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Parents with mental illness. 22 year old looking for mothers/parents perspective(4 Posts)
I've come across this website 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with depression all her life, and I remember as a child feeling like my mother was there, but not, very emotionally withdrawn and certainly not in tuned to my emotional welfare whilst growing up.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.
My apologies if I'm not within the regulations of the forum/thread. I've never posted before.
The only regulations are not to get too arsey! But this isn't the best part of this site for what you are asking. The best place would be relationships, where there are some very savvy and wise women who have been there and seen it all. You could 'report' your thread to MNHQ and ask them to move it if you don't want to type it out again.
My less wise opinion is that you had an extremely bad time and the emotional effects of ongoing rape and abuse must be horrendous. Wrt your mother particularly I am not surprised you are still angry. You were still a child, utterly dependent on the help of adults and instead you got abuse. I do think she could have missed your abuse 'innocently' through her depression. It is a horrendous illness which takes all joy in life and perspective away from you and it is hard to see others' troubles through your own. That is not to excuse her, merely to explain.
Regarding the length of time it is taking you to 'get over it', I think that is a fairly useless phrase. You don't 'get over' your life, you have to live it. You develop and learn through experiences, and you had one hell of a shit one. It takes as long as it takes.
It actually sounds like you are very articulate and self aware. Your mother must be strong too to be able to recognise her past failings and try to help you deal with them. At least that is happening now. I can't dish out platitudes about how things will magically get better but I really hope they do.
My mum had severe mental health problems through my childhood (and still does). With mental health it is much harder to feel sympathy or understanding when a parent's parenting skills fall short as it maybe could be with a physical disability. I luckily had a brilliant dad around which cushioned things, but I did for a long time feel anger. As I've got older (I'm 20yrs older than you) and have kids of my own, and realised how hard parenting is without mental health issues, I have realised that anger was misdirected and futile. Try really hard to separate your mum, and her actions, from her illness - one of the hardest things is realising that what seems to be mum's 'personality' is her illness, so when she's rude, aggressive, standoffish, disinterested, it's really important to not take it personally, otherwise it eats you up. As for going forward, please don't take this harshly but you're an adult now and you need to move on with your life. You truly have had a shit start, but counselling is definitely good and something I wish I'd have considered/been offered. I never went 'home' after uni (and nor did many of my friends - it was less the common thing then). Try to cut your mum some slack and try to devote your emotional energy to your future rather than trying to find answers/solve your past, which is realistically futile. And try to forge as good a relationship as you can manage with your mum. Whenever my mum is 'well', which thankfully is much more often now her medication is stable, she feels immense guilt for anything she said/did while unwell so the worst thing you can do is pile even more guilt on. Sorry for the essay, and if you're still reading, please take care of yourself.
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