Going against a person we care about’s wishes

My mom is currently involuntarily being held at a psychiatric hospital for refusing to leave or not to return to a laundromat; she’s been there for about 25 days. She won’t speak with anyone, but is showing signs of mental illness, hence the longer than usual commitment.

For weeks I wasn’t able to get the hospital to contact me, BUT yesterday I was able to find my mom’s doctors personal number and reach out to him by looking him up on Psychology Today. Of course, I’m going to tell him everything I know. (It is him, and he’s planning to call me asap.)

Obviously, I need to tell him everything that I know that could help him to actually use this opportunity to treat her (if possible to do legally.)

However, my mom has specifically asked that I not take control of her life in any way. She has agnosia and WILL feel that I’m oppressing and actively harming her by doing this. Should I tell her in advance that I am going to be open with them about my perspective, or should I just do it and keep it between myself and her doctor?

How have you all navigated the emotional side of going against your loved ones wishes?

If you want your mother to get help be honest with the doctor. That’s the only way things will get better. She is obviously not in her right mind. I hate to say this but if you are the only one she is close too maybe just keep it between you and the doctor. I have had plenty of talks with the doctors on how my daughter was doing. He didn’t know what her normal was. One time in the hospital she was lashing out at people and cussing at them and this was not her. As soon as they changed the meds they were trying, that went away. The medication can be good (so-so)) or really bad on them. And only you will really see the difference you will be of great help to the doctors and get to know the nurses also if you can.
Think of it, if it was you going through all of this and not knowing you are sick, would you want someone to advocate for you and help you get through it? Do you want to commit to this and fight for her. Good luck with everything hope she gets better as much as she can.


It is very hard to make choices to go against a loved one’s wishes, I truly HATED myself for doing it, especially the first time I called the police on my adult daughter. It got easier as time went on, and the self hate left me eventually.

I had to call the police over 40 times and get her through forced hospitalization a total of 5 times during her bad years. I realized that my taking action AGAINST her was actually my taking action FOR her. I was NOT against her. I was taking action AGAINST her mental illness, and FOR her own sanity. You will be going against your mother’s mentally ill wishes, to get her to the point of being able to make sane wishes for herself in the future. Remember that.

You also do NOT have to choose to fight for her. That is your choice also. Many people have turned their backs on a loved one with a severe mental illness as it was eating up their own lives. I have a friend who did that, the total opposite of what I chose when my daughter got ill.

I believe that if someone is making wishes based on anosognosia, then their wishes for themselves are actually destructive in many ways, to themselves and to others.

No, I wouldn’t tell her that you are talking to her doctor. No, I wouldn’t tell her of any plans you make that she may take the wrong way. Right now her mental illness is stronger than her own self. You are thinking for her.


Thank you so much for this perspective; you’re right. Working behind the scenes on her behalf is my role in fighting this illness WITH her. The way you worded all of this makes it so easy for me to feel comfortable with my place in all of this. Thank you.


You are very welcome. I found hope on this site when I had very little hope to scrounge up. But hope and keeping my own mental health and physical health up as best I could was what I could do… I had to do it to be there for her. That is why I still come on site, to hopefully give back some useful ideas to others fighting against schizophrenia: it is often a thankless fight, but small wins can add up to big changes.


@RishI I am Welloverit108 under a different name. (long story short, tech was up to hijinks and logging in as a new user was easier.) We talked about my brother getting committed into disability housing and it seems your mother has deteriorated further.

Please talk to her doctor. She cannot have her medical information shared with you but that never stops you from discussing what has or is happening with the physician.

As for your concerns about telling her about your involvement, this happens all the time when family is involved and someone is comatose or unable to respond. Sometimes good Samaritans are the only resource the medical staff has when getting information on what happened to the person. Having a family member who knows what their patient baseline is like is a savior for treating physicians.

Especially as your mom is catatonic, they won’t force you to make her care choices (absolving you of blame) but the medical providers will make choices in her best interest. Be it getting treatment, food, or whatever else she needs to be stabilized and receiving necessary care. POA via an “uninterested” third party is how we frame most care decisions for my brother when he went through periods of homelessness due to his delusions. Bring whatever documents or witnesses you can to back up her Dx or her medical history. A ROI (Release of Information) between her and her older doctors is too much to ask but anything you know about her GP or Doctor’s Office, might be able to send info about her Dx to her Tx GP without you having an ROI. It’s essentially GP to GP rather than you to GP from mom which breaks HIPPA rules. It’s an odd dance but works when your down on options. Mass faxing her information to different hospitals and clinics they might be able to get in contact with her GP. EMR (Electronic Medical Records) can also be sent to hospital in case she has any unknown medical history that might be pertinent to her differential Dx.

All the best.