where is the boundary between nasty personality and a mental illness? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my mom was diagnosed with bipolar once. another time doctor said "depression". other one said "nervous breakdown". I just wonder, after all those years spend with my mom, all the verbal abuse and trials to make my life a living hell, all her refusals for the possible treatments...isn't it just a nasty personality of her? her selfishness? her narsissism? so  tired of my dad's constant expression "you know your mom's poor health"....she can be dead in the morning and then take a flight to another country and be perfectly healthy couple of hours later. she can drag her feet and fall while reaching the bathroom and then, when somebody comes to check on her, stand up, and run away to another room. she is such a "nice mom" coming to stay at my place for my birthday as a "present" and then on my birthday turns terminally ill scaring my poor kids to death. and my dad keeps telling me she has "this" or "that" illness....i am just so tired of all this. I dont believe her. I dont believe any single word she says or thing she does. I dont feel any love towards her frankly, but i just dont know how to treat her. I just dont want to answer her calls or my dad's calls, but they both make me feel so guilty for "leaving them behind" and "not caring for them". I keep on feeling that I am such a bad daughter. but the only thing I want to do is to never hear of them again...:( 


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#2 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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I'm sorry for what you are going through.

 

To answer your question, I believe that we are each responsible for our own mental health, and that being crazy does not excuse our treatment of others. Your parents are responsible for themselves, and your father is, IMHO, an enabler. Your mom could make different choices.

 

It sounds like you really want to break off contact with them, but feel guilty about it. How would YOU define "good daughter"? How would you define "good mother"? Do YOU feel you have a responsibility toward them, even though they failed to live up to their end of the bargin (providing you with an emotionally safe space in which to grow up)?

 

It sounds like your parents define "good daughter" as "doormat." 

 

My parents don't consider me a good daughter, and I'm OK with that. I don't value their opinions.

 

I have two daughters, and I don't want them to grow up to be "good daughters." I want them to have wonderful lives and be happy, and make their own choices. And I hope that I get to see them and celebrate their lives with them. But they don't owe ME anything. Getting to raise them is enough. I feel blessed every day that I get to be their mommy and that we are a family together. The whole "good daughter" idea to me is based on the idea that raising a child is such a PITA, that the kid owes the parents forever. I reject all that crap.

 

 

 

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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I think that is a complicated question and the answer can be both. Also, the dsm lists several personality disorders which are mental health disorders.  I don't think the answer has to change how to handle things.  Are you trying to sort it out because it would be less guilt inducing to cut someone off who is nasty versus someone with a mental illness?  Because if that is the case, I would realize that it is okay for you, regardless of if she in mentally ill or not, to reduce your contact with her.  If it isn't healthy for you and your kids, you should set some boundaries.  It isn't a good thing for your mom either for her to be allowed to walk all over you.  Regardless of diagnosis, I would consider how I wanted the relationship to look, how much stress it was bringing me, what would be acceptable in terms of seeing/talking to her, and go from there.  Without guilt.  Good luck.   

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#4 of 9 Old 06-14-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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I am sorry you are dealing with this. ((((((((HUGS))))))

 

A really good book to read is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It's is Christian-based, but even if you are not a Christian, it is a very good book that is full of helpful information about how you can set firm boundaries with other people and still feel like a good person.

 

It is okay for you to set boundaries with your parents.

 

Good luck!


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#5 of 9 Old 06-15-2011, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dear momas thank you very much for your replies! yes i guess if I know that it is her nasty personality and not some kind of illness that would make it easier for me to set boundaries. although deep down inside i do know it's her personality. she is really mean and nice at the same time. like when i was going to Japan to defend my phD, she would call everyday to tell me how irresponsible I am going, that I will die there, kill the baby inside me and leave my kids orphans. she made me cry every day until dh made me not answer the phone. and when I came back from Japan, she came for a visit with a conversation like that:

mom: well, now let's see what happens next...

me: what happens mom? I came back, everything is over. 

mom: no, I mean how the delivery will be, health of the baby etc....you know all that travel must have its effects...

it is normal to talk to your pregnant daughter who had already undergone so much stress like that? and make her worry? i dont know why she does it....all my life she made me worry of something, sometimes i feel like there is something I should worry about but just can't figure out what it is....

i mean i know many people who are sick and still good people. (assuming that she is sick). you dont have to be mean while you are sick no? and she is always mean to me. it's like she plays being nice so that i trust her again and then BOOM! makes some nasty move to hurt me. that just sucks. she doesn't seem to stand me being happy. 


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#6 of 9 Old 06-17-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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#7 of 9 Old 06-18-2011, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Rainbow, thank you so much for sharing....blowkiss.gif.....i am sorry you are also in this difficult situation with your mom greensad.gif.....i think the hardest thing was for me to accept is that I dont have and will never have mom (and most probably dad) who does care and loves you. for me, I think somehow I accepted it some time ago, and finally realized that almost everything she does or says for me is false, but now listening to her lies over the phone and talking when meeting do seem like torture. it's like someone is openly laughing at you and making fun of you, and telling you" see? you can't do anything anyway..." gloomy.gif


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#8 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekatherina View Post

Rainbow, thank you so much for sharing....blowkiss.gif.....i am sorry you are also in this difficult situation with your mom greensad.gif.....i think the hardest thing was for me to accept is that I dont have and will never have mom (and most probably dad) who does care and loves you. for me, I think somehow I accepted it some time ago, and finally realized that almost everything she does or says for me is false, but now listening to her lies over the phone and talking when meeting do seem like torture. it's like someone is openly laughing at you and making fun of you, and telling you" see? you can't do anything anyway..." gloomy.gif



 

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#9 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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This sounds like my mom. I just stopped taking my mom's calls. Every single time she would call she would put me down or tell me terrible things and I always felt awful after every single call. So I just stopped taking them. Then it turned into guilt laden emails. I just deleted them instead of reading them. I can't allow myself to get pulled into her mental illness. It is too debilitating. I know she's my mom but after 30+years of her crap I just couldn't deal anymore. I did accept the fact that my mom is mentally ill and that I personally can't have it in my life. Now I look for other good women who can play a positive role in my life to fill the void, not entirely but enough to feel good. It does suck to not have a mother but it sucks worse to have a dark cloud in your life that is constantly hurting you. I don't believe we are all responsible for our own mental health because the reality is that some people are too ill to be able to have that resposible. My mom is given prescription after prescription and diagnosis after diagnosis which she religiously follows but all the different meds make her crazier. She is at the whim of the dr's. My friends sister if she misses one pill she gets psychotic and has to be put in a mental hospital. Some people aren't capable of caring for themselves. If I were you I would limit contact with your mom and start looking for good supportive women to fill the void. They are out there.

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