Visiting her for 4 days this weekend helped her dramatically. She was happy the entire time and has gone back to the mindset she was in before she left, which involved such things as planning her meals, ensuring she gets enough sun, exercise & sleep, etc... She's back in positivity.
She hasn't mentioned her mother since I arrived Friday morning. I don't know how this particular situation will go, but she'll be able to deal with it better with a better mindset.
The cycle you mentioned exists while we're apart. When she's in my direct presence, it seems to vanish. It takes a while after leaving my presence for it to start up... Initially this was about 3 weeks, but we've figured out how to slow it down in various ways. She returns to me in mid-December, but will be close enough to my family over Thanksgiving that she might drive out to visit me & my family briefly during that time.
While she reacts best to being physically near me, Skyping with me helps her a bit as well. She has a shirt of mine in a ziplock. I send her a new one monthly; post-worn, pre-wash, so it smells like me. She also has various reminders of me, and I try to relate them to touch. For example, the blanket she uses each night is mine, and I relate it to being the closest I can do to cuddle her. I can't give her direct touch, but try to placate with her other senses as best I can.
Her anklet is the best reminder, as it's from a small commitment ceremony we had Dec 22, 2011. It never leaves her ankle. I've also left her with a reminder of my visit that she'll see every day for probably another month as it slowly fades.
She's got a lot of needs... And she's capable of handling them, but may need various levels of nudging. No matter what the need is, if I'm able to physically touch her, she will listen if I tell her to take care of herself (or just about anything else, but I'd never abuse this power). That makes it resolve quickly and avoids the cycle you spoke of.
Another part of the issue I initially mentioned is that I was not in the best mindset either. I also do far better with her around and I've been surrounded by things that need doing that have manifested as physical mess. I have leaks under both of my apartment's sinks and haven't called maintenance because my apartment is too messy for them to get to the sinks. So I've been getting a little depressed, which made her need become a little draining. I'm far happier after this weekend with her, so I should be a lot better now as well.