Please help with paranoid family member

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    I need help. I was having alot of trouble with my daughter-in-law and just couldn't figure out what was going on. Our relationship had deteriorated over several years from warm, close to hostile and lots of control issues. Being at loose ends, I sought counseling, knowing the only person I could help in the situation was me. Half way through the session, the counselor, Linda, stopped me and said "you aren't the person here with a problem, you have a daughter-in-law with serious mental health problems." While I had recognized that she was paranoid, I didn't realize she was Paranoid. Linda let me know that her problems were going to be difficult to get help for and that, if left untreated, would get beyond the point that treatment would help.

    I don't want to go into all of DIL's problems...the post would be too long, but I would like to hear your experiences dealing with paranoid patients and any helpful hints you can give me. I greatly fear for my son and their 7 month old little girl. Right now I have decided to back off from seeing DIL or the baby since that always causes a crisis in their life.

    Thanks
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  4. 18 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I am not a nurse yet, but I can certainly sympathize with this. My father is a Paranoid Schizophrenic, and dealing with him has been such an uphill battle. When you say that you “greatly fear” for your son and his child, do you sense that she may become “violent”? If you fear that she is a threat to others, you and your son may want to consider actions that prevent her from harming anyone, like commitment. I know it is not an easy thing, but if I had it to do over again, I would have gone for the second- commitment with my father. Anyway, I do not know if this applies in your case. I know it is hard though. Best of luck.
  6. 0
    that baby needs you as an adult who loves them unconditionally and has stability. Try to be part of the baby's life. I have no advice but really feel for you. I am a grandmother with babies thousands of miles away and I know how it hurts not to be part of their life.
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    I'm so sorry for your situation. Since you use the word "paranoid" I'm going to answer assuming a clinical diagnosis of paranoia. I would question if she's paranoid *and* delusional (I suspect that's the case - delusions of some degree are part and parcel of paranoia, ranging from "MIL doesn't like me" all the way to "There's an international conspiracy to take down our gov't that only I can stop.") The next question is, does she have delusions that are dangerous to their infant son? If not, your son may just be willing to tolerate this situation and you may not be able to do anything about it. How open is your son to trying to get her treatment? Ultimately, she has to want to, but those with influence on her may be able to scoot her in the right direction. Apparently, that's not you as she appears to focus on you as a source of "trouble" (and this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with you personally, just the illness.)

    It is important to know that in a clinical diagnosis of paranoia, untreated, the symptoms often do worsen over time.

    These are just a few thoughts to bounce off you. Hoping this works out.
  8. 0
    It's really hard to say not knowing all the issues...so many times DIL's may be jealous of their MIL's relationship with son..but seeing how you mentioned you feared for the safety of your son and grandchild it needs attention asap...try talking to your son about your feelings/fears and put the ball in his court..any action YOU might take would probably cause even more paranoid actions, possibly escalating behavior. I'm sure you're worried sick, with good reason..especially with a baby involved..hopefully your son can handle the situation, but if I felt my child/grandchild were in danger I'd HAVE to jump in...hope everything works out for you all (((hugzzzzz)))
  9. 0
    How much of this have you shared with your son? I know spouses can be blind to their loved one's problems, but this seems as though he really needs a wake up call.
  10. 0
    I have one name for you... Andrea Yates. While her situation is different, if she was to get help sooner, her 5 beautiful children may still be alive. Too many times in life people say, "I wish i would have done something, all the signs were there". Mental illness is something that shouldn't be ignored. I wish you and your family the best. I'm sure this won't be easy on any of you.
  11. 0
    Hmm - well, my first thought is what qualifications does your counsellor have that make her able to decide your DIL is "paranoid", without having seen her or heard her side of the story?

    I would be wary of proceeding to offer you advice on the untested word of a "counsellor" - here in the UK, anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor, regardless of qualifications or experience. I don't believe it is any different in the States.

    As for the poster who mentioned Andrea Yates - seeing as we have no real evidence to suggest this woman does indeed have paranoid delusions, nor do we know the content of those delusions (if they exist) nor whether they present a risk to her son, your comment is highly inappropriate. It could well be that this woman is suspicious only of the original poster, in which case her decision to draw back from contact is a wise one. It could also equally be true that this so-called paranoia is nothing more than the kind of friction that stems from a long history of interpersonal conflict between the original poster and her DIL. We just do not know nearly enough about this situation to make any sort of judgement nor to offer any sort of advice.
  12. 0
    True, true. Sounds like she may need her OWN psychiatrist. Can you talk to her about this?
  13. 0
    Thanks for all the answers and questions. I have worked 24 of the last 36 hours so haven't gotten back to you before now.

    I didn't give you alot of details about my DIL to keep my post short. As an ER nurse, I see mental health patients in crisis situations, but don't have much other psych experience. However, I did do alot of research on the 'net about Paranoid Personality Disorder after my counselor suggested that as a possible dx for my DIL. It certainly explained her reaction to many things I did that I did not understand caused such a problem. Just a couple of examples of her behavior...I wanted to put their picture in the paper with an engagement announcement before their wedding. I live in a rural town in Georgia, less than 600 folks...she said no because her ex-boyfriend, who lived in Texas, might see the announcement and "go postal". She won't take the baby to a mall if she can't wear her contact lens because if she has her glasses on she doesn't have good periphereal vision and someone might run up and kidnap the baby.

    All I am asking is for you guys, the professionals, to give me advise on how you approach paranoid patients. I am convienced as I view many of her past behaviors with definitions of paranoia and realize that this explains her behaviors, that she is Paranoid, with a capital P. I can't help her, I doubt that I can get her to seek help. I doubt that I can convience my son to push for her to get help. I only want to know what I can do. I can only change my behavior...not her's and not my son's.

    I feel that now I am a target for her paranoia...maybe I should let that keep happening so she won't change to my grand-daugher and/or my son. Just don't know. I have been carrying the burden of this for several years, blaming myself and trying to jump through the hoops that she has created, thinking I could change our relationship if only I did something different. Each hoop I jumped through created two more hoops.

    Please...just some suggestions about how you approach and carry on with paranoid patients.


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