My mom and I have been extremely close my entire life. We lived a half mile from each other, got together several times a week, and talked every day. I have two daughters who were equally close to her.

Two years ago we moved to her home town and it’s been a complete disaster since we arrived. She has been telling lie after lie about my girls and I, to the point that many family members won’t even acknowledge me in public. I have defended myself and can physically prove that she is lying. (Example her furnace went out and because of a holiday and snowstorm it took 3 days to get it repaired. I provided her with enough space heaters to comfortably heat her house. She has been telling people I left her without heat for 3 weeks, even though the repair receipt proves it was 3 days. When I confronted her she said “well it felt like that long” and continues to hold firm on her time line.

Her behavior is crazy—I went to see her and she told me her house made her feel like a “dirty bug.” (The house was immaculate.) Two weeks later she moved out and refused to provide a forwarding address. She tells everyone I have abandoned her and poisoned my kids.

I have begged her to go to family counseling to figure things out, given her money for therapy (she ripped up the check), talked to the priest at her church (and she cancelled the meeting with him and lied and said he cancelled it). She had denied any attempt I have made to resolve things yet she still continues to endlessly bash me to family members.

When I confront her about the lying she denies it, even though she’s admitted to family members she has lied. I told her if she’s lying and doesn’t know it then there is a bigger problem and she should see a doctor. After that comment she said “I’m done!” and hung up on me. She despises doctors and refuses to go.

This behavior is not normal, I don’t even know who she is anymore. The few family members I do talk to act like they understand but they don’t defend me. I have repeatedly asked what I’ve done wrong and nobody can give me an answer. It’s like they don’t believe she’s lying because she’s sweet and has never been a liar. This is why I think there is an age related mental issue. Has anyone experienced anything similar? It’s heartbreaking and she’s destroyed my reputation, not to mention broken my heart. Is she sick or is she just a terrible person when she’s in her home town? I’m at a loss.

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Every March, around the time of the Academy Awards, we should have our own AgingCare awards ceremony for "Best ShowTime Perfomance for Leading Actress, Supporting Actress, Actor," etc.!

My mom would be a contender!
Helpful Answer (17)

I am going to propose something totally different and possibly wrong. Here it goes, SAVE YOURSELF! Your youngest is leaving home to go to college soon, make plans to leave that town as soon as she graduates high school. Sell the place and get out. You can't help her and she has a huge support group to help her where she is. She probably won't give you POA or anything, and there is no reasoning with her. You will never know what you supposedly did.

You have distanced yourself from your mom, tell your relatives that you are so hurt by what she has said, you don't want to listen to anymore of it. If someone tries to bring it up, repeat, "I am so hurt by what my mother has said that I don't want to listen to anything she says about me. Let us talk about something else."

What you are going through is tearing you up, you are not a slave, get out of there. Your sweet loving mom was then, this is now.
Helpful Answer (16)
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 2019
Best answer yet!!!! Run and run as fast as you can to get away from the drama. It will only get worse and why subject yourself to it one moment longer...oh and dont give anyone your new address!!!
I am so sorry that you are it. It seems like a nut comes loose and the next thing you know you are a social pariah.

The hardest thing to face and let go of is that you did nothing to cause the behavior and you can't do anything to change it.

It sounds like some distance is needed. Let her call you but you don't call her. Get other family members to step up and help, so next emergency uncle bob gets called, when they see how her time lines are all screwy that should help your reputation. Let them find out how difficult it is to help her.

There are always 2 sides to every story and people that don't care enough to hear both sides aren't worth the headache. I can't imagine how hard this is for you but you can't control anyone but you.

Is there anyway to get her checked for a UTI? This nutty behavior sounds like she could have a raging infection that is making her delusional. Just a thought.

Take care of you and stand tall when you see people that have shunned you, you know the truth, try not to defend her lies and justify your actions.

You can do this!
Helpful Answer (15)
IkdLkd Feb 2019
Isthisrrealyreal thank you for your response. I have done what you suggested and have kept a distance for the past year and a half. In that time she hasn’t made a single effort to engage and all of the attempts I have made have been denied. She keeps telling family we have abandoned her but she is the one that moved (3 blocks away) and refused to provide her new address, even when I asked. Instead she said “I don’t even want to tell you what I want to do.” Her comment was worrisome and I asked if she was feeling suicidal which made her more angry.

I’ve begged to be invited and included in family functions and we are not. That’s fine (not fine but her choice) if she doesn’t want us but she says she does yet continues to bash me to anyone that will listen that we have abandoned her.

In my own defense I have provided the countless failed attempts to make amends and resolve the situation, when she hasn’t made a single attempt, but somehow it’s still my fault. It’s so bad I’ve been mocked and shunned publicly. I keep asking what I’ve done wrong and nobody has an answer.

Ive been told “just apologize” but for what? Honestly for what? I have never wronged her, ever. We were so close my entire life. It’s not beneath me to apologize, but Nobody can tell me what to apologize for.

Ill take your advice and stop defending myself. It’s all one sided and like you said, the people that don’t care enough to hear both sides aren’t with the headache. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I truly believed these people loved us and cared about us and now we are being shunned and they won’t even provide a reason.
The few cousins I have that so still see us say my mom just blasts us. I never initiate any conversation about her I just try to enjoy their company but they always manage to bring it up. It puts such a strain on the family. I just can’t fix it by myself.

I wish someone would get her to a doctor but the people I have shared my concerns with don’t think she has a problem. I think the fact that she’s written her granddaughters off is obvious enough. Something is wrong with all of these people! I just don’t understand.
Thanks for listening, it helps to know people are having experiences like this. My heart goes out to anyone in a similar situation.
Many thanks for your input!
The spoken word is powerful...and can also be painful.
Dont waste your time trying to defend yourself. It is the beginning of dementia and there’s not much to be done about it. Although the UTI test is worth pursuing. This can be done at home, at an urgent care, ER, dr appointment. Perhaps one of her confidants could persuade her to get it done if not yourself. If she has an infection she will need an antibiotic. She might not have the symptoms we normally associate with a UTI. It can manifests as dementia in elders and is toxic.

My aunt (92 vascular dementia) did this confabulation for awhile.
She went around telling anyone that would listen that my husband and I were moving in with her. I don’t think she missed a person. That she had made us a deal we couldn’t refuse. (Never did find out what that was).
She told all her friends this and a couple were demanding that their own daughter do what I was going to do!
When they asked me about it, I just laughed and said “It’s news to me “.
I was worried when she said a young niece was moving into an apartment (14 yr old). I let the mother know in case it caused a problem. Many of her comments seemed to do with someone moving into apartments. Three or four different people. She was very believable. To my knowledge she knew not one person who lived in an apartment. She was by all appearances very competent at this time. Driving, mowing her own lawn, cooking, going to church. It was amazing and baffling.

Does your mom take any meds now? It might be a side affect. I wish I had known to check that back in the day.

I am really sorry you are dealing with this. Time passes. It will become clear that your mom has issues. I know you mourn the mother who seems to have disappeared. I can also tell you that those who don’t lose their reasoning can be just as trying.
We are living in a time when the brain seems to be assaulted in ways we don’t understand while often the other organs remain stable.
It’s a difficult burden for those who are caretakers and love them.

Come here and vent. We understand. Hugs
Helpful Answer (15)

Lkd lkd,


From what you've described, it sounds like dementia or its precursor.

Even pre-dementia, Mom said and did weird things. Honestly, I think the dementia thing's been percolating at least a decade, even though her dementia diagnosis is only 2 years old. In those 2 years she's done a total character assassination on me and her closest family members, maligning us to our church family, friends, close and distant family members. Some of the stories she tells are beyond ridiculous. It grieves me to say some people (to their discredit) chose to believe her, I suppose because she's otherwise sweet to them. Most don't believe her. And because the ones that don't believe are sick and tired of defending me (and other family members) to her, almost all have quit calling or visiting Mom. She's run them all off and can't figure out why so few come to visit. No amount of rationalization or explaining helps. Her brain is FUBAR.

Challenging Mom causes catastrophic meltdowns. When she tells falsehoods about those I love, I simply say that's "not how I see it" or "that hasn't been my experience with _____ ."

At first, I was shocked and heartbroken to discover the crazy fabrications my own mother was spreading about me. My own mother! They are so awful I can't repeat them here. Early on I asked her a couple of times not to spread false rumors about me. She went absolutely ballistic. Won't be doing that again.

Anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants helped my mom somewhat; something you may want to look into for your mom at some point in time. I know how hard this is. I had to go low contact and practice "gray stone" (or "gray rock") around her. You can do an online search on these strategies or a search on this forum. It really helped me cope. But not Mom. She's lost in her own mind.

Keep coming here, sharing, listening, and putting into practice what you've learned. It will help! ((((More hugs)))))
Helpful Answer (14)
IkdLkd Feb 2019
CantDance, thank you for your response. I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing a similar situation. I will research “gray stone,” maybe it will help. What I struggle with is she hasn’t been diagnosed with anything, refuses to see a doctor, and her family doesn’t see that there is a problem. They keep telling me how sad she is and that we’ve abandoned her, but doesn’t acknowledge the fact that I haven’t stopped trying for the past two years, and in reality she has abandoned us.

Just like you, when I confronted her about spreading rumors and asked her to stop talking about it she flipped out. She has created a culture of hate and hostility towards me from many family members but not one can say what I’ve done wrong. I’ve begged for them to tell me so I can fix it and they just say “I don’t know.” How can they make a hateful judgement without any information?

I guess it’s just a matter of time, if she is sick it will eventually be obvious to everyone. I’m just at such a loss on so many levels it’s hesrtbreaking. Thanks again and many hugs to you!
I feel terrible for the shock you’ve experienced, but respectfully, it would seem that the time for “confrontation” has probably passed.
Same thing with suggesting “........if she’s lying and doesn’t know it......” when if she actually IS misstating facts and doesn’t know it, SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT, so rather than reacting to her situation from the perspective of your own sadness, confusion, and discomfort, you or someone else in her loving and caring circle HAVE TO TAKE CHARGE.
Yes, her behavior is not normal, and yes, you do not “know who she is anymore”, but out of love for her you need to start finding out the reasons WHY this has happened and what she needs next. My LO happened upon a geriatric specialist HERSELF, who then became a source of direction to us. A social worker or psychologist with geriatric credentials, a local Office of the Aging, all places to start.
YOUR reputation, if based on the opinions of people who are ignorant concerning the issues that may be part of the lives of the elderly, is not nearly as important as helping the mom whom you love get the diagnostics/therapies/interventions that she needs.
This is HARD STUFF, but we’re all Here for you, and we’re all in this together.
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IkdLkd Feb 2019
AnnReid, THANK YOU!! I sincerely appreciate your blunt and forward reply.
This whole dementia thing is new to me and I’m only in the beginning stage of research, but it all makes perfect sense. I’ve been trying so hard to do damage control with very little consideration that it would be mental/medical, but I obviously need to change my path.
She has not been diagnosed but it’s so clear. Thank you again for really opening my eyes.
Personally if this was me, I’d just let nature take it course. It’s inevitable she will need help one day and not voluntarily.
You have done as much as you can, but sometimes the best thing you can do for those you love, is let it go.
Otherwise, your going to end up in the nut farm. Stop letting others dictate who you are, you know who you are and what’s been done. Me, I say the hell with them all for now and go on and enjoy life and your two daughters.
The hard part is going to be when they finally wake up to her madness and your temptation to say “I told you so”!
If your not happy where you live, move away, looks like there are plenty of family that can step in if need be.
Life is short and mental illness is ugly and will literally suck the life out of you if you let it.
Deep down, your Mom knows you love her and would do anything for her, unfortunately mental illness has taken over.
Except it gracefully and forgive and move on with your life. Place all your burdens on the Lord and find happiness once again.
Knowing that if she needs and wants you, you’ll be there.

I know this sounds harsh, but I have seen so many families and friends destroyed for trying to help a loved one who doesn’t want their help.
Hold on to the good memories and move forward, you owe it to yourself and your kids.
Wishing you and your daughters all the best in these trying times.
God bless.
Helpful Answer (10)
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 2019
Thank you for offering this very wise advice!!!! Exactly what i would do in her situation.
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The thing is that if she is operating under a delusion about you and your daughters, trying to convince her that she is wrong will not work. If others side with you, she won't care, but, write them off too. Delusions can be completely irrational, but, the patient cannot be convinced otherwise.

But, if she refuses treatment, that's not something you can control. You might give her doctor the heads up, so he can give her a mini eval when she's in, but, if she doesn't go in's problematic. I think I'd get a consult with an Elder Law attorney who regularly handles Guardianship cases. Does she handle her own finances? It may be premature, if she is still competent, but, I would at least find out what is needed as evidence, process, costs, etc. These delusions could end up getting her into trouble if she messes with the wrong people.

Have you tried letting her be and saying nothing? Just let her get in contact with you on her own terms,
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IkdLkd Feb 2019
Thank you, Sunnygirl. The problem is she despises doctors and refuses to go. My grandma had breast cancer and my mom won’t even get a mammogram. I’ve suggested seeing a doctor, therapist, family counselor, and she’s visually angry about each suggestion.
As far as letting her be and saying nothing, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. I made the choice to back off when she moved and refused to tell me where. That’s when she started with the “they abandoned me” lies. It just escalated from there. I did make attempts to get her to a counselor, therapist, priest, other family to mediate (not thinking it may be medical/mental at that point), all to no avail. But aside from those attempts we have left her alone. I have clearly communicated to her that we want to be included and invited in writing and verbally but she continually keeps the stance that we’ve abandoned her and tells terrible stories that make me look like a horrible person. She’s completely ruined my reputation and in a small down I don’t even wanrt to go to the grocery store. I know the truth but nobody else seems to
care. I guess if she does have a mental/medical issue it will eventually surface. Thanks again for your input!
It may be best for you to get a therapist to help you as you deal with your mother and the changes, sense of loss, abandonment she has brought you and your girls. It sounds like you all were very close for years and now she has done a complete 180. My guess is that there is something medical going on but she won’t see the doctor to confirm it. Deep down she probably knows that something is wrong. So instead she projects onto you. Take care of yourself and wait. She’s at an age where things get worse especially if she’s not visiting a physician. Best of luck and strength to you and your girls.
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Yes I have experienced this with my Mom. She accused me and also my sister and Dad of putting her in a whit house for 3 days with no food or water. In this case, everybody knew this was not true. Started accusing Dad of cheating on her and he was 84 years old and not well and he was so upset because of it. Turns out she had dementia that had been creeping up and it manifested itself fast. Wanted to argue about everything. Everybody said she was sweet and we had to start telling them what was going on. We ended up having her admitted for psychiatric evaluation for 9 days to get her meds adjusted to see what worked best. My mother had two other ailments and we told her they were just going to check her out but she discovered which wing she was in at the hospital and had a fit. Dad took her home a day early. The meds only helped a little. She still worked us all over. Ended up with caregivers coming to the house to help her and clean. I know it is awful for you. You will have to talk to her doctor and tell him what is going on. That is the first step. Mom’s doctor helped us get her admitted. You may have to tell a white lie during this time but after a while, dealing with this, you will find yourself telling a lot of them to her just to deal with her. I am so sorry you are dealing with the same thing. I understand. Again, first stop is her family physician.
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