Thanks for your support and for asking me those questions, I will try to think about them here, out loud. It's very kind of you all to put so much energy into this.
1) I feel angry at my mother because everything has to be about her all the time. She is a woman who works in the helping profession and she's AMAZING at her job, but when she comes home, I have always felt that we have do deal with all the emotional fallout. She also gets very sick every time she is upset, and we all also have to take care of her, and even when we do, she complains about not getting enough care.
2) Yes I feel that we have all enabled her. (She doesn't have a drinking problem but is the product of an alcoholic home). But mostly her husband has enabled her (her current husband).
I had this poignant dream where she was trying to save these weird huge birdlike creatures and putting her self in danger to do so as they were all sick and covered in blood but at the same time they were really aggressive so after a while one of them attacked her and she was all covered with blood so we had to take her in the bath and clean her off and take care of her. I felt like the dream meant that she is always trying going beyond her limits to save the world and we are always dealing with the fallout.
3) I do feel responsible for her and also guilty. I feel responsible because she has had a tough tough life and she has done so much for me. Though she is very seld centered, she is not at all selfish and you have very good parenting skills, it's her interpersonal skills that are maladaptive. I also feel responsible for her because she counts on me a lot. She really does. The day I turned 18 she rewrote the will and gave me full custody for all the kids in the event of their deaths. She has always given me a lot of responsibility which I have always taken on eagerly, but I feel guilty because I feel like I have said no a lot lately because as an adult with my own life I can't take on as many of the "family" responsibilities. Example, I am moving across the country in two weeks by myself and she wants to come out the first weekend that I get there and drive to my grandparents house together. When I told her that I couldn't do this because I have no where to leave the dog she said she'd just go out there by herself and said "I hope you'll visit your grandparents someday" I just visited them in April. And of course I visited them. I don't really feel guilty about it, I feel angry at her for asking me to do SO much. Like on her birthday I sent flowers to the room she was staying in in Italy and she said I'm the only one who gave her a birthday present. Ok? That makes me the responsible one, right, and then I also feel guilty for the fact that she feels so unloved but then I talked to my sister and she did give her a really nice present. So I feel angry at her for not recognizing the things people do for her.
4) My brother running away from home brought up a lot of feelings for me because I feel like he feels totally alienated from the family and I think it's in part because she is pretty crazy and make other peoples lives in the family pretty difficult and we (the siblings) all talk about how hard it is to live with her and my step dad he just kisses her ass and does whatever she says and just avoids confrontation but NO ONE ever says – No mom I don't want to sit here for 45 minutes and hear about the grueling day you had at work or the co-worker that did something wrong to you – or the boss you pissed off. I want to talk about myself once in a while. Nobody says, mom, when I go to hang out with my friends it's not because I don't love you, it's because I want to see my friends. The reason we don't say these things is because my mother flips out very easily. I've seen her put holes in the wall. Twice. When I was six she threw every dish in the cabinet accross the room and out the window. And my brother was the youngest and he got left at home after we all moved out and had to deal with this alone. Confronting my mother is about as fun as poking your own eyes out. On the other hand she is not abusive and she genuinely loves her children with all of her heart so it was heartbreaking for me to see the pain my brother's running away caused her and how terrified she was. And so I felt sorry for her and I wanted to help so I called her about it and I did some research and I tried to talk her down and tried to talk to her about getting someone professional to talk to about how she was feeling. Because I knew my brother would come home, but I don't want him to do it again. I am concerned for his safety. The cops found him living in the streets. That is the major problem. My mother looks really good on paper. She always took care of us, NEVER missed a school play, always made sure we had every thing we needed, but then is so messed up about meeting her own needs that we end up trying and failing to meet her needs and then feeling ultimately frustrated and fed up and want to get away from her.
5) I guess that what I need is for my mom to be more of a grown up. To get her needs met so that she can step up to the plate at home and stop expecting us to fill her up.
6) Yes I don't really know how to emotionally detach from a person especially my mother. I guess I know that my role in the family is just a sibling, but I think as the oldest, with the most stability, I have taken on this matriarch position amongst the kids, and I have found that my sibling relationships are the most rewarding relationships I have in my life and no matter what I want to nourish those. At the same time, my mom says, "You guys always leave me out of the fun" so I feel guilty about that, but I guess I have to learn to detach from that and nourish the relationships that are really helpful to me and detach from my mother so that I can stop enabling her.
Listen, thank you so much for helping me to think through these questions. Wilcina