I am 28 years old. A few months ago, my mother left my father and their home to live with the husband of a recently deceased friend. There is also a 9-year-old in the house. It had become obvious that while caring for her friend in hospice, she and that friend’s husband began at least an emotional affair, perhaps fueled by grief. In that time, my mother (who suffers from a myriad of mental health issues) also began drinking and “partying” every weekend with the friend’s husband and old high school friends. My father stayed home on these weekends and often begged her to come home and to stop drinking, as alcoholism runs in the family. On top of this, both of her parents suffer from intense mental health issues and have had numerous hospitalizations.
While I am not upset by my parents’ split (they are adults with complicated lives and relationships), I am disturbed by the manner in which my mother left our home and moved into the home of another family, where she appears to have adopted the identity of wife and mother. When we talk now, it is stunted and uncomfortable. I haven’t spoken with her on the phone, only via text.
My question is, am I wrong to feel like my trust has been broken? My mother was my best friend in my early twenties. Though I don’t live at home, I feel abandoned and confused. I worry this is some sort of mental health crisis and an inevitable spiral into generational alcoholism, and she does not hear my siblings or I when we voice our concern. Rather, she implies that we are choosing sides, that because we are worried for her and upset with her choices, we are somehow siding with my father.
Am I wrong to feel abandoned? Am I wrong to feel a need to support my father in his grief right now?
—Having a Mother Is Grief