1. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    516
    I totally agree with you that you are perfectly entitled to have your hair however you want it. But you can't change your mum's way of thinking now, and apart from a wig you are saying that only way to make her happy is to cut it.

    If you are willing to make that change for her sake, then why not try to turn it around and make it into your decision - have a look at some hairstyles, and spend some time choosing a short style you like. If you can find the right one, maybe it will even suit you better than long hair when you've got used to it. Try to take some control back so that you are not just doing it because she has put you into such a difficult position.
     
  2. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    #22 poster, Dec 9, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
    Sadly I am not going to cut it short. I had short hair about 4 years ago and it did not suit me. People who knew me then and who know me now say I look better with it longer. I don't know why I cannot compromise and tie it back, but my mum wont let me. At least that would get it off my face and away from my shoulders but when I tried it and showed her she said don't do that you look worse than when you don't tie it back.

    I really do not know the answer to this one. Even if I tied it back with a beautiful bright red velvet scrunchie or tried putting some lovely ornate hair slides in which I think would look beautiful, my mother would say I look terrible.
     
  3. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,223
    Female
    The Sweet North
    This is not about hairstyles, but read on.....

    My late mum, who had dementia, fretted endlessly about a very large coniferous tree growing in the next door neighbour's garden.
    We reassured her as much as we could, saying it was safe, well away from the house etc. but she commented on it such a lot.
    One day while mum was at the day centre, a tree surgeon drove up and cut down the tree.
    We waited expectantly to see her reaction when she looked through the back window.
    She never even noticed it had gone.

    Keep your hair, poster.
     
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,732
    Why do I have this strange feeling that if you did have it cut short she might suddenly dislike short hair - oh yes I know why...because that is exactly what my mum would have done lol. I think I might curl it or use one of those lovely hair slides and just tell her you have had it cut and you are going to have it cut some more next time too and that it was a really good idea of hers. It is a part childhood thing and it is a part control thing. Sometimes the control hides the fear and the lack of control she has over other things like her memory and gradually others take over control. Sometimes I just used to laugh (when I wasn't too exhausted!!) and take a silly hat or a cuddly toy round to her (she did love soft fluffy things!!) and treat it as a bit of joke and eventually she would too...but i do realise that wouldn't work for everyone.

    It is so sad because I do understand how much you want to enjoy these late years with her. Thinking of you xx
     
  5. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    Good. I'm glad you have made the decision not to get it cut. If she phones you again, perhaps you could say you're going to talk to your hairdresser about it...and do that, if you like. Then that's not a lie. It doesn't mean you are promising to get it cut but it might stop the arguing, albeit temporarily, whilst she's on the phone. Same response when you visit. A bit like the Spanish and mañana :)

    The story of the tree is interesting as it does illustrate a point. My mum was always wanting to get out of the house, but she was never interested in the destination, it was the 'getting there' that seemed to be the issue. I think the fixation on something may be a way of them dealing with the confusion that must be going on inside their head. "If poster gets her hair cut, everything will be fine again" - but of course it won't, and she'd probably just find something else to fixate on. It's quite a common problem.

    My mum was the least interfering and confrontational person you could imagine, but dementia turned her into a different person and she'd pick a fight with me over the smallest and silliest things. It was very upsetting but there was really no way of fighting it. You just have to take the criticism on the chin and accept that's how it is for the time being. I used to have some horrible visits, when she never wanted to speak to me, so I used to to spend my time there (I had to travel quite a way too) interacting with the other, more sociable, residents instead. I was able to see she was ok, but it felt less like a wasted visit. Dementia or not, please don't allow yourself to be abused.

    As her dementia progressed, the argumentative and aggressive phase thankfully passed. It was probably the worst time.
     
  6. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    Someone else I was talking to about this said to me .."At least you still have your mum, whatever she is like, mine has passed away". That is true but I do not want my mum to interfere and cut me off because I am not doing what she wants. As for saying next time I visit that I will be talking to the hairdresser...... that will not work because my mum will say why have you come to see me with your hair still like that? And she will then say if you cannot get an appointment with your own hairdresser for a while, then find someone else.

    If you think about it, that is logical because if I really wanted to get my hair cut immediately and my own hairdresser could not fit me in, there are plenty of other hairdressers to go to and I could get an appointment tomorrow.
     
  7. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,291
    SW London
    It wasn't much comfort to say that to you.

    It sounds like one of these obsessions/fixations that often happen with dementia, like some angry bee buzzing in their heads. My mother had one after the other, but they do usually buzz off eventually. If it were me, and agreeing and hoping she'll forget doesn't work, then I think I'd cut visits down for now (how often are you going?) and when she starts Hair again, refuse to get into an argument - just say firmly, Sorry, mum, if you're just going to go on about my hair again, then I'm going home.

    I did try this once with my mother when she was being very nasty about my family (again) and she did stop, at least for that evening. And she was quite bad by then so it's not necessarily the case that people with dementia are unable to modify their behaviour. As many of us know, they can often behave quite differently for visitors and professionals, so taking a firm line might just work.
     
  8. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    I guess you may just have to accept that she may well be unpleasant on your next visit. Unfortunately that situation is something many of us have had to deal with.

    You can't change the way she is, only the way you respond to her. My only advice is don't waste your visit arguing back. Her VaD will trump your logic every time.
     
  9. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,570
    Merseyside
    This is so, so true.
     
  10. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    I have noticed this too. My mum was most charming to the other people at the home but not to me. She even had a couple of laughs with one of the staff. I have not seen her laugh with me. When we are on our own, she is a miserable person with nothing much to say. All we do is sit and watch the telly in more or less silence with her flicking over the channels not knowing what to watch. However, her dementia isn't that bad because when she can be bothered she can make conversation about cultural affairs. I cannot just tell her that I am going home if she mentions my hair again. That would be rude and I am not a rude person. Whilst I was visiting my mum she said to me "I always made you look lovely as a little girl when you were 3 or 4 and had your hair cut very short and dressed you in very expensive clothes. Yes she did dress me in very expensive clothe, but she left out the fact that the very expensive clothes were given to us by a kind family who felt sorry for us because we were quite hard up and the family were quite wealthy and they had a daughter about a couple of years older than me and they used to pass the clothes onto me when she had grown out of them. I reminded my mum of this and she remembered. So, if it wasn't for that family helping us out, I would not have been dressed in the expensive clothes my mum likes to boast about.
     
  11. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    Poster, it sounds a very difficult situation for you, to be sure.

    A couple of points I wanted to make have been raised by others:

    -dementia always trumps logic

    -you cannot change her behaviour, only your reaction to it

    These have been very difficult lessons for me to learn in my interactions with my mother, who has Alzheimer's-type dementia (possibly with vascular involvement but I'm waiting for a diagnosis on that). When you add to the mix that my mother and I have never been close, and she has always been "difficult" to be with, well, I am sure many here know what I mean about that. My mother is also very good about "editing" stories about the past and it drives me mad and/or upsets me an awful lot. I used to think she was leaving things out on purpose but now I just chalk it up to the dementia and try to pay as little attention as possible. Much easier said than done, however.

    Of course you don't want to be rude to your mother. I get that. If you will indulge me, let me tell you a story about my beloved auntie and her mother, my paternal grandmother. When that grandmother first went into a nursing home (for mostly medical issues), my auntie would visit her every day, sometimes more than once a day, despite having a baby and young child at home. My grandmother was often rude, nasty, and just plain mean to my aunt. She was also non-compliant with medical orders and her doctors, but that's another story. My aunt finally got tired of being treated like this, and one day said to my grandmother, in a very kind and calm tone of voice, "Mom, I can tell you're not feeling well today and are not up for having visitors. I will come and see you tomorrow and maybe you will feel better and more like having company", and then left. When my aunt returned the following day, my grandmother was happy to see her and they had a pleasant visit.

    This is not being rude, it is setting limits, refusing to be treated poorly, and using behavioural conditioning. Of course it's different dealing with someone with dementia, but the basic idea remains the same.

    You could politely ask your mother to change the subject. You might say, "Mother, I don't want to discuss my hairstyle right now."

    Or perhaps you could break the loop in another way. Is there someone who could visit with you? (I don't visit my mother alone, ever, because she starts on her "you kidnapped me and put me here and stole all my money and you're a terrible person and I hate you" routine and I don't want to hear that. So I am never alone with her, full stop.)

    Perhaps you could confine your visits to a public area; my mother behaves better with other people around (see above).

    Another tactic I use with my mother, when she starts on a subject I don't want to hear, is to excuse myself to use the toilet. I use the public ones in the care home, not hers. If I'm very upset, I take an extra couple of minutes and text a friend for support, do some deep breathing, et cetera. Some visits, I go to the toilet an awful lot!

    I realise you may have tried all these ideas and more, and not found anything helpful. It's just what I was able to think of. I hope others have some helpful suggestions/insight for you.

    Setting limits to protect yourself, is not the same as being mean or abusive or even rude. You are an important person, too, and you should wear your hair however you like, and it's not fair you have to get all this grief from your mother. I'm sorry.
     
  12. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    Hello. Firstly thank you for replying. Secondly, my situation is not as easy to change. If my mother starts about my hairstyle and I politely tell her I do not want to talk about it right now, then she will say "I do" and she will accuse me of evading the issue. Also I cannot visit her in a public area because she has a lung condition and it means she needs to be hooked up to oxygen 24 hours a day and she has a normal oxygen tank in her room and when she goes elsewhere like to the dining room or out to the shops, they have a cylinder of oxygen which they give her and then when she goes back to her room, they lock the cylinder away for the next time and she goes on her usual oxygen tank. Also when I visit her, she lives so far away that I have to stay a couple of nights and that means I am with her all day long. Its not like she lives near me and I can pop in for an hour. Because of the distance and the infrequent number of visits, I have to make each visit a few days.

    I have written a number of posts about this matter and I thank everyone for their input but at the end of the day nobody can advise because they are not in my situation. I do not know what else I can say or what else anyone else can suggest. What I will say is that I am going to buy some hair ornaments and hope that when my mum sees me in them she will change her mind. I saw a lovely one today made of mother of pearl and I think it would look nice, or I can tie my hair up with a scrunchie to match my outfit. I have dark hair so something like a red one would look lovely. So rather than leaving my hair hanging down which my mum does not like I can get it away from my face with an ornament or something bold and outstanding and see if that works. I have good hair. It is thick and soft and I have made it softer on the advice of my hairdresser with some new products, so I do not see how my mother could say its horrible. The last time I went to the hairdresser she made it feel so silky and that's because she put oil on it before blow drying and she said I must always do that and I do now and I said to her I don't get my hair this soft and she said well do you use oil and I said no so she said that's why.

    At the end of the day she has give me good advice and I am grateful and if my mum cannot appreciate that I have a mind of my own and a life of my own as a mature adult then I am afraid to say, she can lump it. Life is too short for all of this agro.
     
  13. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    I'm sorry it is so complicated and distressing for you, poster, and that none of us have been able to come up with any practical suggestions that are helpful for you.

    You're right, we are not you, we are not in your shoes, and you are the one who has to deal with the situation and your mother.

    TP is always here, with people willing to listen, any time, day or night.

    Wishing you all the best.
     
  14. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    11,099
    Female
    South coast
    I think that is probably the only way to go.
    Sadly, sometimes there just arnt any answers.
     
  15. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    Talking with a fried of mine tonight about the recent happenings, she said perhaps my mum is jealous of me. Whilst I would prefer not to think this, I started going over in my mind some of the things she has been saying to me. It is not my mums fault and I do not blame her. A lot of it is to do with her dementia and her upbringing and her life before dementia so in way she is a victim of circumstances and she is just lashing out on her nearest and dearest out of frustration of many many years of unhappiness. She has been unhappy for almost all of her life and sadly now it is too late to let that go. She has never had counselling when she should have to try and rid of her deep seated fears and now its too late and she is taking them out on me.

    I don't blame her but on the other hand I can now see it clearly whereas before I thought she was being deliberately manipulative. She should have had counselling by a trained psychiatrist years ago which she did not have in order to try and rid her of her fears but if you do not think you have fears then you think you are ok and you stay as you are or get worse and sadly my mum has got worse because this past weekend is the first time I have known her to call me unattractive. I am apparently not attractive enough to have my hair longer and the women who do, are very attractive and can wear long hair and I need mine short. There are some women who look very beautiful with short hair but not me.

    When my mum went from child to adult, she already had deep problems from her upbringing and they followed her to adulthood and sadly have carried on until now and will remain until her death.
     
  16. meme

    meme Registered User

    Aug 29, 2011
    1,953
    Female
    London
    you have not mentioned giving a short wig a go??? this would be you indulging your mother and attempting to lighten the issue! However it seems from all you have told us that both you and your mother have rather an obsession with your hair....the only way forward in my opinion would be to insist it is a no go area..if that means your mother wants to skip a visit or more then so be it, don't see it as her threat but her choice ..you hold the power here though you don't feel it is so. Stand firm, refuse to discuss hair ..change subjects and distract... be prepared to agree not to visit till she wants to see you..on your terms
     
  17. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    I think that's a very insightful analysis, poster, and hopefully it will help you cope with your current predicament.

    On a more practical note, if she starts on about your hair at your next visit, I'd politely say I'm just going to read my book in the main lounge until you want to talk about something else and do just that. Leave the room and go back after 15 or 30 mins. And keep doing it until/if/ when she gives up.

    At the very least, it means you are the one in control of the situation and is a far better approach than sitting there taking the abuse. That is not being rude or mean, just pragmatic; you're simply not adding more fuel to the fire.

    I used to take myself off and play dominos or something with some of the other residents when my mum wasn't interacting with me. That way, it never felt like a totally wasted visit as I had hopefully brightened up someone else's day.
     
  18. poster

    poster Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    190
    Unfortunately I could not just walk away and do that because I have to give my mother the right to have her say and listen. She is entitled to say what is on her mind but that does not mean I have to agree with it. As I said in a previous post, she has a lot of problems going back 70 years. I am not a nasty person. I try to do right by my mum and went to visit her to cheer her up because she told me she was lonely and all I got was a load of abuse. I know she is not as bad as some (she can still recognise who I am) but even so the latest episode from her is bad enough
     
  19. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    Fair enough, I guess you'll just have to grit your teeth and take the abuse.

    What she is exhibiting is common behaviour for someone with dementia. Her illness means she is unable to change, so as long as you can understand and accept that, I admire your resilience.

    You may find that if her VaD results in a downturn in the future that her aggression diminishes. My mum got much more pleasant to be around as time went on. It's a two-edged sword.
     
  20. meme

    meme Registered User

    Aug 29, 2011
    1,953
    Female
    London
    what would Mum say if you ask/tell her to have a perm?? or crop her hair??
     

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