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Parents with mental illness. 22 year old looking for mothers/parents perspective

(5 Posts)
temp305319 Sun 09-Apr-17 09:54:19


I've come across this thread a few times while googling various things, and thought it might be the best place to get some insight on something I'm struggling with.

I am a 22 year old girl, in my final year of University currently. I left home at 16 due to a rocky relationship with my mother. (the topic in question I'd like some advice on). I was in a very abusive relationship at this time also, which included, sexual, domestic and verbal abuse.

Since 16, I have not lived with my mother, and although our relationship has improved, I loathe to say I am still angry at her. My mother suffered with depression all her life, and I remember as a child feeling like my mother was there, but not, very emotionally withdrawn and certainly not in tuned to my emotional welfare whilst growing up.

I do feel guilt about my anger because I do understand that she loves and cares for me, and does suffer with a mental illness (which she has never medicated herself for) but I remain disappointed and resentful under the surface. I found her to be too concerned over prolonging relationships with useless men (my father), and full blown alcoholics to notice what I believed to be obvious signs her child was being raped and abused. I never told anyone until about 14, so for a long time I was acting out in all kinds of ways you can imagine, and no one had a clue why. Getting drunk, sneaking out, yelling etc etc. When I was 17 or so my mother came under financial difficulty and had to sell our family home. I hate to say it but I'm angry at her for this too. With all my friends having secure places to go back to after graduation. I feel like I am left to wander aimlessly with no security, she rents a 1 bed flat in Bournemouth currently, though is currently looking to move in with her newest partner, who seems to have a house. Though I know for a fact I won't ever be staying round like it's my "home", so it makes no difference.

She tries much harder now and offers me as much financial support as she can, and very often tops me up when I run out of money etc, and also is paying for my private therapy sessions. (As I struggle with mental health myself). So I acknowledge this, but there is a bitter nasty part of me that seems to overcast my gratitude that thinks 'well, I wouldn't need this therapy if you didn't fuck up so badly, choose useless men, and fail to properly treat your depression even when your children's well-being depended on it'. Logically, I know this is an unfair assessment, but I can't help feeling that way.

It's all very brief and I'm sure you can gauge that there are various complexities and sides to the story. But I would really like some perspective from other mothers. What do I do? Will I ever be able to forgive her? Am I wrong for being angry in the first place, do I need to keep working on 'getting over it'? How could a mother miss/ignore when their child is in so much pain, was it really her depression, or did she deliberately turn a blind eye?

Is there any point in bringing this up with my mother again? A lot of this drama happened when I was 12-16, and I'm now 22 so it's 6 years onward, is it beating a dead horse at this point? I feel like everyone has many things to say on deliberately abusive parents, violent parents etc, but what about when your parent truly does love you, but still falls short.

pallasathena Fri 14-Apr-17 19:40:26

You have to forgive and try to be the better person. None of us are perfect OP and most of us struggle to do the best we can.
There's a real culture of blame in society currently and young people of your generation seem to think its their mothers fault for everything wrong in their lives when in reality, the circumstances, environment, toxic influences and relationships played their part too.
Mothers are not omnipotent. Neither are they all powerful superwomen. They, like you and I, sometimes get it wrong.
Its time to process all the hurt, let it go and live firmly in the present not the past now.

antimatter Fri 14-Apr-17 20:13:31

It must be very hard on you knowing that you have to from a day one look after yourself once you finish Uni.
I think your therapist would have told you it's OK to be angry for what people who supposed to protect you didn't do much. But then you need to move on and try not to blame much on your past. If you were to move to London for work you would meet many young people who are in an exact the same situation as you , mostly because they came from abroad where they had nothing as well. Maybe when you are surrounded by more people like you you won't feel the odd one out. Some of them visit home other's can't afford expensive tickets.
If your mum is helping you she acknowledges she should provide.

TBH - not everyone is fit to be a parent and do the ultimate sacrifice of putting their kids first. It's hard! I have 2 kids (17 yo and 19 yo who is at Uni) and I sometimes I have to go without because they need my support. There are parents who downsize straight after kids go to Uni and there's no going back home for some kids with 2 parents too.

I am not sure if you can forgive negligence of the type you are describing. My father has been dead for nearly 7 years, I was brought up by my grandparents after my DM died (I was 18 months), hoe once had me on holiday when I was 2.5 years old, had drunken party with one of his girlfriends, she was jealous of me and smashed framed picture on my head. I got a concussion and I think a mini stroke as for many jears my hands were shaking. Did I ever forgave him? Hell NO! Never! He was there to protect me. So I know where you are coming from.
At your age I was more emotional about it. Even not when I write about it I feel like screaming and crying. I am 50.

Pain we experience from closest to us in childhood doesn't go away because instinctively we want to trust our family. Do you have any aunties or grandparents who you keep in touch with?

ClashCityRocker Fri 14-Apr-17 20:15:36

Firstly, I'm sorry you had such a shitty time of things. You're right, your mum should have done better.

Your post resonates with me as I'm a few years down the line - coming up thirty now but with similar circumstances to you.

I still, some times, feel very angry at my mum. Her mental health issues mean that she's only me to rely on, but sometimes I feel like grabbing her by the shoulders and asking if she knows what she has done to me...and she did some pretty awful shit.

But. I keep reminding myself that my perceived weakness of her is due to her mental illness.
I genuinely don't think she has the faintest inkling of the pain she caused.

Things are better now because I've distanced myself emotionally from her slightly. I wouldn't see her without but I am not going to be her emotional punchbag anymore.

I try to split out what is 'her' and what is her illness. I might not always get it right.

Does your mum acknowledge how hard it is for you?

ClashCityRocker Fri 14-Apr-17 20:17:04

Sorry just to add I may be massively projecting in that post...

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