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Accusing behaviour

Helen E

New member
May 24, 2020
I’m new to this.
I’ve wandered around the site a little and thanks for the warm welcome!
My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 months ago after 2 years of MCI
I knew from the start we had a problem, he’s a proud man with a brain like a planet ( well was)
It’s early days for us and learning about some of the difficulties, I’m feeling very humble because mostly we’re good.
We are fully engaged with the Memory Clinic and all the support activities (this is amazing in Birmingham- really joined up!)
I’m reading everything! I have loving support from friends and family so yes I’m blessed
Losing things is our biggest issue. He will try to start a job and something is broken or missing. That’s when the accusations start. It’s always my lovely son in law. Something borrowed and not returned usually. He can spin the most elaborate story of where and when it was lent. Items from 40 years ago (garden roller) to a duster for his car, today. He will get on the phone and my family don’t know what to say to him. I’m learning quickly- we look together, distract, and mostly try not to argue or explain.
My husband is high functioning at the moment (except when he isn’t!) this makes it hard for me not to try reasoning in the first place but we often start to shout and that’s when his frustration sets in and he accuses me of not supporting him. This is hard when I know he’s wrong and we’re used to being truthful and trusting ( I’m not always right!)
He has told me to pack my bags and **** off, this man never swears
Any way I’m still here!
Hardest part is what to advise the kids to say
Any suggestions?


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
Hi @Helen E and welcome from me.

Your husband sounds very much like my dad used to be and we found it very difficult to deal with this stage, in some ways it’s harder than what comes later as one never knows wether it’s the rational or irrational person until something starts to slide..

You obviously have a good handle on how to deal with the accusations so I’m assuming you’ve seen the thread on compassionate communication but in case you haven’t here’s the link to it so you can share it with your son in law and other family members.

Unfortunately one person often becomes the target for these accusations (my dad picked on my eldest daughter) and the advice I was given was for the target person to avoid contact with the PWD until the obsession passes.

What to say is a hard one. What works one day may not work another. We found accepting the blame and distracting worked sometimes but it was hard to know what to say for the best when the truth was seen as a conspiracy!


Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
I used to be a very truthful person and proud of it. Thank goodness I have learnt the folly of that.
I use love lies or therapeutic untruths constantly and continually.

I always bump everything into the future. Example in the old days when mum said she needed to go to the optician I would tell her she went last month! Wrong!!!!
What works for me is saying ‘ you are right‘ I will ring them and make an appointment’.

Distraction works so well. I mistake a pigeon so often for a woodpecker I must be stupid.

Accepting the blame and never saying anything that implies criticism are other useful skills.

Mum went though a phase of getting her rings stolen. ( Quite a popular one with the ladies). maybe his thing with the tools is the male equivalent?

Helen E

New member
May 24, 2020
Thank you for the Liz Ayers advice. This is full of good ideas
My husband is very clever and knows when he is being tricked or condescended to but, agreeing with him is the fastest solution I’ve found so far. I hate to do this, it feels such a betrayal of our 50 years of happy bickering!
I have passed the Liz Ayers article to my son in law and have agreed some delaying tactics, we have fully involved all our grandchildren and friends as well.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
it feels such a betrayal of our 50 years of happy bickering!
Yes, its difficult to get your head round at first, but it gets easier with practise.

The trouble is that the Alzheimers is tricking his brain so that he really and truly thinks that the things he says are actually true and no amount of trying to convince him will work because he is sure that he remembers these things.
When someone is unable to accept reality, you have to come up with a response that will meet their need - whether this is agreement, distraction or "love lie" (also known as a therapeutic untruth), depends on what works. It is not betrayal, it is coping with the disease.

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