From the U.S.: My mom is a schizophrenic and will not accept treatment. She has had absolutely no relationship with me in the last 3 years since her breakdown. Before that she did the basics of raising me, food, clothing, school, etc but was verbally and emotionally abusive and occasionally physically abusive. She had a VERY rough childhood and she actually raised me much better than what she had, so I won’t be too hard on her, but it did affect me.
I’m struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and I think bpd. Bpd explains me. :( I can also get very clingy with friends and panic if I think they are leaving me. I’ve learned to take responsibility for my actions even if I am really afraid or doing badly. Just because I’m doing badly doesn’t give me a license to not respect others boundaries, etc. But the feelings are still there. I am in therapy, possibly changing therapists as she doesn’t have time to see me very often and that makes it VERY hard for me to trust and open up.
My friend that is a mom is being there for me and she knows about my mom and my depression and anxiety, and how I get with my friends (including her) and I am really glad to have a positive figure in my life.
Is it ok if I want to call her mom? I’m too shy to say it to her, but she is “mom” when I think about her, and in my phone contacts her name is mom. She doesn’t know and I’d be shy to tell her. Is this healthy?
It’s not at all unusual for people who did not have a healthy relationship with their mother to find other people to fit the role. In fact, the dimensions of many female friendships have a “mothering” dimension to them. As long as there is reciprocity, it can be healthy.
Since you mention BPD as one of your issues, I do have concerns about you calling this woman “mom”. It may set up expectations that she can’t possibly meet. It may encourage a level of dependency on your part that doesn’t belong in a healthy friendship.
I suggest you work with your therapist on grieving the fact that your biological mother hasn’t been able to be the mother you needed. Then create a circle of friends who are mutually supportive. Do talk to your therapist about this exchange with me. A therapist who knows you can give you better advice.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Is the Way I Relate to My Friend Healthy?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Is the Way I Relate to My Friend Healthy?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/01/30/is-the-way-i-relate-to-my-friend-healthy/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 30 Jan 2017) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.