My BiPolar (BP) mother - on Ufo's and other paranoid thoughts - The guilt eats

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    So most know I've cut all contact from my bipolar mother. She's so toxic and in a flux of stability and after a life time of being the mother to my mother, forcing her hospitalizations against her will (no simple task), the pain she's caused with a cruel streak (I attritube to HER, not her BiPolar (BP), just who she is even when stable on medications etc), her destruction of my extended family etc, I just threw in the towel and have no contact.

    her only remaining contact to any family at all is my brother, who avoids all unpleasantness. They live only doors apart so he puts up with a lot, but when the shoe falls, he disappears, avoids etc. He has never and will never stick around when she is really delusional etc.

    Anyhow, i swore I wouldn't feel guilt, shame, neglectful, a pitiful excuse for a daughter etc the next time she went off her medications (voluntarily) and "lost the plot". I had heard recently through my bro's flavor of the week g/f (sadly so nice a woman I want to warn her off lol) that my mother has become very paranoid. Screens all calls although with her 5th new phone number in 7 months, only my brother has the number (and me, since despite not in contact with her, she goes through phases of dialing my house sometimes a dozen times in a day so I have the number on the call display). Has started locking front and back doors, including storm doors, keeping all blinds shut and has put up heavy curtains over top. Only my brother goes to her door, she peeps and takes ages to feel "Safe" first before she'll open the door for him. I felt truly saddened hearing this, however I've seen it before and often she gets balanced back out on her own before things to too far.

    She hadn't called in a week or more. It felt like a nice break from the incessant ringing of the phone that I'll not answer once I see her number on display. It upsets me when she gets to doing the crazy phone dialing thing. Yesterday had several calls in the day. In the evening 2-3 more. My brother and his g/f came for coffee and she called right when we decided to go to walmart together to get a few things. Of course I didn't answer. She called 2 more times while I was out. My brother called when he got home, told me he arrived home to a slew of messages from her on his answering machine (I had let my mailbox fill so she had no way to leave a message on my mine). She was seeing UFO's and was in a right panicked yet exhilirated state, rapid speech, etc. It turns out she wasn't seeing NOTHING at all, she just wanted to see what she wanted to see. A few men in the neighborhood enjoy flying elaborate kites. THey've attached little watch battery powered LED colored lights, and they fly them at night. THey don't see the kite in the dark but the lights make it fun for night flying anyhow. My brother told her this so she'd realize it wasn't UFO's. She wouldn't believe him. He told her which neighbors and to ask them herself and maybe stop by tonight to see the kites in action, proof right there. She wouldn't believe.

    This morning the calls started again. She hasn't slept obviously, she's manic beyond manic. My machine was cleared before bed, it filled up this morning with messages. She's called the local newspapers and whatnot, been to all the neighbors doors in her townhouse complex to tell them to watch the "night skies" and to "be careful and keep your kids and pets indoors after dark". My brother? Popped into his fox hole. Answering machine shut off to avoid messages. Cell phone turned off so he can remain out of touch. My phone keeps ringing.

    I said I wouldn't feel guilt or shame that I wasn't going to continue to be the one to force her to get help, to drag her to the psychiatric hospital for emergency admittance to stabilize on medications agains. I said I was not going to feel ashamed that I had to seperate our lives out of self preservation for the kids and I.

    Why do I feel so wretched? It feels wrong to not help. It's eating at me.

    At the same time I'm angry as all get out and want to rage at someone (her, but that's been done and gets nothing accomplished). I did this no contact, cut her out thing, for a darn good reason. I KNOW This. Why do I feel this way? :( :(

    (Not really needing an answer, I mean I logically KNOW, Know what I mean?? Just needed to let it out somewhere that didn't infect my S/O or kids with my own feelings on this, they've been through it long enough over my mother)
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    ((HUGS)) That would be a tough position to be in but keep telling yourself what you need to in order to remain strong. I am not sure what more I would do- if it starts eating at you too much maybe just call the authorities and asked them to check her out or something. I definitely agree that you can't and don't need to be tryiong to jump in the thick of it all to force her anymore. And you don't need to beat yourself up over that.
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't have an answer, other than to reinforce you are doing what you can...

    And a hug.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Mattsmom, I am so sorry.
    Please, stay strong for yourself.
    It was nice of your brother to try to explain the LED kites, but there is no reasoning with-someone in that state of mind. It's like talking to a drunk.
    Go outside and scream if you need to. Or scream into a pillow.
    Better yet, got to an AlAnon group and talk about detachment.
    You can do it!!!
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are a nice person and you see clear signs that she is in psychiatric trouble in a major way. Because you are a nice person you think you should help, just like you likely would help a stranger. So you feel bad.

    Now, it is time to be your own parent. Remind yourself sternly that she is not a nice person in trouble, but a person who has taken enjoyment in causing you pain regardless of anything you did/do. You have been bitten by this creature many times. Just because she seems like she is in trouble does NOT make her YOUr problem.

    If you stand up and help, you will get saddled with her again and again.

    Nothing you do will result in her being nice to you, now or in the future.

    Your stepping in has allowed your bro to hide from her in times like this.

    ALL the neighbors know that he is her son. If she gets really bad they will force him to do something. Until HE does something, it clearly can be ignored.

    NOW is the time for you to spend your time and energy in ways that make YOU HAPPY. This is not your battle, not something you can win.

    IF you go help her, what will this teach your daughter?

    That no matter how someone abuses you, you still have to go and take care of them when they create their own emergencies? Your mom CHOSE this when she CHOSE to stop taking her medications. She knew what would happen and thought you would bail her out.

    Instead of ignoring her on caller ID, call the phone co and block her number even if it costs a bit each month. Then you won't get the number on your ID or a machine full of her ramblings.

    Set a GOOD example of taking care of yourself against a known threat for your daughter. Because THAT is what not responding to your mother is at this point. (Thinking about it in those terms can make it easier to push past the guilt.)

    IF blocking her number isn't possible, every time she calls that you can answer the phone, pick it up and blow a whistle into it as long and loud as you can, and then hang up.

    You do NOT owe ANYONE the right to abuse and harrass you, whether they have chosen to go off their medications or not, no matter how they are related to you.

    You don't want your daughter to have to live through this, do you?

    Remember, you have already been bitten by this person, just because she wants you to come closer doesn't mean it is wise or that you owe it to her, any more than you owe a rattlesnake a chance to bite you.
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thank you to all of you !!!! I know these things, I'm repeating, and repeating. Telling myself "Self, you are doing the right thing. Keep doing it".

    My brother surfaced, I told him I knew the developments of today and didn't really care to hear about his messages from her because I have my own. And that I can't really listen to him vent about it because like me, he can't do anything. And ultimately he needs to find a line he's willing to draw in the sand, and just do it, stick to it, and be as okay with it as he can be. Kind of hypocritical since I was guilting about it ;). But I didn't cave in to the guilt, and I'm already feeling better about it.

    Thanks everyone, truly. Sometimes it helps to just know others don't think I should be rescuing her. She truly does "Create her own emergencies". I'm going to make that a mantra when needed!
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom, as I've been reading these posts -- and past ones about the situation with your mother, I have to wonder about your brother's ability to respect your boundaries. It seems as though in an effort to "be nice", he's sometimes willing to cross the line and try to mediate contact between you and your mother, even though you've made it perfectly clear that you don't want any contact.

    If I recall correctly, it was your brother who keeps passing on your phone number, even after you've had it changed, and even after you've asked him not to (I apologize if I have the details wrong). I also think it couldn't be good for you to have to hear about and rehash her behaviour toward your brother, when you're taking such trouble not to inflict it on yourself. Combined with his disappearing acts when your mother goes off her medications and off the rails, it just seems as though he's being a bit passive-aggressive, and trying to push you into unwelcome contact.

    My GFGmother is schizophrenic, and my brother liked to play "peacemaker", which usually involved dragging me into a situation where my mother had gone completely squirrely, and then wandering off while I was left to sort it out. I have since broken off all contact with my parents, and had to leave my brother behind too, as he wants to be popular with everyone, and therefore would not respect any of our wishes. Not suggesting that you take steps that drastic, unless you feel it necessary, but it might be worth a long talk with your brother...

    I hope your mother settles down soon, so that your stress level can drop and you can get back to normal (whatever that is).


  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Trinity, you have hit the nail on the head about my brother. He's always been that way. He has become more respectful of my wishes and tends to normally keep stuff about her to himself nowadays, but sometimes he crosses the line, for exactly the reasons you stated. I quickly cut him off when it happens and remind him that no, it isn't my stuff and I can't listen to it. I wish he'd completely stop and it wouldn't happen anymore. I doubt that will ever happen. Yes you are correct that he passes along my phone number etc and he for sure would love to see she and I back in contact, although I know that he knows it is not going to happen.

    I guess he and I have just found our "balance" to a degree, because we aren't very entwined in each others lives. And I've made it abundantly clear that a relationship with boundaries will be nice with him but if I was pushed I would have to opt out of his life completely. He slips (like today) but he has come a long way in an effort to be able to continue to have a relationship with myself and the kids. That in itself keeps me going with him in my life to his limited degree, simply because he is willing to make the effort (and mostly succeeds) because he values me and the kids. As the years go by I do believe this will become even better between us.

    He is very caught up in the games my mother plays, he is at a stage with her I was a few years back. Trying to cut that tie by bargaining with her, trying to insist and enforce boundaries, and not yet able to accept he must give up because she will never honor them. I think its simply taking longer for him to reach a point where he can put his own guilt etc aside and make a decision to remove himself from her day to day life. Maybe he wont' reach that point, I do hope that he does, for his sake. And I really hope he continues to work hard and have less and less "slips" where I end up hearing about her problems.

    On a positive, we were planning a garage sale this weekend but it looks like we are going to have to cancel. Which is good ironically. My mother in law just called. My father in law passed over the summer and she's lonely as can be and begging us to come up with the kids for the long weekend. Which means hitting the lake and boating my brother in law, being "mothered" by my awesomely sweet and loving mother in law, being able to cheer her up and give her a break from the quiet in the house now that she is alone. Her voice when I said oh to heck with our advertised garage sale, we'll make the trip, was enough to make it worth it :). She is truly a "mom", an old fashioned one. It will be good for easy child too, she needs some grandma love and my mother in law provides it in droves and buries easy child in it no different than she does with her bio grand kids. We are lucky to have her, it helps reinforce what a healthy relationship of this type should be and can be! We are leaving early in the morning. YAY!
  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    The long weekend with your mother in law sounds wonderful. Hitting the lake and boating, what a great way to finish up the last of the summer holidays before the children return to school. I'm imagining some of the lakes up where you are, and I"m sooooo jealous. And I'm so glad that your mother in law is such a loving and positive person. Mine is as well, much more a mom than my own ever was. Have a wonderful time!
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thanks Trinity :) We are looking forward to it. difficult child decided to stay home and finish his back to school shopping (he's going with friends who are also shopping). easy child is excited to go visiting and we agreed to bring Schroeder and his cage (her new baby rat). mother in law's cat should be entertained ;).

    The lakes are fantastic up here, and we rarely get to go boating etc so this will be nice. easy child has a fishing rod and tackle box she saved for but hasn't used yet so she'll get to try that out.

    And wonder of wonders, my brother said he would hold our garage sale for us and we'll split the earnings. Which works for me! I Just wanted the stuff out of the shed where I'd collected it all over the summer. And it gets him a long weekend away from our mother.

    I can't wait to see my mother in law and sister in law and brother in law etc. It's going to be a lazy and wonderful way to wrap up the summer. Here's hoping I come home with a tan, I'm sadly pale since we've had heat wave after heat wave so most of the summer I was forced indoors with my AC. Hope you all have a great weekend!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow! That's great!
    I am so glad that your brother is doing something productive for YOU.
    And that you get to have a fun vacation with-nice people. Way To Go!
    Enjoy. You deserve it.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can only draw from my own experiences dealing with a paranoid schizo mother my whole life, aunt too although she wasn't in the picture as much as my mother........and well c'mon, it's your mother ya know?:tongue:

    I've managed to get my mother onto medications perhaps a handful of times in all these years. Never lasted more than a day or 2 at most because she'd dump them into the toilet. No forced psychiatric hospital stays though never went that route......she's never had any psychiatric hospital stays unless it was when I was very small.

    My mom is in the middle of a paranoid psychotic break.......started several weeks back right in the last quarter of school. Over the years I've gotten so good I can tell by number of times she calls, the tone of her voice long before the paranoid conversation begins. When she gets's really bad........very similar to what you describe only she's also a religious fanatic (serious here) so that plays a role.

    So? How do I deal? I spend time talking to her on the phone "talking her down" out of her latest delusion. This may or may not work. If it doesn't work I don't get all upset. I don't play into the paranoid delusions, but I don't refute them per se either. Trying to say what she's experiencing isn't real is like lighting a match to dynamite........and then she won't listen as I've become one of the "bad" guys. Know what I mean?? Instead, I insert logic into the conversation whenever possible. Seems to work best. Like she called to tell me my bro's latest girlfriend took several new jeans she'd had laid out on a chair. I know the girlfriend is like half the size of my Mom, so I asked what would she do with them..........oh she was giving them to her 10 yr old. lol Ok......Mom you wear men's jeans....and I seriously doubt a 10 yr can fit them let alone would they be caught dead in them. Next time it was my sis had taken her laptop power cord. Mom she doesn't have a laptop, or a computer, nor do her kids......what's she going to do with it? Enough of that and she eventually comes around.

    It's the method my grandma used with both her daughters. It works. Not always immediate, but it does work eventually. And one has to know how to apply it. My sibs attempt it and Mom just goes further off the deep end. ugh

    Dear ol' Mom is one of several reasons I live 9 hours from home and have caller ID. I usually take her calls, but during a paranoid episode........I screen and take them only when I have time to talk. I used to say I never wanted her in the same town again.........but have been trying to get her to move here for the past 2 yrs.:tongue::whiteflag: Now how sane is that?? lmao But she really has no one to watch her there, is getting up in years........and well no she will never live with me.

    Mental illness is no different from any other illness except it affects behavior. This makes it super hard to deal with in someone who refuses to stick with treatment. And when that person is paranoid on top of takes it to a whole new level. omg

    I don't do guilt when it comes to my Mom. I just deal with it the best way possible and whatever happens, happens. Being paranoid she will most likely never stick with medications/treatment. It always winds up part of the delusion someone is out to get her. Svcks but just how it is. It's sad, terribly sad she has had to live her whole life this way.

    You do what feels right for you to do, what is necessary for you to cope. It sounds like this break from your Mom is something very badly needed. As for your bro........when he disappears when she's really bad.......most likely cause he hasn't a clue what to do in the situation and avoidance is better than making it worse. Many of my sibs do the same thing........ok all of them do it to one extent or another. lol

    in my opinion it's easy from someone from outside the situation to say omg you're neglecting your Mom or omg why would you ever have anything to do with such a crazy person ever again........ It's impossible to imagine dealing with mental illness over an entire lifetime, especially when it is a parent when you have no experience to draw on. She's your Mom, you love her despite the mental illness. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all that is good in life in attempts to help someone who can't/doesn't want to be helped. If you need a break, then take it. I'm sure you've more than earned it.

    by the way my Mom also has a mean streak I'm not so sure has anything to do with the mental illness. Wonder if we have the same Mom? lol Don't let the guilt eat at you. If her behavior has you standing on the dragging you over is not going to help her. And that mean streak makes it mighty hard to want to help.

    Bottom line......our mothers are who they are........we will never change them. We change how we deal with it.