Help! My mom threatened to kill my boyfriend

I know this sounds ridiculously dramatic, but I really need some quick advice. My mom, the same one who hated my boyfriend "B" in this thread -- -- has now started talking about killing B, and I have no idea how seriously to take her.

*** For tl;dr version, skip to "*** *** ***".

I've been trying to walk away when she talks badly about him, especially when she's vulgar about it, and I pretend to ignore her when I can't walk away (like when I'm driving with her). The ignore/walk away approach seemed like it worked at first -- my mom got to get some of her hatred out of her system, and my silence meant that she got the last word, so she didn't feel the need to express herself further.

Lately, though, she's started ranting longer, especially when she drinks. And two times now, that's involved her talking about killing B.

The first time, on May 6th, my mom had been ranting belligerently about B for a while. As I was driving her and my dad home from dinner, she finally told my dad, "Hey, you're not going to be around much longer, why don't you kill him?"

Me: "If you ever do anything to hurt him, I will never speak to you again."

My mom replied in a light-hearted sarcastic way, "Who cares? We'd be happy, and HE couldn't impregnate you with his lazy sperm." I ignored everything after that.

The second incident: Tonight, while my mom was on the phone with my sister, she started talking about getting a machine gun (which I'm pretty sure is illegal) and killing B. She said that she could understand where C (my violent ex who disliked B) was coming from: "I want to call C up and tell him, hey! Let's take this guy out!" I also heard her say, "Osama's gone, B's next!" and "Do you hear that, Andrea? It's in YOUR control whether I kill him. You are in control." She was so upset that she was almost crying at some points, and she was very angry -- "righteously" angry.

I had been trying to ignore the conversation because Mom gets in these moods a lot, but when I eventually tried to leave the room to get away from her, she danced giddily over to intercept me and got all up in my personal space, moving the phone around and saying, "Hey Andrea! Hey! How ya doin? Smile " I finally snapped and screamed, "Don't you EVER talk about hurting someone I love. I hate you! Get away from me!" (I never talk that way to anyone, and I don't actually hate her, but right now I'm getting pretty darn close.) I later overheard her saying, "Well, if talking like that's the only way to get through to her..."

*** *** *** Anyway, I talked to the non-emergency sheriff's office to see what the appropriate course of action is, and here's my current plan:

- Pack up my stuff tonight so I can move out if I have to (because I'm currently living with my parents).
- Keep things as low-key as possible tomorrow morning.
- Go talk to someone at the sheriff's office tomorrow (with B) to get the incident on record.
- Get a restraining order so my mom can't go anywhere near B.
- Prepare myself to deal with my mom's reaction to the police talking to her about this (she will be livid, partly because she thinks she's RIGHT, partly because she could otherwise blow the whole thing off as "joking," and partly because of what the neighbors will think when they see the police car).
- Tell my mom that if she ever mentions being violent to B again, I WILL move out.
- If she mentions it again, move out. I'll have a friend ready to rent a U-HAUL and bring it over ASAP.
- If Mom gives me any trouble about taking my stuff, call the sheriff's office for some sort of escort. (I'll make sure that I could actually do this; I'll ask about it when I visit the sheriff's office earlier in the day.)

I'm trying to get packed up tonight so that I can do that last one tomorrow when I get home from the sheriff's office. There's a chance that the sheriff's people won't be able to help if needed, in which case all hell will break loose when the police contact my mom to talk to her about the threats. So, what do you guys think? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Andrea's picture


I'm inclined to just go through with this plan because, really, safety comes first. I'm also really sick of my mom's sh*t and I'd like to show her that I'm serious when I get upset about, ya kno, murder. I do have some other concerns, though. I'm probably going to ignore them, but if you have any perspective on them, feel free to share.

1) My dad has a chronic illness that will shorten his lifespan, and if I try to get the restraining order (especially if I move out now rather than waiting til July), I think that my mom will make it difficult for us to stay in touch. I REALLY want to stay in touch with my dad, and the main reason I've put up with my mom for so long is so that I can spend more time with him. (Ironically, my mom constantly brings up my dad's illness when she wands to make me feel guilty about spending time with any of my friends, including but not limited to B. I spend about two days out of every week socializing, and I spend the rest just chilling with mom and dad, so I try to ignore those guilt trips.)

2) My sister once nearly left home for a couple of days after a fight like this, but she ended up not going. When my mom (drunk) later found out, she apparently cried and rolled around on the floor saying that she would have killed herself if my sister had left. It must have made quite an impression, because my sister is convinced that if I move out early, Mom will kill herself. My mom has mentioned killing herself before, usually when she feels she's doing more chores than anyone else, and she IS really depressed because if my dad's illness and the fact that my dad might get laid off in June. Personally, I think that if she killed herself, it would be blood on her hands, not on mine.... but I'm hesitant to take any chances because I don't want my dad to end up alone in the world with a chronic illness.

3) If my mom WAS distressed enough to kill herself, I think she might ignore any sort of restraining order and kill B first. She really, truly thinks that I would be better off without him, and she's a very controlling person.

4) I'm worried that my mom will try to physically prevent me from taking some of my stuff with me. I have $650 worth of boxed furniture that I paid for (to furnish my future apartment), and unless my mom moves her car, I can't get it out. I don't think I have the receipts for the furniture, so I don't know if the police could help me in this situation.

Gudy's picture


... first: *bearhugs*

Secondly, your plan looks sound. Stick to it. If anything, I'd suggest moving out right the fuck now instead of waiting for the next incident to happen, but that's because I don't know the likelihood of the next incident being a) more threats or b) some kind of action, and I'm kind of an err-on-the-side-of-caution person. At the very least, pack an emergency bag with supplies for a couple of days RIGHT NOW and keep it where you can grab it while moving out at a run.

Thirdly, I'll be blunt: your mother is a psychotic bitch who holds you and your sister hostage with her threats of killing herself and restricting your access to your dad. This cannot go on. It cannot. You need help, and she needs help. As MeiLin and Raigne suggested, see if you can get her committed, if possible with the help of your dad.

Fourthly, restraining orders can be ignored by a sufficiently determined or demented person. I'd worry quite a bit if your mother has access to fire arms. I'd worry only slightly less if she doesn't - a sharp knife can be every bit as lethal, just not quite at the same distance.

Finally, keep us posted, please. *worries*

Raigne's picture


New York State has a thing called a mental health arrest, wherein a person can be removed from a location and, if necessary, ordered into the custody of a psychiatric ward by a judge, if they are at risk of causing harm to themselves or others.

When you talk to the sheriff, find out if your state has anything like that. The woman needs help.

Andrea's picture


I'll definitely ask about that. I hope my state has something like it.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Stuff is stuff. It's replaceable. Worry about that last.

Your mom is in need of serious help. Good for you for calling the non-emergency line.

1. Is there any *real* way your mom could hurt B? Like, does she actually have a gun?

2. How physically safe do you feel RIGHT NOW?

3. Is it possible to have your mom committed for evaluation? She sounds like a danger to herself and others. Can you get your dad to agree that his wife needs help?

4. I would start moving small amounts of stuff out of the house right now. Start a bug-out bag immediately, like immediately: A few changes of clothes, medications, cell phone charger, laptop if you have one, important books, paper records etc. -- stuff that is NOT replaceable and that you can carry by hand in case you have to get out of the house fast without a car. Get that together ASAP and put it where you can get to it quickly. You may want to put together a mini-bug-out to stash at B's or a friend's house.

Keep us posted, sweetie.

Andrea's picture


Hahaha true, stuff is just stuff. I need to keep things simple -- take what I need, leave the rest, get out.

1. I don't think she has a gun right now. My grandmother used to have guns, but I think that my mom turned all of those and their ammo over to the police a while back.

2. Right now my mom is asleep, so I feel totally safe. I feel 93% safe when she's raging at night but I'm in my room, and I feel 80% safe when I'm within 5 feet of her and she'd holding a kitchen knife (but that might be because I watch too much Desperate Housewives). She's never hurt me, but there's a first time for everything, and for the first time tonight she started calling me a "user." She normally only calls B and my friends users. It's a small change, but it seemed noteworthy to me.

3. I'll talk to my dad about my mom getting committed and getting help, but he usually prefers to ignore problems when they're not affecting him at the moment, and he agrees with her that I should break up with B.

Here's a likely possibility:
- I tell Dad that Mom might need psychiatric help.
- Dad thinks that I'm viewing the world in such a way that I don't have to see that I should break up with B.
- Dad tells Mom about the conversation and Mom sees the whole thing as proof that my view of B is so delusional that I think she's delusional.

I suppose it doesn't matter what either of them thinks, though. If someone is in danger, something needs to change.

4. The bug-out bag is a really good idea. I'll get one in the works.

Andrea's picture


Apparently B and I will need an attorney to file for an injunction, but we're still going to talk to the local station tomorrow to get this on record, and I guess we'll look into finding a cheap lawyer. Hopefully I'll be considered a good enough witness, because I don't want to drag my sister away from her out-of-town summer program, and I don't think she'd come willingly.

TheBoy's picture


I recommend legal aid programs -- you don't appear to have significant income, and that's their target demographic. They (typically) have attorneys with some significant experience with restraining orders. They also (typically) have suggestions of resources.

Concur with Gudy -- I'd leave stat, and possibly warn B that your mom's making violent noises -- so he knows to keep his head up, and his track shoes on.

Capriox's picture


You have an excellent plan, and I think the best thing you can do is follow through on it. Gudy, MeiLin & Raigne all covered the extra advice, so I'll just contribute so more major, major, {{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS!}}}}}}}}}}}}}}.

And a little something that'll hopefully make you smile...

Kid in a bucket

Pikachu42's picture


I am so sorry you're being forced to deal with this mess. Everyone has already given you excellent advice, so I'm just gonna pray that everything turns out for the best. And hugs...I'll give out all the hugs you need.

LaCiega's picture

*hugs* It sounds like you have a good plan. I agree with MeiLin, you should be prepared to just leave and sort things out later. This is more than "she's a very controlling person." I don't want to tell you how you should think about this, but I'd call it an abusive relationship, myself... Anyway. Getting her committed seems like a big step, but she shouldn't be able to treat you the way she is, period. If that's what you decide to do, and you don't think your dad will help-- don't ask him. Tell him. You're doing what you need to to protect yourself, and him, and your sister.

Andrea's picture


The thing is, my mom seems totally normal like 80% of the time, and when she gets like this, she's 1) usually drunk, and 2) in "protective mama bear mode." Now that I think about it some more, I *really* don't think she'd hurt me, my dad, or my sister. I think that B is at risk because she wants to "protect" the family from him.

EDIT: I'm also worried that she's just joking. She has a morbid sense of humor sometimes, and B has become someone that she's just permanently angry at, so it makes sense that he'd feature in her most morbid jokes. I also have a history of taking people seriously when they're being sarcastic.

Pikachu42's picture


you're beginning to rationalize her behavior. Even if she does have a morbid sense of humor, talking about killing someone multiple times isn't funny. Is she drunk when she cracks these morbid jokes? If not...well...

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You don't threaten people like that for funny. If you leave at least it might wake her up.

Keep us posted.

Andrea's picture


I had a moment of weakness and, instead of going to the sheriff's office, I talked to my mom. She was sober, had made breakfast, and wanted my advice on a job interview she had coming up. I tried to go along with the whole thing, but I finally spoke up while we were both sitting in the family room. The conversation went like this:

I said, "Mom, I need to talk to you about something." (silence) "It scares me when you talk about killing people."

Mom said, in a calm (slightly remorseful?) way, something like "Yeah... I could never actually hurt anyone. I mean, it physically pains me to see anything suffering. I used to see my mom take dogs out back and shoot them... it makes me feel sick to my stomach and tight in my throat, seeing anything get hurt. That's why I had you come out and lift Sophie down from the sofa instead of doing it myself." Sophie, our dog, recently got some kind of intestinal irritation problem and slightly prolapsed intestines, and it hurts her to be picked up, to jump down from things, etc, even when she's on pain pills. It seems temporary, but my mom has been looking after Sophie pretty much constantly for the past two days and today. So, my mom went on about that for a while, how it's been stressing her out, and then said that she needed to get Sophie her next pain pill. (I'm tempted to believe her because I've seen evidence that she hates seeing things in pain, and I'm the same way.)

I stopped her and said, "Mom, that's not all that I wanted to talk to you about. It stresses *me* out living with someone who talks about murdering someone I care about. If you ever mention hurting B again, I WILL move out."

It looked like she believed me. She talked for a while about how it bothers her that I get to do all this fun stuff with my friends, and how I don't always keep my word about when I'll be home. Basically, she felt like I wanted to get away from home because home = chores + the stress of my dad's illness + the stress of my mom's joblessness, and she found that idea to be very distressing.

I apologized for not always keeping my word, and said that we should try to schedule fun things to do together as a family, too, like visiting a park. I explained that I like spending time with her and dad (mainly my dad), even with the stress and even with the chores, and that the only thing that made me want to leave was being constantly lectured, over and over again, about a life choice that I was not going to change unless *I* decided to change it (referring to dating B).

I thanked her for listening to me, and it seemed like she was kind of in shock about the whole thing. Then she got up and walked around a little bit, and mildly stated that she was worried that she had been having a mild heart attack over the past few days because of everything with Sophie. (This could be legit, because she's under a lot of stress and her dad had several heart attacks, and I had just threatened to move out.) I told her that we should go to the emergency room, but she thought that it might just be an anxiety attack, and she had me run to the store to get aspirin just in case.

The end.

Aaand that's where we're at. I kind of want to see whether things get better just from me talking to her. I'm pretty sure that if I went to the sheriff's office and a policeman came over to talk to her, it would nullify any good that would come of this conversation.

New plan:
- Keep change of clothes and essentials in car or at B's place (already done).
- Keep detailed record of everything my mom has said about hurting B.
- Talk to a lawyer about whether it would be a good idea to get an injunction, all things considered.
- Keep packing so I can take more than the bare essentials if I have to move out.

What do you guys think? My mom has really never hurt anything in front of me, and she's generally only really angry when she's drunk. One of my friends thinks that I'm blowing things way out of proportion. The new plan is sort of a middle ground, and it gives my mom one last chance to change... and it gives ME a way to not cause a huge amount of drama. I'd like to avoid drama, but I'm not sure if that's the right course of action here.

gossamerblade's picture

You've said several times that mom only does the violent/psychotic stuff when she's drunk. Obvious conclusion is: mom stops drinking. Yeah, I know, easier said than done, but if she's open to logic when she's sober, it's possible to get her to admit (she probably already knows) that being drunk makes her hurt her family.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I agree that she's got a drinking problem, since that's when this seems to be happening. I suggest you go to an Alanon meeting. It will help *you* deal with this. It's not about bitching about the drinker in your life. Before you dismiss me out of hand, just try five different meetings (five different locations/times) and see what you think.

I'm glad you've got your bug-out plans in place. I think as this unfolds you're going to have to leave. I don't know that getting an injunction against her is going to do anything, but do keep that detailed record. If nothing else, it's something you can show your parents when she's sober. I don't know if she even realizes how bad she is. Often drinkers don't.

Which is why I don't hold out a lot of hope for this situation. When your mom gets drunk again this is going to happen again. Do I think she's really going to hurt B? Probably not. When she's sober she seems to realize she crossed a line. But you shouldn't have to listen to that.

Hugs to you.

Tigger's picture


Oh my, hun. This is a lot to handle, and I'm glad you feel safe enough here to talk to us. Everyone has good ideas, and I agree with Mei that you're handling it well. I'm glad you have a plan in place for getting out - I think you're going to need it eventually. *more hugs* I really don't have any advice or help to offer, but I CAN give hugs when needed.

Andrea's picture


Thanks Smile B and I decided to go by the sheriff's office after all, and they had us fill out affidavits. They also copied my records of the things my mom said, but they were ok with not driving over and talking to her -- they just recorded everything. That way, if something does happen to B, she'll be on the suspect list. If we do decide to file for an injunction at some point, it'll help to have this on record. Also, if my mom and I have another bad fight, the affidavit will be something to bring up soon afterward. Hopefully that won't happen for a while; she's been really nice today.

Unfortunately, I left my driver's license at the sheriff's office, so hopefully I can get driven over there early enough that they won't call the house and be like, "We have the driver's license of a Ms. Andrea here."

Thanks for all of your support and suggestions. I feel better about the situation just knowing that other people see it about the same way I do.

Amy's picture


((((Andrea!!!))) This is so much to try and handle. Good for you, that you are not trying to do this totally on your own.

1) I agree that a bug out plan is needed. & I am glad you have one in place.

2) It sounds to me like your mother is unbalanced and booze just brings it all out. I'm wondering if your mother has some form of Manic depression? often the the borderline manic depressive can seem normal and stable until stress or stress + booze are added to the system, then they can become violent and very emotionally controlling and manipulative. If that is at all the case She NEEDS Help... and the next time she gets like that .see what you can do to force her into a psych hold. If your state has a danger self or others mental health lock up program... The fact that she is drunk and threatening someone's life Might be enough, to force her into a hospital to get the help she needs.

3) Even if you can not get her into a hospital because you are her child and not her spouse, then while the police are there get them to talk to your father and explain how this type of behavior almost always gets worse NEVER better without professional help. & that if he loved his wife and his kids he would send her to the hospital for the help she needs.

4) If he still won't have her sent to get help, then before you and the police leave that place, talk to your father, and tell him that you love him and don't want to loose any time with him that he has left, but that he is choosing her being out of control and you being gone, rather than her being healthy and stable with you still there in his life.

5) Yes, it's manipulative; no argument, but it's also the hard honest truth.

Either way, the next time she starts. Leave. If you are stuck in a car with her, then pull over and get out of the car and call the cops. Do Not let her keep doing this to you or B. If my suspicions are correct, & she is borderline manic depressive, It will only get worse without help.

Please keep us all informed. We are worried about you, I will be praying for you.

Raigne's picture


Borderline could be a possibility but it's kind of impossible to diagnose via one person's frantic posting on the internet.

I agree that she does need help and the alcohol is just exacerbating an underlying problem.

(next bit directed at Andrea, since I know Amy is quite familiar with what borderline is :P)I would also be wary of something like bringing up heart palpitations and refusing to go to the ER, but sending you out to do something. This is playing on your emotions to regain control. This is why I say that borderline could be a possibility. The main thing with people who are borderline is an intense, irrational fear of abandonment, and an inability to tolerate negative emotions. It seems like the alcohol might be the way she copes. Threatening suicide as a means of preventing you and your sister from leaving fits.

You may want to suggest family counseling. If your parents will agree to it it could be good because mom can get the help she needs without being singled out, dad can learn not to avoid confrontations when they are hurting people he cares about, and you can learn how to deal with someone who has a mental illness.

Amy's picture


and if they won't do family counseling... Get some for yourself. To better deal with her and the rest of your family. In ways that are as completely healthy as possible. Not easy when it seems like you are the sane rational adult, instead of your parents.

If your mother is borderline anything, then your father seems to be acting as a kind of enabler by not reigning her in when she acts in ways that are just irrational.

It is not really possible for me to diagnose her, but my career has been spent making provisional diagnosis' based on what I am told in limited conversations.

I am worried about you Andrea, not just because of this situation but because it sounds to me like you have grown up with a woman who might have borderline personality mental health issues. & I am just a tad worried about the long term toll that can take on you and your own mental health.

You would not believe the kind of emotional scars growing up with a person like you mom can leave you with.

You are coping well now. and doing an amazing job. You Really Really Are; But the skills that help you cope with what you are currently dealing with, can and often to come back to bite us in the arse when we are on our own.. If we don't get a bit of help, to keep us from using the same skills we needed to cope at home in our every day grown up lives, when we are out of that house and home environment.

Believe me, no one should live like an episode of The Gilmore Girls.

Andrea's picture


That's interesting. B has been a big help with just building up my self-respect over the past few years, but it sounds like I should definitely talk to someone professional, at least to figure out what coping mechanisms I've been using and how to avoid using those when they're not appropriate.

I'll actually have access to free mental health counseling for both myself and my family (family only over the phone) once I start medical school, so I'll talk to them about this, and if they think it would help, they could talk to my parents too. I'm glad that you and Raigne mentioned it, because until now I've only thought of my mom's behavior as super-mild emotional abuse, which never seemed worth bringing up to a psychologist.

Narcissism is a borderline personality disorder, right? My mom normally doesn't seem narcissistic, but she really fits this description of the narcissistic parent:

Raigne is too lazy to log in.'s picture

They aren't the same thing. Borderline is its own animal.

And I didn't think I needed to talk to a psychologist either. Now I'm 24 and just barely functioning normally, and I am finally starting to talk to someone about it. Don't wait.

Andrea's picture


NIMH wrote:
[The] attitudes [of people with Borderline Personality Disorder] towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.

That sounds about right. I'm surprised that it's so intense, considering the fact that she's already taking an antidepressant to help with her anxiety-related stomach problems. I asked her whether she thought it helped her be less upset by things, and she said that without her antidepressant, her stomach would be in such bad knots that she would be "literally doubled over in pain" because of my relationship with B. Maybe she's right. Or maybe she was just using this as another way to guilt-trip me. I try to remember that, either way, it's not my fault that she has trouble coping with reality.

I'll be about to turn 24 once I start seeing a psychologist too! I don't consider that very old to be starting to see one.. especially since they're so expensive, and a lot of younger people don't have the money.

ETA: I got the quote from .

Amy's picture


Narcissism is indeed a borderline personality disorder; but most often it is a symptom of the true disorder, whatever that may be.

For yourself you would need to look for someone who can help you deal with Schema's (coping skills that eventually poison our lives)

I'm glad that B helps you build your self respect. But the very fact that you need him to help you do that, is very telling about what your home life has been like all these years.

While it is possible to help yourself past these problems, it really is best to get help especially in the beginning

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