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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 HuffingtonPost.com.

Dr. Liane Leedom recommended this story for Lovefraud readers.


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KatyDid

lesson learned
My daughter has not been diagnosed, as far as I know (I do know she has been diagnosed ADHD and at her high security job, she has NOT been demoted but has been stripped of access to the high security assignments). For me, it’s been years of bizarre behaviors, unprovoked rage, using MY childhood traumas that she told others were HER traumas so she could be excused from peoples expectations, did I mention the explosive anger?, she refuses to speak about her childhood, while blaming me for it.

At first I felt very guilty b/c I am the one who brought that SPATH into our lives. But the fact is, I protected her from most of it, he targeted me and made alliance with her against me, and she was NEVER deprived, never starved, never beaten, never raped, never thrown out of her home… all the things she said were done but in actuality, were of MY upbringing.

I spent a lot of time wondering what I did wrong. She is SO like my HORRID birth family, which she NEVER met b/c I didn’t want them to influence her. Thus I concluded that I am the one who damaged her, how I raised her must have messed her up. Well, I reject that now. Too bad her childhood had some crap in it. Most of us have crappy childhoods and we are STILL responsible to behave, we are NOT excused. I put a strong boundry on her, and so far, she has respected it. But, if I say I don’t trust her to maintain it, perhaps you would understand.

I know you did all you could for your baby, we love them. No way did I want my baby to have anything but a loving joyfilled life. Sorry, rambling…. been a tough holiday season. I can recover from my spath. My baby takes the pain to an even deeper hell.

I have tried to find help so I could mitigate the spiral I saw from my daughter. ALl I could find was how it was my fault, b/c bad behavior comes from bad parents. I just couldn’t find someone to tell me what I was doing wrong….b/c I would have followed anyone’s guidance to correct myself.

Just to say…. I would never condemn your parenting. I actually had the worst, and I never would have done what your son, or my daughter, has done. New Year. New Opportunities. Take the best ones and God Bless US ALL.

lesson learned

Katy,

I hope this offers a little bit of solace. I hear your pain. I have felt that pain too with my son and my daughter and their behaviors are very different. The reality is that we are NEVER going to be perfect parents. I’ve come to realization that I can’t change what has been in bringing TWO spaths into my children’s lives, via birth by spath daddy and my last ex spath in an affair relationshit. REAL proud of that, let me tell ya!

But ya know what? They KNOW right from wrong. They DO. If they have a conscience, they’ll make the right choices for themselves and hopefully with empathy and compassion with others in mind. My son DOES NOT have a conscience. I do believe this is also biological, but we all know that doesn’t mean they don’t know right from wrong, they just don’t care.

My children have issues in their lives, traumatic experiences because of their exposure to my spaths. I know that. I grew up in an extremely abusive psychopathic home. While my choices reflected that upbringing, I didn’t have the awareness that my children now DO. They know about psychopathy, including my psychopathic son. They know about trauma. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with my children about their traumas and my part in it, in therapy and with them separately. It was PAINFUL, ugh, but it was necessary, for THEM.

I got a chance to apologize, Katy. The family therapist we had when my son was in drug court, told me and the kids, “YOU (meaning me) only need to apologize ONCE. JUST ONCE and no more”. Because if kids have grown up in a dysfunctional environment like mine did, and with the enabler that I was, they would USE their pain against me. This is the problem I am having with my borderline daughter. This is also a boundary I have with her now. She doesn’t get to project nor scapegoat me with regards to her childhood or mine anymore, as justifications for HER CHOICES.

The kids know that there is access to therapeutic services should they ever need to utilize it and they have my full support. But they are ADULTS now and they make their own choices and will suffer their own consequences. In a way, that’s a GOOD thing, because they LEARN from it, exception: Disordered daughter and son. I have hope that my daughter will eventually seek therapy, as she has asked me about it recently, but I still want her to ultimately make that choice for herself.

We do the best we can with what we know, Katy. Is it fair to beat ourselves up over what we didn’t? I don’t think so.

You did the best you could. What the spath did to you was not your fault and whatever lessons you learned out of it, are for you now. As far as parenting goes, I had to own up to my part with my children, and I NEEDED to apologize, so I could forgive myself and open a door for THEM to find healing. They are FAR more aware at their young ages than I was.

Two of my children are disordered, Katy, But the rest of them are not. They don’t all react/respond the same. Your daughter is CHOOSING to do what she’s doing and that is NOT your fault. My kids have tried the scapegoat thing. Too bad that was my role growing up because I recognized what some of them were doing. I didn’t help by enabling it either. Still, there is no excuse for disrespect and I hope that you can find a way to truly FORGIVE yourself.

YOU DID THE BEST YOU COULD WITH WHAT YOU KNEW.

LL

KatyDid

LL,
Thank you so much.
It’s been a tough Dec, very bad holiday time for me.
Yes. I apologized to my daughter AND I told her she could hold me accountable, that I would answer any question and explain any decision I made. But I put a boundry on blame. I am not to BLAME. Blame does not help her OR me, blame only binds and controls and damages. Yes, she knows right from wrong. And I actually suspect she has a certain level of borderline disorder, the volatile temper, the blame, the avoidance, much fits her temperament.

And you are also right about forgiving myself. God gave me this beautiful little girl and I feel I failed him, failed the gift from God. Gotta be a real POS to fail God. I can’t seem to get past that part.

I Prayed to God to give me a child, he did, she was my only one. For my daughter, her lessons in life are hers, just as mine are personally mine but God gave me only had one job to do, and I know the times I shoulda/coulda done better b/c I DID know the difference, but I was too self involved and my daughter paid the price.

lesson learned

Katy,

God may have given you the gift of your child, but I don’t think he expected you to be perfect at it. Who KNOWS what is in between? Some of this is genetics too. We don’t have control over that. Does God? If we’re on that rabbit trail maybe he gave you your daughter to STRENGTHEN you. Maybe he thought you were strong enough to handle the outcome. You did the BEST YOU KNEW HOW TO DO.

If we were perfect we wouldn’t grow and learn part of life’s lessons is parenting. (BTW, I was probably a WORSE parent then you were,lol), and these kids do not come with money back guarantees on their big toes at birth and a “how-to” manual doesn’t fall out of the sky in how to raise them.

Katy, we make mistakes as parents. You were THERE for her. I can see by what you’ve shared that you were. God gives us all a free will too. She’s CHOOSING this. If she were CHOOSING better things for herself, would you still be blaming yourself for your self involvement? Just think about that for awhile.

When we’re in relationships with spaths, I don’t think it’s possible to avoid being pathological ourselves, but ya know what, Katy? If we can love, even if we’re messed up? Our kids know it. They do! Your daughter knows.

My kids paid the price too, Katy. But not all of them are CHOOSING to BEHAVE in a nasty way. If she is borderline it’s likely it’s genetic ANYWAY..you don’t have control over that.

You did the best you could. THE BEST YOU COULD.

LL

KatyDid

Thanks LL, You have lifted my spirits. Just the reason I am seeking insight on LF tonight.
I’ll end my night saying kinda the same as I said to MoonDancer. The Moon is beautiful. Enjoy the pleasure of a dance, even if it’s just with yerself. I did.

kim frederick

Katydid, I jst read your post from 12/23. I remember the incident, clearly. I think that we both had our feelings hurt, and as I recall, we worked it out, at least I thought we did. The only thing I remember sticking to my guns about was that I FELT attacked. I don’t remember passing judgement on you, or telling you what you were thinking. I had no idea that this had such a strong effect on you, and for that I am truly sorry. I certainly never meant to effect your feeling of being welcomed and heard here at LF.
Please accept this as a sincere apology.
You are an important member here, and your input is valuable.
I’m sorry you feel lonely. I’m lonely, too. My children are all grown with lives of their own. I am not as out-going or as sociable as I used to be. My days off are almost always spent entirely alone. It is peaceful and relaxing, though. No chaos, or crazyness.
Anyway, the Holdays are over, so perhaps, neither of us will feel our lonliness so acutely, now.
God Bless you, and again, I’m sorry.

Louise

I am so glad the holidays are over!! I feel so much better; like a weight has been lifted off of me. On December 26, I instantly felt better. I live a lonely life, too. It’s mostly because I choose to. I do have a lot of friends, but they are all married and the last single one got engaged on Christmas…sigh. I am happy for her and will always wish the best for her because she is my friend, but it magnified my feelings of probably being forever alone. I have no children and no family close by so I make my own life. This is going to sound really strange and maybe almost perverted, but perhaps that is why I was so attracted to spath…he is so boyish and yet manly. I think I felt like he was the little boy I never had (and at the same time, the man I always wanted). Especially with his pity play and my sense that because of that pity, I wanted to take care of him like a child. I wanted to be his hero. How pathetic is that?? Lord, no wonder I was damaged!

KatyDid

KimFrederick
You have nothing to apologize to me for.

People on LF are raw, sensitive, feeling invalidated. There were times when I came onto LF looking for support, and also to give support and to offer another perspective. Sometimes when hurting, people can get myopic and not consider other possibilities, so my perspective might make someone defensive, even though that was NOT my intent.

One time, EVERY post just hammered on a young highschool girl and b/c of MY history, I did not see her as spath. All the description of her was NOT a child committing crimes, she attended school, was an honor student, involved in extracurricular activities, and held a job. That’s NOT my idea of a kid going bad. So I wrote asking people to stop encouraging the mother to reject her, go NC with a highSchool dependent kid. I did get attacked and I do remember pleading with others for empathy. I thought… we all ALL victims of an spath, where is the comraderie, the understanding. Instead I was ridiculed as doing a pity play, as being manipulative. In THOSE particular exchanges, I did not receive understanding, and I was ostracized as an outsider, not worthy of compassion. It did devastate me.

Since I am NOT spath, such attacks pushed me into such renewed depression. If I hadn’t already done a great deal of healing, I KNOW such invalidation would have pushed me to harm myself. I KNOW b/c there was a time when I had SUCH low self esteem I was desperate to find a reason to LIVE, to not do the world a favor and off this disgusting mother and worthless wife (me). My spath had driven me so low that the logic was: I had nothing worth contributing to life so all I was doing was using up resources and AIR that could go to someone worthy. THAT’s why I got involved and wanted others to STOP encouraging that mom to go NC with her/to reject that kid, that kid I saw as just a child struggling with a mom who had just ended a relationship with an spath, a mom who was understandably Very dramatic but who needed to calm down, and our LF posts were NOT calming her. They were encouraging her drama and her scapegoating her child. My heart broke for that poor high school kid.

BUT. You were Not the instigator to do that to me. You were not, in my awareness, going behind the scenes emailing and discussing me with others, and then inciting others to come back and slam me.

My main opinion of you is as a caring, intelligent, contributor. When I refer to my LF nemesis, You are not whom I am referring. You do not owe me any apology. You did no harm to me. I hope I explained my thinking and that it makes sense.

Best, Katy
ps If you read the exchange of LessonLearned, don’t you agree she was so kind and validating to me. I say this b/c I was feeling very low and she gave me a wonderful gift, she didn’t condemn me. I say thank you to her, but I bet she doesn’t understand how much a blessing her posts were to me. I was VERY low.

kim frederick

Oh, Katydid, I am so glad it wasn’t me. Thanks. And no I didn’t have anything to do with the situation you describe. I don’t remember it, but there were several months when I had no computer access, and it may have happened then.
I’m sorry for your experience, though.

lesson learned

Katy,

I’m so glad our exchange helped you feel a little better.

I think labeling others as spaths is an easy thing to do after having suffered these relationships or having grown up in an environment of DRAMA.

I remember when I first came here. I was out of my mind SICK, having just come out of my relationship. I had an alcohol problem and was dealing with undiagnosed PTSD. BOY was I mess. Of course I was labeled a spath because I acted out in my PTSD. The truth is, a lot of survivors do. PTSD can be a life long issue. The key for me has been therapy. I’m extremely committed to it and without it, ugh! I don’t know where I’d be now. ….

I’ve learned after years of spaths exploiting me and taking my power and with my role as scapegoat, I’m an easy target for those invested in doing those things. I just don’t give them my power anymore. I’m just me. If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize.

I understand people writing emails behind your back and saying unkind things. Those are games that I won’t engage in with anyone. It’s drama provoking. I can’t say that people who do that ARE spaths either, but they’re drama queens and it’s toxic.

I’ve been supporting survivors on my own for a year and a half now. I have learned SO MUCH from them. When I first came out of the relationship and several months down the road, I learned more and more about psychopathy, I was labeling any toxic behavior and the person doing it as spath. The reality is that it’s not true. There are a lot of survivors that are unhealed too. They may think they are, but their behavior shows they are not. They don’t lack empathy at all, although it can seem like they do, they’re just distracting themselves by engaging in drama.

I choose not to engage with survivors who do not wish to heal. It isn’t anything personal at all, it’s just that my boundaries now include making my life as DRAMA FREE as possible. If someone wishes to engage in a conversation or needs support and is working hard in recovery, moving away from toxic people and situations, I do all I can to support that. But I have learned that survivors that are unhealed, will continue to distract themselves. They may not be involved with spaths anymore, but guaranteed they engage in drama elsewhere. The hardest thing we will ever do is work on ourselves. We aren’t doing that by creating drama and accusing others of being spaths. It’s a waste of time.

Being healthy, I think, means doing my best to uplift others and encourage people to work on themselves and move forward in their healing, while working on myself too, having boundaries, defining values, morals and being very honest with myself about my vulnerabilities. Some get stuck on the way and can’t get out. Some find an alternative to the spath in other ways to distract. Some will work really hard, face all the hard stuff, like being alone, feeling pain and grieving their relationshits, and doing a lot of self examination…purging demons, if you will. THAT is very hard. But it all takes a long time. Some longer than others. If you have a childhood of this stuff, it can take even LONGER.

Like you and Kimmy, I’m pretty much alone now. I have one son left at home, who will finish high school this next June, then he will be off to college. I have another daughter who is with a spath now, and we are NC. I love her very much and I know she’s not a spath, BUT her behaviors are pathological because he is incredibly abusive and controlling and so her efforts in protecting him look much like all of ours once did when we were with our spaths. I explained my borderline and spath son last night, Katy. I have good relationships with my other children. I am grateful for this, but I spend a good deal of time alone now.

I don’t like being alone sometimes. During holidays, it’s especially hard. But then again, I’m learning how to embrace it, and what it means for me. There isn’t a feeling of “happiness” so to speak. But there is a feeling of PEACE. There is no drama. There is no chaos. I think after years of that, it’s more addictive and familiar, so now that it doesn’t exist in my life, I have a hard time knowing what to do now. This is where I’m at in therapy.

Forging a future alone is very scary, especially with health issues, but I’m never one to give up.

While I read here from time to time, I continue to be inspired by those familiar names I see here, who are strong and keep moving forward in their process. I know some of them think I’m spath too, Katy, but I don’t care. It doesn’t change how I perceive them and the strength that I see. I choose to be positive. I just ignore those who like drama. If you get something for yourself here that helps you, then I would encourage you to stay. It can be very hurtful when others call you names or label you, but when they do, be mindful that the reasons it happens doesn’t have much to do with you.

I understand you’re feeling low. But I see strength in you, Katy.

I think you can make it through the rest of the way. Loneliness and beating ourselves up can really mess us up. Just keep moving.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.

LL

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