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I need mental health advice for my mom


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My mother is not okay. And I do not know what to do. 
I believe it started to get worse when she went to college. We all had problems way before that, but things began to scale up after that. She dropped university when she was twenty and decided to pursue higher education because she genuinely wants to be a dentist and become financially independent. My dad is a dentist as well, so he helped her a bit with that. In Brazil, going to a public university to get free education often means moving out to a big city, so my mom applied to a private college nearer to home. It also allowed her to go to school in the mornings, only three days every week, so she could be with her family and help my dad around his dentist's office. So far, so good.
But you see, my father always was a difficult person. He has his ups and downs like everybody, but his behavior is starting to impact my mom way more than before.  
First, she had to switch institutions about three years ago because the university she attended was too far from home. She would need to spend an entire week in that city because the school would not let her do part-time classes anymore.  
That meant she would be out of the house for most of the week. She didn't want to stay that much time away from us. She was also worried about what my dad would do in the meantime. 
Even though he had plenty of help around the dentist's office, my dad would always get stressed. He is very anti-social, and I suspect he is not in love with his job. 
Before he met my mom, he would only work a few hours a week until he had enough money to go out of town and visit the beach. Once he would have spent every penny, he would go back to town and treat the patients whose pride wasn't wounded enough to stop them from coming back there. Because he thought saving money was more important than paying bills, his electricity and water would get cut several times. He had debts all around town. It was a mess. 
My mom helped him a lot. She made the business work. But when she wasn't around, my dad would get sloppy. He would get in trouble with patients sometimes. And he would get resentful. So he would take it out on the kids. 
Now, he never beat us or anything. And to his credit, we were three spoiled brats trying to figure out how to manage ourselves. We could be very unreasonable at times. We were also studying in another town, so we would wake up at six a.m. every day to get to the bus. We needed to go to sleep early and have dinner at a reasonable time to do so. My dad didn't like that. He wanted to get home and rest. Things would sort themselves out. I fought with him every day my mother was at college until I finally learned how to make dinner. But the arguments didn't stop after that. We would get home for lunch and sit at the table. Back at those times, I was having issues with my self-esteem and had just broken up with my best friend. My siblings were also having problems of their own. My sister, for instance, only recently started to learn how not to bottle up her emotions and express them in a better way. My brother was always trying to please my dad. Who, in turn, would criticize pretty much any hobby or pastime my brother liked. My dad would always have something to make everybody finish the meal feeling four times worse than before. And we had to swallow it. Mom had enough on her plate with college already.
After she decided to get transferred, she ended up in a university with a different curriculum, which annulated the two years she already had on her belt as a student and made her start over. Mom was so sad about it. She hoped she would be able to graduate before I got to college. 
And then the pandemic came. I am still living at my parent's house, and mom is more stressed than ever. It was way worse in the first two months of the outbreak. Both my mom and my dad got panicked. He started bossing around the house, and she was too scared to do anything but what he told her to. 
Then my grandmother got the Coronavirus. And developed dementia. She passed from one hospital to another, and fights ensued in my mother's side of the family to see who would be responsible for her. My uncle got the shorter straw, and he tried to submit grandma to euthanasia. Mom managed to stop him before that, and my grandma died in June of this year. 
My mom is in shreds right now. My dad doesn't support her, college is starting to get more and more demanding, the dentist's office staff isn't making things easier, we are running out of money, she has no friends. I don't know how I can help her. Truly help her. All I have been able to do is listen. But it doesn't help that much. 

In case you may be wondering, she is trying to get help for dealing with her stress. But it is mostly alternative therapies. She has bad experiences with physicological therapists and does not trust doctors. You don't need to recommend any phone numbers, since I live in Brazil and already know the ones we use. She also doesn't want to get a divorce before she graduates and gets a job. I just want to know how I can make her feel better right now.

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hi @elinimigo,

i'm a member of this community and i just read you're heartbreaking story. you sound like the best kid a mother could ask for. i can only imagine how difficult it must be to see you're mom break down a little more each day and feel like you can't do anything about it. i'm not a mentor or therapist so i can't do more than be a listening ear for you. however from what i've read it seems like you are doing way more than you think. i am very sorry for the loss of your grandmother that must be devastating for you aswell as your mother. i'm wondering, you said that your father has enough help at the office and that your mom could really use a break from the office. is there anyway that can be arranged? it sounds like you are under a lot of stress to , don't forget to give yourself some attention. besides listening it might be very helpful to tell her how proud you are of her and give her a big hug, (if you are not doing that already). 😄

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Hey, thanks so much for the kind words. As for your questions, dad used to have two people working for him full time. I am sorry if I didn't make it clear it is not exactly our reality anymore.  He has only one assistant now. Her previous job experience was working as a hairdresser. Without my mom to supervise her and mediate conflicts, my dad would have probably got her fired a long time ago, even though she's a very good professional and only needs a bit more training to get the hang of it. I tell mom how proud I am every day. I also hug her a lot. As for any arrangements...I don't know. We tried some a while back, neither worked as nice as it could have. I learned today that mom is not going to share a bed with him anymore, so maybe things will get better now that they are building up some distance. 

Thanks for the listening ear. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hello @elinimigo

Welcome to our community. I'm one of the digital mentors here and I give advice and support to those who reach out to us.

I just want to say thank you for sharing how things have been for your family and what you're concerned about. It sounds like you and your family have been through a really hard time. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. As has already been said, I just want to say that your mother literally couldn't ask for a better child. You sound so supportive and thoughtful, and I'm sure that this is helping her more than you could ever imagine. It can be hard to see how even just listening to someone helps in the moment, especially when you're emotionally involved in the situation, but it really will be doing her the world of good - trust me 🙂

I think that in order to support someone to the best of our ability, we need to make sure that we are looking after ourselves as well too. So, I want to ask, how are you feeling about everything? We are here for you and can definitely recommend things for your mother. Speak soon. 

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Hello, and thanks so much for your concern. As for your questions, I don't feel great, but I'm not terrible either. I am thinking about seeking therapy, though I am almost sure my mom needs it way more than I do. She tells me I shouldn't worry about her problems, but I can't help it. I am trying, though. I am also trying to get on better terms with my dad. An iridologist (which is somebody who looks at your eye and tells you how you can improve your health based on what he sees in there)  we visited told me to do that. I was having trouble with math, specifically with questions that show up in tests universities give to people who want to apply to them in my country. According to the doctor, this happens because I have problems with my "structure", which originates from my dad. If I find out how to live with him without hating his guts, I will become smart enough to go to college. 
So yeah, I'm doing fine. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

It's good to hear from you. I think that therapy is a good option and it can be really helpful to speak to someone regularly who isn't emotionally attached to the situation; when someone is an outsider, they can provide really good advice. Is there a chance that both you and your mom could have therapy? 

I'm intrigued by what the doctor said about how you have the same structure as your dad - what did they mean by this? 

By the way, I think it could be a good idea to pass these links onto your mother so she can have a look at them and pick out some things to try for her wellbeing: 

 

 

Take care and speak soon.

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Thanks so much for that. I will make sure to look for a way for both me and mom find a good therapist.  Also, these links are actually quite helpful.
What the doctor meant by "structure" in this case is how well my consciousness is organized. People with a good structure are those who find it easier to solve problems in logic or mathematics. They have more emotional intelligence and can function well under stress and pressure. This is the part that comes from the father when it comes to the construction of the human psyche. According to the doctor, because I was never able to trust, respect, or live harmoniously with my father, my structure was not well developed. He also said that even though I am a very well-organized and intelligent person, I will never learn how to get rid of the blocks I have with mathematical logic.  Or how to operate correctly in stressful situations.  Unless, that is, I accept my father as part of my family. I understand why you were a bit confused, as my english is not exactly great. 

Once again, thanks.

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

How are you feeling today? I'm glad that you found the links helpful; you might even want to try some of the tips out yourself as it's important to look after yourself too 🙂

I'm wondering, if you like, I can look into what support is available in your local area too? Let me know if you'd appreciate this so that you can send me this information confidentially to protect your identity on the main forum. 

Also, that's interesting what you said about the structure. What are your thoughts on what the doctor said about your father and how this relates to your structure and mathematics?

 

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