My Mother vs. The Rest of the Family: In Theaters Soon

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My mother has dealt with depression and anxiety ever since I started high school (1996). There is tension between her and every other family member because they cannot tolerate being around her negativity.

It's really sad to me because there's times where I feel like some family members are only staying in touch with her so she'll continue to give them money. Despite all the money she's given them and continues to give them, they rarely call or visit.

Some family members even decided to stop exchanging b-day and X-mas gifts with her because it was too much of an inconvenience for them. This hasn't stopped them from cashing the checks she sends them on THEIR b-days though.

In my mind, this reveals their true motives for maintaining their relationship with her. If money wasn't involved, I think most of my family would have written her off by now.

The hardest part for me is that my mom is one of the most loving, caring, and kind people I have ever known. She is so selfless and such a giver, and all she wants in return is some appreciation and love. Unfortunately, these are rare commodities in my family :(

I wish my family would understand that she just has poor coping skills, and her mental illness has interfered with her ability to cope effectively. Once her physical health started to decline, she wanted to get a little help from other family members because her support system begins and ends with me. However, no other family member has been willing to provide any assistance.

Now, all she wants is for other family members to understand what she is going through and show some sympathy for her situation. Apparently, even this is too much to ask. I think some people just have difficulty looking outside of themselves and putting someone else's needs in front of their own.

I will admit that my mom can be hard to be around at times, especially if she is in a really negative state of mind or if she is obsessing about or exaggerating all of her woes. However, she tries so hard to be on her "best behavior" when other family members are around because she doesn't want to upset them by saying the wrong thing.

I think it's ironic that my mother has the mental illness; yet, she is the one who has to put on her "good behavior" hat in the rare event that another family member visits. Despite her efforts to please them, the rest of the family just can't seem to get past her shortcomings.

Even if nobody else appreciates my mom, I feel so lucky to have been blessed with a mother who has such a beautiful soul. She has taught me so many valuable lessons in life, and I’ve never met anyone with such a big heart.

I just wanted to use this forum as a platform to vent my frustrations and demonstrate the gratitude I have for my mother and all she has done for me. I also wanted to reveal what an amazing person she is because this often gets masked by her anxiety, depression, and decline in health.

Thanks for listening.


Thank you for such a positive and loving post.... you show that no matter what, love prevails.... I am sorry that it seems your family are the ones with no coping skills... seems your mom understands how she comes across and tries... not so with your family.... sending you hugs of gratitude for sharing your story... I really needed to feel your gentle spirit today....
She is so lucky to have an amazing son! God bless you and thanks for this post!
Thank you for the kind responses. I wish I could trade in some of my family members for you all. Shh...don't tell them I said that ;)
Mental illness is so greatly misunderstood! The ignorant think a depressed person should just be able to "snap out of it." A person with bipolar disorder or dementia or any mental illness is often viewed as a disease, not as a whole person (even sometimes by the medical profession).

Your attitude and understanding is refreshing. I wish we could take that for granted, but unfortunately it is much rarer than it should be. You are a special person.

If you can find ways to spread the word, that would be awesome. What do you do as a job?
The sad truth is that even if your mom was the nicest person on earth all of the time, chances are her family members would ignore her just as fast. My mom is extremely appreciative of what I do for her and has a pretty positive personality. My brother calls once a week (if he remembers). He hasn't visited her in three years. My mom has sent money to nieces and nephews and only hears when it's graduation time (i.e. gift is expected).

So while your mom's personality issues may offer some kind of explanation, many (most?) people are too wrapped up in their own lives to understand or care about how much older folks appreciate being remembered and communicated with.

And I agree with the others, you sound like a wonderful young man - your mom did very well in raising you!
Wow! If I was your Mom I would be patting myself on the back that I raised such caring and thoughtful gentleman!
Hi Jeanne,

I am a COTA/L (certified occupational therapy assistant), but I recently moved to CA so I'm in a little bit of a transition mode. I was previously working in a skilled nursing facility in Seattle, but I was getting too burned out working full time and trying to care for my mom so I had to stop.

I've always loved doing home care so ideally I would do that part time and help out my mom part time. Hopefully it all works out.

Again, I want to thank you and everyone else for your support. You have no idea how much it means to me!
MichaelS, you're wonderful. I know your mom is proud. Bless you. I hope that everything works out for you in CA.
Thanks for providing a refreshing alternative way to view an aging parent with mental illness. Mental illness often does not exist in a vacuum. Family dynamics often are a factor. You are a kind soul. I wish you peace.
Think about not having her send money to folks, because the Medicaid five year look back will penalize her for every dime she gave away.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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