When the family member is angry and living with you

Does anyone have recommendations on how to deal with someone who’s angry with you (believes that you are involved in the cause of their suffering) and living in your home?

My mom is suffering from delusions and psychosis and came to live with us (after her car, which she was living in) was totaled (no wreck, just wear and tear.)

At first, she was happy to see/be around me and to be cared for (My partner and I have cooked for her and taken care of all of her basic errands since she got here.) She was feeling so trusting that she was even considering allowing us to help her get hospitalized (consensually.)

Over the past few days, she’s been staring both of us down, telling me that she believes I’m in (or working for) the CIA, etc.

I know that her anger can come in waves, and she will probably reach a slightly better/more trusting place again in a few days or a week, but regardless:

Does anyone have any advice on how to navigate this type of emotional dynamic with grace/without getting thrown off of their center?

For context, I often react by becoming emotionally distanced from her and sometimes I ask for space when it’s clear she’s thinking I’m involved in or potentially directly causing her pain/suffering. This makes her even less trusting, since I come across as awkward and uncomfortable and not my usual jovial playful self.

Thank you!

Make sure she takes her meds. Because delusions are the first thing that disappear after the treatment. Generally it can take 3-6 months till all positive symptoms (hallucinations and delusion) go away. And if she didn’t improve, see her doctor because maybe the dosage is not enough.

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A few things that helped us. Learning the techniques of CRAFT for the long haul.

Another resource that helped us in the short-term was implementing Dr. Xavier Amador‘s LEAP communication strategy. Here is a quick overview of LEAP for you to use.

The fact that you are asking how to react with grace says to me that you already know inside but just need a few more tools. Hopefully you will find something useful.

Also, FWIW, my son in his most paranoid times did not respond to my talking him out of it but would calm down for a short time when I just asked if I could sit with him. Side by side. If you feel safe with your mom, you could try that. No expectations. Just to sit and breathe.


Sadly, right now she’s not medicated. I’m considering having her involuntarily committed, but she hasn’t threatened others or herself, and I’m not sure that I would be successful in the process. I’m hoping she will voluntarily go, but so far she’s been very reluctant to even seriously consider it.

Hopefully I’m able to either support her in getting to treatment by going through processes like LEAP, or having her committed so that she can at least get started on a medication!

Thank you so much! Could I ask what your story with your son is? (Whether he had anosognosia, your process with him to get him into treatment)

If she has physical symptoms that she could consider herself, like headache, pain in hands etc. tell her you want to get her to the doctor for that reason. This is what I did to my mom and she agreely came with me

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And once she got the treatment and was fine, for her to stay on it, I explained that her illness is much like those with heart disease, so that if she stop taking the medication she will need to be hospitalized again and again. And again she agreed.

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I love this advice! I read this last night, and earlier today I (casually) mentioned a doctor to her who’s a psychologist and a primary care doctor who takes her insurance - she has some physical issues that she needs and wants to address, and knows that she’s not doing well mentally (anxiety/depression/PTSD - even though she doesn’t think she has psychosis or sza) so I mentioned them being able to get her to an overall place of wellness - doing things like testing for nutritional deficiencies, etc.

She’s open to it! Really appreciate the input; seems like this might wind up being a part of the key to getting her started in treatment.

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You’re welcome! Everything will be alright. Good luck !

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