Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 355

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Anyone else resent depressed parent? (serious rant

Posted by InsomniaMom on June 15, 2002, at 23:00:07

I took my mother to the ER over three weeks ago. She was admitted for severe depression. This is not the first time. She's still in the hospital and I am glad. This sounds terrible but I wish she would quit calling me. When I was summoned back the next day to talk to the social worker about her he must have thought I was the meanest b*tch on the face of the earth. I told them before I went I did not want to be responsible in any way for her happiness. I have had it. I blame my depression on her. Her constant whining and manipulation have strangled me my entire life. I will be 47 years old tomorrow and still feel like a guilty child because she is not happy. EVERY day I have to be involved in some aspect of her life. She called tonight to say she could finally cry and her pdoc says she made a breakthrough by doing so and crying about her miserable childhood and miserable life and fear of the future because she has nowhere to go. (I don't think it's such a breakthrough as she's certainly cried to me about it all before). She does have somewhere to go, a nice apartment, but she doesn't like it because she is "dying of lonliness" (read: why won't any of my children take me in and take care of me like I've wanted them to do for the past 25 years since my husband left me?).I've told her before how bad it makes me feel when she says these guilty, but being the oldest child who was most neglected by her growing up WHY is she choosing me to rely on now? I resent it. It's ALWAYS about her. I know depression is a disease. I have it too, but I do not choose to make everyone around me miserable. I got to hear all her pitiful miserable complaints which interupted my dinner time with my family once again tonight and oh, by the way, "happy birthday tomorrow...did I ever tell you my water broke on the way to the hospital and all your father cared about was ruining the car seats?" Yes, thank you MOMMY DEAREST...I've heard it all before!

Now that any of you patient enough to have listened to my rantings have an idea just how much I resent this person who gave me life for her own selfish reasons and has never really loved me: should I tell her psychiatrist she should not talk to me???? I am afraid I will say something which will just send her off the deep end. I am very angry and when she's seeking comfort by saying things like "I always thought my biggest accomplishment in life was that I was a good mother to my four girls, but now I'm not even sure I was a good mother", I FEEL like confirming her fears,but instead give a half hearted "well, you did your had so many to take care of, etc.". I really feel like saying what she used to say to me when I was a scared, insecure little kid and she constantly compared me to my younger sister who was braver and saying..."STOP BEING SUCH A CRYBABY". I don't think she can take the truth, but I don't think I can tell her what she wants to hear. She depends on me for so much physically...taking care of all her affairs while she is in the hospital, etc. that I can't cut off contact, but I feel like there must be some way to stop her from dragging me down in her quagmire even deeper, once again and forever!

Does anyone have any advice? I am trying to be strong. I need to hold it together for my family. I swear will NEVER do this to my daughter! i'm the one everyone in the whole family calls, e-mails, etc. wanting to know all the details of my "poor" mother's latest catastrophe. I am being suffocated. None of my younger sisters can stand to talk to her and they live farther away and don't help at all.

Even if no one can relate to this, it's good to vent, I guess.


great vent! InsomniaMom

Posted by terra miller on June 16, 2002, at 14:08:10

In reply to Anyone else resent depressed parent? (serious rant, posted by InsomniaMom on June 15, 2002, at 23:00:07

I have so many thoughts that come to mind.

First, I validate that what you are saying and feeling is very real and exasperating and I totally hear all of that.

Random other thoughts:

There is a difference between depression and depression which takes on forms of manipulation. These are not the same, and from what you describe -and of course knowing nothing at all about you- what you are dealing with mentally and what how you describe your mom seem very different.

Some other things- a person has to want to get better on their own for them to get better. It sounds like in your case, that you are doing what you can to get better... which leads to the conclusion that it will happen and that you can break the cycle so that you don't do this to your own child.

Advice in dealing with your feelings: It will do no good to vent at your mom. It might feel good to you for a time, but that probably won't last. And it's probable that it won't have any effect on your mom. I suggest venting it all on somebody that can help and support you.. here is good, or another support group or therapist. You have to get out what you are feeling, but I suggest you do it somewhere that you are supported and for the purpose of getting it out and not to just hold onto it and not let go. If you hold onto it, then you become a slave to your feelings and you don't want that.

In relating to your mom I make the following suggestion: To remain sane, you have to do what is best for you. This requires looking and digging deep inside and listening to what you really want to do/out of life and not what you think others want for you or will say to you if you make such and such choices. Then you should respond out of what you want, and not what your siblings want/say or what your mom wants/says or what the social worker wants/says. You are entitled to your own personal boundaries and nobody has to agree with you at all because your personal boundaries are totally up to you. If you decide it isn't in the best interests of you and your immediate family to deal with your mom (fill in the blank about whatever you are thinking about), then you make that choice. And then.... it's very helpful to tell one person that you trust what it is that you have decided to do. Because when it comes to asserting that decision, it is likely that you will feel weak about it and maybe ashamed or maybe like you aren't being responsible or all of those kinds of things, and it might leave you feeling really crappy about yourself. That's when a good friend or colleague or therapist can jump right in and affirm your decision and tell you about the truth- that you really are a good person regardless of how other people may respond to you.

Guess bottom line is to have support from people who will affirm that you are good. And then decide what it is that you want and not what you think other people want you to say. And then act on those decisions. And when you doubt yourself, run (do not walk... run) to your support people so they can put an end to those doubts and affirm your choices.

You get stronger each time you stand up for what you want. It's not easy at all. But it gets easier in increments. After a while you find that you just won't put up with anything anymore- not because of anger but because you've learned to respect yourself- and you will be able to look back and see things for what they are. When you're in the middle of it, it all feels like a cloud.

Take what you can use and throw away the rest. :-)



I relate

Posted by winter on June 20, 2002, at 13:39:22

In reply to great vent! InsomniaMom, posted by terra miller on June 16, 2002, at 14:08:10

I can relate, though somewhat indirectly. Both of my parents were depressed. My father "clinically depressed", terrible rage anger problems and insomnia. The first two of which I have inherited. My mother was/is a narcissist and during my formative years was extremly depressed due to being around my Father and in her mindset that she could help him, fix him, solve his problems and make him happy.
Now they are still together happily married for a dysfunctional family, my father controls his rage and depression around my mother but never around me. My mother is still narcissitic and also seems to have ADD, or so everyone professional agrees that have spoken to. Thus I like everyone else had a lousy childhood and continue to have a lousy adulthood. In the past my father has contemplated suicide with me, robbing my mother and us running away together, etc... Both of them refuse to admit that there is anything wrong with themselves but are quick to point out the faults is each other.
Due to my parents ineptness and no support systems, I practically have negative self esteem and lack the nuturing that i needed growing up. I never learned how to exist and function. Almost three years ago I met a lovely man who by some miracle fell in love with me, which I have never been able to understand or fully truly belive. For the past 2 and a half years I have been treating him terribly. Trying to make him into the parents I never had whilst trying to make him into the love I never had.
Now our relationship is falling apart. He is bitter from all the unneccessary caretaking he has had to do, the parenting he has had to to, the stay up till six in the morning listening to me cry about some truly utter nonsense. ( I am not be self degrading here, I would stay up crying about how I was afaid that it was my destiny to die at age 27, and how I only have few years left to make my dreams come true. That is not worthy of an eight hour cry session)He is bitter of me calling him at work angry pissed off crying because something some inanimate object didn't function properly and then I got pissed off and threw a fit. So many more examples I think you get the point.
I have been using him. Sure I have been in therapy hell three times a week! Did I go all three times? Did I even go once a week? Maybe. I never made a true effort to get better. I had him to take care of me. He would clean up after me when the house was to messy. Why did I need a shrink if I could talk to him about anything and everything that was bothering me for hours nto just 50 minutes and for free! It's not for free.
Just because some one loves you doesn't give you the right to expect things of them. Even if they love you unconditionally as parents, or children often do. Love and abuse are such a fine line that one can abuse their love.
We are trying to work things out and now I am actually trying to get better, to fix my life, for me to do what my parents could not and not hope that someone else would.
When I was young I thought that if someone loved me truly was in love with me it would give me the power and make me ok, like some sort of magic. Then I could be thin,(I am very overweight I have been most of my life) beautiful, happy, successful, competent, and together. I was happy till I realised what I was doing to him. Now it hurts me what I have done. I don't regret anything in my life that I have done, execept this.
Insomnia Man Perhaps if your mother saw how she made you feel, felt how she make you feel she might not take advantage of your love for her. I know that my mother and yours are very different but for years I could not get my mother to hear or listen to me. She is too wrapped up in herself and in another world that functions according to god knows what. Eventually I figured out that she herself is in so many ways a child and talking to her trying to express how I feel and what I need in a calm rational adult manner just dosen't work.
I realised that if I channeled up all my acting skills and made her feel what I am feeling make her understand my pain, even a little crying is ok as long as it is for me and not for herself. Then it would him home. I can't say my life sucks. I have to describe every gory detail in full extent, and realte it to her a little so she can't black it out like a war in some far away country. She is like a child who can't learn by reading or listening she has to foremost do it and also read and listen.
Maybe make you mother realte in some way you know her life what a bum rap she has had realte something loust that has happend to her that is of course realtable to what she is doing to you.
Or stop helping her, she will never get better if she knows you are there for her to fall back on. Disconnect your self from her, if you are very worried hire her a nurse to come check on her. The cost probably wouldn't be much more that what you already spend taking care of her as well as the emotional cost.
I know this is long but one more thing. It also might be good to disassociate your self from you mother, perhaps not completly, but stop being her fallback be her adult son with a life. I say this beacuse realtionships have side effects and the side effects are more addicting then the realtionships themselves. You pick up habits and characteristics from people you are around the longer and more intensly you are around someone the more likely you are to aquire these attributes good or bad and the more likely you are to become addicted to them. This is a therory of mine probably many others, but this is most likely why we end up like our parents. Families, couples, etc they talk and act the same they become one and when they part they will never be who they were before those people came into their lives. If you don't want to treat your daughter this way and possibly your daughter to treat others this way stop the chain. Break it or make it a new chain. Sorry this is so long.
Do the suport group thing and or the therapy thing, but I know you are probably on some level addicted to the realtionship you have with your mother and you love her you want to help her. We so often love others more than we love our selves.
I don't know your mother my suggestion might not work, mind you I am not suggesting venting or anyting along those lines, more of a dramactic attempt at helping her see through someone elses eye, because she won't listen to ranting or venting.


Re: great vent! terra miller

Posted by InsomniaMom on June 20, 2002, at 15:55:08

In reply to great vent! InsomniaMom, posted by terra miller on June 16, 2002, at 14:08:10

Thanks for listening, Terra. I know a lot of what you have said is true, but tough to do. Especially what you said about doing what I need to do without fear of what others may think. I believe all my aunts and uncles think I'm terrible for not rearranging my life and causing problems in my marriage to take my mother in. It would be different if she had a fatal disease and needed hospice type care, but if I took her in now just because she doesn't like living alone she could be taking advantage of me for another 10-15 years and we have other plans than to stay here!

In the meantime, my mother says she is not better, but sounds much more alert. I think the medication and/or therapy she is getting in the hospital is doing more for her than she is willing to admit. She wants a magic pill and is thinking of ECT, but I don't think she really needs it. She has begun to consider making some changes which will be good for her. I think some illusions have been shattered, especially the one about me as the devoted, selfless daughter. You suggested I not vent to her, but I had already done that in a way when I blew up at the social worker. She was in the room, but I don't know how much she understood of what I was saying. Since then I have talked to her about how guilty I feel when she says certain things, but I told her I know she doesn't do it on purpose (a lie to spare her more pain), though I know she uses it as manipulation. She would always introduce me as her "rock". I don't think that will be happening anymore. For some irrational reason I feel sadness mixed with relief.

Thanks again and peace to you.


Re: I relate winter

Posted by InsomniaMom on June 20, 2002, at 16:30:59

In reply to I relate, posted by winter on June 20, 2002, at 13:39:22

Winter, I am so sorry for what you have been through. Thank you for sharing.

It sounds like you had it much rougher than I did growing up. I'm not sure if my mother presents with the true diagnosis of "narcissism" because I don't know what the psychological definition is, but she certainly possesses narcissistic characteristics. I also had overbearing, egomaniacal fathers with short tempers and like your mom, mine would try to please them. I learned how to stay quiet...always "the pleaser". My mother kept most of her depression masked for many years and I know life was not joyous for her. She only manifested the severe depression when my stepfather divorced her 25 years ago. My younger sisters have been in therapy for years trying to deal with those years as they were young teenagers and still living at home.

The good news is that I believe by being open with my mother over the past couple of weeks and telling her how I felt, she has begun to face some necessary facts and I'm so glad she is in the hospital and in therapy while confronting them. Her psychiatrist has asked her why we have not been calling him and I think she MAY realize that we have reached our limit. I have to put things in a way that she can accept, like it's MY problem that I feel guilty about things she says. She could never admit that she is least not yet. My sisters say not ever. She becomes defensive, which I think is counterproductive, if I am too direct or sound like I am blaming her in any way, so I have to choose my words carefully.

Her psychiatrist keeps telling her she has a true "biochemical depression". That's the big question for people like you and me who have biological as well as psychological reasons to have it genetic or environmental...which came first, the chicken or the egg? I wish I knew the answer, but I think she is so dependent on the thought that her condition is strictly biochemical that she is not willing to make any behavioral changes. But maybe that's all she can handle for now.

I'm glad to see that you and your boyfriend are working at getting better. You have a good understanding of what went wrong in your relationship before and it sounds like with work and patience it can be better, YOU can be better than before. You've had a lot to contend with, but YOU are making it better.

Thank you for reading my post and I wish you the best.


Re: great vent!

Posted by winter on June 21, 2002, at 17:07:52

In reply to Re: great vent! terra miller, posted by InsomniaMom on June 20, 2002, at 15:55:08

On the topic of true bio chemical depression;
All of human kind has some sort of genetic flaw. No one is perfect in that sense. Or any other sense for that matter. However the physical symptoms we can readily measure often don't indicate any imperfection. For the majority its in the DNA, the brain, etc... We can live many of our lives not realising that we aren't 100% healthy till one day something triggers it, or we notice it.

An example of this is that there are over 300 different forms of dwarfism. One causes people to grow not much taller than 5'4 males and 5'0 females, with proportionate features, and I don't want to sound politically inconrrect but I cant remember the term for when the head is large and flat. You know what I am talking about the "sterotypical" head. People with this form don't, have the tell-tale head that often indicates dwarfism at birth. So imagine how many women out there that are 4'11 who think they are just short who may actually have a "genetic defect". I had a friend in high school who actually had a form of dwafism, no one knew. She was 5'4 wore a size 0. He left thumb was extremely stunted half the size of the other thumb. Her body though looked as if she was compacted from the sides her shouders we maybe 2 inches wider than her head. There I go rambling again. There is somewhat of a point.

Perhaps more people than show or realise have some level of a true "bio chemical" disorder of some sort, its just isn't ever triggered or they never feel it. I read yesterday that some 80% of patients with depression report to their doctors only physical symtoms such as headache and indigestion. They don't realise they are depressed. Then some people are more sensitive to their depression or other issues and may even wallow in it. The second the don't feel like they are living in a perfect happy ending hollywood movie they think they are severly depressed and they end up making them selves so.

The human mind is powerful and we can change the balance of chemicals and hormones in our body with our thoughts. Though very few people are able to do this. The miracle of positve thinking and vice versa. Perfect example, elderly couples one dies the other can be in excellent health but will die very soon after the death of their spouse. They choose to die, as not to be alone.

This is a long shot maybe your Mother subconciously is keeping herself ill so that you will have to take care of her, so that she wont lose her son, and be alone? If she is doing that she probably doesn't realise it, or want to.

I am glad things are looking up.


Re: great vent! winter

Posted by InsomniaMom on June 21, 2002, at 21:46:31

In reply to Re: great vent!, posted by winter on June 21, 2002, at 17:07:52

>>This is a long shot maybe your Mother subconciously is keeping herself ill so that you will have to take care of her, so that she wont lose her son, and be alone? If she is doing that she probably doesn't realise it, or want to.<<

You have a good point there, but I am her oldest daughter...she has no sons. My sisters all think she is intentionally manipulative, but I'm not sure. She may be dismissed on Monday and is terrified of going back to her apartment. It is very nice, but she is afraid that being alone will cause the depression to take hold. I cleaned her place out of all her whisky, narcotics and sleeping pills. Timing is terrible as we have out of town company coming Sunday, although at least that gives me an excuse that won't hurt her feelings for not being able to babysit her. And she has to start outpatient therapy the following day for about a month.

About the biochemical stuff. She also has neurological problems like shuffling gait, rigidity and leaning to one side when she walks. Also imbalance and urinary incontinence. They say it's not Parkinson's, but I think it's related to the depression somehow...

Take care,


Re: great vent! InsomniaMom

Posted by katekite on June 22, 2002, at 16:10:43

In reply to Re: great vent! winter, posted by InsomniaMom on June 21, 2002, at 21:46:31

I read your first post and have to say it sounds like the situation just really sucks! It is very hard to know how to both take care of yourself and take care of a parent.

I would never have thought of myself as 'codependent' because I really don't let others run my life, most of the time, but I do find myself resenting a lot that I do... anyhow I read your rant and thought of this book: "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie. When I first looked into this issue I thought codependency meant, for example, taking care of an abusive alcoholic for 20 years because you think you can help them, ie something extreme. But there are many degrees of it and I found the suggestions very helpful.

(I asked my husband just now what the name of the book was and he immediately left what he was doing and went to look for it so that I wouldn't think he didn't care -- he's very codependent and working hard on it -- at least we are both that way).

Here's a few characteristics from the book to see if codependency is part of your personality:

- you think and feel responsible for other people -- their feelings, thoughts, actions, wants, needs, wellbeing, etc. (some of those but not necessarily all).

- feel pity, anxiety or guilt when others have a problem.

- feel compelled - almost forced - to help that person solve the problem....

- feel angry when your help doesn't help

- anticipate others needs

- wonder why others don't do the same for them

- find themselves saying yes when they mean no, do things they don't want to, do more than their fair share......

- feel safest when giving

(ok that's just the first of about 200 statements that more than likely apply to someone with codependency issues)

Anyhow if any of those statements sound like you I highly recommend the book.

Good luck,



Re: Anyone else resent depressed parent? (serious rant

Posted by LRS on June 25, 2002, at 17:46:18

In reply to Anyone else resent depressed parent? (serious rant, posted by InsomniaMom on June 15, 2002, at 23:00:07

I can relate in some ways, though both my parents were pretty cold and reserved about their respective depressions. Instead of being relied on for support or sympathy, I was completely unaware of what they were dealing with. My father comitted suicide when I was 10, and my mother when I was 18. I went through too many years of thinking that this was the way things were supposed to feel. This was normal. People aren't supposed to talk about these things. I wish both of them had been aware enough to seek help, or even admit they had a problem. But then again they were raised by their parents...
Parents are strange entities. It still is hard for me to think of them as human beings, capable of all sorts of human failings. I have to keep reminding myself that they felt just as weak as I sometimes feel.
The best you can do sometimes is just hang in there and communicate honestly with both your mom as well as your own children....& getting things off your chest on a message board is a pretty safe catharsis too.
Take care of yourself,


good book (nm)

Posted by terra miller on June 25, 2002, at 21:16:38

In reply to Re: great vent! InsomniaMom, posted by katekite on June 22, 2002, at 16:10:43

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