I just recently read an article on Jezebel titled “A Toast to All the Brave Kids Who Broke Up with Their Toxic Moms” which really hit home for me. I know this isn’t like my typical happy, upbeat posts; but it’s something I’ve dealt with since I can remember and I know I’m not alone.
I love my Mother to the end of this Earth, that will never change. But it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love themselves. Growing up, my sisters and I have had to deal with what the article referred to as a “broken woman”. Many terrible things have happened to my Mother, which I won’t go into detail about. But the most impactful was the loss of my brother when he was 2 (in ’89). I hadn’t been born yet, in fact my mother hadn’t even met my Father yet (my two sisters and brother have a different Father). I’ve always wished I was alive to meet my brother, but at the same time I’m not sure how I would have handled his death. My Mom’s addiction developed shortly after.
In the late 90’s, she started attending a methadone clinic to attempt getting off the drugs she was abusing. If you’re not familiar with methadone, it’s a medication usually used to relieve severe pain. But it’s also used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to opiates. Little did everyone know that this would be a new addiction in itself.
Obviously I was never told anything about this when I was younger, but I remember being able to notice some of the side effects of the methadone. The most noticeable being extreme drowsiness. I can remember around the ages of 7-10 I would go to her house every Friday to stay for the weekend. I’d be sitting with her at the kitchen table trying to tell her all the things I did in school that day and she’d be hunched over, passed out. I didn’t think too much of it as a child, I just thought “Oh, Mommy’s really tired”. However, I did think it was strange that she would start to fall asleep immediately after I would shake her and wake her up. It got progressively worse as I got older. When I was around 12, my grandfather passed away (my Mother’s Father). We all loved him very much, but my Mother especially. She fell into an even deeper depression after this and along with being extremely tired from the methadone, she never got out of bed, she was barely eating, and just didn’t take care of herself in general.
I have limited memories of actually doing things and spending quality time with her. Instead, I watched her wither away from being a beautiful, energetic woman to a lifeless shell of that woman. I was always so envious of other girls my age growing up who had good relationships with their Mothers. In my early teens, I sort of resented her for choosing a life of drugs over the possible relationships she could have had with her three girls. As an adult now, I just had to accept that she is so lost in her own depression and addiction, that she doesn’t even realize what she’s sacrificed. Those childhood years are something that we won’t get back, and neither will she. I don’t hate her, I don’t think I ever could. I’m just disappointed in a way.
Anyone who has a family member or friend who is an addict, I can relate. You want to help them so badly to create a better life for themselves. You want them to realize that drugs aren’t an acceptable coping mechanism for their problems, that there are other options. But like I said before, you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. They have to want it for themselves. You can’t sacrifice your own happiness and wear yourself down in hopes of “fixing” them. As painful as it is, you have to let it be if they are not willing to change. All you can do is create a better future for yourself. I know I have the power to be the Mother that mine wasn’t, for my own children in the future.
This week’s story was sent in by Amber who blogs at What Makes Me Amber.wordpress.com where she blogs about health, wellness, (yummy) recipes and Life in general.
If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, visit this post.
IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com.