Should i challenge the belief system of my 81 year old mother?


I'm her only caregiver for twelve years

She's in nursing home by choice to get drugs (malingers)

Two sons live in town but don't visit

Factitious disorders (mauchausen syndrome)

A lifetime of prescription drug use

Mother n law admitted to same NH in May so my attention is divided

She weighs 260lbs @ 5 ft tall so I stopped bringing sweets

Tonight she accused me of mislandling selling her house, liquidating her posessions and turning her sons against her so I just told her the reason they stayed away was because her only topic was her health.

She said to go away and take care of M n L and don't come back because I don't care about her anyway.

Does she really think she's sick or has all this been for the drugs.

All I do know is I'm weary.



Everything I've done for here has been because I'm concious of God but tonight when she turned o me...

I felt like a enabler and wondered if I'm helping or hurting her. Maybe she should repent before she meets God?

Update 2:

Each of you has shed light on my dilema-

Heartfelt thanks-

Update 3:

Vinny-I'm not trying to take them (percocet, ambitripyline, klonapin, ambian, phenagren, codiende cough syrup, zoloft) away..I'm suggesting she not get more.

Update 4:

dottiela-I agree the people here are wonderful, I never expected such an outpouring of support!

25 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ju ju. I read your question and comments, and my heart went out to you. I think you're a perfect angel. Your choice of wording when writing your question is precious. "Should I challenge the belief system of my 81 year old mother?" is sooo nice when compared to what others might have written. For example "How to I deal with mother's freaking lies?"

    What I think has happened is that your mother doesn't realize just how fortunate she is to have you in her life, and has started to feel she has a license to lash out at anyone without consequence. And the weariness you are beginning to feel is due to the weight of the hurtful remarks she is throwing at you. It's hard for an angel to tirelessly flutter her wings and bring joy to her mother when her mom burdens those wings with the weight of false accusations and other hurtful comments. As a matter of fact, it's downright exhausting. That's why you feel weary.

    But how do you go about changing such a situation to one where you, your mom, and your brothers are all smiling again?

    I'm sure there can be as many recommendations as there are people, but all you'll get from me is my idea. I hope you like it. It's a powerful psychological tool that has helped me many time throughout my life. It's called detachment. Here's how to use it:

    When your mom goes off on you with hurtful comments, you imagine elevating yourself toward the ceiling, and from there looking down on the situation below. And what you you see and hear is a mother (yours) going off at her daughter (you) with hurtful comments in the room of a nursing home. So, from up there in your detached state, you ask yourself what would be the ideal response for the person representing the daughter (you) to say to the person representing the mother (yours)?

    Now you don't want the daughter person to come up with something that would slam the mom person with something that will put her in her place in a hurtful way. You want to come up with something that will be kind but also effective. So after thinking about it for a while, you decide that yup--You're going to recommend that the person representing the daughter nicely but firmly challenge the mother's belief system. Ha ha.

    Now keep in mind that there could be other people hovering up there next to the ceiling along with you. And if there were, they might be little devils who are honing their horns rather than fluttering their wings like the angel that you are. So, even though you've decided to challenge your mother's belief system, you're still every bit the wonderful angel that you are.

    It can be done nicely and repeatedly until mom finally gets the message. Quite simply, you can say "Mom, that's not true. You can't support those statements, and you know you can't. I've come here today to try to make your day brighter, and you are just saying things to hurt my feelings. If you don't stop doing that, I'm going to have to leave and return another day when you find it in your heart to be nicer to me."

    If you don't think that's nice, consider the little devil's wording choice: "Mom, you're a freaking liar."

    Eventually, mom will come around. And one of the things you may want to consider is to involve your visits with things other than just conversation. Leaving the room to go to the lounge and play checkers or get involved in some other activity that's possible there. If your mom objects to checkers, just say nicely "Mom, you're just afraid I'll beat the pants off you, aren't you!?"

    Good luck sweetie.

  • 1 decade ago

    Exactly what are you enabling her to do?

    I know you're angry (at least that's how I hear you), but you should give yourself a time out. You're not Superwoman.

    For God's sake, she's living in a nursing home, so she has other caregivers. At 81,you want to put her in a detox? Her belief system may be delusional but you have nothing to give her to put in its place. Do you honestly think she believed that her sons stopped visiting because of her? And if she did, wasn't that an unkind thing to say?

    She's not buying street drugs; some doctor has agreed to prescribe them for her. And drugs can screw up people's minds especially when taken over a long time. If you think there is malpractice going on, call the state medical assn. If you're not a physician you can't diagnose her.

    My mother was severely ill when we were growing up and she could be irrational, but she was still our mother. She could be hateful at times as I grew older, and I learned to be hateful right back. Then when I got older the same illness struck me. Then the little light went on.

    Forget about everyone else and take a little time for yourself. It's doing nobody any good - not her, not you - for you to do this stuff nonstop. If she's living in a nursing home, she has other caregivers.

    I'm glad I don't have children because I would be impossible. I'd kill myself before saddling my kids with and old and angry me. I would kill myself before moving into a nursing home, period.

    Next time you see her, bring her something to occupy her mind. It's hard for people to get out of their own self-pity, and I'll bet you she has way too much time on her hands if all she can talk about is her health.

    If she's a controlled-substance drug addict, it really doesn't matter anymore whether she's sick or not. If she goes off the drugs she's become dependent on, she will go through hell. Period. It sounds as if she's in purgatory now.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Ju Ju; feeling hurt by your mom's accusations, feeling weary, and questioning whether you are helping or hurting are all normal reactions-and I think seeking advice, 'talking about it', is a healthy thing for you to do. You must take care of yourself, and that includes having folks around who will 'listen' when you are frustrated and hurt.

    One thing I suggest is for you to inform both the nursing staff at the facility your mom is staying in and her physician about the incident you describe. Her accusations could be a sign of deteriorating emotional, mental, cognitive, or physical health. Keep in mind that even people who have been diagnosed Munchausen's sometimes really do have physical problems; your mom's weight is one clue that she really may not be all that healthy. Also, people with any type of factitious disorder often have other personality disorders as well; and so your mom may not have the coping skills needed to deal with her own frustrations. The thing that caught my attention was the accusations; it makes me wonder if perhaps your mom is showing symptoms of either declining mental health or early signs of dementia....that is why I suggest that you inform her doctor.

    It might help if you can try to manage your expectations about how your mom will treat you. You are doing your best to care for her, but she may not be able to demonstrate that she appreciates, or even recognizes, your care. The flip side of this is related to some advice I recently recieved myself: you need to set up some boundaries for yourself. I love the suggestions here that say to cut your visits short, leave, when your mom accuses you or attacks you personally. Don't allow her taunts to get under your skin; but don't hang around and take it either. Try not to worry too much about enabling your mom's behavior, I bet she has been manipulating people for a very long time and is likely good at it. Just tell her you love her and cut the visit short when you do recognize she is trying to hurt you...and then go do something nice for yourself.

    My heart goes out to you Ju Ju. Take care of yourself!

  • 1 decade ago

    JuJu, My mom once said some not so nice things to be during one of her hospitalization periods and it really hurt me deeply as my mom was basically a kind and loving person. I know that she really did not mean them although it sure seemed like she did at the time. Like you, I was the main caregiver. I forgave my mom. She really didn't even remember saying those things to me. Your mom has a lot of time to think and I think she may have things mixed up in her head due to her age, where she is, and the drugs. Please don't be too hurt by what she says. As other comments have stated, maybe visit with your mom two or three days a week and remember to do something to relieve the stress you are under by doing something for yourself. It is important that you not get sick. God knows our limits so you have no reason to feel guilty if you do not check in on your mom every single day. Perhaps your mother-in-law is more pleasant to visit. Just remember, it is important to take a "Ju Ju" day or two to keep your health and sanity. You are a good servant of the Lord, always tell yourself that.

    God bless you and keep you during this period in your life.


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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Hey, thats wrong for you to think so. You're suspecting your mother, thats really bad. Ok, first of all, if your bf is calling her, he respects her. Otherwise, who in the world gives a **** to elderly ones. Ok, I am really sorry (from the heart), I know it would hurt, but she really doesn't have much years to live, what do you think, your bf would go for such a women? What for? If you think of anything like money matters, then I believe he could also get it marrying you. Maybe he likes your mom (as a beauty, I am saying) but they won't have an affair. And if you think they have anything between them, do you think he'd keep it so open? Doesn't he have any knowledge of how his reputation will flush then? And if he's actually not kissing you anymore, have you ever tried exciting him?? Giving him an aggressive kiss? Maybe he misses it then, or who knows? The world is filled with tensions, maybe he has some. And after all that, if you even feel your mom's interfering, then, I suppose you have a talk with her, but do not forget she's your mom. Respect her, but be firm on what you say. Share openly, what you want from him, and he's not giving you. Your mom has gone through it, it will be better. Then, things will clear out and everything will turn good. I believe that. And trust your bf, he's the same guy you fell for, look for what you found attracting in him first, its not lost, it just needs to be pulled out. and that BQ, I wanna be honest with you, I don't know why. Yes, I have faced jealousy to be an attractive quality in another person. But it faded away soon, because in my mind, and heart, and my body was a man hiding who pulled me to himself with his love and affection. Keep that in you. He's only yours :)

  • vinny
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The only part of your "Problem", that I'm going to address is the priscription drugs.

    Do you know what these are for? The way you speak they must be Opiate Pain Killers ---Right?

    Your Mother is 81 years old, Please leave her alone.As someone else said, if you suspect there is abuse, report it to the proper authorities.Anyone her age, that has been taking Prescription Painkillers any lenght of time is "Hooked", and to detox them could/would be fatal.I am 62, and will be on several drugs the rest of my life, and if you take them away, I'll beat your ***, and see you in the afterlife!

    I urge you to speak to the Doctors/Nurses at the home and see what they say about this. 9/29

  • 1 decade ago


    She has always been this way. She will only worsen as she ages. She has the need to blame someone anyone for her aches and pains, small income etc.

    You have gone far beyond the call of duty. Your love for the Lord has instilled in you the knowledge and desire to do right.

    Take a step back as others have suggested. Peek in at her and when she is nominally pleasant stay and have a conversation. As soon as the anger and abuse begin hug her goodbye.

    My Mom is the same. Brimming with anger and a cruelty.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm so sorry that you're going through this. My sister and I went through this for almost ten years with our mother. Nothing pleased her. She accused us of all kinds of horrible things. She said some devastating things to both of us. Her doctor told us to just go home when she got like this. And he meant pick up our keys and say, "I'm leaving now. I'll see you later." No arguments or discussions. Then leave and stay away for a week.

    If the nursing home needs you, they'll call. If you want to know how she is, you can call the nurses. It sounds harsh and mean, but you're never going to convince your mom that she's doing anything wrong. It's like beating your head against the wall. The next week when you go back, the same rules apply. After you've done this consistently for a few weeks, your mom might get the message and ease up on you.

  • 1 decade ago

    Wow that is a very hard question, I feel for you as I am caring for a soon to be 82 year old mother. Is there anyone in the nursing home who can give you advice? Also, I would return to her and say mom, lets just visit NO ACCUSATIONS please!! She knows the boys are staying away on purpose and is deeply being the gentle one catch hell for every one else's shortcomings. You are going to have to ignore that part of her personality, develop a 'shield' around yourself when she gets bad. I pray for you, God knows what is in your heart so take a well deserved break but tell her you will be 'gone' for a while so she doesn't feel deserted by you also.

    Source(s): Sorry about practically writing a book, this is very close to home for me too.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Heal yourself Ju Ju.

    You sound exhausted and depleted.

    You have to understand you are dealing with a sick individual.

    Whatever label that sickness has.

    Take time out for you and your life.

    She is being looked after.

    Take a break.

    Stop beating yourself up.

    What comes across more than anything else in your post is that

    you are a good person.

    Just tired.

    We can change no one but ourselves.

    Good luck lassy ......... and take my advice -

    look at YOUR life and know that is as precious as

    anything else around you - more so.



    be good and kind to yourself for a wee while.

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