Over the past two years or so, my mother has undergone a complete, total and sweeping personality shift. She's gone from June Clever to Lizzie Borden. Can I get my real mom back?
Growing up in my house was a bit of an ordeal. My dad was a domestic tyrant who's fits of rage would terrify both my mom and us kids. Eventually my dad got sick and died last June
(he was a raging drug addict, something we didn't find out about until recently), but my mom was the "shelter in the storm" of my childhood. She protected us kids from my dad, kept us safe and was the stable adult presence that we craved.
My mother is a deeply conservative Evangelical Christian, so she never drank, swore and barely raised her voice in anger for the first 20+ years of my life. Alcohol was not permitted in our house, so dad did all of his drugging and carousing elsewhere. She made the best of an awful situation and us kids were all extremely grateful for it. She was always gentle, kind, warm, friendly and loving towards us.
About a year or so before my dad died (while he was laid up and bedridden), my mother started having random sexual encounters with men on the internet. Don't ask how I know, it's a long and heartbreaking story. Just trust me when I say that this is a fact.
This was extremely odd for us. I didn't believe it at first because it went against everything that we knew about our mother (conservative Christian, faithful wife and mother), so I just ... ignored it? for lack of a better word? Towards the end of my dad's life her behavior became more erratic -- violent mood swings, destruction of family property (smashed windows, doors, antiques, etc.), swearing like a sailor, rude and inappropriate sex jokes and most of all, drinking.
She began drinking heavily -- heavily enough to not remember her worst episodes. During this time period, tucking my mom into bed and cleaning her vomit from the floor became a bi- and tri-weekly experience for me. One of the weird things is that she would get raging, fall down drunk from (say) two glasses of wine. Two glasses of wine makes me mildly relaxed, so I have no idea how this is even possible.
My dad died and I assumed that all this would stop. I guess I figured that once his presence was removed from her life, some of the bad feelings would fade and she could get on with her old normal self. Although my dad had mellowed out quite a bit in the last few years before he died, some of the bad feelings remained, so I could understand if my mom was dealing with that in some subconscious way.
But things have only gotten worse since my dad died. About six months after the fact, my mom married one of the men that she was seeing on the internet. Her new husband is terrified of her. She is perpetually drunk now, constantly accusing him of cheating on her and accusing him of being involved in elaborate conspiracies against her. She recently stole his cell phone and started calling up all the female names in his contact list (coworkers and acquaintances) and telling them to "get the fuck away from my man", etc.
A few nights ago the police where almost called when she viciously assaulted her new husband after a particularly bad bender.
She no longer speaks to her extended family, or even to her own father and siblings. Her children and her new husband are all that she has left, and she is quickly alienating us as well. My little sister and brother still live with her (I live 200+ miles away) and they are terrified
of their mother. They remind me of how I felt when dad was alive.
And she remembers none of this. Every "episode" of drunkeness and violence is followed by a morning amnesia and tearful regrets. "I don't remember what happened last night but I sure am sorry if I hurt your feelings, kiddo." she'll say. I can see traces of my old mom in those moments, as she seems genuinely remorseful and caring, but before long New Crazy Mom comes back with a vengeance.
My 15 year old sister just lost her father (whom she adored. She was too young to remember his bad days. She only remembers the mellower, happier guy that he became later in life), and she is now doubly devastated -- by the loss of her father AND now, it appears, her mother. She wants to run away and frankly I don't blame her.
1) What the fuck is wrong with my mom?
2) Is there anything that can be done about it?
3) Can I help my little sister somehow?
My mom is 45 years old, and I'm 27. I miss her. A lot.