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Friend and Her Mom Believe the Neighbors Are Trying to Get Them

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She and her mom believe the neighbors are trying to get them. My friend is losing her dad to cancer. She recently told me that she believes her neighbors and others are repeatedly breaking in, poisoning their food, and following them around. At first I believed her, but now I think she is paranoid since things seem to be getting worst. I believe it was her Mom who first put this thought in her head and now they both hardly sleep — all while dealing with her dad’s condition. My friend is very intelligent and is going to grad school, and I’m nervous about how this is affecting her life. How do I talk to her about this? Is it possible that the stress of her dad’s condition has brought this on? I wonder if this paranoia will pass or increase after her dad passes.

Friend and Her Mom Believe the Neighbors Are Trying to Get Them

Answered by on -

A.

This is an unusual situation. I wish I had more information. It is possible and very likely that the stress of her father dying is contributing to the paranoia.

You can try speaking to your friend about the importance of focusing on reality. For instance, she believes these things are real but does she have proof? In all likelihood, there is no proof. Pointing that out to her might help her to see reality more clearly.

You can also suggest that they install cameras and/or a security system in their home. It might quell their fears or perhaps not. They might simply think that the security company is part of the conspiracy.

You should suggest that she and her family seek help from a mental health professional. Your friend’s primary care physician can provide referrals to local agencies.

Do what you can but keep in mind that your attempts at helping may be ineffective. You can make suggestions and try to offer your assistance but they may not want your help. Also, it is possible that because of your efforts to help them, they will come to believe that you too have become part of the conspiracy.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a more actionable plan for you but it’s difficult for me to help when I have so little information about this unusual circumstance. If you would like to write back and provide more information, I may be able to be of better assistance. Thank you for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Friend and Her Mom Believe the Neighbors Are Trying to Get Them

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Friend and Her Mom Believe the Neighbors Are Trying to Get Them. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/01/10/friend-and-her-mom-believe-the-neighbors-are-trying-to-get-them/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.