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To be fed up with pretending about my mum

(11 Posts)
Familydilemma Wed 26-Oct-11 10:01:15

She's bipolar but has never admitted or discussed it with me. It's taken me thirty years to work out that dad is not the one with the problem and that, sadly, due to her condition
my mother can't be relied on. The thing is, because it can't be discussed, I resent it and find it much more difficult to acknowledge as medical. And I can't have trivial vonversation with her because I'm internally screaming at her. I feel guilty and cold for feeling this way, but she has recently been admitted again, according to her because they've had difficult building works and a duff holiday, and I am cross. We are going to see her this week, I will be civil and not unkind but I'm fed up with pretending.

aldiwhore Wed 26-Oct-11 10:05:18

Sorry bit confused, how do you know she's bipolar if its never been mentioned?

Must be extremely hard though either way. x

slavetofilofax Wed 26-Oct-11 10:08:22

Are you sure you have to pretend?

You know what is wrong with her, and she knows what is wrong with her. Her failure to admit to what is worng with her doesn't stop it being true.

The way you have to deal with her may not really change that much if she were more open about her illness, you would still be in a position where you had to manage it and talk around the real issues when things were bad. Even if you could discuss it when things weren't so bad.

Would it help to tell yourself that you don't have to pretend that she is not ill, but you do have to deal with what that illness means for you. You can be angry at your Mum, and angry at the illness without pretending. There may be more than one way to look at the situation, and if you acknowlege to yourself that you are dealing with a Mum who is bipolar and unable to admit it, it might be easier for you than feeling like you have to pretend that there isn't a real illness present.

Familydilemma Wed 26-Oct-11 10:09:39

Can't be discussed with her, although dad acknowledges it. Went near saying perhaps that might be what was wrong a few years ago and it was quite ugly.

aldiwhore Wed 26-Oct-11 10:10:38

Could you talk to your Dad about it? He maybe could do with the support if this has always been a taboo subject?

YANBU to feel angry though, very very difficult. . Agree with slavetofilofax very sound advice.

slavetofilofax Wed 26-Oct-11 10:11:57

I also meant to add, that you may benefit from councelling if you think that could eb an option for you.

Illness or not and pretending or not, you have a lot of strong emotions that are hard to deal with, and maybe having someone listen to you about how you feel would help you cope with your Mother when you see her.

Bipolar affects a whole family, not just the person that has the diagnosis, and you deserve to have the affect it has had on your life acknowledged, even if your Mum isn't capable of it.

Familydilemma Wed 26-Oct-11 12:04:17

Thank you smile. I think I posted because I always find it difficult approaching a visit. Now I have children it's even harder because mum likes to converse as if she was mum of the year. Well, whatever she says this isn't true because at the age my dd is now she was an in patient for two years. The thing that struck home slave, was that permission to be angry with my Mum. I'm kind of unable to do that because the kind bit of me says "yes but she's ill". And of course I don't actually want to upset her. Well I do-being very honest about my rougher moments-just don't want that to be the kind of person I am. Counselling has helped me in lots of ways, but it doesn't help me with the actual relationship. I just can't let her in-it has cost me too much. And it seems ridiculous that I'm resistant to sharing the trivial-almost as if I'm punishing her. Dad said that she would like a normal mother and daughter relationship earlier in the year and it made me so mad. First of all, I think after everything we've has to deal with, I feel very lucky to be capable of normal relationships with anyone and very blessed to have dh, three children and the bonus of his amazing family. And secondly, how does he think "normal" whatever this means is possible with the lies and let downs we've put up with? I can see her, give her contact with gc but normal implies two way trust, openness and some level if support. Sorry-floodgate open! Anyway-thanks for listening. I do my best.

springydaffs Wed 26-Oct-11 12:25:57

Are there any support groups for relatives of people with bipolar (or any mental illness)? ime it is always an enormous relief to meet people who are going through the same thing as you re you don't have to explain, everyone knows exactly what it's like.

I think your anger and resentment is justified. It sounds almost like grief re grief is not necessarily rational (eg someone can be white hot angry that their loved one left them when they died). You have lost a lot and had to bear a lot - I too would find the refusal to name the problem very difficult. Plus your dad is saying that you and your mum should/could have a normal relationship - erm, slightly brushing things under the carpet there! The denial around this is hard to bear, on top of the whole situation anyway being hard to bear. You're the only one who doesn't want to pretend, you want to face this thing from the truth up (otherwise the whole thing is built on sand). It sounds as though you have been forced to maintain a facade, a lie, and you are bursting at the seams holding it all in, particularly as you have been a primary victim of it. This must be intolerable for you.

TeWihara Wed 26-Oct-11 12:28:15

I am in a similar position.

I think 'normal' is unrealistic too!

I am not angry because she's ill, she can't help that obviously. I'm angry because she won't get proper consistent help/acknowledge it. I can't treat her the same as anyone else. I can't accept money or gifts because she is very rarely congent enough to trust that she isn't spiralling into debt again. It's also not part of the normal mother/daughter relationship to be rung with suicidal threats.

I have friends with bipolar who I have none of these reservations/problems with and I do treat as normal friends (plus a certain amount of allowance for their quirks) it's possible because they acknowledge they have a problem and deal with it as best they can.

lesley33 Wed 26-Oct-11 12:38:00

I can understand your anger. My partner has bipolar and at first when diagnosed didn't want anyone to know. At first I went along with this, but the reality is it just cut me off from any support. In the end I said I am going to be open about this, because I need support from friends. And I was.

But it doesn't sound as if your mum would be up for this.

I think you should be honest with your dad. So for example, when he said it would be good for your mum and you to have a normal mum-daughter relationship - you could have said "I think thats impossible when mum won't be open about her bipolar which is such a huge part of her life." At least being open with him may help a bit.

I think its fine to be angry with your mum. Yes bipolar is an illness, but refusing to acknowledge it is a choice she has made. Plenty of people with bipolar do acknowledge their illness.

You could do a half way house with your mum of not pretending, but not openly confronting her. So when you visit and she talks about what has led her to that state, it will be true that the stresses will have led to a relapse of her bipolar. So fine to say, yes you have been under a lot of stress, and that won't have helped. So you are not saying the stresses are the only thing.

The other thing you could consider is writing a letter to your mother where you are totally open about your anger, etc - but don't send it. Doing this can help release some feelings of anger.

lesley33 Wed 26-Oct-11 12:41:22

Unfortunately bipolar can be controlled if the person takes the medication consistently and takes action to prevent any triggers for future relapses. But the first step in good self management of an illness like this is talking to people close about it and getting insights into what helps trigger possible relapses for you as an individual.

My partners bipolar is now very well controlled and like Tewihira's friends, my DP only has a few "quirks" now.

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