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This is a question Driven to Madness

Captain Placid asks: What annoying things do significant others, workmates and other people in general do that drive you up the wall? Do you want to kill your other half over their obsessive fridge magnet collection? Driven to distraction over your manager's continued use of Comic Sans (The Font of Champions)? Tell us.

(, Thu 4 Oct 2012, 12:11)
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My mum
She does this in two ways (apols in advance for lack of lolsomeness).

1: Inheritance. She has bipolar with some mild paranoia. Through genes and/or environment, she gave me the monopolar bit (occasional depression). So, quite literally, there have been times when she made me mad.

2: Behaviour. She's fucking nuts, and that drives me fucking nuts (we fuck a lot of nuts in our family). She'll take a nugget of information she vaguely remembers and blow it up into a dramatic tale about how terribly she's suffered in the past. No mum, you weren't abused and assaulted by the neighbour; they wrote you a politely worded letter expressing their dislike for the revolting state of your property. However, if someone is ever genuinely nasty to you, it is now unlikely that I'll ever believe you.

During her manic phases she'll blow all her money on some hobby or other, and then become so entirely absorbed by it that it is impossible to communicate with her.
"Hey mum, do you have enough money to survive until the end of the month?"
"Ask me again when I've finished doing this. I'm busy."
"But it's not work."
"It is my work. It's very important to me. If I didn't have this I'd have nothing." She then becomes defensive and angry if you continue to question her priorities.
Don't even think of going to her with your own problems, because you'll either get ignored or given a consolatory, "Oh, that's sad," before she returns to her 'very important work'.

During her depressive phases she will threaten suicide and tell you that you have always been horrible to her, that you are uncaring and cruel or simply incapable of understanding. She will also spout endless monologues about the cold nature of everyone she's ever known and how she has been abused by every man she's ever met. I'm worried about the next time I call her, as she'll probably claim Savile once did her, too.

Now, I have a great deal of sympathy for people who suffer depression. It sucks; it's debilitating; it often feels like there's no way out. But whenever mum has come out of one of her phases, you simply cannot get her to recognise that she has been depressed and ought to seek some treatment.
"Mum, I really think you ought to see someone - just to talk things through. I think this pattern needs to change..."
"Oh, I wasn't depressed last week, but when I have been down before I always sort it out myself. There's nothing wrong with me."

Then there's the hoarding. Oh god, the pointless things she collects. Does anyone need twenty-year-old Viking Direct catalogues? And the farting twee country-style crockery? Why does a house with two people in it need fifty fucking dinner plates? And the coloured glass bowls? And the dust-infested newspapers? And the carrier bags! Why does everything need to be stored in carrier bags? She doesn't seem to have worked out that newer bags bio-degrade pretty rapidly, leaving lots of bits of flappy plastic everywhere.

I would love to be able to walk rather than stumble around her house when I visit, but it's become increasingly difficult over the last few years. Every time I offer to help her clear out she will accuse me of trying to take her precious things off her, or claim that she still can't get over the loss of something I 'callously discarded' ten years ago.

My dad had an affair a decade ago, and although it was a bad thing, I do understand why he felt he needed it. You see, he was a total saint to my mum for many years. He provided all the income while she indulged in her hobbies, he did all the shopping, he cooked for us, he forgave every one of her mental episodes, he took me to the park and he pretty much did most of the parenting. If you ask my mum what her marriage was like she'll tell you it was loveless, that he spent every weekend with a prostitute and that he was a waste of space.

And yet, even though she's a top shelf nutter, for some reason I still care about her. It's enough to drive a perfectly sane person crazy.

tl;dr - an excuse to moan about my mum's mental fucktardedness.
(, Mon 8 Oct 2012, 14:29, 7 replies)
Your Dad sounds like a decent fellow
It's a shame your Mum suffers like this but doesn't realise, and also a shame your Pa did realise and stayed regardless. Not 'shame' as in he shouldn't have, but an affair seems quite likely in this sort of situation, he fathered you properly by the sounds of it and there's only so much lack of human contact a man can take after working so hard for everyone else.
(, Mon 8 Oct 2012, 14:44, closed)
Yeah, I rate him as my source of sanity!
And you're right he shouldn't have put up with her antics as long as he did. I agree with you there. In many ways both he and I have indulged her behaviour far too often. Still, they've split up now, so I'm hopeful that at least one of them can move on and be a bit happier!
(, Tue 9 Oct 2012, 10:02, closed)
Difficult one
That's a bloody difficult thing to deal with, I can't imagine what that must be like. You still care about her because she's your mum, however damaged and ill she may be. Bipolar is a cruel illness, unfortunately it is characterised in part by sufferers not realising - especially when manic, that they are ill. I suffer quite badly with depression and also rather delightfully have borderline personality disorder, as a result I'm on quite a bit of medication to even things out. I have full insight into my condition and know how tough my partner can find it, being with someone who has limited or no insight must be so much tougher. You and your dad have done all you can, your mum's illness is hers to deal with, harsh as that may be.
(, Mon 8 Oct 2012, 21:26, closed)
Not disagreeing with anything here.
But. And it's a biggie - you'd walk away from your mum?
(, Mon 8 Oct 2012, 23:53, closed)
Not sure if lilyputian was quite saying that
But I can understand why some children of bipolar parents would choose to walk away. I will take regular 'breathers' from my mum when she becomes too much to deal with, but these still don't lessen the impact of a bad encounter. Even though she may not realise she's doing it and it may not be her fault, she can still put you down and make you feel less than worthless. Both my sister and I grew up to be very low in self-esteem and confidence, but (quite independently, and without the other knowing) we both went through counselling to put it right. So I can understand why someone might choose to divorce their mum with that illness. You only get one life, and if someone is making that life worse without making an effort do the opposite, then it may be that you will get more out of your life without them.
That said, I couldn't leave her on her own, or have her feel that she'd been abandoned. The guilt of that would make my life much worse!
(, Tue 9 Oct 2012, 9:59, closed)
I wouldn't walk away
I wouldn't walk away Ringofyre, I was suggesting that the illness and responsibility of it is the mother's and of course any mental health services she might be engaged with. Even though it's hard children shouldn't be saddled with the responsibility of the mental illness of a parent - that's not suggesting abandon them but try to find a way of interacting with them in a manner that preserves your own sanity!
(, Tue 9 Oct 2012, 20:02, closed)
Furry muff.
How to instigate said sanity preservation while still maintaining contact & support would be the kicker I think.
Good luck to Charles if he can find that balance.
(, Tue 9 Oct 2012, 21:51, closed)

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