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The Mentally Ill Mother

Having a mentally ill mother can be extremely trying.  Many people with mental illness are unaware of their illness, undiagnosed and therefore untreated, they are not aware there is a problem.  Many mentally ill people for whatever reason, are unwilling to get the help they need.  Any of these situations can be very trying for those witnessing this situation.  If your mother is mentally ill, then you know this pain all too well.

To help you cope, to start with, learn all you can about your mother's illness.  If she has a psychiatrist or therapist or both, talk to them.  Learn all you can from her doctors.  Ask their advice.

If your mother's mental illness is undiagnosed, but you are certain something is wrong, study her symptoms.  For example, if she spends days in bed at a time, crying, chances are she is depressed.  If she exhibits erratic mood swings, she may be bipolar.  If she is extremely self-centered, lacks empathy, and must be the center of attention or else she pouts, chances are she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.   While you are not a mental health professional, there is a lot of information out there, so you should be able to get a good idea of what kind of illness she has.  Knowledge is power- understanding as much as you can about your mother's illness will help you to remember that when she says or does hurtful things, it is the mental illness fueling those words or deeds, so it is not personal.  Therefore you will not be hurt as deeply as you were before learning about her illness.


Also, please remember that just because she has problems does not mean that you have to tolerate being abused!!  You have every right to protect yourself from abuse, even if your mother is mentally ill!!

Create a good support network for yourself.  Dealing with a mentally ill parent, your self-esteem may take some devastating blows.  Caring, supportive people in your life will help you to keep a healthy perspective on the situation, and take her behavior less personally.

Be good to yourself, especially if you are her caregiver.  Just because you care for your mother does not mean that you suddenly have no dreams, needs, or feelings of your own!  The more you take good care of yourself, the better caregiver you will be.  Get plenty of rest, take breaks when you can to do fun things, and never forget to let other people love you!

If you are unable to be her caregiver, do NOT beat yourself up for this!  Caregiving is an extremely challenging job under the absolute best of circumstances.   Not everyone is able to do this.   And, mental illness is extremely difficult to deal with for a caregiver.  

Remember that you are a strong woman, and you can handle this.  Following the advice above will help you, but never hesitate to ask for further help as you need it.  Either in the role of caregiving or for yourself, such as a good therapist.

On the road to recovery, I personally found my relationship with God to be my greatest help.  He helped me to heal, and to learn ways to deal with my dysfunctional mother.  Prayer and meditating on His word, the Bible, helped so much.  Learning who the Bible says I am as a child of God is not only inspiring and comforting, but helpful in the healing process.  If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please read the page Salvation Through Jesus Christ for more information.


© 2018  Cynthia Bailey-Rug and www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that the full and clear credit is given to Cynthia Bailey-Rug and www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.