Dear Dr. Laura,
I don't know how many people write to tell you, "You were right. Thank you." I thought you deserved to hear it from me...
I called you last Friday to talk about my mother who is mistreating me. My mother has had two falls; one resulted in needing surgery for a leg/hip. Both times she hit her head badly.
I am her only child ...
She had delirium tremens after the surgery for a few days. The episodes were mostly directed towards me and the doctor treating her. After that, my mother regained most of her head except for one thing/person...me!
The last 14 months my mother has been very nasty with me, but the worst are the accusations of stealing from her, coming in and out of her apartment to take things and bring them back, wanting to have her committed to a mental institution, trying to turn everybody against her...and the list goes on. It is like dealing with the 'Tasmanian devil'...it is pure evil when you are sitting in front of somebody like that.
I have tried each and every way for her to see a doctor to get a scan and treatment. She refuses. She says she controls her life now and nobody will tell her what to do! And she will not let a stupid doctor lock her up because of what I tell him/her.
The laws in Canada state that unless you are a threat to others, you can decide for yourself what to do, even if you are 'sick in the head' (like my grand-father used to say)... I did capture our last meeting via video (spy-pen) to show to the social services and medical teams that she is very ill - mostly with paranoia and hallucinations and living creatively in her 'own world'. They told me the same thing again…unless she seeks testing/treatment, we cannot force her.
You asked me why I thought she was doing this, and I said the last time we saw each other she mentioned we did not have anything in common but her past life (my father and her second husband both passed away in the last two years). So there was no reason to see each other anymore.
You asked with whom she was doing this behavior to. Only me!
You proceeded to tell me my mother knew exactly what she was doing, she is in control and she wants to control me. She decides to control her behavior with others except me. You said I had two choices: never see her again or when she would start up again, to tell her I do not deserve this, I will not take this anymore, kiss her, say goodbye and walk-away. You said she would either continue or 'get it' and stop ...
I asked if it was the same behavior to have with her whether she is nasty or mentally ill and you answered: "Ma'am, this is about you" (and you hung up).
For the next hour of driving during the talk you had on air for 20 min. on the subject of control with children and the elderly, I revised my life...
I realized that for everything I ever did, conversations, arguments etc., I never told her, "That's enough.' I just couldn't believe it...I have with others like my father and ex-husband, but never her...never.
I also realized in the last two years I have been defending myself and trying to convince her I would never do these things to her... that I am a good person... and blah, blah, blah...
Dr. Laura, I could have said these things to her to defend myself and to make her understand once or even twice but I let it go on because I was behaving like a child. I wanted her to know I was a good person, a good daughter and I wanted her to love me. I wanted the last years of her life (she's 89) to be about fixing/recapture lost time so I could have the mother I needed to have and be at peace when she passed away. But this never could have happened, the woman is nowhere to be near able to do this...
She called me three weeks ago for my birthday and to invite me to lunch. I finally called her yesterday. I prepared myself to listen with my ears and not my heart.
Since she said she wanted to see me, I called to set up a visit wanting to know what had changed, and if she still believed what she has been saying to me and the accusations, etc. She tried to wiggle her way out/around in the conversation. She would not answer me after asking her 4 times in different ways... in French and English. She wants me in her life under her terms and the way she wants me there...
It took two seconds for her to start up with more paranoia with things my husband did to her (not true) so I saw this was STILL going on in her head, then proceeded to tell me HOW HAPPY SHE IS, HOW AT PEACE SHE IS, HOW PEOPLE LOVE HER, HOW MANY FRIENDS SHE HAS... and she has sooo many contacts with my half-sister (not true) and then she proceeded to tell me how she made fun of me with the people at the retirement community bldg. using her stealing allegations (cheap jewelry)... Then she started singing on the phone "La la la ... I'm not listening to you."
Then I got it ... Oy Vey! This is not a mother! This is not a person who loves her daughter.
I realized in a 'nano-second' as she was talking to me that this was not new... I had simply overlooked all this 's##t' all my life... She has been talking to me like this throughout my life.
I guess I needed to save at least one relationship with one parent. I had a lousy childhood with a father who was an alcoholic and her second husband was a controller, manipulator and emotional creep. She chose men that were defective.
All these years, I chose to buy peace, buy time and try not to rock the boat the least amount possible - I did not always succeed.
So I heard the mental bell and I said, "Mom STOP" and proceeded telling her what you said and finished with, "Goodbye, Mother."
Now I am a BIG girl...an adult who does not take this from anybody anymore.
I was raised in a guilt environment: blame, hardship she had to endure in her pregnancy and birth, and the life she had with me because I was crippled. All the sacrifices she made for me because my father was an alcoholic.
THE BIG THING I decided to deal with the fact that I experienced 'date-rape' when I was about 20 years old (56 now) from the son/a police officer of a couple she was friends with. When I told her what happened, she responded, "I wasn't there when it happened so I cannot judge."
Then a few years later she started having a social relationship with him and his wife. When I brought up that I was hurt by this and how sick it was, she said, "Well he never did anything bad to me and I wasn't there when it happened." (I can hear you scream, Dr. Laura)
What I cannot wrap my mind around is that I always wanted people to like my mother. I always included her in festivities, everything to make her happy, BUT I don't know why. And I never told the tale of how I was brought up. I guess I was ashamed and did not want her to be a reflection on me.
Yeah, yeah, you can tell me, "What were you thinking woman all these years?" I've been listening to you for at least 15 years. I even test myself answering your callers when I am listening to you on the radio -- so I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!!!
So it's over. I've decided to clean up my act and move on. I will continue living in the NOW with all the wonderful things I have in my life. I have not felt this good and liberated in years. WOW !
Thanks a whole bunch, Dr. Laura ... Now I know why you hung up on me - I needed to be shaken up instead of the "BUT" I was about to say to you!
You were right and I thank you for that!
A faithful listener,