First of all, I do not like to describe my mother this way... It hurts. But it is honestly the first thing that comes to mind... A Loose Cannon. Ok, brief history. I have come to live at home with my mother so I could help her and she can help me. She has many health issues. I am helping her with household tasks, errands etc. She is helping me with a roof over my head so I can prove stable housing in my Custody Cases. She has a reverse mortgage on the home and I pay for my phone, insurance, and half the utility bill. Basically we are assisting each other... Also, in the history I used to have a substance abuse problem. It caused issues with my family approx 2.5 years ago (my active addiction lasted relatively one year (late bloomer I suppose)... I have since detoxed (Jan. 2015), completed 6 months of women w children inpatient rehab, 3 months in sober living transitional housing and have been and still am in out patient therapy. In addition I go to a maintenance doctor and take parenting classes. Throughout all of my self help - I have found myself. I have become the mother my children deserve. I am stable, level, patient and responsible. Not trying to go on too much about myself but trying to paint a picture for the situation I find myself in today. My mom, she was always the cool neighborhood mom - all the kids loved her. She gave me a magical childhood for the most part (she did have a drinking problem but quit years ago). I am an only child. My father passed in 1999. Growing up tho my mom did hold anger in for days and "torture" me so to speak never knowing when she'd speak to me again. She has too, always made a mountain out of a mole hill (as does my Aunt who is a carbon copy with extreme OCD)...My mom has ALWAYS (and I know I should steer clear of "always and never" but she ALWAYS has had a fond appreciation for an audience esp after an argument. Her favs have been I am unstable, mental, delusional, unappreciative etc. The only other person I remember her ever bashing this way was my dad... Feel like I am all over the place - sorry - but let me get to the present. Since I have moved back in - Jan of this year 2017 - My mom has been off the wall. I keep my room clean, clean up after myself, help her, occasionally see friends but for the most part - I am preparing for a mountain of custody and divorce cases. At first I included her on the "goings on" of my cases (patiently explaining when she was frustrated and didn't understand etc).. then it started - in little ways. Like I went out to get some air and take a break from petitions etc. She complains when I wake her so I left her a note I'd be back in 20 mins. She was very put off when I returned - saying "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU GOT AIR? I'm worried about you. Your not stable. Your flit from here to there with these cases (note: they are complex and hard to explain) and its not healthy - spending all your time in your room working on that stuff (note: if I don't stay in my room to do my work I can not concentrate bc of my mother)." I calmly tried to tell her that I was adhering to my responsibilities and taking breaks (ie. getting air) to not get to bogged down. I asked her if I could use a cream of hers. She said "yes". So I did. Then she said "don't use too much" - I said ok. Next day she calls me to her room for a "sit down", she has this lil box with notes taped to it. She says,"I don't want you using all of my stuff. And I'M NOT GOING TO LIVE LIKE THIS!" (referring to her lil box). I calmly stated that I wasn't making her live like anything and if she didn't want me to use something - just say so. NP. Then after she was fussy over something else I can't even remember she called my elderly Aunt - over to grocery for her (after I said I would) - but shes too proud to ask me I guess when shes in a mood. Well that day I was already late to meet my attorney. My Aunt comes in with enough food to feed an army. Mom says "Lisa. Put this stuff away". I said I was going to be late. I put away cold things and said I'd do dry later. I left. When I returned my mother explained that her and my aunt, all were "hysterical" and had called Adult Protective Services and the State Police. She told me she was filing for my eviction after the weekend!! AND NO I am not leaving anything out! I was stunned! Upon speaking to her, she then stated she wasn't going to evict me and she just said that bc she was pissed over the groceries. I am seriously looking for the candid camera at this point. Running out of space. Basically the healthier (mentally and physically I get) the more childlike and hurtful she gets. Awful blows to me regularly. Hanging up phone. Making "yapping" motions w her hands when I speak etc.Shes projecting her behaviors onto me. Suggested therapy (family) and she said "I don't need anyone thinking for me..." Now she is reconsidering - but tomorrow who know? Legally I'm afraid her "fantasies" will hurt me and my custody cases. How do I respond? HELP!

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It's difficult to say what is going on with your mother. Maybe, she's having some cognitive decline and her behavior is really out of left field. Maybe, she's suffering anxiety and depression that's causing it or she's just not happy with you, but, regardless, it sounds like even if she needs tons of help, due to your history and current relationship, you are not the person to provide it.

You may be placing yourself in a very risky situation for multiple reasons. One is making yourself available for her to make allegations against. What if she does file a complaint? How do you know that APS would believe you? I'd not want to take that chance.

Also, when you are getting yourself established with sobriety, the stress from all that drama is not conducive to continued sobriety. Are you supposed to test your limits that way? It sure seems like a big risk.

Also, even if your mom loves the grandkids, having them to care for on top of a person who is like a loose cannon, sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially for someone who is just getting things back on track.

I'd share your information with your custody attorney. I would think he would have some advice for you.
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Dulse, I relate so much with the things you wrote. I had to get up and walk around the house a few times while reading, your words hit so close to home. I understand all the things you are saying. In your mother's eyes, all vectors point to her. It is all about her and you aren't important. I related so much to the games she played about talking about you. It's a game of "Ain't it Awful?" I personally got so I didn't tell my mother anything, because she would twist it into a game of "Ain't it awful?" and talk to all the neighbors. I also learned never to talk about bad things that happened to me. It was always my fault. Strangely enough, bad things that happen to others are also my fault because I wasn't there. Where that crazy thinking comes from, I have no idea. Really, she just has the need to stab me whenever she can, although I am usually innocent.

What I've learned in my late years is to ignore her when she starts her maliciousness. I couldn't do that when I was a child, but I can now that I'm an adult. For example, this morning my neighbor came over to ask me if I knew how his door got locked. I guess he thought maybe I did it. I invited him in so he could call people, but he said no, and walked away. Well, Mom thought I should go and take care of everything for him, and she treated me like I was awful that I didn't. The truth is that the neighbor doesn't care for me for some reason and was looking for someone to blame. If I were using some imagination about why he doesn't like me, I would say it was from historical games of "Ain't it awful?" that my mother played with the man's wife. No telling what they think of me! How he feels about me is not my problem.

But anyway... you have an agenda that you need to do right now. Ignore your mother's games the best you can. I bet that those games may have been one of the reasons you had trouble in life. They still dig at our souls when we get older, but we can put up a wall to protect ourselves from them. If your mother can't get to those buttons, maybe she'll stop trying to push them. If she's anything like my mother, she does things for dramatic effect and will argue for no reason at all. I guess you can say it is like she's full of hate. But it's not my fault and not a problem I can deal with without leaving.
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You say, "She really DOES need my help here." Well, that is where you are wrong. (Or at least one of the places you are wrong.) Your mother really does need help. No question of that. That help, however, does not need to come from you. Really. As long as you believe the fantasy that you and you alone can care for your mother I'm afraid you are stuck. What would happen if you were in an accident and had to be hospitalized followed by rehab. Would your mother die? Would some other means be found to meet her needs?

I am very glad that your mother is wonderful to your kids. But how wonderful is it for them to see their mother belittled and demeaned? The fact that Gramma is so nice to them probably makes that worse.

But for now you want to know how to respond to her irrationality. Some suggestions:
1) Spend as little time in her presence as possible.
2) Don't defend yourself. Don't argue. Simply say, "I'm sorry you see it that way," and walk away.
3) Another neutral thing to say is, "You may be right."
4) Mom seems to get off on big dramas. Don't play into that. Don't get dramatic.
5) When you give a reasonable answer, stick to it. "I'll put the perishables away and then I must leave." Leave. No more arguing about it. She rants about it later, "Mother that is over with."

One irrational person in the house is one too many. Try hard to be the calm, sensible one. Mother is who she is. Don't let her get to you.
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I kind of scanned over the responses. I did see where you listed your Mom's problems. You don't say how old she is. With the lung problems, she may not be getting enough oxygen to the brain which will cause problems. When is the last time she went to the doctor? She may need to be evaluated to see if the medication she is taking is doing it's job especially in the anxiety part. Looks like to me she is in early stages of Dementia and is losing her short term memory. They get paranoid. Your Mom, eventually, may need more help than you can give her. I would not tell her anything about your personal life. There is no need for her to know. If you stay there, than it looks like this is what you are going to deal with. She had problems when you were younger? They don't get better when they age. Good Luck.
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wow, girl. Lots for you to deal with. Based on my own experience with my mother, your mom sounds bipolar. I am either the apple of here eye and "saved her life" or I "ruined her life by being born". It is a struggle. She was wonderful to my kids, too. Think long and hard about staying there and having any further interraction with her. My mom only has me to provide care for her and no wonder. Just my 2 cents.
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Ok, I'm thinking maybe I wasn't clear... Thanks a bunch for the responses... Some very good advice!
For starters. My Mom is amazing to my kids. She has COPD/Emphysema, Lupus, Sjogrens as well as Depression and Anxiety. She really DOES need my help here. She can not drive. Nor is she willing to ask anyone for help other than my elderly Aunt who has a husband in the late stages of dementia... Also, I am in the position of needing to get an ex parte for my children from the custody of their father. He is using, doing whatever he wants, yet still flying just enough under the radar to avoid intervention from CPS (which I have called, as has my mother and his parents). I need somewhere for my children to come NOW. That being said. I will def be keeping my options open as far as housing. Always have been. Basically, I read the advice to call APS and PD myself and explain the situation here at home (just in case)... I don't believe at this point she would go thru w an eviction. It simply would be too much for her. And as for counseling. She WAS on board but I truly believe she is fearful that the counselor will align with the rational thinking process rather than play into the drama and fantasy she creates. I've read up on Histrionic Personality Disorder and some symptoms and behaviors are her to a "t"... She is basically a recluse and doesn't like to speak with but 3 people. Those 3 people but her stories hook line and sinker. The believe every word of her "terrible" existence with me. And let me note. My mom is flip floppy. She will go between praising me to the Heavens to bashing me to the Hells. Just last week she was saying how proud she was of me. And a few weeks ago - she posted to social media how wonderful our relationship was. The behavior that stuck out most in the above mentioned disorder was being so emotionally charged (sometimes uncontrollable so) to the point of making a 3 ring circus out of the littlest situation. She has ALWAYS been like this. She blows anything surrounding me completely out of proportion (esp for an audience) and if it involves her - she minimizes. Just last night it was brought to my attention that she is again I believe the term is "gaslighting" me. She told one of her 3 "friends" that she "can't use my phone without a blow up, Lisa is everywhere"... When she gets on the phone she screams in the receiver (combo of hearing loss and having me hear) about how terrible of a person I am. Never once does she put on like that to praise me. I have just asked her so kindly to please limit the "Lisa bashing" for the time being that I'd stay out of the way (as I have been) so she has nothing to bitch about. And the thing is - its all lies. A "blow up"! I am level as a plain and she is the one who blows up! It's maddening! Also it's transferring to a hurtful level now. For example: A week ago I was in the city preparing to file motions for my custody cases... (not partying or doing drugs) I had a man come up from behind and grab me. I got away and filed charges. He was detained. I called mom to tell her about this - that "he grabbed me while I was getting change together for parking" and went on to try to tell the story. She cut me off saying "panhandling is illegal (who the h*ll said I was panhandling - I was getting change together out of my purse) and that I "set myself up" for incidents such as this because I was in the city to begin with! (I have NO choice but to go to city for custody issues - we already have an open case in Bmore)... My getting assaulted was in NO WAY my fault! Our connection was then bad and I told her I'd call her back. Well when I do she is in an all out "COPD Fit" to the point I couldn't understand her and thought seriously over calling the ambulance- since I was no where near home. (She has to go in ambulance approx. once every three months or so for her issues). I told her I'd pull over and call her back to give her a few mins to calm down. Well I called her back literally 3 mins later and she was fine. Perfectly fine. Shockingly fine. I said "Wow, you recovered quick - that's awesome" (bc normally she doesn't)... Then the line went dead. I called back immediately to her house and cell phone... No answer. Waited 5 mins tried. Then 10. Nada. I started to get seriously concerned she had fallen out. I even called and said mom- I'm going to call in a well check for you (on her machine). I thought at the time she was so upset over my assault that she had a issue and fell out! I was crying. Upset. I called for a well check and waited. Finally I called back and she answered and sounded again fine. I said what happened? She said "You and your commenting that I recovered quick is so d*mn unappreciative and self centered" and "I hope you don't get charged for making a false 911 call!" Come to find out she had hung up on me - no health prob at all then... She then went on to talk about her and how I hurt HER. Didn't even ask me one more question about the assault. Just trying again to give ya all a picture. She only treats ME this way and my dad when he was alive. Like we OWE her something. Well, when I realized last night that me asking her kindly not to "bash me" esp during my cases - as I pointed out to her - I'm not even interacting w her - there is nothing to complain about! She still goes over sh!t that happened years ago - yet she asks for a "clean slate" when she gets backed into a corner being called out on these behaviors... And today - I calmly went to ask her the best time frames to schedule counseling. She said "I don't even want to talk to you until you apologize." I can NOT apologize for something I know I DIDN'T do! All I am guilty of here is pleading to her to limit the bashing (which gets spread like wildfire in this small town)... I've worked too hard turning my life around. I can not be held responsible for her issues anymore! I am def eventually going to work on a alternative living arrangement for my children and I but now is not the time. I need a 30 day residence for one of my children. The other two I am trying to get on an emergency basis. I am spending (esp bc of where I live and the drive)... 90 percent of my time trying to get stuff done with custody alone! I see the need here of independence - here... trust me. And I will be working on it. But for now, I more so need advice on how to respond to her beyond frustrating behaviors! Thank ya all so very much!
Helpful Answer (0)

I think you really need to find other housing.
Your Mother can completely derail your life for a long long time. Consider..if you have an eviction on your public will that set with the custody judge? If you have an investigation opened against you by APS...oh wow...kiss custody goodbye.

Can you really risk this? Compared to the alternative...finding other place to live and making your own way?

I get how tough moving out will be. How tough will it be to be forced out with the cloud of suspicion hanging over you too?    

By choosing to have the time to find a place, prepare, and make it your choice.   If Mom forces you will have no time to prepare, no time to make a good choice....just suddenly moving to whatever comes quickly or on the street.    Or...worse yet...Mom calls APS in a fit...then you are forced to move quickly and you have an investigation open too.      

YOur Mom cannot be trusted with your future much less the future of your children.  Nope...make your plans, get your situation lined up...then get out.
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Okay my concern is this: You are trying to establish a stable home, I assume for the purpose of bringing your children if you succeed in your custody disputes, but you are living with a very unstable person who is threatening to kick you out at a moment's notice over the silliest dispute. Could you actually bring your children to live there, children who have no doubt already had tumultuous, unstable, and insecure lives? Do you have any good reason to think she will treat your children any better than she treat you?

I think you need to go back to the drawing board. Find another stable living situation that does not involve your mother and work from there to provide a stable home for your children. I can't see your mother providing anything in the way of security or stability for these children, or for you.
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Also sounds to me like maybe your Mom feels threatened by the fact that you are turning your life around. People get used to seeing us in a certain light and for whatever reasons don't like it when we change cause then it makes them feel like they should too.

When my Mom's health really started to decline I stepped up to the plate and became her right arm. Suddenly the dynamics in my family changed. I've always been the family's scapegoat in a lot of ways. I never saw myself as that but I know they did. When they saw that I was just doing something without asking for advice and doing a darn good job of it, I could sense they didn't like it. Two years since my Mom has died and suddenly they are all back to being condescending to me.

Anyhow, sorry for digressing. But do consider that part of your Mom's behavior could very well be because she sees you growing and maybe is starting to realize that you might not always be there for her when she wants a doormat. But stick to your guns. Don't let anyone drag you down with them.
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First, congratulations on overcoming severe obstacles and getting your life back on a healthy track.

I understand that the current arrangement was to be one of mutual help. And in some ways it is. You have a roof over your head -- one that you can point to in the custody case. That may be worth considerable sacrifice, IF it can be counted on. But if she blows it with irrational behaviors, like calling APS, then the sacrifice may not be so worthwhile.

Is there any other place you could live in a stable environment? Can your lawyer suggest anything along these lines?

If you must stay with Mother, can you minimize your interactions? Instead of doing your paperwork in your room, how about going to the public library for the day? (I would go to our beautiful conservatory, and read/write among the calming plants and flowers.) You can take breaks whenever you want to without explaining them to anybody. You need a stable address, but you don't need to stay there all day every day do you? Do the tasks you agreed to do, perhaps eat a meal with Mother every day, but otherwise get out from under her full-time observation.

From the description you provide, it sounds like Mother 1) has genuine concerns about you ("I'm worried about you.") and 2) has mental health issues (blowing up over minor or imagined incidents). Family therapy could address both aspects of her personality and help you deal with them. I certainly hope she will go, out of her genuine concern.

Does your mother have some disability that makes it difficult for her to put groceries away? Why is that your job? Putting away the perishables and promising to put away the rest later was very reasonable, as your mother would have realized has not her mental health issues not gotten in the way.

Therapy would be great! I hope that occurs. If you can't arrange the family counselling, perhaps going to counselling alone would help you deal with this very difficult situation.
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