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Mom’s behavior might be linked to mental illness

Posted: September 13, 2012 3:40 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: My mom is 67 and pure evil. She manipulates her doctors, who don’t know the real truth. I’ve tried to remain patient and respectful, to no avail. My mom has pushed everyone away. She has no friends. Since my father died, she’s become severely depressed. I’ve supported her and stood by her after all the evil and hateful things she’s done, but I can’t keep doing it.

Her sister came from Europe after a 30-year absence, and Mom treated her so poorly that my aunt says she’ll never come back.

Now my mom has a boyfriend she met online who is 12 years younger. She won’t allow him to speak to his family members. She’s become physically and verbally abusive toward everyone.

I know she must be mentally ill, but the psychiatrist is only treating her for depression. Do I need to go to her doctor and explain? -- Unhappy Daughter

Dear Unhappy:

Some medications that treat depression also alleviate other symptoms, but this doesn’t appear to be the case with Mom. It’s OK for you to notify her psychiatrist’s office that Mom’s behavior is increasingly abusive, but the doctor cannot discuss the treatment with you unless Mom gives her permission. If you think that’s a possibility, please ask her if you can come along to her next appointment.

Dear Annie:

However, this woman and her husband frequently arrive late. As I write this, they are two hours past the time they said they’d be home. Annie, I don’t mind having to stay for an extra hour or so, but they wait until they are more than an hour late before they call to see whether it’s OK.

I have missed several appointments at school because they are never on time, even if they promise to be home by a specific hour.

I hate confrontations, and I like this family, but I am frustrated by their lack of respect for my time. How do I handle this? -- Frustrated Nanny in Florida

Dear Nanny:

Let them know in advance when you have appointments set up, and tell them if they are not back by then, you will have to call a substitute.

Insist that they provide the phone number for an available neighbor, or you cannot stay.

You also could say, "I’m so sorry, but I’ll have to stop working for you because I am too often late for appointments." And when they promise not to do it again, get the neighbor’s number anyway. Remember that no one can take advantage of you without your permission.

This is your business, not a favor for a friend. Be nice, but be professional about it. Tell these people that you will have to charge more if they are late.
I am a college student working as a nanny for a friend of my father’s. They pay much lower than I usually charge, but I don't mind helping out.
We cannot imagine what would make your mother "pure evil," but mental illness can cover a lot of difficult behavior.

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