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I think my mom's depression is manifesting itself through manipulation and codependency - help!

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Let me start off by apologizing for how long this is going to be. There's a lot that has happened between my mother and me, and I'm trying to make sense of it all. Based on my avid research, it sounds like my mom is codependent and emotionally manipulative, and I highly suspect that her severe depression is creating a lot of this. I guess the point of this post is to get some outside perspective because I am questioning myself, especially now that I'm in the throes of intense conflict with my mom.

As some background, I grew up in a small town with my parents and my older brother. My mother and father had a pretty rocky marriage. It seemed as though my mom was always yelling at my dad. I would later learn that his mother treated my mom very poorly, and my dad did not stand up for her the way a husband should (I'll get back to this later).  Another pertinent point is that my brother and I have both suffered with depression and anxiety. My breaking point was in college. I finally got help from a therapist and found a medication that works. I am now 28 years old and am married with a 9 month old son. I have a full-time job and am very satisfied with my life. The first time I realized my mother was diving into a mental health crisis was when I was in college, after I had already received help for my issues. My older brother was going through some things that triggered a change. In a nutshell, he was suffering from depression. He went to Officer Candidate School for the Navy after college, and quit after approximately a month. My mother took on so much worry about his future and what he was going to do, especially with his student loan debt looming, she had what I would consider a sort of breakdown. I consider this event to be the pivot point of her rapid descent. After this event, she was riddled with health problems and surgeries, all of which exacerbated her issues and brought about anxiety and panic attacks so severe, she admitted herself to the ER more than once thinking she was having a heart attack.

Fast forward to my life as a functioning member of society out of college. I had my first job, and I was dating the man I knew would end up becoming my husband (he did), but we had only been together for less than a year at this point. My mother had made some comments during a visit with my boyfriend to my parents' house about wanting grandkids. As I stated, I had only been dating my husband for less than a year, and I hated feeling like my mom was somehow trying to pressure us to have children, even though it was very likely I would want kids later. At a later visit by myself, I told her that it bothered me that she brought up children, and I didn't appreciate feeling pressured. She became very defensive and angry, and that's the first time she hinted at committing suicide. This terrified me. Part of me thought she'd do it and felt immense guilt for creating this situation, the other part of me thought it was a ruse and that she wasn't at all serious. Turns out it was the latter. This is one of the first times I can identify very obvious emotional manipulation. I can point out less severe examples from my childhood, but this is the one that stands out in my mind.

As my mother spiraled deeper into her mental health problems, she stopped seeing friends and going out of the house altogether. My parents' home started looking (and still does) like it came out of an episode of Hoarders. Phone calls with my mom became consumed by her lamentation that my dad was no help and not supportive of her feelings (he absolutely is not supportive the way he should be), and she consistently rehashed all the terrible things he had done to her in their marriage, particularly his indifference to his mother's poor treatment of her. This became tiring for me. I was able to listen without compromising my feelings for my dad, but it became emotionally draining to listen to the same stories over and over again.

Things took another turn for the worse when my mom's mother, who she was very close to, became ill and was placed in a nursing home. In addition to that, drama was rearing its ugly head with my mom and her siblings. So much so that, as I was planning my wedding and had already sent out the save-the-dates, I questioned whether I should invite those family members. I suggested to my mom that I didn't invite them to support her, especially since I agreed with her position on some of the things they were doing (I will not delve into that right now). We ended up arguing a little bit about it, to the point where she threatened not to come to my wedding if I didn't invite them because it would look bad. So I invited them, and when it came time for my wedding, two days before to be precise, I found myself in my parents' kitchen dealing with my mother who was pacing with anxiety, stating that she didn't want to go to my wedding and see her siblings. She did this to me two days before my wedding. That same day, I had bought a pregnancy test because I suspected I was pregnant. I took it in the bathroom at my parents' house, and after seeing the positive results, immediately told my mother before I told my soon-to-be-husband because I knew it would lift her spirits and get her out of this funk of not wanting to go to my wedding. Now I know I can't blame my mom for telling her about my pregnancy. I made that choice, but it was out of desperation.

More important life events that I should have been ecstatic about were shrouded by my mom's emotional outbursts. The first was the day I found out my husband and I were going to have a boy. Little did I know that at the same time I was laying down for the ultrasound that would tell us the sex of our baby, my mom was getting angry at my husband for supposedly undermining her on Facebook (Facebook became a conduit for a lot of my mom's outbursts). I had posted on Facebook that I was finding out the sex of the baby. My mom's cousin had commented that it didn't matter the sex, as long as it was healthy. My mom got offended for me and wrote a snarky response back to her. My husband, unbeknownst to me, had responded to my mom's cousin agreeing that yes, it was important that our child was healthy. My mom took that as my husband purposely undermining her. I called her to tell her the exciting news that she was going to have a grandson, and I was met with short, stand-offish responses. Confused, I asked what was wrong. She responded that I needed to look at the post my husband put on Facebook. After that conflict, I told her that she made a special day for me all about her. She did admit that, yes, she did do that. But she didn't change her behavior.

When I finally did go to the hospital to have my son, one month early because of severe preeclampsia, my mom and I were having another conflict. This time it was because I finally decided to get off my parent's cell phone plan and onto my husband's and my husband and I requested that she call Verizon to give permission for me to take my phone number. Yes, that is why we were having an issue. She was very rude to us about the whole thing and didn't want to do it. Only when my husband called her to let her know I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital to be induced did she get over her anger because she was concerned about my well-being.

Other things have happened. Too many to list here, or I'd have to write a novel. But ever since then, phone calls with my mom continue to be negative. They are dominated by her rehashing all the issues she has or has had with my dad and her siblings. It has gotten to the point where I dread her phone calls and even ignore them. Facebook issues became so bad that I unfriended her. She once assumed I was attacking her specifically with a status I had posted. Instead of asking me, she sent me a hurtful message that she didn't want to talk to me and that even if I said it wasn't about her, she wouldn't believe me.

Now to the real reason why I'm here. My mom and I have had a pretty bad blow a couple of weeks ago. She came down to stay with me and my husband for a week. My dad dropped her off on a Saturday and planned to pick her up the following Saturday. Friday night before she was due to leave, my mom brought up politics. My mom is notorious for getting into debates, especially with me and my husband since we rarely agree. Usually she's fine with debating, but she's always had a problem with talking louder and over people, not allowing the other person to get a word in edge-wise. My husband called her out on it, and we continued to disagree on our political stances. Mind you, my husband and I were not yelling and remained calm through the whole exchange. Suddenly, I could tell my mom was actually angry. I wasn't expecting it, because we've had heated debates before just fine. This time was not the case. Out of nowhere she started attacking me, telling me I was wishy-washy and that I was a conservative in college (like her) and now that I'm with "him" (referring to my husband) I've changed my views, as if to imply I can't think for myself. My husband and I were both rightfully offended. I tried to defend myself, stating I've grown a lot since college and have had life experiences that have changed my views. She scoffed. I had finally had enough. I told her she could get out of my house if she was going to treat me that way. She called my dad and he drove the two and a half hours to pick her up. I haven't spoken to her since then.

I ask you, was I out of line??? Are my conclusions about codependency and manipulation on track, or am I causing issues? What do I do? I think I finally found my voice and stood up for myself, but now what?


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