How to help my mother
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05-07-2012, 12:07 PM
Question How to help my mother
So during the last few years I distanced myself a lot from my mother because it was very unhealthy for my mind to let her into my life too much.
By now I have her on a level of a really good friend, which is fine.

Now I like to help my friends in bad times!
And this is what happened now.

Her boyfriend had a really bad stroke.
One of the blood vessels in his brain is so stuck that they can't really do anything more than they already did.
He had two surgeries this week, they now opened his skull to release some pressure, they keep him in a coma.
They also want my mother to have authority about medical things etc... This will be decided by a judge these days.
They said that he won't be able to move his right side anymore, that he might have lost speech and the ability to understand speech....

Now during the last few days I kept talking nicely to her, I told her to stay with friends or with my brother.
Sadly I can't visit or have her, because she is in Germany and I am in Ireland. If I would go there now, I would lose a lot of money because I don't get paid days for anything but the very few vacation days (which I already took).
Today she wrote me a short email to give me some updates and she told me that if he dies or is so damaged that it is not worth living for him, she doesn't want to anymore, either.

She told me such things a lot when I was a kid, she has always been borderline suicidal and she is still alive.
But through the last years she started therapies and such and she seemed to get mentally weaker.
I am not attached enough anymore to cry about it the whole day, but it worries me just like my best friend would tell me something like that.

I told her in my last mail that there is always a way to cope, that our family has dealt with worse, that she has to keep going. But dunno.... I would like to offer more, and I can't. Not even calling is an option as she has no phone anymore.

input?

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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05-07-2012, 12:31 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Wow. That's heavy stuff. Suicide is a very touchy subject no matter what your beliefs are, so it doesn't really matter what she believes as far as what you can or cannot say to help (I assume you know what she believes but we don't, so that was more of a preface than anything else).

I don't know that anything any one person can say will actually change anything in her mind. Even someone who has gone through her exact same set of circumstances may not be able to say anything to change her mind because she is thinking with emotions and not reason or logic. Perhaps the best thing to do is to encourage her to give it some time and to seek out some activity to do daily that will take her mind off of it. Hopefully through other people and new activities, she can find a reason to continue living. I have to be honest here, if she can not find a reason to continue living, then she may as well already be dead (I don't say that to be callous or cold, it is more of a spin on a line from the movie the Shawshank Redemption "Get busy living, or get busy dying"). People who give up, tend to fade away, so the only chance of really helping her is to encourage her to find something or someone (or a group). Maybe a walk through a park daily will help, or a discussion group (book club, etc), anything really.

I can't imagine what it is like to have someone close to you send you such a message and I am not entirely sure what I would do in your situation. I hope she finds something to fill the empty feeling she has and stops to give it some time to heal.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
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05-07-2012, 12:39 PM
RE: How to help my mother
I am not sure if she returns to some faith in this situation but last I knew was she was at least agnostic, if not atheist.

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Quote: I can't imagine what it is like to have someone close to you send you such a message
She has done so since I was a teenager.
But as I said, she got mentally weaker by now so who knows what she will do next.

Yeah, as I said, the only helpful thing that I could say by now was to stay with friends and with my brother.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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05-07-2012, 12:54 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Sorry you have to deal with this and that they are having such a bad time. Hopefully she is just talking this way due to the steess as she apparently has done in this in the past. Can your brother or another family member get to her to see what her state is and would that help you feel more at ease? All you can do is be encouraging and supportive when you speak or email.

I actually volunteered at a suicide prevention hotline and one always has to take that statement seriously even when the person does so often. Where she lives, is there a similar organization that has a place for people suicidal people to call? If she can get past the present situation she may see things more clearly.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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05-07-2012, 01:37 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Well, I am not in contact with anyone else of my family because I dropped all lines. I am positive that my brother is there for her if she reaches out, but her problem is, she does not reach out. I am also not sure if she is still in therapy, I think that would help her because when she was in the hospital (with her mental problems) she opened up like a flower.
Normally she listens to my advice and does what I say, but I am not sure that she will do so when she is in this state of mind, as well. So I told her to be with friends, if she does what I say is hers to decide, I guess.
(I swear, I feel like the mother in this relationship)
Yes, I do take it seriously that she said this because, as I said, she got weaker. I feel that one of her big helps was her boyfriend, and now he might not be the same person anymore. I understand that this is scary for her...

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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05-07-2012, 01:41 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Oh, Leela, your Mom is going through a really tough time... it sounds like she is afraid of whatever will come next. I think you've done the right thing telling her to be with other people -it's clear she needs both the care and the distraction.

If she's spoken of suicide before to you, she might be doing it out of habit - it might be kind of a passive-aggressive thing she says to get others to just pay attention. It might be easy and comfortable for her to elicit a reaction from you this way. I wouldn't value exactly what she says but rather that she said it at all... at least you know she's hurting -it might just be her way of letting you know how deeply. She needs to be convinced that she can go it alone, and her mention of suicide is her way of challenging others to convince her of this.

If you want to do anything at all, simply remain in contact with her. Make it a point to email her every other night or so... even if you think you have little to say. If you are too tired, just dash off a short email to let her know that you are thinking about her, and always convey hope that she's taking care of herself. It might not seem like much, but she seems afraid of being alone. You can just let her know that you are on the planet too, so she's not really alone in that sense.

Of course, just doing this might be inadvertently inviting her back into your life, which you may or may not really want. I know I don't want my Mom in my life any more than she already is. I like to keep a good distance between us - we are just different types of people, and we both know it. It's up to me to keep those boundaries in place, especially since my Dad died four years ago. If you step up the communication at one point, you can always ease off as she finds her own strength to carry on. Your help will be less necessary as she becomes more secure with herself and with being alone.

If her boyfriend does die, your Mom will probably need a lot of time to grieve her loss. Staying with friends or family will provide a caring atmosphere, as well as a good distraction for her. All you can really do is let her know you are there for support in her time of need.

I hope things work out better for both you and your Mom. Heart Take care and try no to stress too much.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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05-07-2012, 02:10 PM
RE: How to help my mother
I am sorry to hear of your trouble. I wish I had helpful (or magical) words for these types of situations, but I never do. It does sound like you have told her all the right things, maybe just keep reinforcing those messages.

I am going to visit my very recently widowed sister this weekend and I have no idea what to say. I loved my brother-in-law and miss him terribly; that may be all the comfort I have to give to my sister.

I hear the sound of the feeling of near helplessness in these situations from you and I empathize.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-07-2012, 03:18 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Thanks for your support guys.
Well I really do hope that he does not die and that he does not lose too much of himself in this process.
She might lose hope with men at the point.
Like ... her boyfriend before this one died out of her life and she blamed herself for it because she wanted to break up.
The guy before that was a liar and attention seeker and she did not listen to me when I told her back then, that he was no good, until she felt it herself.
My own father is an arse... she just is not good with men I guess, and I don't want her to completely give up love...
I hope it all turns out well.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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05-07-2012, 03:20 PM
RE: How to help my mother
... Life is just shitty sometimes Sad Hope he pulls through.
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05-07-2012, 03:24 PM
RE: How to help my mother
Didn't you say your mother was a psychopath or malignant narcissist or some such thing, or am I confusing things?

What I would say here depends largely on that.

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