My widowed mother is 83 years old, still living in her own home and has, from what I know, an undiagnosed mental illness. She has extreme mood swings that include depression, rage and general meanness. As she has aged, she needs more help from me (her only child). She has isolated herself from all friends and most family. There is a history of abuse here, I was both emotionally and sometimes physically abused as a child, especially when she was having what my husband and I refer to as an "episode". I am working hard to protect my own mental health while still providing her with support. She refuses to go to the doctor because she is afraid they will "turn her in" to her insurance company (she also suffers from paranoia). She is very manipulative and difficult to be around. She will frequently deny my attempts to help her (cleaning her house, helping with her dogs, etc) but then will call me abusive names and say that I never help her. It's a terrible trap. Many people have encouraged me to cut her out of my life, including my own family. I just don't have the heart to abandon her, plus, she still has my beloved father's (who died 20 years ago) lifes work which includes his incredible art. I'm afraid if I don't stay in contact with her I will be consumed with guilt AND I will never see my father's work again. I know she is mentally ill and that is why she acts the way she does. I'm trying to move through this with grace and good boundaries, but I'm not sure what to do. It's a very isolating experience. I have attempted to talk to her doctor but he has not returned my phone calls even though I am on her HIPPA statement as a contact. I'm at a loss. Do I ride out this storm and endure her abuse or do I throw in the towel and cut all ties to this tormentor? If anyone has had a similar experience, I would love to know how you managed.

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I feel for you! I watched a similar situation with my MIL’s mother. My MIL was an only child, like you My grandmother in law had mental issues and refused help too. It’s a huge challenge, isn’t it? My MIL couldn’t abandon her mom either even though she was cruel. She knew full well she would not change though.

Just a thought...

You said she was becoming more difficult to manage, do you think it’s possible that she removed you from the HIPAA forms? I remember when mom did those for me, the doctor told mom that it could be changed at any time, adding or removing people.

As as far as the will goes. My grandmother in law left a very vague will. She wasn’t very organized. We divided things evenly among us. Do you know for certain she has a will? Can you ask to see it? Would your mom allow you to see the will?

Best of luck to you. Hugs!
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Have you considered that your mother may have a diagnosis, but that you have not been told the truth?
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Tonight, Weds. night, there is a NAMI family support group meeting in Lawrence KS,
meeting in the back of a church.

Can you google it yourself?

NAMI Lawrence KS

The fastest way to help your Mother is to help yourself. They will have resources there.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 2019
Good answer! Might help.
With regard to her doctor, I'd send your list of questions or concerns and a copy of the HIPAA form if you have it to her/him, return receipt requested so that you have proof that it was received.

I would mention that you feel as though your mother is a danger to herself and possibly to you, as she is abusive in your presence. When a person is a danger to themselves or others and it is pointed out in writing to a medical professional, it may trigger official action, like a report to APS.

Depending upon how APS operates in her community, this may produce some official action (a wellness check of some sort) or not.

But at least you'll have tried.
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I do feel for you. It's really tough to try to help people who are mentally ill and who resist help. Since, you suffered abuse, I'd really rely on the guidance of professionals in continuing contact. I would imagine that it's a very painful thing and that for the sake of your own mental health, you have to make yourself a priority. I have located a local support group for family members of people who have mental illness and plan to attend soon.

Did your father leave a Will that might have bequeathed his art work to you? I'd consult with an attorney to see what your legal options are to get the artwork. Just see if you can go to probate about it or take measures after she is deceased. Just get your legal rights.
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