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I love my mom but it's not that simple

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  • I love my mom but it's not that simple

    I'm not sure if anyone will see this but I just want to rant and just relieve some of my stress. This will probably be a long story so hang tight if you're reading. I'm 17, turning 18 soon, and I really love my mom and I wouldn't know what I would do without her. But nothing is that simple in life. Her smoking and attitude (sometimes) is what drives me crazy. She's been hiding that she smokes since my siblings and I were babies and even told us that she used to smoke but no longer did after she wanted to have kids. But I found out the truth when I was in 6th grade.
    I saw my mom holding a cigarette in her hand on the balcony as I peaked out the window that day. When she finally realized I was there, it was too late. I was bawling and I tried to run away from her. She was a monster to me now. I felt betrayed. I was still in my first year of middle school and was not ready for anything like this. I was an innocent girl who loved her mom just the way she was. Or I guess just the way she wasn't. She grabbed me right away as I tried to run and didn't let me go. She looked into my eyes with a scary glare and told me, "do not tell anyone. ANYONE. If you do, I will not forgive you. Don't you dare even think about telling your siblings or dad. Pretend that you just saw nothing." I didn't understand what she was trying to say to me. She wasn't the mom I knew. She was a monster to me now. A stranger. An alien. I was scared and all I could do was just nod with tears rolling down my eyes. It was obvious that I was going to tell my siblings and dad of what I just saw. I didn't care anymore about what my mom just said to me. Once she would let me go and everyone else comes home, I was going to tell everyone. And when I did, my siblings just stared at me in shock and didn't want to believe me, but they knew I wasn't lying. Why would I lie to them about mom smoking? I then told my dad in private and all he said was, "well, that sucks. We probably can't really do anything about it. Just ignore it." How was I supposed to ignore something like this? This was a big moment, one of the worst moments in my life. I couldn't forgive her for the next few days after the incident so I didn't talk to her at all. When she would try to talk to me, I would ignore her. That was the 6th grade me. I didn't talk to anyone I didn't like. But this felt so unnatural to me. I talked with my mom everyday about school, homework, friends, etc. It was hard not to talk to her but at the same time I couldn't forgive her. After the few days, my mom and I started getting closer and we got our relationship back together again. But this was only the beginning. A few years later I would see her smoking at the same place again. She would apologize to me over and over again as I cried but she didn't sound serious at all. Only tired of me crying about her just smoking a cigarette. I then went into her room one day to find a book I could read in her drawer next to her bed, to only find a glass bottle packed with used cigarettes. It was horrifying. I took a picture right away and showed my dad, hoping he would do something. But again, all he said was "that sucks." This kept repeating, only I would find her in different locations around the house. Everytime, I couldn't help but cry and feel suicidal, since I loved my mom. She was nice and caring. But not always. Ever since I saw her smoke, I felt like she either changed for the worse or my views changed. She was so sensitive to everything and would get mad so easily. Sometimes she was physically and emotionally abusive.
    There was one time when my mom started pinching and kicking me, all because she felt left out when my dad and I went out to eat lunch together. She would also not forgive me for days, meaning she would ignore me that whole time. She would purposely show a lot of affection towards my siblings and whenever I tried to talk to her she wouldn't listen. This also makes me suicidal since I would feel like I didn't belong in this world. Although my mom isn't abusive all the time, I still feel hurt whenever I see her smoke. Whenever I bring up the topic of smoking she would ignore me.
    She still smokes to this day and ignores that fact that I hate it and I feel suicidal whenever I see her smoke. I always feel like it would be better if I didn't exist for so many people, including my parents, but I also don't want to die at the same time. I feel like there's still opportunity for me out there, especially since I'm going to college soon. I also want to major in clinical psychology to help people like me who go through so much stress. I'm also interested in drugs and alcohol therapy to help people like my mom. I know smoking isn't easy to quit but I also know it's not the right way to get rid of stress. What am I supposed to do to help my mom right now? ​​​

  • #2

    Hey there thank you for reaching out, it seems like you have been through a lot and that your mom’s smoking is really upsetting for you for many reasons. You never deserve to be hit by a parent like that, especially out of retribution for her own embarrassment about her smoking. It is understandable to feel upset when you notice her smoking, and frustrated that there isn’t much you can do or that your dad will try to do. It also makes sense to be upset when she tries to gaslight you and apologize without meaning to or taking real steps. An apology doesn’t mean much if she doesn’t change her behavior.
    The stark truth is that substance abuse is more of a personal issue for your mom than a family issue. It is something that the support of family while trying to quit can make a large difference, but for which she herself will need to want to make the change. If she is unwilling to make a real effort to quit or change, its unlikely there is much you can say to convince her. It might help to go to www.samhsa.gov which is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which might have some possible resources.
    It might be worth taking a look at your own mental health as well, going straight to suicidal ideation when you see the actions of someone else that doesn’t directly affect you (even if it does affect you indirectly by dredging up trauma and the feeling of broken trust) is concerning for your safety. You might check out www.nami.org to explore your own mental health and coping strategies for your negative feelings. It might also be worth exploring local counseling/therapy options that might be around you.
    Often, having a safe space to share how you’re feeling may bring a variety of solutions previously not thought of. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This may be an isolating and lonely time for you, but you are not alone in this. We want you to know that we are here as support to help you through this challenging time.
    If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon. Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); www.1800runaway.org (click on the chat button).
    We hope to hear from you soon.
    Be safe and stay strong,
    NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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