Heartsick Over Mother's Cruel Comment

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Ann422, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Ann422

    Ann422 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    35
    USA
    #1 Ann422, Nov 2, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
    Today she said "you are only good for material things. You are not kind, compassionate or caring. This really hurt because I have been aware, on some level, all my life that my mother kind of ‘used’ me to get things she wanted. Not rich here, but husband and I have been helping out financially for many years and continue to do so now. Other than that “flaw”, she was loving, so I accepted all my life that we are all imperfect. This was followed a little later with another request for an item. Of course, I will buy it. Does she have dementia? Quite possibly. But no diagnosis. She was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment several years ago. She has serious heart disease, is ill, complains all the time (I try to be supportive and I do listen). Has been ill for over 8 years, so it is very hard on her. I cannot make it all better, so I suggest things like the doctor or whatever, and she becomes infuriated. She talks about losing her hair, says its the medication. Finally, I said, our hair does thin out as we age. Mine is thinner than it was. She again gets angry. What am I supposed to do? to say? She criticized my siblings. I once said "he really does love you and is trying". Her response: You are taking his side. I cannot win for losing.
    I feel like a child writing this, but why does she say such cruel things? Even if she believes it, why? I have two siblings that get criticized a lot but she “loves” them and they love her. I am bad one. She also says that I am unkind to her and that I “put her down”. This usually happens when I explain something over and over again to help her understand. I mean no harm. She comes to me with problems and I feel I need to solve them. You are in pain. You need to go to doctor. You are cold,, let us try to get you more heat. As so forth. She will accuse me of being angry, until I become angry from saying I am not angry. Right now I really AM angry.
    We once had (or I thought we did) a loving relationship. She was (I thought) easy-going and kind. Now I don’t know what to believe. I try. I really do. But the non-stop complaining and anger at me is very hard. I am getting to where I actually had a horrible thought yesterday. I can’t say it, but you can imagine it. I think I wished for it all to be over, and it was not for her sake, this time. I had an angry, mean thought. I admit to this. I now feel so guilty as I have always loved her and don’t know how I could even think that. I am not a full-time caregiver, but I am involved quite a bit in her care. She is in late eighties, has heart disease and no diagnosis of dementia so I have no idea why she is saying so many critical things. I wonder if this is who she always was, inside? And now, with "dementia", and the filters removed, her true character is showing?
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    9,765
    Merseyside
  3. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    Hello Ann. I hope that feels better writing it all down :)

    My mum, who had Alzheimer's diagnosed really early, went through a phase of being really horrible and yes, I know what those thoughts are that you're talking about. Many of us on here will have thought the same at some point or other and I admire you for being brave enough to admit them.

    My mother in law, on the other hand, has a diagnosis of small vessel disease, with (possibly) first signs of vascular dementia, but no actual diagnosis as such. Your story about your mother reminds me of her.

    I have known her for forty years and I thought we had a good relationship. But the last two or three have been hard as I recently found out she's been bad-mouthing me and my family behind our backs, whilst being nice to my face. At first I was really really angry - were those forty years just an act? - but seeing the way she is behaving towards her own daughters as well, I am gradually becoming more forgiving. She has told staff in the CH that her elder daughter was having affairs (so blatantly untrue:D) and we've heard her being nasty about that SIL for some time.

    But it was when she introduced my younger sister in law as 'the dogsbody' to the staff that our jaws hit the floor. Needless to say, SIL was very upset as she'd been her mother's carer and companion for years. That SIL was always the favourite and that's when we realised that things were not normal and we should stop taking things so personally.

    I've found it hard, tbh, as she's my MIL, not my mum, so there isn't the same sense of blood ties. But I am slowly coming round to the idea of putting the nastiness behind me by accepting her brain isn't functioning as it should be and accepting that she really can't help herself. If you can assume she has some sort of brain impairment, with or without a diagnosis, and regard the nastiness as a 'symptom' then maybe that will help you get through these periods.

    One thing for sure, don't waste your time with explanations if she's clearly not prepared to take your views on board. I see Cat has already posted the link to the compassionate communication thread. Avoiding confrontation situations is a useful coping strategy and there are some good suggestions on there.
     
  4. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,541
    Female
    Scotland
    Ann the old cliche is that you can choose your friends but you're stuck with your relatives. The mean streak your Mum is displaying could well be dementia but even if she is just by nature a nasty old lady that doesn't mean you are a bad person.

    You have tried to be helpful and kind and she takes what she wants and rejects the rest. You only get one chance at this life as far as we know and to let her break your heart would be such a waste. Try to brush this off as her failing and not yours.

    Very good wishes to you.
     
  5. reedysue

    reedysue Registered User

    Nov 4, 2014
    4,563
    Scotland
    My mum has Alzheimer's disease and she has said some really horrible things to me over the past two years, now she can't remember saying them half an hour later and wonders why I do not want to talk to her. She has always had a bit of a temper and was fairly selfish but AD has made it more extreme, I used to be very hurt by the things she said but I seem to have come to terms with the fact that it is not her fault.
     
  6. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    This sort of thing is horrible and very upsetting. You can tell yourself until you're blue in the face 'It's the disease, she can't help it,' but that doesn't stop it hurting like mad at the time.

    My mother went through a 'nasty' stage and would say horrible things about my family, but she reserved the very worst for my poor brother, who had always been her beloved 'golden boy' - not that she'd ever have admitted to having a favourite. I once heard him reduced to real, racking sobs over the phone - it was particularly awful and shocking in someone normally so jolly and robust.

    All I can say is, if you know the person would never have said such things pre dementia,
    you just have to try to tell yourself that it's the dementia-monster talking - your pre dementia mum is still in there somewhere and she'd be as upset as you are, if not more so, if she knew what her other self was saying.
     
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,310
    Female
    South coast
    Yes, this sort of thing is very hard and upsetting. Mum went through this stage as part of her dementia. The worst of it was aimed at a friend of hers who used to pop in almost every day. Mum said some dreadful things and even wrote her a horrible letter. I know that mum considered this friend almost like family, so I would never have believed that she would do or say such things if her friend had not shown me the letter.

    A couple of years down the dementia journey Mum no longer says horrible things to us, although she is now in a CH and she may take it out on the carers now :rolleyes:. I dont know, but she seems much nicer and happier and her friend still visits regularly (I have great admiration for this friend).

    They always take it out on the person closest to them. I dont believe its them "showing their true colours" I believe its just their confused and muddled thinking.
     
  8. Summerheather

    Summerheather Registered User

    Feb 22, 2015
    160
    I have always had a fantastic relationship with my Mum. My Mum was diagnosed with AD last Christmas, but she's had it about 5/6 years. The last 4 months have been the worse. She says awful things to me. She calls me everything from a pig to a goat. I believe it's not her, the mother I loved is no longer here, instead I have this figure that looks like her but that's it, even telling myself that though sometimes doesn't help, sometimes when she's been particularly horrible I find myself shaking. The abuse is particularly bad when she's in the mist of sundowning - funnily enough, in the mornings she can be lovely.

    I don't believe it's her true personality at all, I think it's the brain damaged beyond repair by this vicious evil disease.
     
  9. CucumberWhisky

    CucumberWhisky Registered User

    Sep 23, 2015
    56
    Surrey
    Hello Ann. I know exactly how you feel because my mum accused me of something a few weeks ago which came totally out of the blue, and its not true. I realised it was the disease that made her say it but it still hurt. Mum (91) has always been very dominating and, after 60 years, it gets a bit much. I'm her sole carer and have never had a hug or a kiss from her, but I still try my best for her.

    You - and I(!) - must try and remember it is the dementia not mum, although in my case it probably is my mum!

    All the best and lots of hugs.
     
  10. Summerheather

    Summerheather Registered User

    Feb 22, 2015
    160

    I just want to give you a virtual hug xx
     
  11. Kerryblue

    Kerryblue Registered User

    Oct 4, 2015
    42
    Re nastiness and Demnetia

    Hello Ann
    You are not alone! My mum comes out with nasty comments a lot of the time. In fact about three years before I was finally able to get a formal diagnosis she was worse than she is now. Each day we never know who we are going to be dealing with. pre diagnosis I was so baffled and upset I just could not understand why she was so horrible to me. Looking back I think it must have been the start of her Alzheimer's but when you are on the receiving end of it, it is so hard to deal with.

    I finally got mum to a Dr by saying I was taking her for a flu jab..... I had to speak to the Dr and she said she give mum an "mot". This was all really difficult but at least now we know what we are dealing with, sort of.

    My mum can still be nasty. All I can say is from this forum I am learning more each day and now I find I have to let things just wash over me and distract, distract and often ignore. She still has the ability to make me shake with rage. I have to remove myself and calm down. I used to feel so hurt like you, now I just feel pity.

    Once my mum was diagnosed it was awful but a sort of relief. I could blame the disease rather than her. I still think with my mum though the disease has accentuated her bad side which was always there but saved for her family, never her public persona!! I do know what you are going through.
     
  12. CucumberWhisky

    CucumberWhisky Registered User

    Sep 23, 2015
    56
    Surrey
    Hi Summerheather

    Many thanks - very much appreciated!

    CW
     
  13. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    Unfortunately "nasty" appears to be quite common. My mother has said some very nasty things over the last few years BUT I have to say I have had glimpses of old pre dementia mum. Mum with her quick wit and funny comments .
    Also I found it very difficult to just use " it is the dementia talking " because she said it.
    I do consciously know mum , not always a loving woman in th past , does love me and cares . Subconscious ly when she say those things I wonder "did she always think that ?" Etc.
    One thing I have found recently to be helpful is I have been scanning old photos and mum and I are together in some , it reminds me of why she was a person I rang most days to talk to and whinge to and vent to.
    It reminds me that she was there for me.
    Because I tell you what, I stuggle sometimes to remember pre dementia mum
     
  14. learningcurve

    learningcurve Registered User

    Oct 9, 2015
    22
    Hampshire
    I experienced that with my Mum. We had always been very close so I don't think it was ever a matter of her showing her true feelings. She would say things to me like 'you have changed and never used to be this nasty to me' and 'you are a dictator' when I was only trying to make sense of everyday stuff for her.

    I believe it was her way of coping with what was happening to her. I try to put myself in her world and imagine what it feels like for her..... it must be extremely scary, as carers we can get away from it, maybe only for a short while at a time, but they are experiencing it for 24 hours a day every day.

    She will soon forget what she has said that was hurtful and I have learned to try and ignore the comments..... well sometimes I do.
     
  15. Ann422

    Ann422 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    35
    USA
     
  16. Ann422

    Ann422 Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    35
    USA
    Thank you all so very much

    I just want to thank everyone here for responding and for sharing your experiences and your strength on this. I have read compassionate communications and need to print it out. It seems one thing to read it and quite another to put into practice all the time. I know it is not "her" and yet, I respond as if it is. My guess is that we have related to our loved ones for so long in one way and to have to change, it seems, overnight is quite a shock. This shock, for me, may be my denial still as we cannot get a diagnosis beyond "mild cognitive impairment".
    I will try to practice letting it go, not reminding, and so on, and then just walking away. I still try to reason with her and that is where I go wrong. I know this. If anyone sees this, I have one more question?
    WHY is it that it is said they take it out on the one who is safest to do so with? I have siblings who love her, see her often, and they do not get this or they are not telling me. So IS it that we are just an easy target? I ask because, if dementia is at play here, how would they even know to target one person over another? They cannot reason that one out, it seems.
     
  17. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    7,396
    Yorkshire
    Morning Ann422
    I tend to think of it as similar to the behaviour of teenagers and the troublesome 2yearolds - they know on a deep level who is safe, they know who will take their behaviour and still accept them. So our elders have our lifetime of experience of us - they still keep the feeling of who makes them feel secure, and they know our buttons, and which ones once pressed will get the strongest reaction.
    It's also my experience of teenagers that their bad behaviour gives them an instant emotional hit - good behaviour is slower acting and more of a gradual build-up and release. So, of course, they play up, we react, they 'succeed' and get the pleasure hit. As we grow up we mostly socialise out of this negative as we appreciate the warm glow of positive interactions, and learn the benefits of not upsetting others. I suspect this is reversed again as pleasure and joy and positive emotions seem to abate with dementia, so that leaves frustration, anger and the negative and the lessening of ability to control reactions leads to the lashing out.
    Just my theory - it helps me to step back from my dad's negative reactions AND reminds me to reinforce for him any happy moments by actively enjoying them with him so he does get the pleasure hit.
     
  18. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,310
    Female
    South coast
    That could well be right Shedrech.
    I wondered whether it was because deep-down they know there is something wrong, even if they cant quite put their finger on what, and as we are the ones closest to them they think that we must be the cause.
     
  19. learningcurve

    learningcurve Registered User

    Oct 9, 2015
    22
    Hampshire
    Apologies if this is off topic but what canary said has triggered something in my mind that happened in the early days.

    When my Mum was diagnosed with alzheimer's we all (Mum, me and my OH) had a cry and a cuddle together. Around half an hour later she had forgotten about it but needless to say it took a lot longer for us to come to terms with it.

    Next thing she had come back into the room with a piece of paper with 'Memory Clinic - NOT Alzheimer's' written on it in her handwriting, with 'NOT' underlined twice. She kept that piece of paper for months and kept showing it to us, convinced that that was what the consultant had told her. From the moment the consultant had told us it was Alzheimer's we never used that word or dementia again in her presence.

    She would often say to us 'there's something very wrong with me' but would never elaborate, so yes they do know deep down.

    I think the anger and nastiness that they show towards us is pure frustration at themselves. However kind and patient we are towards them, by us trying to help them in their eyes it is telling them that there is something wrong with them.
     
  20. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
    I was my mother's punchbag too. But she was totally 'normal' in front of strangers. But she had illusions about me and then accused me of several things.
     

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