Mom Thinks Everyone Is Against Her – What to Do

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“I am worried about my mother; she’s displaying uncontrollable anger and pettiness towards most people and thinks everyone is out to get her”… If this sounds like something you’ve been thinking of a lot lately, you are not alone.

Elderly woman angry with her adult child

Many adult children of aging mothers, who are facing sudden loss and loneliness, and greater dependency display bouts of unreasonable anger and frustration.

Now, if it is not a case of an elderly mother, it is highly likely that your mother is displaying narcissistic tendencies that will require a psychiatrist’s evaluation.

There could be many other reasons as to why your mother perceives everything as a personal attack, and as a threat to her.

In this article, we will explore the two above mentioned causes of old age and narcissism along with certain mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, dementia, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, severe stress and anxiety, delusions, and mental illness that could be the reason for her state of mind.

With Old Age Come Emotional Challenges

Elderly Anger, Emotional Abuse, and Outbursts

Old age can amplify the personality traits in most people.

For example, if your mother was always one to prey on gossip, chances are that as the years pass by, her tendency to pry into her children’s lives and offer unsolicited advice may be high. This is because, in her present condition, she may not be in a state to move around a lot, secluding her from her neighbors or relatives.

Her own child or primary caregiver bears the brunt of her mental instability in this case and you will find that your mother can complain even about the air she breathes.

What can you do to deal with an elderly mother who thinks everyone is against her:

As her child and/or primary caregiver, it might be best if you could identify the source of anger and resentment. It may be greatly beneficial to visit a clinical psychologist to determine the onset of paranoia, dementia, psychosis, or schizophrenia.

On your part, if your elderly mom is showing the signs that she will pay heed to your words when in a good mood, you can explain how her actions and words make you feel.

Imagine that you suggested she start taking vitamin D supplements for her weakening bone strength and immune system. Now, if she interprets the situation to be that you are suggesting that she does not know how to take care of herself, it is clearly time to sit her down and explain the whole situation.

Mom and daughter arguing

Instead of actually saying that she’s interpreted the scenario wrongly, you can gently tell her that you only had her health and well-being in mind. Also, let her know that her words have saddened you since you were genuinely concerned and trying to help her out in any way you could.

You could help her deal with negative thoughts, emotions, and sadness by trying to spend some quality time together. You could read to her, get her outside the house and take a walk with her, or just relate the day’s incidents sitting close to her.

Of course, all this works only if she shows signs of responding well to the kindness and help that you are offering. Instead, if the emotional abuse continues and all she does is complain that everyone hates her, steals from her, and so on, you should consider taking a break from the routine visits.

Removing yourself from the situation may drive home the point that abusive behavior will not be tolerated. A renewed appreciation happens when she sees what you or the primary caregiver has been doing for her well-being and realizes that she has distanced herself from her loved ones by her unbiased criticism, and paranoia.

Again, if you are unable to soothe the feeling that she’s a victim, understand that you need to consult with a therapist to delve into the matter and find a solution to the issue.

Get your parent involved in activities and social events that do not directly involve you. Book clubs, clubs for seniors, volunteer opportunities, and art classes are all be viable options where they will have other people to interact

Home companions are available through home care companies to provide non-medical care services in case you need to care for your own mental health and take a break from the caregiving duties.

An abundance of patience and faith is necessary on the part of the spouse, children, and the primary caregiver and it is many a time, no easy task.

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If Mom has got Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A toxic mom will never acknowledge or even understand the fact that others around her also have feelings. Most often these people are incapable of truly loving their spouse or child for who they are and are overly critical of your choices.

What can you do to maintain a cordial relationship with your mother?

The best thing to do is to talk with a close family member who can guide you and listen to you with an empathizing, open mind. You need to choose between staying with her or leaving.

talk to a family member

Do not feel guilty about maintaining healthy boundaries if all your mother does is play the victim and complain about how nobody else “gets” the sacrifice she has made for you and manipulates you into doing things her way, as an older adult you need to be aware of your own mental health and decide to walk away.

The problem with narcissism is that most narcissists do not or rather, cannot do the self-assessment and reflection upon one’s own character.

As the daughter of a toxic parent, you can choose to draw the line when your own emotional needs need to be met.

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When Mom has got Dementia

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are most important in carrying out day-to-day activities.

In this case, your mom may often feel that nobody takes notice of her situation and projects that she is a victim. It is natural for people with dementia to feel this way, although it can be a burden for you as the daughter or son.

What can you do:

It is true that your mother may not be appreciative of your efforts. Rather she might be constantly telling you that the people around her are untrustworthy, selfish, and lazy. Yes, the accusation is hurtful, especially if you are the primary 33.

Our advice is that you form a close-knit circle of loved ones you can rely on to relieve your stress and to erase those negative thoughts.

Find a local support group or online forum where you can share your experiences and meet others who are going through the same experiences.

local support group

And finally, the best advice we have got? It is not to take things personally.

There is nothing to be gained by thinking your parent is being manipulative. You know that you both have shared wonderful moments together in the past!

Delve into the lovely old memories, you can even share some quiet moments with your mother and reminisce about the past when you had fun. Set a goal to maximize and enjoy the time you have with them.

Ultimately, you should know that this behavior is caused by a disease, and treat them with all the love and care they need.

Speak to your doctor about possible treatment to reduce anxiety and panic so that you too can be relieved of stress.

Getting the support of friends and family

You can consider calling on your friends and family members for the help you may need. They can contribute to help you. Don’t pull yourself back when you need help.

If anyone asks if you need any help, then communicate carefully to them about what would be most helpful for you and your mom. For instance, if you already have done the meal prep for dinner, there would be no point in a neighbor bringing you dinner. 

You can let them know that you already have that handled, and ask them to help with another chore instead, such as picking up your mom’s groceries, laundry, or just coming over for a cup of coffee and a chat.

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coffee time

It is important that you too get some emotional and mental de-stressing breaks so that you can provide the required support for your aging mother.

Sometimes phone applications and computer programs can make coordinating efforts much easier. If you are the sole caregiver to a complaining mother,  you can use apps or computer programs to schedule family visits for a get-together, games, or pot luck so that your mom feels surrounded by loved ones and family.

Create a calendar, assign tasks to friends, family, and neighbors to get chores done for the get-together so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.  Members of your community can then volunteer to pitch in with these requests and lighten your workload.

We understand the stress and anxiety caused by co-existing with a complaining parent, and hope that this article provides you with enough information and tips to understand the different reasons for your mother’s emotional state, and how to manage your own stress levels.

As we mentioned earlier, the best tip is not to take things personally and try to keep relations cordial.