Thank you for your post - having recently figured out, with the help of two therapists, that my beautiful, brilliant, amazing 40-year-old daughter is likely bipolar - a condition she absolutely refuses to consider - things have begun to fall into place for me regarding her rollercoaster life and the resulting chaos in the family. She and her teenage children are living with me, and I'm getting quite a dose of outrageous allegations about my horrible mothering her whole life. Of course, that makes me agonize over the possibility that she might be right and I just don't remember, and I worry that I must be so crafty that I fooled everyone who has known us into thinking I was a good mother.
I'm back and forth on this, according to her moods, which range from being charming, energetic, and full of complex optimistic plans; to shrieking, physically threatening rage and paranoid inferences; to weeping sadness; to dullness. (Luckily, she takes care of her health, and as far as I know doesn't use drugs or abuse alcohol.) I'm gradually emerging from the swamp and able to begin distancing myself - trying to love her beyond the illness, trying not to take it personally.
BUT: She has isolated her children from anyone who might see her in a realistic way. It's as though they've been brainwashed; their job is to see her as the perfect mom and support her against all those untrustworthy people who don't understand their beleaguered mother. The growing crowd of untrustworthy people includes their father, cousins, aunts, uncles, 4H friends, and me - the grandmother who filled in as loving mother for most of their lives. It breaks my heart, but I can't talk to them at all, because my daughter lives in secrecy and they uphold her world, and would "tattle" to her; and in any case I don't want to diminish or undermine her in their eyes. It also breaks my heart that they're using her as a model for life: In her mind, it's not necessary to commit fully to a job or talent or hobby or school or chores; it's not necessary to be careful of relationships or money; the grass is always greener; being spontaneous is more important than everything; it's okay to be preoccupied with one's self every waking moment, and it's okay if satisfying one's immediate wants and needs comes at the expense of others; it's okay for unusually gifted people like her to drive recklessly and take other chances, because they can anticipate problems. Needless to say, she has had many close calls, has rarely supported herself, owes me an ever-filling pot of money, owes the govt. for the maximum in school loans, and thinks her maligned ex-husband should support her (he supports the girls).
So I have a lot of anger to work through, and your post has helped me move forward a few steps. I actually kept centered, calm and somewhat peaceful today after reading your post, and after enduring another of her tirades!