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mother's mind control, please help

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hi. i'm 20 years old, i have a sister who's 32 (married with a child) and my mom is bpd. she doesn't agree on that point, but my therapist, my sister's therapist, and the psychologist at one of the hospitals my mom was at all agree... so, that's my best bet for now.

most of my childhood, it was just my mom and i. she controlled my thoughts entirely and everyone else in my family noticed that i seemed unconscious. i always looked glazed, always seemed like her puppet. i did not know myself, but luckily when i realized that she was not really my mom anymore, never really had been, i locked the real me deep away inside of me and gave over to her manipulation, coercion and ownership. i finally got away when i went to school after surviving some incredibly fucked up times during middle and high school (asking me to kill her, me working to pay the bills, taking care of my incredibly sick grandparents, my cutting and suicidal depression which went completely unnoticed) and cut ties with my mom. i realized i liked myself less when i talked to her, and i rekindled my relationships with my sister, my dad, my aunt and uncle, and, indeed, everyone else in the world who i had previously been taught was against me and innately evil. i grew tenfold and lived far away from her, learned to love myself and, after falling deeper into the absolute worst depression i could have ever imagined, learned how to live and how to love myself. i see a therapist regularly and life is good. after a year's leave of absence from college, i return this fall... but things are not all okay.

in these past 3 years, without me, my mom fluttered from boyfriend to boyfriend, falling deep into addiction with ambien, pharmacy shopping and occasionally showing up in various hospitals around the country with extreme memory loss and inexplicable bruises. she wrecked her car (my grandmother's car which she took once my grandfather passed away) and was arrested for a dui. she was anorexic (she claims because of the appetite suppressant in the drugs, i'm not sure of this, but i let it go. all i know is last year, at 52, she was 88 pounds and wearing a pair of my pants from middle school) and i cut all ties with her. this spring she was involuntarily committed to a rehab center, and since she's been out she seems better. she says she's no longer on the drugs, and indeed she seems more like her old self. i started talking to her on the phone and things were going well until... she moved in down the street from me 2 weeks ago. she has a job, which is great, but she's telling me now that i'm an alcoholic and i need to be in AA meetings. she tells me i'm so like her, i'm addictive like she is, i need this, why don't i do that, yada yada yada...

i'm afraid i'm slipping. i don't want to run away, it clearly doesnt work...

i want a mom. but i'm terrified that she's putting her thoughts into my head and i'm going to go under again. it was so hard to get out of that before... and now i am so fiercely protective of the life i've made for myself....

i want to give her another chance, but what can i do?

i feel lost.

i know that i'm not an alcoholic. i know that i'm not like she is. but in some ways i really am, i mean, she's the only person i lived with from 0-18, and she and i were a team for much of that time. it was us against the world. she's manipulative, and she knows my weakness is my huge empathy. she knows how to play me, and i can't tell if she is or not...

all she has to do is tell me what it's like to be her and i'm gone. i am no more a person on my own... just her daughter. an expression of her. a product.

help!!!! what can i do???

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I am not sure I am the best person to answer this, as my situation is somewhat different, but I think some of my emotions are the same.

In my home growing up, my father was very verbally abusive, very manipulative, and everything centered around him and his needs. My 3 brothers and I existed only as an outgrowth of him. Our accomplishments were his and our failures were a "reflection" of him. Or so we were taught. We all learned to behave in a manner which elicited the most positive reaction from him, which even at that was never a "loving" reaction.

As I left home and began to see what my life was like without his influence I began to be proud of my accomplishments. I began to feel like an individual rather than an extension of him. I finished college and then law school. Landed a good job and began a promising career. Through all of this time, however, I could see that my dad was still trying to manipulate me and take credit for what I had done. When I dared to have an opinion different from his he would become verbally abusive again and treat me like a child. One of my brothers and myself both realized it would always be that way with him. We both decided to cut ties with him. It was a never look back kind of decision though. My oldest brother still seeks attention from my dad and I think he likes that 2 of us are out of the picture because it always was a competition between us.

I have learned from therapy and from psychiatrists that a lot of my anxiety and perfectionism stem from my father's influence. In fact, I had symptoms of anxiety even as a child but was never treated for it.

Since making the decision to cut ties, I have stood by that decision. Doing this did not heal me, obviously. I still struggle with major depressive episodes, general anxiety and panic attacks. I have not been able to work in 3 years. I gave up my home and independence to move in with family members who could help me fight this demon. But, no matter what, I never doubt my decision to cut ties with my dad.

He lives in the same town. A 10 minute drive away. Yet, I haven't seen him in almost 3 years. I know that any relationship with him will be an unhealthy one. I know that he still wants to manipulate and control. I know he has not changed and he has no concern for me as a person.

I guess what I am trying to say in all of this is that if your mother has shown no propensity to change and, in fact, continues to seek to manipulate and control you, you cannot allow her to. There is no middle ground with people like this. You are an adult and are living your own life with your own accomplishments. Cutting ties is a decision that only you can make but then you have to stand by it. Right now, she has no power over you. The only power she will have is what you give her. How much power over your life are you willing for her to have? That is a decision that only you can make. But, from what I have read, it doesn't sound like she is going to accept anything less than full control over your life and, let's be honest, can you survive that?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Littlemisslost and Lifeless,

Lifeless, wow, do I agree with you. In fact, you are the right person to answer littlemisslost and your response and advice were excellent. Right on. :)

Littlemisslost, can't you move away now that your mother has move close? You need to protect your self from her destructive influence, in my opinion and just as Lifeless suggests.


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thanks for your kind words and for sharing your story. i'm at a unique spot-- i work for everything i get, but at the same time i'm very tight with money due to some misfortune at my job (bills are high = food costs more = less customers = less employees = unemployment) and she has now offered to give me money to help until school starts. i really want to trust her, i really want to take some help. things are getting pretty desperate and she's offering it... my sister is cautious about it, and thankfully i have her to bounce things off of, but the thing is i've never seen her recover so fully and i'm wondering if this might be it?

is that foolish?

my dad is worried for our relationship too, but what can i do? perhaps i'm being naive... but then again maybe she just needs someone to believe in her a little bit.

i've also discovered in this past week that if i see her too much i feel bad, but i can simply limit how much i see her and i really don't feel myself slipping that much.

i don't know :/

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