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divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
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Question divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!

This isnt actually for me...
its for my mom. she and my dad were divorced 4 years ago. it was a very complicated situation, he was on alot of medication that was slowly giving him paranoid schizophrenia. he did a lot of things within his delusions and madness that changed their relationship and cant be reversed.

i'm concerned for her tho. she hasnt seen a therapist, even tho she probably should. i dont know every detail, but i know that she was the center of most of his attacks.

she hasnt really had any social life since. she goes to work, comes home and reads or watches TV. occasionally she goes through bitter or depressive moods towards things, which will last for a week or two before she becomes indifferent again. but she tells me she wants to do things, really really wants to do things, but has no one to do them with.

this makes me feel horrible, but i'm only 20!! i cant make my mom find friends. i cant take her out to the bar and help her meet people. i dont know what to do, she wants to travel and so does my boyfriend and friends. i've traveled my whole life with her, so i cant help but really want to take that step with my boyfriend.

i've planned a trip for all 3 of us, hoping thats not too weird. or that we dont make her feel like a 3rd wheel... what more can i do??

ive thought about maybe getting her on a singles cruise or something, but i worry that she wont have a good time. shes not the party type, shes more of the reading/going to wine tastings and theatres type.

i really dont know what to do. i feel so much pressure to be her one friend/travel partner but i really want to live my own life as well. im a university student, so i have tuition to pay and not enough money to do double the travelling.

but i also want her to be happy. if she had even 1 friend with things in common, it would make the world of difference. but all she has is me.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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Re: divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!

Oh you have every ounce of my sympathy.

My parents also divorced also when I was young only without quite so much drama. They just plain shouldn't have ever married. And my Mom, while appearing to be outwardly a strong, independent woman, began to use me as her crutch. My life was lived being her "husband". I drove her places she wouldn't drive, went to shows and concerts with her. She had a key to my house and I'd come home from work and she'd be on my couch. She felt she was entitled to living my life and as pathetic as this was, I let her. I really don't know why except I felt "obligated" to take care of her. But I am so happy that you are smarter than me. Your instincts on the right track. Yes, you can try to help but DO NOT give up your life. Trust me, if she feels like a 3rd wheel on the trip with you and your boyfriend, it will be a very good sign.

Is there anything she would cooperate with doing in the evenings? Does she, or would she, attend a church? If so, many of them have "women's" groups. Does she like children? A lot of schools would love volunteers to help children with their basic math or reading. In doing that she would meet the other teachers. Most local newpapers have "events" type categories you could read for ideas. There's a good chance you might find a support group for divorced folks. Basically, is she motivated enough to help herself if you were to make some calls and find things like this? Or would she prefer to stay on the couch.

Has she been to the doctor for a complete check up?

It sounds like she went through a very hard time. And she might be having issues with other change of life factors that help to make it very hard to pull herself up by her bootstraps. But there's only so much you can do. I think it's very kind of you to take her on this trip but I'd strongly recommend it be a last time if she doesn't make the attempt to rebuild her own life. Trust me, this sort of thing could really snowball on you. I thought I was being a good daughter. Mostly it turned out I was just being used.
Don't let that happen to you.

Old 07-19-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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Re: divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!

While I completly respect the other poster for her thoughtful opinion, I still have to disagree with him/her. I am 26 years old and my mom's mom recently died. While my grandma was alive, my mom was sad that she had to give up her life to help her own emotionally clinging mom (my grandma). However, now, my mom looks back and is glad that she was a good daughter.

You don't want to have regrets. Learn how to be happy by giving up your time for your mom. I'm doing that for mine now. Boyfriends/girlfriends may or may not stay. But, you only have one mom and you don't want to look back and have any regrets.

That said, I totally do agree, though, with the other poster in that you want your Mom to be able to be as independent as possible, as being too clingy will definitely sap the life out of both of you, and neither of you will be happy with each other.

So, in the final analysis, take some time to travel with your Mom and take some time to travel with your boyfriend and his friends. If he's a good boyfriend, he'll understand. And you don't have to travel a lot to exotic locations, maybe a great roadtrip across country that is more affordable or many an exotic place, but enough to not break your budget.

Compromise with them. You should be happy, and so should your mom, and boyfriend. However, for me, mom comes first. And you'll actually not be giving up living your own life by being with your mom. Rather, you will truly be living by knowing that you have spent some of the best years of your life being kind to your only mother.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by kevpark; 07-19-2009 at 06:40 PM.

Old 07-19-2009, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!

thanks to both of you.

i'll look into some support groups. i didnt mean i would ever give up time with my mom, we're very close. but ive had a lot of trips with her, and my boyfriend is great about letting us have our time together... but i want some time with him too.

one of the big problems is her work has a funny schedule, it seems like she works all the times that people do things. fortunately, that is going to change soon, and im hopeful that shell gain more confidence from a new position.

thanks again!!

Old 07-20-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: divorce and how to live after...PLEASE HELP!


I hope you understand that I did not mean to cut off any relationship with your Mom. It never even occurred to me that might be the interpretation. I can't imagine anyone doing that. But don't live your life feeling responsible. Chatting on the phone, the occasional movie, dinner out every now and then....this is a normal relationship. I think
that's your goal. For her to have her own life, allowing the two of you to have a normal mother-daughter relationship.

Basically, I think it's very important that she makes steps toward getting better. If you don't see that happening, there's only so much you can do. And if you don't see that happening you really need to set boundaries for how much you are willing to be her primary support in life. Believe me, as you get older it becomes more draining and as she gets older, she will need even more help.

Good luck!

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