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Dr. K
Dr. K, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 357
Experience:  15 years clinical experience in all areas of psychiatry. Holistic and practical approach.
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My mother-in-law loves drama and will turn anything into something.

Customer Question

My mother-in-law loves drama and will turn anything into something. About 6 months ago she had a stroke and "works the Sympathy card" to those who she knows can be reeled in yet insists she's an independant women and doesn't need anyones help?!
Just before her stroke she became a grandmother for the first time. She wants to watch her grandchild but I can't get past her emotional games she plays with me. Not only does that bother me it's a trust issue I have as well. Her son, my fiance, says she'll do things for her own amusement to make herself feel better. Example let a Child watch nudity/soft porn to see what their reaction would be or let them try smoking. I've caught her dipping the baby's pacifier, when only 3 months old, in her coffee cup and when I called her on it she made up every excuse before confessing she did it to make herself smile to the baby's reaction.
Anyway a long story shortened how can I deal with the drama, games and lack of trust towards my mother-in-law? Personally I think she's undiagnosed bipolar or it could be that she's born a Gemini :o)
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. K replied 3 years ago.

Dr. K :

I cannot officially give her a diagnosis in this format, but I can tell you sounds very similar to patients with borderline personality disorder.

Dr. K :

There is a great book written for family members about how to deal with such: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger

Dr. K :

The key is to set limits with her (with the calmest most neutral voice you have)...and not feed into any fights, arguments, or power struggles.

Customer:

My mother mentioned that My mother-in-law could have emotional affect from her stroke?!

Dr. K :

Here is a link about borderline personality: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/borderline-personality-disorder/DS00442

Dr. K :

Ok, so keep this in mind. A stroke can certainly cause all different types of emotional problems.

Dr. K :

She could have symptoms of bipolar, or borderline, or something else secondary to the stroke.

Dr. K :

Is there any possibility she is willing to get professional help?

Dr. K :

Even if not, you can always express your concerns about her emotions & behavior to her doctors (by calling or writing a letter). Even if she doesn't sign consent for them to give you information about her confidential health records, they are allowed to listen to any of your feedback.

Customer:

ok
She would for a price I'm assuming

Dr. K :

What do you mean "for a price"?

Dr. K :

The other good news is this: if she has bipolar, borderline, or whatever secondary to a stroke...you would pretty much treat it similarly as she had that condition not due to a stroke. Does that make sense?

Dr. K :

Another possibility in people with strokes is what is called vascular dementia (similar to Alzheimer's but the cause is repetitive brain injuries through strokes, mini-strokes, brain bleeds, and or loss of oxygen to the brain.

Customer:

after her stroke she recovered quickly and the doctors were impressed so asked her to do some reseach on her with pay

Dr. K :

This is a more difficult condition, as you can't always treat it well. You try to stabilize the person's other health issues to prevent future brain injuries...and otherwise just hope the brain heals itself somewhat over time.

Customer:

She mentioned she's had 4 strokes after but I don't know if she's just saying that for attention or actually had them as she was never rushed to the hospital to my knowledge

Dr. K :

A CT or MRI of the brain would help clarify any history of strokes.

Dr. K :

I think the best thing is encouraging her to get help; people often react better to this suggestion when you say, "Let's go get help together to improve our communication" rather than "You need help because you are broken & need to be fixed."

Customer:

I just don't know if i can trust her to watch my child, her granddaughter and how would I tell her I don't think she's ready

Dr. K :

If you can't get her to help herself, definitely tell her doctors your concerns. In the meantime, I would read that book....and if that's not helpful enough consider seeing a live therapist to help learn better ways to cope with this.

Dr. K :

And I agree, based on what you said, I wouldn't want her watching my child either.

Customer:

that would be an argument unavoidable if I told her she needs help
I will definently look into the book thank you for you advice

Dr. K :

You need to be upfront, again in a calm, gentle & non-confrontational manner. "Mom, I'm really worried about you watching the baby because of these different things I have observed. Let's get some help to improve these issues so you can be an even better grandma."

Dr. K :

It may be an unavoidable argument...if you don't think a "live" discussion would be good, try writing her a letter.

Customer:

knowing her the way I do she would see it as me never liking her to begin with and only wanting to hurt her

Dr. K :

What if the conversation came from someone else (like your husband)...or from the 2 of you together?

Dr. K :


You just went offline for some reason. I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you need more information...I will be checking in on my computer to see if you returned. Otherwise, good luck & take care...please hit ACCEPT when you are satisfied.

______________________________________________________________________

Please let me know if you need more information. We can continue the dialog until you are satisfied. Once you are happy with the answers don't forget to hit the ACCEPT button & provide expert feedback. Also remember that this is not an official doctor patient relationship and not a substitute for a full live psychiatric evaluation. Thank you for using justanswers.com

Customer:

Sorry I had to tend to my daughter yes thank you for your help and your last bit of advice is what probably needs to be done

Dr. K, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 357
Experience: 15 years clinical experience in all areas of psychiatry. Holistic and practical approach.
Dr. K and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. K replied 3 years ago.
you are quite welcome

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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
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