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Family & Relationship Issues

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Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Mom's Unlisted Number

A few months ago, my mother changed her home phone number to an unlisted number essentially to cut off any communications with my father's side of the family. (Past issues angered her and Dad and her way of dealing with these things is to walk away from them, burning bridges as she goes.) She decided that she no longer wishes to have Dad's family contact them and doesn't care if she ever talks to them again. My father has allowed her to do this although he admits he would like to stay in touch with his brothers and sisters. Very recently, my mother's father passed away. She has been harboring ill-feelings against her brothers for some time due to their lack of assistance and support in caring for their elderly parents---as she has done (in a martyr-like way) almost solely for seven years. Her anger and resentment toward them and their wives has intensified since my grandfather's death and Mom no longer wants to have contact with her brothers either. I have always listened to her complaints and tried to support her feelings, but her hatefulness is poisoning our relationship. I can hardly stand to be with her or talk to her on the phone. She has suffered from undiagnosed depression for a number of years and her stress manifests itself in intense migraine headaches which she experiences several times per year. I don't know whether to be concerned for her mental health, her physical health, try to continue to be supportive, or give her some space and time. She would not be open to the idea of therapy or anti-depressants. I worry that she is going to have a stroke or a breakdown. What can I do?

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