Living with a Mom that has torn my heart

Old 05-29-2019, 01:05 PM
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Living with a Mom that has torn my heart

I have been reading some of these posts, and my heart breaks. I know the pain of interacting with a parent who has been drug addicted, and has done unspeakably evil things in the name of her addiction and need for affection, which no person on earth can satisfy.

Please allow me to share my story. It will be a long post.

In 2010, after graduating from college, I developed bipolar disorder with psychosis. It came out of nowhere at the age of 25, and I am now 34. About two years later, my grandmother (maternal) died from pancreatic cancer. I had been living with my father, but moved in to my grandmother's home with my mother after my grandma died.

As you can imagine, a person living with severe mental illness (me, and maybe her) and an opoid pill addict were not bound to get far in life. For about five years, we stagnated, while I worked as a custodian for a state university. Custodial work and basic retail is about all I've been able to handle since developing mental illness.

However, eventually, my Mom ran out of money that she inherited from her mother. She had quit a 100k a year job five hours north to come home and inherit the house and live in it after my grandma's death. But since she bought so many pills, she exhausted my grandma's IRA and money left to her. So in 2017, she sold our family home and simultaneously was fortunate enough to land a job offer across the country in the Washington D.C. area. She graciously offered to take me with her so that I could try to find a better job. I had been working on call as a very part-time custodian for a school district up to that point. Things were not looking up for me.

However, the issue of inheritance money from the house ended up destroying the relationships in our family and leaving lasting scars that will probably take years to heal. My Mom was turning down the few offers she received on the house and was very combative. She had sold all of her furniture and was walking around in tattered clothes. She was in a pill induced rage, and one day after she stormed out of the house that was now empty, I started blacking out and I couldn't breathe. This had not happened to me since I stopped using cocaine 13 years ago. I had no car and no way to get to a hospital, so I called my Mom and asked her to take me to the hospital. One of the most tragic things about this event is that I received no sympathy from her on the way to the hospital, which was fine I guess, but then she started feeling sorry for herself on the way to the hospital, saying to me an accusatory voice, "You think your life is so hard? I'm the one who's suffering. My life is way worse than yours, and I'm holding on strong." It was devastating to hear this from a woman who had put me in this awful position to begin with.

We moved to the Washington D.C. area and things appeared to be going well at first. I failed to see what numerous family members wanted to tell me but didn't. It was bound to implode. I have to mention at this point that my Mom has lied repeatedly about her drug use. She went to the hospital before leaving California with me for what she claimed were medical symptoms, but my brother and I saw the paperwork while she was getting an MRI and it showed the truth. We were devastated because she had told us prior to our coming that she was there for non-drug reasons. Flat out LIED to our faces without batting an eye.

My road with my Mom has been marked by one of constant instability. If you asked her, she would blame a large amount of her instability on me, because I am not entirely stable myself. However, like many people with mental illness, and unlike most drug addicts, I am quite well behaved. I don't lash out at people much, I am very agreeable, which allows me to hold down jobs and not get fired, unlike my Mom. The thing I have that probably destabilizes her is that I depend on her emotionally (or did) and I often change my mind about things. But trusting in my Mom emotionally has always bit me in the heart. The reason is that she will always be syrupy sweet, and I'll let my guard down. And just as I let it down, she'll become the angry shark and make a B line for my soul with her razor sharp teeth. It has happened 50 times, if not 150. It is the most destabilizing thing a person with bipolar disorder can experience. Obviously, a person living with mental illness should not live with someone with a drug addiction, or have any financial dealings with them.

My Mom gained a lot of inheritance money in the last two years from the sale of the home in California, and most all of it is gone. Of course, at least $200,000 of it is not accounted for, and neither my brother nor I want to ask her what happened to it, because we are afraid to, and because we know how defensive she would get.

She now lives two hours south in Richmond, VA, which has been slightly helpful in recovering the relationship. However, I am still financially dependent on her for about $300 a month, because I work full-time as a housekeeper in D.C. and don't make enough money to pay all of my bills. I need about $300 extra to survive, which she has been giving me through what's left of her inheritance money. Of course, she always gives it with subtle and not so subtle reminders of how broke and stressed she is, and what a drain I am on her financially because of my disorder and my inability to get my life straight, or however she would phrase it.

I have to say that depending financially or emotionally on someone this vindictive, callous, and selfish is one of the worst things that can possibly happen to a human being. There is nothing more degrading than taking a handout from a person who despises you and uses money as leverage to point out your uselessness and leeching. At this point, I would seriously consider taking out a high interest loan than depend on her financial, or becoming homeless if I had to be my own man. I will not live this way anymore. I will not give her the power she so desperately craves for her own reasons. In fact, I don't want to live two hours away. I want to live a lot further away than that.

Mental illness and drug addiction bring so much dysfunction, but there is a difference in my mind between a person who just can't function to the level they want to because of severe mental illness, and a vindictive person taking pills who shouts and aggressively puts you down. I let her stay in my apartment for Christmas because she was staying in Airbnb places, still looking for a place to stay. She tried to kill herself with pills that she had a friend smuggle from another place, after I made her promise to me that she would not try to kill herself in my apartment. I had to put my hand on her forehead and talk her into calm, because I heard her wheezing and was terrified that she was going to die. It was then that she confessed to having taken a large amount of pills. The next day, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we had the worst holiday of all time, she proceeded to criticize me for having not bought her a Christmas present. At the time, I was unemployed, and even though I was, I had bought her an inspirational book as a gift the week before, just because I wanted to, because I thought it would help her. After completely destroying our time together, all she can think of is my lack of consideration in not buying her a Christmas present. Then she quickly packs her things and drives two hours south with a hasty goodbye.

All of this is something I can handle. I mostly stuff it down, and refuse to talk about it with my Dad and brother because it would just be gossiping, and because they would just see me as being weak for talking with them and not talking with her. They don't really know her like I do because they haven't lived with her in a very long time. My parents split when I was 2 years old.

What I can't handle is the continued degradation of depending on her for anything, when she uses inheritance money as leverage to act a certain way towards me which I believe is condescending and controlling. My brother (who bought the California house from her because he wanted it and because she turned down all other buyers due to greed) has told me that he fears once she blows through the final portion of the inheritance money, she will blame him for everything because she received the money in two or three payments instead of all at the same time. My Mom has never taken responsibility for her own life. She is the most dramatic, vindictive victim I have ever met.

I do not know what the future holds. The only thing I know is that I'd rather be homeless or at the mercy of a loan shark than a drug addicted, selfish parent. I'll do everything in my power to ensure that this ends. When she wants to iron things out in the future, it will be done on level terms, not with her wielding power over me.

My honest hunch is that she's possibly using again, but she would never tell me if she was, and she lives two hours south now. Meanwhile, she is running out of money and works a low wage, part time job. I fear my brother is right that once she runs out of money, she will find one of us (or both of us) to blame. She has blown through over $350,000 in two years, and is due to receive $300,000 more in three years. Her future is her problem. I refuse to take any more responsibility for her life. In an act of graciousness, I once told her that it must have been hard living with an adult son with mental illness, and it might have made her drug addiction worse. She stayed silent, as though she was absorbing the information, and putting it in her ammunition chamber. Sure enough, that became the narrative from her mouth for quite some time. If you asked her today why she's messed up and suffering, she would have a lot of people to blame, but never herself.

Thank you so much for listening. I am sure you will find similarities in your own stories. What a beast this addiction is. It's made worse by the fact that I am seriously thinking of entering this field as a peer recovery support specialist. I know all about mental illness and people who abuse substances. It's the ugliest world that anyone could hope to enter, and yet it is an area with such overwhelming need. It is tragic to work in this field I imagine, but needed.

Last edited by danielthep; 05-29-2019 at 01:14 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:10 PM
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I am sorry you are dealing with all this and glad that you joined us here.

Something most of us have learned here is that we cannot change anyone else. Lord knows we tried changing addicted loved ones, mentally ill loved ones, abusive and toxic loved ones too.

In the end, the only person we can change is ourselves. You sound like you work hard and manage well on your own, in spite of your own bi-polar issues. Good for you. I think that you are more capable than you think, that you can take care of yourself in spite of how your mother is or is not doing.

Take a good read around here, especially the sticky posts at the top. They will help you see how important it is to take care of yourself. Also, there is a wonderful book called "Codependent No More" that is available at most libraries, that has helped many of us recognize our issues and learn how to overcome them.

You don't have to do this alone, we are all here to support you and share our own experience, strength and hope.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:28 PM
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Hello and welcome,

I too am so sorry to hear of all you are dealing with. I would say that moving to an area that is more affordable so you do not have to depend on her for anything would be the way to go. Sometimes you have to love someone from afar, it does not mean you love them any less, it simply means that a relationship with them may drag you down the rabbit hole with them.

Do all you can for your own mental health, and take good care of you. This is a place of great support, I hope you keep coming back!
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:58 AM
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I am so sorry you are dealing with all this. Life with mental illness is hard enough without living with someone struggling with chemical dependency.

Prayers that you find what you need to create the life you want,
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