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Senior Contributor

Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

The last 10 or so months have been extremely difficult. My abusive very old mother passed away last august  and my son's partner now wife has been passive aggressive and seething with us for on and off 3 years and still continuing. This has escalated now that we have not seen my son or his family since January.


 No one ever tells you what a nervous breakdown looks like.If there is a checklist to say 'You've had a nervous breakdown'.  My oldest other son has taken off on an adventure to Canada and we dont know if he will come back to Australia to live. He has a 2 year visa for Canada. I feel as though I may have had a nervous breakdwon a few times in my life. Currently I feel like crying everday if i think about how small our family has got. I feel heavy in my chest and insides and a dark sense of doom that is hovering. My mental health and physical health is falling deeper and the mental anguish is painful.

 My middle son's wife is extremely livid with us right now. I feel like throwing up when I am in daughter in laws space, she is loud, straight up and not very nice & very bossy.  We have stopped responding to her novel sized dissapointments of us in text messages. She has  never or is ever going to understand us. Some poeple are just  committed to misunderstanding us. 


Initially I decided to give them all a break from me and hubby as I had wished her happy birthday and could she let me know when we could drop by and give her a birthday visit. So the ball was in her court and  I was tired of feeling like we were a royal pain. They are an extremely busy family  with 3 children under 5 and daughter in law is in a grad year of nursing. I have always enquired after how they are as a family and dropping by with a weekly visit. It just didnt feel good anymore. So I gave them all abreak, it felt like it was what was needed. It was like night and day her change of attitude toward hubby and me, these changes started mid 2016. Right about the same time I had to and needed to start saying 'Sorry but I have to say no' I know she resents my adult daughter, because she takes up alot of my time. I have been there so much for them but its not enough.


 To recently husband messaged our son as I thought it was maybe  time to try again and said  ' hi, stop by and get some easter pyjamas for the 3 grandchildren and easter eggs'. She messaged a novel size of insults and dissappointments at how miserable and disinterested we are as grandparents.We tried to explain why we took the break and what going forward would be like, but she is not intereted in our view, and kept on going with more tirades and compared us to the other 2 sets of grandparents. She said not to bother replying if we had more excuses.


I have a panic attacks now  and am very guarded with her when I'm in her space. She has told us we are deleted off her FB as she does not want us to see her kids grow up on facebook.She said they  are too busy and not to expect a visit from them,  we have to visit them. I avoid conflict and confrontation on all fronts. I even forget my own name. The thought of making new contact with my son's wife make me ill. I guess she would be even more angry now that we have let some more time go by. She tried to dump a whole lot of guilt on us and i feel it, even though its so misdirected.


Does someone know of a plan for me and my husband to see where we can try something to reconnect to a toxic DIL.How to be part of them and not lose our own respect. 


She is very confusing to me and I crumble in her presence, embarassing to say.


This is always on my mind. I have abandonment issues. I love my son and my grandchildren. I know DIL has a abnormal sense of entitlement. I dont really like her anymore and I can see she only plays nice when you are continually saying yes.










Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

“I dont really like her anymore and I can see she only plays nice when you are continually saying yes.”

I don’t have any answers for you I’m sorry, but I can relate in that to be honest at the moment this is how I feel about my sister I love her and I hate to say it but she is so entitled and out of my own sense of dignity I don’t know whether to part ways or keep trying. We are so different she is wealthy with two kids and a husband and I want to be a part of the kids life but I don’t know whether I will fit into her kind of value. I suppose I just wanted to say thank you because I don’t feel so alone with my problem with my sister and to be honest it sounds like what you are going through is really tough harder that what I am. But I can relate to that feeling of resenting to be submissive but also not wanting to break up the family. I’ve had a nervous break downs myself and I gained a lot of wisdom from it though I only knew this a few years or so later. Good luck and thank you for sharing 


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

@Dark_Olena Hi Darkl_Olena I am so sorry that you are experiencing so much grief with your daughter-in-law.  I am curious as to what your son is saying to you during all of this. He must be torn between yourselves and his partner .... but he is your son so I would expect him to stand up for his parents. To be honest I would be doing what you are and taking a breather from it all. Try and keep in contact with son that little bit of contact is important. Other than that there is nothing you can do but protect yourselves and step away from the situation.


Sooner rather than later the truth regarding you daughter-in-law will come out and everyone will see her for what she is. So in the meantime be courtious and polite always so that she has no ammunition against you. I wish you luck. greenpeaxxx


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

hi @Dark_Olena sounds like you're facing toxic people. From experience I know how hard that can be.


My mother is very abusive and I still see her about once a month, only to protect my nephew from her abuses as I don't want him to have to suffer as I did as a young person. It is very disturbing and troubling to see her that often and I don't think I can continue, even tho I worry for my nephew's welfare around her.


I agree that family is very important but when there are toxic family members I think it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket to dilute their toxicity. It may be important for you to develop some new friends or even a hobby so that you get love and support from several sources, not just family. I have spent the last two years building a friendship group, it has been very hard work but now I have people in my life outside family who care about me and who I enjoy spending time with. It is important to my mental health.


The other helpful thing to cope with my mother for me is to confide in my aunt about her - she understand fully - and about any other difficult people in my life, for example I currently have a toxic colleague who is like my mother. It helps to be heard & understood by my aunt. She advises me to keep my distance from toxic people & have as little to do with them as possible as I'm so sensitive to them.


It sounds like you a really devoted mother and grandmother but if you're sensitive like me to cruel people it may be best to widen your social supports and invest in other people too. I think focusing more on your DIL with maintain the power she has over you, it would be good to focus on new things or new people.


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

Thankyou @greenpea    We were verbally attacked by her, when we had asked her and son ,  if Son would like to come over with his kids, while his wife was at work, we said we knew how their family time together is important, and that this was a good way of not intrusive of their family time.


This was in a group message. She said it was selfish of us to expect him to pack 3 kids a nappy bag, come to our place and then do that all over again to go home. She said she knew what I was up to, avoiding her. Not really, we have had our son in the past come visit with his kids, while she was doing something else.


When we asked our son to come by at easter I thought we'd be putting the break time away and resuming some normality.She has been brewing for some years now.


She is the gate keeper and it seems she doesnt like our going to our son before her. Her own family knows what she is like they said, that she was a b. My son was crying on the night of their engagement they had a roaring big fight right in front of us, we were at theirs babysitting 2 grandkids, and they were yelling at each other at their front door and continuing inside.


My son was drunk and he says mum, she is really hard to make happy. So my guess she is taking affairs and handling them the ways only she knows, dysfunctionally and abusively. She was terribly spoilt as a child and her father left when she was 2, so he tried to make up with superficial stuff, when she was 12/13 credit cards and vodka mixes.


People are saying, if you love your son and grandchildren eat humble pie. But they dont know what it's like being me. They dont know whats in my psyche. or how fragile it is. I have anxiety attacks going to her home. We are under her looking glass.  I miss my son.


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

Hi @BryanaCamp I appreciate your story of your living experience, thankyou. I had not seen my mother for 10 years before she passed away last August of dementia. I went no contact 2008, weighed heavy on me and I thought about it daily, but it got better and I felt lighter.But I am still holding onto old 'schema' that stuff runs very deep.


She was picking on my 11 year old daughter at the time, and said something vile and sickening to her, it had a sexual connotation to it, and she would also say in a room full of people. "you, you kiss me like a tiny bird' she was not being sweet, she was demeaning a 10 year old. I decided that day in  2008. Sweet daughter you dont need to worry about Oma any more saying those things to you. We are not going to be seeing her anymore and that was it. That was the last day I saw a toxic bitter hateful, mentally emotionally abusive old lady for a mother.

I see my aunt as well and kind of feel she is like a mother, she has fractured her spine and hit her head from a fall and I'm seeing her tomorow. My mother hated her sister too. She hated alot of people. When you say you are sensitive as I am too. It can be a result of living with these people, I've read it's a side effect. I do have 2 good friends and 2 good sisters. I dont think anyone can breathe properly and have a sense of self with a toxic person, they dont want us to have a sense of self love or care, they want us miserable. After visiting my mother and feeling like I could walk off a cliff from her projections of misery, she would say. Oh, I feel so much better now you visited and I could understand that. I felt so dark after being with her.


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

Hi @ariel1 Thankyou for your support and sorry you having a hard time with your sister. Its hard to know what to do, you can always find support here. I really value this forum so much, it can give a different perspective and lots of related understanding. 

Take care.Xx


Re: Nervous breakdown is tearing me apart and my thoughts, I can't do it anymore

@Dark_Olena  I bet you miss your son. I have son1 in Europe with his girlfriend and he will most likely stay there and have children there and I will be one of those grandmas who sends money for birthdays and Christmas and see them once every two years if lucky for a couple of weeks .... it is hard Dark_Olena.... I  miss my son1 terribly and I know he misses his family too but he has a girlfriend who by all accounts is very nice and her family are kind to son1 as well. 


It is hard with sons once the daughter-in-law comes along we kind of take second place ....  Just letting you know that I understand and feel your pain. Love greenpeaxxxx

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