My Friday Fiction Friends and I write different stories based on the same prompt. This week, Kelly DeBie provided the prompt. This is episode seventeen in an ongoing series. If you missed the first sixteen episodes, here are links:
“Your mother checked herself in last night after an attempted suicide. She is stable physically so far today, but she may need ongoing treatment at a behavioral health facility if she doesn’t show improvement. She is clearly a threat to herself, so hospitalization is indicated. And as you know, this isn’t her first hospitalization. We are lucky she called for help.” Dr. Goldstein explained. “Her suicide note mentioned you by name so I wanted to inform you and see if we might be able to set up another therapy session online. I know you are far away and can’t drop everything to come into town, although a personal visit is exactly what your mother probably wants.”
“Are you kidding me? What did it say? Why is this my fault? What did she do?” Amanda asked incredulously. Her heart was beating fast imagining her mom lying in the hospital room alone.
“Amanda, she cut her wrists and then called 911 on herself before it was too late. She talked about the last time she saw you two years ago when she changed her flight and left early because she was so uncontrollably upset. That was a few years ago as you remember. She said you haven’t been calling her enough since then. How you don’t even care if she is alive and how she feels ignored and unloved. Your mom is hurting a great deal Amanda. I’ve tried over the years to help you two repair your relationship, since you were a child in fact. It’s hard for you to understand her multiple conditions, but she feels very isolated and alone. She places an overwhelming amount of pressure on you to take care of her when really she is the mother and you are the child. It’s a classic behavior pattern for parents with Borderline Personality Disorder. Add depression and anxiety to the mix and she needs a lot of help navigating through her life. Although as you know she doesn’t like to have a label or a diagnosis or disorder. I know this is hard for you. So please let’s sit down and talk about this.”
“Hard for me? Trust me I am dealing with a lot. The last thing I need right is for her to blame me for her problems. I don’t have much energy left to give. She is like a sinkhole of emotional energy. This is why I can’t stand to talk to her. Instead of being there for me when my life turns upside down, she makes everything about her….and even worse she blames her misery on me. I don’t know. I need to think about it. She can’t manipulate me like that. We haven’t patched things up since she left my house early during that one Christmas vacation years ago! We’ve barely talked and have only had email communication for the most part. Communicating with her is stressful for me and toxic to my life. I’m a mother. My kids need me healthy and happy.”
“This is a cry for help. She needs you. She needs help, and I am working with her. Think about it and let me know if you can make time. Just call my office, and they will schedule a Skype conference.”
Amanda thanked her mom’s psychiatrist and hung up the phone. They knew each other for years, and she admired his calm demeanor, but knew inside she didn’t have the energy for a face to face meeting with them. Her mom was so frustrating because she was in denial about her mental conditions. She refused to take medication or accept diagnoses, but she claimed that she was overly sensitive and held on to baggage from her past as a defense strategy. On one hand she would say she lived a rough life, and on the other hand she would say there was nothing wrong with her. She wanted people to feel sorry for her and to treat her differently because she was overly emotional and sensitive. Yet she refused to do anything about her problems herself. She blamed others for her unhappiness and raised Amanda with the constant threat that she might kill herself when they got in fights. Amanda grew up with the uncertainty of not knowing whether she would find her mom dead one day, and that it would be her fault because of something she did wrong. It was a cruel and unfair burden to place on a child.
Now after all these years, she actually tried it. Unbelievable. I can’t believe this is happening. I need her to be there for me. I’ve lost so much. I’m hurting now. Other people can call their moms when they need support. Other people spend time with their moms, have fun and feel support.
She remembered that Christmas vacation that changed history with her mom. It was the last time Amanda invited her. She changed her flight to leave early on the day after Christmas because she was so upset she decided to take herself out of the equation. She couldn’t control her emotions and felt agitated and upset, living in her own dramatic world. Impulsively, she came downstairs that morning saying she was leaving a full week ahead of schedule. Like she was doing us a favor because she caused such a scene in our family’s house the day before. She unloaded emotional baggage to Richard explaining how her own parents never loved her on the main stairway in the house while the kids retreated to their bedrooms with doors shut to avoid their grandmother’s outburst. At the time, Amanda did what she knew best. She let her go. Richard drove her mom to the airport. A door inside Amanda’s heart closed when the front door closed behind them. It was a final physical declaration of what Amanda grew up knowing all along, that her mom was unavailable to her. Even if they both wanted a good relationship, it just wasn’t going to happen in this lifetime.
Her phone started ringing again. The ringtone interrupted her train of thought with Jewel’s angelic voice saying “Follow your heart, your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction.” It was Robert‘s school calling.
“Hi it’s Cindy in the nurse’s office at Canyon Creek East. I’ve got Robert here with me. He is sick and needs you to pick him up. He’s got a fever of 103 degrees.”
“Oh hi, sure, thank you so much for calling. Be there in a few minutes.” Amanda pressed ‘end’ on her iPhone and shifted gears.
I’m going to have to deal with my mom later. Right now Robert needs his mom.
Here is the prompt:
May is the month to celebrating motherhood. Start this week’s post with the following:
Please visit my other Friday Fiction Friends to see what they wrote with the same prompt:
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World’s Worst Moms
- Friday Fiction #15: Wings to Fly (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
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- Friday Fiction #11: Beware the Ides of March (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Fiction Friday #12: One Chance (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Friday Ficton #16: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (susannenelson.wordpress.com)