Feeling sad hurt and confused....

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Trixie2, Jan 14, 2020 at 11:23 AM.

  1. Trixie2

    Trixie2 New member


    I'm new to this forum, but feel the need for help and guidance.

    My best friend of over 30 years - (She is 83 this year) is accusing me of stealing from her. This has been happening now for just over a year. The first time I was staggered and couldn't believe what she was saying to me. I was so hurt and felt cut to the core that she should ever accuse me of this!

    I am the only one who has been there to help her over the years as she doesn't have many other friends ( in face none that visit her) and has fallen out with one of her sisters and hasn't spoken to her for about 20 years - Her other sister she does speak to occasionally but she doesn't always see eye to eye with her. She has a few very kind neighbours who I know do care and try and help from time to time.

    My friend has always been a very independent person. She had a troubled marriage and divorce and brought up her son from the age of 4/ 5 who in his early twenties was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. She has had years of handling him and his viscous and vile outbursts on a dally basis and being sectioned regularly - this is still on going - her answerphone is full of these hateful messages.

    I have noticed the changes in my friend over many years and hoped they were signs of all the medications that she takes - She is disabled as she had a terrible fall in her late 50's and broke her leg in so many places she almost lost it. So she walks with stick.. but fortunately is still driving. She is also diabetic and has various other ailments heart, depression, strong painkillers and so on...

    I hope this isn't too rambling but I feel the need to give a little background on what my friend has enjoured for so many years...

    However, I know I have been a strong support for her and tried to be there for her - Even though I live in and work in London and she is in Surrey I have visited regularly taken her away for weekends and holidays and driven her to hospital appointments, done DIY jobs, shopping - the list goes on - but I was always happy to do these things for her. I try to call her every day or so as I am sometimes the only voice she hears.

    I suppose what I don't understand is the one person that has been there all these years she has turned on me, and no matter how I try I cannot convince her I would never take anything from her and only want the best for her.

    To refer back to the first time the accusation of stealing happened I just couldn't believe it.. She accused me of taking necklace (costume) jewellery she had one in a raffle at some local event.

    She started by telling me on the phone that she was really really bothered and had been looking for it for days - so I said I'm sure it was in the house and that I would visit at the weekend and help her look for it.

    I did this and found a necklace in a small bag behind her chest of drawers on the floor in her bedroom - no way would she have been able to see this, so I assumed it had fallen down and so delighted to say I'd found it. She thanked me and said at the time, this isn't how I remember it ... but I suppose it is ....

    About a week later while visiting her she produced the necklace I had found and accused me of planting it in her house - she had never seen it before and that I had the real necklace and she wanted it back!

    Of I course did everything wrong - got upset, shouted, cried, pleaded with her that it wasn't me. She was so upset too and said she was finding it hard to come to terms that I would do such a thing to her!

    I called the AS and this helped me and I hoped what they said would happen - She would forget this incident.

    But she recently accused me of stealing again and also brought up the first incident - She says she cannot forgive me an no matter what I say, she will not change her mind and she is deeply hurt it's like she's storing up all the incidents and then throwing all of them at me! - She's not forgetting them just adding to them!

    She is very muddled and saying really bizarre things like I have stolen a jumper from her and given it to my sister for Christmas! - and watches she bought in a sale and given them away as Christmas presents!! -

    The last visit was terrible (Sunday 12th Jan) and I'm not sure how to handle this.. She is not cooking a the right times - sleeping at the right times - constantly tiding up things - things - paperwork all over the table or kitchen tops - Food that has gone off in the oven and fridge..(Clearly been there for weeks but she says she didn't understand why is has gone off - it's only been there for a few days!

    I said to her how can our friendship go on like this - I don't feel I want to even go to the toilet for fear of her thinking my stealing from her.. She said she knows that I am her only friend and she's aware of the consequences of me not being in her life.

    To the outside world she seems to be coping as she is very up to date with the news, TV etc she is articulate and would appear (however incredibly cutting and hurtful).

    I have read a lot of information online but nothing really helps me understand that she on one hand appears to be lucid and rational and on the other so utterly deranged.

    I know this isn't my friend but her illness and therefore will not turn my back on her, but I really need some coping strategies to help me with this dreadful position.

    I would welcome any tips of what to say when she accuse me - just changing the subject or ignoring it she will find patronising and this will not help the situation...

    Thanks for reading if you've made it to the end ..... I look forward to receiving some help.
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im so sorry that you have had these accusations thrown at you. Im afraid that the accusation of stealing is so common in dementia that it is almost diagnostic. All the other things that you have noticed are "normal" in dementia too.
    Has your friend got a diagnosis of dementia?

    I first realised that my mum had dementia when she phoned up and told me that an old and very dear friend of hers was stealing from her (which I knew would never be the case). I got mum to stay at my house for a week-end and was horrified by the shenanigans mum got up to especially during the night. Looking more closely at her home I could see that she was moving things around all the time and not cooking/eating properly, but she had managed to hide it from me for (I suspect) a long time. Things progressed from there to mum accusing her cleaner of stealing from her (I changed the locks but mum was still convinced that she was getting in), then I was stealing from her and mistreating her, but she still appeared fine to all the neighbours and they gave me odd looks. Eventually, though, mum was unable to hide her symptoms any longer and by the time she was going walkabout in the wee small hours and knocking on random peoples doors because she was lost, everyone realised that she had dementia.

    I think this time was the hardest for me (and her friend) because it is very hurtful to hear all the nasty things said about you. Eventually her delusions went away, but only, in mums case, after she moved into a care home. Does your friend have any family that you can contact?
  3. Trixie2

    Trixie2 New member

    Hi Thank you so much for replying to by post... It is so difficult and I'm not sure what else to do. I tried yesterday call her but she's not answering the phone - and the A/P is full so you cannot leave a message - So I can only assume she doesn't want to talk to me.
    The saddest thing for me is knowing that she is hurting deeply as she believes that her only friend of 30 years is stealing from her... It's heart breaking...
    She does have one sister that she talks to but I don't have anyway of contacting her...
    The AS suggested that perhaps I should approach her neighbour as she is a nurse and does look out of my friend - I could mention the difficulties I've been having and that I now cannot check up on her as she's not picking up the phone - The worrying thing is - if my friend falls over she cannot get up on her own.
    Social services have informed her GP and apparently they are trying to access her - She has not had a formal diagnosis - She's fallen through the net undetected... I contacted SS a while back the first time she accused me of stealing..but they contacted me last week to say they have visited her (as they couldn't reach her on the phone) and she is living quite well independently and has refused any help. She did mention to them that an old friend was stealing from her ...It's so upsetting..
    It's interesting what you said about your mum and what she got up to in the night.. it would be very similar I think with my friend too - It's amazing how they can hide it so well!

    Sorry to hear that you also had all this distress - It does make you feel ill! But thankfully for you both her the delusions have gone away.

    My friend has also changed the locks - and ironically accused the locksmith of stealing her "perfectly good old locks" and went knocking on his door for them to be returned!

    Perhaps the neighbour is the next step ?
  4. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Volunteer Host

    Apr 1, 2016
    Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Trixie2

    I know how distressing it is to be accused of stealing as my dad did this to. Mostly he targeted my daughter and accused her of stealing and wanting him to die so she could have all his money. The worst thing was when other family members, who should have known better, joined in with the accusations!

    I think the neighbour may be a good idea if they are willing to get involved - but don’t be surprised to hear that they are stealing too...

    It’s amazing how someone with dementia can convince the outside world that their version of reality is the truth. But I suppose if they believe it they’re going to sound convincing.

    I found this phase very difficult.
  5. Trixie2

    Trixie2 New member

    Thanks for your reply - How upsetting it all is! - Your poor daughter ... and not to have had the support of her other family members! - Very distressing indeed! - You're right - there version of reality will sound convincing as its what they believe. And that's was so painful for me to know and accept.
    I will try the neighbour - She is a nurse and very kind so hopefully will be understanding.
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I think talking to the nurse neighbour would be a good idea. Mum got to the stage of not allowing me into her house and you might find the same thing happening to you, so it would be good to have someone else keeping an eye on her.

    Eventually this phase will past and I hope you can remain friends
  7. Trixie2

    Trixie2 New member

    Hi Canary,
    I thought I would update you on how things are going... I contacted my friend yesterday and she picked up the phone and spoke to me at length without a mention of anything and was just like nothing had happened!??? - Is she choosing to not mention anything or has her mindset altered? - I don't believe she has forgotten as she didn't in the past...

    I was left feeling very thankful but also extremely baffled.!
    I am going to visit her this evening so fingers crossed she is in the same mood as yesterday...
  8. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    I'm sure someone will be along with an explanation as to why, but your friend's behaviour seems very common for people with dementia. My mother would accuse me or other members of the family of all sorts. She would scream, cry, tell us we were stupid for not believing her, we were abusing her etc etc. The next day it would all be forgotten and she would phone up for a 'nice chat', and be more or less her usual self. In the meantime I was feeling like a wrung out dish-cloth over it all. I never knew which mother I would get when the phone rang.
    I think chatting to the neighbours would be a good idea. It wasn't until I was quite a long way down the road to getting mum in a care home that her best friend admitted she'd been concerned about my mum for a while.
  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Yes, I agree with sarasa. Mum used to flip and flop between being "old mum" and new "dementia mum". Sometimes she would flip in the middle of a sentence. It was very disconcerting, but Im sure she was not putting it on and she really had no idea that she had been so horrible
  10. Lynmax

    Lynmax Registered User

    Nov 1, 2016
    It's so hard when your pwd changes so quickly. My mum comes up with some right tales, telling me that she rarely sees my brother ( despite his wife needing support as she is now registered as blind, he visits her at least twice a week) and my sister never pays for anything expecting mum to buy everything and helps herself to items from the house ( despite my sister volunteering to be mums main carer for more than 20 hours a week and using her own debit card to pay for shopping etc which I refund her from mums account) If i believed what she said in would probably hate my siblings! I often wonder what she accuses me of!

    Luckily I know it's her AZ talking and can pacify her most of the time. My brother and sister are amazing and all three of us care for mum and have a rota to make sure one of us visits her every day but if we took note of what mum was saying, we would probably have a major falling out.

    Our whatsapp group called Care for Mum keeps us going! I am truly blessed to be part of a strong family unti.
  11. Trixie2

    Trixie2 New member

    Thanks so much for all your comments. Well I visited her and she was fine.. almost like nothing had happened!! I decided not to take a bag or wear a coat - I locked them in the car. I felt that perhaps if something goes missing again that I cannot be accused of taking it - But perhaps I'm being to logical.. I'm on a learning curve that's for sure. I will speak to her neighbour but don't want to burden her as just before Christmas her husband left her.

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