Taking insults - how do others deal with it?

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Ok, personal insults (intended or perceived) can’t sit easy with anyone ……

But have been asked today (by some more objective than others) ‘Why the hell do I do what I do when all I get is abuse?’ (from my mother) ..... (Personal criticisms, nothing I do is ever enough, blah, blah …..)

Why do I? How do others cope when they have run themselves ragged all day to hold down their job, their family and STILL find time for someone who is sooooooooooooooo ungrateful and downright nasty??????

And the answer is NOT ‘It’s the dementia’

Answers on a postcard, thanks ………….

Grrr… soz,

Karen, x

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
The answer can be "the dementia".

I know what you mean. My mother had long bouts of nastiness, generously interlarded with lots of swearing & telling me to reproduce with myself. What did I do? On good days I simply changed the subject or stepped out of the room for 5 minutes. On bad days I cut my visit short. On REALLY bad days, I'm afraid I yelled back and I wasn't too pleasant myself (I come by it naturally so it's all my mother's fault anyway :D).

In my case, it really was the dementia that caused all that behaviour. Now she's not really speaking much at all, just gibberish here & there. There are still some crystal clear words but not very frequently.

Why do I do it? She's my mother. Once we were so close that I couldn't imagine living without her in the world and I asked her to promise me that she would not die before me. I was in my twenties when I asked her this.

Now things are very different, of course. It's no longer my mother I'm dealing with, but the pitiful remnants of a vibrant, beautiful, intelligant, aloof and reserved woman. I guess now I do it for love of the person she was and pity of the person she has become.



Hi Karen.

What does it matter when you get insults from some-one with dementia; they do not know what they are saying, or at times, even who they are saying it to.

They are just words said out of frustration; and words never hurt you unless you are thin-skinned.

Ignore what you hear, they are just words of frustration; not meant at all....Micky.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I so understand what you mean Karen .

I had all that from my mother , its so hard emotional to take it, when they giving it viably saying cruel thing .

I can only put it as psychological , it was like taking me back to my childhood , when she would do that .

I don't know your history with your mother before AZ , how she use to talk to you.

but my mother was a very blunt person , as in psychological moment like she was trying to succeed in influence me to react as she wanted , she use to do my head in as a child . says what she feels , not considering the feeling or impact it has on a person or I as a child , how it can emotional scare you hurt you for the rest of your life if you let it .

Now the disease has progressed , that part of her can still pop out , now and then.

but then when it happen I say to myself is it all her still trying to still retain what little control she has left of her life , because she now always says sorry after an outburst. I just think shame she never said that when I was younger .

but I must say that from the age of 30 we did get on better , then when mum got AZ when she was 70 that side of her came back , as if to haunt me :rolleyes:

took few years to look at it from outside the box because of the stress pusher of caring working full time looking after my own family was getting to me. I could not see I was not that child anymore.

May be she says sorry now because I do not give her it back, she just does not get a reaction from me , like I use to when I was a child .


Many a time I use to walk out when she go into one , few years back
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Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
A Postcard From Wales!!

Oh Maggie, wise words indeed:

I could not see I was not that child anymore.

Kaz, that’s the secret behind it all, and its taken me near enough 12 months of talking to a shrink to understand, I’m not that child anymore.

You somehow have to come to terms with, and accept your mother is who she is, and what formed her into that person, you will never know. Some people are just not capable of showing affection, or appreciation, only of showing disapproval in all that you do, and this has got nothing to do with you, its just the way things are. I think you just have to accept mum was like this pre AD, and it isn’t going to get any better now, no matter what you do, or how you do it.

We run around like headless chickens, trying to please, looking for approval, looking for praise, etc., etc. She loves you to bits, she just cannot show it. The very fact that she heaps criticism on you by the bucket load I’m sure is her very unconventional way of showing you that she does love you and appreciate you. Who does she call in times of need, YOU.:eek: Who does she trust to do all these jobs for her, YOU.:eek: Who does she pile all the worries on, YOU.:eek: And she knows which buttons to push!!!!!:eek: :eek:

However, for self preservation, the secret I believe is finding a balance. You cannot be ‘on call’ 24/7, you need ‘me’ time. This isn’t being selfish or uncaring, this is time to recharge the batteries, we are all less able to cope when we are tired and run ragged. Recharge the batteries and I’m sure the insults and ungratefulness will just roll off you. You never know, step back a little bit, and you may (only may, no promises) just find you are appreciated just a little bit.:rolleyes:

Keep strong.


Cate xxxx


Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Why the hell do I do what I do when all I get is abuse?’

Hello Karen, I have also been asked this many times and the answer for me is duty. I grew up in a era where it was instilled upon you that it was your duty to care and always respect your elders so to me it was something that was just the done thing but having said that, my kids have moved on with their lives I was able to give work away, it's been a struggle but we have managed, as we own our home, but times are different now, commitments are greater my kids would never cope with what you are doing, one is 28 the other 30. I can see that you don't feel like your appreciated and many carers feel the same but you are doing a great job and I wish you all the best for the future. Taffy.


Registered User
Feb 20, 2006
North West England
Hi Tender Face,

I know the feeling.
Husband back a matter of days, and I've got to get used to all the insults all over again.
Delevop that 'thick skin', and cotton wool ears (la la la... I can't hear you !).

I can get these insults from THE VERY FIRST words out of his mouth... and into the night.
In-between he can be fine.... well... sort of.

Pretty much can say NO TRIGGERS needed to insult little me.
Bit worse now, as we've added the 'new man' delusion into his memory bank.
Can be ultra NASTY regarding this.

Manage (if you can put it that way), to cope if I ONLY have insults to handle, but is worse if he is aggressive AND insulting together.

I feel I do what I do out of a sense of duty too.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I love too much, if there is such a thing.

I was carer from a baby/ toddler/ young adult.... Mum was too.
Maybe I have the little known about genetic caring gene that makes us fight to the end, and continue to give and give till you can do no more.

I've ALWAYS been a 'giver' ..... rather give than receive.
Little 'things' mean a lot to me.

I get the odd thank you..... and the occasional please..... but not often.
Lots of critial comments.... he knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. And of course he can do it better.

I agree with Karen..... It's not 'just' the dementia.

Rant over now.

Take Care,



Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
For me 'it is the dementia' and so I cope with love

I know the man my Lionel was before this awful desease took over.

I feel more for the way he abuses his carers, with words that I never even realised that he knew. All delivered with venom.

Only you knows just how your mum was before all of this.

Never easy to cope with, whatever stategy you use. Love n'hugs

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Thanks everyone .....

Sorry, real bad day yesterday and just needed a rant :eek:

I know somedays I can (almost) laugh - water off a duck's back and all that .... until mum tells me I'm an ugly duckling ....... (half joke, half-serious there! :D ) ... other days.... well we all know - some days we cope better than others .....

Thank you all for your support ......

Love, Karen, x

(PS: When I turn into a beautiful swan I'll let you all know! ;) :) )


Registered User
Feb 12, 2007
Tender Face said:
- some days we cope better than others .....

Very true. Some days I can let it go over my head but other days it's like world war 3 between me and my mother (thankfully those days don't happen too often). My mother is very good at finding the most hurtful thing to say to me.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Who knows karen they may be a hidden message in when your mother say ugly duckling , as your all grown up now like the swan , she telling you that your a beautiful woman now :)

Ha you know me always looking for a Positive in a negative :) .

Never feel Sorry for having a rant Karen , as you know its all part of caring


Registered User
Aug 3, 2006
Outside perspectice

Please forgive me, but as a person who grew up without parents or any one person to guide me I became an observer, an outsider if you will.

Could you consider the following, when parents don't want their children to be burdened with their care, it's possible the only way some know how to 'send them on their way' is to upset them so much, that they're hoping you leave and get on with your life?

The other thing could be as they regress to different stages of childhood she's reached the stage of testing you. You know children say "I don't love you anymore" as they sob. There are times some will test you to your very limits, I've always read that as a feeling of insecurity: "Will you still love me no matter how bad I am?"

Don't know if this makes sense to you, but for what it's worth, I'm strange it helps.
You know the saying: You never knew what you had until you lost it, I'm the opposite. If you never knew it existed, when you discover it you savour it!
Hope your Mom calms down when she senses you want to care for her. Good health and may the road rise with you. Padraig


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
I agree Padraig, I've often thought this may be a reason.

It makes sense.

When your faculties to engage in conversation start to go, you have to find other buttons to press to achieve what you want.

Jan certainly did this on at least one occasion with me, and made it clear to me that this was exactly what she was doing.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Yes, there was certainly some of that in my mother's behaviour when she was being "bad".

It was interesting to hear her cheerfully exchanging insults with the paid carers, they had no qualms about "answering back".

Lonestray said:
There are times some will test you to your very limits, I've always read that as a feeling of insecurity: "Will you still love me no matter how bad I am?"