I Can't Escape The Dysfunction of my Mother

I am 43 years old, my mother is 67.  We both live alone and have no outside support system so we rely very heavily on each other.  Some days that is fine but when it's bad, it's really bad.  My mother has, for as long as I can remember, had extremely depressive episodes and there is no rationalizing with her about it.  She has a very poor self-image and the worst victim mentality I've ever seen.  She is offended by everyone and everything.  She is incredibly defensive and somewhat manic-depressive.  I don't remember her always being this way but I suspect she has, just to a lesser degree maybe.  
She is only like this with me (and a couple of old co-workers); my older sister and brother don't get this version of her because they live out of town and are detached from the situation.  I don't know what to do.  I love my mother.  When things are normal, she's my best friend.  But it only takes one comment, or question, or memory, or a holiday, or who knows what to send her spiraling down into a pool of misery and trying to suck me into it with her.  Sometimes I go.  Sometimes I am able to save myself and tell her that I am not going to participate in her misery.  
She resents me because I have more education and have been through loads of counseling and have a different understanding about a lot of things.  She criticizes the words I use because they are not the words she uses and therefore, according to her, I think I'm better or smarter, or I just think she's stupid.  She's not ignorant by any means, but she really is not logical alot of the time about the way she does things or thinks things should be done.  She has gotten to be very forgetful which makes it so much worse.  She cannot stop her mind from racing and so she is not fully present in conversations or events.  I worry about her driving herself and using chemical cleaners and things like that because she just doesn't pay attention.  She has brushed her teeth with bleach - ON PURPOSE!  She cannot see at night but insists that she should drive and gets her feelings hurt if she's not able to.  She's a walking wound and I don't know how to interact with her or find a middle ground.  Middle grounds do not exist in her world.  One minute she is completely logical and the next, it's total chaos.  
Anyway, long, tiresome story short: we are all that we've got.  I want to be here for my mother but I have to be able to find my own balance within the dysfunction so I could use some input on it....    Thanks.
anneomenous anneomenous
41-45, F
5 Responses Sep 17, 2010

Hello. I'm 40 and dealing with a bipolar mother. My younger brother and I used to have a wonderful relationship until grandmother died almost 5 yrs ago. Since then i left the house got married and I am so happy than ever. I wish my mother would be a supportive and loving mother but I know her highs and low mood is clouding her mental state and I no longer have her in my life because of her toxic behavior. It took me over 4 yrs to unnderstand that I love my mother with all my heart. I will no longer feel guilty and I accept her for being my mother with bipolar. Good luck and may you find your happiness within your life and live for your happiness and sanity! Blessing peace & love always too you!
Christina from San Francisco, Ca

Girl you need to move out. Bipolar only gets worse with age. I know because I am in the same situation as you. You need a life of your own. I understand you want to take care of your mother but it's poisoning you as well. Pretty soon you will be resenting her for it . Why do you think your older siblings are not with her

My mother is also 67 (I'm 26). From my experience it seems that bi-polar disorder and old age are not a good blend. I know it's a tough decision but perhaps consider putting her into a home. Something close by where you can visit and she has supervision. I am considering doing this with my mother. I know it's easier said than done but I agree with the comment below about widening your support system or group of friends. There are websites like meetup.com that are great for introducing you to people who share your interests. Hang in there!

I can completely relate to your words. My mother has been manic every day of my life. I have an older sister that had a normal mother and an older sister that had a mostly normal mother. I don't recall my mother ever being normal. She's extremely mean and demeaning at times. Everyone is out to get her, everyone is against her, everyone is crazy but her. I wish I could tell you ot would get better but with these people unless they admit and accept its never going to change. Because I have MS I have had to step away from her because she causes mr to much stress. Sadly when we di get together my absence on her life becomes her stomping ground..only to leave things worse.

I am so sorry about your situation. <br />
Would it be possible for you to try and expand your circle? How about asking your siblings to be more present in her life so her focus shifts towards them...I have no clue. I feel for the 2 of you though.