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Is my mom abusive? Is she mentally ill? (long)

I feel as if I was abused by my mom in various ways, but I don't know what it should be considered...

For as long as I can remember, when she'd get mad at me, she'd grab me by the jaw, pinching her fingers into the sides of my face, and pin me against the wall, screaming at me. If I tried struggling out of her grip, she'd tighten her grip and yell at me. If I continued to struggle, she'd smack me in the face. If I tried blocking her hits, she'd pin my arms against the wall and scream at me, as if I was expected to stand there and not attempt to protect myself. I finally put an end to this when I was around 17... I was so fed up with her doing this all my life, so after she hit me the first time, I hit her back. She was furious, and I think a little bit taken back and frightened by it. She realized I wasn't a child anymore, and I was now big enough to hurt her. She hasn't laid a hand on me since.

When I was in about 5th grade, I found a voice recorder in our house and played the tape. I heard myself and my mom talking. Over the next few months my brother and I realized that my mom had been hiding voice recorders: in her car to record our conversations when she picked us up from school, and in random places in our house when she wasn't home. I don't know if she thought my brother and I were talking about her or what.

When I was in about 5th or 6th grade, my mom started snooping through my things, and on a very extreme level. This continued, and worsened as I went through high school. Every time I took a shower, I'd hear her go upstairs to my room, heard my dresser drawers opening and closing, heard her walking around. She'd also do this every time I left the house - I'd notice that my belongings were moved or missing. Once I even caught her going through my laundry while it was in the washer.

She also put a keylogger on my computer so she could track my every move, read all of my online conversations with friends. Once she printed about 25 pages of them out, highlighted any mention of her or my family, and yelled at me about it. She then insisted that I tell everyone I said anything negative about her to that I was lying. She sat by the computer next to me, made me log on, and watched me tell them that I had made it all up. Anything that painted our family in a less-than-perfect light was a "lie," no matter how true it was.

When I was a teenager, I was kind of lanky. I was a vegetarian, and got a lot of exercise (didn't have a car - walked everywhere). My mom insisted that I had an eating disorder. She threatened to send me to a nearby inpatient facility if I didn't gain weight. She eventually tricked me into going to my doctor, telling me I needed a physical because we got new insurance (we didn't). The Dr. walks in and starts talking to me about eating disorders - my mom had called her and told her I had one. I was infuriated. Add to that, a few years later I came across an ID my mom had when she was high school... same height as me, weighed 5lb less than I did when I was supposedly "too thin" and "needed help."

I spent a lot of time in my room when I was in high school. A lot of people were drinking, experimenting with drugs or sex, etc. and that made me uncomfortable. I felt like I wasn't ready for these things, so I often preferred spending time alone. One day, I got home from school, and my mom talked with me about my day, her day, random upbeat conversation for 1/2 hour. I go upstairs to find that my bedroom door has been removed from the hinges, and is propped up next to my closet. She didn't mention doing it or why for the 1/2 hour I talked to her about other things. She apparently wanted me to confront her, so I did. She said I spent too much time in my room with the door shut, so it was gone.

When I was in high school, my mom followed me. I remember one time I told her I was going to a friend's house (about a mile from mine), which I was. After a few hours, we decided to walk over to another friend's house a block away. While walking there, my mom suddenly pulls up next to us and yelled at me to get in the car. She screamed at me for not being where I said I was going. I told her I was there the whole time - we were just them walking a block away to grab some pizza a friend had ordered. She didn't believe me. I asked her why she was driving around (for who knows how long!), and she said because she "knew" I was lying about where I was going.

Also when I was in high school, my mom found out about a drinking party some kids I knew from school were having. I was never planning on going, I wasn't even invited - I was known as the lame-o who didn't drink. She called the police and reported the party, they got busted. The mother of one of the kids worked for the police department, and therefore had access to info about the "anonymous" call and let her son know the phone number that called in the report. It was my home phone number. So, they were reported by someone from my number and I wasn't at the party = they all thought I did it. This led to a massive amount of harassment at school, as well people calling my house, verbally threatening to harm me physically. They also drove by my house yelling these threats. My mom reacted by pulling me out of school and home-schooling me. This was miserable. I didn't have any friends anymore, no contact with anyone, and I missed driver's ed - so I ended up going to a private driving school and getting my license nearly 2 years late.

My mom believes she is the perfect parent. She refuses to admit that she has done anything wrong, and claims that everything she has done has been for the purpose of "being a good parent." I tell her the things she has done aren't normal, and that I don't know of anyone's parents who would do these things, and she says "well, then they aren't good parents." I feel that she is deep in denial, and downright delusional about how things really are, how she really is.

I was not a troubled child. I've never done drugs, I was never promiscuous. I tried a few drags off of a cigarette when I was 20 (such a rebel, I know ). I first got drunk when I was 19 (not legal, but I wasn't 12 or anything). I lost my virginity at 20, after dating the guy for 6 months... we've now been together 4 years and are engaged. I've always been a fairly responsible person. She had no reason to suspect that I was up to anything inappropriate. On top of how my mom has treated me, I am developing a great deal of resentment towards my father as I get older and think about my past more. Though he has never yelled at me or laid a hand on me - HE NEVER STOPPED MY MOM. Never told her what she was doing was wrong. Nothing. Just let her do these bizarre things. It hurts that he didn't protect me.

I had some traumatic things happen outside of this. My one brother sexually abused me when I was younger. My other brother was 9 years older than me, a drug addict, and stole/pawned my belongings from the time I was 8, as well as has been verbally abusive for as far back as I can remember. My mom knows about the things my brothers have done. She does not want to believe my brother sexually abused me. She has witnessed the verbal abuse and theft of my other brother, yet tells me I need to "be an adult" and forgive him. He pulls the "but I'm your brother" card, as if being related to someone permits you to be as horrible as you want towards them, and they should be okay with it.

I am now 24 years old, engaged, and house-shopping. I don't want a shower. I don't want a wedding. I don't want to celebrate this part of my life with people who have treated me this poorly. My mom is "toned down" and friendly when my fiancee is around, but he says after the 2nd time he met her he could tell she had some serious issues. I plan to sort of back away from my family when we get our own house. We've already decided that my brother will never be allowed in our home, because he is so disrespectful towards me and will likely steal from us. The more we talk about my family, the more I feel as if our home should be our oasis - anyone who has caused us a lot of grief doesn't have a place in it. Is this wrong?
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replied March 8th, 2013
Extremely eHealthy

No I don't think you are wrong to see your new home as an oasis - it will be your space with your rules and you welcome who you want and reject the others but good luck with enforcing those rules...

Your mother was wasted as a mum; she should have been working for the CIA.
Clearly she has a mental maladjustment though it is probably not a disorder in the usual sense as she seems intelligent and can just about function in the real world.
Lots of such things stem from childhood but I feel she is probably, rather than suffering from serial behaviour learned during her own upbringing, over-compensating in the opposite direction from her own experiences; just a guess...

In time I hope you will be charitable towards her and credit her crazy behaviour as merely a misguided effort to keep you safe and insulate you from the "seamy" side of life.
I did hear of one mother who did slightly similar things; sneaking around and checking for diaries, letters and suchlike. She even checked her daughter's panties for blood but in similar sneaky ways.

It takes all sorts to make a world and I am glad my mother wasn't like that...

Whatever you feel about your mother and whatever you will feel about her in time to come, if you develop into someone you like it will be partly due to your mother but if you develop into someone you don't like she will claim you did that on your own in spite of her efforts...

Good luck!
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