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Should I Be Worried?

Question:

My mother is 58 years old and has 5 children, two who live with her and her husband. The kids are 12 and 16. The other 3, including myself, are all over 30 with our own children. Her entire life she has struggled with depression, but never did anything about it. She has always had paranoid thoughts (in my opinion)such as thinking that the CIA or FBI is watching her or slashed her tires, etc. Now her behavior… once again, in my opinion… has gotten worse. She has taken her kids out of school so their minds won’t get corrupted or brainwashed by others. She is the only one who knows the truth about the economy, or 911 or God or whatever. My question is, that normal? She always seems to have some sort of proof for her "ideas," and if you even try and question her about any of them she gets very upset and says you are part of the "herd" and are being naive. I am worried about her kids. She says she home-schools them, but I have no clue what they are being taught. They don’t have any friends and rarely leave the home. Am I wrong in thinking there is something really unhealthy about this? Please help in any way you can. Thank you!

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Answer:

It does seem that your mother has paranoid ways of thinking. However, if she is not harming anyone or herself there is not much you can do about it. The only exception might be whether or not she has approval and training for home schooling the children. I don’t know much about this but I believe that parents who home school must follow a curriculum. There are certainly many people who home school and for some of the reasons your mother states. They are not paranoid, at least, not necessarily so.

About the only leverage you have is to determine whether she has been granted approval to home school and has the necessary materials.

You see, there is no law against mental illness or delusional thinking. The only time a person can be hospitalized or brought to jail in terms of mental illness is if the individual is a suicidal or homicidal danger.

By the way, your mother is warning you that if you argue with her thinking you run the risk of becoming the "enemy."

I assume you have spoken to your father about all of this. If you have not, you might consider having a conversation with him in which you express your worries about your mom and your young siblings.

Your concern is understandable, especially in light of children being involved. However, I am not sure you can do anything unless, perhaps, you consult an attorney. If you do that then you have to be prepared to take extraordinary steps and that could permanently affect your relationship with your mom.

From a mental health point of view I do not believe there is anything you can really do.

Best of Luck

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