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Old 01-29-2018, 05:52 AM   #1
rechu
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Unhappy Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

I am sure someone else has gone through this and maybe can offer some support.

My mother and I have always have had a complicated relationship. She has a lot of NPD tendencies and I also think in some ways she is jealous of me. She also hates that I wonít go along and act like everything is great and she was a wonderful mother.

She always preferred my sister and my brother, whereas Iím always the bad guy. I think they and my father are in a way intimidated by her, which enables her behavior. I am the only one that has ever tried to call her out on her actions, which she of course denies.

I moved far away a while ago and keep only limited contact. Giving her too much information about my life only opened me up for criticism.

Anyways, my dad on Friday told me that sheís been having short-term memory issues for about a year and they are getting worse. They are trying her on medication but there are no guarantees. On top of that, they are waiting for some tests, but it looks like she probably has cancer.

I am not dealing well, not because I am sad, but because Iím not. I feel numb about it and then guilty because Iím not sad about it. I do feel somewhat badly for my dad, he leans on her for organizing all day to day things, so I think it is going to be tough for him. However at the same time, although he was always more supportive of me, to counteract her behavior, he never called her out on her treatment of me either. Some people have told me I should still support her because sheís my mother. A friend that went through something similar with her father said that I should do what I feel I can handle.

I pretty much snapped on Friday night. Ever since our beloved dog passed away, it seems like life has been one stress or problem after another and I guess I just couldnít take any more. I am a bit calmer by now, but I am giving some thought to therapy. Unfortunately, I know from when my husband was not doing well that there are waits of months to get seen unless you go to a clinic with a psychiatric ER, and I donít know if I am that bad to go there.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

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I am sure someone else has gone through this and maybe can offer some support.

My mother and I have always have had a complicated relationship. She has a lot of NPD tendencies and I also think in some ways she is jealous of me. She also hates that I wonít go along and act like everything is great and she was a wonderful mother.

She always preferred my sister and my brother, whereas Iím always the bad guy. I think they and my father are in a way intimidated by her, which enables her behavior. I am the only one that has ever tried to call her out on her actions, which she of course denies.

I moved far away a while ago and keep only limited contact. Giving her too much information about my life only opened me up for criticism.

Anyways, my dad on Friday told me that sheís been having short-term memory issues for about a year and they are getting worse. They are trying her on medication but there are no guarantees. On top of that, they are waiting for some tests, but it looks like she probably has cancer.

I am not dealing well, not because I am sad, but because Iím not. I feel numb about it and then guilty because Iím not sad about it. I do feel somewhat badly for my dad, he leans on her for organizing all day to day things, so I think it is going to be tough for him. However at the same time, although he was always more supportive of me, to counteract her behavior, he never called her out on her treatment of me either. Some people have told me I should still support her because sheís my mother. A friend that went through something similar with her father said that I should do what I feel I can handle.

I pretty much snapped on Friday night. Ever since our beloved dog passed away, it seems like life has been one stress or problem after another and I guess I just couldnít take any more. I am a bit calmer by now, but I am giving some thought to therapy. Unfortunately, I know from when my husband was not doing well that there are waits of months to get seen unless you go to a clinic with a psychiatric ER, and I donít know if I am that bad to go there.
I commend you for getting on with your adult life by maintaining enough distance from your mother. Even if the relationship wasn't great, nearly everyone has feelings for their mother--as you have said, your feelings are complicated. When you are feeling better (it takes time to grieve for our dogs) I recommend you plan a short visit to see your family and keep in touch by phone about her status. However, don't feel bad about the way you feel. If she has cancer, with today's treatments, she may be around for a long time. You may not need to visit for a while because of this. I do recommend therapy. When your mother has NPD, it may have effected your present life in some way plus it sounds like you need someone to talk to.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

Hi, thanks for your reply. I wrote to my mom and said she was sorry to hear the news and that if they wanted to connect by Skype let me know. We'll see if she's mellowed or if I get the usual Skype scowls like I have the last times we've talked, which led me to not suggest it any more Skyping.

So, kind of going through the motions, but still not feeling sad.

I have been to therapy about her in the past. It did help to some extent, at least to help me accept that she's not likely to change, and with controlling my reactions, etc.

My dad just told me she is scheduled for surgery next week and then radiation.
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

You can't force yourself to feel sad. That's just the way you feel and you have some pretty legitimate reasons to feel this way. Try to support her (and your dad), but don't feel too shocked about your feelings.
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:05 PM   #5
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So, kind of going through the motions, but still not feeling sad.

My dad just told me she is scheduled for surgery next week and then radiation.
Please don't feel bad about not feeling sad. Perhaps what you are experiencing is numbness as far as your emotions go. Sometimes our emotions don't make sense or something in the present has triggered a past emotion and we don't even realize where it came from. What counts is what you do. You have checked in about your mother. I think it was the right thing to do.

I hope your mother has good surgeon and doctors who will make her treatment go well.

Her situation will or may already be effecting you more than you realize. All we can do is acknowledge how we feel whether it makes sense or not and get on with our lives. Don't feel bad about getting on with and enjoying your life!
Life moves pretty fast and before you know it, you will be your mother's age. Hugs to you!
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

Yeah, I am definitely numb. I will not deny that a lot of times I have wished she wasn't my mother and that is coming back to me.

Don't scare me more with that last sentence! Memory loss in old age is a huge fear of mine and this happening makes me think of that too. I guess I can hope since I take after my dad's family in many ways, and they seem to age better, maybe I will take after them there too. Also, I use three languages daily, which is supposed to benefit brain function as you age.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:19 PM   #7
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Rechu, this reminds me exactly of the situation I went through with my abusive brother two years ago. Two years ago he was in a motorcycle crash and nearly lost his leg. He was housebound, wheelchair bound, etc. for months while he had about 20 surgeries to repair his leg.

I got all these updates from my mother about it, and she was highly distressed, but I didn't feel a thing or care at all about it. He had abused me violently growing up, and I had no relationship with him. I honestly felt like the trauma he was going through was payment for all he had done to me. He's one of the reasons I have PTSD.

Then there's my uncle who just lost his foot due to diabetes and other medical problems. I also have little sympathy for him because of his abuse towards me throughout my life. He has spread rumors about me, guilts me constantly about not calling to speak to him (except talking to him is so unpleasant, why would I call him), and I also don't speak to him because he spreads rumors about me to other family members, and I don't appreciate that. I have compassion for his situation, but it hasn't made me feel any more desire to call him or speak to him.

You reap what you sow. They sowed poor relationships with me and now expect some kind of relationship because they're ill? I have compassion for them; but I also am not going to break down on my boundaries and let them abuse me just because they had a medical problem.

So, I guess I'm saying, you feel what you feel. It's not right or wrong. Don't guilt yourself over it.

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Secondary Dx: Generalized Anxiety Disorder with mild Agoraphobia.

Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

Treatments I've done: CBT, DBT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Talk therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, sleeping more, sleeping less...
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

How you feel is not a matter of choice. How you act is. You can choose a level of involvement that does not get too uncomfortable for you. You have the option of writing off your parents and having nothing to do with them. I'm not hearing that you are inclined to go that far. Ask yourself what your folks would likely do, if you had been the one diagnosed with cancer.

Relations with family are complicated indeed. You have no obligation to put yourself in a position of your mom using you for target practice. rThe past is passed. Maybe offer the level of support you would show to an aunt.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:28 AM   #9
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My mother had NPD. She was highly critical. Your feelings sound very much like mine were when she was diagnosed with cancer.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mother's health issues plus difficult relationship

The way you've described things here & in the past, it doesn't really surprise me that you're just numb. I just hope you're able to be good to yourself & to your husband. That's the family that matters most...if that makes any sense & doesn't sound rude. I'm sorry to hear about your dog, too. Working from home, I'm sure your dog was a very close companion. Take care.
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