It's been 3 months..... Help with fear

[Long ramble ahead. I apologize.]

As many of you know (probably because I keep babbling on about it), my husband died in November. And it just now seems that I’m beginning to really deal with the fallout from that. Not just the normal stuff like sadness and depression (because I have a whole other host of mental issues that play a part too), but I’m terrified of trying to start over on my own with so many problems to overcome.

  1. I haven’t worked since 2010 and that wasn’t anything strenuous, just a stint as a program director for Meals on Wheels. Part-time at just four hours a day, it was no big deal. Even with diminished capacity, I could (mostly) keep up. Since then, all I’ve done is caregiver nonstop. So, I now need to re-enter the work force and do so around my limitations. As such, I’m cleaning houses. It’s great (although I don’t have much clientele yet), but I’m worried I won’t be able to survive / keep it up / what-have-you.

  2. I thought my mental health was relatively steady. I see a therapist once a month and I was in grief counseling until about a month ago. I’ve been getting out, seeing friends, going to church and staying occupied, but not to the extent that I never cry or feel down or think about him. I thought I was taking pains to make sure I was staying on top of dealing with the loss.

But lately, the last couple of weeks have been hell. I still pretty much do the above stuff, but I’m a zombie the rest of the time. Things aren’t getting done at home until it’s a must, which in turn makes me feel worse, as I become overwhelmed with responsibilities that now fall solely to me. I’m behind, more depressed, have had fleeting thoughts of suicide again (don’t worry, they’re not the least bit active thoughts), am easily taxed by everything and just generally see no point in fighting an uphill battle to beat the odds that I’m just faking all this shit anyway. It’s simply another thing that’s draining the life out of me and I can’t pray or talk it away.

  1. Apart from severe financial difficulties, I have one huge area of stress that I absolutely cannot get out from under and, as of yet, haven’t figured out any way to deal with it… my mother. She is extremely emotionally abusive to everyone in her life, and because she has access to my elderly father (which I would be denied if I cut ties) and owns the home I live in, I’m stuck. I’ve discussed her with every psychologist I’ve had over the past twenty years and I’m no more clear on what the hell to do here than I’ve ever been. For the record, there isn’t a person alive who has met her that doesn’t believe she’s got a borderline personality disorder. Of course, there’s no way to ever verify that, as all doctors are idiots. :rolleyes: Regardless, her constant evil Sybil schtick is contributing to my mess.

Gah. I need help.

Anyway, there’s all that. So, what is one to do when they’re crazy, broke and related to Cruella? I don’t need much to keep afloat, but I’ve got to find some way to do so with my sanity intact. A book on interacting with unlovable and hateful people? A website on confidence when building a business? Something to explain how to cope with mourning when you’re already nuts? I’ll take anything because there’s nothing more that I want to do than prove I can do this. Not necessarily to others, but myself.

Any and all advice will be appreciated. Bless you for reading all this and letting me vent. Thanks.

You haven’t had enough time yet. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting things done, it’s an unusual time, later you’ll get things in order. I don’t know what to say about your mother, I just feel very bad for you and hope you can find a way to handle it. Now is when you need some foolish faith to believe things will get better because you can’t do much more right now than you are already doing.

You mention therapy, but it might be time to see a real-life Doc to get some pharmaceutical help. Long term chronic depression can turn into life-threatening depression (although you say no ‘active’ suicidal thoughts, it still sounds dire) when so many circumstances consort to bring you down.

PLEASE, PLEASE see a Doc! You have so many things stacked against you that it would take a super-human to get through. I’m not a big fan of pills and shit, but sometimes they can just break the cycle ENOUGH that you can then start the hard work of pulling yourself out of a really nasty quagmire.

((hugs)) Yeah, I know it means shit from someone half way around the world, but please take care and get some decent medical support faithfool.

First of all, you’re not nuts; you’re a Doper.

B) As my esteemed colleague TriPolar said, don’t rush yourself. Grieving takes it’s own time and it’s path.

On the gripping hand, I also have no advice concerning your mother other than to limit the amount of interaction y’all have. Do you have siblings that you can talk to? Does your mother have siblings you can talk to? Can you speak frankly with your father about your mother? I’m sorry I have no concrete suggestions.

I have plenty of extra Slack; I’ll send some your way.

Hang in there, fatihfool!

I guess it depends on how broke you are, but is there any way you can move out of the house your mother owns, so that you are less dependent on her, and into a roommate situation, preferably with a friend or family member that can give you the emotional support you need right now?

Just chiming in with sympathy, and to echo the others: grief takes its own time.

For your mother, can you tell us what you’ve tried? I have lots of ideas, but it would help to know what has and hasn’t worked for you, and the buttons she pushes.

Lots of good stuff here. I’ll do my best to take them in order.

Thanks. I’m trying to lean on my redound new faith, but lately, the pickings are slim. I don’t feel like God has deserted me and I’m not mad (I don’t think), I just don’t feel like I can get there from here. It’s so frustrating. But thinking more on that, maybe I need to find a more targeted devotional. Perhaps there’s something out there for similar situations. I’ll check.

So sorry, I knew I forgot something. I am on anti-depressants and have been for the last two years. Generic Prozac, in fact. It’s even been increased since he died, so that’s one thing I’m staying on top of and continuing to see my regular MD about. But thanks for the reminder to keep that portion at the fore. Over the past two decades, I’ve pretty much been treatment resistant, so I’d give these now-working pills up only if someone pried them from my cold, dead hands. I appreciate your concern though. <3

Heh. :slight_smile: As to my mother… it’s just me and her only brother hasn’t much to do with her. Mostly a ‘special occasion’ sort of relationship. Dad will be 81 this year, has only a sixth grade education and has been abused by her for so long, Pavlov’s dog had more courage. It’s so sad that there’s nothing to do there but try and shield him from as much of her wrath as possible. Thank you for the thoughts.

On to the rest in the next post.

We lost our house when my husband became sick and the only way for us to afford anything, was for my mother to front us on an older mobile home. For the past three years, I’ve been paying on it diligently, but not nearly as much as I’d liked, for almost everything was tied up with medical care. Anyway, there are no cheaper alternatives than what I’ve got. Even moving in with someone else would run me more and is still have to pay her back. Which I’ll do even if hell freezes over.

Emotional support is harder to come by. All my friends are of more recent vintage (we’ve only been back in the area since 2013) and almost no one has the energy to deal with heavy duty mental issues. They’re sweet in a clutch, but the daily wear and tear? I’m on my own.

Lessee… she’s broken every boundary I’ve ever set, repeatedly, until it just exhausts you and she gets her way. She can’t take the gentlest constructive criticism. Shoot, she won’t even listen to concern for fear that everyone is out to get her / ganging up on her. You cannot put distance between her or she’ll show up on your doorstep at all hours of the day and night with the police. If you don’t engage at all, she threatens to jerk my dad / the house / whatever away. That’s how I ended up out of the will at one point, because she thought I was faking my first breakdown. I still have no clue if I’m back in it or not. She won’t see a therapist. She can’t be reasoned with.

The list is endless and every single specialist I’ve ever dealt with has declined to make her acquaintance. Only one did she come into brief contact with. They, in turn, said that they now understood what the problem was.

Hope that gives you some idea.

That sounds like an ordeal indeed. Try looking at things from a philosophical perspective- even if only for a little while. Check out The Art of Warand The Art of Peace:

My own mother dear is about as emotional as a wood plank, but Dad happens to be one of the few people she’s ever cared about; she was still breaking into tears at sort-of-random times two years after he died (sort of random because for some strange reason she never did it with anybody but me or her friend Rita present :p). There are religions and societies that set the “official mourning period” at one year; I know Judaism has ceremonies to be done at several times including the one-year mark, for example. Normally when there’s that big a trend it’s because there are psychological reasons behind it: those old Bronze Age priests may not have had PhDs but they weren’t completely dumb.

What are your big motivators, as a person? Are you goal-oriented, process-oriented, people-oriented? Depending on this, it may be helpful to set up a list of Things I Must Do Every Day, id Every Week… or it may be helpful to find a friend you meet for sure once a week to clean out the cobwebs, or to set up specific goals such as “on Saturday afternoon, the house will be clean enough for visitors”. But they all have to be realistic, “this week I’m not going to cry” doesn’t make sense. I see your local friends aren’t very good as shoulders to cry on, is there any sort of grief support group? We’re all here, but the problem is, “here” is likely to be too far to have some chocolate cake together.

The long part about your mother being a piece of work deleted by me.

First, I’ve seen and read a fair bit about your recent tribulations, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually chimed in. So, now, finally, my condolences and my wishes that things finally take a turn for the better for you.

I’m going to throw this out. While I can certainly respect your desire to pay her back “even if hell freezes over”…that might not be the best option for you right now.

If you stop paying your mother back, what will happen? Will she just have a bit less disposable income? Will the food budget be stretched to the limit? Will your mother and father loose the house?

For your sanity, the best option might just be to walk away from the situation financially AND personally.

Use that monthly payment to help fund something…anything to get you out of this situation. Maybe even go live in a campground somewhere…getting away from crazy people…and like lots of people you probably have enough “junk” that you are getting to feel like it owns you (and it weighs on you mentally)…and giving yourself time to decompress and be with yourself without all this physical and mental clutter might really help.

Kinda like when somebodies life goes to pot financially. They declare bankruptcy and move on.

Good luck

Yeah, my therapist has been gently reminding me not to catastrophize. It’s so easy for me to do, as that’s exactly how I was raised. My mother can go into a frothing rage over whether or not someone remembered to recline the car driver’s seat back into the correct position. Or failed to start the coffee in precisely the right three minute window. So, I’ve gotten much better, but when I feel like I’m drowning, I still have a tendency to at least partially go there. I need to keep working harder on reframing things. And find some books like that, although I’ve got the former somewhere.

My motivators right now are getting the business up and running and keeping things in order. IE: Not letting the dust bunnies jettison me from the house or to bankrupt my entire wardrobe because I’m too freaking depressed to ever do the laundry. Making headway at home is hugely important to me and it has to be realistic or I’m sunk before I even begin. My Martha Stewart days flew the coop long ago.

I do have lists. Man, I probably have lists out the wazoo or Lists for my lists. Which can also be a problem that I can’t let grow too much. However, your suggestion of specifying them a certain way is a good one. Instead of fighting it daily, perhaps I need to aim for events. And I’m very people-oriented. If it’s for myself, I can’t always get on board with that. For others, motivation is a ton easier.

Grief support around here is kind of catch as catch can. For me to get to any, we’re talking an hour and a half one way (so a three hour round trip, like Gilligan) and the other is over an hour. Even though the cost is one I’m willing to incur, so far, what I’ve been to hasn’t been very helpful long term. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t to a place where it was crucial yet and now would be much better. I need to redouble my efforts in this area then.

Thank you all for the help. This has been cathartic and has given me some food for thought.

Ah, bill, you snuck in while I was typing. I’m about to leave to go bid a job, so I’ll have to reply when I return. Sorry.

No problem!

Don’t let you wanting to reply to me add the stress :eek:

I’'ll pre forgive you right now :slight_smile:

I’m going to second the idea to ditch it all and free yourself from being essentially owned by your mother. Especially if, as you say, she holds your home over your head and uses the threat of taking it away? At a certain point, even the saintliest would be like, oh hell no, take this place and shove it. Free yourself! Go somewhere else! Find yourself, and who you really are, at this new stage of your life! Seek happiness! I know, that when you’re in the grips of fear and depression, that all of that must seem impossible, but maybe that’s the best time to do it. Tell yourself that whatever you decide to do, there are only two possible outcomes- you’ll either make it through, or you’ll die from it. You probably won’t die from making a break for it, and you might find a new life, new happiness, new love, new self. I’m a firm believer in changing what’s not working. You have to ask yourself if what you’re doing is working, and if not, can you find the courage to change it? I hope you can, because I hate the thought of you being so unhappy.


I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way and I wish I had something helpful to say. Please, above all else, take it easy on yourself.. You are not who your mother says you are nor deserving of her treatment of you; that is all her.. She’s apparently a sick woman, and though it doesn’t make it any easier to put up with, remember, just because she has a louder voice and an aggressive manner, she’s still essentially - forgive me for this -talking out her ass. You will eventually get out from under. Commit this thought unto your deepest heart and nurture it every day. When your mommy dearest is ranting and raving, go limp like a protester at a riot, all the while knowing that you’ve got a secret, an agenda. One day, very soon, *you will be strong again *and disentangle yourself from her, whatever that means for you; financially, physically, emotionally . . .

As to your grief over your dear husband, I know I’m not the first to tell you it takes as long as it takes. Not helpful, I know, but it’s so very true. It just. . . is. The pain absolutely SUCKS while you’re living it but I swear - and I bet any of the good people here will back me up - it *will *become manageable. As far as I know there are no accounts of people dying from broken hearts (save for fairy tales). You *will *feel better in time. Just let yourself feel how you feel for as long as you feel it and take care of yourself; the rest will fall in line.

3 months is not very long to be over grieving the lost of your husband . And there is no rule saying long a person should grief the lost of a love one . You’re being too hard on yourself . I am sorry to hear of lost of your husband .
Can you get any support from your friends and family ? Seeing someone once a month is not a lot, once a week or twice a week would be more benefit .

  1. I’m very sorry for your loss. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything, coming from someone you don’t know, but know I’ll keep a good thought for you.

  2. You must categorize your problems in order to solve them. Categorize them and break them down. Forget your mother for a moment. This is definitely easier said than done, but as I understand it, she’s vicious as things stand, and you should pay her if you’re going to stay at her house, which means you should make decent money to support yourself and pay her. Even if you leave, you must make enough money to support yourself, and there must be a buffer period during which you will need aid before you can make it. It’s not simply a matter of up-and-go.

So now it seems that the most pressing issue, in my opinion, is the financial aspect. If that is managed, then the rest of the problems will be manageable; not necessarily resolved, but at least manageable, and manageable *is * manageable.

I’m not sure about the employment market in your area, or how much you can make , or how much you need in order to live decently, but it looks like you’re in command of more skills than cleaning a house requires, so why don’t you take advantage of that? Again, may be easier said than done, but exactly how much time and effort does it take to write a resume and submit to a few places here and there? Even with no recent work experience or certifications, things can work, and what have you got to lose?

I also want to refer you to this story:

I have a lot of reservations about all mentions of ‘God’ and ‘angels’ in that page, but I found the story quite profound and powerful, and I think it may inspire you a bit, or at least instill a bit of hope.

I wish I knew wiser words, knew a better way of expressing them, or could come up with a more effective plan for you to follow, but alas, I don’t. What I do know for a fact is that you’re intelligent, sensitive and are going through a horrible ordeal; have been going through it for a while, and this isn’t to be taken lightly. While you have summoned the presence of mind to sit down and write about what you’re going through–and even be responsive and courteous in your answers-- others have taken the easiest and nearest way out on their path.

You’re not a weak person, in my opinion. You just forgot how strong you are, and right now is when you need to remember and pull through.

Tell the police your side of things; they can’t be finding her easy to deal with, either. Mention her abuse of your elderly father. Ask for a referral to an agency that will help you get a restraining order against her.

I’ve got a borderline sister, myself. Insane rage drama on an unpredictable basis. Here’s a website that might be helpful:

People there will recognize your situation. There’s some pretty helpful stuff on it.

One of the worst things that BPD moms do is to create children who have no confidence in their own reactions. You sound like a really observant person and what you are seeing is real. You’re not the crazy one. Again, see that website!

I really wish I had a solution for what is essentially a financial problem: if you were financially independent, you could just go no-contact with your mom. Do you have any source of money? SSDI? Could you move?