Hello I’ve been lurking on this site and I would like some advice on how to respectfully deal with a paranoid unmedicated parent. Growing up my mother used to accuse me of being molested by neighbors/sexually active when I was a kid because she “heard me” me saying “bad things” when I was having normal conversations with my friends. When i graduated high school her delusions later turned into full out accusations that I am saying sexually indecent things about her ,defaming her, and “trying to force her into a gay lifestyle” because I have LGBTQ friends (I’m a theatre major). My mother fights with strangers in parking lots, fast food restaurants, stores, and hotels. She sometimes targets various coworkers and subordinates at her job that she can bully (she has a union job and always gets transferred).She basically accuses everyone of being a pervert who sexually harasses or calls her gay and she gets away with it because she is an attractive woman. My younger brother and I have taken on the bulk of her aggression. I am a junior and my younger brother is a freshman in college. We are living at home due to covid19 spread in our community. Living with my mom is hell we are afraid to have conversations and even laugh because she is always suspicious she even puts the tv on mute while she is in the basement and waits for an opportunity for a confrontation with a neighbor or someone in the house. My father is great and has always kept my brother and I busy with activities away from her but he refuses to confront her mental health issues seriously. He is afraid that she’ll leave him for good if he pushes the topic since she has cheated in the past. He also does not believe in psychiatry and would rather pray for her to get better. My mom has has episodes here and there throughout my life but now things have gotten worse because she is working less hours at her job and we are around each-other more. I am seeing a counselor at church who got me a job at the their daycare and I’m trying to make arrangements for my brother & I to live away from her. In the meantime things at home are difficult and my mother will not leave me alone. Sometimes I catch her standing outside my bedroom door & talking to herself when I am trying to do online meetings for classes. When I go jogging in the neighborhood she asks me if anyone is “yelling at me” and says racist things about one of our neighbors, accusing him of being a “pervert and rapist” (she claims she could hear him insulting her from inside of his home and garage.) I have tried walking away from her but she gets in my face, blocks room exits, and grabs me while my father pleads and restrains her. She also tells my brother and I to “get the F out of my house go stay at a shelter”. I know my mother is unwell but living with her has been nightmare and my father and extended family tell me to stay quite and walk away whenever she gets paranoid. I know this was all very long thanks so much for reading. Sorry if this long post was triggering to anyone.
Welcome to the site @RedPanda , I am glad you have made your first post. Many people here understand your situation and can offer their insight.
When my daughter got ill in 2016 in her early 30’s, her two younger brothers, about 21 and 23 at that time, were caught up in the ongoing delusions/hallucinations of their oldest sister, who returned home as she had no where else to go. Honestly, the advice above you got from your father and extended family is spot on, in my opinion. It is the same advice I gave to my sons, that, and to stay out of the house longer during the day, and to finally move out as soon as they could. They couldn’t really assist me in caring for her while she was unmedicated and totally unaware she was acting strange. If you can, you can try be home during her waking hours a little less, or a lot less, until you and your brother can move out. And count your blessings that your father wants to take care of her and keep his relationship with her doing as well as it can. I’m sorry if I sound blunt, but severe mental illness doesn’t go away, and makes life very very difficult for the close family members.
Thank you for the thoughtful response <3. Family mental health struggles really do feel consuming if you allow yourself to get caught up in someone else’s delusions. I’m new to all of this and I just started counseling to help better process my emotions. I don’t hate or blame my mother for her illness but it can feel very frustrating because I am the main target of her anger. My mother has never been officially evaluated so I guess it is difficult to accept she has severe mental health issues.
You should be aware that a person who has delusions can target their family members when really there was nothing the family member did wrong at all. But to them, the reasons for their anger are very real. I’m sure you get frustrated. And many people with a severe mental illness don’t know they have one and it doesn’t even cross their mind that they could use treatment or help or medications.
I’m glad that you are getting some counseling yourself. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do. Sometimes self care drops out, and that’s not a good thing.
I wish you lots of patience with your mother, kindness is what she needs most from you despite any bad emotions she might show.