my very tragic difficult child/bipolar mother


Active Member
Through the years I have mentioned my difficult child/bipolar mother. I just wanted to post about her today because she weighs heavily on my mind and I know this is one place that I can find understanding. Actually a post I just read where someone commented about understanding here from members on detachment vs real life family/friends finding the persons detachment "cold". The "cold" people upset me so much. It's a level of detachment I struggle with. That lack of understanding I serious NEED for detachment.

I know many bipolar adults as well as people with other diagnosed mental illnesses that thrive in their lives and succeed despite their illness. I say that because my mothers story is the opposite and I absolutely don't want members to feel my mothers outcome is in any way a given for members difficult children.

My mother continues to regress into her disease so far that it is clear there is no coming back. Her entire personality has changed. Where once she had a functioning and "normal" life while stable, she no longer resembles that person at all. The improper long term medication she clings to despite doctors wishes and warnings, has destroyed her and she is too ill to see it. Nobody even tries to get her to see it anymore. We know it is pointless. I feel pretty certain she has a personality disorder as well that has never been diagnosed. She refuses any mental health help other than script renewals for her medications every six months at a walk in clinic where she raves about her "magic pill" that has kept her hospital free for 18 straight years. She was given a antipsychotic medication when in hospital 18 years ago. It was never meant to be long term. In fact is a medication with warnings to not use long term. She was meant to get stable and psychosis free, and then to work with a psychiatrist to find a healthy medication combo post hospitalization. However she clung to that medication and moron doctors keep giving it to her despite the permanent neurological damage now done to her. She is right the medication has kept her psychosis free (other than the few times she stopped taking it in early years). The price she has paid for her lack of participation in a healthy log term medication plan has been very high in all areas of her life. To hear her tell it, this medication is magic and she is just fantastic. Just one of the ways she obviously no longer can discern truth and facts from her magical thinking. And boy does she have major magical thinking.

At one time she was a nurse. She worked with seniors in a seniors facility. She was admired and likable. She had many solid long term friendships. She attracted kind and caring and good men in her dating life. She was financially responsible. She had interests and hobbies and was a busy woman.

Then came the breakdown years. The manic highs and crashing lows that was, looking back, the start of her journey of no return. Lost career, has existed now for some 30 years on various social assistance. Lost every single friendship. Attracted only damaged and abusive men who saw her as vulnerable and latched on. To attracting no friends. Period. Same for potential romantic relationships. Moved on to losing myself and brother to our spiral of foster care years. Eventually. Destroyed every family relationship with her siblings and cousins etc. leaving my brother and I as the sole hold outs trying to help her and be there for her. Which didn't come easy for he nor I, given the hateful and cruel acts towards us for a lifetime.

I struggled for years about detachment. Realizing you cannot help someone who won't help themselves. Meanwhile evidence if a likely untreated personality disorder developed and flourished. Or maybe it just was the affect of years of improperly treated bipolar. We probably will never know. Probably doesn't even matter as the end result is the same regardless of the root.

I just went about 20 months with no contact. To this day she does not have out telephone number. I was finally ok with no contact. Had lost the shame and guilt I should never have owned, and walked away to self preserve and I protect my children. Then easy child was going through such hades in her life with her dad etc and was suicidal and other serious issues with her. Her one wish for her birthday was dinner with grandma. Boy I struggled and erred. In my desire to bring something to pcs plate that was enjoyable for her in a dark period, I contact my mother and invited her to dinner out with easy child and I at a local restaurant. That actually went fairly well.

Then, it didn't. I maintained calls to her a couple of times a week. Quickly I came to regret the dinner that has led to contact. She began calling a mutual contact to ask them to call me to tell me to call her, since I refuse to give my contact info. What a burden for that person. I can't get her to hear a thing I say about NOT doing that. I also see massive decline in her life after a long period of no contact. Coupled with seeing things even I missed over the years because it was just "typical mom". I literally can't continue this. She is beyond help. Because she is just fine don't ya know and her life is great too don't ya know because of her "magic pills".

Just fine. Well let's see. Zero family contact for over a dozen years. Zero friends. Not one. Her phone is a useless waste of money. Other than my frequent (and soon to stop) calls, only my difficult child bro contacts her. They had lived a few doors apart. Even being a difficult child in his own ways, he knew it was madness. He moved last year to a city two hours away. He calls and does infrequent and super short visits. Even those get it short because it is impossible to stay sane near her. She brings out the worst in both my bro and me. Triggers us in no time flat.

She resides in subsidized housing however is constantly behind in her super low cost housing. This is a nicer rental than we have at crazy market rent. She is out of options if evicted. She claims "the lord will provide". She has become so self absorbed and entitled. Resents anything that anybody has and wants everyone he is meant to love to struggle along with her. Anything more, she rants and raves and rages and lashes out. It is exhausting and hurtful to hear rage because her adult children and grands have basics like healthy food, clothing, god forbid luxuries. You should here rant about our wedding and how terrible I am to spend on a destination wedding for a group when my own mother can't eat or smoke or pay bills or buy new things. While she gets wnough to do basics like bills and food, I admit she has no money for luxury. But in her magical thinking, life is so unfair so she is entitled to do what she wants with her income and her children should fix her messes. Pay her rent. Buy her food and cigs and clothing and support her pets. She spends crazy. Doesn't sleep for days before she is paid. Spends on a good month maybe $100 on food. Buys a week of cigs. Then buys used junk she calls her "bargains". Thrift store garbage. Ugly broken lamps that "you'd die to have they ate gorgeous". Horrible wrecked garbage paintings. Her current thing is sea shells. She hunts them down at yard sales and when the person says offer a reasonable price (read $1 or $2) she will offer $20. A large one she recently handed over $50. Can't blame to people for taking it. Although I could never if I had someone offer that. She never had money within 48 hours of being paid her disability.

She has had free dental coverage for 30 years. She has had declining teeth from zero dentistry for many years. Probably 20 years since she used the dental coverage. It caught up huge the 20 months that we had no contact. Her teeth are now rotted pegs and that she is in pain is apparent. She can't chew properly. It's frankly disgusting to see inflamed gums and stick teeth black with rot. She needs them pulled. And she has coverage for dentures. It is to dangerous levels of infection. You smell her breath on entering a room. I gave up after two attempts to get her to dentist where I offered to go with her, offered to prepare soft foods and keep care of her post op to pull them. Offered to provide the denture cleaning products when she was fitted etc. she looked at me like I was off my rocker and claimed I was nuts to want her to pull out all of her beautiful teeth just because she is aging when she's a fortunate one who can be proud of her self maintenance all of these years. Magical thinking.

The second call to her post pcs birthday dinner began immediate return to her entitlement. Asking for money for bills. For groceries. Smokes. She paid her last $50 to a male neighbor to cart out her living room furniture. She spent a few days sitting on the floor in pain from her sciatic nerves before raging at me because I didn't stick to the plan and take her out to a nice shop to buy her a new living room. Huh??? Two days later, since I hadn't called, she paid someone to drive her across th city to my house. She had no money to pay the driver the insane amount she offered ($100 to cross town). She demanded we go shopping for furniture and that I stop neglecting my responsibility to her as my creator and that if I didn't "the lord would smite me". I refused and ushered her quickly I the persons car. She was raging. I ignored. I told the driver it is obvious she is mentally ill and it is hateful to allow an offer of $100 to taxi her across our town. I gave him $10 for gas cost and sent them both packing. She took her entire next pay and bought a trashed used sofa at a yard sale and paid them her entire month income and told me what a bargain she struck. I'd be at that persons door if I had a clue who took advantage like that. Meanwhile she again faces eviction. I caved last week and sent her a delivery of about $200 in food. She called me a Ungrateful and selfish B. because I reused to pay her rent and bills. Didn't sen cigs. And sent her no cash for "spending money" when I was leaving the next day for a weekend away to pick up my Matt in the city for our first visit in 18 months since he moved across the country. Raged at how I had paid Matt's pricey plane ticket, was taking easy child along for back to school shopping, staying in a nice hotel and dining out and sight seeing. While neglecting her and only sending stupid useless beeping food. I hung up. And cried for two hours. She is beyond reach.

Matt went to see her yesterday. He felt bad he had not even gone to say goodbye when he moved west to other end of country. I prepared him but even still he was stunned at her decline. It was horrible for him. He lasted twenty minutes. She waltzed around her townhouse showing off her treasures and telling him what she will give Gina's inheritance. Walmart lamps from yard sales with broken shades and chips. Broken chairs she will one day refinish. And her prized collection of religious items (dollar store signs and figurines). She then hit him up for cash for food. The $200 worth of groceries I sent a week ago? She traded for a ratty quilt for a bed. When I moved here two months ago I had a delivery company bring her boxes of items in near new condition. Drapes and matching bed sets (quilt, sheets, pillows and cases, skirt and extra sheet sets). Good quality things. She traded them for shells and a carton of cogs. She hit him up for smokes. He did go buy her one pack and brought them. She screamed at him because he said he was going to get her some so she assumed a carton. He said he don't have $90 for a carton. She yelled BS because you work. He got upset and said and i pay a mortgage grandma. And have bills and a car payment an insurance and a spouse and have to live too. She screamed how he had all of that yet lets his grandma starve and he was going to he$@ and in and on. He was crying by then. Not at her words but at her decline. His best friend was with him and whispered we should just go Matt. He hugged her, kissed her cheek and told her "goodbye grandma" and left. E was a mess when his fried dropped him home. He said that for him that goodbye and kiss and hug was his farewell. He said his grandma isn't there anymore and he won't, can't, ever do that again. He was devastated. He always was close to her growing up and was the one person who looked past her behaviors and just loved her and coped well. It was a mistake for him to go. He would prefer to haut remember the better times.

So I told myself, self! Get back off the ride because you're sinking back to her world and remember how healthy you felt completely detached. I promised myself I wouldn't contact her again. I debated sending a letter explaining or calling to tell her. Then realized how pointless that is.

Some family asked me last night if Matt stopped to visit her. I had called around because I am to host a family thing here today for everyone to see Matt. E leaves tomorrow. I explained in a short summary what happened and that I too was done again with her. The same people who haven't laid eyes on nor spoken to her for a dozen years? Went off all righteous because with difficult child bro living two hours away, I am the only person left in town to monitor her. To hospitalize her again if needed etc. what?!?!?!?! I started being that person at age 15. Fighting for hospitalization against her will. They gave up 12 years ago but I'm a terrible daughter and heartless to walk away to save my sanity when nothing will change anyhow? I do not understand the double standard. And boy I am still hurt today. These same people expect me to clean up today (we have slacked all week with Matt's visit so short we figured I'll clean after he goes and just spend our time together). Expect me to shop, cook for them and host them, then clean after them. And share my final day with my Matt with them.

The kids said to wake them at 7:30 to let them clean while I shopped and cooked. Well it's 9:15 am and I am typing here, having my third coffee. They are sleeping. I figure let them sleep. They will be rested and we can stay up late to have as much time as possible before he leaves tomorrow.

I am calling the family and telling them I am not up to playing host. If any d them would like to shop and cook and host us, we can pop by for a couple of hours. Or we can select a family restaurant and meet there for a few hours, Dutch. I'll pay for me and the kids and they can pay their own. Otherwise I am open to other suggestions however I am claiming just not up to hosting and the work when it will take time from Matt. Secretly I hope they get mad and refuse to make a plan. Matt won't care. He is beyond detached from them and was annoyed they had invited themselves. He intended to stop in for a quick tea or coffee at their homes today. Home within a couple of hours and obligations done with.

What is wrong with people who practice detachment themselves buy act as though others are cold? As if I would choose or wish this lack of living on my own mother. As if I have any power whatsoever to influence a mid 60's unstable woman with magical thinking who refuses to believe she is so unwell? As if I would opt to have no mother , no grandmother for my kids? As if it feels to good to picture her alone, starving, facing eviction, no fronds or family and no hope? As if the pain to get to this detached place has been a enjoyable journey for nearly forty years?

People can really Hoover. I expect my mothers issues. I expect better from others. Fool that I am, for allowing myself to expect anything.

If you read this, Wowsers you've got time on your hands to read my self indulgent purge. But thank you. I suppose I need to learn a level of detachment for these other people as well. I truly wish I could fib, claim Matt is sick and in bed and just back out of any contact today.

I may have said it but people can Hoover.


Active Member
Please excuse the typos. Typed out on my cell phone and autocorrect can be so stupid that I realize after posting that some things come out silly. One word autocorrected to Gina. Huh? I'd fix them all but am too frustrated. Just so you all know I wasn't nipping into a bottle before typing :).


Well-Known Member
MM, sending you many hugs.

What a draining, heartbreaking experience this all must be. I think you're wise to return to a state of detachment. It's healthiest for you and your family.
As for the others, they're not really detached, they're just uninvolved. If they truly were lovingly detached, they would see that your plan of no contact is the best for everyone. They don't want to get involved, but they want to assuage their own guilt by making sure that you stay involved -- that way "someone" is doing something about it and they don't have to feel uncomfortable that they're not doing enough.

And good for you for not being up to hosting. I think that's the right call as well.

Now, on an unrelated note, are you going to be passing through my town again when Matt heads back? With a bit of time to plan, maybe we can swing that get-together after all. Sorry that last weekend didn't work out. Let me know if it's workable.



Shooting from the Hip
:hugs: oh, sweetie.

The heck with all those family members. Matt and easy child are the important ones. If the others don't like, TBSS and they can go see your mother.

As for her... You are right to detach again... And I can guarantee easy child sees it now.

more :hugs:


Active Member
Thanks gals. It was the one gloomy part of what has been a great visit.

I have one last family member not answering their phone. Otherwise the rest of us have decided to go to a restaurant and have lunch and a visit there. We can also this way control timing to not have company longer into the evening. We plan to then come home, get our Jammie's on, Matt asked for roast beef dinner with the works for his last dinner and we are going to all cook together to not miss visit time. Stay up late movie watching.

Trinity, I had planned to take Matt to the airport. His best friend however is getting married soon and so he's going tomorrow ahead of his Sunday flight. They will do a early bachelor night so Matt can be included. He will fly back to be best man in a few months.

Next weekend I am taking easy child to Canada's wonderland. If I can swing the time to detour a bit, we could maybe meet somewhere close to your end of the city for a visit?? I'll message you this coming week and hopefully ER can find a workable plan. I'd love to spend a few hours. I was disappointed I wasn't able to factor it in the few days I was in the city last weekend. Crossing fingers.

Step, easy child does get it. Thank goodness. I'm grateful I won't be the cause of taking from her something she sees as a important relationship. She realizes and accepts, sadly, her grandmother can't be a grandmother.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

Sweetie, your mom qualifies as a danger to herself handing out money that way to strangers and being that deluded, doesn't she? Perhaps one more hospital stay is in order? Maybe at the very least they can wean her off that d#mn "magic pill" and onto some real bipolar medications. Slim chance they might keep her long enough for her to feel better and then continue to take them.

Or seriously? I'd consider a nursing home. It's awful but it's about the only long term care available and well honestly your mom has obviously reached the point where she is unable to care for herself due to her mental state. That would at least give her a secure and healthy living environment, and no doubt they'd switch her medications to what they should be because no way in hades will staff deal with that. Sadly, though, this is why so many of the mentally ill wind up in nursing homes, there are no more long term facilities available. :(

Detachment isn't being "cold" it's accepting what you can't change. And letting someone elses mental illness destroy you doesn't "help" them at all.



Well-Known Member
MM, Lisa expressed what I was trying to say about detachment perfectly.

And yes, lets try for next weekend. I can work my way to the north part of the city and we can find somewhere that works for both of us. That would be great!


Well-Known Member
In reading your post I couldn't help but think about how many tears and traumas have been part of your life on the road to where you are right now. The journey would have broken many people but you and your brother not only survived but gained strength of character. You found positive role models and molded yourselves into easy child adults.

I admire your tenacity, your caring and your perseverance. You deserve and have earned a future of joy. DDD


Well-Known Member
What a tragic life your mother has created for herself. I am so sorry ! And also sorry that your extended family is not more understanding.

I TOTALLY agree with-you on all points. You can't spell it out any more clearly. There is nothing you can do. Your mother has chosen again and again to do foolish and dangerous things and enraged those around her who have tried to help. Perhaps someday if she does end up on the street, once she gets picked up, she'll get a court-ordered hospital stay.

In the meantime, you have earned a destination wedding or a castle or a lifetime of massages or whatever you want or can do for yourself. Where are these people who say that YOU should be doing the work? Why aren't THEY doing something? You're being way too nice about it.

I think it's a great idea that you are going out instead of having people over.

Many hugs.


Fly away!
I think the family members who have reacted so poorly, have reacted that way because having someone else (you) take care of your mother takes away any feelings of guilt they might have over not wanting or being able to do it.

Is there a way to get a social worker involved who can take over your handling your mother's monthly expenses. In the states, there are such services for those who are disabled and can't handle those types of responsibilities.


Well-Known Member
So much of what you say about your mother rings true for husband's mother. Your mom seems less paranoid, though, so at least she has that. (Not much.) I'm sorry that you got snookered into lunch with her. I'm sure that easy child meant well.

I went through the same with my mom about 6 - 7 years ago - making contact because L had guilted me into it. It was beneficial in that I can look back and know with absolute certainty that cutting contact was the right thing to do. Of course, it made me feel bad at the time, and I wish I had not subjected myself to such a difficult lesson - I did not need a remedial course. But a lesson learned is never wasted. I hope that Matt and easy child are learning as well.

husband's mom is "hosting" M and his girlfriend at this point. She is also without teeth. It took M months to figure out why she wouldn't eat good food. We told him to make an appointment for her at the Dental School and make sure that she gets there. (This is what husband did for her in the day. He paid her bills in PDX from NJ when he was in college, among other things.) She's to the point that she needs to have them all pulled. She can't chew anything. But in your case, none of you are sleeping in your mother's house, so none of you owe that to her.

That's the difference between what my M is doing and what you and your family is doing. M owes his grandma for the roof over his head - I'm humiliated that he's there, from afar. None of you owe your mother a thing. Where she is at is a sad thing, and there but for the grace of God go I. I hope that when I am old and should I ever be alone that I will not isolate myself as your mother has. Her isolation is hers. She must own it.


Well-Known Member
I understand. I had a small measure of relief when my mother died from lung cancer a few years back. That sounds cold, I know, but it was a better way to die than finding her murdered while living under a bridge. And her lifestyle and choices put her in harm's way so often...


Well-Known Member
I agree with the others, she created her own reality. If people don't talk to her....she created that as well, don't feel bad.


Well-Known Member
I was wondering if she is getting dementia. Which "magic pill" does she think is helping her and why would she keep being prescribed this pill if it isn't helping her? sometimes doctors scare me!!! Even when it comes to adults, so often they throw anything at the client just to shut them up!

Hugs to you!!!


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Staff member
I'm sorry your family members throw their judgments at you, I agree with another poster, that it's their own judgments about themselves and their lack of support for your mother that gets twisted into blame. I'm glad you managed the day so well so it served you and YOUR immediate family, that was a smart move. You've done quite a remarkable job in moving beyond your mother's mental illness and into your own life, you deserve to have a life free of the long reaching arm of mental issues and find your own happiness.

I understand all of what you are saying from so many different angles, it was painful to read it. My daughter will end up like your mother if she doesn't make changes in her life now, she has many of the same traits and, as we know, the illness is progressive. I took my granddaughter out of a very unhealthy environment living with my daughter and thankfully, she won't be writing your post someday. My father lived on the periphery of your mothers world, never quite falling off the cliff but exhibiting similar creepy behaviors which were so difficult to deal with as a child. Now my sister and brother live in that world, but gratefully, they have no kids. Sometimes it feels as if my granddaughter and I are the sole survivors of the sinking ship called mental illness.

I have much empathy and compassion for you and what it takes to live among those lost and disturbed family members and escape that reality yourself. You've done everything you can do for your mother, as I have for my daughter, and now it's time for you to go have your life and leave her in G-d's hands. Those judgmental relatives don't get it, but we do. Gentle hugs coming to you, and lots of warm wishes for a lovely, engaging time with your son and your family.


Active Member
If you call SSI and let them know that she is giving away all her money, you may be able to get them to appoint an institutional rep payee. At least that would ensure her rent is paid each month.


Well-Known Member
Good ideas about Social Svcs and Soc Security and finances. Hadn't thought of that. That would also keep the family out of it.