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TOXIC OR MENTALLY ILL MOTHER?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

 I have finally come to terms with my relationship with my mother.  She is a horrible example of mother hood.  We used to be really close.  I noticed though that as I matured and became more and more independent that she would make undercutting remarks to me about my face, body, job and relationships with men and my girlfriends.   It is as if she is trying to break my spirit.  I personally think any parent (let alone mother) who would discourage their children is insane.  Most people are in disbelief when I tell them of what I have endured.  Family friends often refer to the Bible to consul me on dealing with my mom.  “GOD said honor you parents!”  GEEEEEZZ.  WTF !!! Am I supposed to subject myself to abuse in order to be in good with GOOD? I am so tired of hearing that I want to through up.

 

Nobody ever says “God said don’t provoke your children”

A t times , I have sunk into a deep depression and felt on the brink of insanity…seriously) I sought counseling many times throughout my life, the last of which was at University of Chicago where I was treated for bulimia (common disease among women who have be raised by rigid, controlling parents).  Any time I expressed myself, I was told “You don’t feel that way” or “You so sensitive!”  Throwing up was the way I released for over 20 years!

 

Until I started taking up for myself I did not know this type o f mother –daughter relationship was abnormal.

 

Please allow me to explain the personal attacks and verbal assaults I have endured of my life.

 

As an adolescent, she has ordered at least one credit card in my name without my permission.

 

She has told me that my face look distorted when I gain weight.  Yes.   My mother said this to me which is very strange coming from someone (my mother) who is been obese all my life and who underwent gastric bypass surgery.

She seems threatened by anyone that become close with and often accused me of treating my friends better that I treat her.

 

After not talking for several months, we do talk the thing out of her mouth is “Do you have any money I can borrow?”

 

When landing a very coveted position at work, she says, “O they must not have checked your credit”

 

When tell her about a new man I met she told me the following:

“You need to work on yourself.”

“You should find out how old his wife is because he may like younger women than you.”

“OOOO he is going to see the dimples in your ass.”

Once I caught her looking through my dresser and studying my jewel (a big “NO, NO”), when I confronted she lied about not doing it and cursed

Once she invited me to go to the movie with her. When I arrived at the movies, she decided that she want to see a different movie and told me to hold her seat.  When the movie she was going to see ended she would come join me.  “Save me a seat she said.”

 

On two occasions that is and recall, she has invited me to dinner and changed her mind. I only found out after calling several times to tell her that I’m on my way only to find out that she has changed her mind.  When I confront her about her actions, she’ll hang up.  I’ll call back and she hangs up.

 

The last time she did that I left a very calm message on her voice mail tells him that I did not want to have anything to do with her.   I arrived at work the next day to find an email which she sent to my job “Delete my cell, home number and email. I have to let you go to save my sanity!” 

 

 Can you believe this?  I did even get mad that she sent this to my job email.  I just responded: Thank you Jesus!”

 

It actually reminded me of a time when I stopped talking with her and she called my job ask to speak with the VP of my group.  Very inappropriate. It amazes me that I even speak to her.   I depresses me that she is really the only family I have.   We are estranged from many family member because he relationship with then.  Having never grown up around them, I really don’t know them and to be quite honest they are very dysfunctional (meaning drug addicts, alcoholism, mental physical abuse and prostitution run rampant on both sides of my family).  She had a particularly poor relationship with her mom.   It mirrors what I have endured all my life. 

When I have asked her to seek counseling, she gets mad and accuses me of throwing she and her mother relationship in her face.

 

When I get mad and curse at her (and believe you me,  the crap that she has pulled would have Jesus, himself lose it) she lashes out  by the cursing at me , shuts down, throw a tantrum or some other outlandish act.  As an aside, I started lashing back in my late twenties after being called whore, bitch, slut and disease infested but my mother when I would rebel against her bullying behavior.

I know this sounds really bad but I really, really hate my mother.  She is a miserable controlling bitch.  I don’t arrive at this conclusion easily and I hate to this it (because she should be happy and supportive of me).  I think she is jealous of me and wants to control me.

She speaks poorly of me and even lies to her friends as if I were some sort of irresponsive person or some low life of society. I am college graduate.  I have masters not children. I am fiscally responsible, kind to my friends and acquaintances and love socializing opposed to her who is irresponsible regarding her finances, ignores her friends unless she needs a favor and feel unaccomplished in her profession.

It makes me sad that God would give me a mom that hate herself and projects her hatred on me.  I have no other family to turn to and while, I have cultivated a really strong support system of friends, it is particularly difficult during the holidays and looking at the prospects of our relationships getting better.  I have lost all hope that she will ever change.  It might be easier if I had a family (husband and children) it is really hard to endure her treatment and it makes me feel worthless at time.  As a result, I am ok it her thinking she ended out contact.  At this point, it is the worst it has ever been because I was seeing a new guy I think she became threat coupled with fact that I am quick to put her in our place.

 

I’m just wondering is anyone out there can relate.  Do you have any advice to help me cope?  What is the matter with this lady?  What kind of mother does these things to an intelligent, caring daughter?

 

Oprah says forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will change.  My thing is trying to cope with the future.  Will it be brighter?

post #2 of 34
Huge hugs, mama.

Your mother sounds very toxic and abusive and sometimes just hearing from someone else, even a stranger, that it really isn't you, she really is crazy and mean, can help. So here it is: from your description, it really isn't you. Your mother is mean and treats you like garbage. She doesn't sound like she's capable of loving you the way you deserve to be loved. And there's nothing you can do or could have done to make her treat you better. Her abuse is not your fault.

It's not your fault.

Both of my parents are abusers and I cut contact with them after many wasted years of trying to make them treat me better. But you can't make other people do anything; they have to want to do it. My parents didn't want to stop abusing me, so I had to walk away. It was hard and very hurtful, but my life is about a million times better now that I'm no longer being abused by the people who were supposed to love me the most. I broke the cycle.

And make no mistake, it's very possible for a parent to abuse you even long after you've grown into an adult. In fact, abusers often get worse with age. greensad.gif

I strongly encourage you to read the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. That book really gave me the kick in the pants I needed to change what was, for me, a horrible and damaging relationship with my parents. It also helped me realize that their awful behavior had little or nothing to do with who I am as a person. It's not my fault, and never was my fault, that they're crazy.

Do you have a therapist right now? If not, please consider finding someone who specializes in PTSD, personality disorders, and child abuse. My PTSD diagnosis and the realization that both parents have raging personality disorders was like finding a flashlight in the dark. Things make a lot more sense now. Maybe a good therapist could help you come to some similarly healing realizations about yourself.

Oh, and regarding forgiveness...you know, it's pretty hard if not impossible to forgive someone who refuses to admit any wrongdoing or fault. You're certainly not obligated to pretend that abuse didn't happen, or just sit back and take it, just because the abuser happens to share some DNA with you. No one tells a battered woman that she has to forgive her abuser; our parents don't get some special consideration just because they chose to have us. If you're a Christian (it sounds from your post like you might be), the Luke 17:3 Ministries site has some good Scripture-based arguments against automatically forgiving abusers. They also discuss the commandment to honor our parents; in a nutshell, we can continue to honor our parents even after cutting them out of our lives. I struggle to do it every day.

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post #3 of 34

 Toxic Parents would probably be very helpful to you.

 

You're Christian, right? You might want to take a look at book called People of the Lie. It makes a good argument for narcissism as the root of a lot of evil acts, including the type of abuse you're discussing.

 

Another book that I found helpful was Stop Walking on Eggshells. Even if your mom doesn't have BPD, it has some good strategies and insight for dealing with difficult family members. 

 

post #4 of 34

Yes, People of the Lie has some very good insights.

 

So sorry you had to go through this with your mother.

post #5 of 34

<i>Oh, and regarding forgiveness...you know, it's pretty hard if not impossible to forgive someone who refuses to admit any wrongdoing or fault. You're certainly not obligated to pretend that abuse didn't happen, or just sit back and take it, just because the abuser happens to share some DNA with you. No one tells a battered woman that she has to forgive her abuser; our parents don't get some special consideration just because they chose to have us. If you're a Christian (it sounds from your post like you might be), the Luke 17:3 Ministries site has some good Scripture-based arguments against automatically forgiving abusers. They also discuss the commandment to honor our parents; in a nutshell, we can continue to honor our parents even after cutting them out of our lives. I struggle to do it every day.</i>

 

I was thinking about this more, and I didn't work on forgiveness with my parents. I didn't go out looking to forgive my parents. I was an alcoholic, so  I did the 12 steps through AA, and forgiveness of others isn't exactly the focus. In AA, you don't work on forgiveness you work on yourself. Forgiveness is directed at the actions of the other person. You're thinking about what the other person did to you. In AA, I did a fourth step inventory and a fifth step with another person.  In that fourth step, I wrote down all of the people with whom I was angry or scared or hurt and why. Then I talked about it with another person. I obtained some perspective on what happened and some acceptance of it. It was really helpful to hear that my parents were wrong. It was really helpful to hear that my acting out around it was normal, but not helpful. It was helpful to hear someone else with suggestions about how to not make the situation worse.  I wasn't working on forgiving my parents. I worked on finding peace about what had happened, for myself. I also had to work on finding boundaries around what I was willing to put up with today.  I had to learn to practice doing the next "right thing" without falling back into what happened 20 years ago and the fact that my mother had been an evil witch for much of my life. Going through the process of doing the steps really helped.  The 4th and 5th steps are framed in terms of "people we have harmed," but it's supposed to be a moral inventory, not just an inventory of what we did wrong. It's very useful to apply to people who have harmed us and who have left us hurt, frightened and angry.

 

So here's the bottom line of what I did -- 1) I did an inventory of all of the stuff in the past that I was upset about and talked to someone about it to get a loving, compassionate perspective. 2)  I did a day-to-day inventory of the stuff in the present moment that I was upset about and talked to someone about it to get a loving, compassionate perspective and advice on how to handle a difficult person on a day-to-day basis. Those are basically objectives that can be handled in a cognitive-behavioral therapy setting, as well as a self-help group. If you can't afford therapy, an ACOA meeting or Al-Anon meeting that takes the steps seriously might help, especially as your mother sounds like an untreated, unrecovered ACOA.
 

One of the other suggestions that AA members have found helpful to work towards forgiveness is to pray for that person. Pray as hard as you can. Don't pray that they get better. Pray that they find love and joy and everything that you could ever wish for yourself.  Doing that will eventually break down the anger that you feel. Your mother may not make you happy, but she'll make you less crazy.

 

Other people hate the 12 steps, though, so YMMV on their usefulness or the wisdom of my path.  The 12 steps really helped me, but other people have found it not helpful.

post #6 of 34
Ohhh, I forgot to mention this book: Mending the Soul by Steven R. Tracy. It discusses the realities of abusive families from a Biblical perspective. I found it very very helpful.

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post #7 of 34

Hugs, OP. Your mom sounds horribly toxic and you don't deserve anything she's dished out to you. I agree with the other posters and also recommend a book called Mean Mother by Peg Streep. I borrowed it from my local library. I hope you realize that your mother is the one who's flawed, not you! Choose to love yourself even though your mother has not been loving to you.

post #8 of 34

 

Quote:
Family friends often refer to the Bible to consul me on dealing with my mom.  “GOD said honor you parents!”  GEEEEEZZ.  WTF !!! Am I supposed to subject myself to abuse in order to be in good with GOOD? I am so tired of hearing that I want to through up.

 

Nobody ever says “God said don’t provoke your children”

 

 

First off, the Bible says to honor your parents, not keep returning to them for abuse. You can honor her by learning to forgive and let go, but you are not required to be her victim, even if she has no clue what she's doing. If it's best for you to cut off contact, you can do it respectfully, even if she doesn't think you're being respectful.

 

And the scriptures DO say not to provoke your children:

 

Quote:
4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
(New Testament | Ephesians 6:4)
----------------
21  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
(New Testament | Colossians 3:21)

 

Yes, it says "fathers" but it can apply just as readily to mothers.

post #9 of 34

I do think she is abusive and you should move on. You should not have her back in your life. ((((hugs))))

post #10 of 34

My mother has done very similar things to the things you wrote. I once told DH's sister & her husband about some of the things my mom said, and BIL said that he'd always thought I came across as cold & distant but now he understood that getting close to people was so dangerous in my family. It's true. That's very much how it is.

 

As for the question of toxic or mentally ill, I'd say both. I mean, that's how I feel about my mom. She's a sociopath (which I know isn't actually a mental illness) and has been diagnosed as bipolar. She's also toxic, though. I also am bipolar, but I don't treat people that way. 

 

Cutting her gradually & gently out of my life has been the best thing I've ever done. I feel SO MUCH FREER now - much better than years and years of therapy ever made me feel. At Thanksgiving, I decided to try seeing her. She got angry at me, and for once I didn't respond. I just said, "I'm not having this conversation." She still hasn't spoken to me, and it's actually okay with me. Disagreement equals mutiny to her, and it sounds like your mother is the same. Cut yourself loose. Honoring your parents does not have to mean continuing to put yourself in harm's way. Don't be cruel or mean in return, but you don't have to put up with the abuse either.

post #11 of 34

Hugs, hugs, hugs, mama.

 

My mom was also abusive and toxic, and I too suffered from an eating disorder for many years as a direct result.

 

I myself am not a Christian, but my mom's a fundamentalist Christian and so are her sisters. I often heard the same remark you did when I attempted to break off communication with her - "The Bible says you must honor your parents."

 

But here's the thing, if you really want to start trading scripture with these people then honestly, that exchange could go all day. Check out Colossians 3:21 (Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged) and Ephesians 6:4 (Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.) :) Plus if I recall my Bible right, JC really liked little kids and didn't seem too uh, happy with people who treated them nastily.

 

That aside, I'm sorry that all this happened to you. Your mother sounds incredibly narcissistic. You will likely need to hear this over and over in your life, and it will be true every time it's said, it's not your fault; it's not about you.

 

It's hard, but you can become the loving mom to yourself that you didn't have. You seem like despite what you went through, you still have a loving heart and a good head on your shoulders. That's huge and amazing and awesome. You are awesome. Let your mom keep her toxic thoughts and behavior. They don't have anything to do with you, sweetie.

 

post #12 of 34

She is mentally ill.  Look up the diagnostic criteria fro borderline personality disorder.  Then go to bpdfamily.com, they have great support forums. 

 

From someone who is THERE with my sister.  Hugs sweety, I'm so sorry.

post #13 of 34

hi TDUB im bella 33 from ny i too have a mother just like yours reading your story was like  looking at my everyday life my mother is very abusive verbally and was physically when i was a child and still is she has bounced checks in my name  turned lights on ridiculed me told store owners in my neighborhood our family problems just o get sympathy out of them so they can give her money called me whore bitch slut ugly  talked about my weigh t mind u im an attractive woman she also steals and says she doesnt she will throw temper tantrums and jump up and down like a maniac her looks are even more disturbing she has no teeth and looks like a witch God forgive me but i really cant stand her she constantly acts like shes normal when clearly shes not she lies about everything talks to noone in my family and then when she does talk to them cause she wants money or ciggarettes she bad mouths me  saying im a bad mother i dont do nothing when clearly she is the one that does not and people in my family let her get away with this and say shes just sick u have to ignore her im like why dont u put her butt in counseling like i was made too at an early age she never says she loves me ever never hugged or kissed me dont remember her doing anything with me  as a child all she did was buy me things she also has a spending problem and is 60 yrs old never had a car or her own house and its embarassing recently i found my real dad and all she did was tell me how he will give me the boot too .he glorifys my sister and brother and has always treated me like crap she thinks cause she buys me things thats caring i cant stand her she smokes has copd too and then i buy her meds and im the bitch and all that she as even told my daughter horrible thing that werent true and im trying to be a christian and i struggle to i cry all the time and ask God to take her away from me so i know what ur going through my family is wacko and its embarassing her mother mistreated her so that gives her right to do it to me she tells me im dumb that my boyfriends left me for other girls who were prettier searches through my things its a night mare the only one who can save us is the lord i do lash out back at her but only because of what she does is so dysfunctional and draining i have to sleep with my purse not only from her stealing but her getting info on me this xmas was a disaster she tried to hit me with the xmas tree all because i didnt bring her coffee and threatened to stab me when the cops came she lied like a socio[path and one of the morons believed her  the other one didnt  she has tried  to get me thrown into jail and has done that before too  i know what ur going through and noone can understand us unless they live this nightmare but i can tell u this u are none of those things she says u are  and ur right they both are jealous of their daughters cause we arent like them anyone may God keep u i hope i helped xoxoxoxox

post #14 of 34

 

Quote:
Oprah says forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past will change.  My thing is trying to cope with the future.  Will it be brighter?

 

It took me many years to recognize that my parents were frequently emotionally abusive, occasionally physically abusive, and that I still loved them very much.  I went through a period where I considered ending all contact.  I chose not to.  Here's where I am at now, and I hope that my realizations will be comforting or helpful to you.

I continue to work on giving up the hope that the past will change.  It's hard to know that your childhood was very painful, and it's gone, and there are no do-overs.  I am working on accepting that I will live with the fall-out for the rest of my life.  What I have started to realize is that it isn't up to my parents to create a brighter future.  It's up to me.  I choose how I carry my childhood.  I choose how I respond to my parents.  I have removed myself from them by half a continent, and limit the amount of time I spend speaking to them in any given year.  If I am, after a conversation, left feeling drained, judged, unloved and unlovable, I don't respond to their next contacts until I feel recovered and ready.  I rarely initiate contact because I rarely want it.  I am slowly but surely realizing that while I don't control them, I do control me;  I'm starting to realize how wonderful that is.  When my parents visited, recently, it was the first time in several years that I had seen them in person.  At one point I became aware that one of my parents was attempting to start a fight with me.  (Which is fairly normal for this parent and I.)  I simply stopped and stated the the fight that parent was looking for wasn't going to happen.  And it didn't.  My parent didn't need to change at all for the outcome of that interaction to be different. 

I'm sorry that you're dealing with this, and I'm sorry for all the hurt your mother has caused you.  I wish you all the joy, happiness and healing in the world, and all the strength you need to get to that place. 

post #15 of 34

You are not alone.  There are so many of us who had crappy parents and the scars to show for it.  Parents are supposed to be there for their kids - make sure their kids reach their full potential as human beings.  Your parents failed you in a major way, and it's not your fault.  Also you are not responsible for fixing your mom or the failed relationship.  You are not the parent.  Set up some boundaries for yourself.  Talking to a therapist (the right therapist) can really help. 

post #16 of 34

I'm not a clinician;based on what youv'e typed and the limited insight on the topic I would say she may have NPD-narcissistic personality disorder. She have a personality disorder. You could try Dr.Karyl Mc Bride's website www.willieverbegoodenough.com for a comparison. However, a lot of the times personality disorders overlap(are co-morbid) with other underlying and more pervasive conditions, behaviours addictions, trauma etc.

I personally believe acceptance is the first stage.

 

 

Hope this helps.

post #17 of 34
A friend once said to me "Forgiveness is about the past, while trust is about the future". Forgiving her, if you can, means realizing she has her own problems that she wrestles with that cause her to behave that way. You, then, let go of your anger and focus on improving your life. Trust is about the future means that you know what she's like and what kind of treatment you expect to get. If it is harmful to you or your children, avoid it.

As a personal note, I have little contact with my mother and have yet to able to forgive her. Oh, well.
post #18 of 34

Cut her off until you feel strong enough to deal with her crap, then you let her into your life, but on your terms only.

post #19 of 34

Hello,

 

          I am very sorry to hear you story, I have a a similer story and i thought i was the only one with a mentaly ill mother. My mother has been mentally and physically abusive all my life and you get to that point growing up around it where it just seems normal.  After my parents got a divorce the court thought it was in my best intrest to live with my father.  I got to the point where i was old enough to get to decide where i got to live, so i decited to live with my mother, what a bad decision. I 
Starting off living with my mother it seemed great or maybe i was just to young to understand really what was happening. She had a boyfriend who seemed to be a great guy.  The this guy she started dating took pretty good care of her, so she decited to move in with him.  After a couple years the guy and me started to not get along, their was always a constent battle between both of us.  I somehow ended up to be the bad kid no matter how much good i did i was the scum of the earth.   I would come home, after school after having a normal conversation with her that morning before school and she told me she wished she would of swallowed, she wished she dident have kids how i was worthless, she told me how meaningless I was to her ect.  We would get in a aurguement after she blow up for no reason then she would punch me in the face then call the cops on me for running away because I needed to get away. This happened many of times maybe 20 of times, her boyfriend told me how he wasent afraid of going to jail and he would kick my ass if I disrespeced her.  The final time i was at our family home with my Girlfriend and my bestfriend thoughout highschool.  She came home from running errans in town.  She walked into the door and said everybody needs to go the fuck home now!!!!!  I asked my mom in a calm voice what did i do, what is wrong.  She said just tell everyone to get the fuck out of my house.  After trying to talk about the situation it proceded to esculate.  My mother told me to leave get the fuck out of her house she doesent want nothing to do with me.  So my friend took me to his house for everything to cool down because this hasent happened just once.  My friend got a call from a number he did not recongnise, so he answered it.  The call was from the county sherriff my mother has called him and told him that i have a shotgun and im dangerous, the sherriff asked where i was at and told me to stay at my friends house.  about half the countrys sherriffs showed up at my buddy house.  After that they figured out that my mom was crazy and child proctective services was trying to put me in a foster home, but luckly i got to stay with my friend and finish up my senior year.  After graduation i decited to join the air force national gaurd to help pay for college. while i was gone after basic and my school she talked to me she told me she misses me and she loves me so much and she wants me to come live with her back home after i get home from the service.  I decited i would save money and live with her she is really nice she gave me a clunker to drive and that lasted a couple weeks.  i went to stay with my dad in nebraska for a few days.  After them few days i returned home my girlfriend dropped me. she opened the door and screamed tell that bitch she isent welcome here!!!!  i take all my belongings inside and i dont say much ethier does she.  My mother goes to bed and i am on my labtop for a few hours.  After i few hours she comes out and i ask her are you going to work in the morning?  She replies no.  I asked her if i could borrow her truck from 7 am to 4 pm because she doesnt have to be to work until 11apm.  She replies are you high go ask your dad for a vehicle.  The she replies you just use me and that i better start looking for somewhere to live.  I told her if i dont show up for my military service thats considered going awal and i could go to prision for that she told me im not using anything of hers go to prision then.  im moving with my dad monday.

post #20 of 34
Sending hugs
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