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MIL needs serious help

     My MIL has gone crazy and I have no idea how to help her. There's been so many things that she's done that make no sense, I don't know where to start. I'll start with her most recent behavior. In January she got married to a guy she met online. She seemed happy, but I had a feeling it wouldn't work out just because of the way she is. She lived with us for awhile but it didn't work out. I felt guilty and even thought I was too harsh on her but not so much anymore. I think more people would agree with me now because it's more clear that she's not an easy person to get along with. Well, now she's convinced that this man that she married is after her and that his son is going to kill her. She has made several frantic calls to my husband about how someone went through all her paperwork, stole her credit cards, put a gps tracking device on her car and is following her, blocked outgoing calls on her cell phone, reinstated an old insurance policy, pulled out the equity from her house, hacked into her emails, etc. So many more things and the worst part of it all is she can't prove any of it. She insists her husband, his son, as well as their coworkers are all in a conspiracy to steal her identity and possibly kill her (I guess the son bought a gun). You know some of these things I believed, such as someone messing with her personal things and getting a hold of her credit cards. But everyday it has been something new and now I'm convinced that pretty much all of this is in her head. She went as far as accusing her husband of stalking her and giving his photo and his son's to campus security (she's in college). She took out a restraining order on him as well but it was dropped because the judge didn't feel it was necessary. I suppose maybe her husband is a bit controlling and probably was following her to see where the heck she was going if he was worried. I'm not there though, so I don't know. My opinion is that they both have their own definition of what a marriage should be. He may think he has the right to sift through her personal things because they are married. She's used to being independent, living on her own, and going out past 9 p.m. to go to the store (which he's warned her not to do).

     I got a call from a detective who called me (my MIL told me in advance he'd be calling to get information about what she's told me) and right off the bat he said he was concerned about my MIL's mental state. He didn't mention much about what she told him. He just said she hired him to look into things but he said that all of it just isn't making any sense. I agreed. He suggested a family member get a mandated court order to force her to get a mental evaluation. I also agreed about that. He ended by saying there's nothing he can do for her and that he will eventually have to tell her she needs help. The problem is we don't live in KY, we live in WA state. All her family is in WI and the reason she ended up in KY is because she followed my husband and I, thinking we'd take care of her. We can't. He is in the military and I tried to explain to her that it wasn't a good idea to move down by us because we'd eventually move and the military wasn't going to pay for her to move with us. She didn't listen and after we left she decided to stay. Bad, bad idea. She has no family in the state of KY, they are all up in WI. But she can do whatever she wants and that was her choice to move down there and stay. Since we don't live in KY, we can't force her to get a court ordered mental evaluation. It has to be a family member living in the state of KY.

     Well, since she's paranoid out of her mind she refuses to live with her husband. They constantly fight and the last I heard she bit him. She recently went back up to WI and moved in with her friend. This friend is married and has 2 kids and I knew it was a bad idea. Once again, I was right. I found out MIL went to a homeless shelter today because she thinks her friend is now in this conspiracy too. Supposedly, she heard her friend give my MIL's husband information over the phone about her. So she now thinks that if she stays her things are going to be searched and disappear. Also, this friend told MIL if she didn't like it there to leave and that she needs to be put on medication. Something obviously went wrong. She called my husband and he has no idea what to do since we are here and she is there. Within the last month, my MIL has traveled from KY to WI 3 times to stay by her friend (well former friend now). She has no job because she quit it to go to school ( and is not going anymore). She says she has no money because her husband has wiped out all the accounts (probably to get her to come back to live with him). My DH called her husband and he admitted that they were living beyond their means and that's the reason why they are in so much debt. Everything else he denied.

     My MIL is obviously not happy but she is just out of her mind right now. She keeps going back and forth  to KY and WI. She returns home to her husband and then a couple days later she gets paranoid about something and just ups and leaves. He called DH and told him he can't take this anymore, that if it happens again he's filing for divorce. I've tried to calm her down and told her that possibly someone got a hold of her identity but it's not necessarily the people who she thinks. I also told her she's not making a lot of sense and that a lot of people are worried about her, including the detective. She was furious about that. I told her that if this continues either my husband or her daughter will have to take her for a mental evaluation because she needs help. I know it's not very nice to tell someone that but what other choice do I have? She keeps calling me and ranting on for hours about a whole lot of nonsense and everyone thinks she is crazy. I have a 6 year old son and I'm a full time student so I'm pretty busy myself.  She just ignores me and then flips out and starts swearing (not at me). She's never used the F word before, now she uses it quite often. Her daughter and son (my DH) are scared and they are her only next of kin that she has relations with. She hasn't seen her daughter in 3 years because they don't get along. We've been out here in WA for close to 3 years and haven't seen her since we moved. My DH doesn't want to ask MIL's husband to force her to get a mental evaluation because he doesn't trust him (he doesn't want him to have control over her if he's the bad guy his mom has said he is). Since she keeps coming back and then leaving, her husband wouldn't be able to put her in a hospital in KY anyways. She won't visit her daughter so there's nothing she can do for her mom. My husband definitely can't do nothing with being stationed so far away. Her other siblings don't really want to be put in the middle of this and I don't even think they know about any of the recent stuff. So what can we do for MIL? She needs a mental evaluation and possibly medication, but she's making it impossible for anyone to do anything because she keeps hopping from one place to another. At the same time she is stressing me and her kids out. If she's willing to put herself in a women's shelter (twice now) she's got to be pretty unhappy. You would think she'd snap back to reality if there wasn't something wrong. It doesn't look like she's going to recover from her paranoia anytime soon though. The last time we talked she said she was sleeping in her car near to where truckers park and sleep (maybe a rest area). She said her husband must have had someone follow her because someone flashed a light into her window when she was sleeping and the next day she realized that he had someone put a different cell phone in her purse than the one she had prior to falling asleep (this was while she was asleep in her car). Huh??? Anyone have any advise?

Re: MIL needs serious help

  • Sorry my post was so long and yes I should have used more paragraphs. I just wanted to ask one more thing. Is it possible that she may actually have symptoms of schizophrenia?
  • I didn't make through all of your post, but I wanted to say yes, it sounds like your MIL has schizophrenia. She's exhibiting a lot of factors that would suggest so. I'm very sorry your going through this.

    A few summers ago we went through this with my grandmother. She went undiagnosed for several years. We had to call the cops on her and say she was a danger to herself. She did not go to jail and instead went to immediate detention, it's a psych ward in the hospital. She was there for 3 days. It was hard to see her in place like that but she was finally and properly medically evaluated.

    This took place in IN. My suggestion is to look into what your recourse of action needs to be in this situation. I forget now how my mom found out it was called immediate detention, but she found out and the next time a situation arose in which it could be used she was on the phone immediately. Good luck to you and your DH!
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  • Question: is the detective with law enforcement or just a regular hire off the street detective?
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  • Late onset schizophrenia i.e after the age of 40 is incredibly rare and if the paranoia and persecutory delusions are actually new behaviours and not worsening manifestations of ongoing mental illness then it would be unlikley that your MIL has schizophrenia but instead some other thought disorder.

    I dont know the mental health laws of KY but in Florida family apply to the court and provide evidence, usually written, to get the judge to grant a mental health evaluation, once the mental health evaluation order is issued a deputy recieves the court order and goes out and picks the person up and brings them to the psych hospital, it is not a case of anyone persuading them to go, they are taken, in handcuffs if necessary. In Florida the criteria for such a court order is that the person is a danger to themselves or others. Again I dont know KY mental helth sytems but here in FL it is free to file and can be done by out of town family. Also a police officer or MD can initiate an involuntary mental health evaluation. Most states have similar laws in place

  • He suggested a family member get a mandated court order to force her to get a mental evaluation.

    You already had your answer.

    Oh, and if she does have a  serious mental issue it wont be solved overnight....or for a very long time or ...forever. Getting her diagnosed is one thing, getting her to admit it is another and keeping her on meds is the hardest of all.

  • Doesn't her husband live in KY?  Why can't he petition the court to order a psychiatric evaluation?
  • Your husband needs to tell his CO or whoever is in charge of his unit that his mother is having a personal crisis, it may be medically related and he needs time to sort it out.

    You've posted before and I've suggested that your DH can attend to basic things, espcially now with the help and resources of this detective:

    1- Finances: What are her assets - is her name on the house, does she own anything? Where is it? What is her debt? Have funds been moved from her bank account? If so, why? Who has access to her accounts? Does she have any money in savings? Run a credit check for outstanding credit cards, loans and her current credit score.

    2- Housing: Who's house is it? Last time, I got the feeling that she owned the house and the new husband and his son moved in. What's the status of her mortgage or rental agreement? Who's name is on the lease or deed? Should she file in Family Court to have them evicted? If it's their property, where is she going to live beyond the shelter - services at the shelter may be helpful for that.

    3- Medical: What options does MIL have for a medical evaluation? Where? Is she willing?

    4- Daily Living Needs: Where does she live and what does she do all day long? Has she officially withdrawn from shcool - how does that effect her loan? Does she have enough food and cash to take care of herself? Where will she be living next? How can she afford it? Can she get a job, where?

    5- Marriage: Does she want to stay married? If not, who can help her get an annulment? divorce? Division of assets and debts? How much will that cost?

    Based on this and other posts, she does not seem capable of handing the most basic functions of her personal life. She needs help. And if your DH wants to offer that help, he needs to do it in person.  

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Get your husband on a plane RIGHT NOW!!!! Your MIL is a danger to herself and others.  She needs to be taken to a hospital and admitted under a 5150.  I really don't understand why your husband can't help her, doesn't this qualify as a family emergency???
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  • If she was mentally ill at the time of the marriage, the marriage can be annulled.
  • it does sounds like she needs a psych eval, one of you needs to take her to a hospital with an inpatient psych unit and get her evaluated.  i also doubt it is schizophrenia but she may be bipolar or have some kind of mental disorder with paranoia.  

    unfortunately even if she is committed (they will have to prove she is a risk to herself or others) they will only keep her 3 days max with a court order, then she's free to go and go back to her life.

    if she gets to the point where she cannot make decisions for herself at all you can petition the court for guardianship and there are nursing homes that specialize in behavioral health. 

    Gretchen Evie, born 7/8/2012 at 35w5d
  • Okay, clearly pps are not from military situations. This womans dh cannot demand time off from the US Gov't simply because there is something going on with his mom. It doesn't work like that.It is really hard when responsibility for a parent falls on the shoulders of a soldier. They can't call in sick just because their kid gets sick, or mom is having a health crisis. 

     What OP needs to do is see if her husband can get a 4 day pass to go get his mom into a neurologist appointment. He needs to call in advance and make an appointment and go with that information to his CO when he makes his 4 day pass request. OP needs to be ready to step in, if he doesn't get leave. Before everyone diagnoses this poor woman as '5150' or otherwise 'crazy', lets take a minute to realize she could have something else wrong entirely. She may have early on-set alzheimers, or a nutritional imbalance. The thing is, until she sees a doctor, you have no answers. And late in life schizophrenia is super rare to non existant (if she does have it, she is one of a handful of people in this country).

  • I have speak up regarding the fact previous posters have said 'late in life diagnosis is rare'. While I agree, we don't know all the facts. My grandmother had not seen a doctor since 1975. Literally had not gone to a doctor in thirty years. She could not be properly evaluated because her delusions kept her from those that would have been able to evaluate her. So if the OP is dealing with a mentally ill MIL, the idea that the MIL will willingly go to a doctor is probably far-fetched. OP has already eluded to the fact that MIL is untrustworthy of those around her, the OP is not going to be able to talk sense to a person who lives in world of delusions. Rules, appointments, Court mandates, etc. mean nothing to a schizophrenic person. Especially someone who has probably gone undiagnosed and unmedicated for several years.

    Basically OP you need to find out how to get her evaluated. She's not going to go willingly so you need to know how that can be done where she's living. Again, good luck! If you would like to PM me if need anymore help or just someone to talk to.
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  • What you need is a lawyer.

    I would try to find one in Kentucky.  Call this group and tell them that your MIL is exhibiting bizarre symptoms and you need to have her held and evaluated as well as have a legal guardian appointed to oversee her financial affairs.  They should be able to direct you to a group of lawyers (elder law, family law) who can help you understand what can be done for her or (more importantly) WHO can do it.  This can be done over the phone.

    The two big areas are her physical safety and financial safety.  I would not dismiss her paranoia about her money being stolen -- that frequently happens with the mentally ill. 

  • Post edited by moderator for hyperlink spam.
  • She sounds like she needs a psych eval ASAP!   Your DH needs to do whatever he can to get out there.

    On another note, do you think it's possible she's using drugs?  My FIL had a girlfriend with crazy behavior like that and we found out that her behavior was attributed to the crystal meth that she was on.   She thought the mafia was following her around and rearranging furniture in her ex-husband's house on top of many other things.

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