A mother's severe mental illness tears apart her relationship with her daughter, please share

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My daughter grew up with a volatile mother and my undiagnosed mental illness. Not until a year ago at 48, I was diagnosed and properly treated. Still under going medication changes. My heart is broken, my spirit has left because I mourn the kinder, more loving, solid foundation my daughter's childhood needed. She now knows the severity of my mental illness and learning disability. However, all what happened still happened. From my heart and soul I have apologized for every hurt, pain, and tear I caused her. I pray with all my heart that she will come to forgive me. She told me she doesn't want to get to close and this is why we live thousands of miles apart. I will never be able to redo motherhood as a mother who 's bipolar is being treated. We have suffered so much. She is doing better and living physically and mentally a distant life.

Literally since my diagnosis, I weep and mourn intermittently through oiut my day. Its rare to go more than two days without sobbing. Tomorrow is Mother's Day, I don't know if she will send me a text to acknowledge Mother's day. My heart can't bare it and I have seriously looked into suicide societies outside of Canada. I use all my supports, take my meds, and fearfully and wearily am trying to participate daily.

Please share with me, because I sure could use some friendly faces.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it.

1 like, 11 replies


11 Replies

  • Posted

    I hear you. I was diagnosed and treated late in life like you. I feel the guilt and shame of how I parented my sons actually. Some days it's like a stone that weighs me down so much I can't move. I don't share this with them. They do know it is a struggle some days.

    That said, it's a long road to forgiving yourself. The past is the past. You cannot change that. Your best chance is to keep taking your meds, look after yourself and show your daughter you are committed to being well.

    Maybe you can 'negotiate' with your daughter that you exchange emails each month. That way you know whats happening in her life and you can show her you are still ok. Frame it so that its not about being 'close' but just being in touch.

    I think the more you apologise for what happened, it could push her further away. You cannot take her pain away, you can ease her future. Your relationship may never be that warm cosey one we would all like. Accepting the reality of that is your next big hurdle.

    If you have come this far, you can take the next step and baby steps that follow. Be kind to yourself. Stick with your meds etc.

    Most importantly of all, know you aren't alone in this. All of us bipolar mums have struggled and we still do. Good karma vibes and hugs to you.


    • Posted

      Thank you Ally, a Joyful Mother's Day to you. You have comforted me by sharing what you went through and struggle with. Believe me when I say, you helped me to not feel so alone. I appreciate your words and I am listening.

  • Posted

    Hello Braun

    I am a little like you although with me my basic condition was caused by a bad childhood. This extended into my adult life and my Depression is caused by a Chronic medical condition I was just diagnosed after five weeks of tests that I have a conjenital Short Term Memory Disorder, on top of the Reactive Depression and that has also affected my married life and not having any children of our own. My Wife has been a saint and to say I am a terror on occasions is a light way of looking at my condition of over fifty years.

    You are at a position in life where you know the damage your condition has caused and you also understand the feelings your daughter has towards you. There is very little you can do but say sorry, you have now done that and now you need to give yourself a break and accept you need to move on with your daughter and hope in the future She will allow you back into Her Life.

    It is so very important you take your medications they will stabalise your condition and control any rapid changes you may have.

    Does your Daughter have a husband or any children yet, if this is the case, send her a Mothers Day Card, that may break the ice somewhat. You can of course call her as it is to late for a card and try and talk without saying sorry. You need to move on, even though you know you still have problems.

    In my case I went to a Day Centre that dealt with mental health suffers, I became their Information Officer for ten years and the support I was given was extremly valuable so look for something like that as I understand you have been doing that.

    In the UK we also have charities and Mental Health sites like this where you will get support from. Do you have any type of centre on Web or withn society you can go to when needed.

    All I can say is be kind and understanding with your daughter and hopefully all will sort out in the future. Mental Health concerns can really do some damage that takes time to rectify it may not happen it is al up to you.

    Do not use your condition from now as an excuse for any bad behaviour, you are still a reponsible adult who needs to accept their failings and get on with your life.

    If you feel suicidal others will feel worse because of it and will never recover from your selfish act. I do not know the situatn in Canada when someone feels suicidal, if you feel really bad call your Health Emergency line and ask for help.

    Good luck for new times with your daughter all should work out in the end


    • Posted

      Your kind and direct words are needed, thank you for the wisdom you shared with me. Your words are absolutely solid.

      You gave back to your community as an information officer, your a empathic and caring man. Your wife seems to be a truly kind lady.

      Since my diagnosis, last year, I have been med compliant and participate in groups and have supported living while maintaining my apartment.

      I tell my psychiatrist everything, good, bad, ugly and embarrassing. My daughter is 21 and getting married in her province. She and her fiance do not want any family to come, just their friends. This August, they wed. She is marrying a fella who is bipolar but he is higher functioning than me. He doesnt want to take medication.

      Plus he smokes potsad. My psychatrist informed me smoking pot especially people with mental health concerns brings on psychosis. My bipolar has psychotic features. So I do worry for my daughter and her finances mental health.

      I support her as much as she allows. She said she will call me. She doesn't like it when I call her.

      She doesnt mind a text every week.

      I send her care packages and money when I save for it, as I am on disability here. The support I recieve is not from family its from the different mental health professionals and the hospital.

      I did adopt a kitty on Remeberance Day, and she helps me so very much. Love her to bits. Also, I submitted a volunteer application at one of our Animal Humane Societies. I love all creatures great and small. Believe me I am trying. The sadness just doesnt leave.

      Your a very kind man to take your time to reply.

    • Posted


      Thank you for your kind words. 

      When I read your reply I wa taken aback regard your daughter marrying a suffer of the same condition you have no matter at what level He finds himelf in. You have done all you can and I suppose stepping back at this time may be the best idea.

      You are disabled beause of your condition so you need to look after yourself, I hope in this case your daughter will eventually understand how you are feeling and will relent and come back around to a more solid family relationship with you.

      When it come to Weed, Mental Health and this drug can or sometimes cause  problems and I cannot personally understand why your future Son and Law is still partaking. I would imagine His Doctor or Specialists have not said anything about it.

      I do wonder about your Daughters relationship, it would seem she is entering into a relationship that has the same caracteristics as she left in your home/household.

      I wish you luck, we are here to help


  • Posted

    Dear BraunWynn,

    My heart is with you, especially today on Mother's Day.  I had a simular situation, undiagnosed until 55. I had two sons, neither of which has any contact with me, even though they have started their own families and must understand the incredible connect that parents have to their children.  When people ask I just answer that we are estranged and they rarely ask anything more.

    I continue to work very hard to combat the erratic behaviour caused by bipolar disorder.  I take my medication, attend an online bipolar education group try to be introspective. I don't know if M & D will ever be back in my life, they are grown men with their own families.

    I wish you well in your relationship with your daughter - it's really one of those "one day at a time" situations. All you can do is to get strong and as comfortable with the illness as possible, in that process I think that your daughter will eventually come back to you. She may need to go through her own grieving process and may not be able to muster up the forgiveness you want and need -

    It's my hope that your daughter will send you a Mother's Day message today. I'm still trying to learn what the impact of my illness and behaviour had on my kids and husband. It can feel like a very lonely place to have a diagnosis of bipolar. There are many good people out there with similar challenges, this is a good place to meet them.


    • Posted

      Karin, thank you for connecting with me and genuinely sharing your family illness and disclosing your medical struggle. The guilt, shame, and mourning is unbearable. The longing for our children is undescrible yet we feel the pain so deeply. I really am sorry your estranged from your grown children. My support is here anytime as well. Venting is good too, I am all ears. Thank you for helping me Karin.
  • Posted

    Hi BraunWynn.

    I saw your post earlier, the day before Mothers Day here, but didn't have the strength of mind to respond.

    I have two children. My daughter is the eldest and walked away when she felt she had the means to, i suppose. I have not seen her in many years because she cannot deal with me being bipolar. She also has her own demons to face.

    My son stood by me, and still does to this day. He is amazing and helps me in any way he can, even if i don't need it. He has seen me at my very worst and at my best, and has not faultered in his stance with me.

    My daughter saw nothing and experienced nothing except what she created.

    I know bipolar is hell to live with, harder to understand, and with my daughter having borderline personality disorder, one would think she would understand to some extent what it's like.

    I don't blame her for leaving, but i do feel that she left because she knew my son wouldn't. I know she would have left even if i had no other child.

    I miss her every day and love her no less, but i have accepted the fact i will never see her again or hear her voice.

    She has no contact with her brother either.

    It's a terrible loss and shame which is felt every day, but she obviously felt she needed to go for herself. I can't and don't blame her for it. No apologies can undo what i have or haven't done. It doesn't get easier, especially when a daughter will always be your little girl.

    I hope your daughter returns when the time is right for her. In the meantime, enjoy the contact you do have. You are lucky, some of us end up with no contact at all.

    I would also like to say something on the weed issue that was brought up and responded to. I have done a lot of research into this and found that "pot", as it was put, can actually have a positive effect on many of those inflicted with bipolar and other disorders. Those who develop psychosis have an existing underlying problem and are susceptible to becoming psychotic with or without weed, but this does not always occur.

    • Posted

      Thank you for responding, Alwaysalone. Your son has a loving character and a big heart. Your right about enjoying the contact I do have with my daughter. I am so grateful and sorrowful because of the guilt. Previous posts from caring people just like you, enlighten the reality of my situation. I am apprecitive of your insight too. I am saddened to hear your daughter is keeping to herself. That is exactly what terrifies me.

      Daily I am trying to accept my reality and forgive myself. Golden wisdom, which wasn't mine. Its a guilt ridden struggle but I am really trying. I am happy your son is caring for you. Thank you for your insight.

  • Posted

    Please don't give up. I am also a mother and I know how you feel. I have suffered from emotional problems, I will call them. I'm reluctant to say mentel problems, because I feel like mine are more emotional, if there is a difference. I have 2 young daughters and they have seen my ups and downs, but through it all they know I know love them and they have forgiven me. I always say I'm sorry if I do or say anything out of line. Remember nobody is perfect. No childhood is perfect. I have taken Zoloft off and on for many years even before I had kids. Think about the good. Focus on the good. Feel glad that your daughter is doing well. It's good that you are focused on your life now. The happier you are the happier everyone in your life will be. 

    • Posted

      Hi Bre, it is really comforting to connect with people on here. Your sharing about your emotional struggle between you and your daughters is very courageous share with me, thank you. An acquaintance of mine takes Zoloft as well. She mentioned it helps the bumps along the way. She isn't Bipolar like me, however she has had a tumultuous life. I am grateful my daughter is doing well. She had a real rough go. On top of her mom, being undiagnosed bipolar while growing up, my estranged brother of fifteen years, sexually assaulted my little girl. No justice for her, She still suffers the psychological damage. I come from a nasty upbringing as well and my brother hurt me as well. My family didn't believe us and disowned us. And when my brother had a visit from the police at his home, he just said talk to my lawyer. One policeman taunted him a wee bit and noticed how touchy my brother responded. The cop said, so you did it, everytime time my brother said tslk to my lawyer. Not enough evidence unfortunately. No wonder people suffer with severe emotional and mental health problems.

      Do you find Zoloft helping you?

      Are you and your daughters doing okay?

      Let me know how your doing, when your up to it.


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