Friday, December 8, 2023
HomeHealthTips | Ask Amy: I had to interrupt my mom. ...

Tips | Ask Amy: I had to interrupt my mom. How do I deal with guilt?

Dear Amy: My 82-year-old mother has an undiagnosed mental illness, marked by narcissism, paranoia, delusions, and abusive rages. Since my teens (I’m now 50), she has caused long periods of estrangement over perceived slights, resulting in her missing my wedding and the birth of my children. My father divorced her when I was 8 years old. And yet, she also has better periods when she can be charming and charming, and that’s why every time she called me to make up, she always did.

During the pandemic, I visited her regularly, took her to her numerous doctor appointments, and helped her with other major issues. I did this because she has no one else: literally zero friends or other family members willing to talk to her or help her.

But last year, when I didn’t call him back during the only hour I was at church for a special Mother’s Day service (oh, the irony), he left me more than half a dozen increasingly hostile voicemails. and abusive. I called her and told her we were done.

I then wrote her a long letter explaining why I was ending my relationship with her, and that the only way I could reconcile with her is if she agreed to see a psychiatrist (she has always refused any mental health consultation or treatment). Then I blocked her on my phone, so I don’t see her calls, but she can still leave voicemails.

Since then, he regularly leaves me long, rambling voicemails that are self-aggrandizing and verbally abusive. I never returned any of these calls, but hearing the messages makes me feel really bad. I’m tempted to change my phone number, but part of me feels terrible for leaving this frail, bitter, lonely, often sick old woman with no way out. My therapist says that I have fulfilled my obligation to my mother many times and that I can let her go without feeling guilty.

I really have no desire to be in a relationship with her, but the guilt and sadness remain. I appreciate your advice.

Motherless: I don’t want to second-guess your therapist (I’m not a therapist), but if humans could simply let go of traumatic or problematic family relationships without feeling guilty, then we wouldn’t need therapy, scriptures, or poetry. , the music of Joni Mitchell, or occasional sessions of simply seeking commiseration for our sadness and frustration.

I think it is vital to allow yourself to feel all your feelings and accept this very challenging situation as an almost inevitable consequence of a lifetime of being dragged around by an unstable mother who has an untreated mental illness.

Your compassion toward your mother is revealed in your narrative, so you should strive to maintain an attitude of compassion, primarily toward yourself for the decisions you have been forced to make, but also toward your mother.

Dear Amy: Recently, my husband’s high school class hosted a reunion at a classmate’s house, which was attended by about 30 people. I brought a bottle of wine and handed it to the hostess.

While chatting with some of his other classmates, I was informed that no alcohol would be served. The hosts did have water and soft drinks available.

Should I have asked for the wine back? If they don’t drink alcohol, what happened to my wine? I’m being mean, but I’m a…

Came: You’re being petty. You’re probably not wondering if you should have asked this host to take away your gift of this bottle of wine and give it back to you. You don’t know if these hosts drink alcohol. You just know that they chose not to serve alcohol for this event.

What happens next with this bottle is largely up to them. If you invite them to dinner, they may return it to you as a host’s gift.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by the Tribune Content agency.

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