If my abusive mother is a danger to herself or others, should I get involved or continue to maintain boundaries?

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I cut ties with my verbally abusive mother 2 years ago. My father died 6 months ago, and we had to reestablish a bit of a relationship to handle to his end-of-life care. When he passed, she accused me of outlandish offenses, like saying that Dad didn't like the color green during the funeral planning which "destroyed" her. She also accused me of breaking into her house and vandalizing it. Before I cut ties with her 2 years ago, I tried desperately to get her help for obvious mental health issues but due to doctor-patient confidentiality, I do not know if she has a diagnosis or not, if she is being treated for mental illness, etc. I received a call today from a woman she has harassed for 3 years by accusing her of having an affair with my father and hacking her computers, phones, etc. In fact, my mother has changed her phone number and internet accounts numerous times in the past 3 years because of the alleged hacking. With the phone call today, I found out that my mom sent the accused woman a box of chocolates with a threatening note, has called her boss, her husband, her husband's boss and various relatives to threaten and slander the woman. The accused woman called to ask me to help and get my mom to stop these things. I do NOT know what to do. I feel like by not getting involved I am allowing my mom to be a danger to herself (in that she is setting herself up for arrest or law suit) and potentially others (the woman is scared, had the chocolates tested, and has involved the police), yet I cannot force her to get help and only seem to get thrown under the bus and further abused when I do try to help her. If the claims against my mom are true, she could be headed toward arrest and/or law suits against her. I don't want to see her in jail or to lose everything she owns. Should I try to convince her to get help or should I stay out of it and let the chips fall where they may?

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It sounds as though your mother has, and has had, serious mental problems that are beyond the ability of a family member to intervene in successfully.

In your shoes, I would call Adult Protective Services, the Area Agency on Aging and the local police department and report her as a person who is in need of protection and supervision. Follow up these phone calls with certified letters.

Do you know who her doctor is? I would also report these incidents to her doctor, again, in writing, certified mail, with a return receipt.

You are NOT responsible for sorting your mother's mental illness. I'm so sorry that you're going through this.
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Thanks for the feedback, Witsend. If you are in touch with the woman she's harassing, perhaps a joint visit ( you and her) to the local precinct might be helpful.

Some police departments have units set up to deal with "community policing" issues. A joint visit would indicate that the person claiming the harassment is not simply a disgruntled neighbor.
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using an intermediary agency allows you to retain the distance yet get the help she needs. Who knows perhaps with help for her, you may be able to rebuild a bond of some sort ....if YOU want, if not you have done all you can so rest easy. xxx
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Thank you, everyone, who has responded. You have been very supportive and helpful. I appreciate it so much. I do recognize my mom in your situations and am glad to know I'm not the only one. It's an isolating thing. I know you all understand that without explanation. :) I have tried talking to her doctors 2 times before but I did not have anyone other than my husband to back me up. I now have the emails my mom sent the other woman and will try again with her doctor. I am scheduled to talk to my lawyer, too.
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We went through similar issues with my mom most of my life until her passing. Mom was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic with depression. Adult protective services is the best answer I know of. You can't fix her on your own.
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wits, I'm so sorry to hear of this awful situation. I hope these recommendations help you! Sorry for the recent loss of your dad. Hugs.
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Sorry you are going through this. Yes, call the elder attorney. And lots of hugs form the rest of us.

Wow, this stirs up a lot of memories for me. I'm going back about five years...

I mentioned somewhere here recently that my mom was causing havoc in the church and breaking off ties with people constantly. It was similar to what you are describing, and so embarrassing. But nothing illegal.

Yes,paranoid in the extreme. I always believed this was a reaction to the memory loss. anyway,among other things, my mom receives a notice form California about skin care (we are in PA) and it is packaged to look like a hand written note. My mom was sure that a woman form the church was sending this to her as an insult. Naturally, I had no idea what she was talking about and, then, sure enough, after she had been in AL about three months one of these innocent ads came in the mail. I couldn't believe it.

For about three years my husband and I had to listen while my mom told us that this same woman was telling everyone in town that my mother (then 85) was having an affair with a married man. It never stopped.

She had the sweetest little old friend who brought her chicken soup when she was sick. The whole time my mother knew her my mother told everyone that this sweet little old woman was a whore.

Does any of this sound familiar? And my mom was never like this in the past. So sad. But, and maybe it helps to know this,it is over now. My mom's memory has slipped to the point that she can't remember her grievances and--MOST IMPORTANTLY--she has the right meds. The paranloia went away like a mild headache. Amazing.
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witsend You are a wonderful daughter for dealing with this painful situation. I too have cared for a mother with life long mental illness. Added to the burden of aging it is overwhelming. Others have guided you in the right direction. My advice is to take care if yourself. Therapy, support groups, this site...whatever you can manage. This is painful and difficult for you to deal with and it will help to be sure you are taking care if your needs. (((HUGS)))
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I would not get too involved. There is no rhyme or reason why mentally ill people do what they do then top that with Dementia. I would talk to her doctor about your concerns. He may be able to checkher intoa hospital for a 72 hr evaluation. Then u go from there. The woman she is harrassing should get a restraining order. This may help in getting the evaluation. But, don't let her draw u into that world she lives in. It will be your sanity.
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Chimonger, very well said
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