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Anyone else dealing with a crazy mom?

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 
My parents divorced when I was on 2nd grade and I am the oldest. I practically raised my brother and sister while my mom was clinically depressed and in bed most of the time.

Now that we are all grown and in our own families, I am still playing mom to brother, sister, and my MOM! She calls me daily ranting and raving about one thing or another.

She's bipolar, so she's either up or down. She's on about 4-5 different medications, none of which she takes regularly. She is constantly threatening to do this or that. Yesterday she was going to move to the town we all live in and move into the dorms where she goes to school. Today she's dropping out. There's literally something new everyday.

It's so draining because she constantly wants my advice and to discuss her newest plan. Which is a severe waste of my time because I know full well she isn't going to do anything about anything.

She will tell me she will watch my daughter for me one day and then show up on the wrong day. Poor dh is constantly coming home to find his MIL camped out on the couch for the night because she thought she was supposed to babysit.

Is anyone else in a similar situation? Sometimes I just feel like it's too much. I have my own family to take care of. With my first baby, I need my mom more than ever and I just don't have the energy to take care of her instead of her taking care of me. But I can't just turn my back on her.

Anyone have any suggestions?

post #2 of 113

no, but

i have a crazy MIL. its really hard to have a crazy person in your life.

the easiest thing is to distance yourself. even though it is HARD

we don't live in the same town and her craziness is a large part of that. we moved out of state. she's still crazy long-distance but it isn't a daily drain on our resources.

try telling her you don't need a babysitter and using someone else. you might think you don't have any other babysitters but pretend she doesnt' live anywhere close and you either can't go out or find someone new

you should do what you can to distance her or control what access she has to you and your life. its self-protection. and there's no easy way to do it. my dh has a lot of problems and stress because of his mom.
post #3 of 113
you can also say to yourself often:

'if its not one thing, its your mother'

have as much humor as you can because the alternative is not as fun (getting down about it)
post #4 of 113
My mom was like that 15 years ago- then she quit drinking. She is also bipolar/depressed and I too, have taken on the mom roll for my family. Is chemical dependency a possible issue?

No matter what, set some limits. Her crazy, isn't your crazy. Whether she has a problem with alcohol or mental health- you may have to cut off your involvement if she won't follow through with getting help- being on meds, in therapy, following suggestions of a professional. You need to get a bit tougher, even rude. Just say- this sounds like something you should run by your therapist.... over and over again.

When I do therapy with people who are bipolar, I tell them that the goal is to have nothing change between sessions. The plan shouldn't change just because their mood does. That is the goal, and a really tough one sometimes.

You might also want to get some help for yourself, just someone you can talk to. You didn't get what you needed, and still don't get the mothering you deserve. That makes it really hard to keep giving to your kids and your family without running empty.

Good luck.
post #5 of 113
Ick... my mom is bipolar and an alcoholic. I raised her children when I was a child myself--and left her at age 12. C'mon... I was waking up to feed/diaper a newborn at age 8.

What's worse is that she has always tried to be "friends" with my brothers and regularly dismissed me--publicly--and teased me about being a "little mom" (read: no fun and too concerned about things). Which led to my brothers blowing me off (temporarily). No matter how angry I got with her, she just dismissed me. And whenever we spoke (which used to be very often) she would either not listen to me and just sit on the phone, or she'd just tell me whatever she thought I wanted to hear. Either way--a complete waste of both of our time.

So now we're not speaking. I was pg with my son and she made all kinds of committments that she didn't keep. She wanted to sew all the nursery bedding and I found out through my SIL that my mom intended me to use bedding I already had (from SIL). She got infuriated that I wouldn't let her and my MIL plan a shower together (my mom committed to paying a portion of my wedding shower and I had to pay her part! For my OWN shower!).

When I tried to gently discuss with her that I would rather her not commit to something than agree to it just because she thought I wanted it or that it was something she "should" do. Well... you don't get mad at my mom because she'll turn around and get mad at you--then you have to beg her forgiveness and your original issue is null and void. When I stuck to my guns, she engaged in a full-blown pissing match and decided she wouldn't come see my baby. She thought for sure that I'd break down and beg her to come... and I haven't.

I have absolutely no time or patience in my life for this nonsense any more. She won't take her meds because then she can't drink. Well, that's her life. I don't have to be involved in it. I have only so much energy in me and life is too short to deal with this woman's crap that she has handed out for over 30 years with no change. I don't miss her, either. And I don't care if my son never knows her. I never knew some of my grandparents (they died before/soon after I was born) and I don't believe I missed out in a major way in my life. Better that I can retell the few good things about my mother than have my son know the nightmare that she is.

Sorry... rambling. This just hit close to home.
post #6 of 113
Um...me...I currently live with my mom who is an ex achoholic and *thinks* she is bipolar. Although my psychiatrist has assured me she's not. She probably has a personality disorder and anxiety and depression.

Anyways, I'm the oldest, and I've been the one who has taken most of the brunt of her bad decisions, been told everything that's happened to anyone in our family is my fault (oh no, never hers, she's always the victim, you know ).

I'm going to counseling right now to try to get some self esteem back, and learn how to deal with her, and my husband who is just like her. My other sisters don't talk to her anymore, but I just kind of look at it like, she's crazy, and try not to take it personally.
post #7 of 113
Thread Starter 
Wow. It helps to know I'm not the only one. I used to go to counseling, but it's so expensive. I think you're right MsMoMpls, though, I should start again because I don't want her crazy to affect dd.

Heather, you can't get mad at my mom either. She doesn't get mad, though, she just apologizes over and over and says she hates herself, etc. but nothing ever changes.

My mom doesn't really drink, but she is a pill popper. I'm not kidding when I say she has a carry on size bag full of her prescription meds. She pops different combos left and right but wouldn't ever consider herself a drug addict b/c they've all been prescribed by a doctor. Never mind that she has about 10 doctors who are unaware of the other drugs she takes.

I agree I need to be more rude to stop this madness. I love the idea of her goal to be that the plan not change. I can't imagine any plan of my mom's..even what she's going to eat...to not change.

I have plenty of other babysitters. I was letting her sit with Kate because she really is good with her, ironically. But, for my own sanity, I need to stop trying to depend on her. I just need to get it through my head that she is never going to take care of me or follow through. It sucks not to be able to count on your mom, but the sooner I quit wanting to, the happier I'll be.

I have another for you, jstar:

I saw my mother today...

Thank God she didn't see me!
post #8 of 113
Add me to the list. I don't have the energy to describe her, but she sounds just like ya'll's moms.


At least we're not alone.
post #9 of 113
Me too. I am too tired today to go into the whole story but you aren't the only one! Seeing a therapist really helps me, even though it is expensive. I even sought out (and found!) the therapist I saw as a child and that was so helpful. She remembered me and helped me believe that my mom was the crazy one, not me. Every little bit that helps you put limits around the relationship and builds your sense of self is a good thing. It is slow going sometimes, but definitely worth it.
post #10 of 113
Thread Starter 
My sister gave me a book titled Mothering without a Map while I was pregnant. It's about overcoming your own history with a "bad" mom. I only about 20 pages in, but it is fascinating! When I finish, I'll mail it to one of you if you'd like to read it.
post #11 of 113
Okay... I'm off to buy THAT book!

Yeah...my mom's "get mad at you to distract you from being mad at me" routine SO backfired on her. She's a stubborn thing and I honestly believe I won't see her again until her mother dies (who, btw, I ALSO take care of!)
post #12 of 113
Sign me on. A few minutes ago, I actually wept, I read an article by a woman whose mother was helping her with the baby, keeping her freezer full of food.

I am so pissed that I do not have a mother. My 'mother' is bitter, nasty, screams, yells and randomly takes people to court. She is still living in 1989, thinks everyone is after her. While I try to have sympathy for mental illness, it makes me so sad that I will never have anyone that loves me like that.
post #13 of 113
My mom has never been diagnosed, but she does things like threaten suicide if I am angry about something, or threaten to move away so I never have to see her again, or beg me to tell her she's not a bad mommy . Once she told my then 4 year old to "tell Grandma goodbye because you'll probably never see her again" because we had had an argument. Look passive/aggressive up in the dictionary and you'll find her picture. This woman makes me tired. She rings my phone 4 or 5 times a day. Thank God for caller ID.
post #14 of 113
My mom is bipolar as well. Im so exhausted and feel completely drained by her. Ive wanted to post many times but I didn't know what to say. I would like to find a good book about dealing with family members and bipolar disorder. It is a small comfort to know you all are dealing with this as well.
post #15 of 113
Thread Starter 
RB, Your description of your mom made me think we must be sisters..my mom calls me so many times a day! And if I don't call her back soon enough she leaves messages about how she's dying and I must hate her!

Ocean Potion, My therapist I used to see suggested a boo about bipolar disorder that is supposed to be really good. I'll see if I can find where I wrote down the name of it.
post #16 of 113
I have a crazy mom and dad, who are still married to each other. Some issues are: chronic dpression, OCD's, one recovering alcoholic with LOTS of unaddressed issues, low-self esteem, pill popping, power struggles,...My mom was doing better when she was in therapy, which hasn't been going to in about six months. My dad is in complete denial that we have any issues. When I read the book Toxic Parents, I thought it was a book about them (specifically) LOL. After the birth of my dd#3, I started taking regular help from my dad and then I realized how bad things were and how nothing has changed...guilt trips, emotional blackmail, help with strings attached (like they think they are entitled to try to parent my children or if they buy something for my children they think they have a say in how, when, and where it is used). My dh and I sat down a couple of months ago with them and tried to talk with them and tell them that we neede to back off from them and set some major boundries. We suggested that we meet once a month for dinner and once another time for the kids to play and it wasn't enough for my dad; he became combative and it ended with him exploding on us.

So now, we are done with them. Sad, sucky, but a huge relief and very liberating.

Gotta go shower.
post #17 of 113
My mother isn't crazy but we aren't close and I find her very annoying.

I have a 12yo child who is bipolar. I didn't realize that made him "crazy."
He's certainly no peach to live with, but I would never describe him as "my crazy son."
post #18 of 113
Thread Starter 

I didn't mean to imply that anyone with a mental illness is crazy.
What makes my mom crazy is the fact that she doesn't accept the help that would control her bipolar personality. She mixes pills, refuses to take them on a regular basis, and refuses to take responsibilty for her actions. That's what I meant. Maybe I should have titled it, Anyone else's mom driving you crazy??
post #19 of 113
I, too, do not equate "crazy" with mental illness. To me the word means chaotic and all over the place, turbulent...
post #20 of 113
I am so sorry that this is how is with your moms and you. I wish I could you all, or help you out and be there for you all. Hey...I might even be old enough to BE your mom; well some of you anyhow.

I see that there's alot of strength in this thread....you're all good moms yourselves, and you model good mothering for others.

I understand also that the word "crazy" can offend. I think it is less a label for a person as a way to describe the path of destruction that their unbalanced actions cause in their wake. I see the word "crazy" is being used here, to express anger toward the derelict mothers and the negative effects of that dereliction: the chaos and robbing of a carefree childhood supported and cared for by a responsible and present mother. A derelict mom and her actions no matter the cause, such as described in this thread, have long-term effects on a young and growing person on whom it falls to take on adult responsiblity. There is anger about the loss of childhood.

On the other hand, I am sure we all agree that a person, of any age who is doing what is necessary, with support from family, to rebalance the biology of their brain chemicals in order to regain control over behavior in order to have some sort of normalcy in life, is not crazy. That they are carrying such a burden through no choice or fault of their own- that is, the imbalance that causes the problems- also does not make them crazy. It is a challenge.

I think we all use words to express ourselves in certain contexts more freely, knowing that while it may not seem appropriate to another, that we are just letting go for a moment of self-expression. I think there should be a safe space for that, but that is just my opinion for what little that is worth.

I think that anyone dealing with such challenge firsthand, is very courageous.

But there is also free will and pride that can create self-protective and destructive habits for an adult- in this case, adults who are mothers but cannot function as such appropriately- that are destructive to their children and other loved ones too. This thread demonstrates the sad effects when that kind of choice is made by a parent; a mother.

Again...my heart goes out to you all and my support too!

Joyce in the mts.
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