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My mother is insulting and hurtful towards her best companion

LolaJane

Registered User
Jun 24, 2014
31
St aughustine fl
I don't understand why, but my 84-year old Mother, who was diagnosed with dementia last year, openly insults the woman who is always loving and caring towards my mother. This woman was married to my cousin (my mother's nephew) for many years up until his death 3 years ago. Brenda lives across the street. She does not drive and lives alone and is lonely in general. My mother used to be sweet and nice to her, but lately she is almost hateful toward her. My mother will make disparaging about her. Of course, my mother thinks she is saying these things discreetly, but she is not. Brenda's feelings are hurt regularly. I tell Brenda that Momma does not mean these things, but I think she really does mean them. Mother acts distant from Brenda when other people are around, but when they are alone, she begs Brenda not to go back home. I think that my mother wants all of the attention from other people, and she feels like Brenda takes that attention away. I think my mother is jealous of Brenda around her (my mother's) friends and family. Any advice?
 

carastro

Registered User
May 7, 2012
115
Unfortunately it's probably the dementia talking and not your mum as such. It's difficult to understand and accept, but maybe a chat with some-one who knows about dementia, or trying looking it up and printing off anything you might find will explain things to this devoted family friend.

Carastro
 

flowerball1

Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
18
Oh how I sympathise with Brenda. My mum used to be the kindest person who rarely said a bad word about anyone without very good cause. Since I began caring for her 4 months ago, she has developed the most vitriolic tongue and regularly berates me for anything up to 4 hours, saying everything is my fault, I should be ashamed of myself etc. I am currently being blamed for something to do with paper tissues... there were not enough of them, so I found an additional box... now there are too many!

I think (maybe wrongly) that she tends to take her frustration and anger at her inability to think or reason properly out on those she feels closest too. Quite often there is a genuine question or request in all the horrid things she says. The knack is to try and see your way through them. She frequently asks about my car and then says " but you never drive it any where do you" in an aggressive tone. I've discovered this is actually her saying " can we go out for a drive, I'm bored". It's not easy to do, especially when you are tired or its 3am and the rant has been going on for hours, but sometimes it helps. Alternatively, distraction can work.

She also has the habit of commenting loudly about other people. Originally I thought this was because she is deaf and didn't know how loud she was speaking, but it appears that this is quite common in people with dementia. Making people aware that this is a symptom of the illness has helped and her comments are now generally accepted with a pinch of salt by our friends, but it has not been easy and I frequently cringe when we are out and cry at the end of a long session.

Could Brenda talk this through with a dementia advisor to understand what is going on. It may help to understand it because so far I haven't yet found a cure for it.
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
I think (maybe wrongly) that she tends to take her frustration and anger at her inability to think or reason properly out on those she feels closest too. Quite often there is a genuine question or request in all the horrid things she says. The knack is to try and see your way through them. She frequently asks about my car and then says " but you never drive it any where do you" in an aggressive tone. I've discovered this is actually her saying " can we go out for a drive, I'm bored". It's not easy to do, especially when you are tired or its 3am and the rant has been going on for hours, but sometimes it helps. Alternatively, distraction can work.
I have learnt with my friend that often she says the exact opposite of what she means, recently she told her son that I'd been visiting her loads, I told him that really means 'I am not going enough and she can't manage - she can't say she can't manage because she doesn't need help, but she hasn't got the words to say what's wrong', I understand because I have the symptoms myself, sometimes I can communicate what's wrong often not. I get upset by her often and if I was well I would let it go over my head more but with my own symptoms I find it very difficult at times. I understand her more than anyone so if I leave her 'alone' or don't meet her needs I am neglecting her when she is wearing her 'dementia glasses' , when I get her back she is understanding, kind and appreciative. It has been worse lately because my own symptoms are limiting me more.