I was not beaten or neglected, but my mom treated me (her daughter), from a young age, like her spouse, best friend, personal therapist, marriage counselor, and priest. I knew highly inappropriate things about her marriage to my dad and her past and was expected to guide her through these things. I was also expected to anticipate her moods and wants. If I failed to do so, she’d fly into a rage. My mom was estranged from her family and had no friends. She hated my father, though she refused to divorce him and did her best to make me hate him too. In high school and college, I suffered from severe depression, self-hatred, and anxiety. After a suicide attempt, I finally sought therapy and eventually cut off all contact with my mom because she would not respect my boundaries and continued to be abusive. That was four years ago.
My life is much happier and healthier without her in it. But recently a hospital called to say my mom was sick and that I needed to care for her (my dad has since passed away). When I refused, they began to guilt me, saying that I only have one mother and I’ll regret this when she’s gone. When I held my ground, they threatened that I may have legal obligations to her. I checked, and there are no such laws in my state. My once-supportive friends are now guilting me too. This woman got the first 30 years of my life. I’m not giving her one day more. How do I get the hospital, social workers, and my friends to understand this?
—Won’t Be Her Caretaker