how to handle conversations that are not real


Registered User
Jan 18, 2007
hello, we are slowing realizing my mother is slipping. For some time now she thinks my father has another family. Now, she says he has 2 other familys that he supports financially. She really beleives he steals money from her and gives it to them.. They have been my dad can put up with. She gets so angry at times.. she is normally a very very nice person.. She will not see a doctor about this she does'nt feel anything is wrong with her.. we are all wrong and she is right and feels like she is all by herself with all this.. Other than this she is ok she is 81 years old and actually for her age pretty good.. I am getting really mad alot and don't know how to handle it.. what to say to her? I don't want to agree with her on these topics but then it gets all heated up.. She is loosing and missplacing alot of things now and she blames my dad for taking them.. what do we do????



Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Hi Karen, I feel for you and the family. Whatever you say your dear mum is still going to carry on in her own world. Very distressing I know.

She is unable to relate all the time to exactly what is going on, and I feel that you do no good in pointing out these facts all the time. I am afraid you do have to go along with things sometime for harmony all round.

Please continue to let us know how things are going, and I am sure that you will get good advice soon. I can only speak from my own limited knowledge.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Nobles and welcome to TP.
When Mum tells her stories avoid confrontation,change the subject as soon as you can.
A true saying (Bruce) "you cannot reason with the unreasonable"
Could you get the Doctor to call and see mum?
Use some pretext if you need too,like "you are due for a check up you are over 80 now"
White lies are permissible in the cicumstances.
Do try to get the Doctor involved as a first step.
Have a look at the fact sheets on
Lots of information there.
Keep in touch

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Karen, I really feel sorry for you and your father. It`s so difficult to cope with such unpredictable behaviour.
Could your father go to his doctor and explain the situation. Get him to write it down before he goes, so he doesn`t forget anything.
Once the doctor sees how distressed your father is, he should realize how your mother`s behaviour is affecting him. Perhaps you and your father could go together.
Please keep posting on TP and let us know how you get on.
All the best, Sylvia


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
I agree, there is no point in trying to confront your mother's delusions. At this point she is not open to reason, and no amount of argument will make her change her mind about what she "knows" to be true. It will just cause a lot of distress all around and at worst she could decide that everyone is conspiring against her. If the delusions are harmless then it is far easier to simply go along with them. This is very hard at first but becomes easier. When my Dad starts to talk about visiting places he's never been to in the 1890's we just smile and say "oh that was nice"

As you say we are all wrong and she is right and feels like she is all by herself with all this..

Oh those terrible words! How familiar they are!

As has been said, you will probably have to indulge in some subterfuge to get your mother to see the doctor. She is either in denial or doesn't realise that there's anything wrong with her. This is probably why she argues so much that she is right - from her point of view she is. She probably becomes agressive because everyone around her is telling her things she "knows" are "not true". She is in her own reality and will fight to stay in it. At this point you have little choice but to enter her reality - she can't and won't come into yours.

It might be a good idea for your father to see the doctor (do mum and dad have the same GP?) and then get the doctor to ask your mum to come and see him/her. This could be for a "health check for people over 80" or something like that. Have mum and dad had their flu/pneumonia jabs? These could provide another pretext.

Many people (particularly older people) view the doctor as an authority figure and are reluctant to not follow instructions. This is a good way to get around people who won't initiate a visit to the GP themselves for some reason.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
There is also some denial in these situations. My husband is quite happy to visit the GP`s surgery to see the nurse, for blood tests, flu jabs etc., but doesn`t like seeing the doctor. In his words, although he really likes him, `He always finds something wrong with me.`