My Mom Has Cancer... and I can't Stand Her. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Let me start off by saying that I am here for support.  However, I know that many (or even nobody) will not understand what I am going through.  I have become a terrible daughter.  I try to justify it but I know it I guess.


I can't stand my mom.  She was neglectful of me as a child and abused drugs and went from relationship to relationship.  She would let me do whatever I wanted and I had holes in my shoes and underwear (and not because she couldn't afford to buy new ones).  Any time I tried to confront her she would claim I had mental illness, etc.  She had me institutionalized twice before sending me away to stay with an aunt who was neglectful of her own children.  Eventually, she kicked me out of the house.  From age 11 to 14 I lived with my dad then tried again to be back with her.  By 15 I was mostly living on my own and by 16 I was on the other side of the country.  I attempted suicide and was hospitalized within the year; she did not come to see me.  She did not give a word of support.  She tried to find 'programs' for me.  


My mom did neglect more than what I have summarized on, but I prefer to not share all of it.


Since I have been a teenager, my mom and I have been on again/off again in our relationship, she most typically being the one who storms off or tells me to get lost. Last year she cussed me out in front of my husband and infant son in front of our house before abtruptly driving off the day before christmas.


My mom is a very dark, cynical, and intelligent woman.  She is uncofmortable/embarrassed by any big displays of affection/enthusiasm/emotional endearment and is what most would describe as a tough lady.  She rarely apologized for anything and my other family members would describe her as incredibly defensive when she even suspects she is being confronted about things.


Since I was a young adult, my mom has cut off all contact with her father and four siblings, and in fact did not even know her dad passed away until a few months later.  She casually metioned to me that grandpa had passed as if he were a distant relative.  I have probed to understand of there was some kind of abuse going on and from what I can tell there wasn't; she just disconnects from people when they make her mad instead of resolving it.


My mom almost never, ever has anything positive to say about anyone she knows, especially family members, and almost never about me.  Any enthusiasm she has is prepubescent-like and usually involved with an idea or rebellious topic, such as how to cuss out a church lady.


She is like a dysnfunctional 14 year old girl, basically, and since the age of 6, when she cried over my dad leaving us, I have felt like I am the mom and she is the child.


My mom has stopped her substance abuses but still smokes a lot and is constantly in turmoil.  She is a (not clinically diagnosed) paranoid cyberchondriac.  Any time I have tried to help her, it has blown up in my face. She becomes hostile, defensive, and I often go around her feeling like I have done something bad or wrong.  I am often labeled a monster or control freak because I do get freaked out worrying about her.  Sometimes I do freak out and yell.  She makes impulsive irrational decisions that put her in danger and me in charge, then gets upset when I am angry about it.


The last time she visited me, I could not understand why she did not lift so much as a finger to help me around the house when she came to visit. She never did.  I had an infant and was the one cooking for her and she didn't even take her plate to the sink. She claimed it was her shoulder or neck bothering her.  She says she has chronic pain and I believe her, but I do wonder what amount of it is brought on by her mental health. She never ever drinks water, never exercizes unless it's to go dancing a few times a month, hardly ever socializes or leaves the house, eats the worst diet I have ever seen (example: skip breakfast, store-bought muffins at lunch and then a handful of cashews for dinner and will have 6 diet Dr Peppers throughout the day followed by a little ice cream for dessert). She stays up until dawn and sleeps until noon.


She clearly has some mental health problem and has never been helped with them.  My mom could claim much of the behavior above is health related and often does; but the reason I suspect it's not is

because she has behaved like this since I've known her.  She is not comfortable talking about her 'weaknesses' unless somebody else is to blame.  She is very into the blame game.


My mom also has no sense of protection about me whatsoever, and has exposed me to things I should not have been around.  She has no problem smoking in front of me even though I am pregnant, and when she is suffering I get to hear every detail.  It's not out of direct hostility, but just a failure to even register what she is supposed to do.  She will immediately disconnect emotionally with me if I upset her.  She just doesn't understand that a mother isn't supposed to do that.  She will put her own wellbeing first and has done so on numerous occasions.


A few years ago my mom got herself stranded in her RV in the middle of nowhere with no cash for gas to get back toward where she lived.  She was broke and it was not the first time she had been in that situation.  I too was unemployed and had no money but had a stable life. I had to ask my then new husband if he could wire her some money.  She knew him pretty well but still when *I* asked for her bank account  info to send money she exclaimed, "I'm not giving you my personal financial information!".  She will take help from others but does not understand that we aren't trying to control her; there is a feeling that she is always paranoid about my intentions.


My mom is very arrogant in terms of her knowledge and always thinks she knows more than others, especially doctors.  

She has a range of conspiracies she believes in, and because of her ability to delve into deep and obscure topics at great length, she is  impossible to corner with her flawed logic.  I too am very sharp and capable but she has muddled herself in so much false internet crap and conspiracy that she simply cannot be talked in to reason when it comes to doing what is best for her health.  But still I get to hear her suffering.


The point is my mom is a self desctructive person and has no trouble letting me see how miserable she is.  I am constantly worried about her.


I often wonder if she even has a conscience, loves me, Etc.


She now has cancer. It is probably lung cancer (even though she disagrees with five oncologists), she cannot even talk any more above a whisper.  I have no siblings and none of her former spouses or family are in her life. She has no good friends. I'm it.     


I was the one who drove five hours to pick her up five months ago and get her to my home so I could help her.  I am a SAHM and my husband is tolerant but hates the person I become around her.  


I have been responsible for finding her doctors, making her appointments, making sure she eats, Etc.  She has, in all this time, cooked once. She is withdrawn and self absorbed with things like geneaology (as if she is going to somehow leave a legacy of usefulness).


I am very, very cynical, dark-minded, and full of pain.  I have been watching my mom 'die' for many years, and I almost wish it was already over.


I even put my son in day care to be able to help her. I myself have developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder (A mild form without panic attacks) and am 35 and pregnant.  


I resent my mom so much that even with her as sick as she is and possible even with a few years left, I have so little love left for her.  I used to love her so much.  It tears me up inside, the coldness I show her, that I have nightmares and cannot sleep.  I brought her to tears yesterday, when I told her I was done trying to be active in her care because of her hostility towards me.   I am just terrified of the likelihood that my mom will pass having never maintained a single lasting relationship in her life.  I am terrified of having so many bad memories to look back on, that it's too late to make good memories because there is too much pain.


I am a mess.  



Lately I often try to convince her to do things like let me help her sell her condo down south and move up near us so I can be closer to her, but she is so arrogant and entitled, I find myself unable to look at her without feeling contempt.  She condemns everything I offer to do, she is incredibly negative and always has been.


I would have 1,000 times more empathy for a stranger in my mom's shoes, and feel nothing but disgust towards a person like myself, looking in from another life.  Even my husband can't understand my coldness.


I am just tired of feeling like a used doormat.  I am terrified that I will not be able to show my mom the love and tenderness I want to believe all people deserve when they are sick. She isn't even 60 yet but has been acting like she is over 80 for the past 10+ years and I am over it.  I went to live with my dad when I was 11 years old; for the most part she has not taken care of me; I simply don't feel like taking care of her.  Why did I get her here?  Because any time there is a short lapse between our fights, I forget and love takes over.  Love is so twisted when your own mom is at such odds.


I say all this; in an hour I will go out to the porch where she is sitting smoking and offer her a sandwich, and try to clean up our last fight.  And she can barely be heard because her vocal chord is paralyzed.  I had her all set up for the surgery to have it repaired but she decided not to go a few months back because she didn't like the hospital. After days of us planning, she pulled the plug. I begged her in tears; she had her mind made up.


I am an extremely angry, bitter person.  And deep down, I feel ugly and cruel.  And I can't help but blame my mom.


I am heartbroken.


I am pregnant and cannot afford to be feeling like this. My husband and I have been sleeping in separate beds since she came to stay with us 4 months ago.  I sometimes hope she will just go away and I will never hear from her again, although I know that would also devastate me.


At this point I have repeatedly given her indications that I have to pull back, that I am not willing to put my son in to day care any longer (I started so I could take her to her appointments), and that she needs to plan how she is going to manage her needs since she has been so disinterested in moving closer.  She has such an attitude of entitlement; she even commented that if I had a bigger house she could love with us.  She expects us to make every accomodation at our own expense, such as replacing a perfectly good door because it sticks and makes it hard for her to get out to the patio where she can smoke.  Every day is a list of complaints.



Thanks for reading. Sorry you even had to read about it, tho.

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#2 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I think after reading my own long post is that what I really need is to have closure with my mom.  I don't think I am able to have her in my life in any capacity that is safe to my emotional well-being.


I would have hoped that she would spare me of the last few gritty years of her suffering and have found a way to give me a healthy closure to a long and extremely sad relationship.


But she is too selfish to do that.  She is not a real mom.  I should have protected myself from this happening.  I deeply regret letting her back in to my life over and over again.  


Will that change after she is gone?


I don't think so.  


I know, these are terrible things to say and think.  I am sorry for who I am.

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#3 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 12:02 PM
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I am so sorry that all of this has happened in your life. I don't have many other words than that. You are not a bad person. I think seeking out a counselor to help you sort through all of these feelings and make sense of it all would be really beneficial, particularly since you are pregnant and raising another child. Please be kind to yourself. You are not a bad person.
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#4 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 12:19 PM
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You don't have to keep toxic people in your life just because you are related. She is the one who ruined the relationship by the way she treated you for so many years. You are not a bad daughter, you are a good mother for wanting to protect yourself and your family from this person. You have every reason to cut this person out of your life. You deserve better.

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#5 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by silversparrow View Post

You don't have to keep toxic people in your life just because you are related. She is the one who ruined the relationship by the way she treated you for so many years. You are not a bad daughter, you are a good mother for wanting to protect yourself and your family from this person. You have every reason to cut this person out of your life. You deserve better.


And def not because they get cancer later on. Thats the thing about life. When you treat people like shit, you find yourself alone for these sorts of things. 


I suggest counseling over letting her back in. Get your closure, but you dont owe this woman anything. 

Mama to L (7) and A (born 7/15 by VBAC)
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#6 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 09:58 PM
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I agree. With your second post. You don't need her in your life.
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#7 of 14 Old 02-10-2013, 10:39 PM
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Do you think you can give yourself permission to believe that you do deserve better? I have soo much to say&relate about my mom, &i am also pregnant. My little phone keyboard limits me sometimes. I worry that if you did decide to push her out, what will her response be? What does she say when you show her yoyr sacrifices that arent working for you, like daycare? How will she leave? It seems, if shes as much as my mom as she sounds, it will be challenging. But you cant let that stop you. Maybe you dont have the energy to try right now? Its just too much, even though you know what YOU want? I have set boundaries with my mom, but she continues to push, but for me at least now i feel in control. I wont take her calls, she cant come over. She is finanically independent. Sounds like your mom isnt at all & youre feeling stuck with her, she owns a condo though? I know its not that simple greensad.gif. I want her out , i wish i could help more. I know what you mean about being a different person around her, i cant even listen to a voice msg from my mom without serious consequences. And my mom acts like i owe her for raising me, even though she neglected me. Its deep pain, i feel you. Try if you can not to feel like you are mean&evil, its coming from her, she has too much weight on you.
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#8 of 14 Old 02-11-2013, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Everyone, your input is good for me.  Thank you. I am too overwhelmed by this topic to give direct responses right now, but feel free to PM me if you want to and I will try to respond to you in that case.


I realize that I have somewhat overstated some things about my mom.  For example, she is not incredibly negative ALL the time.  She is just never ever positive, OK maybe 2% of the time she is cautiously optimistic; and the rest of the time she looks for reasons to shoot down any solutions to her problems and becomes offended if I don't immediately give in to her negative thinking.  The thing I resent is how she dumps all her problems on me; I feel heavy whenever I talk to her.


She kicked me out at ages 15 and 16 because I did something I wasn't supposed to.  It didn't warrant what she did, but here again I left something out to look in my favor.


My mom has a soft loving side sometimes.  She can be caring.  She can be a great listener when she is not explaining her own choices. Once when I fainted she was beside herself until I was revived.  Deep down she has no ill intent; she is just a very sick woman.  I have not been an angel. She has been there a few times when I DID need her, even though most of the time she hasn't.  There is always that glimmer of hope that we can reconcile, and I am sure many of you with toxic mothers know how conflicted I feel when she is all alone in the world without me.  She already has so much pain in her life without me pushing her away...


My mom has a very small fixed income and eats generic brand food and lives in a low income area.  She is barely financially independent and since her health has deteriorated I don't know 


This drives me crazy.  Having her out of my life doesn't exactly bring peace when I know how miserable she is.  It's a catch-22.

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#9 of 14 Old 02-12-2013, 04:15 PM
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I can truly relate to what you are saying.  I had the same thing happen to me.  My mother died about 3 years ago after I had cut contact with her.  The reason?  She attacked me physically in a public place, a restaurant full of people, in front of my own husband.  I told her during that altercation I hated her, I wished she were dead.  I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for saying such a horrible thing.


My aunt, her sister, eventually told me about my mother's cancer and then later convinced me to come home and make nice.  I went home because I didn't want her to die without trying to make some sort of amends. I felt terrible for what I had said,  I thought  If there was a chance to fix it, I wanted to try.


 It was a nightmare.  Although my mother did tell me she was sorry for all the abuse she had dealt out, it was a case of too little, too late. The conversations that led up to it are enough for me to doubt her insincerity.  It is possible that was all she could manage....  I accepted the apology, but in my heart I know, I just know if she hadn't been sick it never would have come out of her mouth.


I can't say that I wished I had never gone home to sort things out.  I'm very glad I did but it was still a very, very bad scene.


I think the worst part, the very worst part was listening to all the crap people would say about what a good, kind and generous person she was.  She wasn't.  She was mean, unkind and vindictive.  I had to listen to people say all those things and I hated her even more for it.


It sucks this task has fallen to you. All I can give you is the comfort that you know you aren't the only one who as dealt with this.  You have a chance to show mercy over her selfishness.



Crazy mom of 9. grouphug.gif  A wife to one.  flowersforyou.gif



-Life is a long lesson in humility.-


James M. Barrie

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#10 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post



My mom almost never, ever has anything positive to say about anyone she knows, especially family members, and almost never about me.  


The last time she visited me, I could not understand why she did not lift so much as a finger to help me around the house when she came to visit. She never did.  I had an infant and was the one cooking for her and she didn't even take her plate to the sink.


...My mom also has no sense of protection about me whatsoever, 




.... she is  impossible to corner with her flawed logic. 


I often wonder if she even has a conscience, loves me, Etc.

I relate to the things you've mentioned above, and it's absolute crap. I am sorry you're struggling with this when you've managed to become an independent, competent adult in a way your mother has failed to. I don't have advice, but I'm glad at least you posted and got some of this off of your chest. hug2.gif

DS arrived 3/10/10, DD arrived 3/13/13, and a third will be joining us around 5/20/14. pos.gif
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#11 of 14 Old 02-17-2013, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I know you hated hearing how some people liked your mom, but it is also hard to have a mom who nobody is friends with and she is alone.  It is hard to watch a woman destroy herself no matter how badly she treated me.  If I was you and with that perspective in mind, I might actually take some comfort in knowing my mom did not die alone and unloved, even if she did not deserve such comforts.  I can assure you that being an only child with a mom who is extremely alone without me is a tremendous burden I do not have the heart to just shrug off.  While I can't compare my mom to yours, I have no doubt that your trauma has been terrible.  Thank you for sharing it.

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#12 of 14 Old 02-17-2013, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to post an update after discussing some of these issues with my therapist.  Last week my mom was staying with me (and still is) and I told her I was DONE having conversations about her treatment because of how she had behaved.  She actually had tears in her eyes because she could see how I was feeling towards her in the way I spoke.  I felt so, so terrilble, guilty, and sad for her, but I held my ground.  I sent an email later that day that she was still welcome to stay with us but would need to get a little more independent going forward (since she has repeatedly refused my help with a variety of things including relocating to my area).


I spoke with my therapist about the above and she said the same thing many of you say; that I deserve to feel better and that I said exactly what I needed to.  I think allowing myself to NOT feel bad for her is just something I have a hard time accepting; I just feel tremendously, overwhelmingly sad about her, and if I wasn't pregnant I would be taking medication to cope with these feelings.  It is heart wrenching beyond imagination.


But it is reassuring to know according to my therapist that I DO have some choice as to how sad I need to be; and that it is really OK to avoid these feelings and focus on positive things.  My therapist does not believe in repeatedly focusing on trauma and negative feelings because in a case like this it will never 'be ok'.  I agree with this.


I hope that anyone reading this with a toxic mother finds some insights and thanks again to ALL of you for your postings.

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#13 of 14 Old 05-17-2013, 06:42 PM
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I just wanted to pop in too and offer a hug for your situation / relationship with your mother.


Mine abandoned me when I was three ("I knew we'd get on okay when you were all grown up - nothing can break that bond" etc <----- ha. Well, she was wrong) - and has had two bouts of breast cancer, and a double mastectomy (quite some years ago now, but when she and I were both younger).


I think it's great that you're sorting out your own feelings - especially deep and complicated one's. Do that first and foremost. Try not to worry about hers, until you're in a better space (if ever).


My mother's two problems are:

1. She is quite phenomenally selfish and self-obsessed. (Thank goodness she lives on the other side of the world).

2. She's more than a little bit crazy.


A common thing she used to do when we had our, maybe once-a-year phonecall was say things like:

"That's enough about you. Let's talk about me." (Literally she said this).

She's a therapist (oh dear, feel sorry for her 'clients') - and her fave thing to say...after asking me what was new in my life, and me talking for a while....usually bringing up some dilemma I had about something....and then her talking in response, was: "I should be charging you for this, since it's therapy."


Anyway - not at all the same as your situation. But rest assured, you are not alone in your conflicted and unfortunate relationship with your mother.


(Mine is visiting from overseas for just two days next month - she hasn't seen her grandchild in nearly 3 years. I predict she will be jet-lagged, stay in bed the whole time yelling for coffee...then leave. Probably after telling me that my kid seems a bit 'angry' <---- something she said about her as a baby. HURRAH for bad relatives!!)

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#14 of 14 Old 05-18-2013, 04:51 AM
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my mom is in remission from cancer.. she is a bear.. this is not MY mom. my childhood friends can not believe this is the same person who cooked them pancakes on the weekends and let us listen to the stereo loud. i have to keep my distance. Im sorry youre struggling and i hope it gets better for you!

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