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How to live with a mentally ill mother?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 01/15/2019 at 6:24pm
How to live with a mentally ill mother?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Andrea Tuck, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I tackle and discuss a multitude of social and emotional health issues. I have a belief that through empowerment and non-judgmental support clients' can thrive.

Top Rated Answers
November 26th, 2014 6:03am
This is a perfect question for me because my mom suffered from paranoid schizophrenia my entire life. Honestly, it took me until I was over 18 to find the right way to live with her. My entire life I resented her for not being like all the other moms, I was constantly embarrassed and hated her. What I really recommend, is therapy because its not something anyone can really live with without another form of guidance, because you're missing a mom and your dad is dealing with the stress of a mental illness of a spouse. In therapy I learned what its like from her point of view (which was the opposite of what I thought) and skills to be patient and that I myself am not crazy.
June 3rd, 2017 10:23pm
I struggled a good part of my life being an only child with a schizophrenic mother and a father with narcissistic personality disorder. I believe he was a large reason my mother broke down so badly. I put up with a lot of verbal andv physical abuse from my mother. My father was very neglectful when I was a child. Today I don't feel like being around my mother. I don't miss her and that's how I truly feel. I don't miss my dad's narcissism because it's toxic to me. I don't try to live up to what others think I should be doing. It's my turn to finally have a life free from abusive sick people. I have been in psychiatric therapy for 6 years and this is how I feel.
December 28th, 2014 2:18pm
That is a really tough situation to be in. I think it depends a lot on what kind of mental illness your mother has, and how severe it is. However, in any case, it is important to realize that mental illness is an illness as any other and to treat it accordingly. There might be times when you are hurt or treated unfairly by your mother and it might crucial to remember that most likely it had nothing to do with you, but it might your mother's illness taking over. I'd say that patience and tolerance are important, as well as self-care.
June 17th, 2015 1:08pm
The question here is if you are the only child and there is nobody else to support her. If so, you need to find other people to support you and her. Supporting her means helping her when there is help needed and making her stand on her own feet when she would rather not work on herself. Which means: Don´t try to be overly responsible. Think about YOUR mental health also. You still need to be able to have a life, pursue your dreams, be active in your freetime and meet up with friends.
November 23rd, 2017 4:43pm
Reading this thread has me heartbroken. My mom starting acting strange about 6 years ago. She would talk about aliens and the new testament and have all these conspiracies. The she’d blame my dad for moving her out of a place that she actually complained about for many years. She has called me and alien and robot. Earlier this year for a couple months things were “normal” she was quite overbearing but I didn’t mind because she wasn’t having any paranoid episodes. Now that I’m off to college she’s gotten worse, she’s basically mute, hardly uttering more than a sentence when I ask her questions, she sleeps in another room from my dad, a month ago she took a hammer to his car windshield (no severe damage actually just some cracks but still just the action in general is scary) and she seems to be smoking cigarettes. I don’t know what to do, my dad is over it and just lets her do whatever, I’m worried for my little brother’s safety. I don’t know how to get her to the hospital/doctor for treatment for either her mental illness or the smoking (she is always coughing).
November 28th, 2014 8:33am
give her all the love you have, watch TV with her, feed her, take her to the park, just spend as much time as you can with her because you only have one mother don't give up on her
August 25th, 2015 1:06am
That's up to you... Some people grow apart. Others grow together and support each other through the difficult times. It's up to you to choose what is best.
December 9th, 2014 12:39pm
Please look after her as if she is your child who wants your care . Dont get irritated or frustrated with her deeds. Be patient in her matter and deal with extreme care.
August 2nd, 2016 7:44pm
It won't be easy, but the first step is understanding what she has been diagnosed with. My mother was diagnosed with major depression and her way of coping was by being an enraging alcoholic. It wasn't easy for me to deal with her episodes, they took a toll on me, and lead me to resent her at a point in my life. Eventually, with the help of counselors, I realized that I could not feel this way about something that she herself is battling with. I educated myself on what my mother was dealing with and whenever I felt overwhelmed I stepped away from the situation. There were times I had to remind myself that sometimes her actions are not intentional. Later, I tried to encourage her to do the things that she loved by assisting her and not pushing her so hard. I had to realize that it was not my responsibility to make sure she gets better. However, It was important that I played a role in the process. RECAP 1. Educate yourself on the diagnoses 2. Search for a support system for yourself 3. Play a role in helping your mother improve her cognitive abilities but do not strain yourself if you do not see progress as soon as you hope.(Somethings need to be left to the professionals)
December 30th, 2014 10:18pm
I have lived with a mentally ill mother for several years now and it can be challenging. Learn strategies to deal with the bad days and learn to embrace the good days.
April 16th, 2015 4:55pm
Depending on the mental illness, sometimes you can't. People need to want to change or even accept that they have a mental illness. If they're not going to the doctors and you think they should, let them know about your concerns and tell them that you're worried about them. Sometimes, mentally ill people don't realise what they're doing or how their actions could be affecting those around them. It may help to voice your concerns to the person and state how it's making you feel but let them know that you'll always be there for them.
April 19th, 2015 6:23pm
You support her the best you can. Try your best to keep her calm. If you get frustrated or upset, always keep in mind that it is the mental disorder, not your mother. Seek help if you feel that you need it.
May 31st, 2015 10:38am
TAKE CARE of them. Try to understand them. be patient in taking care of them because one way or another, she is still your mother. And the fact that she is MENTALLY-ILLED, she really needs a lot of attention and care.
November 26th, 2014 6:34am
Realize that when her behavior is not rational, you will not be able to reason with her. Try to make her feel calm. Tell others you trust about your up's and down's so they can support you.
December 6th, 2014 4:34pm
try to be patient and supportive. she did not choose to have the illness but if it is preventing her from taking care of you, you may want to tell someone.
November 26th, 2014 1:55am
Support her as much as you can and be there for her. If too tough try getting some professional help
January 5th, 2016 12:17pm
You might be too proud to ask for help; but ASK. Anyone that you may trust; family members or neighbours ask them and reach out maybe they will be willing to assist you. Also you need to humble yourself, remain calm at all times or else you will be stressed and so will your mother. Make sure you have a level of support as in someone to talk to etc.
January 15th, 2019 6:24pm
The First step is identifying she has mental issues. Then to seek professional help for both her and you. Show compassion as perhaps something may have happened that you may not understand at the time. Have strength to forgive her condition which helps your healing. Maintaining a support team to intervene when times become difficult, you can’t do it alone. I speak from experience as my mother had mental issues and passed away when I was 21. Forgiving yourself that you did all you can do will help in your future healing. We did not choose our parents but I sure have learned much from the experience.
December 24th, 2014 2:58am
Understand her. Love her. Take care of her. We all wont have parents forever. Still, we shouldnt cut our lives because of it. Live young but do it wisely
July 9th, 2018 7:31am
How to live with a mentally ill mother all depends on the illness. My mother has Bipolar Disorder. Things I had to do were make sure she took her medication, assess her mood and pay attention to changes in mood, and ensure she did not put herself or others in harm. When she would be on her low days, I would make sure that she didn't have access to anything sharp and try to find ways to boost her mood. There were times where I also had to talk to her about her spending because she would get in moods where she would overspend.