1forlarue Asked July 2010

My 83 year old mother, who loves to manipulate everyone, has hypochondria. How do I deal with her and her issues daily?

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Mom is also a type 2 diabetic, suffered a broken leg and cannot walk. She requires 24 hour care, hence why we are here! She has beaten breast cancer and several other ailments equal in severity. She has battled her weight her entire life. We currently have her weight down to about 240lbs. She wears diapers and cannot hold her bladder all of the time. She is angry a lot, but is trying to be more positive.

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1forlarue Jul 2010
Thank you Ed!

Your words are good to hear. I have been surfing the web regarding hypochondria also. It seems that my thoughts regarding depression are possibly in line with the issue also. As for dealing with it on a daily basis... you are correct when you say, "the only thing one can do is listen and do nothing unless you believe your mom's concern to be genuine." I quit jumping a couple of months ago. I was hoping for a new angle of thought as I had gotten stuck in the rut of resentment towards Mom because of her constant need to be sick. This has been accomplished. I am grateful!
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Eddie Jul 2010
2FM:

I "lifted" these suggestions on the Web:

(1) Hear her out. Hypochondriacs need to verbalize their condition; no matter how fabricated it may be. Even if you've heard it all before and know it's all in her head, listen in an effort to appear interested and concerned.

(2) Remain neutral in your response and try to keep responses nonverbal. Don't appear skeptical or overly concerned with the hypochondriac's complaints but remain supportive.

(3) Show empathy. Assure the hypochondriac that you understand their discomfort and pain. Without encouraging or discouraging their concerns about their health, appear sympathetic.

(4) Discourage the hypochondriac from surfing the Web. Internet diagnosis is a dangerous trend among the delusionally ill. Without dismissing their pain and suffering, remind the hypochondriac that self-diagnosis through Internet research is hazardous to their health.

(5) Accept their condition. Though many of the complaints are psychosomatic, hypochondria is a very real condition.

2 FOR MOM, if you feel stuck between a rock and a hard place it's because needy people equal entrapment. In these situations, the only thing one can do is listen and do nothing unless you believe your mom's concern to be genuine. To her, they all are. But if you keep jumping every time she moans and groans, you won't have the clarity of mind to see things for what they really are. Put bluntly, you'll keep being manipulated because you don't allow yourself the time to weed out the BS ... and live your own life.

-- ED
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1forlarue Jul 2010
Thank you so much for everyone who has made a comment. Any and all thoughts are helpful!

Does anyone else feel that perhaps the hypochondria and need to manipulate are signs of depression? Is is possible that she goes this route because she is no longer in control and this behavior somehow gives her the premise of control? Don keeps telling me that this is not going to change and in fact will most likely get worse. I am afraid he may be right. Do I need to simply accept this behavior as normal for her? Is it a mental disorder?
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susan63 Jul 2010
Hypochondria? Oh yeah my Mom has been a major one since I was old enough to understand. Always complaining and going to the Dr., back then there was nothing ever really wrong. Why? I don't know..maybe b/c she had six kids and a husband that travelled a lot and that was her way of trying to have someone focus on her. She also took me and my sister to the Dr. at the slightest sign of a cold or stomach flu.
But starting about ten years ago she would complain, go to the Dr. and there were really things wrong but she ignored the Dr.s advice and would just complain. So here we are with preventable problems and things just get worse. I don't know if I will ever fully understand.

Take care.
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195Austin Jul 2010
My late husband loved our dogs and even got to tolarate my cat and the cat had him wraped around his paw but as for people he could not get along with them =this site is a Godsend when I happened to find it I started living after many years wondering what was wrong with me -the support was so lifechanging and apprecated that is why a year after he died I come here to stay in touch with the saints who got me through each day and to help others hang in there and let us help you get through one day at a time we care and share-caregiving is the hardest job when you are family and can not go home after 8 or 12 hrs. or whatever- the nights were esp. hard for me-my husband said to me often -you ony have one pt. instead of 6 when you were working-but then I had a life-to all of you let us help you these guys are my best friends still even though I only occ. stay with my Mom.
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rip Jul 2010
Oh LaRue ...
Don't feel guilty. You certainly have enough personal stuff going on being self employeed in this economy plus a student!
Go ahead & blow! Might do her some good.



I've been thru years of that with Dad. It comes & goes with him. Refusing medical treatment, the doctors are nuts or don't know what they're doing, my brotheres are idiots, the worlds gone to hell ... so many things are wrong for him.
Somehow I've made it thru many years. Now he is more content & I am not sure why. Probably b/c I moved him into my home after his prostate cancer required a full time catheter. I became tired of racing to his senior living apt. to empty it when he couldn't seem too or running him to the ER when he developed a UTI - always at 3 AM.

Another thing that altered his personality was chronic 'silent' UTI's. I don't know how he didn't hurt from them b/c my personal experience was painful, but I understand many seniors suffer not realizing they have them.
Major personality changes & dilusions. Might be something to check.
I could usually tell by the 'aroma' of his urine plus his eratic behavior.

Often during hot weather the conversation in the dining room of his complex would be about whose taking what for their latest UTI. That generation would neglect to drink water, become dehydrated & pass out.


One of the hardest things is caring for someone who has given up caring for themself.
They often are frustrated & refuse to think you might be as frustrated as they are.
Is she mentally sound?

My dad still blasts at me for the stupidest things. Now I blast right back, when appropriate. We are major animal lovers. One thing I said that seemed to wake him up is that he speaks so kindly to the animals. Please address me as he would them.
Took a few repeats but seems to have made a difference.

I wish you the very best luck & hope to see more comments soon. Please don't let her attitude ruin your marriage. Elder care sure wrecked mine. Thats another story.

Hang in there lady!
Read this site. Keep contributing. I'm new here & it does help to know so many are in similar situations. Kind of eases the isolation ....

Cheers ~
Rip
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195Austin Jul 2010
my late husband loved to be taken care of and he did nothing to help himself-there are many people like that and finally I refused to take him to every doc he wanted to go to more than 100 office visits in 9 months I finally had to decide to place him or I would not make it he just loved being sick and needy and did not want to hear any of my health problems-most of his doc visits were social call -after 16 years of this I put my foot down and would not take him unless it was a real problem-finally had to place him but he died before the medicaice work was done we had good insurance so the docs got paid well and he got the attention he craved- and finally he did give up-he was in rehab over 16 times in a few years and finally a social worker got what he was about because her late husband was the same-I finally had to stay away from rehab and not take his calls because of his verbal abuse -I finally decided I did not deserve to be treated badly.
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1forlarue Jul 2010
Thank you for you response! Just having someone respond helps one to feel like they are not alone!

Don and I both try very hard to give Mom as much love as we can. But when she does something on purpose just to stir the pot and create more attention to herself, we get frustrated. Don is far better in the tolerance department than I am! I just get so tired of her constant need to have something wrong all the time. She seems to never be content to just be healthy. Our health is good, and despite the type 2 diabetes and weight issues, so is Mom. I think part of the problem with Mom is that she is laid up. But, neither does she really try during PT. She does not like to be in pain. I think she is very afraid that she is going to fall again, but she is adamant that she is not. She was completely off of her feet for about 6 weeks after we brought her home to give the knee and ankle time to just heal. The home she was in dropped her twice while she was there. One of those falls rolled her rt ankle. It was swollen and ugly when we got her home. After being off for such a time, coming back is difficult and painful. She just continues to tell us that she is too old and she just can't do it. I lost my temper with her the other day and told her that the only reason she can't is because she wont. I feel guilty for doing this. It is my hope that someone has some ideas in handling this a little better. It is on the days that she has PT that she comes up with the most ailments wrong with her, although it is a daily thing anyway.
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leothebird1 Jul 2010
Wish I had you for a daughter. Mom might be needing to be loved, but I think that it might be good for her to direct that need to giving it instead of wanting to get it. I am 77 and have always liked to make other people happy and feel secute with me. Right now I am going thru an emotional time with having to give up our home and go to a place where we can have less physical to do. My husband is totally disabled and I have been taking full care of our home, but not doing well lately. You don't say what your health is, Is it taking a tole on your own health ? I hope someone on here can help you with this better than I seem to be able . How does your mom cope with being laid up ? My husband likes to be quiet and doesn't mind, but I relax better when being creative.
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