My mother has always had a longstanding severe personality disorder. My psychiatrists and therapists have suggested she has more than one. As a child, I lived through the violence, dangerous situations, verbal abuse/gaslighting, etc., which resulted in severe depression and suicide attempts on my end. She is now 71, has glaucoma, but is still steady raising hell because she believes I “made her look bad” when with my suicide attempts (which were NOT about her). I’m at my wit’s end. She’s convinced other people I’m crazy or a monster because she’s so manipulative...she talks about me negatively to anyone who will listen. At one point, I was willing to work through this but see the depth of her hostility and craziness and just don’t feel it would serve me any benefit to attempt to help her. She’s so toxic and sick. Oh, and she gets angry if I go no-contact, which my therapist suggested. Family members will try to berate me for treating her so poorly although I tell them she’s manipulating them; they still side with her. Any suggestions?

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It's so tough when the family doesn't understand the pain your parent is causing you or tries to convince you it's your fault because you "treated her so badly". I'm sorry you are going through that. You probably cannot change their minds so I would suggest you walk away. That's a very hard path too, at least for a while, but sometimes its needed.

When I walked away from some of my family, I told them how they needed to apologize and amend their behavior if they ever wanted a relationship with me and I walked out the door. I didn't contact them at all. I filled the time I had spent with those family members with other family, friends and church activities while I "mourned" for the death of the family relations I had thought I had. A couple of years later we ran into each other at a restaurant. Apparently they were surprised when I nodded at their greeting and walked on by to sit down at table with my friends and ignored them. It wasn't hard to do because at that point I had completed my mourning and accepted their "deaths" in my life. Having them out of my life was a lot less painful than what they put me through previously.

Strangely, the fact that I didn't care anymore made an impression; they contacted my mother about mending fences a few days later (of course they wanted to skip the apology and just restart). I declined and sent the message back that my life was much better off without them and I would only consider rapprochement after a sincere apology that acknowledged their fault and included promises that the bad behavior would not be repeated. I got the apology and the promises and we restarted visiting on a new playing field - one where they _knew_ I could walk away anytime their behavior crossed a line.

That all happened over 30 years ago and my emotional independence has served me well through every one of them. I have deep satisfying relationships with most of my family but everyone knows emotional blackmail just doesn't work on me.

From your post, it sounds like your mother is mentally ill and no worthwhile relationship is possible with her. Please understand that taking care of mom (if you feel there is no one else who can/will do it) doesn't mean personal interaction with her. You can be the advocate that helps find her a living situation or checks with facility care givers to see how mom is doing and sends packages of clothing or personal care items.

It also sounds like you have some other family members who need a bit of the walk away treatment too. When they try to berate you for taking care of yourself just tell them "You don't know the whole story and even if you did, you are not God and have no right to judge me." and walk away. You can have a good life without those toxic family members.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TNtechie

You will get responses from people who have or going thru this same problem.

U need to do what your therapist has suggested. You need to break ties. You will be told by other members NOT to help her. You will regret it.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Wow. You are in a terrible situation and my heart goes out to you. Is it possible to put your mom in an assisted living place or nursing home? I don't know the exact situation you are in, but my dad is in a nursing home. It took time, energy, and patience, but I got him on Medicaid. It was impossible to keep him at home with all his mental and hemalth issues. I am the youngest child of three and my brother lives 25 minutes away, but neither sibling has lifted a finger to help me physically or mentally. Do your siblings help out? They should be on your side and realize that Alzheimer's can change the the personality of the sufferer. One idea I had when my dad was still at home was to deliver him to my brother's door step, ring the doorbell and run back to the car and drive away. I know that your plate is full, but you could send info to members of your family about how Alzheimer's changes people's personality and how it magnifies some existing mental health issues and makes them more serious.

I wish you luck. Check out your county's counsel on aging. They can help with finding other opportunities for respite.
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Reply to BooMcVicker

I decided to walk away from an inheritance since I was not going to make mthr happy (see how she's missing something important inside?). I told her that she needed to treat me at least as well as she treated a stranger or we could not be in a relationship together. She made the choice to follow through with her bad behavior even though she knew what the consequences were and had weathered several other NC periods. I could live with **her** making that choice to walk away from me - and that is an important distinction.

When people asked or whined at me, I would say, "dealing with untreated mental illness is so hard." If they want more info (they won't) I was prepared to say, "if she would only allow us to help her, we would be there to help her. Just like an alcoholic needs to hit rock bottom, we believe mthr needs to hit rock bottom before we can help her. Otherwise we are simply enabling her bad behavior." I role played that with my therapist and husband so much. Not one person asked.

BTW, when Adult Protective Services hunted me up to rescue her, we were there and installed her in a great memory care unit. Her "friends" did nothing for her and her coworker and bank manager friend were taking financial advantage of her. "Yet they were the first to whine, You have to get along with your mother and understand...." Those people are simply looking for a thing to gossip about and a thing to make them feel superior to you. Let them go too.
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Reply to surprise

This sounds like a potentially life threatening situation.  I'd say follow therapist's advice and go no contact.  So she gets angry - you are not around to have to listen to it.  As for family members, if they have not figured it out, then they are pretty much broken reeds in this respect.  They are genuinely clueless or they go along with her because it is easier for them not to antagonize mom.  Sounds like they have had the opportunity to figure her abuse of you out, assuming they are honestly capable of it.  I'd say, ditch the lot of them.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to rovana

So she is angry when you are around, and angry when you go no contact.. so what is the difference? She's mad either way.. just avoid her for your own sanity!
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Reply to pamzimmrrt

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