Overwhelmed by guilt

My mum died 3 years ago. We had a strained relationship which had worsened over time. I felt smothered by her as an only child, she expected me to agree with her all the time, and could lash out unpredictably if she was thwarted. I felt more fear than love as a child. My father treated her badly then left, and she was annoyed with me for allowing him to meet my children once a year. She began to hoard and her house became almost uninhabitable. It became harder to visit her because of this, and she refused help that I offered. She was anxious and depressed all her life. She once said she felt that I kept her at arms length and that if it wasn’t for the grandchildren we would not be in contact. She was quite close to the mark with that, but I said nothing. I didn’t always feel up to talking to her so didn’t always answer her calls but did phone her when I felt ready. She spoke non stop when we were together so I didn’t ever feel we had a proper conversation. She had an operation and I took 2 weeks off work and gutted the house so she would be able to return to it but she was annoyed about that. She then had a massive stroke which the GP suggested was due to the stress of me clearing the house. She was in hospital then I had to move her to a home. I didn’t tell her I was selling her house to pay the fees as I thought she need never know. But someone told her and she just looked so sad and betrayed about this. I also only visited her once a week (my excuse was that it was 80 mins drive) and she had no other regular visitors. Then, I visited her on the day she died. I left at 5pm and she died at 8pm. I feel so bad about that too, no family by her as she died. I am so ashamed at myself as she had no one but me and she had had a terrible life, fearful of the future and poor (though I did try to help her with bills she usually refused). I am on medication and have had 3 lots of counselling and CBT for the guilt, but it just gets worse when I think how unloved she must have felt. I did tell her I loved her on the last day I saw her but she was very deaf and wouldn’t have heard. Until she died, I thought it was mostly her to blame for our strained relationship but now I see it was me - I had it all, nice home, career, family, friends and so I should have treasured her (or at least made her feel treasured) rather than feeling she was a burden or something to be fixed. It’s been 3 years now, since she died and I just feel worse every day.


Dear @Strawberry

Welcome to the Community. Thank you for sharing a personal and difficult post .

The burden of guilt can way you down which is not good for your mental health. Have you chatted to your GP as to how they can support you? Do you have friends and family that can support you? I do think it would be good for you to talk to someone.

There are a couple of organisations which may be of support and help to you. They are Shout - https://giveusashout.org. They have a free 24/7 text service on 85258.

Samartians - 24/7 help line on 116123

Please do not feel you are alone and continue to reach out here.

Take care.


Dear Strawberry I think we all go over and over in our minds thinking to write a different script, I did it after my parents and stepfather all died about 4 years ago, even though I was either working or looking after and being with them still there were so many things I regretted or wished could have been different, now my boyfriend died in November and the same thing is happening , I am torturing myself with what ifs It sounds like it was hard for you as a child, and life was hard for your mother, many people might have walked away but you have been going to visit her every week, with an 80 minutes drive that’s a big commitment it sounds like you had a pretty tough upbringing also with your father abandoning yet still you make sure he sees his grandchildren don’t forget also that it is a great credit to you that you have built a very different life for your children than the one you grew up in, regrets which can’t be changed can be very painful and go round and round in our minds please be softer on yourself,

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Thank you Caroline2. I am trying as you say to be softer on myself. I think we all have to learn that it’s fine to be just okay at something, you don’t have to be perfect. I’m happy accepting that I’m not a perfect wife, mother or employee, so it’s not logical to feel awful for being an emotionally distant daughter. I did look after her, was always thinking of her, just wasn’t as kind as I could be. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles, especially the recent loss of your boyfriend, I wish you peace in your mind. I think even if we had done everything right, we would still find something to berate ourselves for. I know I find something new on a daily basis that I wish I had said or done. It does no good whatsoever.