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Old 12-26-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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Question What can I do to help my mom?

I am very worried for my mom. She has an undiagnosed mental illness. I have been trying to help her for years with this, but she is on a downward spiral. My mom is in denial and does not believe there is anything wrong. As a child I always knew my mom was sad and unhappy. She would be emotionally hurtful to me. She married my dad, because she was pregnant with me (he was the father). She loved him the best way she could. She had been raped before she met him in college and she had a rough childhood. She was shy and felt ridiculed by all her peers. She had no friends. In college she met some great friends and my dad, this was the only happy time I can recall that she talks about. Except for the rape. Then she had been thrown off a horse and it fell on her. This is when my Grandma noticed the difference in her (early twenties). As far as I know there was no abuse growing up although she has a very unhappy opinion about her childhood.
As a child mom always told me she wanted me to be perfect and when I wasn't she said some very mean things. When I got my first boyfriend she became worse about this. She would physically hurt me when she became angry. She thought I was hurting her by being with him. This somehow got resolved. Mainly because I moved out and let things go. Then a couple years later my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was terminal. Mom then focased her enery on saying hurtful things to him. I know of two times she was extremely physical. One time she was so mad that I asked her for money she pushed my dad on the floor after he had surgery. Money was a huge deal at that time for all of us. Another time my mom refused to take my dad to the hospital and hit him and told him if he didn't get up and do something he was going to die. Well my dad died after two years of suffering. My mom has been depressed more since.
She has been without him for 6 years now. She started working last year for the first time in twenty some years. Mainly because she needed the money. She was ok for a short period of time, but she became even more dependant on my brother. She was the same way with dad. Very dependant. She has always thought of herself as a burden, ugly, worthless, and the list goes on. For as long as I can remember she has threatened injuring herself.
Also she had this thing against my dads family. She thought they hated her and never excepted her. To aviod fights dad pretty much stopped seeing his family. She disliked his mom more than anyone. Very jealous of his sister (dad and her were close growing up). So I never formed relationships with them.
Now she hates her job and thinks someone is out to get her. Over the summer my brother and his girlfriend stayed with her. My mom became so jealous of the girlfriend that she made up lies about her. Said she made her stay in her room and not eat dinner with them or watch tv. She called everyone she knew and it made things ten times worse. this sent them all over the edge. My brother and her girlfriend moved out. She almost lost a relationship with him. Now she is trying to get stuff started again. She even told me more lies about stuff that the girlfriend is doing. She also has been starting lies about my aunt to hurt me. Saying that my aunt is made at me and wrote me out of her will. I don't undersatnd how she got so confused on this. It seems like she believes her lies to the fullest.
I have been talking to her throught the years and she refuses to get help. She denies being depressed, denies lying, and she has made herself be almost completely secluded from the world. Oh and another huge problem is she used to have 16 cats upstairs in her house. They have ruined many things. Now they are in the basement. The whole place stinks. I can't take my kids there. At the moment I have her visit at my house. But she is burning a lot of bridges. How do I get her help? Any ideas on what type of illness this is? It might be a combo. There has been so much going on. Of course I have had to seek out help for myself, because of the mind games she has played and for the depression of losing my dad my only security as a child. Any ideas will help!!!!

 
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:58 PM   #2
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

just noticed your thread. could you write a letter to her doctor explaining you are worried for your mothers state of mind? your mother sounds very very messed up about a variety of things and nothing will change for her until she seeks help. can you sit your mother down and talk to her? i bet you have already tried that but could you try again or write her a letter explaining you are concerned and that you want to be there for her. she may have done some bad things which is not right but there is some issue she has not dealt with yet.

 
Old 12-27-2010, 11:39 PM   #3
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

vworried,

Hello and welcome to the HealthBoards. You have come to the right place for support and understanding while you struggle with this difficult situation. It hurts to read your words because the pain comes though so clearly, and I am so sorry.

Hopefully we can offer you some comfort and ideas to help both you and your mother. The sad part is, that your mother has established a pattern of behavior that does not accept help easily, in fact she denies the whole thing, making help impossible at this point.

One avenue that you might have going for you is Adult Protective Services. When you mention that she is living with lots of cats in her basement, that is a huge red flag. If her home is not clean enough, or suitable enough to live in, Adult Protective Services will get involved to evaluate and assess her living conditions for both her and her animals. If she if found to be in need of mental health care, it will be provided. Of course, this could be considered a violation of her privacy and might make her really mad. But, it is one option.

My I ask your mothers age? I find it so touching that you have such concern for your mother after some of the treatment you have described. I am sure you have been heartbroken by this woman, but thankfully you can see that she is not herself and it is likely illness that is causing her to act out like she is. I applaud you for standing by your mom, who is obviously not well at all emotionally.

Have you considered counseling for yourself? You cannot forget that all this has taken quite a toll on you, and perhaps a professional could help you deal with this tough situation. You must take care not to end up damaged terribly by all this. While you cannot make her do anything, you can control how you react to her. With the proper counseling, you can protect yourself and your children from the toll this has had on your family.

I look forward to the other responses you receive. There are some very nice and caring folks here that will surely have much to add to this discussion.

I offer you my support as you go forward from here, and I respect you for taking this huge dilemma head on, to help your mother. Just remember to take care of yourself first, your children need you too. Be well.

 
Old 12-28-2010, 07:04 AM   #4
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

Thank you for your support!! It has been a long hard journey. My mom is 57. I have stood by her mainly because my dad has asked me to when he was sick with cancer. Through it all I love her. I can see that she is a good person underneath all the pain. I know she is suffering with internal pain.

My extended family is very large and they have been supportive up to now. Mainly because she has been getting worse and they complain to me and my brother that we need to help her more finacially and otherwise. Which we are unable to do. They have enabled her for years and many will tell me she has a problem, but would never tell her for fear of hurting her further. I have had to reach out to my friends and my doctor. I am on a waiting list for counsiling.

Thank you for your ideas. If she has another episode which I am sure she will I am going to have to call for help. Also getting in touch with her dr. might help. I had not thought of that. Although I do know at one time a dr. had mentioned meds which she would not take. I don't know more about that as my mom has not went into detail. She denies she needs them and says she doesn't believe in meds. But now I have a couple more ideas. Thank you so much!

 
Old 12-28-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

Hello again!

I am short on time right now, but I do have a response for you when I come back later, OK? I want to continue to support you while learning more about the situation. I am sorry I am short on time, but I will always be back.

Janet

 
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:02 AM   #6
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

Well things have gotten worse. My mom was fired from her job through the office of the aging at social services. The reason is that she is not working up to her potential (complaints from co-workers that she is unhappy and makes too many mistakes). The office of the aging is possibly going to help her find another job. OMG...if you can't work at a library where can you work? This tells me for sure she needs help. Her case worker had mentioned for her to see a councilor, because they are recognizing some sort of depression. Mom did not take this well. She says she has the right to be sad, because she is grieving. A lot of her problem is she doesn't want other people calling her crazy. She doesn't realize it is ok to get help. Well I am calling the office today to see what her options are. I think I need to tell them a little more about her so she can get help. Maybe they have ideas on how to help someone who does want to admit they have a mental disability.

 
Old 01-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

This sounds like a lot! Definitely she does need professional help, one way to get her some help is thru her medical provider which from what I just read, you have. Another way is to convince her that in order to prove that she is not depressed, she needs to seek medical attention and prove it, otherwise you won’t get off her case. As much as I love animals, the cats may have served the purpose of filling the void, making her feel the sense of belonging and controlling as a substitute for been able to cope with it in real life. A person in denial does not want to be called names, definitely not crazy or any others names.

 
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

I am so sorry at this turn of events. I am sure the firing has only added to her sense that someone was out to get her, and they did...which of course is not likely, rather the combination of her not doing her job without mistakes that others had to fix, and the poor attitude. OUCH.

I really have to commend you for your continued support and attempts to help her, it must be very frustrating. We have come such a long way in the understanding and proper treatment of mental issues, and her thought of being called crazy or other negative words likely comes from earlier in her life, when such things were more common. These days we have so much more respect for those dealing with mental disorders, and the whole language surrounding it has changed as well.

This is likely a cultural difference she has not yet been educated in, which she may never accept. Once some of these old ideas are stuck in the minds of people, they stick forever which is so unfortunate. What a shame, considering how much help is available to those who seek it.

I am glad to hear you are continuing to seek help from social services, as they would be the ones who would be on the front lines of care for our aging population, and hopefully able to steer you in the right direction.

Once again, let me remind you that we are here for you and want to get you though this. My prayers are with you and your mother.

Does she still have the cats?

 
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:28 PM   #9
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

I'm also very touched by your story. I don't mean this to demean myself but you are a much better person than I am. I don't think I would have stuck with your Mom as long or as understandingly as you have.

I think the biggest hurdle you have is that your Mom has to want to be better to get better. You really can't force mental health on someone. It's a real pity too because some very simple medications could help her tremendously. As odd as it sounds, I fear your Mom is comfortable in her misery. Her comment that she has a right to grieve is true, but it's also a red flag to me that she perceives her situation as a bit of an entitlement for her to live that way.

The only suggestion I have is if through her councilor if there is any way for her to talk to someone who has been where she is and had gotten better. Would she listen to someone who followed medical advice and found their way to better health? Maybe if she could see a real living, breathing example of someone who got better, she would be more willing to give help a chance. Would she even be willing to read stories of people who got treatment for depression and became well? You can find them on line, possibly print them out and leave them for her to consider.

Good luck to you. You are a wonderful daughter. The best hope for the world is that each generation gets better and you are doing that.

 
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:21 PM   #10
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

Thanks Everyone!!!!
Well social services gave me a couple of ideas today. Basically they said the doctor route. They also said they will find her another placement, she just has to be willing. They have decided to ask to work for meals on wheels. Hopefully that works. I am so happy to have this support, because not many people I talk to understand. And my mom has caused so many problems that many fami;ly members have no use in helping her. They support me, but not her. And well that doesn't work so well.

First of all I mentioned the cats, but that got me no where at least with that office. I asked them if they knew about the cats which they did and I guess they thought the living conditions were fine. This makes me wonder if they actually went in the house, because all I can smell is cat pee! The cats are well taken care of food wise and my brother is a vet tech so he brings then food and meds when needed. It used to be a beautiful house which is no longer the case. She does keep it clean other than that since she is not a hoarder. The supervisor basically said that she is able to take care of herself so at the moment they can't swoop in and do something. For example it is not a neglect case.
Second the person said that she needs a dose of reality and maybe this will get her the help she needs. she thinks this will get her to a councilor. She said, "She hasn't had enough bad stuff happen, and this might be what she needs to get help." I have my doubts. Enough has happened and the problem is all of her preconceived notions and such about getting help.
She told mom today that she has two choices, work or sell her house and live off that until the widows pension kicks in in three years. This supervisor kept telling me that she probably shouldn't talk to me about this stuff, but I am her medical contact. So in a way I was lucky to get any info. She also said she is fed up. She thinks my mom just likes to complain. She also said she believes she needs support, but has refused going to a support group and refused more job training. I didn't know they had offered that for her. I am really surprised at some of the things she said, but I think she thinks I am the last hope to talk to mom and get her to do better at her job.
I asked my mom who her doctor is (she keeps changing doctors when they tell her something she doesn't like). She just said oh someone in her town. She is suspicious, I think. So I will have to do some investigating and ask family members if they know. That is my next plan.
There is more, but I'll stop there and see how things go for a little bit.

 
Old 01-28-2011, 11:53 AM   #11
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

I am a bit surprised at some of the things the worker told you...some of it seems very unprofessional, such as the bit about her not having enough "bad stuff happen". But, as you said, you might be lucky she told you anything at all. She doesn't seem to be the most polite and sensitive person in the world. Hopefully you can sift through her comments and find the ones that are helpful.

Maybe the meals on wheels job would be a good fit. She might see what people are like that are far worse off than herself.

I also like resolutions idea of showing her real stories of people who have had great success getting through depression to the other side.

If she could see how easy it could be to get started with some treatment and see results in a short time period...

Life does not have to be the dreadful place some of us feel stuck with. Life is a continuous cycle of good times and bad, of ups and downs, but there is always an up after a down. We just have to know that and know when it is time for it to come. Make it happen. But I know you know this.

It hurts me to think of souls who do not want to be happy. It is just not all about them. Just like the ripples on the water when you throw a stone in, they move outward to affect everyone and thing around it.

We will keep this conversation going, as long as it helps you. There is no better feeling than to have made a small difference in someones day. If we can do that for you while you struggle for your mothers health, it is our pleasure. Make sure to take good care of yourself as you go through this. And like resolution said, you are a better person than me too.

 
Old 01-28-2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

Hi! I commend you for trying to help your mother out; as others mentioned, I don't know myself if I would have the patience or tolerance to do as you do. You asked what might be wrong with her, and my opinion is that she might have borderline personality disorder. The threatening to hurt herself and the violent rage are two signs, and the jealousy of other people's relationships is classic. BPD people commonly try to sabotage their family and friends' relationships with significant others out of jealousy and the desire to be the only one who is important to people. If she does have BPD, she may have co-occurring illnesses as well.

I think she first and foremost needs counseling. Medications can help people like this, but they aren't enough on their own, since personality disorders are patterns of maladaptive behavior. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do without her willingness to participate unless she becomes a real danger to herself or others. A lot of people decide to seek help when they hit bottom and their pain becomes unbearable. Seems like her pride and maybe addiction to misery is keeping her stuck. Hopefully others on here will have more advice on what you can do, I just wanted to point out my opinion on what the problem might be. I'm no doctor though. Take care and good luck with everything, I hope things start to look up for you.

 
Old 01-28-2011, 03:16 PM   #13
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

You are right...she was unprofessional. I was surprised. There were some helpful comments. I mainly just figured out a few things I can talk to mom about. Like try to get her motivated to do well at the next location. I think she will do ok there, I hope. I think she was so open, because she isn't sensitive to my mom's needs and she is fed up with the complaining and such from my mom.

All of you are too kind. I believe many of you would do the same thing if it was your mom. Especially since you have been so kind and compassionate towards me and my situation. I am a certified teacher (currently subbing) and I have worked with many special needs students when I was a Teacher assistant. I have had a great education that has helped me learn more about disabilities and illnesses. This has helped me to see that mom has something wrong with her brain. I have blamed her for things more in the past, but how can I blame her completely when she has some sort of damage to her brain/thinking and such. I haven't always been so helpful, and I wish I had done more sooner. I wish I had conversations with my dad about this. he might have been able to help, but who knows.

I have considered BPD. She seems to fit that pretty well. I am not sure, as she hasn't been violent in awhile, but it's something similar. Also my family thinks it might be bipolar, but I don't really see her fitting into that.

Thanks soooooo much to all of you!!!

 
Old 01-28-2011, 05:12 PM   #14
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

I hope you are right and if, and when this time comes in our lives with our mothers, we will rise to the occasion and jump in as good daughters do. In fact, Ii the time I have been here, I have learned a lot about my own mother/daughter relationship. My mom and I have our shortages, and although I have made secret promises to myself to do more with her, spend more time together, as yet I haven't. Even the daily phone call can get easily overlooked. Thank goodness they purchased properties when homes here were cheap so we would live neat them forever.

That did not work for my sister (who was just diagnosed sociopath at 53 years old. I am 50, the parents 80 and 85. She went on to destroy the free home, right near the beach, a home that they bought for 18,000 in the early 70', that sold (after extensive repairs) for 440,000.00. Our family lived without ever knowing what was wrong with her. It ended up being a crushing blow. I think this is where my interest goes in your story. Getting that diagnosis was like a warm flood of water, an answer! Something to learn every single thing about, to finally have a name with this lifetime of craziness our family lived through.

I got the matching house, just one mile down the street. Sorry I went off on a tangent. Just to say, I understand your thirst to find a name, and like Dig Music reminds us, it is very likely that is a mixture. If we could save her from being a woman never understood, a mystery to those closest to her, that is terrible sad. That is the choice she is making by never allowing change to take place. I am so sorry for that. I imagine after your entire lifetime living though her eyes, hasn't she seen amazing things, heard amazing stories, seen amazing things? why does she not realize these same things are there for her. Maybe she just doesn't imagine anything getting better. No wonder she is grouchy.

Thanks you for really getting me thinking. This is about all our mothers, and I want to thank you for having the bravery to get the conversation going.

janet

 
Old 01-28-2011, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: What can I do to help my mom?

I hope you are right and if, and when this time comes in our lives with our mothers, we will rise to the occasion and jump in as good daughters do, like you are doing. In fact, in the time I have been here, I have learned a lot about my own mother/daughter relationship. My mom and I have our shortages, and although I have made secret promises to myself to do more with her, spend more time together, as yet I haven't. Even the daily phone call can get easily overlooked. Thank goodness they purchased properties when homes here were cheap so we would live near them forever.

That did not work for my sister (who was just diagnosed sociopath at 53 years old. I am 50, the parents 80 and 85. She went on to destroy the free home, right near the beach, a home that they bought for 18,000 in the early 70', that sold (after extensive repairs) for 440,000.00. Our family lived without ever knowing what was wrong with her. It ended up being a crushing blow. I think this is where my interest goes in your story. Getting that diagnosis was like a warm flood of water, an answer! Something to learn every single thing about, to finally have a name with this lifetime of living with a child with a serious mental disorder that our family lived through. My parents don't "believe in that mumbo jumbo".

I got the matching house, just one mile down the street. Sorry I went off on a tangent. Just to say, I understand your thirst to find a name, and like Dig Music reminds us, it is very likely that is a mixture. If we could save her from being a woman never understood, a mystery to those closest to her, that is the best thing we could ever do! That is the choice she is making by never allowing change to take place. I am so sorry for that. I imagine after your entire lifetime living though her eyes, hasn't she seen amazing things, heard amazing stories, seen amazing things? why does she not realize these same things are there for her. Maybe she just doesn't imagine anything getting better. No wonder she is grouchy. What ever the name of this disorder it is brutal and mean. A diagnosis is so important.

Thanks you for really getting me thinking. This is about all our mothers, and I want to thank you for having the bravery to get the conversation going. I will continue to think hard on your story.

janet

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