My mentally ill mother hired a private investigator to track me down... among other things. Please help!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I've known for a long time my mother is unstable and unwell, she was diagnosed by her psychiatrist as having extremely high anxiety levels and as being delusional, me and my sister think she has Borderline Personality Disorder. Obviously, she is stressful to deal with, so this winter when I was going through a rough time in my life I decided to cut off contact with her so that I could avoid that extra stress and focus on healing myself. I informed her on the phone then sent her a polite email explaining that I still loved her and that I was not cutting her out of my life forever, I just needed the time apart, since I knew she would be stressed without contact.
This was around Christmas. Since then she has bombarded me with emails and phone calls, which I've blocked, since this behavior is usual for her... she is extremely needy, extremely protective of me.
After 3 months, they started tracking us down. My parents know where my sister lives, they have taken to knocking on her apartment door at all hours of the night and morning just to ask where I am, she never feels peaceful in her apartment anymore but dreads another knock. My father surprised me with a visit while I was there, and pleaded with me to call my mother. Apparently when my mother asked him about how the visit went, she asked if I was wearing loose clothing. Why? She thought I had bombs strapped to me under my clothing. No joke... this is when we realized my mother was having a nervous breakdown.
My mother thinks the KGB, Al Qaeda, or some mafia has me hostage, and that when I tell her I'm fine I'm just lying out of fear. Coincidentally, the time I cut off contact. She has started friending the readers of my blog one by one, and I got so sick watching this I just shut down my blog entirely. Then she got a hold of my cell phone records and started calling the numbers... some of my friends reported strange calls, she didn't state who she was but they recognized her voice. (I'm on the family plan... a holdover from years ago, I plan to open a new number very soon since she likely won't sign the release to get my existing number off the family plan).
Why does she think it's some mafia? Well aside from the fact she would rather convince herself I'm being held hostage than I simply don't want to talk to her, my mother is politically active online for years now in some VERY heated (non-English) debates, and has been receiving bullying emails and death threats for years. Photos of gang rape, detailed biographic information about my mother that even my father says he is surprised they could know, etc. Some threats were about her kids - that's me!, but she says those emails are none of my business. This is probably a goon from the internet playing mind games with her, but if it's serious, she's putting ME in danger, and she is REPLYING to this bully... as my mother can't back down from a fight. Ironically, while my mother is worried about my safety, she is perhaps putting me in danger herself.
At around the time I told her I was stopping contact, I made a new friend, and since he is also very prolific online she was able to follow our communication to an extent. She is CONVINCED he is evil and sick and causing my change in behavior (because we met roughly same time as I stopped talking to my mother, and because his art is occasionally dark which disturbs my mother greatly but I doubt any normal person would blink an eye), and she has been threatening him with litigation against his stalking and crime life (?!) via comments on his Flickr page and emails... poor guy, I barely know him, and he has to deal with threats from the crazy mother of a friend he barely met? I would not be surprised if she kills that budding friendship off, though I explained the situation to him, and I am embarrassed.
Details: I'm 24, live on my own. She knows what car I drive, in fact it's a car they own the title to (they gave it to me years ago, so this is a technicality rather than a desire on my part to mooch off them financially... I am financially independent and I would gladly abandon the thing tomorrow if it meant peace of mind.)
My heart has been racing since finding out that there is someone out there who was paid thousands of dollars to track me down, and I feel paranoid at home. I live alone in a small coach house that is in the backyard of people who I know (they are the parents of a friend), so it is hidden from street view, but my car isn't always hidden. She wants to find out where I live ... and told me she paid a private investigator 5k to find me and make sure I'm safe.
Is it illegal to hire a private investigator? What can I do to regain my sense of control? I feel hounded, I feel like I must either see her and continue our abusive relationship in order to stop the most insane behavior (investigator, terrorist plot, bothering my friends) or I must ignore her at great cost to both me, my sister who she harasses for information, and my friends who she is starting to harass... I am sure my employer will be next... and I want to network online to spread my name as an artist but she will track me down and leave malicious comments no matter where I am... I don't want to put my life on hold and live in a state of anxiety.
My father, as usual, thinks it is his responsibility to take care of her, and so he is no help at all in this situation.
Advice GREATLY appreciated... I'm sorry this was so long.