I Strive for peace at any cost Print E-mail
Written by Susan   

Dear Editor:

My name is Susan. I live in the State of Tennessee, USA. I'm a 43 year old married mother of two great children. Finding this board has finally given me long overdue validation of my feelings with regard to my battered and bruised relationship with my Bipolar Mother. I'm not alone and other people really do understand the hell I have lived thru. Amazing! I feel so alone most of the time in this! My Mom is 73 years old and I honestly can't think of a time when our relationship wasn't a struggle, something I had to bear. I sit here feeling as if all the life has been sucked out of me by her behavior. I'm so tired of trying to stay one step ahead of her. For me, looking back over my childhood I can quite literally see our family shatter years ago, when my Dad left. I adored the ground that man walked on. Dad traveled in his job and was gone 9-10 months of the year. It was like Christmas when he came home. When I was 8 years old the tension between my Dad and Mom became very obvious to even a young child. Despite my adoration for my Dad, he left permanently when I was 11. I have never been able to ascertain the truth, did he abandon us or did Mom make him leave? With only Mom's ever changing side of the story...who knows? Doesn't really matter I guess. He left me and my brother with a mentally ill woman. Who does that to their kid? When depressed Mom eats poorly, seldom bathes, escapes thru sleep, and cannot be motivated to do activities of daily living. Mom has always had a in-home pharmacy, I can't tell you how much medication she takes. My brother and I used to joke that we could save on embalming fee when the time became necessary, so many chemicals already in her body. Doctors in the US astound me...you complain of it and you'll come out with a new script guaranteed to fix whatever ailment you have or pretend to have. Never looking or considering how will react with her psychiatric meds. Mom has always alienated herself from family and friends when depressed or in conflict with them. Depressed is what she stays most often. I can distinctly remember being told to hide, hush and not answer the door when the concerned came to call. Eventually they quit stopping by. Period. She has gone thru countless relationships this way. To date I am the only one left. My younger brother threw in the towel 4 years ago. I don't blame him really. I understand there is only so much a person can take. We've had no contact with him since. From as early as I can remember my Mother treated me like her confidant and person responsible for all her problems and woes caused by impulsiveness and poor judgement. It was highly inappropriate for a child. And at the same time she was/is quite secretive about things that directly concern me. It is no wonder that the parental roles reversed. I found out several years ago after a suicide attempt that her psychiatrist labeled her Drug Resistant, highly independent, stubborn and manipulative. He said he "felt for me and wished me luck". That's about the gist of it with any her psychiatrists over the years. You call them at your wits end and they do nothing. "Is she a harm to herself and other? No. Well then there's nothing I can do." That's what they say, if you are lucky to even talk to them, most the time you get this message thru their nurse. When Mom is Manic she spends money inappropriately and has very strange ideas. Becomes agitated. Unable to sleep and slow her mind. She has never kept normal hours...staying up all night, sleeping all day. After graduating High School I got out and on my own as soon as I could. I married at a young age and started my family. It has been a happy marriage, despite the problems caused by her behavior and the toll it takes on me. I get extremely anxious when I don't know what emotion or mood I am going to be hit with next. And feel guilty much of the time. Sometimes I strive for peace at any cost. When I had my second child, my Mom informed me she had met a man and within one months time, married him, sold her house and moved away to another state. It was a blessing in disguise. Looking back, I don't think I could have taken working a full time job and two toddlers and her at the same time. Sadly, this man died 9 years ago. She returned to the city I live in and promptly went to work making me her sole everything. It has been one episode to the next with my Mom since then. 6 Household Moves, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, losing all she had in an Apartment Building fire, constant surgeries, at least 3 a year (many I believe unnecessary) accomplished by in large by the fact that my mother was a registered nurse. She knows what to say. Has been often quoted as saying to a Doctor, if you don't perform the procedure, I will go to someone who will. After the foreclosure of her home. One she bought without my knowledge, for more than she could afford and six houses away from me...I got an attorney who informed me I could not get a conservetorship over her finances to protect her, I could only hide her assets under my name, take control and pay her bills to keep the debt collectors from taking her retirement benefits. Which if that happened might have had her living with me. I knew if that happened it would surely disrupt my happy home, quite possibly ending in divorce. Since that time it has been a constant struggle. She doesn't like the control I have over her finances. And we argue about it often. If I tell her, let me close the accounts and she can take her chances with the bill collectors, of course she says "No' to that. Since I have two children in college I have to protect my credit by staying on top her budget. She has been known to overdraw. At best she barely has much to live on each month. She says I am smug when she doesn't get her way or I disagree with her. She accuses me of treating her like a child. I feel angry much of the time and I suppose that shows. She picked a fight recently wanting to discuss past events. Going all the way back to when my Dad left. She has done this many time before and doesn't respect my request to leave it alone. I ask for boundaries in our relationship, basically exactly what she wants, but of course she hasn't a clue what she wants. Currently she isn't speaking, won't take my calls or come to the door when I stop by. Usually this makes feel horrible, the bad daughter who isn't taking care of her mother. Mega guilt. The lines of understanding what is mental, what is physical illness is blurred at this age. I try to reason and make sense of it all. But after the last fight, I find myself very apathetic. Have little compassion. Mother's Day and her Birthday are all in a few days. And I don't feel like being with her. That makes me feel bad...obligated to make the effort or listen to her laments in future of how horrible a daughter I am to not see her on her birthday or Mothers Day. But I could get there and she won't talk to me anyway. I want to walk away. I often wish for her to go ahead and pass away. I don't know what is worse...trying to take care of her or not taking care of her. It would be a Godsend if there was some organization in the United States that would assist children in my situation. I hope someday there will be. That is my story, does anyone out there relate?


Jarvis Walker     Arlec

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Featured Articles

The 'Forgotten People'

by Anna Malbon from the Progress Press October 22, 1996

WHEN nine-year-old "Tom" was asked to draw a picture of himself with his mother be drew her trying to strangle him.

Tom entered the world of adults too early. If he was ever immune to the complications and pain of life that adults try to shelter from children, he says he can't remember.

Bulletin Board

I had to struggle extra hard

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I.

They only listened to her stories ”

“ I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know.”

Hi, I had a mentally ill mother. She passed away last year. I literally grew up hanging around mental hospitals because my Mom's condition was a cycle that always ends in a mental hospital. When I was younger, there was a long period when I cried my eyes out every time I was separated from my mentally ill mother because she had to stay in a mental hospital. After I grew older, my Mom's mental illness became impossible for me to bear.

Literally, my Mom's mental illness ruined my life. I think. I had to struggle extra hard for everything because of my big handicap at home. There was no support at all from anyone other than my father. Nobody else wanted to know about it. My mother's own cousin even said to my father not to bring my Mom to their place. I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know. My mother's own sister has been complaining since 2000 and her last complain was on 5 July 2014. This particular aunt keeps complaining about the same thing. That she had to take my Mom for her weekly injections and complained that my father and I was not around to do it. Then, she goes on to say that she saw my Mom beat me up with a cane. When she said that, I asked my Aunt, you saw my Mom beat me up with a cane? She said yes and than, she walked away.

I feel very sore with this aunt. Number one, the period she was complaining about was when I was still schooling and my father's and my mental health had deteriorated so badly that we had to leave the state for our own sanity. Before joining my father, I had to live alone with my Mom and my baby sister for almost a year. My aunt who lived a few minutes drive away did nothing when my Mom beat me up every day for months until my father managed to cut the red tape to remove me. My body was full of bruises and I was terrified to go home after school. Nobody helped. Not the neighbours who can hear all my mom's shouting at me, nor my aunt, nor my grandparents, nor my school's teachers. Someone should had intervened for a 12+ little girl. No adult helped. My father was trying his best to get me away to stay with him. Nobody helped him.

On XXXXXXXXXXXX, my Mom's sister let slip she saw my Mom beat me with a cane. And yet she did nothing! My aunt even had the cheek to say that my Mom beat me up because I said I wanted to go live with my father. The way my aunt said it was like the beatings were wholly my fault. What is wrong with the picture? You have a 12+ girl being beaten up daily, you are an aunt who knows something is going on and did nothing. Yet for years later you complain about having to take your own blood sister for her injections. And, I do not think she did it for longer than my own experiences. Probably only a few times because my father and I had to travel frequently to see to my mother. Due to the cyclic nature of her illness.

I have been going with my father when he took my mother for her weekly injections as a little girl, knee high, ever since I can remember. My own aunt is so calculative. There was a nurse that visits my Mom to give her her injections. But, the problem is my Mom will not let the nurse into her house that is why the intervention is needed. I have lost count on the number of times I had to go with my Mom for her injections as a little girl.

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I. They only listened to her stories and full stop. I think my Mom's doctors are the most heartless people I have ever met in my life. Until today, I do not like anyone who officially practices psychology because those doctors etc... contributed to my life being ruined. That is how I feel. I have been scolded by my Mom's medical team and they even dumped my Mom on me after I just turn 18 and there was no other adult around. And, they knew the situation. I was terrified because my Mom was a very violent. My Mom has pitched me, beaten me up, she has biten me with her teeth, she has smashed my head against the table and threatened to beat me with a piece of hard wood. I experienced all these as a little girl at the tender age of 12+ I had to learn karate to protect myself from her violent ways. And, when my Mom was home, I would lock my room's door and place a chair against it. I was that terrified of her.

All our belongings can go missing because my Mom is good at that sort of thing. You never know what is what with my Mom. It is like having a criminal live under the same roof as you.

My aunt kept repeating to me that on my mother's death anniversary I will have go visit her cemetery. I live in a different state from where my mother's cemetery is located. And, my aunt knows that very well. However she repeated her question to me until I said yes. I hate being forced to do something against my will because I have been forced to do things against my will my whole life.

My life is in ruins because of my mother's mental illness and people like my aunt is perpetuating the troubles for me after my mother's death. When I was 12+, my mother's mother said to me that it is my father's job to take care of my mother. In other words, my father's job and mine. And, they never lifted a finger to help. Just helping a little, my aunt has been complaining about the same thing for more than a decade. Unbelievable. Shameful.

Even though my father and I lived in a different state from my mother, we had to travel up and down every weekend because that is demanded of my mother. Sometimes, we had to travel after school and upon our arrival, she won't let us in and we had to travel all the way back. And, my father will not let me sleep at home as it is a school day, I had to go to school. My education was very important to my father. My mother could not be bothered if I succeeded or not.

I have seen more than any of my Mom's relatives have seen with regards her mental illness but people whom I just met behave like I have no idea about my Mom like they are the authority on her behaviour and her illness. Goodness gracious.

Despite this huge handicap in my life I persevered with my studies. My Mom did not give me any moral or emotional support at all. In fact her mental illness cycle will peak just or during my important exams. In other words, I had to deal with my exams and on top of them a mentally ill mother. By my final year in university, I could not take the pressure of exams and a mentally ill mother's break downs anymore.

When I was in my teenage years and early adult years, I was suicidal. I had to call Befrienders a lot. Thank God for Befrienders.

Before XXXXXXXXXXdate, I do not wish my experience to be experienced by anyone else because it is torture. However, after feeling how hard hearted my aunt is. A so called holy person, a church goer, rich person who has successful kids and grand kids. And, she can talk like it is my fault that my Mom beat me up and she (my aunt) had to take her (her own sister) for her injections when I was a kid. I really wish that my aunt must reincarnate as my father (a few lifes) so that she can eat her own words. If my aunt reincarnates and is put in my father's shoes, she would really deserve it. Hope she learns compassion through it all.

Why can't the world give children of the mentally ill a break? I am so fed up with all this troubles that stem from my mother's sister's attitude towards my father and I. After all shel lives a great lives. Rich live. What is wrong with these people? I really cannot stand them. This is my story.

After I wrote the above - I am more myself now, and I totally forgive my aunt and everybody who did nothing to help my father and I. And, everybody else who were heartless towards my father and I. However, I still think that by living a few life times as my father (my aunt) - would do her some good. But, knowing her character, she might become a psychopath and pose a threat to humanity. My father is a very, very kind soul. My aunt is a hard hearted, prejudiced, narrow minded, one tracked mind person.

How I cope? Trying my best to keep out of their way, and hang out with positive people. There are plenty of great people out there. Nnaami is included :)


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