confusing relationship with my mom

So everyone pretty much knows about how rough it’s been for me the past couple weeks. My caseworker, Jess and online friends have been extremely supportive and have been sounding boards for me. But still everyday I woke up feeling like my skin was too tight and that if I got hit by one more irritating thing about this place I’d explode. I didn’t want to self injure or anything I just felt myself getting more and more mad at everything. I had been talking with my mom off and on about the staff changes and stuff. She’s been in a supportive very good mood lately which makes it very easy to talk to her. She doesn’t understand the depths of my mental illness or really not much about it at all in fact and is completely lost in emotionally supporting me. Her inability to do so is the primary reason for my going through life feeling like I have to shut down my feelings because they weren’t allowed growing up. This has lead to the PTSD symptoms.

Anyway so at this particular moment she was in a good supportive mood the past few days. I wrote her an e-mail Friday morning explaining more stuff that happened over the week. Later she called me having read everything and we just talked for like an hour. And she listened. She might not have understood every detail and to be honest she doesn’t know a lot of things about my illness as it would be too much to handle or make her defensive if she knew how much her actions affected me. But the fact she was able to sit and listen to what was going on and calmly tell me to keep waiting it out and looking at options before running away actually helped a lot. Which is basically what everyone here has been trying to tell me. But coming from her for whatever reason it carried more weight and I could actually accept it.

We talked about other stuff family issues with ill relatives, my Dad’s new job, what my sister is doing on college summer break. I got to talk with my cat, hear him meow for food which always warms my heart! I miss Lucky soo much!

Anyway I got off the phone feeling a million times better. Which was awesome because it somehow hit something in my brain to where I feel much calmer about everything. I’m still looking in all directions for options but it doesn’t feel so much like I’m desperate to get out as it did the last couple weeks. I can do normal things now like just listen to an audio book, follow people on twitter read facebook and generally zone out. Without feeling all the pressure that living here can bring on. Even my caseworker who saw me today commented that it’s great I’m getting back to normal activities.

So this would be all wonderful except you have to remember my family history. My mom is a no longer drinking alcoholic. Much of my teenage years and through college was filled with her off and on drinking, huge domestic violence towards my father, and emotional abuse towards my sister. Like all abuse it had the typical pattern of building up and exploding and then things leveling out. I never knew from one hour/ day/ minute how things would be. Another lovely PTSD resulting symptom.

So she has these patterns of one minute being very caught up in her own moods/ whatever she’s experiencing and not realizing how it affects other people. She’ll disagree. She’s gone to several therapists back when I pushed family therapy crying and saying she gets it. And things are fine for weeks/ months and then not again. She’s all over the place with her emotional intensity and I think that affects her behavior with others going from unpredictable emotionally hurtful to reasonable, to genuinely nice caring supportive person. And it’s all soo confusing.

I’d take breaks as in months long spans where I didn’t talk with her. I just needed a break from the ups and downs and the latest down situation would be the sign for me to step back and do my own thing. A lot of this for example revolved around my last semester at college where I was furiously planning how to leave home. She really had no knowledge of what I was up to. Then she and my dad came for a therapy session and I told them everything. And she ended up taking it very well. And since knowing was very supportive of my move. Again while not totally getting it at least on the surface of things being supportive. Especially with things like money clothes packages ETC. She gets lost and thrown off I think when things get emotionally intense for me. I don’t think she has a clue what to do because this sets off that she has similar issues. Then she becomes critical or hurtful in her responses or shuts down. And then can bounce back to the other side again.

So all this with her is very very confusing and overwhelming. I know all family relationships are filled with conflicts. I think it’s especially so when one has contact with family that was unhealthy/ abusive towards them. After this experience I talked to my e-mail list friends about it. Many gave similar stories about having positive as well as negative interactions with their hurtful family members. Times when they’ve gotten genuine support. The getting genuine support for me is emotionally really tricky. Because it brings back the parts of my mom I really do love and at one point were more present in her personality before things became really hard. And I feel that old connection. But in the back of my mind is everything that’s happened that’s in part shapped my illness, and certainly how I relate to others and within myself. My mom once said that I remember more of the bad than the good of my life at home. I don’t think that’s true. I remember both. There was a lot of good times and a lot of bad times and it’s hard to integrate really hard when you stop and think about it. And there’s a part of me in all this that feels kind of guilty and weird about having these positive interactions with my mom, of leaning on her for support, when all this time I’ve been tellin people and know for myself that there are so many things I don’t trust her on. And ways she’s totally not supportive. Because I think sometimes too someone who hasn’t been through this would think well this is what it’s like with all parents. There are ups and downs. But here and in other relationships I’ve heard about from friends it’s more extreme. When the downs are things like witnessing domestic violence, or someone being constantly called names manipulated and put down. And the ups are coming home from college to home cooking all the good treats, having your clothes washed lovingly ETC it’s a complete rollercoaster. Jonathan says when I talk about it to just get on the ride when she’s on the up swing and jump off when things start to go downhill. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Or I don’t think it does. But I guess that’s what I’ve been doing since I first started therapy on my own in college. Setting boundaries about not wanting to really be personally communicating with her when she’s unstable and can’t cope with her own issues never mind mine. And then when she’s turned around again to being supportive taking advantage of that. I got a good response when throwing this out there to the friends on my e-mail group. Am really interested to hear others thoughts.


One thought on “confusing relationship with my mom

  1. Its hard to deal with the behaviours she displays, especially the negative ones. Its all good if she’s ok and nice. Its when things get tricky and she becomes hurtful and mean, its hard to deal with that. I get it. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this on top of everything else. Its sooo confusing.

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