Love and Loss Print
Written by Joanne   

I Did everything possible to make it work, I feel like the ghost of his mother

Hello again Paul,
Thanks for your message. In case this is of interest or help to you: I am deeply in love with (and married to) a brilliant and gifted man who grew up with a schizophrenic mother. Our relationship has always been difficult, and last spring he told me he didn't want me in his life anymore. We had been living in UK, where he is living still.
I'm now in USA. My husband and I do not communicate at all. I've been struggling to figure out what went wrong, and why. It occurred to me that most of the troubles that destroyed our friendship might be rooted in his relationship with his mother: his refusal to get emotionally close to women; his insistence on being in charge of defining "reality", and never allowing anyone else's viewpoint to influence him; his chronic subterranean rage to which he won't admit; his obsession with work; his refusal (or inability) to show spontaneous, true feeling of any kind; his refusal to hear or know about the emotional challenges in my life, the kind of issues that real intimates share and support each other through. "You have a duty to keep it to yourself so you won't depress other people," he always told me. He has a very hard time being idle, playful, spontaneous, frivolous, or sensual.

I did everything I possibly could to make my relationship with my husband work. When I suggested therapy, he told me to leave. I feel like the ghost of his mother has been fighting with me for him all this time, and now she's won. Though he isn't in my life anymore, I will always love him. When I found your website, I thought that if there were a similar organization in UK, I might be able to guide Peter toward them through mutual friends, without his having to hear my name. I wish so much that he could find help and support, and a way to heal himself. So far all he's done is patch together a kind of psychic barricade designed to keep certain things out, like love. It's fragile and rigid, and defending it takes up most of Peter's energy. I would so love him to be freed from that burden.

His childhood situation was appalling. He lived in a suburban house with his father, two brothers, and a mother who was paranoid and delusional. His father always insisted that there was nothing wrong with his mother, and refused to let her see a doctor or receive treatment of any kind. Peter and his brothers had to pretend nothing was wrong, while sharing a home with this utterly unpredictable schizophrenic woman. She also had OCD, and compulsively collected piles of rubbish in the house. Eventually the whole place was full almost to the ceiling, with only narrow little walkways left to allow people to get from one room to the next. She boarded up the windows. Everything stank. She ended up dying in that house, six years ago.

Peter never would talk much about his mother. But I feel her with him all the time.

Even if there is no support in UK for adult children of mentally ill parents, I'm still very grateful for all you've done, and for your website. It helps me A LOT to understand why Peter is the way he is, and why he doesn't want me in his life. Thank you for helping me cope with the huge grief of losing him.

All best wishes to you,