I was raised by very abusive alcoholic and mentally ill parents, one, my mother, the other my stepfather. I did not know about or understand mental illness at all until it happened to my son. My son is why I know and understand as much as I possibly can about mental illness and all of it’s ramifications. He is why I am here at this forum. I never thought much about being a mother but when I had children I became terrified I would be their demise. Not intentionally, but through my own ignorance of how to be a good and nurturing mom. My blueprint from the onset was “whatever I remember being done to me, do the opposite” …that was a good plan in theory but when I brought my 2 boys to a friend’s house one day for a rare visit and they proceeded to jump up and down gleefully on her sofa my plan had to be revised. At home, we had an old hand me down sofa, very squishy and soft and low to the ground, the kids played on it all the time, I did not have a care about it. It cost me zero. It wasn’t dangerous.
Here in my friend’s house with her normal, newer and probably valuable sofa she had purchased herself, it was all too obvious this is not a plaything for my kids. I apologized to my friend and took my kids off the sofa and sent them outdoors. I talked with my friend and she said “this is why you need to get out more, what works okay in your home environment may not work at all when you and your kids are out in the world…the behaviors you allow at your home will lead your kids to believe they are okay everywhere else…you have to think of that” That was probably the most enlightening and helpful parenting advice I ever got.
Suffice to say, none of has a handbook on parenting and what works for one child or one family is not always going to work for another. Having an abusive upbringing does not preclude anyone from developing a healthy nurturing relationship with their children. There has to be insight on one’s self and an acceptance of both the bad and good qualities and tendencies we all possess, some inherited and some just a part of our personality.
I would hesitate to call @Love_Hope 's mother selfish or bad in anyway, I don’t know her so no judgement. As a long time mom of a mentally ill son and with other mentally ill family members myself I understand the desire to leave, to vanish, to start anew! I felt that 1000 times over the years. The overwhelming stress, anxiety, and utter anguish one feels when you realize the bulk of responsibility falls on you to care for these people who are not babies anymore and not easy to care for at all and unable to even thank you for anything you do…it is soul crushing to say the least. I liken it to being a soldier of sorts, not everyone is cut out to be a soldier or a mother for that matter, my mother was not a mother by any definition. While maybe @Love_Hope 's mom could have handled things differently, as we see it, maybe she did all she could and maybe she knew she had no more to give. I don’t know. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not being able to stay the course.
In a perfect world we would have tons of available and affordable wrap around and dual services for every mentally ill person alive and their entire family, support, housing, respite care, counseling everything. Maybe someday. (sigh) For now we can only do what we honestly know within ourselves we can do. Sometimes like me, I flew blind by the seat of my pants with sheer stubborn determination and somehow it worked out for me and my son. I had to leave my sister behind, I already met my limit with my son.
I think in your case @Love_Hope I would try if at all possible to get your ill family members linked with as many community services as possible, or at least notify the services that there is a need with your family members and be detailed in what you see as their most important needs, maybe write them down ahead of time. Some counties have home visitation for psych services especially in the case of people with agoraphobia (fear of going outside) also there are home help services that can be applied for where someone will come by and vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, maybe cook some meals or drive someone to a doctor appointment. There is also meals on wheels and wellness checks that can be done by local police,
I would ask the non emergency police staff ahead of time about their policies for wellness checks and what would happen if you could not visit but wanted reassurance that your ill family members were still okay. By getting these community services in place (which takes time) it can eventually lighten your emotional load. If you have a husband and kids now you have to make them number one and you have to be in your best frame of mind for their sake as well as your own.
I may have said this before but it bears repeating, if you have access to counseling, I highly recommend it for yourself if for no other reason than to have another person knowledgeable in mental health to discuss all of these things with and offer up other perspectives and insights. I have found counseling to be my lifesaver, It helps me stay grounded. Another thing I did that helped me a lot was learning about DBT, dialectical behavior therapy. I took a class but there are workbooks out there about it by Marsha Linehan, it is predicated on the idea that 2 facts can be true at the same time for example: " I love my sister" and “I cannot stand to associate with her” they are opposing facts but equally true. The workbook takes you through a multitude of ways to build self acceptance and work through the difficult emotions and guilt associated with not feeling like you are “enough”. etc… Here is a link I found to the workbook on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/p/The-Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Skills-Workbook-Practical-DBT-Exercises-for-Learning-Mindfulness/56991750?iid=352514758991&chn=ps Thanks for letting me ramble on…my best to you. From all of your posts it is obvious you have a huge heart.