Chaotic mum




Talking to my mum sometimes is lovely, she is intelligent and can be insightful and kind. She can be generous to a fault with people; they will sometimes walk all over her.

The doctor has diagnosed her as bipolar and she is an addict. She lives with my dad, also an addict.

Today I spoke to her and she was completely manic, talking over me non-stop and I kept saying ‘mum please listen’, she then demanded something from me this weekend saying she’s arranged it for me – an hour-long task, nothing too big – I can’t say as it’ll be obviously outing. But I said ‘mum don’t arrange things like that for me it’s not convenient, you need to ask me beforehand.’

Cue her swearing and shouting at me and me hanging up.

I love her, I don’t want to cut her out of my life and I won’t, but it’s just exhausting. I set boundaries, I’ve learned how to in therapy. But how on earth do I stop these interactions draining me? She’s like Jekyll and Hyde.

Does anybody have a similar situation and already figured out how to keep a relationship with their parents without it draining the life out of them when they are explosive and chaotic?

I’ll speak to my therapist about it next week but my husband is out and I’m feeling a bit depleted and lonely with it. I’m wondering if anyone can relate.

  • listener

    Hi there,

    I'm really sorry to hear all that you're going through with your parents, particularly your mum at the moment. It is so hard when someone you love so much behaves unpredictably - being loving and kind at times yet the complete opposite other times.

    It's really hard not letting these difficult episodes drain you, you're human and it's natural to feel this way. What do you normally do when you are feeling this way? Do you have anything you find particularly helpful? It can sometimes take a lot of exploring to find what coping mechanisms work for you.

    Some people find writing things down really helpful. Externalising everything that's going around in your mind onto paper can be cathartic, and give you a sense of relief. Talking is another way of externalising which can be really helpful. Please know that the Nacoa helpline is another support if you ever want to reach out by phone or email (0800 358 3456 /

    It's great that you have a therapist and that you've learned how to set boundaries - that is very difficult but very important. Finding the balance between keeping a relationship with your parent yet staying well isn't an easy thing. Please do be kind with yourself and know that it is natural to be affected by the situation in this way.

    I'm so pleased you're reaching out on here and hope you find other people's experiences helpful. You are not alone in this. Do keep reaching out whenever you need to.

    Take good care of yourself.

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