People say that when you are raised by a Bipolar parent, you can’t take things personally, and it’s not YOUR problem. Not so.
I can’t remember not one day when Mom didn’t go off the deep end. Her screams were threatening, loud and downright scary. The veins in her neck would pop out as her face turned a scarlet red. Her eyes became glassy, her pupils grew larger, and there she was, a Bipolar neurotic lunatic.
It was during the 60’s when we realized things weren’t right. We didn’t pay too much attention, because we lived with Papa who pretty much got used to ignoring her. After all, he was her Dad and he was used to her wild episodes. and this kept us pretty much out of the line of fire.
Then came that dreaded time when Papa left the world, and we were left all alone. We were alone with Mom. When her good moods struck, the world was at peace and we had normal days and normal meals. When her bad moods came out, we were hungry, scared, and lonely.
When Mom’s moods swung into a rage, food was scarce and so was she. If she wasn’t at home screaming and smacking us around…she was out until all hours of the early morning, and we were alone. She brought strange men home and slept with them making loud noises right in the next room.
The world was a scary and lonely place during that time. I for one was very insecure and I never felt safe. When Mom walked into a room, we had to stop everything, for fear that one of her rages were about to take place.
Mom was a good hair puller. She ripped tons of hair right out of my scalp during a rage, quite a few times. Her favorite thing was to smack us in the face as hard as she could. We watched her squint her eyes and watch our faces. She seemed to take pleasure in our pain. If we didn’t show enough pain, she bolted forward and did it again.
My Sister seemed to get the worst of it. Mom would take a dining room chair and throw it at her. My Sister had nightmares. One night Mom smacked the hell out of her to wake her up. She beat her so badly that she had a bloody nose and two black eyes. When she was fully awake and conscious, she never knew what hit her…only that it hurt and she felt sad. I hated Mom for doing that to her. She was two years younger than I was, and she didn’t do a thing to deserve it.
Mom was never really diagnosed as Bipolar. Back then they didn’t label people the way they do now. Now that I’m an adult I can see it as clear as the ring on my finger. She is definitely not normal. If not Bipolar, then something else major for sure. She still as an older woman attacks us…verbally. She’s not strong enough to smack us around, and I honestly don’t think we’d allow it the way we did then. To this day I don’t know why we didn’t push her at least, or even hit her back. We were cautioned that if we did, she would send us to our Dad. She was nuts, but she was the lesser of two evils. Dad was a victim of the Holocaust. Coming from Germany, he saw things as a kid, that kids should NOT see. He wasn’t well at all.
Now at 85 years old, Mom sits home alone all day and watches TV. She watches the news and calls everyone up on the phone to complain about her horrible oldest daughter…yep, that’s me. I haven’t seen Mom in person since my Daughter’s sweet 16. That was many years ago. Many, many years.
Now her mood swings take a new direction. Instead of going into a physical rage, she sits, and thinks, imagines, and suddenly remembers something that may have bothered her thirty years ago. She calls me. I’m elected. No matter who she starts out feeling angry with, at the end of the phone call it’s me she hates and screams at. At first I’ll try very hard to calm her down. There’s no point. It can’t be done. She gets louder and louder and then begins to cry and scream at the same time. She begins telling me how awful I am, how I am a terrible demon of a person, how I don’t know how to love, to care, or how to be human. When I was a little girl this used to hurt me so badly that she had me believing all the things she was saying about me, had to be true. Now I just hang up the phone.
Hanging up the phone does nothing. The phone will ring 10, 20, or more times, and there will be a horrible message left with each call. Once I counted to 27! She tries to push buttons as hard as she can. If she isn’t feeling happy or well adjusted that day, no one will. She manipulates me or at least now she tries to. It used to work. She will bring up things from the past that may have happened with my own children. She will tell me that they hate me for whatever reason she can think to bring up. they don’t hate me…she wants me to believe that I am the devil. She’ll tell me I’m this awful person that doesn’t do anything right, and doesn’t deserve to be happy. If that doesn’t work, then by phone call 27…she will whine and yell, telling me that I am a piece of crap! I blocked her phone…finally.
People tell me this isn’t my problem. Yes it is. She’s the only Mom I will ever have. I can’t consider her a Mother. I don’t think she’s capable of loving in a maternal way. I would never say the things to my children that this woman has said to me. Some day I will write a book all about her. For now, we may never speak again. I have gotten used to the idea that the only way to remain sane, is to eliminate her from my life. She is a very unhappy and hateful person.
Once she was a miserable mentally ill woman. Now she’s a very old unstable mentally ill old lady. It’s sad. Yes, it’s MY problem.