My mother’s partner is so aggressive and abusive - has he mental health problems too?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Emily M, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    Things have got a lot worse. I cannot sleep so I am writing to get it off my chest. I live a considerable distance from my mother who has Alzheimer’s. She lives with her husband who is considerably younger than her. When she was diagnosed he threatened to “dump” her on my doorstep." He has no patience and she often would phone me crying about him bullying her (verbally). She became aggressive to him. I know that this can be a symptom but feel the way he spoke to her exacerbated the aggression and the consequence was that she was prescribed Risperidone. There has been a marked difference in her condition - she is no longer aggressive but walks around like a “zombie” and appears highly sedated.

    Her husband doesn’t shout at her anymore but is now extremely verbally aggressive to both me and my husband. Because of the distance we cannot visit frequently but stay a couple of days when we do with other family members.

    There have been several unsuccessful attempts to get her into respite and day care. This included an attempt at respite with us but she became very disorientated and agitated demanding to go home. When we took her home we were shouted at by her husband and told to “go away and not come back” – I am unable to use his exact words as they were too abusive. I genuinely think that he believes that I should take over the responsibility of caring for her. I dread phoning her because I never know what his mood will be and she is often asleep anyway nowadays. Today she could hardly speak to me and I am not sure that she knows me.

    I am getting a lot of pressure from him to look after her for a period of time so he can have a break to see “family.” It is actually a women friend that he plans to see. Today he started shouting at me again saying that I never do anything (which is untrue). Because of the way he rants I wonder if he has a mental illness himself.

    Besides distance there are personal and health problems for us that make me staying there difficult. Also I think the request to stay is to benefit my mother’s husband and not my mother, as in her confused state she may not take kindly to me staying when he is away. Lastly, I am afraid it “sticks in the throat” to help him when he is so verbally abusive and obnoxious and seems to hold me in such contempt.

    I am talking to the Social Worker tomorrow. We will see……………..
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Emily M
    The phrase "I didn't sign up for this" crops up on here quite often for one reason or another, in the modern world (how old do I sound) there are often more complex relationships and many more relationships started in later life than in the past.
    I suspect that's what the person you describe as a "husband who is considerably younger than her." is going through this right now. There are several people on here with a partner quite a bit older than them and so it can and does work, however, in your case it looks like it may have gone beyond that.
    The social worker can't make him do anything the only thing they can do is if they consider her to be at risk they might be to move her out of the situation.
    Because he isn't behaving in the way you want isn't necessarily an indication he has a "mental health problem" (as per the title of the thread) many of us who care for someone with dementia 24/7 ask relatives and friends for help (granted not in the way he has) so of itself asking for help is not a bad thing, in fact usually it's the other way round. Please don't take that the wrong way, I'm simply pointing out how it usually works, you case is obviously different.
    I'd start work on Plan B, I don't know what it is but it doesn't look like the current situation will be going on for much longer so you need a Plan B.
    Personally from what you've said I think the guy is looking for a way out I don't know if that is getting your Mum out of his house, her out of her own house or whatever but he can't cope, it isn't working and the "I am talking to the Social Worker tomorrow. We will see…………….. " and so we will, but it doesn't always turn out as you might expect.
    I hope this gets resolved in an amicable way and everyone ends up happy, genuinely I do, there is more than enough grief in this world any you have had more than your fair share, I hope it all works our OK.
  3. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    Who has POA? Could you legally separate them and find a home near you?
  4. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    Thank you for replying. Nobody has power of attorney, but her husband will need it in time, probably sooner than later. Don't get me wrong - she is not suffering physical abuse from him. I would call it mental bullying and now it is being directed at me. I don't think the standard of care she is getting is what it should be. The home near me is not an option at present because of the distress and disorientation she experienced at being away from home when we tried to get her to stay with us. She can't seem to cope away from her home. If she would go for respite it would certainly help. She is very passive now so in time respite could be a future option. We are going there this week so will be able to see how much she has deteriorated.
  5. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    Thank you for your reply. He is a very complicated character who always had a belligerent, confrontational streak that has got considerably worse as he's got older. If he was a teenager you would say he needs anger management. The reason I question if he has a mental illness is that I wonder if he is heading towards dementia himself. Certainly he denies that he has said things, but is that manipulation of a situation to suit his needs - I don't know? He is certainly not taking Mum out, even to the shops anymore. He admitted that he doesn't love her now. We are visiting in a day or two so I will be able to see how much Mum's deteriorated.
  6. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    My GP told me I was with a kind of "career disease", in my case it turned my depression to worst, it made me very tired of everything. I can say I didn't go out with mom because it was jus more caring work. My GP increased my pills to limit (maximum dosage). I am not proud to say I stayed more than month without bath/floss/brush teeth/comb hair.
  7. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015

    Thank you for your reply Ana. I hope that things are working out a little better for you now. Don't forget to look after yourself first. Without you being well you can't help anyone else.

    I think Mum's husband has been depressed. The trouble is it is difficult for family to know what to do when you are told not to help one day and feel that you are interfering, get verbal abuse the next and then told you don't do anything.

    Relationships in the extended family are getting strained with accusations by one person that one relative that lives close is not doing enough even though he has a very busy job and has to travel aboard. My husband and I are trying to emphasise that we all need to support each other.
  8. kenaidog

    kenaidog Registered User

    Apr 8, 2013
    I think they thing is that you have to remember is that he might be full of guilt or even feel so pressured to have to be looking after her, someone with this disease can be so hard going even without the screaming and shouting that goes along with it. No doubt he probably will think he doesnt want to be there and look after her. Ive had professional people tell me about there own circumstances and you know they even said even though it was there job to look after people with this illness, they couldnt do they same for there own parents. Its a very hard think to do and fully committing, there is no escape from it, I know myself i coudlnt take the stress of it all. Its far worse than having a baby in a cot, you cannot really leave these people alone, they need to be watched all the time and it only gets worse. But you also have to live too and unless you can give up your own life and family its going to be very hard.

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