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Old 01-11-2008, 10:16 PM   #1
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I have a family issue.

Hello everyone. I'm 23 and I'm attending an art school. I hope I'll be able to live independantly after I graduate, but for now I have to live in an apartment with my mother. We've been forced into this situation because my father had multiple strokes and landed in a nursing home six years ago. We've been living off of his social security benefits since.

Anyway, I can't stand my mother. I know it sounds like a normal phase that families go through, but it's a lot worse than that. Here are the details. I'm sorry, this will be really long.

My mom's Filipino, so for those of you who know about her culture, she comes from a small, poverished town that's populated with religious fanatics. Religion is all she knows, and it's the only answer for her. It's this devotion to her faith that's destroyed our relationship. Rather than listening to her kids, she prefers guidance from a priest. She also doesn't want to take matters into her own hands. All it really takes to alleviate financial pressure is to look for training and find a job, but that's too much for her. She thinks Jesus will pull the right strings and move us toward happier lives as long as she continues to pray.

Her way of thinking is disturbing. She believes conserving money is of great importance, yet she has Catholic merchandise around every corner in the apartment. She gets worried when she sees the flash of a TV screen when it's turned off, thinking it represents some kind of omen. She got scared of a Dirt Devil vacuum because of it's name. And she even complained to the phone company because she received a bill that listed a ten-digit number consisting of multiple 6's in a row.

It's ridiculous, but I'm not making this up. She's more than just delusional; she sometimes has temporary episodes of paranoid schizophrenia. It doesn't happen too often, but it really scares me when she sees and hears things and let's them dictate her decisions. I can recall her being institutionalized at least three times because of this, one occassion being when she attacked a relative my family was visiting back in '93. Other times, she'll get so stressed out over her delusions that she'll suffer a nervous breakdown.

Like I said, this doesn't happen frequently, but on a normal day she's still very bothersome. She prays and sings with a bible or a rosary in her hands almost constantly, and she can't seem to understand that it bothers me. I would appreciate it if she at least did this in a whisper as people normally do at church, but no matter how many times I say this to her, she always does her praying in a loud voice. I can't sleep, I can't concentrate on my work, and I can't tell her to stop without raising my voice at her. It's for this reason alone that I want to keep my distance from her. I shut the door every night, and by day, I make it a priority to stay out of the house as long as possible.

In fact, when I came home from work today, the apartment door was already wide open, and I could hear her singing biblical hymes at the top of her lungs from the parking stall. I came in to find her down on her knees and I saw that she was apparently crying about something earlier (whatever that was, I'm sure it's not that serious because she always blows things out of proportion). What upset me even more was that I found trash on one of my paintings, and my things have been scattered around when she was cleaning. AGAIN. I shouted at her to get her to stop singing, but she continued like I wasn't there. And when she did stop to address me, I complained to her about the mess she made. Then she immediately went back into singing.

Another typical reaction I get from her is an accusation that I'm treating her badly because my behavior is being influenced by movies or video games containing violence. That's outrageous. She's been living in America for more than 25 years, and she still hasn't adapted to our culture. Who is she to talk? One of her friends from her bible study class told her they're just forms of entertainment and not to be taken seriously. I actually tried to get a priest to tell her this as well. She still refuses to listen.

What's worse is that she'll sometimes threaten to kick me out or call the cops on me because in her view, I'm mentally abusing her when I yell and call her names. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it. She always instigates something that will provoke me. She just has that effect on people.

Worst of all, she has a habit of judging people based on their ethnicity and religion. I can't talk over the phone with my Muslim friends. I can't visit my brother's fiance because she's Chinese. When I hang out with different people, she gets the impression that I'm turning on her. She's been doing this to me for as long as I've been growing up. It's gotten so bad that my siblings and I were afraid to bring people over. Disappointingly, my dad never helped either; he was always indifferent and would often side with my mom just so he could calm her down and get some peace and quiet. I can't make friends that are acceptable to my mother unless they're white or Filipino, and most of all, Christian. And somehow, it's unacceptable for one sibling to date the friend of another. I don't understand it. It sure doesn't sound like a Filipino tradition because it's completely irrational.

And speaking of Filipinos, she has this weird obsession with this radio talk station called Coast to Coast AM. Art Bell seems to be her favorite host because he married a Filipino woman and became the father of a half-white/Filipino child. When she hears news of a new family photo put up on his webpage, she demands that I let her use my computer so she can see it. I simply refuse to do so. For one thing, she has no manners. She pushes me to find the newest picture of Bell's son or daughter, but if I don't know where to look, how can she expect me to do it for her? When she gets impatient, she gets so close to me that she breathes over my neck. Secondly, I don't trust her with my equipment. My laptop is fragile and I don't want the keyboard getting jammed, such as what happened with my dad's computer. Third, she's dishonest. When she says she'll look at something for only a minute, it escalates into a half hour when something else catches her interest. The last time I refused to go to the Coast to Coast site, she almost ruined another one of my paintings. The nerve of her.

I didn't know when to include this, but I think I should also talk about her attitude towards children. She recently considered working as a teacher's assistant at an elementary school. She never followed through with it, but I'm glad she didn't because she's not good with kids. She sees them as objects. When I was little, she would always hold me in ways that I didn't want to be held. She did this with other kids as well. She thinks the only support that a child needs is food and a mimimum supply of clothing. I could never come to her for help because instead of listening and trying to understand my problems she would either yell at me and lock me up in the garage, or do things that only make it all worse (like telling bullies at school not to pick on me). And I couldn't cry in her presence because then I would get yelled at even more.



From all that I've said, I'm convinced that I'm only taking care of her due to moral obligation. In spite of that, I believe I truly hate my mother. No one I've spoken to really understands why. I'm never in a good mood when she's around. And when I turn to people for advice, they just look at me like I'm overreacting.

I don't know how much more I can take. I'm alone, socially underdeveloped, preoccupied with existentialist ideas, and I'm not in good physical health. I also have trouble suppressing bad memories because I don't have enough good experiences in my life to overshadow them. I can't improve on any of this as long as I'm living with my mother. I'm only two years away from finishing school. It's bad enough that starting a career right away isn't gauranteed; I'm worried that my interaction with her will trigger something that could prevent that from happening, and perhaps lead to homelessness. And it's almost entirely because of her inability to disconnect from religion. Religion is supposed to be something you can turn to for comfort, not something to live on. I'm by no means an atheist, but if there was a reason, this would be it.

Changing her is impossible, but I'd like to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how I can cope with this. Because nothing I've read up to this point seems to be working for me.

Last edited by Bowman0246; 01-12-2008 at 07:07 PM.

 
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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Sannah HB UserSannah HB User
Re: I have a family issue.

Hi Bowman, I don't see your mom's problem so much as the religion but her mental health. Maybe try to accept her as she is and find ways to deal with her as she is to give yourself peace of mind? I guess a lot of your distress is because you are angry with her? I am surprised that you say that you are socially underdeveloped because you were talking about friends before you said this. Sorry to hear that you are not in good health. Are you getting enough medical care for this?

 
Old 01-12-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Re: I have a family issue.

Hi Bowman....

Your Mom is not just religious....it's zealot....which is not normal.

It sounds to me like she has at least one or two disorders. Combine with that her upbringing in the Phillipines, and it can make for a very interesting combination.

My advise to you, is to try to get funding for your education....you might have some, from your Dad's Social Security?

Try to get funding to get a place of your own.....solicit every agency you can find.

Try to get funding to get "care" for your Mom...whatever that may be. To me, she should be medicated, at least......why did she stop taking the medication after her institutionalizations?

The bottom line, for me, is that neither one of you are really "safe" living in your present conditions. Something has to change.

Please let us know what you come up with...

Lil

 
Old 01-12-2008, 05:43 PM   #4
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Bowman0246 HB User
Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sannah View Post
Hi Bowman, I don't see your mom's problem so much as the religion but her mental health. Maybe try to accept her as she is and find ways to deal with her as she is to give yourself peace of mind? I guess a lot of your distress is because you are angry with her? I am surprised that you say that you are socially underdeveloped because you were talking about friends before you said this. Sorry to hear that you are not in good health. Are you getting enough medical care for this?
Accepting her is easier said than done. She doesn't accept me for who I am so I don't see it happening. I know she has problems, but she never stops to evaluate herself and consider what other people are thinking. I could bring myself to respect her if she tried doing this but it's hopeless.

She's the source of everything wrong in my family, so yeah, I am angry with her. She's the reason my brother and sister left home after high school graduation. And it wouldn't surprise me if she contributed in some way to my dad's strokes. She could've used the balance from selling our house and the SS beneifts to help him recover, but she kept it all to support herself. My brother's having a wedding this summer and I'm contemplating not going there if she does.

My social problems come from being bullied all throughout school, mostly because of bad hygiene, the way I dressed and how I acted on impulse. My parents didn't raise me that well and it showed. I have just a few childhood friends, but there's no way to contact them or meet in person. I find it hard to interact with others without being spoken to first, and I'm always worried about what people think about me. I think I've improved a little by talking on the internet, but it's not enough.

Unfortunately, I can't find affordable medical coverage. I'd like to get something temporary to help with my dental problems, but I'm hard-pressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pri Lily View Post
Hi Bowman....

Your Mom is not just religious....it's zealot....which is not normal.

It sounds to me like she has at least one or two disorders. Combine with that her upbringing in the Phillipines, and it can make for a very interesting combination.

My advise to you, is to try to get funding for your education....you might have some, from your Dad's Social Security?

Try to get funding to get a place of your own.....solicit every agency you can find.

Try to get funding to get "care" for your Mom...whatever that may be. To me, she should be medicated, at least......why did she stop taking the medication after her institutionalizations?

The bottom line, for me, is that neither one of you are really "safe" living in your present conditions. Something has to change.

Please let us know what you come up with...

Lil
I thought about doing those things too. I'm not concerned with tuition costs at the moment. I'll have to get a loan eventually, but it's pretty steep so I don't think I can get another for housing or medical insurance. I'm afraid of being stuck in debt that I can't keep up with.

As it is, I can't even afford a cell phone. I'm not qualified yet for a better job and my hours are limited because of homework. I don't think I can move out until months after I've finished school.

I don't know how my mother stopped taking meds, but I do know she doesn't want to be drugged up. And therapy doesn't help because she doesn't want to admit she has a problem.

Last edited by Bowman0246; 01-12-2008 at 06:53 PM.

 
Old 01-13-2008, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowman0246 View Post
Accepting her is easier said than done. She doesn't accept me for who I am so I don't see it happening. I know she has problems, but she never stops to evaluate herself and consider what other people are thinking. I could bring myself to respect her if she tried doing this but it's hopeless.

She's the source of everything wrong in my family, so yeah, I am angry with her.

My social problems come from being bullied all throughout school, mostly because of bad hygiene, the way I dressed and how I acted on impulse. My parents didn't raise me that well and it showed.

I find it hard to interact with others without being spoken to first, and I'm always worried about what people think about me.

I'd like to get something temporary to help with my dental problems,
Hi Bowman, your mom probably cannot function as highly as you would like her to. What you are asking of her in your first paragraph is hard for a lot of people who can function much more highly than your mom. In my own personal experience I also have a mom who messed up our entire family. I am more than twice your age so I have had a lot of time to come to terms with who my mother is. Like your mom, she will never improve because for one reason she doesn't admit that she has a problem. I have managed to see my mom for who she is and accept her for that. My anger is gone. My mom didn't really purposefully hurt any of us. Maybe you can see that in your mom?

Do any local dental schools have free dental care? Does your university have free counseling for you to work on your social issues?

 
Old 01-13-2008, 08:18 PM   #6
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treelover HB User
Re: I have a family issue.

Dear Bowman:

Lots of good advice about your Mom. You CANNOT change her. She will not change unless she wants to.

Someone once told me if you can't change someone and you can't accept them you have to leave.

I know you are in school and 2 years away from a degree. That is a long time to live with hatred (I hated my Mom for along time too). This may sound radical but think about what is really important here. Your mental health, your well being or finishing school?

Perhaps you can get some type of job, move out and finish school later? I do not like suggesting that you quit school but I am just giving you some alternatives to think about.

Also, you can try to have your Mom institutionalized until she is stable. In Michigan those kind of cases go through probate court. If you want more information on this let me know because I will not go through it all here.

Two icky alternatives but your present situation sounds unbearable.

Treelover.

 
Old 01-13-2008, 08:18 PM   #7
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Bowman0246 HB User
Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sannah View Post
Hi Bowman, your mom probably cannot function as highly as you would like her to. What you are asking of her in your first paragraph is hard for a lot of people who can function much more highly than your mom. In my own personal experience I also have a mom who messed up our entire family. I am more than twice your age so I have had a lot of time to come to terms with who my mother is. Like your mom, she will never improve because for one reason she doesn't admit that she has a problem. I have managed to see my mom for who she is and accept her for that. My anger is gone. My mom didn't really purposefully hurt any of us. Maybe you can see that in your mom?

Do any local dental schools have free dental care? Does your university have free counseling for you to work on your social issues?
I don't think accepting people for who they are is the same as tolerating their behavior. You may have children that you love with all your heart, but if they persist on doing things that are disrespectful and inappropriate, you will get upset with them.

I understand my mother's not doing anything deliberately to hurt me, and I know she cares for me, albeit too much. It's just that in her view, I'm still a child and nothing I say matters. I know she can't change, I just don't know how to deal with it.

I don't know of any dental schools that offer free services. I still haven't gotten my wisdom teeth removed, plus I'm in need of a root canal and one or two patches. I haven't had any luck in my area finding something that will take care of this at little or no cost.
I'm pretty sure my school offers counseling, though I don't know if it's worth the time. I've tried it before at my previous school and it didn't improve my confidence at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by treelover View Post

I know you are in school and 2 years away from a degree. That is a long time to live with hatred (I hated my Mom for along time too). This may sound radical but think about what is really important here. Your mental health, your well being or finishing school?

Perhaps you can get some type of job, move out and finish school later? I do not like suggesting that you quit school but I am just giving you some alternatives to think about.

Also, you can try to have your Mom institutionalized until she is stable. In Michigan those kind of cases go through probate court. If you want more information on this let me know because I will not go through it all here.

Two icky alternatives but your present situation sounds unbearable.

Treelover.
Those do sound like good alternatives, I agree. The thing is, there's no job out there that can make it happen. I'm pretty much stuck in retail, and honestly, I'm getting sick of it. I can't institutionalize my mom either. Everything comes at a huge price, and furthermore, the rest of family wouldn't forgive me if I did that. It's a bit complicated.

Last edited by Bowman0246; 01-13-2008 at 08:57 PM.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 07:12 AM   #8
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Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowman0246 View Post
I don't think accepting people for who they are is the same as tolerating their behavior. You may have children that you love with all your heart, but if they persist on doing things that are disrespectful and inappropriate, you will get upset with them.

I understand my mother's not doing anything deliberately to hurt me, and I know she cares for me, albeit too much. It's just that in her view, I'm still a child and nothing I say matters. I know she can't change, I just don't know how to deal with it.

I'm pretty sure my school offers counseling, though I don't know if it's worth the time. I've tried it before at my previous school and it didn't improve my confidence at all.
Hi Bowman, how about contacting the local health dept.? They might know of some free dental services. If you have dental schools around I would call them.

Comparing your parents with your children is a little different. Parents are very attached to their children much more than children are attached to their parents. Parents feel intense pain about their children when things go wrong. When a child is upset about a parent's behavior I almost think the upsetness comes because the parent is making the child's life miserable. Does your mother have power over you? Does it really matter how she views you?

Counseling really helped me to improve my confidence. To begin with, it helped me to see exactly why I had low self-worth and, therefore, correct it. It also helped in so many other ways.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 01:46 PM   #9
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Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sannah View Post
Does your mother have power over you? Does it really matter how she views you?

Counseling really helped me to improve my confidence. To begin with, it helped me to see exactly why I had low self-worth and, therefore, correct it. It also helped in so many other ways.
My mom does have power over me in some ways, although that could be due to a personal weakness of mine. She always wants things to go her way, especially when it involves money and I'm not able to compensate her. I do help her whenever I can, but sometimes it isn't good enough. I can't object or complain about anything without her throwing a fit and making threats to kick me out or call the cops. It's not really just a family issue. There are times when she threatens to sue people over the dumbest mistakes, thinking they're being negligent in their duties, like the nurses taking care of my dad. It's never a good thing when I hear someone shouting at her over the phone, and she's being antagonistic about it. It borders on harassment, so it's hard not to be mad at her.

As for how she views me, I think I may have worded it wrong. It's actually more like I don't fit her image of what a son should be. She wants me to give up everything I own, change the way I act and devote my life to God. I don't want to be controlled like that, and I'm not letting go of my ambitions either.

If I ever have time for counseling, I'll look into it next semester. There is a health center close to where I live, but I'm not qualified for anything they offer other than CMSP, and there's no dental facility around that takes it.

 
Old 01-15-2008, 07:10 AM   #10
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Re: I have a family issue.

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Originally Posted by Bowman0246 View Post
My mom does have power over me in some ways,

although that could be due to a personal weakness of mine.

She always wants things to go her way, especially when it involves money and I'm not able to compensate her. I do help her whenever I can, but sometimes it isn't good enough.

I can't object or complain about anything without her throwing a fit and making threats to kick me out or call the cops.

I don't fit her image of what a son should be. She wants me to give up everything I own, change the way I act and devote my life to God. I don't want to be controlled like that, and I'm not letting go of my ambitions either.
Hi Bowman, I think that we can learn to not let others bother us. I know that it is possible to look at someone and just see their lips move if you know what I mean. Tuning people out is a good skill to have! I think that people can only get on our nerves if we have some raw and vulnerable nerves around for them to get on. If you don't have any buttons to push no one can push them. If someone is getting on your nerves a person can discover why and heal up that nerve so that it isn't raw and exposed anymore.

Patting your mother's hand and saying "yes, mother, I know" can go a long way. They are only words and you can use them to calm someone down and then do what you want anyway. I don't think that it is really being deceptive either. She has the right to her viewpoints and saying "yes mother" can mean that you understand her not that you agree with her.

So I imagine that she really doesn't have any power over you. You can do what you want. Is this really just a struggle of wills here?

 
Old 01-15-2008, 11:26 PM   #11
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Re: I have a family issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sannah View Post
Hi Bowman, I think that we can learn to not let others bother us. I know that it is possible to look at someone and just see their lips move if you know what I mean. Tuning people out is a good skill to have! I think that people can only get on our nerves if we have some raw and vulnerable nerves around for them to get on. If you don't have any buttons to push no one can push them. If someone is getting on your nerves a person can discover why and heal up that nerve so that it isn't raw and exposed anymore.

Patting your mother's hand and saying "yes, mother, I know" can go a long way. They are only words and you can use them to calm someone down and then do what you want anyway. I don't think that it is really being deceptive either. She has the right to her viewpoints and saying "yes mother" can mean that you understand her not that you agree with her.

So I imagine that she really doesn't have any power over you. You can do what you want. Is this really just a struggle of wills here?
I'm not sure if you can call it that. You're right, though, she does annoy me too easily. I just can't seem to figure out how to not let her actions get to me. This irritability runs in the family. My sister appears to be on good terms with her now, but that's because she's been away from her for so long. My brother on the other hand still fusses with her at times, though not as much as me.

 
Old 01-16-2008, 05:19 AM   #12
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Re: I have a family issue.

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Originally Posted by Bowman0246 View Post
she does annoy me too easily. I just can't seem to figure out how to not let her actions get to me.
Maybe if you realize that she is a seperate person from you who has the right to think and behave any way that she wants and that you also have this same right? I think that sometimes when our boundaries get too tangled up with each others that it causes stuff like this to happen.

 
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