Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

California Single Mom Suffers from Delusions

Hi, I’m desperately trying to find a way to help a long time dear friend. Several years ago she called me claiming she’d been suffering from PTSD from new “memories” that had surfaced. These memories included: being trained as a child by the mafia to be a hitman, being forced to kill someone and being drowned during said training, friends from our childhood being apart of said mafia—a few currently being employed as hitmen, and that almost every man close to her or her family were either child molesters or rapists. Many people ignored the mafia claims but none could ignore the allegations of child molestation and/or rape. She has now pushed away every person that has cared for her and will not allow any family to see her daughter. It is her daughter I am extremely concerned about!

Her daughter is now 7 years old and hasn’t been in school for 1 ½ years. She claims she home schools her but after spending several days with them it is clear that the bare minimum is being done. Her daughter is barely literate, spends all day/night playing by herself on a computer, has little to no social skills, rarely plays with kids her age, and hasn’t been taught the basics: aka how to prepare herself snacks, clean up after herself, how to bathe & dress, respectful language and communication, etc. Her basic needs (clothing, shelter and food) are being met but that is about it. Her daughter is still young but it is clear there needs to be some sort of intervention before developmental issues occur.

My friend’s delusions seems to be subsiding, or rather, the delusions have now shifted to an obsessive preoccupation of (consensual) sex. She still believes that certain close family members have sexually abused her daughter but she has changed her story about other friends. In particular, 4 years ago she claimed a longtime friend had molested her daughter, then the story shifted that he had raped her. The current belief is that they dated in Junior High and that she took his virginity. She followed this up by saying “I had a lot of sex then.” I have known her since High School and know for a fact that she was not sexually active as a child and did not ever have sex with said friend. It is a bit of a relief that her delusions have shifted from rape and abuse to consensual sex; however, it is taking over her life. She continually discusses (in front of her daughter) how every man she encounters wants to have sex with her and that she really should have had sex with this person and that person when she had the chance. It seems any man that is nice to her she thinks is trying to sleep with her. This is followed up with all women being jealous or being mean to her.

At this point she has NO support system whatsoever. She will not talk to either parents or her sister (all of whom are child molesters or their partners are). Most of her friends are no longer in contact. She hasn’t and won’t seek help. Originally she said she couldn’t get help because the mafia would find out and hurt/kill her and/or her daughter. Currently she doesn’t see these “memories” or this lifestyle as problematic. She has never been diagnosed or treated. We think she is aware that something is amiss but she is deathly afraid her daughter will be taken away from her.

Two years ago I spoke with a Clinical Psychologist (and friend). She was extremely concerned by her behavior and told me to call CPS. CPS has already been to check on her daughter 3 times but since the basic needs are all being met there’s nothing they can do. Also, when meeting my friend she does not show signs of mental illness. I’m a writing here with hopes someone may be able to recommend a course of action in the state of California that can help her get the help she needs. Also, any stories about similar experiences or helpful bits that could lead us towards a better future is greatly appreciated!! PLEASE do not refer a book to me. I do not have enough regular interactions and will be living out of the country for most of 2016. I am completely heartbroken watching this little girl living in poverty, without friends or family, getting close to no education, and listening to her mom obsess over sex, rape and molestation.

The first thing that crosses my mind is to tell CPS that this women is really very ill despite her being able to appear normal. Tell them straight out that your contacting them is necessary and your report to them is valid. If you could have another person who knows the situation to back you up that despite appearances, this lady is affecting the daughter in a negative way than that would be even better.

I agree with 77nick77 that CPS should be contacted again. The more calls that go in on a situation, the more red flags become raised about the family. There is educational neglect that could be looked into. Even if they assigned a case manager to check in on the family, that would be helpful.

Yes, redraft what you wrote here and mail anonymously to CPS as well as calling, both letter and call to any other agency who might be able to intervene.

How about notifying a television station? Like a news station?

That’s a horrible situation and I feel for you, your friend and her daughter.

I personally don’t have experience with a situation like that, but the father of my child was very sick and subtly threatening and abusive of me and our newborn son. It was very difficult to prove that and have CPS do something. I needed all my creativity, resources, a good lawyer and a family court to quit contact between him and my son.

I don’t know really what you can do, but let me think out loud… maybe it will bring you to some creative ideas:

  • I called CPS and other child protection bureaus. The others are right: let others also call CPS, what about her family and other friends? Let them tell their story. The more reports with the more concrete issues of safety the better. Let them report on e-mail and keep the report - on paper it’s less easy for them to go around it. CPS in my country is scared to make mistakes that they can be “caught” for later (“we told CPS that there was a problem, they did nothing and now the child is harmed”).
  • I wrote down the whole story of what was wrong and what he did and searched for every little proof I could think of. Eye witness reports, scary e-mails, psychiatrist report of how he had harmed me. If I’d had to do it again I would record threatening (telephone) conversations. It’s not nice to fight against your friend, but is there anything you can use (e-mail, record, other witnesses) that you can use to proof towards CPS that there is really a problem? What CPS cares about most is visible, concrete problems. Emotional abuse and neglect in the most severe forms, not so much, unfortunately. Danger of physical harm to the child, more so. Think of ways she could harm the child that make an impression to CPS.
  • Is there a system, like in my country, where a parent can get a guardian from CPS that forces the parent to accept help?
  • Is it possible to speak with a family rights lawyer to see what can be done legally to have her accept help?
  • Doesn’t CPS have any ideas at all?
  • What did you do for her to accept help? What about less threatening help, like a babysitter or a social worker to help organise the Household?

I’m sorry, I don’t have any better advice… I wish I had. I know how hard it is to watch, see it go wrong and not be able to do anything.

Last advice: be creative in helping the child, but don’t be so involved that it hurts yourself. I literally went crazy from fear fighting to protect my child and that’s not really what you want either.