Ever since I made this thread, I’ve been moving toward this decision. I’ve been trying to do everything possible on my end to minimize the pain my mother’s behavior causes me. First, with the Dope’s help, I learned that I can’t fix her and it’s not my responsibility to do so. Second, I learned that I can’t get in the middle of the family drama. But that hasn’t made the pain go away. Her behavior has gotten worse. She’s starting to lose her temper again – to injure herself and destroy property. She hasn’t been working in over a year – she’s on medical leave, but she’s had so much time to find alternative work and hasn’t bothered. We’ve tried to get her help – given her books and plenty of information about her illness and its effective treatment. She complains about the cost of therapy, but Sr. Olives and I are even willing to take out additional loans (on top of our existing student loan debt) to pay for her therapy and medications.
I have tried to be supportive but she refuses to hear any negative feedback about her delusions or her destructive behavior. She’s just stuck in this psychological loop of looking desperately for other people to blame for her misery. She torments herself and the people who love her, and in doing so she has already utterly destroyed her relationship with my Aunt, who has no interest in speaking to her again. When she calls her up in a few months to bitch about some other family member and wants to act like nothing happened, she’s going to be in for a hell of a rude awakening. I know my Mom doesn’t do it on purpose, because she really is sick, but at this point it’s irrelevant why she’s doing it or with what intent. What matters is that I don’t even feel safe around her and I don’t even feel like I’m getting anything out of our relationship. It’s not good that every time I get a phone call from her, a part of me panics.
Anyway, this past weekend was the final straw. She broke her cell phone in a fit of rage and expected her parents to buy her a new one. Then she laughed nervously and explained that she wasn’t the one who broke the phone; her hands had done it without her permission, tee-hee. Are you fucking kidding me? I was utterly traumatized by her rage as a child and have told her as much, and she claims to regret abusing me – but apparently it’s totally cool doing it to other people like her boyfriend and my Grandma and Aunt. The level of comfort she has gotten with this behavior is pretty alarming. Then there’s the fact that her reputation precedes her, and it’s getting to the point where I’m embarrassed to be her kid. After she totally dissed my Grandma’s new boyfriend, I had to meet him, and I’m not like her, you know?
I keep trying to think of the future and where Mom fits into it, but I just can’t see it. We’re going to adopt children within the next 2-3 years. She acts like she’s going to be super involved but that just can’t happen. My job is to protect those kids from people like her – no way in hell can I put my kids through what I’ve gone through. Every major milestone would be a nightmare, because she can’t get along with anyone else in the family and always has to play these head games whenever people are having a good time. Then there’s the fact that I wouldn’t tolerate this behavior out of anyone else – no friend or other relative. I’ve made all these healthy choices for myself but she’s always been this part of my life I have to contain and minimize. It’s like constant damage control. It doesn’t fit with the kind of life I really want to live, the way I want to surround myself with positive energy and be in mutually supportive relationships that help me thrive as a person. Everything about my life is healthy except for her.
So that’s it, basically. It’s going to come as something of a shock to her, because we just had a pretty nice visit together, but I can’t take another second of keeping my mouth shut while she wreaks havoc in every direction. I wrote her a hand-written letter and mailed it Thursday. I kept it brief and to the point. I said her behavior is a concern to me, I don’t feel safe around her and I cannot have a relationship with her until she has sought treatment for her Borderline Personality Disorder. I told her any relationship we have in the future will have to be 100% honest meaning I must be able to tell her when she is hurting herself or other people, and she must be willing to face it and correct it. I told her we and a bunch of other family members were willing to pay for her treatment and she should feel free to contact me once she has her life in order. ‘‘I can forgive the past, but I can never forget it or condone similar behavior in the present.’’
I don’t expect her to change, so I might be saying goodbye for the rest of my life. Since the letter hasn’t arrived yet and will likely do so any minute now, I’m incredibly anxious right now because she is so unpredictable. She may do anything from attempt suicide to blame another relative to try to sue me. She might do all three at some point, I don’t know. The only solace I’m getting from this fear of her reaction is that it’s the last time I’ll ever have to fear her again. I also feel very sad, sad that I didn’t really get to have a Mom – I got to have a person I felt responsible for 24/7. When I think about how hurt she will be when she receives this letter, it’s agony. Because I truly do love her so much, and I doubt she’ll really understand why I’m doing this even though I’ve tried to make it as plain as day. I was as kind as possible in the letter. But I’m not going to change my mind. Even though she has been “nice” to me these past few years, I’m learning that it’s possible to emotionally manipulate someone and call it being nice. By telling me how great and sweet and understanding I am and making it impossible for me to speak out against her behavior, she has instilled me with a sense of guilt and fear of being a hypocrite by invalidating her feelings. I never thought of it that way before, but that’s basically it. This sense of guilt I feel is entirely something she constructed, in order to prevent me from telling her what she doesn’t want to hear. But from a basic rational perspective there is no question in my mind I’m doing the right thing. I didn’t get that until my Aunt’s husband told me that he considers me and my Aunt basically saints for how much we’re willing to put up with.
It’s funny, I think I almost liked being able to hold onto that identity as that long-suffering good girl whose capacity for forgiveness and compassion was limitless. I’ve always gotten something out of playing that role with my family. But I don’t feel the need to be a saint anymore. I just want to live in peace.
As always, thanks for listening. You guys rock.