Parent Drugs Addictions, Abuse, and Mental Illness. Print E-mail
Written by Gramie   
Hello,I was searching the internet for information about the impact of mentally ill parents on the development of young children and found a website with your contact information.I live in XXXX and have a grandchild whose mother is bi-polar. The maternal grandmother is also bi-polar with a lengthy history of physically abusing her daughter, the mother of my 3 year-old granddaughter.
The mother of my granddaugther is 20+ years old and currently not taking her medication. Just two nights ago, she cut her wrists and ended up walking to a nearby hospital emergency room. My son was able to pick up his daughter and bring her home with him. He is seeking custody and for a while the mother agreed that she was not stable enough to care for the child and would sign the legal documents to change the existing custody order.However, she has now changed her mind and we are going to court to proceed with trying to change the original custody order. I want this young woman to understand how her illness and her inability to properly care for herself is impacting her child now and how this will impact her future.Do you have anything that could be emailed or mailed to me that I can forward on to her to read? She is an intelligent young woman, but at this time in her life she is choosing to forego her meds in order to drink and smoke pot with her boyfriend and his friends. They stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. and keep the child up so she will sleep until noon when they are ready to get up. She must be made to understand how incredibly negative this is for her child. Most of the info I'm finding on the internet is geared more toward adult children of mentally ill parents or bi-polar children, but nothing about the impact on pre-school age children living in constant emotional turmoil. When the child visits with her dad, she cries when it's time to go home and doesn't want to go. She's been with her dad for three days now and has not asked even once about her mom or about going home. We have to save this child.Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated


(NNAAMI replied to above)

Dear Paul,
Thank you so much for your response, I appreciate the time you've taken to read my email and get back to me with your comments.

I am happy to report that in May my son won custody of his daughter and things have definitely improved since that time. The mother of the child does have visitation, and we never wanted to deny her access to her child. Stipulations regarding visitation include the mother providing monthly drug test results to my son, along with monthly statements from her psychiatrist and evidence that she is back on her prescribed medications.

Before we went to court I did try to speak to the mother about her experiences as a child and how, in the past, she had told me about the impact of her own mother's mental health issues on her as she was growing up. We had begun what seemed like a meaningful conversation when her boyfriend took the phone and wouldn't let me speak with her again. Since then, we have not spoken due to their anger around losing custody of the child. But, I met this young woman when she was still in high school and I know that she doesn't want to be the kind of person she turns into when she doesn't take care of herself. I don't think she has much support in getting better, so the court orders seem more like punishment to her than an avenue for an improved quality of life.

While the mother is still very angry that she lost custody, she has been complying with the court order. Another stipulation, which we are unable to really monitor, is that she maintain the regular bedtime that has been established for the child now that she is living with her dad. The difference in my granddaughter's mood and behavior is greatly improved and she's a much happier little girl these days.

We want to see her mother get better and really take care of herself so she can be the best possible mother she can be to this child. While she resents all of us at this point, we're hopeful that one day she'll come to the realization that these things can really help her have a better life, and by improving her own life she will improve the life of her daughter. We try to keep a positive thought for her success in taking better care of herself, but we're also prepared to deal with the fall-out if she is unable to continue to do so.

Yes, you may certainly post my email in the event our experiences could be helpful to others and you may use gramie as my user name.

Again, thank you for responding and for providing a valuable resource to parents and grandparents dealing with the many issues surrounding mental illness in families.

Best regards,

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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