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My mother, in her mid 70s with signs of dementia/mental illness/paranoia/narcissism has cut me out of her life.
Last week I received a letter from her telling me not to contact her anymore. She's changed her locks, taken my name off her bank account, and so on. She's cut off contact with her whole family, starting with her brother more than 20 years ago, and now it's ended with me.
In the letter she wrote she accused me and my husband of stealing, and says she has her neighbors watching out for our cars, and she'll call the cops if she sees us around. (She's long thought neighbors are prostitutes, thieves, drug dealers, etc., and now we're criminals in her mind.) She accused us of stealing from her. She says I was probably on strong drugs in college and now am brain damaged from it. She also says I'm probably on drugs now. (In college I smoked the odd joint and drank a lot of beer, like a lot of people. I rarely drink now, and I don't do drugs. Never mind that she smoked a lot of weed when I was a kid and teen, and did stronger drugs, too, and drank a 12-pack a day for many years.) She says I beat her up. (I didn't; once we got into an argument at a rest stop and she threatened to go walk into highway traffic, and I grabbed her arm and pulled her back, and she turned the memory into me beating her up in a rest area.)
Thing is, I don't know what to do. She is sane enough to pay her bills on time, etc. She can't drive but she gets neighbors to take her shopping or to the doctor.
On one hand, some people tell me to get a lawyer and apply for guardian status. Others tell me to call Adult Protective Services. Others tell me to ignore her.
I'm inclined to do the latter. I know she's mentally ill (for starters), but I can't get her doctor to back me, and she's crafty enough to test well when under scrutiny. Is it irresponsible of me to just let things go? I'm tired of arguing, and I'm tired of abuse -- every time she doesn't get her way I end up being belittled and insulted. After 40 years of being belittled, insulted, mocked, expected to be someone's personal driver/assistant/secretary/whipping post, I've had enough and want to walk away. I do love her and worry about her health, but if I am perceived as the enemy what can I do?

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This is incredibly sad. From my viewpoint, you may do best by just staying out of her life for now. Try to keep some kind of soft spot for a time when she may need help and will accept it, but since you've tried doctors and social services and get nowhere, you may have to leave her to her own devices. Perhaps if she once understands that she's cut everyone out of her life, she'll be ready to get some help. Bless you for trying so hard. I hope you can carry on with your own life with some serenity. Actually, I'd suggest counseling for awhile to help you deal with the terrible situation.
Take care of yourself,
Carol
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What can you do because she cut you out of her life? Start thanking God and move on.
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There are a lot of things you can do. You can try to get back into her good graces. You can fight for the relationship (legally by trying to get guardianship and/or calling APS). You can ignore her and just stay in her life. I'm sure you can come up with more things you *can* do.

But what do you WANT to do? I'm sure receiving that letter must have hurt. Even when our parents aren't perfect we still love them and that letter must have caused you pain. From what you wrote it seems like your mom might be pretty good at handing out pain. She sounds fairly self-sufficient right now, pays her bills on time, etc. I imagine however that the second she's not you'll hear from her again and this time the tone will be, "I love you, I'm sorry...." etc.

A lot of people here might be envious that your elderly mother kicked you out of her life. You've read the same posts I have and there are some awful situations out there. You've been given permission to not care for your elderly mom. What do you want to do? Not what you should do or what other people expect you to do, what do YOU want to do?

And if you choose to honor her wishes I think you'll still hear from her at some point. She used to think her neighbors were drug dealers and prostitutes and now these same neighbors are the ones taking her shopping, to Dr's appointments and watching out for her to make sure you don't make contact with her?

As you wrote, you've been belittled, insulted, mocked, and taken advantage of by your mom for 40 years. You said you worry about her health but she doesn't care about her health so why should you? And if you're in her life what can you do to improve her health? She sounds irrational and we can't reason with someone who's irrational. If you think your relationship with your mom is worth fighting for then by all means take every necessary step you can to fight for it but if not, your mom is the one who made the decision to cut all ties, not you. Leave her be if you can. I don't think it'll be permanent.
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Hello Heidi... I know you want a good relationship, but, you are wise enough to realize it will never be. Stay out, stay away, but even be careful writing a note: I would keep copies because it is entirely possible she might try and use them against you.
You have to step back and ascertain how much damage your mom has (is) doing to you. Mom does sound like a toxic person (there is information elsewhere about that.) Just do not allow this to destroy you. I really think you are going to have to 'let it go' and let her go.
best of luck to you.
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Oh Heidi, my heart goes out to you. I agree with everything that Carol has said. It sounds like your mom has long-standing mental issues. You've hung in there and tried your best. I'd give it a rest for now and wait to see what happens. If there's a way to keep tabs on your mom (without her knowledge), I'd try that for a while. If her doctor isn't supportive, maybe a neighbor who sees her from time to time? If your mom hasn't gotten them convinced of her paranoid fears about you. Your mom sounds like a very sad case whose mental illness keeps her from getting the help she clearly needs. {{Hugs}} to you.
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Thanks, everyone. As for what I "want," I "want" to have a nice relationship with my mother, where I pay her a visit or we go for lunch have a spa day or something, but I don't see that as happening! We've barely had that anyways. As for now, I think I'll just lay low. I'll show the letter to her doctor, and just wait. I see see no point to arguing with her. Defending myself or trying to "prove" I'm right or that she's wrong aren't going to do anything. I may send her a note and tell her I'm there for her if she needs my help, and keep it as neutral as possible, and just wait and see. And Carol, I have gone for counseling before, as there has been trouble for many years, but I think I'm going to try and go for it again. I probably could use it more than ever! Thanks to everyone for their responses!
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Dear Heidi, what you want and what IS are two different things. I want the same from my mother, but I will never get it.

You are way over your head in this. Only professionals can help your mother and you will not change her ever. She has to want to change and I am not sure she can at this point.

I agree with Eyerishlass that when the times get really, really hard, she will probably be back. In the meantime please get professional advice. I just don't see you being able to help this mentally ill woman. You need to help yourself first and maybe everything else will fall into place.

I wish you luck because I am dealing with a mother who is pretty bad but is nowhere near as ill as your mother.
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To protect yourself and protect her, I would reach out to the professionals. Give a copy of the letter to APS. Do it in person so that they can see how sane and reasonable you are. Ask them to start a file on her, but tell them she probably doesn't need anything right now.

Depending on the size of the area where she lives, I would also visit the local police department office and give them a copy of the letter and explain the situation.

Then sit back and leave her in God's hands until she calls you again.

You might want to read some of the Captain's posts. His mother went through periods of accusing him of planning to kill her. You know not to take it personally. I hope you can also FEEL not to take it personally. It really is the disease. Bless your heart.
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This happened to me today via a phone call. It also happened to my sister. There is just nothing left we can do, and at this point want to do. This is not uncommon, and our hearts are with you too.
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Report it to APS, just so there is a record, be there for her if she or the County reaches out, In the meantime, just enjoy the lack of drama without guilt, you have earned it.
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