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Toxic Mother

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by hollie9, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. hollie9

    hollie9

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    My mother makes me sick. When I attempt to explain my illness to her she tells me she knows more about it than I do, that she knows many people who have gotten well from CFS. She actually knows nothing about OI, POTS, XMRV, pacing or anything. She believes supplements will cure everything. She will not listen to me, only interrupts to lecture me on the benefits of supplements and positive thinking.

    She is getting older, but has always been like this, I feel sorry for her (she is a hoarder), so I drove the hour and a half down to take her to lunch yesterday. She got all over me for saying I was sick (not a positive thought) and I took her back to her room and drove the hour and a half home.

    I am bedridden today from my energy expenditure and the disagreements and her constant telephone calls to tell me I am wrong to not listen to her solutions for my illness. I have had this for about 17 years and she has always said the same things "aren't you over that yet?".

    As an aside, my husband died 6 months ago and the grief has been overwhelming with many crossover symptoms that are CFS like. My mother does not care about that either.

    I don't know what to do. Do I cut her off for being toxic? Already I have never given her my true phone number, she calls in on another line which I can ignore. I feel so sorry for her, I am her only child, she has no other relatives or friends. Can anyone else relate to this?

    Hollie
     
  2. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    i can relate to the toxic, hoarder mother....who drains you when you don't have the energy to give. i too, am now an only child, my younger sister died many years ago. so i feel guilty not wanting to have any contact w/my mother...but i now know i can't. i am too sick. she drains precious energy from me. when i was well i could give that energy up, now i cannot.

    i also have a child, her only grandchild, so that adds another layer of guilt...but once again i made the tough decision: i am too sick to deal with her. maybe if i get a bit better someday i will re-establish a limited relationship with her.....but now she is like gluten/wheat/alchohol/too much sugar/etc....she makes me sicker, so i can't have contact with her.

    you are not alone. i am not saying my answer is the right answer for you....but just shared it so you know you are not alone.

    i hope you too get well soon...then maybe you'll have more energy to give and it won't be such a burden.

    i am also very sorry that you lost your husband. i hope with time your sadness will diminish, it never goes away, but i know from the loss of my sister, it becomes easier to bear.

    best of luck
    take good care
    sheba
     
  3. hollie9

    hollie9

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    Thanks Sheba, it's so rare to find people with CFS who have hoarder mothers...or is it? Maybe it's the cause?

    I have had many a therapist tell me not to be in contact with her, and that was when I was well and before she was a true hoarder. But it's just so darn sad to see her aging away in a room where she can't sleep for all the junk.

    The guilt is a killer. My husband was a great buffer between my mother and I, now it is just me.
     
  4. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    Just throwing it in, but my relationship with my mother improved drastically since were both gluten free.
    From your story it sounds like your mum is not in a good place. Sad she can't do better.
     
  5. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Hoarding is caused by or a form of OCD. If she truly has OCD, which it sounds like she does, she can't help her behavior any more than you can help having CFS. The best thing you could probably do for her is to see if she would be willing to try medication to see if it would help. OCD is strongly tied to the action of serotonin, and the SSRIs and one of the TCAs called clomipramine are often shown to treat it at least somewhat if not fairly successfully. It's also highly likely that a lot of her other behavior that you are finding problematic is related to this neurochemical profile, and that with the correct treatment of the OCD the other "toxic" behaviors would also improve.

    Normally I wouldn't recommend just jumping to mainstream medicine as a first course of action, but given her advancing age (I assume), the benefits of the typical OCD drugs if she could find one that worked for her would probably far outweigh the downsides, and could give her (and you) at least a little better quality of life.

    I realize when people start threads like these they usually aren't actually asking for help or advice but are just wanting to vent, but with a situation like this that stands a good chance of improving, maybe even significantly, with easy to obtain and often relatively benign medications (SSRIs, or even clomipramine), I didn't want to let it go without saying anything. Trying to get her some medical help (i.e., a psychiatrist, although a primary care doc or internist would probably be willing to initiate treatment) and the appropriate medication probably would be the best course of action here, imho. Best wishes.
     
  6. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    hi hollie:

    my husband is the buffer between me and my mother too. he still has so much room for forgiveness toward her and feels sorry for her. I on the other hand have spent my whole life living with this crazy woman, who has caused me a great deal of pain.

    Because she is my mother i have always forgiven her...because i know she too is ill.....but when i became ill and was the mother of a toddler i just did not have it in me anymore. i did continue to try for awhile for the sake of her relationship w/my son.....but even now when i talk with her on the phone for just 5 mins or so, it makes me feel worse.

    interestingly with the potential causality between xmrv and so many diseases, i am going to suggest she be tested once everything has worked itself out in the science medical world. maybe her actions and mental illness all these years is due to xmrv and she can be treated for that and become a somewhat normal person.

    my mom has been on ssri's and other drugs for mental probs for years....nothing has really helped her.

    the xmrv may have manifested itself differently in my mother and me.....my maternal aunt is also sick w/bechet's and myelofibrosis which could also be tied to xmrv. they are not ones to be on the tip of the spear in terms of medicine, so i'll wait until the dust has settlled before gently pushing them to get tested.

    i am positive and severely ill w/me/cfs.

    take care hollie
     
  7. hollie9

    hollie9

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    Thanks Mr. Kite, I do know there is something terribly wrong with her from reading and watching the hoarder shows on TV. Unfortunately she will not see a doctor for anything, choosing to rely on supplements rather than believing in doctors. She thinks medical doctors are in a conspiracy to mislead the public. So she won't see anyone for her hoarding behavior, she refers to it as "collecting".

    But you are so right that she can't help her OCD hoarding and related behaviors any more than I can help having CFS. So I guess that means it's hopeless to believe it can ever be a good relationship. And I should just accept that. I thought I had accepted that, but I just feel so guilty and sad that she lives like she does, and was hoping to shed a little light on her life. But she drains my energy so much she causes me to relapse. So I should just give up and never contact her until the day someone calls to tell me she died.

    Thanks
     
  8. hollie9

    hollie9

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    Interesting Sheba

    I'm surprised your Mom didn't respond to any of the OCD meds for hoarders. At least you got her to try them.

    I kind of hope you're wrong and that XMRV doesn't have anything to do with mental disorders like our Mom's. My mother is so very narcissistic, that is why she can't empathize with my condition or anyone else's.

    However on my father's side of the family there is potential XMRV activity. So many members of that family have had porphyria and either died from it or were paralyzed.

    Like you I have lived with this crazy woman all my life, she knows how to press my buttons. My husband was much more understanding and she didn't make him angry like she does me.

    I had good intentions and was also planning to be with her on Xmas since she's 87 and surely can't live too much longer, but I guess I'll just try to take care of myself instead.

    Hollie
     
  9. river

    river

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    Part of the problem is that CFS is an idiotic name and now people who are genuinely tired because of overdoing (but that recover quickly with some extra sleep and don't have all the cognitive and physiological symptoms associated with CFS) claim they have CFS too. People also are starting to joke (I've understood why serious things become pop-culture jokes to feed a society of shallowness, I've always thought it's extremely stupid... thing like rapists, AIDS, child abuse, tsunami and so on being used for jokes or shallow remarks or insults) about how they might have CFS too because they're always tired and this is what usually dispassionate and lazy people suffer from, they're tired because their life is boring. I would never joke on how I probably have diabetes because I can't say no to the third slice of cake, in front of someone who is going to have his leg cut because of his out of control diabetes.

    I often hear people saying that they know lot of people with CFS or they have seen on TV about that famous actress or singer who has CFS too. Nonsense.
    That's like claiming you have clinical depression if you're sad because your cat was hit by a cat.
     
  10. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    I have some diabetic relatives, don't see them often but perhaps I will use that if they are rude to me, LOL.

    Thanks for the chuckle: That's like claiming you have clinical depression if you're sad because your cat was hit by a cat. I think you meant car, but the visual was some pretty mean cats!
     
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    I had a toxic mother. Except her pattern was a little different. If I said I was feeling worse, she would say "Great, you are feeling better." This was her implementation of "positive thinking." And so in every conversation I felt invisible, because she never acknowledged that anything was wrong.

    What I came to realize is that her behavior stems from selfishness. All her actions were geared toward making herself feel like she was doing something positive, and with complete blindness to the fact that she was making things worse. And after I came down with CFS I simply had to stop talking to her. I felt incredibly guilty about this at first. I felt like I had to make her understand how how much pain she caused, so she would stop. But I realized she was so self-focused she could not see how much stress she caused.
     
  12. caledonia

    caledonia

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    This is eye opening. Maybe there is some connection between ME/CFS and OCD?

    My mom had ME/CFS, my dad had OCD later in life. My dad's OCD didn't include hoarding or repetitive behaviors such as handwashing. However, he did have repetitive thoughts which brought him a great deal of anxiety. Various SSRI's and diazepams were mostly helpful. He even tried the clomipramine at one point when the other stuff stopped working, but it wasn't good for him.

    The most outward thing that my dad did was to keep asking repetitive questions about the same thing over and over. You would answer a question and a few minutes later he would ask you the same thing again. If you asked him if he remembered asking the question and the answer you gave him, he would say yes. If you asked then why did you ask it again, he would say I don't know.

    So we just basically patiently answered my dad's questions over and over no matter how many times he asked. He wasn't a toxic person, he was a very sweet person, so that made it easier to deal with and not get mad at him for doing that.

    The thing to remember about OCD is that the person has a great deal of anxiety, and that's why they do the questions, hoarding etc., because it helps relieve or cope with their anxiety.

    As part of the OCD, your mom might be afraid of taking the medicine that might help her. It sounds like this is the case.

    If she's into supplements, then those that act on serotonin, like 5htp or tryptophan may be helpful. Also anything that's calming or has an anti-anxiety effect.
     
  13. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    Absolutely cut her off. I think you have to..... You don't need someone who's not supportive in your life. You need supportive people. If someone is acting like a monster, even if it's your mother, then the appropriate thing to do with a monster if to steer a long circle around it. So steer a long circle around your mother until hopefully she comes to her senses. You need peace and wellness....

    Our energy is a precious thing. I urge you not to let things in that disturb it. It's not easy to cut off one's mother but sometimes it is appropriate.. Good luck I wish you the best!
     
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    I have to strongly agree with Cort on this one. Sometimes we think we can't cut people off because their family... I believe that if it's family we're dealing with, it may be even MORE important to cut them off.

    Ironically, in doing so, I think it creates opportunities. We'll likely get more healing restfulness as we don't have to deal with constant intrusions from energy parasites. But I think it can create whole new dynamics where long-broken relationships are given a chance to reset.

    I wrote a paragraph recently about evaluating relationships in our lives that may not be working for us, putting it in the context of a spiritual challenge for ourselves. I'll paste it below if anybody has an interest.

    Best, Wayne
    ..........................................

     
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Me three. I agree with Cort and Wayne. My mother was impossible to deal with. I cut her off in 1984. When she died in 2002, I hadn't seen her for 18 years and hadn't missed her at all.

    There are some people who just are not worth the pain and exhaustion they cause. If you do a "cost/benefit analysis" it becomes very clear they need to be removed from your life... Your mother DEFINITELY sounds like she costs you too much to be around. But I think you know that already...
     
  16. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Hollie,

    It seems you're at a place now where you know you need to do something. I think one thing to keep in mind is that what your mother has been doing is not only hurting you, but hurting your mother as well. To allow people to get away with toxic behavior simply does not do them any favors.

    There are probably several different approaches a person can initiate in dealing with difficult situations like this. When I find myself in difficult relationship situations and know I need to do something, I often "try out" different approaches in my mind before actually implementing one.

    I may look at how things would feel if I broke off a relationship completely, and then be with it for a few days to get a sense for how that would feel long-term. Or I might envision a gradual receding from the relationship, making adjustments along the way, etc.

    There's generally no cookie cutter solution to situations such as yours, so a creative approach to a unique solution would probably work best. If at all possible, it would also likely be best to approach it from a position of love and/or good will, as opposed to doing something in anger or resentment. Not always easy, but when you're looking at a long-term change, it would probably result in the best outcome.

    I hope you can find a solution that works well for you and your mother. One last thought; sometimes just a firm resolution within our own minds that we're no longer going to tolerate abuse is enough to change the dynamics, without ever having to say a word. A changed attitude can often be more powerful than words.

    Best, Wayne
     
  17. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I can empathize with your dilemma. It's hard enough to cope with a toxic family member when we are well.
    Being that you are sick and the situation is aggravating your condition, your main concern should be having to take care of yourself.

    Maybe it's easier to make the decision of cutting her off, if you think of it as a temporary measure till you feel stronger and able to cope. Giving it a frame of time I think is easier because you don't have the guilt of a permanent decision.

    Good luck,

    Nielk
     
  18. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

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    Hi Hollie,

    Could you perhaps write to your mother, and say what you feel needs to be said this way? You could be as gentle or as blunt as you wish, without interruption. You could maybe suggest ground rules, such as certain behaviour would not be tolerated, and would result in you stopping contact, for a time. Or perhaps you could tell her that you are simply too exhaused at this moment in time, and you will contact her when you are feeling up to it. Whatever you feel you need to say. It might be cathartic for you, too. I hope you find a way through this difficult situation, as it must be very draining for you, and of course you must come first at this time.

    Be easy on yourself.

    Regards

    Glynis
     

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