catherine, I feel you've been blessed to find such a good therapist and have had a change of attitude. Follow your heart and soul and you will find the serenity you seek. I wish just that for you.

  • nanny98
    7 years ago

    I hope you will stay in ouch. We will continue to care!

  • drewsmaga
    7 years ago

    What I had to learn to do in TOXIC relationships (my father, my grandmother,( who raised us siblings when our mother died when I was 8) was to work on understanding and finally believing to NOT take it personally. It was never about me, so I could never be "good" enough. It was about them, and their venom. And their mental illnesses. It took me a LONG time to realize that. When I finally understood that I could have been the second coming of Jesus Christ and they would have treated me the same way was when I was able to come to a place of peace in those relationships.

  • sylviatexas1
    7 years ago

    drewsmaga, you crack me up!

    "second coming of Jesus Christ" indeed.

    reminds me of an incident in my own past:

    We all "know" that abuse is the gift that keeps on giving, but I was really surprised one day when I had spent the entire week-end planting trees for my previously-estranged brother.

    He had 30 acres of hay meadow, not a tree in sight, & he had told me that he wished he had trees.

    II accumulated every one of those seedlings (got them from gardening friends, swapped plants for them, drove all over the place to get them), brought the tools & mulch, took all the measurements, dug every hole, planted every tree, backfilled & watered every single one.

    At the end of Sunday afternoon, I called him outside (yes, he had spent the whole week-end drinking beer, playing on the computer, & watching sports on tv) to show him the trees.

    & he said.....

    "I wish you'd done this 8 years ago."

    LOL!

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