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Very difficult mother is sick just as I was withdrawing contact. WWYD?

(55 Posts)
HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 11:32:10

My mum is difficult, well, Toxic really.

Recently I had decided for my own sanity to withdraw contact with her and kep it to a very bare minimum.

About a week later she was sent to hospital with pneumonia. I visited her the day after she was admitted and even laying there with an oxygen mask on she lied and manipulated and pushed for her usual game playing and it made me realise she'd never be happy. It doesn't matter what level of sympathy or support we give her she will still push for more - it'll never be enough.

I don't have the energy to deal with it any more. I kept my distance despite her being ill because I had good updates and knew she was getting better.

3 weeks later and she was asked for a scan yesterday as they were concerned about some other test results according to my brother.

I was kind of talked into going over because of mothers day and because I've not really explained to her I wanted this space I felt I should go and be civil.

My brother took her for the scan and she is now saying she has a tumour. She's saying it's in her chest cavity and wrapped around some valve or vein connected to her heart.

Apparently she left the room after the scan and was very very upset and shaken and the nurse was comforting her. My brother said by the state of her he fully believes they told her something was found and I'm inclined to agree. She is apparently getting a biopsy today of tomorrow.

My problem is that over the course of a few hours she went from having a tumour and needing a biopsy to having a fist sized mass with long reaching 'feelers; wrapping around her heart and needing surgery this week etc

It's exhausting. She obviously has great reason to be scared but why do this? Why try and make it into an even bigger problem then it is? We were all sat with her, she was being given plenty of attention but it still wasn't enough.

I don't know what to do. I had to keep leaving the room because I just wanted to shout at her that her REAL situation is bad enough. That we are scared ENOUGH already and there's no reason for this.

I keep thinking that in her situation I would do everything to minimise the situation for my kids so they wouldn't worry. I know we are adults but it got to the point where she was mentioning losing all her her to the grandkids.

I know she must be scared and I want to support her but how can I make myself ignore all of this extra crap? I'm still so gutted at recent behaviour that if this wasn't happening I'd be nowhere near her. Part of me feels a bitch and a horrible daughter because she will need me for support but in the back of my head I'm questioning if she deserves it and if I can emotionally afford to give it.

If she was just honest and decent about these tests etc it would be so much easier. If I try to tell her that then I'll be this weeks "awful daughter", nothing will change, she will have even more drama to feed off of and I will have a whole heap of guilt from myself and most likely my siblings too.

WWYD? Would you go despite feeling it's not what's best for you?

This is so long - I'm sorry but I can't talk to anyone in RL about this.

lougle Mon 11-Mar-13 11:35:48

I'm sorry, I don't quite understand this perspective. Yes, you are her daughter, but you are a grown up now. She shouldn't have to protect you from how she's feeling.

If you feel she's manipulating you, fair enough, but if she is scared and upset about something then she has every right to say so.

juneau Mon 11-Mar-13 11:40:08

Well, I think if it was me I'd want to know what the extent of this 'thing' is. Can you be present next time she sees the doctor and at least get the information from the horse's mouth? That way you can sort your mother's anxiety/attention-seeking from the real issue here and decide what support (if any), you're prepared to give.

FWIW, she sounds exhausting.

TheRealFellatio Mon 11-Mar-13 11:42:28

I'm confused. What else that you find so unnecessary is she doing, exactly? confused Are you saying that she should put a brave face on things for your sake?

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 11-Mar-13 11:42:40

I think that while she's seriously ill, you have to give your support, regardless of it not being the best thing for you.

I know how you feel, my mother has health problems and uses them to manufacture extra drama at times. It's terribly irritating but doesn't diminish the seriousness of her problems, or her right to support from her children.

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 11-Mar-13 11:47:56

Is her illness the only thing stopping you from cutting her off? What was making you want to withdraw from her before?

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 11:52:27


That was a bit of a jumbled mess sorry.

I don't feel she should protect us at all. I just feel that saying there is something wrong is enough. The truth of her situation is enough. She doesn't have to embellish it so much to get us to be sympathetic. We were all there, all trying to help but it wasn't 'big' enough on it's own. She had to make it so so much worse.

Everytime she explained what the doctor had said she added yet another thing onto it like chinese whispers. This is very very common for her really.

TheRealFellatio - it's so much more then this honestly but I can't go into it all.

I guess, in all that mess, I was just asking if people would put all past and present bad behaviour aside to support someone through bad health despite knowing it'll be an emotional wreck for you?

And if you would/have done it then How?

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 11:58:52

This past few months have been leading me to withdraw from her for various reasons. I think I've just hit my limit with dealing with her really.

She's done so much to hurt me and when it started effecting my kids recently I finally admitted I couldn't just normalise it as mum being mum.

This probably doens't make much sense with out the background stuff though. Sorry blush

Thumbwitch Mon 11-Mar-13 11:59:12

I think that you probably need to keep the contact light, just for your own sanity. Will the doctors talk to you at all, give you the real picture without all the exaggeration? If so, then you would have that knowledge to counteract any dramatics she might throw in.

And you're right - most parents would play it down - my own mum didn't tell us that she had cancer before we got married - she was in hospital at the time, and despite being scared, she never mentioned it prior to the wedding, or indeed before we went on honeymoon for 5 days. We only found out the day after we returned, when her heart stopped and was restarted - the consultant who mover her to ICU then told us that she was terminal. We still don't KNOW that Mum knew but we're pretty sure the docs would have at least told her - but no one told us until that last point.

She's going to use this situation to its fullest to try and manipulate you as much as ever - pull back, do the least you are comfortable doing and try to stay clear of her mind games.

TheRealFellatio Mon 11-Mar-13 11:59:14

Oh I understand. I see - she is feeding off the drama, which is stressful on top of the drama itself. Sounds a nightmare.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 12:13:26

Thanks Thumbwitch - I was starting to think I was being unreasonable there. I guess form my perspective I'd not want my kids to worry even more so. I don't get it - or her - really.

I think because so much of what she does seems designed for sympathy I assumed having a real reason for plenty of it might slow her down some...

She has lied about cancer more then once. I know that faced with a real possibility of it must be scary but honestly, she has acted like she wanted this in the past so many times it's hard to understand her behaviour now.

Yes TheRealFellatio - I did a very rubbish job of explaining it in my OP!

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 12:14:59

And Thumbwitch - I'm very sorry about your mum. She sounds like a wonderful mother for giving you a happy wedding day and honeymoon despite her own situation.

SayCoolNowSayWhip Mon 11-Mar-13 12:26:44

It's a difficult one - my DM is similar although on a smaller scale. She had cancer a few years ago and is completely fine now, but uses any excuse to bring it up and hint that it's coming back again.

As you say, it must be a terrifying thing to go through and face, but it's like she wants it to be bad so that she gets attention.

Sorry, not hijacking really. I would say, for you, do the bare minimum you can. It's not fair to emotionally exhaust yourself unnecessarily, but at the same time she will obviously need some support from you. However it sounds like she has other support from your siblings etc so she's not completely alone.

How are your DCs dealing with their GM being unwell?

dothraki Mon 11-Mar-13 12:27:04

Huge - I totally get where you are coming from. Have a look at the stately homes thread. You will see that alot of other people have mothers like yours.

lougle Mon 11-Mar-13 12:28:17

I think you are being unreasonable, to be honest. People have different reactions to being seriously unwell. Why does everyone have to be 'toxic' if they are insecure. It seems so strange to me. Insecure as a child -sad but ok. Insecure as a woman -sad but ok. Insecure when a mother - toxic confused

Ok, so she's attention seeking in general. She's not going to switch personality because she's ill, is she?

Imagine for a minute that your roles are reversed. You are insecure anyway and then you find out that you have life-threatening illness, which if a tumour is wrapped around her heart it is, regardless of whether the tumour is benign or malignant. Now imagine that instead of supporting you, your DD is more concerned that you are making it 'all about you' instead of hiding your upset to 'protect her'.

"I had to keep leaving the room because I just wanted to shout at her that her REAL situation is bad enough. That we are scared ENOUGH already and there's no reason for this."

Perhaps this isn't about you? Perhaps she was just telling you how she felt confused

LittleEdie Mon 11-Mar-13 12:30:58

It sounds like you're looking for permission to disengage.

Of course when people cut their families off then terminal illness can be a time for reconciliation.

It is up to you if you choose to support her. If it is affecting your DCs then it must be difficult to maintain contact.

Plinkityplonk Mon 11-Mar-13 12:34:30

She sounds very much like my mum although mine hasn't had a serious illness to contend with. She does attention seek so every little illness she has is blown up- meanwhile my mil has bravely battled cancer with no fuss or drama and my mum comes over to visit talking about how low she feels just after we get the diagnosis!
My suggestion would be to maintain contact at a level you can manage but just try to detach as much as possible when she is being dramatic. I've come to realize I won't change my mum all I can change is my reaction to her behaviour.

forgetmenots Mon 11-Mar-13 12:47:57

To be fair lougle OP has said there's lots more to it. And I do believe actually that being a mother or a woman means you have a responsibility not to make others accountable for your happiness (at one way or another this is often the root of this kind of behaviour). Children are obviously exempt!

The definition 'toxic' doesnt really help as it's a short-hand for many behaviours that are often the result of personality disorders, mental health issues etc so it's difficult to know the precise problem.

I feel for you OP. I agree with whoever spoke about keeping contact light. Be there as much as you can for your sake - you will no doubt still be hurting that she is ill - but don't allow her to minimise you or make you feel responsible for anything other than you and your feelings.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 12:53:57

Lougle - I don't use the term toxic lightly here. Honestly, it's taken a lot for me to get to this stage towards her.

Yes, she is scared and has reason to be.

When I said I needed to leave the room it's because I just want her to be honest for one moment. Honest that she's scared. Honest about what's really happening. I don't need her to protect me - you've missed my point about that. I just meant that the reality is bad enough, there's no need to invent an even worse situation.

I'm not trying to make this about me. I did everything expected of me yesterday. I'm here now, sounding out my worries about myself because I'd NEVER raise them in RL with her or my siblings. I felt I could be honest here. I am worried that emotionally it's too much on top of everything else and I'm asking for advice on how to deal with that. I'm doing it here so that she never has to know I'm feeling this. I guess in that respect then yes, I'm making this thread all about me and how I'm processing this problem at a time when I was already very very confused about my feelings towards her given our long long history.

Thank you to everyone that has answered though. I'm trying to get it together in coherent sentences but it's a whole heap of mess at the best of times!

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 13:00:36

LittleEdie - Maybe I am. Maybe I'm just desperate for someone to tell me I wouldn't be the absolutely worst daughter ever for pulling back from her as I'd decided to despite this latest thing.

So far the kids have been kept out of it as much as possible. I've packed our weekends with alot so they didn't notice the missed visits. With the illness thing, they just think she is still a bit poorly from her hospital visit but I'm trying to keep them out of it.

She talked of losing her hair but I managed to explain that as a worry about growing old to DD.

It's hard because parts of my life she's had me terrified she was going to die when it was nothing. I won't have the kids feel that for her too.

Lemonylemon Mon 11-Mar-13 13:10:43

OP: Why can't you talk to your siblings? Do you think they wouldn't be sympathetic?

It's really, really difficult to get to the nub of what's going on because obviously, you've had to be cautious about what you've written.

SayCoolNowSayWhip Mon 11-Mar-13 13:11:39

Hugesigh, you're not the worst daughter in the world.

If the way you feel is anything like how I feel, it's as if there's no more room for any more sympathy iyswim. You say your DM has had you scared for her life on numerous occasions - do you think it's got to a point where you're just so desensitised to her that its hard to feel any more sympathy than you've already got?

DistanceCall Mon 11-Mar-13 13:15:10

She is toxic, and she is unbearable. And you can expect nothing reasonable from her, much less refraining from milking the drama, much much less putting on a brave face.

However, you need to see this through. Because if she dies, you will feel truly terrible about it afterwards. It's not so much for her own sake as for yours. Just grit your teeth, scream into a pillow when necessary, and see it through.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 13:15:45

forgetmenots - crossposted sorry. Toxic isn't a very helpful word I agree. But difficult doesn't seem to cut it sometimes and Abusive seems too harsh.

You are right - she makes us all solely responsible for her happiness. She cried for days over my brother buying his girlfriend a 'me-to-you' bear for valentines day when he knows full well She collects them and his girlfriend doesn't. She makes our every move personal to her. Every reaction we have to this illness will be pulled apart by her and deemed selfish if it's not to her liking. That's partly what I'm afraid of. My name will be utter mud if I continue with my resolve to distance us from her. I just need to learn not to let that get to me I guess.

I agree light contact seems to be the way forward. I want to support her and do what I can for her, she's just making it so hard sad

Lemonylemon Mon 11-Mar-13 13:22:28

OP: Can you answer my post above please?

MaryRobinson Mon 11-Mar-13 13:23:06

lougle OP has said she has previously lied about cancer which I think escalates from insecure to toxic.

OP It sounds grim and exhausting. I think the long term consequences of being physically absent may be high in terms I the relationship with siblings and wider family. Are you able to mentally disengage while physically present? e.g. by pretending you are really Florence Nightingale or a historian interested in her oral history? maybe even play toxic comment bingo?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Mon 11-Mar-13 13:28:04

I hope I am not going off on too much of a tangent here, but my experience with a very ill mother was that it did NOT stop her from being nasty and manipulative in the slightest. In fact to a large degree it made her worse. She even bit my head-off the night she died!

Don't believe that things will be lovely and rosie in terms of her character/nature if things do take a turn for the worse.

I always conducted myself towards her with kindness, decency and respect because I personally thought it was the right thing to do, but it was never enough even when she was dying. With hindsight, would I do the same again, yes - I would grit my teeth and bear it.

It's not an easy situation - Good Luck!

forgetmenots Mon 11-Mar-13 13:29:32

Wasn't trying to get at you hugesigh when I mentioned the use of the word 'toxic', it's just hard sometimes to separate out the complex issues that come under that heading. I often think abusive is nearer the mark but people are reticent to use that word except in physical or sexual cases.

Mary's idea above about comment bingo is a good one. All you can do is ensure that any contact is not causing you further harm. Any support you can give her under this is admirable but don't do it at your own expense, as you will know too well this isn't the normal kind of situation where you can gladly sacrifice time and energy for a loved one - it can become a power struggle about controlling you and that could be very detrimental to you.

I second the poster who mentioned the Stately Homes thread if you need a vent, we are a supportive bunch!

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 13:29:32

HUGE cross posting. I went to put the kettle on mid post!

LemonyLemon - we all know what she is like. We all agree she has lied and hurt us but we differ on how to deal with it. My brother feels we should just accept this is what she's like, accept we can't change her and rise above it. He is convinced the guilt of not being 'right' with her should something happen would be worse then just putting up with her now.

Her little ways are normalised for us and mostly they just roll right over us but I started considering what she was doing, really looking at her and how she's raised us and it's left a very raw feeling that I needed to step back from. Some of us have gotten to that point before the others I guess. I have found it hard to talk with them about this because I'm scared I'll seem like her - making a big drama over her for attention. And once she knows that I'm feeling anything other then "I love my mum" she'll ramp up the sympathy or push me as unreasonable to the others.

I was expecting that. It's just that she now has a very real thing to need support for and a very real reason to label me as a failure. I'm scared they would start to believe her and resent me. ANd honestly, I don't want to leave it all to them or for them to have to listen to even more drama caused by me.

SayCool - I am certain that it has to be very real and obvious before I start to worry because of what she's done in the past. She told us she had cancer before. Dissapeared for chemo every week, laid with sick filled bowls when we got home from school and it was all a lie. She will go to great lengths to have us scared and fussing over her. We have real proof that this is happening and that's what's spooked me I guess.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Mon 11-Mar-13 13:31:25

What MaryRobinson says - mentally disengage while being physically present.
Excellent post altogether.

DontmindifIdo Mon 11-Mar-13 13:35:39

It sounds a bit like she's cried wolf a lot and now she has "a wolf" to deal with, you'd think that would be enough, except rather than you dealing with that, you're still having to wade through a pile of bollocks about whole packs of wolves, and are pretty sure the lions and tigers will be rocking up soon...

The actions that have annoyed you in the past shouldn't be a problem now, but she's still lying, so you still can't believe her and get on with supporting her, you still can't believe a word she says, except this time you have the added complication that you know something is wrong, yet you've got to wade through all the lies to try to work out what that is so you can start dealing with it. It must be very draining to never really be able to get the truth out of her.

I think either you or your DB need to insist on going to the next doctors meeting with her to get to the bottom of it.

But yes, it's ok to still walk away just because someone is ill. It's not like the illness has changed her, she's still doing the stuff that hurt you in the past.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 13:36:06

Forgetmenots - I know, I was agreeing with you on the toxic word. And very much so about abusive.

I love the comment bingo idea.

I need coping strategies beyond confusing you all with my ramblings.

I really appreciate the help everyone's offered here. I don't want to drip feed but I thought I could ask the WWYD on a stand alone basis but really, it's all tangled together and not that simple is it?

LemonyLemon - I'm sorry I missed your post. I wasn't avoiding the question. Hopefully the above answered it smile

forgetmenots Mon 11-Mar-13 13:36:45

Your story about her faking cancer to her (young) children is actually chilling. Sometimes even after years of an abusive MIL I can still get shocked - this is one of these times.

Lemonylemon Mon 11-Mar-13 13:36:52

Thanks, OP.

I asked this question because my brother, sister and I are dealing with a very similar situation to you at the moment. We have our different ways of dealing with it, and at various times, we have different reactions.

At the moment, my sister's stress levels are through the roof. My brother is laid back and says that she should let things go over her head. At the moment, I veer between the two reactions to my Mum.

I've been to my Mum's house and have come across sick filled bowls. Unfortunately, it wasn't all a lie.

To be honest, I think you need to get at the actual truth of what's happening if you can. Ask for your Mum's permission for the doctor to speak to you "so you can help her". This also give you the chance to get first hand information.

I also think you do need to speak to your siblings about this because your views are as valid as theirs.

To be honest, I'm having to grit my teeth regarding my mum, but the emotional manipulation is very hard to bear sometimes. My siblings and I are forced into situations where if we don't do things together with my Mum, we may have missed out on the last chance to do those things, although we may not feel like all spending the day together on Mother's Day.

If you really feel that you can't speak to your siblings, then maybe you can ask your doctor to refer you to counselling. Or vent on here - the Stately Homes thread may be very useful for you.

VenusRising Mon 11-Mar-13 13:43:56

OP you need to disengage, and do what you need to do.

If that means getting reports from the doctors only, and not going into see her, so be it. Your own health is important- so, safeguard it.

I have a toxic mother myself, and know how they can manipulative illness to create a 'poor me, nobody cares about me' drama.

Every time I was due to leave the country my mum would suddenly have to have tests, or she'd say she was having a heart attack, and I had to bring her into the hospital. Honestly, she's fine, but it was all about controlling me.

I learnt to ignore the mindgames and am on very low contact - I'm just too busy for the self absorbed stunts she pulls.

The fact that your mum is quite ill, is something you'll have to get your head around, as you would if she wasn't toxic, but remember to disengage from the drama.

You need a mantra. I always found "I love and approve of myself" to be a good one in times of mother induced stress and drama. Concentrate on yourself, and put her needs below your own, and that of your own partner and kids.
Act with dignity, don't get triggered, and behave as you would like to remember you did. If that means being disengaged, and keeping a low contact, or no contact, well, so be it.

I've always found medical staff really can assess the situation very clearly- you may get a nurse to pop in every 5 mins or so if you ask.

Good luck: you're not alone.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 13:47:30

Yes thank you MaryRobinson.

Deep breathes. Lots of head nodding and not expecting her to suddenly drop her ways and deal with this truthfully.

We are going to try and make appointments with her in the future. It doesn't stop her though. When she was in with pneumonia she was adamant the nurse was wrong with her updates to us. She will hint that whoever has spoken to the doctor has lied etc. But at least we can keep each other in the loop.

I will keep visits to a minimum and use not wanting to upset the kids as a reason - it's true of course and I'm a single parent with very little support for babysitting etc so it will be easy to explain it away to her. But she will want to see the kids at some point and I'll be horrible for depriving her of them.

Midwife99 Mon 11-Mar-13 13:48:40

I totally understand how you feel. My mother has been "dying" since she was 49. She's now 72!! Every damn holiday I've been on with my DCs has been spoilt by a phone call from one of them or their neighbour saying one or other of them is seriously ill & "might not make it through the night". Always turns out to be a chest infection or urinary tract infection or something. The night after I had DD my father kept texting to say my mother wouldn't survive the night (she had had a routine operation). He then tried to bully me to take a newborn baby to visit her in hospital where they had MRSA & norovirus. They cry wolf do often that the sympathy runs out doesn't it? The woe is me attitude! Grrr! I hasten to add that any time I've had surgery or a baby there has been no visits or cards or concern from them!!

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 14:08:04

Lemony - sounds very similar to us here too. One of us will feel bad about missing a special day etc and the others feel we have to stand together in these things to help each other. I know in reality that they will back me. But I still feel a little scared they may believe what she's pushing if I'm the bad one.

And I like the cried wolf analogy. It's very true.

Venus - Some great advice thank you. I need to be able to look back and be proud of how I handled this. sometimes I just get so angry at her for purposely causing us pain or anxiety it's hard. But I'm glad to see it can be done.

I've popped into the stately homes thread before so I'll give it another go I think. I do need to see the GP about some kind of counselling too. Some better coping strategies and getting my head around all this may be good for me.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 14:12:37

MIdwife99 - exactly the same here. I had surgery last year and she hated the fact I had some sympathy. She pushed family members to pick supporting her over me because she had flu and I only had routine day surgery (gallbladder removal) so she needed them more.

Luckily I am very much the leave me alone until I'm better type and was happy not to be fussed over smile

bishboschone Mon 11-Mar-13 14:15:20

I don't think anyone will get this unless they have a toxic mother. My mil is like this and my dh has given up contact ( his choice) because he just can't deal with it. I feel for you but I would go to the appointments and get the information and go from there . Try not to get caught up in anything but the facts .

lougle Mon 11-Mar-13 14:54:02

HugeSigh I apologise unreservedly. When you said she had lied about having cancer before, I took that to mean that she had told you she had cancer before tests had revealed her problem to be non-cancerous. I didn't imagine for one second that you meant that she had pretended to be having chemo and provided (fake) evidence to the effect.

I hope you find a way through this.

HugeSigh Mon 11-Mar-13 15:11:50

Lougle - Accepted whole heartedly. I did a pretty awful job of explaining myself today. I'm blaming sleep deprivation.

Springdiva Mon 11-Mar-13 15:13:45

I had to have surgery following mammo and it is v stressful, the waiting for results etc, I didn't need chemo etc and have regular check mammos so hopefully all is ok. I just say this as I wonder what a 'supportive' family member is sposed to do.

My MIL kept phoning every day after initial bad result and it drove me mad as I didn't want to keep being reminded that i might die sooner than expected, nor did I want someone telling me everything would be fine and 'not to worry' when no one knew if all would be fine and possibly I should be v worried.

I knew family were concerned and hoping for a good result like me. And that they would take me to and from any treatments required - but what else are 'supportive' people sposed to do?

Probably you need to take a step back, but look and sound concerned when you need to, which I'm sure you do, that's all imv.

Midwife99 Mon 11-Mar-13 16:22:36

It's when this cry wolf syndrome happens on top of many other toxic behaviour over the years that makes it hard to cope with.

Midwife99 Mon 11-Mar-13 16:24:10

Oh I have been told my mother has the "Big C" by my father because of bleeding from the back passage. They hadn't even seen a doctor. It was haemorrhoids! shock

Midwife99 Mon 11-Mar-13 16:27:07

Yeah come join us on Stately Homes!!

Thumbwitch Tue 12-Mar-13 02:30:14

Huge. thank you for your kind words about my Mum. It certainly helped us all to have a better time while in ignorance of her true condition, despite missing her at the actual wedding (we went to see her in hospital so she didn't completely miss out)

I think you are getting your head around how to deal with this now - and I think it's probably better to tread a lone path with it just now, so that your mum can't get any ideas about collusion. But hopefully you will be able to get your sibs to understand that it truly is difficult for you to be there much for her and they will be sensible about it.

jynier Tue 12-Mar-13 04:01:21

OP - Stop beating yourself up! You will get through this! Best wishes, x

HugeSigh Tue 12-Mar-13 09:35:34

Thanks everyone.

She should be getting a biopsy soon so we are closer to some actual facts at least.

I am just going to quietly step back, keep it a minimum and see where this goes.

It really helped to get this out and hear some other opinions so I will probably pop onto the thread to use it to vent smile

Corygal Tue 12-Mar-13 09:44:31

Your mother's a cow - just because she's a victim of illness she doesn't have to be a nice person.

Speak to the nurse in charge, explaining discreetly that yr Mum has form for exaggeration, and get the lowdown.

Then grit your teeth and be nice to her.

notthesamenametoday Tue 12-Mar-13 10:10:16

She obviously has great reason to be scared but why do this? Why try and make it into an even bigger problem then it is?

If it's the truth that she has a large tumour that is wrapped around her great vessels, it really couldn't be worse, honestly. It's not something fixable.

It's just that she now has a very real thing to need support for and a very real reason to label me as a failure. I'm scared they would start to believe her and resent me.

This is all about you, isn't it? It must be a terrible relationship for you to have reached this point.

I feel great sympathy for you. It must be incredibly difficult, especially as you were trying to free yourself.

But unless she is exaggerating (and she may be as she has form for malingering) then you will probably be freed from her before you know it anyway. Sorry it that's blunt, but you have to think about how you will move on from this if (when?) your mum dies.

I'm saying this partly because I feel some sympathy for her. She's made a massive cock up of her life by definition if her own daughter feels as you do about her. She sounds deeply insecure and unhappy to behave as she does. Her life has been a failure, and it's probably ending. How sad really.

Yes you have to look after yourself, absolutely. But you have to consider how you will feel if she dies, how you will feel about it based on what you choose to do now.

Which will be easier to move on from? Continuing to keep her at a distance, or trying to forgive and have some compassion?

I am saying all this thinking about you, not her. You will have to live with processing and dealing with the effects of this toxic relationship for the rest of your life. And you need to think about the best course of action now to make that easier.

I had a friend whose mum cleared off with an OM when she was 9. Cue years of abuse from her dad - verbal abuse, not physical - and her being forced to take on the mother role - doing all the cooking, cleaning, housework from such a young age.

She went off the rails as a teenager then cut him out and put her life together and made a happy family and future for herself.

Years later her dad was facing very risky heart surgery. She told me that she 'had' to tell him she loved him before the surgery; he was terrified. She said it was incredibly difficult and she didn't even know if she meant it but that she never regretted it when he died on the operating table.

Not sure what I am trying to say here, but I know that forgiveness can be very healing for the forgiver. I think it's likely that your 'problem' (your toxic mum) won't exist for all that much longer and the problem you will have then will be the fall-out from your relationship with her. You need to try to project a bit how this might feel and do what makes it least worse, which might be trying to support your mum, even though the words of sympathy stick in your throat.

Wishing you all the best.

lougle Tue 12-Mar-13 10:12:13

notthesamenametoday you have summed up the options beautifully.

Lemonylemon Tue 12-Mar-13 11:14:38

"Which will be easier to move on from? Continuing to keep her at a distance, or trying to forgive and have some compassion?"

This is the stance that I have taken dealing with my Mum's illness. She should have died in September but is still here. I have compassion for my Mum and I am kind to her. When she eventually does die, I will know in my heart that I treated her well and haven't made things more difficult at the end.

My conscience will be clear and with that, I won't have to deal with any fall out. In the meantime, I dip in and out of the Stately Homes thread, read books and articles about difficult parents etc in order to understand and process things.

I think that maybe learning to put up the barriers emotionally, will help you deal with the physical here and now. In turn, that will help YOU to keep some semblance of "normality" in your head while the drama swirls about.

HugeSigh Tue 12-Mar-13 11:54:55

"Which will be easier to move on from? Continuing to keep her at a distance, or trying to forgive and have some compassion?"

This is a very good point and something I am considering. I think it will depend on the seriousness of what's happening. I can do compassion. I do honestly feel that. I know she is scared and that does make me feel for her. Forgiveness is a whole other thing. I've spent a long time putting everything she's done to one side without actively deciding to forgive her

As far as we know - they initially believed a gland to have slipped down behind the top of her breast bone. It's quite high up - kind of by her collar bone. There was never any mention of it attached to her heart or her veins according to my brother. Just that they now believed it to be some other kind of mass that needed to be biopsied.

She has no life. She doesn't have one single friend and we've all tried to help with that. We encourage her to go to clubs and try new hobbies but she won't and we can't force her. She has pushed away everyone - she has siblings that won't speak to her because of who she is. Honestly I don't know what else we could do. If she wants to change her life it has to come from her I guess.

I appreciated the support everyone.

Lemonylemon Tue 12-Mar-13 12:30:35

Hugh We have a mum like yours - she has no friends, she won't go out, she won't help herself. My sister is at her wits' end because she's spent years trying to get our mum to change. We all have. But my brother and I have now accepted that you just can't change someone unless they want to change. My sister is now being referred to CBT counselling to try to deal with her own reaction to my mum.

All I can say is distance yourself emotionally, but support physically.... In the end, you need self-preservation for you and your little family.

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