How do you grieve the death of a relationship with a parent? (X-posted in Grief&Loss) - Mothering Forums

  • 2 Post By CliffRose
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#1 of 6 Old 05-07-2014, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have decided to end my relationship with my mother. I love her, but I can't take it anymore. I think that she is bipolar, but she refuses it. She was diagnosed years ago, but then was undiagnosed by a second doctor. She is deeply out of touch with reality, lies to herself and believes herself, and I believe that she lied to the second doctor. I have done a lot of research on this, and she has all the signs/symptoms. She is also extremely manipulative, has been victimizing herself since childhood, and has anger issues. She has never sustained a healthy relationship in her life, including with her siblings (she still holds resentment for things that happened 50 years ago). I don't think she has any real friends.

I am trying not going to use this forum to rant, I have spoken to enough emotionally healthy people that support that she is indeed toxic for me. I have been afraid of her for as long as I can remember.


By cutting her from my life, I am losing my mother, but also my grandmother. Mother will manipulate her to think that I am horrible person (she's done it before).


I need to grieve the loss of my mother, and I don't know how to do that because she is still alive. I feel like my heart is being ripped into pieces. It hurts so bad. I don't know what to do.

"That boy, Frank, he lives inside his own heart. That's a real big place to live." ~ Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton) in Sling Blade
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#2 of 6 Old 05-17-2014, 09:58 AM
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I'm sorry for your losses. I think one can grieve losses of relationships in ways similar to how one grieves other losses. For example, think about funerals/burials. Are there are aspects of those ceremonies that you find comforting (gathering loved ones together, doing some readings, saying prayers, burial)? You mentioned that you have discussed this with others in your life; might you be able to bring those people together and have a service of sorts or a ritual would be comforting? Would it help to writing about the loss in the journal and perhaps burning the pages (alone or with those that support you) as a sign of letting go of the dreams of the relationship that you hoped to have by now know is not possible? Wishing you peace during this difficult time.

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#3 of 6 Old 05-23-2014, 03:28 PM
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Sorry you have to grieve this loss.  Do you have access to therapy?


From what you wrote, it sounds more like a personality disorder than bipolar disorder (or both can present concurrently).  Borderline personality disorder can involve wild and sudden rages and mood swings....but then within minutes she could be calm and fine again.  Whereas bipolar cycles a little more slowly.  Or narcissistic personality disorder can also involve rages (rages at perceived slights or perceived criticisms).  Try googling daughters of narcissistic or borderline mothers and see if any of this resonates.  Best wishes on your journey forward.

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#4 of 6 Old 06-16-2014, 01:42 AM
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I agree that grieving the loss of someone even if they're alive is still a similar process to if they had died and some of the memorial traditions suggested above might be helpful to you. My father was crazy and abusive in many ways. Although he's still alive I don't have a relationship with him in years. I've only seen him 3 times in the last 12 years and that was because he showed up and found me. I will never have anything to do with him again for very good reasons but I still miss having a father. Not that he was ever a great one either but just the idea of a good one... not having a dad to walk me down the aisle or for father-daughter dances at my wedding, no grandfather for my kids, etc. It sucks majorly and although I've been grieving over this loss for a very long time now it still hurts and gets to me sometimes. I just have a good cry and move on. Losing other family because of a lost connection hurts the most. I went through the same thing when I cut off my dad some of his side of the family either don't believe or don't care about some of the incidents that he caused so they were mad I cut him off. I don't get to see or speak to these family members anymore and have basically been exiled. That hurts the most but then again I know I had good cause to cut him out of my life and they know why I did it. If they choose to support someone as twisted as he is knowing the facts then they likely aren't the kind of people I want in my life either and I just had to keep reminding myself of that. I hope you can find a way to deal with your grief.
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#5 of 6 Old 06-18-2014, 12:15 PM
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I used substitutes, realizing that in my case the people given to me to enact Mother and Father were not up to the job. I personally do believe that we humans are stand-ins for the divine Parents and that Loving Parenting is channeling the Divine. So you are not without a mother. You just drew a dud in the overall mechanism in how Mother becomes realized in the world. The true Mother, IMO, is the Divine Mother who is All-Good and loves you unconditionally and without any reservation and without any relation to the unfortunate circumstances of your birth. I have many Mother images that I use, and I also pray all the time to my Mother and listen to Her wisdom. She is a tree, a flower, White Tara, Virgin Mary, Mother Earth, Kali, the good in women, and the Fruit of the Tree that nourishes my soul. There has been grieving and loneliness but I no longer have anger and I no longer consider this human person to be my mother. It took about 5 years of intensive devotion and reassignment/transfiguration to accomplish it.

I have to say that your decision is admirable, inspiring, and profound, and I commend and support you for doing so. Your children and yourself and everyone you come into contact with will be better off for your refusal to carry this malady further into the world. Have compassion for her and do good for yourself.

*hugs abundantly!*

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#6 of 6 Old 06-18-2014, 06:42 PM
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I can relate to your situation 100%. I can't say that I believe the grieving part will every end, but I do remind myself that I made the best decision for me. When I can I get support from my family of choice. Its not quite the same thing but does help not to make feel not so isolated. I also try to make up new traditions that are typically expected of the mother daughter relationship. This allowse to still enjoy precious moments without obsessing about her absence. I hope you come to make your own peace with things as time moves on.
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