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Feeling Bad - lost my temper

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Catastrophe, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    Feeling bad lost my temper with Dad last night. A bit of background, Dad has moderate to severe altzeimers with delusions. We look after him in his own home, he deteriorates rapidly in other environments. When my mum died two years ago we moved back from New Zealand to look after him. Currently I have a broken right arm, slipped on a wet path, it's on the mend but makes me tetchy.
    Dad has a weird obsession that his legs are cold even on the hottest of days. And no they aren't they are warmer than mine. They have been checked by lots of Dr's who can't find anything wrong with them. His circulation to his feet is OK. Triggered recently by his friend who has diabetes and has real problems with his legs. So dad acquired some of his friends symptoms. To stray of topic a bit, dad seems to pick up other people's illnesses, he has picked up imaginary asthma, total paralysis (which he told me about while walking around them room), needing a hip replacement, etc etc etc. When I first broke my arm, two days later he appeared with his arm in a sling created from his dressing gown belt claiming his whole arm was paralysed waving it around to show me.
    Anyway the upshot was, last night he started with the heating up full blast, wrapped in a blanket, wearing full winter clothes and sweat running off him. I feel terrible he said, yes I said you have overheated yourself, but it's the legs the legs he said. No your to hot let's cool you down. No it's the legs the legs he moaned. Then proceeded to start kicking a glass door. Don't kick the glass door I said I am not kicking the glass door he said while still kicking the glass door. He then went and started kicking around his rubbish bin and side table with the leg that he claimed was too weak to walk on. And I snapped and shouted at him. I was just at the end of my tether, arm was sore, I just wanted to sit down and watch TV for half an hour.
    Upshot is I now feel so guilty and annoyed with my self, and spent all night dreaming about vampires sucking the life out of me. I know it's the illness and its not going to improve but just really needed to vent the bad feelings before starting another day of the legs, the legs moaning.
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    You will feel worn out and inadequate but the real culprit is the dementia. It pushes us to the limit and then a bit further. I have moments when I hate myself too but I have to keep reminding myself that before my husband developed this illness we had decades of happy marriage without rows. So the only thing that changed was the effects of dementia on both of us. It’s tough.
  3. Littlebear

    Littlebear Registered User

    Jan 6, 2017
    We all have bad days - I know it's a cliche but we are only human after all. You sound like an amazing daughter so why not take credit for all the great things you do for your dad every day (and the big things like moving back from New Zealand!) rather than feel guilty when you occasionally loose your temper. Dementia is the most challenging things most of us ever have to deal with - it's unpredictable & can be nasty and difficult enough to cope with when we're at our best. Be kind to yourself.
  4. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    I agree with the others, be kind to yourself.

    None of us are saints, we all have a tipping point - and when we are in pain and struggling with our own issues, of course we will be tetchy and react in ways that are out of character.

    You are clearly an amazing support for your dad, so cut yourself some slack. Looking after someone with dementia is often very stressful and the pressure just keeps building up. Sometimes we just need to let a little steam off and release that pressure before we can carry on.

    You are doing a great job.
  5. silversea2020

    silversea2020 Registered User

    May 12, 2019

    No need to feel guilty - you’re dealing with an awful lot and having a broken arm makes things very difficult for you as well - and it probably aches too ....I’m not surprised you shouted at your dad.

    You are a fabulous daughter doing her best and I hope you have a better day today
  6. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    If it’s any consolation, I have just had a little set-to with Mum as I have a vestibular migraine today which I know will last for days. I just want to be on my own and doze but as principal carer I have no choice but to carry on but it’s tough on days like this when the vertigo strikes. She just wants “someone to talk to” - translation “someone to answer the same question one billion times and to decipher the stream of consciousness delivered haltingly over the next five minutes”. I pointed out I wasn’t feeling well but she cannot retain anything even for a second so all she could do was wish Ros (that’s me) would soon come round so she could talk to her instead of me and then I got the “wish I (she) was dead” tantrum which I just shut down with “So do I but you’re not going to so we’re just stuck here with each other aren’t we. So let’s TRY and make the best of it”. Had to leave and come back next door as I thought I was going to pass out. Luckily I have to take her to my brother’s for lunch in an hour by which time she will have forgotten that I snapped and then came back next door and left her on her own for an hour.

    So you see, it is going on everywhere all of the time. People like you and me who do our best at great cost to ourselves and our mental health, being caused even more hurt and misery because we aren’t perfect and can’t provide the best care 100% of the time, no matter how much we love our Mum or Dad. It isn’t going to change, other than get worse, so all we can do is forgive ourselves and get ready to go again. Sending you strength. One day soon your arm will be mended and my migraine will have gone and we’ll have better days and when we do we should feel as proud of ourselves as we feel awful today. I know we won’t but we should.
  7. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    South Northwest
    Dementia is capable of infinite stubbornness; carers are only capable of finite patience. But you're right, it doesn't stop you feeling like something usually found on the bottom of a shoe when things go wrong.

    Last night, after another whole day of trying -- over and over and over and over and over and OVER AGAIN! -- to get Mum to take her pills, I did something which would probably get me arrested in a care home environment. I finally managed to get the pills into her mouth, but she started to spit them out and...

    And half an hour later, after I'd cleaned us both up and got most of the spilled tea out of the carpet, Mum thanked me quietly for some strawberries and ice cream. She didn't eat them all, but then she eats like a sparrow at the best of times now, so it was a victory of sorts. But she remembered nothing about our earlier drama, even though I was horrified and guilt-ridden.

    I'd probably feel better if she did remember... forgiveness, whether accidental or deliberate, can be harder to live with than rage and retribution. Sometimes the fact that such incidents are so easily swept under the carpet makes me feel even worse. We have to be our own juror, judge and emotional executioner, because there's usually nobody else to keep us on the rails. As if we didn't have enough on our plates already!

    But I think I've said before that the time to worry is when we stop feeling guilty. Guilt means we're back on solid emotional ground.

    Mum still hasn't taken her pills today either, and although that's not the end of the world while she's not on antibiotics, it's probably contributing to her overall state of confusion and I suspect she'll be back on antibiotics again after tomorrow morning's sample goes to the doctor. So the stakes are going to get raised again and I'll try to get something liquid or crushable this time. But that still doesn't guarantee success, because Mum was always eligible for the UK Olympic stubbornness team and dementia has elevated her to gold medal status.

    Meanwhile, the only gold medal I'm getting is for hypocrisy, self-doubt and grasping at straws. But half an hour ago, after Mum tried to thump me for helping her in the loo, she finally had a wee and then said 'I love you', out of the blue, in the moments of calm relief which usually follow.

    How are any of us supposed to deal with such an emotional minefield? We know we're supposed to crawl slowly, probing every inch of ground ahead for hazards, but sometimes the tension gets too much and we want to stand up, scream at the sky, and run for the nearest exit. Sometimes we get away with it. Sometimes we wish we'd kept crawling.

    Here's to crawlers everywhere. It's hard on your emotional kneeds, but the lower you are, the shorter the fall. :)
  8. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    Hi.That made me smile.I can relate to that.I support dad 4days a week but by the 4 th I have had enough.So I can appreciate you support your mum 7days a week.Humour is a great leveller
  9. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    South Northwest
    Sometimes I worry it's just a smokescreen hiding all sorts of battlefield atrocities, but whatever it is, confession appears to be good for the soul and my overall karmic balance. Mum just took the first pills she's accepted for three days! Her pill-taking autopilot (she's been taking pills of one sort or another most of her adult life) either kicks in or it doesn't, and just now it did.

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try... go have a little cry, kick the wall, then try, try, try, try, try again!
  10. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    Thank you everyone for your comments and support. Rosalind297 thank you for the comment about the I want to die tantrum, we also get those whenever dad can't get his own way. It's really good to know its not just me. The emotional blackmail can be so hard to cope with. Lol its getting to the stage I feel guilty for feeling guilty. Hopefully this evening will be calmer.
  11. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    Oh no that's awful. We can't allow dad in the front of the car any more it's just to dangerous. How we haven't had aan accident I don't know. He opened the passenger door on a busy roundabout, he fiddles the controls and on occasions tries to grab the steering wheel if we are not going the way he wants to go. Feel for you and hope the damage is not too bad.
  12. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    And no peace tonight. Despite him dripping with sweat he is still wrapped in a blanket and complaining about the cold legs. But I was ready for him and gave him simple exercises to get the blood flowing, he hates exercise of any type so suddenly the legs were OK.
    Thanks again for the support it's helped me remain calm tonight. In the words of the penguins from Madagascar - just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.
  13. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    My world is shrinking as mums does.

    That is one of the aspects I did not realise would happen. I knew it would be hard when I took this task on. It's just been hard in ways I did not expect. I had no idea how trapped I would feel and how clingy dad would get.
  14. Palerider

    Palerider Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    North West
    #14 Palerider, Jul 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    That is one of the aspects I did not realise would happen. I knew it would be hard when I took this task on. It's just been hard in ways I did not expect. I had no idea how trapped I would feel and how clingy dad would get.[/QUOTE]

    I couldn't have put that better myself. But I also choose to be here with her and to help her as far as I can, so in some ways I am culpable for what happens as well. Today taught me a lesson in terms of insight and also humility in another aspect of my life and mums dementia life I have not visited before.

    I was going to write more, but I am not sure it would make sense outside of this bubble I now live in
  15. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    That is one of the aspects I did not realise would happen. I knew it would be hard when I took this task on. It's just been hard in ways I did not expect. I had no idea how trapped I would feel and how clingy dad would get.[/QUOTE]

    Yes the trapped feeling is very hard to deal with. I am physically claustrophobic (panic attacks R Us) but emotionally claustrophobic too. Had five men ask me to marry them, was a cloud of dust on the horizon each time. Children? No thanks. Yet here I am seven years in, with a life that requires a logistical jigsaw of cover if I need to go shopping for an hour. Had an afternoon off last week to go to the theatre with a friend over from Germany - anyone would think I was emigrating to Papua New Guinea. Yet my brother’s drip feed of “you’ll be free if she goes into a CH” makes me unhappiest of all for reasons I don’t fully understand. I am trapped in a cage but I can just reach the key if I try hard enough - so why do I just sit and look at it?
  16. Mumof3kids

    Mumof3kids Registered User

    Aug 12, 2018
    My dad is ALWAYS cold (even during the hottest day of the year he wanted the fire on) We have to distract him. I pop round and open a window or 2 to try and ventilate the house and let a bit of air in. He follows me round shutting them. Scuttering about the cold. He too has a fixation of how painful his legs are. We have a little machine which all he has to do is put his feet on it and then it slides back and forth - helping with circulation. He doesn't have to leave his armchair, but getting him to use it is a battle in itself. He will NEVER do things straightaway, it's almost like he will not be told what to do - everything is a fight.

    If it's not his legs, it's his toe, or his ear, there's always something. Yesterday mum told me that he said his eye was hurting. She'll spend some time finding a lotion or potion for him to apply to whichever body part is hurting (usually always just moisturiser) and when she hands it to him he asks what its for - she'll reply is for your legs, you said they were sore. 'No they're not' he'll reply. 'You don't listen woman...........'.
  17. Catastrophe

    Catastrophe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2019
    This sounds so familiar. When Dad's in the shower we run around opening all the windows even in Winter to get the house aired, as soon as we hear him coming out it's a race to shut them all. I also think sometimes it's sheer pigheadedness and that he just wants the attention of a disagreement.
    Glad it's not just dad with the random ailments, I get really embarrassed when he tells his friends who are physically much worse off than him how bad the legs are. Thanks for the tip about the moisturiser will try that in the future. As he expects things to be fixed immediately.
    It's such a hard disease to understand. I used to think it was just a memory loss thing, I had no idea all the other baggage came with it.
    Good news today is Dad has agreed to do a day care trial on Friday. Hopefully resulting in two days a week at day care, and a bit of extra stimulation for him.
  18. Mumof3kids

    Mumof3kids Registered User

    Aug 12, 2018
    Oh it's definitely pig-headedness with my dad too!! It's also like he's regressed to childlike behaviour, and needs the attention on him. Like you it's been an education finding out how this terrible disease changes your loved ones. I could cope with the memory loss in isolation, although recently he's asking the same questions immediately after it's been answered, it all the other stuff which is really really hard to deal with.

    On Father's Day along with his gifts I bought him some geraniums for the garden (they always went to Greece on holidays and my dad loved seeing the geraniums in terracotta pots), I thought it may trigger a memory and it'd give him something to do. They sat un-potted in the garden for over a week. So I decided I'd pot them for him. Not having the correct tools to hand I improvised and used what I could find - he came out shaking his head at me with a smirk on his face telling me I'd do a better job if I had a trowel (!!!), I just let it go over like everything else. He muttered something about finding one for me and went off into the garage.

    He came back with his fishing rods in his hand......

    All we can do is our best. Even though my best doesn't seem good enough, it's all I've got.

    Keep smiling. You're certainly not on your own :) x
  19. Rob_E

    Rob_E Registered User

    Feb 1, 2015
    Mum is the same, always cold! She always did feel the cold but its on another level now, still has two duvets on her bed and her electric blanket on, don't know how she can stand it - all part of her condition. She often wants radiators or the fire on, usually at this time of year a hot water bottle keeps her happy.

    But yes, every day is a trial of patience. The carers come in the morning and lunch time to give her breakfast and lunch amongst other things. She's so easily distracted that food is often left un eaten, drinks not drunk which then leads to other problems with de-hydration etc. What should be the simplest of tasks end up being incredibly complicated, she has the most amazing ability to come up with reasons to not do things! Sometimes it happens and I do lose my temper. I find it best to just walk away when that happens, even for a few minutes can help.

    I also find it hard to curb the sarcasm at times, when mum is for example asking where the toilet is in the house that she has lived in for 40+ years. Even though I know it's not her fault and it's the dementia and that she really is confused, I still find those kind of questions annoying and difficult to deal with.
  20. Joseph Felts

    Joseph Felts New member

    Feb 1, 2019
    "I just wanted to sit down and watch TV for half an hour."

    Ohhh, how I can relate to that feeling. I'm 4 days a week, 3 on my own. Dad imagines he has something in his hands at times, he puts it into the bin or the sink, and I even take some of him. The part about feeling bad, can relate to that too. I was patient at first, knew he had dementia, knew it wasn't in his right mind, but it has slowly ebbed on me the frustration as well. I've had to shout and then realise, and then cool down. I've also had to pull him the other day away from the cooker, it wasn't on but I aim to encourage that he does not touch it. Having told him 'no' several times, he touches the plates, so I instinctively pulled him. But he's not emotional about it, he was just bewildered. No understanding. Me, pulling at my father, the man who would build things with his hands, who now uses them to interfere and pull and twist and damage.

    The emotion you experience caring for someone who is a shadow of themselves, is just up there. Every time they move, don't move, talk, defecate, urinate, touch this, do that, it is up there. It's said dementia is the biggest killer in the UK right now, it is the biggest pain in the rear for me right now. Perhaps emotionally, than physically. But while I use to run up and down after my father like a headless chicken, I now tend to assess and decide to either let him go free and pick up after him later, or watch him. Most times, it's the former. It helps a bit more when I decide to hold back, relax a bit more, and then pick up.

    And think about it - you are caring, you wouldn't be if they were in their right mind. You are doing the right thing, the best you can for them. The emotion is tough to handle, and you have probably experienced that which you wouldn't dream of before. I think it gets frustrating because you have to continue to do it time and again, and it's like a fighter who continues to come at you. What can you do? Don't look into it too deeply, for me that's tugging at your emotional strings and you're locked into a feeling of wanting to just go along with it, and not get things done. For me, you have to fight back. Assess, prepare (know what you have to do), and go in and do it. Fight. Your emotions make you get physical, after a while, and you shout, because it's a fight. It goes on picking at you, and if you let it do it that often, it can get to you.

    You only shouted, it's the norm. Would like to hear from anyone in such circumstances who wouldn't. But let the emotions out, if it's shouting, and you feel bad, go shout into a cushion or pillow. Let it out, because, believe me, it's no good keeping it in. Let that emotion out. At the end of the day, you're doing the best you can, and you know that. I've done it, felt lousy after, and now I'm a bit more attuned to it. I'll shout at Dad sometimes if he doesn't listen good, and a good chunk of the time he doesn't, just doing his own thing in his own world. Other times, though, he isn't listening but isnt doing anything problematic, so I go away and come back in about 10mins. Sometimes he's a changed mood, and compliant.

    And while it is easier said than done, someone else may have said it, think the good times as well as the bad. But foremost, soldier on. Hardly question, just experience, learn, and keep going. Because it feels like it wants you to give up, to fail, so don't let it. You know what you are doing, so go do it, keep going.


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