My mom isn't that old (about to turn 69) but has spent the past 15 years slowly disassociating from the world. She has severe anxiety that she refuses to acknowledge, much less treat, and spends her days feeding it through a combination of medical appointments and cable news. She doesn't go out much anymore because she's afraid, and now her (treatable) medical issues are a convenient excuse. She's spent YEARS on a hunt for a good medical excuse. Back in my 20s she would email me at work that she had some tests done, she was sure it was cancer, I should get genetic testing done (she never had cancer). It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize all of it was a cry for attention. If I call any of this out to her, or try to address her anxiety, I'm the bad guy or she has no idea what I'm talking about. She wants her anxiety I think. It's her best friend. It makes me so frustrated to watch her completely waste her life in this way. Oh the irony that her hobby is finding a physical malady but won't actually treat what is wrong. We went through a period of estrangement about 10 years ago because I stood my ground against her in an argument. We didn't speak for a year. Our relationship has never really been the same. We're now entering another period of estrangement because, as I've grown, I've refused to be her doormat or provide her the reaction she wants. During our previous estrangement I worked with a therapist to set boundaries for myself. She hasn't handled that well either. She is frustrated that I keep her at an emotional distance. She doesn't understand how sad that makes me too. The wrinkle now is that I have kids of my own. She loves them and they love her but I struggle mightily with exposing them to all of this. I spent my formative years walking on eggshells and being emotionally devastated by her guilt trips. Frankly, it sucked. She is a woman who will cut off her nose to spite her face and she will choose to have no contact with any of us over admitting any kind of accountability or fault in how she behaves towards me. My husband would prefer that we just grin and bear it for the kids' sake since she at least has the awareness not to lash out at them. He wants our kids to have grandparents and he thinks I will regret it if I let this relationship go. I know he's right. How much of this is the mental illness that I should be sensitive to and how much is just her? I guess that's why I'm writing this. What should I do?