Stuff on the Wall

I hadn’t heard anything from Mom or Dad through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  So I was surprised when I got a call from Dad’s cell just as I was going into the HVAC store to pick up a contactor for my heat pump.

It was from Dad’s cell, but it was Mom.  She seemed ‘cold normal’, and just wanted to let me know that she had been cleaning.  There were some of my old things at the house, and if I wanted them they would be sitting on the wall by the stairs out front.  I said OK, and she hung up.  That was it.  Now, don’t think there wasn’t a tone and inflection in her voice that blamed me for *whatever*, and that she was being more gracious than I deserved by not just throwing stuff away, because it was there, just more muted than I’ve become accustomed to.

I was busy all afternoon and it was around 8:00 when I finally went over.

Sure enough, there was a pile of stuff sitting on the wall.  All the lights in the house were on, and only Mom’s car was there.  I collected most of it, leaving obvious trash and random things like a blanket and canary cage, and left.

On the drive home, I considered what all this meant.  Mom was there alone, and Dad was elsewhere.  Mom had taken Dad’s cell phone when she left, possibly to get me to answer or maybe just so he wouldn’t have it.  As controlled as she was on the phone, I don’t think that is her current state.  She has a tendency to ‘putter/clean’, where everything gets taken out and stacked on any/all horizontal surfaces.  The stuff that she had left out for me was from several different areas of the house.  Either those items were specifically selected to have some emotionally damaging impact on me, or she is ‘cleaning’ everywhere.  Both are possible, and equally likely.

When I got home, we sorted through the stuff.  Quite a few old shirts of mine, none of which fit since I was 15, a 2010 calendar for my boys that she ‘had been saving all year’ (according to the note written on it), some books, a few random pictures from Dad’s retirement, a helicopter music box that I bought in 8th grade, and a dart board cabinet I made in wood shop.

I haven’t heard from her today.  Honestly, I think I was expecting a call to let me know the importance of the things that I didn’t take.

To give you an idea of just how well we are doing without her, the holidays were a pleasant family time.  Very low stress and enjoyed by all.  ‘Family’ doesn’t seem to include Mom any more.

~ by namegoeshere on January 17, 2011.

20 Responses to “Stuff on the Wall”

  1. This Christmas was the first year I put my foot down. We did not see my mother or allow her to visit. It was so peaceful and pleasant. No anxiety. You do not know what you are missing until it happens. I think every Christmas from now on is going to be this way.

    Good luck to you. I know from personal experience it is not any eaay thing.

  2. In the last 9 months(today is exactly to the date 9 months) since I had to cut my bipolar mother out of my life was the first Christmas that was enjoyable and no stress and no problems. It is hard to cut your parents out of your life but when you have a bipolar mother and all our lives they have created so much stress and problems for us, it is the best choice and your own mind body and health half to come first! It is nice to read others stories that are out there to that understand my situation and know where I am coming from. My mother tried calling me twice over Christmas once to leave a message trying to be nice saying that when I realise that they love me my birthday gifts and Christmas Gifts will be there at their house. My hubby said why is it when you realise, your mother needs to realise shes is the one that has caused the problems. And the other call was cause she was going through a problem and tried to use it to make me feel bad and try to suck me back into her life. Over these past 9 months I havent had the stress I had all my life, and I feel alot better, and am more happier.

  3. I’m glad that you and your family had a good Christmas. It’s a shame that she won’t/can’t see the light.
    I got on new meds, ate a lot of humble pie, and now I’m like any other human being. People don’t have to remove themselves from me to protect themselves. I hope for her sake she will get the help she needs. Where she is at is a lonely place to be. I was there for 2 decades and I’d rather die than go back to that place.

    • That’s great that you recognize your condition and are willing to get help for it. And I hope your family didn’t blame you for it. It’s not Mom’s fault that she’s bipolar, but it is her fault, and Dad’s too, that she refuses to get treatment. If you don’t mind my asking, what convinced you after 20+ years that you needed help?

      • Oh, I completely agree with you. Your father is an enabler and they seem to be extremely codependent on each other. I’ve been going to a psychiatrist for over 10 years – the old one had me on meds that sucked. It didn’t do much except keep me alive so I was on and off them constantly. My fiance (of 4 years) told me that either I got therapy (anger, depression, etc) or he was out because we were both miserable and I had *horrible* anger issues. I was becoming verbally abusive to him and I was physically abusing myself. It was time for a change and I loved him more than my misery. I got a brand new psychiatrist and a psychologist to work through everything. I went on a wonderdrug – Lamictal – which has worked wonders for everyone who I know that’s tried it. Now I’m going to school, volunteering, working occasionally (part time) and taking care of the house. I didn’t want to end up like my 65 year old alcoholic bipolar aunt who is so smart and had so much potential but wasted it all. It just came down to what I wanted more.

  4. God bless you all and thank you for sharing. It has been 11 years today since my mother committed suicide. I had not spoken to her for 3 years before that. My kids are 9 and 7 and I have been married for 12 years. The break with my mother was horribly hard but the last phone call I had with her, on a good day, she answered all the questions I needed to hear. I was done after that. Even with continued phone calls and mailings, I just ignored it. My life was in front of me and I did not look back. Your site is an inspiration. So many people going through the exact same thing. I just had a question for everyone…did you talk about it growing up? I never talked about it until I was in my 20s and have been wondering how I could have helped myself growing up. Now we have the web and access to information like this but how can we help the children still in these situations?

  5. ising2dlord & Jogger78:
    It’s impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t been there just how stressful holidays can be when you are trying to work around a bipolar parent. It’s like walking through a minefield, one wrong step and KABLAM! I was always on edge, and it infected my family as well. Christmas has been fun since. When people with ‘normal’ families complain about how stressful holidays are, it’s almost enough to make you laugh out loud.

  6. Thank You.

  7. I am posting this anon. Thank you for your honesty in your posts. I am trying to come to terms with a very toxic relationship with my mother. She has been diagnosed with various labels over the years including personality disorder, bipolar, and manic depression. We are at the point now where we are having to determine whether she can spend time with our children alone. The whole thing breaks my heart…but we can not condone her manipulation anymore. I read your posts and it reaffirms that I’m not alone.

  8. and sometimes “‘Family’ doesn’t seem to include Mom any more” is a very good thing. I often tell people that the best years of my life have been the last *almost* 9 yrs. that I’ve not had to see or deal with my mother and it is so nice. healthy friendships become the family that we humans seem to crave.

  9. I know exactly what you mean. I go through this all the time. The cold, disconnected phone calls from my mentally impaired parents and their screwed up ways of viewing the world.

    These people bring nothing but anxiety and problems to my life and nothing I ever do is good enough for them. I am perpetually the bad child who is selfish and over-sensitive. My family has nothing to offer me at this juncture in my life, aside from pain and aggravation. I’ve given serious thoughts to cutting them out of my life.

  10. I am new to this blog. I have recently had my father suddenly pass away. Then my grandmother has a stroke 4 weeks later. She suffered greatly and my mom had to care for her. Everyone else worked and lived out of state. Needless to say, life has been hell for everyone. We are all greiving. I miss my dad horribly. But then right after my dad’s death my mom got a bit weird. Then her dr. put her on a anti-depressant. Low and behold, she is now full blown manic. She is not formally diagnosed but it is sooooo obvious. When my grandmother died, she tried to kick me, my family and my sister out of her house. Mind you this was the day before the funeral. She had packed up and said she was “moving”. I had never seen someone in this state. The look in her eyes was just so not her. Fast forward to a couple of months later. she comes to my house and is drinking, texting 24-7 a guy half her age, spending alot, and not sleeping. Oh did I forget to mention my mom is 70? Yup. She has always been the betty crocker; now she has done a 180. But when I asked her not to drink around my daughter she went ballastic. I said the family was worried and that her behaviour has changed. when I brought up the young guy, she said they were friends, that’s it. Let’s just say, I had proof and it sickened me. I asked her not to lie and she said she wasn’t. At that point, I did yell at her and she slapped me. I told her to get out and I would not take that abusive behaviour from anyone, especially her. Next thing I know she calls my sister and tries to drag her into it but my sister didn’t bite. That pissed her off so much. She then went running to my brother. He thinks I caused it. I am sure it is easier than to admit your mom has lost it. Needless to say, I have had to set strict boundaries with her. I told her before she left when she got things straightened out, she can come back to my house. My counselor (yup, I am seeing him at least every couple of weeks) thinks she was probably cyclothia (mini-bipolar) all these years and she now is just in a full blown manic stage. It is so sad. I read this blog and don’t feel as bad to know others understand what I am going through. I just had to get all this off my chest. Good luck to everyone!

    • Its imperative that your mother gets off the antidepressant. If this strange behavior began after the drug, it is probable the craziness will cease when the med is discontinued.

      Going insane/manic after an antidepressant is not considered proof one is bipolar. These medications mess your brain chemistry up, mess your sleep stages up, one side effect is people can go crazy. It’s foolish to call someone bipolar when they take an antidepressant and go crazy. Especially if they are 70 years old and have no prior mood disorder hx (it is silly your therapist is diagnosing cyclothymia without even interviewing her… cyclothymia is so mild it can easily be confused with normal mood swings).

      Take your mom to an ER, call her psychiatrist. Do something. Is her psychiatrist or doctor even following up? If she is full blown manic, how can he keep filling that prescription? This is insane. If you take her to an ER, and she is manic, they will give her tranquilizers which will stop it.

      If my mother went manic, I would bring her ass to an ER asap.

      Next time she becomes physically combative, call the police. Tell the police about her psychiatric problem. If your mother is truly manic, she will be unable to control herself around the cops (screaming/aggression) and they will drag her down to the ER themselves.

      Either way it is imperative you get her under control.

      I am 28. I have a 26 y/o crazy sister. She is diagnosed bipolar but it’s a doubtful diagnosis… shes (expletive deleted) crazy though. I no longer live at home or contact with her much, but back in the days when I did, I used to deal with her like I would a crazy person or a patient. If she started going nuts and losing control, breaking things and attacking people, I would merely call the police. The police would come, force her to take meds, or threaten to drag her ass to the ER. It’s really that simple people. You can always call the police. That’s what they’re here for… the police are here to help normal people who are being attacked by crazy people.

      I don’t understand how someone can tolerate abuse from a crazy person. I do understand that ultimately you cannot make crazy people sane, and crazy people need to accept treatment… but assuming that they refuse it and want to stay crazy and abusive, then it is your responsibility to keep them under control, as you are the sane party. It’s like if you had a bad dog that was barking all night and pooing on the floor… you’re ultimately the one in control.

      I know very well how it is with crazy people, and ultimately I no longer deal with my sister. For many months I didn’t even tell her where I lived because she is so crazy she might come int he middle of the night screaming or banging down the door or something. HOWEVER, when she is going nuts, I do call the cops to protect my parents. When she starts stealing credit cards and buying stupid (expletive deleted), I get it handled.

      It is an illusion that you have no control here… the police can and will get your mom fixed up at the ER.

      • It really is just that simple, isn’t it. Take her to the ER, or call the cops.

        As one who’s been there, it is never that simple. The ER *might* take her, and the cops *might* take her, but ONLY if she meets the criteria of being a danger to herself or others. That’s a pretty tall hurdle (as it should be), and anything short of it and you’re on your own.

        And remember, if she’s NOT bad off enough to force her to get help, trying to force her will be assault on YOUR part.

        Your comment almost got removed, but I think it’s important that people see the kind of *enlightened* stupidity we all deal with on a daily basis.

  11. Well, if she is slapping people and combative as described above, the cops definitely will take her to an ER. It’s not a question. I have been through this with my sister before to know that once the crazy person starts being combative, the cops will take her to either jail or an ER, and which one she goes to depends on whether or not you disclose her mental health history.

    If someone is full blown manic, it is impossible to hide it. Manic people scream and yell and look flipped out of their skulls. They are also sometimes floridly psychotic.
    The cops will definitely take her if manic. Hypomania is different and one may disguise their insanity, as a hypomanic person still has control over themselves, just less control than usual.

    I’m sorry if you found my post offensive. I didn’t mean to be offensive. I was merely trying to convey that you all have more power than you realize. I spent a long time living with crazy abusive psychos, and it makes you feel very powerless. You have power. I was merely trying to convery the message you are not a victim, we have systems in place to protect people from insanity. Craziness is not something to tolerate. It is something to be treated. It is inexcusable for someone to hit you, to go on a screaming rampage, to trash a room. I had to grow up and didn’t learn that lesson until after I was 25 years old. Anyone who behaves that way either needs to get off the narcotics/alcohol, or they need to get on the lithium/risperdal, or both. I do not deal with my sister any longer but if she does act that way around me I make it very clear the police will be called. I also make it very clear if she tries to steal anything of mine, I will refer her to the authorities without hesitation.

    Limits and consequences are the kryptonite of crazy people.

    • As I work in the legal field (with a disability law attorney) and my sister is a therapist, we both understand that my mom is a bit out of control but can somewhat function but has “those” moments. This is the first time it has happened (and oh yes, she is off the meds…). But, I know with God’s love and grace we can get through anything. You can still set boundaries in a loving way but don’t have to be part of the drama. I will be there for my mom but that doesn’t mean I have to be manipulated anymore. I am sorry that you have gone thru what you have with your sister. I truly hate it for you. You will be in my thoughts.

    • Here’s a recent article by a former cop. Ignoring the causes and conclusions, his experience matches quite well to what I’ve observed.

      I’ve talked with lawyers, social services, shrinks, & pastors. The response is typically ‘sorry, but it’s not bad enough to do anything about yet’. The ONLY time an authority will step in is over physical violence, and then only until the immediate threat has passed.

      The time Mom was committed, it was only because she had become physically violent, and ended well before it could have done any good. She came out blaming everyone else for betraying her, denying that SHE had a problem, etc. The only difference was that she had been brought back from the point of physical violence.

      • Well, my mom is able to take care of her basic life needs and is not harming herself. I hate to say this but it reminds me of the garden hose flipping around in the yard. Right now, I am still dealing with my grief from my dad and granny’s deaths. It’s been alot to process and so I can’t and won’t put up with her drama and rollercoaster moods. I got enough on my plate than to allow someone to make me feel like crap all the time. So, until I am ready to “deal” with her again, I have decided to not talk to her for awhile. My life, honestly, is so peaceful. That’s kind of sad, huh?

  12. It is so easy to say ” cut her out of your life” but it isnt easy to do. What do you do when you are an only child and she doesnt have anybody? When you show her blogs like these and articles relating to bipolar, she says those people are not on the right meds and she is. How do you explain to your mother that even though she is on a lot of meds, she isnt acting normal, she abuses everyone around her verbally? Please someone tell me what to do? I am in angry moods for days because of her, and it affects my kids and husband, but I am all she has!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • If you are the only person SHE has left, then you should be treated that way. She raised her family, and her interference is keeping you from doing the same.

      IF she is taking her meds & seeing her shrink, I don’t know what to tell you. Mom never made the effort at all. You may have to talk with her shrink & see if there is any way to better control her behavior.

      Regardless, what you have to do is set concrete boundaries. Tell her what you expect of her (take meds, see shrink, no verbal abuse, etc.), and exactly what the consequences will be if she doesn’t. Then you have to follow through. It’s like training a pet or child. If you don’t follow through, it will take twice as long the next time. Although children & pets eventually ‘get it’, your mother may not because her reality doesn’t line up with what everyone else experiences.

      And your last statement is quite interesting… ‘I am all she has’ – which means you are putting her wants & needs in front of your own and those of your family. The way you need to start thinking about it is that you may be all she has, but she isn’t all you have.

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