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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.

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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