I'm really struggling to understand...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Flooz, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Flooz

    Flooz Registered User

    Sep 8, 2009
    Have just come back from my Mum's and I'm simply more confused that her I think.

    I'm the primary care giver from my family, as my brothers simply live too far away. Mum's reaction to me is negative to say the least, but I understand it's all part of AD.

    However, today while I was there, one of my brother's phoned, and listening to her on the telephone, she was totally 'normal', good spirits, a little bit of forgetting words, but that was about it.

    Yet as soon as she had finished the phone call, it was as if someone had 'flipped a switch' and when I tried to converse with her, she was back to being very vague, not answering, forgetting what i'd said within a second or two and generally very obstructive.

    I simply cannot understand this - it really does appear that her attitude towards me is deliberately nasty.

    She knows who I am, she knows I'm her daughter (I'd got my brother to steer the conversation deliberately to find out), yet it's as if she actually enjoys being extremely difficult towards me.

    Can anyone shed any light on this or is it simply what appears to be a conscious change, but is in fact part of AD.

    I simply do not know. :-(
  2. MJK

    MJK Registered User

    Oct 22, 2004
    Hi Flooz,

    I think people with AD can quite often put on a good act for short periods - especially when seeing health professionals. I think they kind of concentrate really hard for that period of time and kind of manage it. I'm guessing maybe your Mum does that when she's on the phone to your brother too. It also seems to be the main carer who bears the brunt of any bad behaviour going. Your Mum's no doubt more relaxed with you so "lets go" more - kind of like children always play up for their parents but are good as gold for other people.

    That's my thoughts on it anyway, probably talking rubbish. I do sympathise though - the mood changes, and varations between "normality" and then creating chaos are hard to deal with!
  3. sussexsue

    sussexsue Registered User

    Jun 10, 2009
    West Sussex

    I think it is the same switch that gets flipped the minute a medic comes into the room, whereby confused vague mums turns into bright articulate mum.

    I am the main carer for my mum, and TBH 99% of the time she is very easy and loving. However occasionally, especially when my brother visits, she can be very tetchy and spiteful towards me, but absolutely charming to him. Strangely though, when she goes to stay with him for a few days, she starts acting like that with him.

    I dont know the answer, but it does seem to be par for the course.

  4. ella24

    ella24 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2008
    South Coast UK

    we found that when we used to phone my gran (we were a distance away) she had the same conversation each time - like a pattern that repeated. It went along the lines of non challenging questions and answers 'are you ok?', 'what have you been doing?', 'what is the weather like?' etc etc, and the answers she gave, we knew, were wrong (that she'd been to the shops etc) because she didnt have the time or ability to be doing what she was telling us.

    On the phone she was always fairly lucid, in person and on longer visits she was more easily 'tripped up' or confused in what she said - and she was much more obviously repetitive.

    It does make it hard to feel beleived - especially if the professionals only see 10 minutes, when they really need to see an hour to make any decision....
  5. Bronwen

    Bronwen Registered User

    Jan 8, 2010
    I have posted on this subject before..I get so upset about the whole "normal" thing...The times people come into our home and speak to my husband who has FTD and say "I didn't expect him to be like that..he looks quite normal"..I try to explain you have to be with him 24/7 and be there when he is trying to dress, change channels on the tv etc.etc. He tried to dress himself today and couldn't but after breakfast went outside to speak to our neighbour and comment on the lovely weather...making it seem I have not many problems.

    Love from a frustrated Bronwen
  6. Flooz

    Flooz Registered User

    Sep 8, 2009
    Thanks for your replies everyone. I understand that Mum can appear lucid for short periods of time, she does actually present herself very well.

    I was there when the phone call happened, and it was more than comprehension and understanding of the conversation. It's very difficult to put into words though.

    My brother could ask something and get a totally acceptable and sensible answer, but if I asked the same, she would either shrug her shoulders and say 'don't know' or not even understand what I'd asked.

    She was all jovial and light while on the phone to him, but that changed as soon as the phone call was finished.

    Sorry, but I'm finding it incredibly difficult to put into words.
  7. ella24

    ella24 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2008
    South Coast UK
    Hi again Flooz

    sometimes I wondered if my gran could only process things singly - that is she was able to listen better when that was all she had to do (i.e. on the phone) - but if she had to listen AND watch someone speak, it made it harder somehow... and she couldn't process it all at once.

    Does that sound how it feels?
  8. simonmonty

    simonmonty Registered User

    Nov 22, 2008
    #8 simonmonty, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
    My mum who had alzheimer's could manipulate people pretend that she was very distressed. Then as soon as she got what she wanted she was happy as Larry.
    Don't be fooled just because someone has some kind of dementia dose not make it impossible for them to fool or manipulate people to their own advantage. My mum was an expert on it.
  9. Notwaving

    Notwaving Registered User

    Mar 5, 2010
    It is very hard to be treated like that. What was your Mum like before ? Mine has always been very needy and would have to be managed. She always says if you have put on weight but will never comment if you have lost alot.I think its because you are always there she does'nt have to put on an act.Knowing they can't help it, is a bit like when a baby crys for a long time you think 'hes doing it to wind me up'. Your head knows this not to be true, but when it's all the time you loose prospecive.
    Being the favourite has it draw backs, my Mum will say to my sister I don't want you I want Ann. So alot of the time its only me that can calm her. Which means me doing more than her. Catch 22
    Hope you are getting enough support Ann
  10. Dogdaft3

    Dogdaft3 Registered User

    Apr 18, 2010
    I have found with my mum that she can be telling me how horrible everything is in the home but if someone else comes into her room while she is talking to me, she will smile and say something cheerful, only to revert to misery mode when they have gone. ( Have to say though at the moment she is miserable with everyone)

    Her speech can be very garbled and it's content very strange a lot of the time and this doesn't improve much with others, so the confusion is still there but she does seem sometimes to 'put a face on' for other people, even in the midst of talking absolute rubbish to me. I too have been told she is making me feel guilty but I'm not too sure that she is, I think she just wants me to know how awful she feels and either she is comfortable in herself saying anything to me but still can feel somehow, that there might be consequences if she is nasty to other people or she thinks I can change things, I don't know.

    One of the (many) things I often find difficult coping with in someone close who has dementia is knowing what they are doing knowingly and what is 'the dementia' and responding accordingly (ie not getting upset or cross at the time). I know often it is obviously the dementia but sometimes it can be very hard to tell. I do find I cope better thinking it is the dementia and that mum is nasty because she is not well even if it seems only to be directed at me.
  11. Flooz

    Flooz Registered User

    Sep 8, 2009
    I don't think that it's that Mum can't listen whilst watching me to, so to speak, it's more like she just wants to be as difficult as possible with me. Even when she sees me getting upset by it all, I've caught grinning slyly at me - it's almost as if she enjoys it.

    One thing one of my brothers did say, and I don't know if it's feasible, is the possibility that she does deliberately try and upset me, as it brings some 'excitement' into her otherwise mundane day. Does that make sense to anyone?
  12. hazytron

    hazytron Registered User

    Apr 4, 2008
    Most of my posts give details of how abusive my Mum is towards me. I am her only relative to be actively involved with her.

    Over the years of her journey through Dementia her vile temper is increasing as her confusion worsens. She has never been easy to deal with and is very much more difficult now.

    I too have witnessed her changing whilst in the company of others, I can always tell when someone is present with her, when we speak on the telephone, she can lead me into a false sense of security only for this to be dashed when she is back on her own.

    I sometimes think she may feel more in control whilst she is being nasty, she can run rings round me if I try to reason with her. I have learnt so much from members of TP and try my best to let it all go over over my head and simply agree with whatever she has to say. Not always with success.

    It seems to me that you and I share similar feelings. I may not have any answers for you but I hope it helps you to know that you are not alone.

    Keep posting, we are all here for each other.

    Regards Hazel
  13. Flooz

    Flooz Registered User

    Sep 8, 2009
    Thank you everyone, you're posts have shown me that I'm not alone in this situation. :)
  14. imac.girll1

    imac.girll1 Registered User

    Feb 20, 2009
    Hi Flooz,

    I have read with interest your posts on this, and can understand your feelings to all this 'behaviour', whether good or bad, as i felt the same as you - until that is you see past it a little more.

    Someone else replied (sorry can't place who right now), but above that your mother is much much more relaxed with you, has no pretences to put on for you, and actually respects you much more than you actually realise.

    My mother could do all that you say that your mother does, but with me she can be a complete tyrant if she so wishes, but this is nothing to do with the fact she is out to wind you up deliberately, just that for others she is still trying to 'cover up' the illness. She knows deep down that you know all about it, and so just lets it all go.

    I hope this makes some sort of sense to you, but i don't think she is slyly grinning as such, its just another part where her inhibitions have left her.

    Good luck

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