How do I deal with violent behaviour?


Registered User
Jul 10, 2007
My mother has dementia and has been verbally agressive for a while but today we reached a new low when she pinned me against the cooker and attacked me with a lump of wood after punching me several times.
I managed to get away when she said she was going to telephone the police because I had stolen her dustbin.
I stood there taking the punches, hits with the wood and scratching with my arms folded to protect myself. I cannot actually push her away as she isnt very steady on her feet and would fall so what can I do?

At one point she was looking around the kitchen and I asked what she was looking for and the reply was "a knife to stab you with."

I came away from taking my mother her lunch with scratches and bruises.

I should have realised that she was stressed when I went in as she said she had had the meter man in and he had broken her microwave but I didnt recognised the signs.

I came home shaking and sobbing.

I love my mum and sometimes its so hard as my family wont have anything to do with her because of her behaviour.

Yesterday Mum had her first dose of Sequestril 5mg per day and I was really hoping that it would help.

How can I protect myself in the future?


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Oh dear ishard, what a very difficult position to be in.

You'll have to speak URGENTLY to whoever her prescribing doctor is. It is definitely too soon to tell if the meds are working but you need to know how long to leave it before you can say "let's try something else"

In the short term you're going to have to get out of there, even if it mean leaving things undone - she may be frail but when weapons are involved you can't take any chances. Also: have you tried speaking very firmly to her? Sometimes, although not violent, that would break through my mother's self-absorbtion.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I cannot actually push her away as she isnt very steady on her feet and would fall so what can I do?
She would of had to fall, you have every right to protect yourself, not Just keep taking it ... could of shock her out of it.

You must of just been in shock also, must of happen all of a sudden not to have been able to restrain her, grab her arm to take stick from her, as you do say she frail or get out of the house when you saw her coming forward you with stick .

You should talk to a CPN , ask his advice , they use to people attracting them, they tell you what to do in those situation
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Registered User
May 24, 2006
My Mother also became aggressive and violent ......despite her frailty i sure would not have stood for being hit

Shouting at my Mother was only way to shock her out of such behaiour

If things were such that in order to stop her hitting you you pushed her and she fell then you really should not berate yourself for it


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Dear ishard, what an awful thing to have to deal with!

I think Jennifer's right, you should talk to the GP, you shouldn't have to cope with that, particularly when there are weapons involved.

Obviously you don't want to push your mum away, but could you try speaking to her firmly? Say 'No! I'm not going to let you do that!', and walk away?

You have to forget it's your mum and really lay down the law. It might not work, but it's worth a try. (It's how children are taught to handle school bullies!)

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I know you would not want to push her away but can you at least grab her wrists? I think shouting (or at least raising your voice in a very firm manner - not angry but authoritarian) is a good idea, it might break her concentration. Running away is good too.

You definitely have to talk to the GP or somebody about this. it cannot go on. You cannot go in with the thought that she might attack you. Perhaps throwing cold water in her face would be a good distraction. It cannot hurt her physically and it might be the mental shock she needs, like yelling.


Registered User
Jul 10, 2007
Thank you for your replies.
Just knowing that you are all there to listen when I need to offload helps enormously.

I did eventually take the stick off her and I was shouting "No mum, go and sit down" and repeating that over and over. It was only when she ran to the phone (to call the police about her dustbin) that it stopped.

I have looked up some techniques on the 'net to defend myself so hopefully Ill either recognise the signs beforehand or put the techniques into practice. I couldnt live with myself if I pushed her over and she broke her hip.

Tomorrow I will try and get some help for myself (I need back up) and have a talk with her mental health team about what happened and whats the next step.

I used to be a nurse and I can tell you its sooo different when its your own family.


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
What a very hard thing for you to cope with! Do you think it would be best if you can get someone to visit your mother with you? You really cannot be expected to continue to put yourself in such a dangerous position. Has mum got any other help apart from yourself? It may be best if you get in touch with the Community Psychiatric nurse in your area and ask for an urgent assessment for your mum, for your own safety. Ask the doctor's surgery for the CPN's phone number.

I find that when Ken gets really difficult and is likely to hit me if I let things continue, I shout very loudly 'How dare you!' and walk out of the room. It does shock him and get through to him. The trouble is that he then gets very upset and cries with remorse but doesn't really know what he has just done to upset me.

The nurses on the ward have another technique which is to cajole and coax, if that doesn't work they either walk away or get another nurse to help. Obviously in a small house, we can't walk very far away and we haven't got someone else to call as a 'backup' for assistance.

Thinking of you xx TinaT

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