How do I deal with the hatred I have for my mom and my sister?

I was finally correctly diagnosed with bipolar at age 37.  Since that time I have been properly medicated and I have also discovered that my mother was not a good person and that I in fact hate her.  That hatred also extends towards my sister.

Mom was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and whittled away to 85 pounds.  Her treatment took years and I ended up waiting on her hand and foot.  My father worked two jobs while she sat in front of the TV watching soap operas and game shows and I also held a job.

Fast forward a couple of decades and she constantly complains about people who don’t work in spite of never having held a job since 1969.  Any conversations I’ve had with her ended up with her giving me a political lecture cut and pasted from Fox News.  But most of all, she treated my diagnosis as if it were some type of inconvenience: what followed was a rant about all the things she’s done for me (ie watching all those episodes of All My Children so I didn’t have to) and how I had “all the opportunity in the world” because I guess Fox News told her that.

The woman’s hypocrisy and lack of empathy is downright painful.  And I hate her and have fantasies of her dying alone in a cut-rate nursing home because I damn sure am not going to drop what I’m doing to take care of her again.  How do I move on from this point and erase the memory of this shrew from my mind?

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First, I am so sorry that you had to go so long before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I can only imagine how much more difficult the relationship and situation with your mother was exacerbated for you by your own struggles and non-diagnosis.

Relationships with friends and family can be difficult for the average individual and family dynamics are a league of their own!!!!  I don’t think I can think of one family that I know that doesn’t have some sort of drama going on within their family.  When you start adding mental illness into the dynamic, it definitely makes the relationships even harder, especially when both individuals are affected by a mental illness.

Please keep in mind that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so this is just my own opinion from what I understood from your question.  It sounds like there is not only a lot of  hatred for your mom, but a lot of resentment.  Instead of being “the mother” and taking care of you and your sister, she was the one who needed to be taken care of.  I don’t know if your sister was also helping in the care of your mother or if you were also helping raise her too which might explain a lot of the resentment and hatred.  I think though, not only were there these negative feelings because you had to care for her, but maybe you are upset because during this time you were experiencing and feeling effects of your own mental illness and they were not being addressed because all the focus was on your mother’s illness and making sure she was taken care of.  Not only might you have been feeling the effects of bipolar, but you were also stripped of a childhood like most of your peers had.  Now, here you are, grown up with your own diagnosis and it sounds like the things she is trying to tell you are her attempts to be a mother (many years too late in your eyes).

How do you handle these ill feelings toward her and your sister?  Well, I can’t speak too much about how to handle your sister because you don’t mention why you have these feelings toward her.  Your mother on the other hand, I think there is so much negativity and negative feelings toward her that have been going for so long, there isn’t going to be an easy way to deal with this.  One method would be to suggest family therapy sessions.  If you really want to try to resolve things and make things better with your mom and sister, that would be one way that you all could be in a neutral environment and work through the issues with a neutral party.  I know when I was having issues with my significant other and we sought counseling, the KEY factor was that the therapist we chose had to be someone that neither of us were familiar with so that it would be a completely neutral starting ground so both of us were starting at the same point and could get our issues heard and hear both sides to help us work through it together.

If you don’t think that your mom or sister, or even you, would be amenable to therapy, you could try to talk with your mom and sister and express to them how their actions really hurt you and the things they say bother you.  Try to explain that the things they say and do upset you and its starting to impact your own illness management.  You may have to let them know that if they continue to say and do those things, you are going to have to stop coming around because its really hurting you.

Another thing I would suggest is writing out a list of all the things that are causing the hatred for your mom and sister.  Put them in order based on which ones are the biggest issues down to the small ones.  Try talking to them about a small one and see how they react.  If things work out well, then try a bigger one, and address them one at a time.  Seeing them on a list though might help you really define what the exact cause of all the hatred is and you may find that it really isn’t all those things that she is doing (i.e. quoting Fox News etc.) but something deeper (i.e. having your childhood taken away to take care of her and her denial of that).

When all else fails, I always take to a journal and write away. I write til my fingers are about to fall off and (I’m left handed) the side of my hand has about 5 layers of ink smudged on it.  You may also have to take a little break from seeing your mom and sister and let them know that right now  you have a lot of negative feelings toward them and you need some time to sort things out yourself.  See if the distance for awhile helps.

In my experience, I recently had a falling out with my own family.  We all were alienated from each other, taken our own sides and I felt horrible.  Regardless of how I felt about any of my family members and how much I disagreed with their thoughts or opinions, they were my family and I didn’t want to cut them out of my life completely.   I realize that not everyone has those same views, so that is a decision you have to make for yourself.  The most important thing to remember in this whole situation is that  you want to make things better for yourself so that you can take care of yourself and keep your own illness managed.  You helped with your mother for all these years and it seems as though she is doing better now, so now its your turn to make yourself feel better and take care of you.  No one knows what is best for you, but you.  Listen to your heart.

I hope this helped!!!!  If you have any more questions, feel free to write in again!

4 thoughts on “How do I deal with the hatred I have for my mom and my sister?

  1. I can’t help but wonder if it is going to be next to impossible to talk this out with your mother,from what you have said it sounds to me like she has been in “denial” about a lot of things for a long time. I am just guessing but if this is the case I am thinking she is likely not going to be too receptive to family therapy or even talking with you about these issues one to one. If that is to be the case then I would suggest that you get counselling and work on these issues on your own. The same goes with your sister, if you feel that telling her how you feel is not going to be helpful then it may be wise to work on your feelings on your own with a therapist. Good luck and be sure to take care of yourself first.

  2. I have read your reply and thanks for taking the time. I am on the waiting list to get into sliding-scale therapy at the university (the same university I hope to attend next year) and I hope that helps me achieve a level of peace. I’m fortunate to have a supportive girlfriend so we’ll see how this goes.

  3. I have decided to simply seek solutions on my own: my mother would not be agreeable to such things and believes nothing is her fault. As such I have decided to let her lie in the bed she made

  4. . My approach in a similar situation was to be self serving and start to take care of myself, my needs, my wants. I have no hope of reconciliation, and have removed all negativity from my life. I only surround myself with positive and happy people, all the others I have distanced myself from. That old saying: “Life’s too short not to be Happy” rings in my head every day. I can’t go back and change the past, and I have let go of those feelings that only created havoc in my life. I realise I can’t change the past and it doesn’t help me to live in those memories. I think about today, and a little bit about tomorrow.
    Everyday is a good one, and some are better !!
    ……….
    ……….
    the below is from the above

    The most important thing to remember in this whole situation is that you want to make things better for yourself so that you can take care of yourself and keep your own illness managed. No one knows what is best for you, but you. Listen to your heart.
    …….
    …….
    And Good Luck…

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