How not to take things personally?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Feistywoman, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Feistywoman

    Feistywoman Registered User

    Aug 11, 2018
    My Mum has her first memory appointment on Wednesday so as yet we don’t have a diagnosis but it’s pretty obvious she has some form of dementia. I’ve mentioned before that I’m an only child and my mum has no family or friends. I work full time and go after work at least 4 days a week to my mums, I make her meals and take them with me. If I don’t take meals then she just doesn’t eat, even though she still has the ability to cook/heat up. She goes out locally most days but I do her shopping for her. I go over on a Sunday again with food and to put out the bins but try to have a Saturday ‘off’. To be honest I dread weekends because although I phone on a Saturday she can hardly bring herself to be civil to me and this is normally when the I’ve not turned up when I said I would raises its head and she can be downright nasty. Nothing that I do gets any acknowledgement never mind a thanks. I feel the more I do the more she expects of me and to be honest I’m flat out as it is!

    I just wondered if there are any tips of not taking this to heart? My Mum has always been quite controlling and I’ve always tried to appease her. I need to practice self care before I lose the plot. Sorry if this sounds like a pity party
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello @Feistywoman

    Can you take meals for a few days and cut down your visits? Dementia or not, your mother needs to need you and if you are not so readily available she may appreciate you more.

    Also, when she is verbally abusive, tell her you do not deserve to be spoken to in this way and either walk away or put the phone down.

    It may not work. She genuinely may not be able to help herself but you can only try.
  3. myss

    myss Registered User

    Jan 14, 2018
    Hi @Feistywoman, I bet there are many of us have been in the same position as you describe. I know I have!
    You know that 'stiff upper lip' the British is supposed to or used to have? It's sort of like that's what we have to do when confronted with ungratefulness.
    It can be hard to do but I can recall when my dad was found wandering lost not far from his home and he was pretty upset by it all. After getting him home he talked of the dementia as a third person. I tell myself that it's not normal for the dad I know to be like that, it's the dementia that treating me like that and it's something both my dad and I don't like but cannot stop.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Unfortunately dementia will always want more. You can only do what you can do.

    PS - do you phone your mum on Saturday evening? If so, might she be sundowning?
  5. Malalie

    Malalie Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    I think the answer is that you have to develop a thick skin. Easily said by me, because it was my MIL who developed Dementia I know...

    My MIL didn't have anything wrong with her at all, despite being given her diagnosis by the consultant. (She forgot that obviously....) I don't know whether you have Power of Attorney, or what her finances are, but in those earlier stages when we wanted to go away for a weekend we arranged a carer to come in for one hour a day over the weekend. (It was arranged with a local care company, and charged as a "companionship visit" ) To Mum, it was "A lady is coming round whilst we are away just to check if you need a light bulb replacing or anything whilst we're away" Sort of non negotiable really - we said we can't go away unless we know you are safe. They used to sit and chat over a cup of tea. The carer had a check list (ie: the central heating wasn't turned off, the TV was working OK, her panic alarm was OK,etc)

    Didn't go down that well at first ("Why is she here??), but she got used to it and we ended up with more care for preparing meals every day etc etc. It enabled Mum to stay at home longer.

    Could you do something like that for the odd weekend and get her used to relying on other people as well as you?
  6. Feistywoman

    Feistywoman Registered User

    Aug 11, 2018
    Thank you all for your replies, as always the kindness shown on here makes my heart sing!

    I’ve thought about sundowning, but when I’m there she’s normally fine so I don’t think that’s the issue. I honestly think it’s just the controlling elevated to a higher level due to dementia.

    I think you’re right, I DO need to develop a thicker skin and yes, sometimes just walk away hopefully without conflict. I can imagine this appointment on Wednesday will not go particularly well though I’m hoping POA raises it’s head again as she refuses to give me it as ‘I’ll get everything anyway’.

    Thank you all again
  7. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
  8. WanderingMary

    WanderingMary Registered User

    Oct 18, 2017
    It's so hard, I know. I have the similar issues with my mother. And, in a way, I think it can be harder without a diagnosis in place. You feel very alone and without any formal diagnosis to support you or make you feel you have any back up in place. I do feel for you.

    If I could give some advice, it would be to make sure you don't get drawn further into care unless you're clear it's what you want to do. I am caring for my mother pretty much full time pretty much by accident. And because I'm here, I feel the doctors and other services leave us to it really. She is safe. They don't need to worry about her. But I am increasingly exhausted having coped with mounting verbal and sometimes physical aggression over the past five years. Perhaps some time spent working out the boundaries and balance you're happy with would be time well spent?

    As you say, nothing appears to be appreciated and the criticism can be so hard to take. I honestly can't remember the last time my mother said anything nice to me or thanked me for anything. But today I've been told several times how much she hates me, that I'm vile and horrible and so on and so on. So I do understand and I do feel for you. It sounds very much like your mother's underlying personality type is similar to that of my mother. And sometimes dementia seems to take all that is good and gentle away from someone's personality, and leave the worst of it.

    I think sometimes we just have to know that we are doing all we can and our best is good enough The fact is you are doing a good job. Sometimes we have to simply know this ourselves.

    You take care and I hope things seem a little brighter soon.
  9. Feistywoman

    Feistywoman Registered User

    Aug 11, 2018
    @WanderingMary that sounds pretty grim, it must be very very hard for you to endure the daily insults....I feel for you, I really do. You’ve really made me think of something that I’ve never considered and that is what level of care am I prepared to give. I honestly think that I’m almost at the level I can go to, I need to work full time financially, and selfishly I still want to have a bit of a life, I also have a husband and son to spend time and care for too. Thank you for your lovely reply, I do hope that you get some assistance and life gets a bit easier.
  10. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    Dear Feistywoman,

    You have to tell yourself it's the dementia. I cared for dad for three years before he went into the home he is a gentleman and a much loved dad and this time last year he started to go down hill very quickly because he kept having falls. Initially he was diagnosed with low blood pressure but he started to go off his food as well and with diabetes he can't do that. Anyway on a couple of occasions when I had to call the paramedics dad told me I was evil. The initial fright of seeing my dad on the floor gave me strength to overlook being evil. Of course my brothers were told about the falls but I didn't mention being called evil to them. Maybe I should have mentioned this and then they could have wondered where I get the strength from to care for dad but aside from this remember it is the dementia talking. When dad started to recover he started to go back to his normal, if confused self.

    When dad's Alzheimers was mild he used to say that he gets and just before he was diagnosed he told me he wanted me to remember the man that he was. This still upsets me when I think of my dad saying this but you need to think of the happy times with your mum.

    Hugs to you because I have some idea of what you are going through

  11. Clonk59

    Clonk59 New member

    Aug 28, 2018
    The title of this thread did make me chuckle! My dad loves to go out for a ride in the car and has taken to calling me his chauffeur. It totally grates on me and I try, patiently, to explain that we are father and daughter out for a drive - that’s all! One time when I was feeling particularly annoyed I said next time he wanted to go out I’d send someone else in a peaked cap!! He thought for a moment and then said oh sorry it’s just my way of saying things - then I felt horribly guilty. We have to grow another skin I’m afraid as our loved ones don’t even realise they’re potentially upsetting us:rolleyes:
  12. JosieEm

    JosieEm Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    My husband has Alzheimer's. We've never 'quarrelled' in the past, so when he accuses me of 'not letting him' do this or that, or that I 'don't want him to.... meet with his friends' (when I've organised it all) it upsets me. I notice that this usually happens in the evening when he is tired, and, in fact, if I mention it in the morning he looks incredulous and denies saying anything hurtful.

    I recently came across an interesting expression: 'Emotional divorce'. A kind of stepping back or cutting off as a means of protecting oneself from bruised feelings. I've also thought of the caring role as a 'job' I've been entrusted with. However, as in everything, it's easier said than done...
  13. Super sixty

    Super sixty Registered User

    Aug 20, 2016
    #13 Super sixty, Nov 16, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    Hi fiestywoman,

    The most important thing is to remember this is not your mum she can't help it, and make the most of the good days as you do get them..

    My mum was diagnosed over 3years ago with Alzheimer's, she also can be very nasty and likes to play my sister & myself off against each other, we do her shopping as her mobility is not good she uses sticks & a frame, she goes to the local day center 4 day's a week hates staying at home on the one day she doesn't, as she says no one goes to see her on that day , I go but I don't count. Am trying to let this go over my head. But it gets you some times. The only day we don't go to see her is a sunday, my sister & myself both have husbands & that's the only day we're not at work. I haven't mentioned she has carers 4 times a day for medication & to get her meals she's capable but won't (I can't be bothered!) her favorite saying, it's a good job we can. She's mum & we love her no matter...
  14. Flavius

    Flavius New member

    Jan 19, 2018
  15. deborah hamilton

    deborah hamilton New member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Hi I am fairly new to this but could not believe that out of the 4 children ( I am the only one local to mum) how nasty and aggressive she was to me resulting in days of crying because at the end of
  16. deborah hamilton

    deborah hamilton New member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Hi just to say I have been there and although it will change it doesn't necessarily become better? I haven't had any aggression from mum in the last 3 months (or none that I couldn't cope with). You will get used to it and become to realise that mum will forget all about nastiness the day before and medication is probably helping? I do feel for you as I know how I felt when being verbally attacked but I have taken the good advice of not letting the barrier down totally which may seem harsh but keeps you prepared if it happens again? Keep your chin up! We all know how you feel.
  17. katydid

    katydid Registered User

    Oct 23, 2018
  18. Feistywoman

    Feistywoman Registered User

    Aug 11, 2018
    Thank you all so very much!

    Have been for a memory assessment this week, the doctor was so lovely which made it a bit easier. Mum has to go for a CT scan as they think the going by her initial test results it’s not Alzheimer’s but perhaps vascular dementia. The doctor spoke with her about POA then both myself and my husband (who she told the dr she couldn’t live without) had separate gentle chats about it with her, she seemed to grasp that it wasn’t about money but about her care and decided that if it made things easier then she wanted to go ahead....that was yesterday. Today, firstly she put the phone down then when I popped in told me she’d fallen getting out of bed, I suggested we could look at getting an alert system put in but she ‘doesn’t want anymore bloody gadgets’ . I asked if anything was on her mind...she’s not giving me poa as she can make her own decisions and she’s not going into a nursing home....agh! Anyway, I need to put my big girl pants on and stop blubbing every time she’s nasty to me. Thank you for sharing your own experiences,it’s horrible that you’re going through the same thing but it’s a comfort to know we’re not alone.
    @canary thinking about reconsidering your sun downing suggestion, I’m going to keep a diary now.
  19. deborah hamilton

    deborah hamilton New member

    Dec 23, 2017
    You are so me! Lol. I can also remember having to cut down my visits to 2 or 3 a week because mum couldn't stand the sight of me! At least the occasions on the phone you can put it down and not listen anymore. So glad that it sounds like your mum has mellowed a little too. I feel for you being the only family member because without my sisters in law I wouldn't have coped. My advice is be brave and keep doing what you are doing it will pay off in the end!
  20. Feistywoman

    Feistywoman Registered User

    Aug 11, 2018
    Do any of you feel bullied into doing things by your loved one? I had a chat with my Mum on Friday about her unacceptable treatment of me, I said that I understood things got mixed up but she had to try to stop treating me so badly (I know I’d probably have been as well hitting my head off a wall). I didn’t se her on Saturday as I was doing her Christmas shopping but spoke on the phone with her and she was fine. Have her a quick call yesterday morning, again quite chipper, went to visit 3 hours later and she was like a fiend...don’t know what I was meant to have done...I didn’t ask!
    So Monday night is yoga night where I tell a fib that I’m working late and my husband visits but now I’m thinking I should go in order to try to keep the peace, I feel that I’m constantly trying to appease my Mum which is a bit of a futile exercise.
    Anyone else crucify themselves with guilt for no good reason? How do you get a handle on this?

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