Don't know what to do about my mum!

hi there I don't even know where to begin.. I don't know if she is depressed, has serious anxiety or mental health problems. My mum used to be the lady that everyone adored, she was fun friendly and loving and always had a chill outlook on everything but not anymore! it has been going on for years now id say around 8 years, maybe more. she started lacking in motivation for everything, everything is such a hard task and she is tired every day. she is becoming more and more reliant on others and has lost almost all independence. but that is just the beginning. she is always negative, you cant hold a conversation with her anymore which doesn't end up negative or she turns it into some kind of conspiracy that there's a negative plot behind it. I no longer want to tell her any good news I have going on in my life anymore or achievements as she will make me feel bad about it or turn it into a negative. she has these psychotic attacks where she will abuse everyone and accuse them of "purposely" doing something to spite her.. there are so many examples I could give but ill give the ones that really stood out. her now ex husbands kids (my ex step brothers) she always had a grudge against, for what reason no one will ever know she would always make up some crazy reason to isolate people from there kids, partners, friends ect. she once accused my ex step brother of placing a knife on the dinner table "pointing towards where she sits"... there was just a knife on the table... like who in the right frame of mind will see a knife on a dinner table which is highly common in a house and think it is some sort of hidden message to get her..!? and the arguments about it! she would abuse there father, the kids.. sadly there mother had committed suicide when they were young but in her rage she would say to the kids no wonder why your mother .... herself and other extremely hurtful things! it wasn't once in a blue moon she would do this it is weekly! there was a spider under an ornament and she accused my step brother of placing it there.. it started off other people but it is now starting to point towards my sister and I and our partners. her own daughters she thinks are out to get her.. the only person she talks too now other then my sister and I is her elderly mother who also suffers from anxiety and is medically diagnosed of being a hypochondriac. My mum also thinks she has some kind of medical condition everyday so im not sure if she is a hypochondriac also.. she no longer has any friends only one which she speaks to very rarely but has something bad to say about them every time she talks to them also. but the reason I am reaching out now is because she had another episode yesterday and I have seriously had enough now. my partner and I were in her car the other day while she was driving to my sisters house (it isn't even a 5 minute drive) her car is a mess, she smokes in it like there is no tomorrow but the day after she just happened to be cleaning her car out or something and discovered 2 cigarette burns in the back of her car. it could have been her from ashing out the window and its come back in, it could have already been there as the car is pre owned! but in that 5 minutes my partner didn't even have a cigarette, she was abusing him, telling him he is a serial burner!!?? and that he wont get away for purposly damaging her belongings and she knows he is doing it on purpose and called the police on him! she has still been abusing us both today and it is absolute craziness and I have had it of being abused and accused weekly and she is just pushing everyone away. my partner was almost in tears how badly she was abusing him and calling the police on him.. as he didn't do anything.. I have also been in tears numerous times of being constantly abused and accused of doing things that im not. im always cleaning up after her, and always doing the housework, I work full time and on weekends while she only works 3 4 hour shifts a week but I can just never get a break it is emotionally draining. we have to lock the bedroom door when she comes home now because we don't want her coming in a abusing us.. what can I do!? she does it to my sister aswell but she is out of home with a family. I am moving out in late august because I cant stand it anymore but I need to help her somehow before she destroys all her relationships but I don't know what to do!

8 Replies

  • I think the best thing would be for your mother to see her GP and they might then want to refer her to the local mental health service. She is showing signs of paranoia and delusional thinking. You won't be able to reason with her and this is why you need more professional help. If your mother ends up abandoned by everyone she will get worse so the sooner she gets help the better. She needs help to get her out of her paranoid, negative mindset and this might involve the use of medication for depression and anxiety and she would probably also benefit from talking to a therapist/counsellor of some kind. If your mother won't go to see her GP voluntarily I would go yourself with your partner and discuss her behaviour with your GP, telling them you are very concerned for her and need some help.

  • First - you need to look after yourself because unless you are well you won't be in a position to look after anyone else.

    One possibility that occurs to me is B12 Deficiency - it's not well known amongst doctors and it may not be what is going on but in the US the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) has a website that has as it's headline that 1 in 3 (that's just over 3%) of the population over 51 will be B12 Deficient. In many cases this is because acid levels in the stomach change as you get older and this causes problems absorbing B12 from the diet. The psychological symptoms include low mood, anxiety, mood-swings, withdrawing from society and friends, psychotic episodes.

    This is a link to a list of symptoms


    Somehow you need to get your mother to visit her GP and talk about what is going on to them. If you can't and things don't improve then please get out as fast as you can.

  • oh lord, that sounds an awful situation for the whole family. You mention that your mum is a bit of a hypochondriac, that could be a way in to have her discuss her paranoia and tiredness with the doctor, if there are health worries it might be possible for her to discuss how a physical condition might affect her temper.

    Unless she has a psychotic episode that actually gets her taken into hospital it is going to be incredibly difficult to get professional help if she does not seek it herself.

    At least moving out will give you the space and distance to recover yourself, it sounds an exhausting situation to be in. It may be a case of waiting to see what happens after you move out, and look after yourself till then. --- as gambit says if you have real reason to fear move out sooner

    I don't know if family have asked her "why?" Or what kind of reaction there would be to questions.

  • Thankyou all for your advise I will defiantly be going to a GP about it. No way will she agree to come, it doesn't matter what we say and try calm her down and get these paranoid thoughts out of her head she will not budge. You can hear her thinking from the other room, she doesn't sleep because her mind keeps ticking but she's 100% convinced that these things are happening. She thinks she hears people outside and recently she has been saying how she hears the sound of the ocean in her ears.. She even takes things out on my elderly nan and has arguments and yells at her that even nan is out to get her. My nan doesn't need it either she's old.. So thankyou all for the advise it has been very helpful!

  • This is awful for you and I am so sorry. A thought occured to me - is it possible she has some form of dementia? It can strike at any age though it is rare in younger people. The only way you are going to know is if you can get to a doctors with or without her. I don't know what the situation is if she refuses though. Let us know what happens please. x

  • Hi

    It sounds as though at times your mother is becoming quite seriously disturbed though she may be manipulative in some of her behaviours and that is not necessarily mental illness. Her behaviour must be very difficult for you to deal with and it is good that you are able to find a way to move out from the home as living with such irrationality must be exhausting and disturbing for you. I am wondering whether you have any younger brothers or sisters who are not so lucky and who will be left in the home with your mother?

    I think you would find it helpful to talk through your mother's behaviour with someone from your local Adult Mental Health team - there is usually a Duty Officer who will answer the telephone and talking through your concerns about your mother would be a good first move.

    One obvious question I would need to ask is whether your mother has any insight into the fact that her behaviours are irrational? It is important to know the difference between reality and fantasy, if your mother believes people are intentionally behaving in ways that may damage her or direct things towards her then the mental health team should be told about that.

    Although talking to your own or your mother's GP may be helpful, I have found that in practice they are less good at dealing with mental health issues particularly where patient confidentiality is involved and that the Community mental health team are more experienced at asking the kinds of questions that will determine whether your mother needs help. She may just have become a very manipulative or aggressive woman in which case she may not necessarily be mentally ill but just be difficult for everyone else around her!

    I wonder what triggered the change 8 years ago - do you have any idea whether it is related to any events, such as a death or other loss, or some other negative event that caused her to feel got at or to feel angry? If the change followed an event then talking with your mother about that event may help if she is willing to think about it, though she may prefer to remain angry and thus become increasingly aggressive towards people which can then lead to increasing paranoia.

    You do not say how old you are, but whatever your age you are not responsible for your mother's mental health - you may care about her and want to help her, but she does also have to want to help herself. Unless she is considered by mental health professionals to be at risk of harming herself or others then ultimately she has to be the one who seeks help and uses the help that is offered, which includes any support from you or others in the family. You will no doubt find that difficult, but it is the reality of the situation. So talk things through with the duty officer and if they consider your mother is not at risk then sadly you have to allow her to choose to be difficult, even to the point of making herself ill. If she will not accept your help then there is nothing more you can do than get on with living your own life.

    If you feel the last 8 years of your mother's behaviour have affected your own emotions then do ask your GP to refer YOU to a counsellor so you can talk through those effects otherwise they may effect your own relationships in later life.


  • People often have to be referred to Mental Health Services by their GP first - I had to do this when I was going through a bad episode of depression not long ago. I phoned the Mental Health Crisis Team and they told me to see my GP and ask her to refer me to them.

  • My experience was that they were willing to have a chat and advise me without accepting a referral. Obviously you cannot refer your mum, she would be the patient and not you.

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