I’m your son, not a shrink

I hardly visit my mother anymore like I used to. Our relationship has been broken in the last couple of years. She’s always anxious, on edge and does nothing but cry day in and day out. I could hardly be myself around my mother since she became increasingly overly sensitive. It’s like you have to walk on eggshells when you’re around her, otherwise she gets so offended easily and blows sky high. She never used to be like this back in the good old days. My mom constantly me that her anxiety stems from a dysfunctional abusive family that she grew up in. She was a victim of physical, verbal and sexual abuse. I guess that’s probably why she turned out the way she did. But I’m not sure what to tell her anymore because I am not A psychotherapist. I even suggested that she should try seeking therapy of some sort to address the problems that she’s had in her own life, but she refuses to listen to me. She doesn’t want to help herself and is afraid that some shrink is going to provide her with pills and drug her up. It’s beyond my control and there’s nothing more I can do but carry on and live my own life.

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If

Jun 13, 2022 at 2:10am

She was my mother, I’d honestly write her off and not talk to her anymore. Sad but true. You deserve better.

0 10Rating: -10

Nice

Jun 13, 2022 at 6:33am

Your mother may want to get the therapy you suggest but unless she’s got the money to pay for it privately it’s not available. Wait lists are so long for any free or low cost counselling that it’s overwhelming for someone experiencing anxiety and depression. From what you’ve described it’s likely that your mother has C-PTSD, which is a very difficult condition to treat. Being old is hard enough, and it’s often in later life that the long term effects of this type of trauma become apparent. Frequently people who were abused as children wind up in other abusive relationships as adults, because they’re conditioned to accept it as a normal part of life. When the people who are supposed to love and care for you are the ones hurting you the most, it creates a trauma bond that results in cognitive dissonance. I understand that you’re frustrated with your mother but you sound very judgmental and display very little compassion. In fact calling someone dealing with anxiety and depression “over-sensitive” is exactly the type of gaslighting that people who have been abused experience all the time. Calling someone crazy for reacting to something that upsets them is equally traumatizing because it invalidates their feelings. She’s as entitled to her feelings as you are to yours, and her perceptions are also equally valid. Perhaps your mother wouldn’t be crying around you if she felt love and acceptance from you instead of criticism and judgement?

7 3Rating: +4

@if

Jun 13, 2022 at 6:43am

That's your mom man !
Write her off.
What if she had written you off many years ago.
You wouldn't even be here to make that horrible comment would you ?
Parents suck sometimes I know but,
I can't believe I'm saying this but they are your parents and I think they tried the best they could to love you. Well most did !
It's that old saying " Walk a mile in my shoes business ".
Can't believe I said it !
Shit.

8 2Rating: +6

Ugh

Jun 13, 2022 at 10:37am

You can't help anyone who won't help themselves., alas, and at some point you have to separate so that they don't harm you anymore. It's not their fault that they struggle, but it is their responsibility to not just roll the trauma onto the next generation. Went through similar with my mom. Be gentle on yourself.

6 1Rating: +5

My mom went through hell but is the opposite

Jun 13, 2022 at 11:21am

My mom grew up in welfare homes (farms) where she was worked as a slave when she was just a little girl, got verbally, physically, sexually abused, and would then be locked in a root cellar to sleep with the rats. After that she ended up with a guy that would get drunk and slap her and my older siblings around. She grabbed us 5 kids and fled the province on a greyhound with pretty much nothing but the clothes on our backs. My mom is the strongest, bravest, most caring, wisest down to earth, and level headed woman I've ever known.

12 0Rating: +12

Try to have empathy

Jun 13, 2022 at 12:16pm

I think the best thing you can do is just maybe talk with your mother and just tell her that as much as you empathize, you’d like to set some pretty clear boundaries. If you’re her only son then I guess I understand where she’s coming from. Keep in mind that it sounds like your mother has been through a lot and right now the one thing she needs is the support from her son. If you have any other siblings, then she’ll need their support as well too. Maybe the best thing for you to do is just listen to what she has to say. Sometimes, we don’t know what we have or how good we have it until it becomes long gone.

5 1Rating: +4

@op

Jun 13, 2022 at 1:05pm

It's wise to prioritize your own goals and happiness right now. At the same time, no decent human being wants to see another human suffering. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. All you can do is keep in touch with your Mom and remind her that cognitive behavioral therapy could be a really helpful thing for her to try. Personally, if it were me, I'd keep repeating about the therapy until I sounded like a broken record. Start normalizing the idea that reaching out for help is OK and she is deserving of help. These might be ideas that she has trouble grasping. I was certainly there once. Good luck op.

7 0Rating: +7

@Nice

Jun 20, 2022 at 3:42pm

It is not a child's responsibility to be their parent's emotional or spiritual bank. Regardless of your armchair CPTSD diagnosis, parents who rely on their children (even adult) for the majority of their emotional support are wreaking havoc: "Covert incest, or emotional incest, occurs when a parent or caregiver relies on a child for the support that an adult partner would usually provide." Parents should turn to their siblings, friends or medical professionals for this kind of support. People who expect their children to be their emotional crutch are some of the most insanely selfish people I've ever encountered. Kudos to the OP for setting the stage for his own boundaries. You can detach with love, because you can't give from a cup that is already empty.

0 0Rating: 0

@@Nice

Jun 21, 2022 at 3:18am

You’re hearing only one side of the story, so it’s not possible to know what the mother’s side actually is. I do feel that the Op sounds judgemental and lacking in compassion, based on the tone of their post. Of course I don’t know the whole story anymore than you do, so we’re both only reacting to what we read. However, once the “child” becomes an adult, they’re obligated to act like one, including when they’re dealing with their parents. If the Op is acting like a teenager being rude , judgemental, and disrespectful to their mother (I’m not saying they are, but it’s possible) that could very well explain why their mother is so upset around them. Obviously it would be great if the OP’s mother had the other resources you’re talking about to help her, but realistically that’s not always the case. A person who is suffering from depression and anxiety often doesn’t have the support of a bunch of friends because of the nature of depression itself creating isolation. The lack of available and effective mental health help is also a big obstacle, particularly for someone who is already struggling, vulnerable, and isolated. It’s easy to be judgemental when you’re not the one suffering, isn’t it? None of us can know how we would react under the same circumstances because we each have experiences unique to ourselves, given that every person’s perception is also unique to them. If the Op genuinely cares about their mother, they would probably find that compassion, understanding, and acceptance will go a long way to improving their relationship.

0 0Rating: 0

@@@Nice

Jun 23, 2022 at 1:14am

No one is obligated to do anything they don't want to do. If they do, and especially when they have little support themselves, it will lead to resentment.

Compassion of self *first* is the source of all other outsourcing of personal resources. If this person is feeling extreme stress at being the sole provider of support for their mother, they are entitled to their own feelings about helplessness, PERIOD. I don't need to hear the other point of view - you simply cannot give from a dry well. And YOUR judgment of them suffering some some of delayed development is exactly why certain people stay in damaging filial relationships - - out of some sort of demented sense of "obligation" or "duty." So damaging.

If anyone needs to read this: YOU are not responsible for anyone else's mental health in your life, unless they are paying you as a trained medical practitioner - and even then, you can't control what they decide to do on their own. You can be there to support them in all the ways *you are able,* and no more.

Specific to your own comment - you'd do well reading up on 'people-pleasing' and 'fawning' traits among actual sufferers of CPTSD - the OP sounds like they've given of themselves to the point of exhaustion enough. And what you're prescribing sounds exactly what a 'fawner' would do - giving and giving and giving even when they have nothing left yourself. That's not 'compassion' or 'empathy'; it's an emotional prison that literally leads to resentment and contempt, which is what their OG post speaks of. We're all responsible for ourselves, and everything else is grace and gravy.

1 0Rating: +1

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