Mother of a mentally ill son describes what she faces every day

Perhaps, in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, people will finally start talking seriously about how to cope with the mentally disturbed. Liza Long, mother of 13-year-old boy who sometimes rages out of control, tells her story.

‘I am Adam Lanza’s mother’: A mom’s perspective on the mental illness conversation in America, on

Dr. Liane Leedom recommended this story for Lovefraud readers.

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69 Comments on "Mother of a mentally ill son describes what she faces every day"

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One of my perspectives that I have repeated shared here on LF is that after YEARS (or just repeated exposure) of living with an spath, we take on SOME behaviors/attributes just as ANY married couple take on some of each others ways they respond.

So when my nemesis ridiculed me for a word I used, b/c that was a spath word, she taunted WHO DOES THAT? And my thought was, well, someone who has been abused by an spath does. I mean I DID TRY to communicate with him and yes, if I got ONE WORD wrong, he turned it on me that ALL I said was wrong and invalid.

You weren’t spath, any more than I have ever been. A little grace and compassion would go a lot further if we’d remember that while we ARE NOT crazy, we LIVED in a crazy MAKING life, and are trying to negotiate the path OUT of it. I do thank you for sharing how/why you labeled all behavior as toxic/spath. It’s a survival thing. I know I lived a life of paranoia, after all my husband tried to kill me and I didn’t where/who would finish the job. I only knew that he would perceived my existence as PROOF of his failure to WIN. and WINNING is everything to him.

My baby, my only child, my daughter is another story. How much is PTSD. How much is it just the military doing mind fucking. How much is it just the stress of long hours and little sleep. How much is it the influence of dominant leaders encouraging bad behavior as a way to get control over someone (my x was great at creating minions). How much is it a grown child, isolated by her security clearance, flustrated, unable to say she needs help b/c it means she loses ALL benefits that she has worked 8 years to earn. I will NOT quit on her, but I have had to limit contact b/c I am not able to emotionally handle her temper and venting and lies. Not excusing her, but have put my judgment on hold until I KNOW the truth of her choices/needs. How many other soldiers are returning home with these same issues. And do people in the US know that the programs cut for the military are the mental health programs? LOTS of Tragedies are brewing, I am only one soldiers mom.

Am SO happy to see your progress. You are a wonderful model for new LF members, for your willingness to share your journey and for your forgiveness. Thanks again for your words. They meant the world to me.

Best, Katy


Ohhhhhhhh……I didn’t know your daughter was in the military…

I think what is done to vets in this country with lack of services is SHAMEFUL. One of my best friends had a nephew who committed suicide last February. He was given an honorable discharge from the service due to an injury inflicted while on duty. He felt so responsible for leaving behind his best friend (my friend’s son) and the rest of his buddies and was so depressed about not being able to fulfill his military career, that one day, he just shot himself. He wrote an fb message, saying he couldn’t take it anymore and for the someone to call 911 and he gave his address. They found him an hour later.

The VA did NOTHING to help this kid. How many more tragedies are like this? How many more kids are already messed up emotionally, go into the service where it’s exacerbated? How many MORE come home with untreated PTSD or poorly treated?

PTSD has too much of a stigma. I have just recently begun to discuss it openly with my own family with regards to my reactions to triggers. This has created a closeness with them and a huge awareness of myself that keeps me vigilant with regards to coping.

I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this with your daughter, Katy. The military piece really makes sense as to perhaps some of the behavior. I believe if there is empathy and conscience there is HOPE. Although my daughter’s borderline behavior expresses itself in really outrageous times with its narcissism, I HAVE seen a great deal of empathy and compassion for others too. Patience is so hard when you see your child miserable, and just want for their happiness. I understand this so much.

I think your approach is a healthy one. I have NC with my toxic spath family and with one daughter because of a spath. You just can’t win with spaths AT ALL. I do believe that because my daughter has awareness of her pain, and that it needs to be addressed (she’s not quite ready yet), that there is hope. But there has to be boundaries too to protect myself, so I understand just where you’re coming from.

Is it too intrusive to ask if she has sought out mental health services at all or if she has any awareness about her behavior? Or have you mentioned your observances or is that something that doesn’t feel safe for you?

I think you’re doing the right thing. 🙂



I’d really like to ask you a question with regards to spaths and something I am currently struggling with. Because I know you are well versed with spaths, I’m confident you could help rid me of this cog/dis I’m currently dealing with.

Would you be open to me asking?



Yes she has seen a psychologist in the Army, they were the ones who diagnosed her ADHD. However, there is NO confidentially between patient and councellor in the Military. ANYTHING a service member says is available to their C.O. You can see the sense in that, someone in command NEEDs to know if there is a known danger to other personal. BUT, the policy keeps soldiers from asking for the help they need b/c that very asking will be used to discharge them, after they have given their ALL for their country. I do mean their ALL, the military OWNS every single minute of their day, their food, their computer time, their communications with family/friends. We civilian do NOT understand the depth of sacrifice that even a simple clerk can have demanded of them.

So yes, I see behaviors that go back to teen years with the spath. There are LF member who have been adament that she is spath and that I should nc her. And since I don’t agree that she is to be written off yet, I don’t have anyone to talk to so when stuff comes up, I am so alone. Holidays are stressors for soldiers and their families, even when emotionally healthy. I will NOT report her behavior b/c she is getting out and she EARNED her benefits. I don’t want her stripped of them, she will NEED them when she is out. It’s not fair to suck the life out of them and then discard them alone and isolated when the PTSD gets to them. Or is it PTSD? Mebbie she’s like my really HORRID family. See my confusion, my dilemma? This is NOT cut and dry for me. That’s why I will NOT abandon my baby even though some of her behavior towards ME is off the scale (I don’t know how she is towards others).

Reading the above conversation and sending hope in your directions.
One of the beautiful things about LF is the people, the diversity and the varying opinions. It’s a token of the worlds personalities…..all together on one site.
We won’t all agree….and we don’t have the benefit of seeing someones body language as they write (speak) to us.
It’s up to us to sort out what applies and what we discard.
When we encounter someone who treats us poorly, whether spath or just toxic in OUR lives….it’s up to us to make the decisions on how we handle it, what we let in and what we try to avert.
LF is good practice also for the ‘real world’.
I think most on LF have good intentions and are here from the heart, but we don’t all have the same approaches.
Take ME for example. Those who have been around and have seen my posts know…..that I’m not the one who will say, oh poor poor you. I’m so sorry yadayada. It doesn’t mean I am not sorry your going through this painful journey……it’s just not my approach.
I’m action based. I ask why and look for meanings and growth out of a situation. LF was practice for me for ‘real life’. I ask questions, I put together ‘facts’ on something…..and then…..I offer (hopefully interpreted as ) inspiration to get up and conquer fears, to not allow ourselves to be silenced, to think for ourselves because most of us have doubted every cell in our beings as far as our own judgement goes.
I’m a Geterdone kinda girl. I want folks to be inspired…..but i’m sure to some, i’m not inspiring.
I feel so pationate about healing…..I know time, distance and knowledge help. I know today won’t be the same as tomorrow…..and i’d like survivors to remember to take a snapshot of how today feels… when tomorrow rises….you know it’s all worth it. I want survivors to know… does change… does get better….but ya gotta get yer but up and MAKE it better.
If I could change one thing….I’td be towards anyone who doesn’t feel there is hope in this humanity we share.
I know…..there is. I was at the bottom….being hit from all angles…..and got up, worked hard and came back from the bowels of hell. Protected my kids and myself….and struggled. BUT, made it out.
I’m not a stangnant sitter….I’m not a fence sitter…..I can be blunt and straight forward….get up and DO IT kinda gal.
Some may not like my style……and some may. I realize that ‘some’ may not ‘get me’ but know what I say is genuine and from my heart.
I think it’s important to call BS when you see it, and move along.
I think most (and we do get trolls like any other internet site) mean well here…….but we all come from different backgrounds and experiences. We are all different and to be a healthy participant in a blog such as LF…….we must accept it.

I’m learning……
I have been struggling with my own family (parents, brother etc) and the reality of ‘who’ these people are and ‘why’ they do what they do.
I think it’s harder to deal with then divorcing and then emotionally divorcing with the spath ex. (for me). You can divorce and eventually ‘move on’ from a marriage…..but your birth family (or those you gave birth to) seems different to me.
I had ‘familial’ expectations. I lived the fantasy on that front aswell. you know….blood it thicker than water?!?!
To me spath was water… parents etc were blood.
And it turned out…. both on thinners and bled out!!! 🙂
Then…..the cruel reality hit.
Not only did I have no support when I needed it most….these people worked and continue to ‘work against’ me and my kids.
They helped kidnap my kids and hide them, they alienated me when i was deathly ill…..and they feed info to the spath.
And now….they have ‘adopted’ the spath and expectant wife….as their own. we’ve been replaced. BY A SPATH and a woman who abandoned her own kids for spath…..ME…their daughter….My kids…their grandbabies.
I struggle to understand the ‘whys’. starting with, why is the wife so intent with MY family?!?!
BUT……for me, I will never have those answers. So I must move forward. Since I made the decision to go NC with them all…’s gotten much easier on me emotionally. I don’t think about them daily…..they didn’t hamper my holidays with the kids and for those things I am grateful. It aided in the normalcy to our lives.
It’s growth.
It’s growth based on decisions I made for ME.
I can’t change THEM……I KNOW this!
So I won’t go there.

Just remember…..that we all have choices and we can disappear quietly and reflect on ‘what just happened’ without the drama and chaos we have become accustomed to living with a spath.
It’s all up to US now!


EB, sometimes, I need a kick in the proverbial shin to get me to stop spiraling down into the abyss. Sometimes, what I need to read isn’t all warm and fuzzy. I USED to take everything as a personal affront because I was SO easily triggered.

I’m stumbling on my healing path, quite frequently, but the words that I read on this blog cause me to stop the plunge and start thinking. Most often, the words are colored with compassion, etc., but sometimes the words that cause me to think the most are the ones that come off harsh or hard. Life is hard. Recovery is hard. Healing is hard. And, it’s not always possible to get a point across without that point being harsh or hard.

Yepper…..I try to read the words and avoid attaching some nefarious meaning to them. In my Past Life, I WAS always criticized, invalidated, and ignored, so I have had to learn that strong suggestions aren’t necessarily critical, invalidating, or dismissive.

Having typed that, it does NOT mean that I don’t still RE-act. I just don’t re-act as often as I used to.

Brightest blessings

I LOVE the geterdone girl. You have been such a model for me; b/c of you I found my ADAMENT. I let myself get beaten down and when in that place, I was SO full of doubt, I didn’t know what to do and I’d feel overwhelmed. It’s not my natural state, it’s what I fell into after spath poisoning. Somehow your posts popped up to give me a way. WHoohoo girlie. We need people like you. And BTW, HAPPY NEW YEAR to ya. – katy

ps that being replaced carp? well, carp is carp. people/family whose main motivation is to dominate and control? guess yer family thinks they found that in yer x and his new fly. hurts. i know. the motto of these type seems to be “submit or be destroyed”. as bad as it is to have to see the carp, it would hurt more to BE her, gettin her legs and wings slowly pulled off one at a time.

EB, as Truthy said in her post above

“Yepper”..I try to read the words and avoid attaching some nefarious meaning to them. In my Past Life, I WAS always criticized, invalidated, and ignored, so I have had to learn that strong suggestions aren’t necessarily critical, invalidating, or dismissive.”

I think we all must keep that in mind. If we are triggered or wounded though by something someone says, that is inappropriate, then we need to use the REPORT ABUSIVE COMMENT and notify Donna and I guarantee she WILL take care of it. If the comment doesn’t rise to the level of public “abuse” but is simply some advice we don’t agree with or want to take, then it is simple enough to no longer respond to that particular poster. Or say “I disagree, but let’s not discuss this any more.”

Not everyone is ready to accept the truth of the situation with their spouse/lover/kid/parent when the “truth” is apparent to others around them. I know I was NOT ready to accept that Patrick was/is a monster, for DECADES…and I hung on to this delusional view of my “baby boy” for a long time after others saw him for what he was.

Back years ago when I did the pro bono health care for the DV shelter I saw so many women go back to men who had beaten them, broken arms, etc. over and over and over…they were NOT READY to accept that the man they “luv’d” wasn’t gonna change and suddenly become the man they wanted him to be. I think the average number of times an abused woman takes to leave and stay gone is 7 times…I used to feel SUPERIOR to these women,, because I WOULD NEVER LET A MAN HIT ME AND GET BY WITH IT. But yet, at the VERY time I was feeling superior to them, I was enabling my murdering son by sending him money, going to visit him, planning for when he “came home.”

I think about the story Jesus told about the Hypocrite Pharisee and the publican (crooked tax collector) who stood praying in the Temple. The hypocritical Pharisee stood and said “thank you God that I am not a sinner like that publican, thank you that I am holy etc. etc.” but the humble Publican threw himself on the floor of the Temple, and said, “God have mercy on me a sinner.”

Looking back I realize I was like that hypocritical Pharisee, I felt superior, more holy, smarter, than those women who went back and back for more abuse from their abusers…but I wasn’t smarter or more superior…or more holy. I just didn’t see the “sin” in my own life of enabling a psychopath. If someone had told me then that I should have quit enabling him, I would have been offended I am sure.

Today a few people tell me “Oh, you can’t give up on him, he’s your soooooooon” but they don’t offend me saying that. It may irritate me that they just don’t “get it” but not to the level of being offended by it. Some people never get it about their abuser. Others eventually do. I remember when Witsend came here desperate to find help for her bi-polar out of control 16 yr old son…DESPERATE to get the school to help her, desperate to get him to cooperate with therapy (he was bi polar, as well as What?) because he was destroying his own life, and she was afraid of him.

Eventually, he turned 18, left home (even before 18) and she eventually came to realize that he could not be helped. She had to let go. I am glad to say that she let go a lot sooner than I did. I didn’t let go for DECADES…I hung on and on and ON. At first though, for months, Witty tried this or that or something else to try to get through to him. I knew those feelings, I knew those things she was trying…and I knew they wouldn’t work. I tried to be gentle, but the fact was, I was able to see her son more clearly than she could…she didn’t take my advice for a long time, she COULDN’T take my advice for a long time, but I do believe that my advice from EXPERIENCE helped her (she told me it did) and she is SAD about the loss of her son & to what she wanted for him, but she is also ACCEPTING that she did the best she could and that sometimes DNA will trump love and nurturing.

The diversity of LF, and the diversity of opinions here, I think is what makes LF great! And like a giant buffet we can pick and choose what we take, and go back for seconds if we choose, and we’re not forced to eat anything we don’t like.

amen about not being able to hear the message the first time around. another thing about LF is the archives. b/c i have been so hurting and dismissed someones post after the first line or so. but with archives, when i get my ‘tude in hand, i can go back and gain that wisdom. wish i could say that my ‘tude is fixed, but it seems to wax and wane. Thank GOD for grace and redemption.

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