More threads by Allegro


...Eight years ago, I cut off contact with my mother as I found out that continued contact seemed to increase and aggrivate my depressive illness. I was thirty years old and still trying to keep my mother from killing herself- or at least I thought I was doing that. For as far back as I can remember, I was "responsible" for keeping her alive. She would start out saying "oh, I am such a terible person", and "I should be dead," "I am such a bad mother", and so on and so forth, until she would get a butcher knife, a gun, scisors, pills, or some other weapon and she would lie on the floor and cry while holding the weapon threateningly to herself. I would kneel beside her and cry and beg her not to kill herself, telling her that she was not a terrible person, mother, whatever, and this would go on for hours. My brother and sister would leave the house/apartment as soon as she started this, and I, the youngest, thought it was my responsibility to keep her alive.

When I first got into therapy, I never talked about these episodes. I thought that they were just the way things were. That they were right and normal. Then my psychiatrist told me that these episodes were not any different than when the different child molesters took advantage of me. They were taking from me my innocence and self-esteem. My mother was taking from me my stability and giving me a world that could crumble at the slightest touch. I was afraid to go to school, so I would fake being sick so I could stay home with her. My teachers thought I was just lazy and stupid, even retarded, when I was actually, in my mind, keeping the world from imploding. Whenever she didn't go to work or school during the week, I would find ways to stay home with her. I missed many weeks of school. The teachers disliked me so much that they would make fun of me in front of the entire class on a regular basis. I hated school. I had no friends until seventh grade. Once I went to summer camp for a week, and when I returned, my mother had slit both of her wrists and had spent a couple of days in the hospital. I was convinced that if I hadn't gone to camp that she would not have tried to kill herself.

Anyway, last weekend, I recieved a post-card from her. It said, "I miss you," and "if this letter hurts, please accept my appologies." I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomache. People inside literally screamed in terror. My husband had brought the card to me and asked me, "how are you doing?" before telling me about the card. He was worried about showing it to me, but at the same time he did not want to keep it from me. That night, though I rarely drink, I tried to get drunk. I just ended up having just an extra deep sleep.

Now I am considering openning up communication again with her. She is 72 years old, and I am 38. My psychedoc wants to armor me so that I can have the ability to contact her even if I choose not to. I feel as if I am punishing her by not having contact with her. I was her favorite child. I was the one who finished high school, had two perfect daughters, a successful marriage, and learned a wide variety of skills such as writing, playing the piano and cello, drawing, sign language, history, and being a good parent. (being dissociative helps;-) My brother is a psychopath, and my sister is a pathological liar and drug user. My mother and I used to do many things together recreationally, such as going to play bingo, work on ceramics, sewing, crocheting and sharing different books that we both liked to read. But there was always the undercurrent that I was acting as a parent to her and still keeping her alive. I imagine that when I cut off contact with her that that was a major blow to her.

But am I responsible for that blow? I am working very hard at conquering my mental illness. I get electro-convulsive therapy (shock treatment) once a months. I take a boat-load of meds. I meet with a psychiatrist once a week for cognitive therapy. I have battled with and against other personalities to attain a unified front to face and deal with life's problems. I have been hospitalized more times than I care to remember, and even spent two long stints at the state hospital here in Texas, and believe me, Texas does not spend very much towards their state mental hospitals. And incidentally, they are little better than penitentiaries, and it is easily believed that the government here in Texas has an alterior motive such as starving and freezing the patients to death to save on money. I am fighting tooth and nail for my mental health. Do I dare let my mother back into my life?

I know how it will go if I do. She will explain how terrible she was as a parent, tell me how awful life was to her. I will say something like, "oh, no, you were a great parent!" I will trip and fall right back into the old habits and patterns, travel down the same avenues, and end up tearing up my psyche in order to make her think that I don't hold her in any blame at all. This is what I am so afraid of. Dr. L says that is one possible outcome, but he wants us to build a second outcome where six months from now I feel validated, confident that I dealt with her fairly and reasonably for both she and I, that I saw several invitations to travel down those same roads again, but I politely and firmly refused to go. That I could instead invite her to travel down alternate routes where she and I both feel comfortable. And that we are able to build a new sort of relationship. All of this sounds nifty, but I am still so scared.

If any of you can relate, or have had simular experiences, I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you in advance.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Listen to what your own mind and body are telling you. Listen to what your therapist is telling you. listen to what those who really love you are telling you.

Make the decision based on what's best for you. Finally.


Reading your post is like taking a look into my own past. I think I know how you are feeling. I haven't spoken to my mother in about five years and I guess I'm fine with that. But what if she wanted to start a relationship with me? What would I do? I guess because I wish I had a mother I would tell her Okay. But after reading what your doctor told you, yes it would have to be on terms that I was comfortable with. What terms are you comfortable with? That's key I think. What you went through was absolutely wrong and just because she doesn't see it doesn't make any less wrong. If she indeed wants to have a relationship with you, then let it be only on your terms. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but even if she is an elderly woman she needs to respect your wishes. You have struggled to become healthy and no one has a right to take that away from you. I don't know how you became a good mother, but I know that for me it was a struggle to become a good mother and I still have a long way to go. This is because I had no role model of what a good mother is. Well, what I'm trying to say is that she didn't teach you how to be a good mother and because of this and your struggles you have to protect yourself from those who will bring you down and backwards. Please hang in there. Also be vey proud of yourself because trying to become healthy is a task that requires a lot of pain and hard work. Good Luck to you and I hope to see your future posts.


Any relationship, no matter whether with a young person or an old person, a relative or a friend, must meet the terms YOU set for YOUR relationships. Anything else isn't a relationship. It's slavery.
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