Where-Oh-Where Has My Filter Gone?


Over the past year, things have been slipping out of my mouth that would have been better left unsaid, and have embarrassed me or hurt others.

The last straw was a comment about a granddaughter's career choice that caused a four-month estrangement between my daughter, her children and me. We recently breached the crevasse and are back on friendly terms, much to my relief.

But the incident has left me examining others things that have popped out in various situations, with no apparent filter as to whether or not they are appropriate. I have come home from a meeting or luncheon and asked myself, "Why did I say that?" I have later found myself apologizing and promising myself that it wouldn't happen again. But these incidents keep re-occurring.

They have made me question my mental acuity to the point that I took a self-administered test that was available online, and gave it to my doctor for an evaluation. It was a test with which he was familiar. He looked it over and said I had nothing to worry about.

But I'm really not convinced. I do worry.

Why does this keep happening, even though I resolve every time I am in the company of people other than my husband, that I will KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT?

Is this one of the early signs of approaching dementia?

Am I on the verge of lapsing into the dreaded Alzheimer's?

Or, is it just "the meanness coming out," as my mother used to say?

In the past few months, I have withdrawn from groups that I had previously enjoyed, for fear that I will say something that is inappropriate. That may seem like over-reacting to something that I should be able to control.

I keep reading posts on this site about the hurtful things that dementia patients say and do that cause distress to loved ones. I am asking myself if we all lose our filter as we age—the filter that keeps hurtful or annoying things from coming out at unexpected times, without the power to stop them before it's too late.

Is this a natural part of aging? Not for everyone, certainly. But, for some of us, there may be no way to prevent it. Something beyond our control is at work, and we just have to try desperately to reel it in and keep it in bounds.

The nice part about being a writer is that you have the chance to look over what you have written, and hit the "delete" button before you hit the "send" button. If only we could do that with our voice.

In the meantime, I am working desperately to retrieve my inner filter.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For AgingCare.com, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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NO, NO, NO -I don't think its dementia, alzheimers, or anything else. I've been finding similar experiences with myself, but when I look back at them I have noticed one common factor - people pushing me too far after a life-time of me walking on eggshells with them so as not to make them mad or hurt their feelings. My daughter is no talking to me either and I think it will be a lot longer than 4 months, plus she has turned my grandkids against me. All very painful. Yes, I said some things that were better left unsaid, but after being pushed and pushed by her, I finally pushed back. Well, that just didn't go over well. I think a lot of our children, relatives and friends are so used to us not saying anything, or agreeing with them, that when we finally do say what we really think, they go into shock and than take a "holier than thou" position. I don't know at this point if I always want to retrieve my inner filter. I guess it comes with age, and a life time of people running to you with their problems for help, doing exactly opposite of what they should have and coming back whining and crying again. Maybe its not you, maybe its the rest of the group you're with and the light has finally dawned on you and you don't want to be quiet about it anymore. I try not to engage in stuff either, but every now and then I will blast someone off the earth. If I think about it and feel I was wrong, I'll apologize and if they're a true friend, they will accept it and understand. At this point in life, I was supposed to be responsibility free, but instead, its kids, parents, grandkids, husband and I'm supposed to manage it all. It's called "overwhelmed" and most of us women are in the category. I think the resentment builds up and sometimes we just can't filter it any longer. Plus, I really believe that people aren't getting any smarter these days, and as Dr. Phil would say, you just want to scream at them "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING" ?? So hang in there, you're ok, you jus need to vent, or a punching bag, or some duct tape now and then. Sounds normal to me !!!
I believe you can fix this! So many times it is not what you say it is how you say it. I do not want growing older to be an excuse for being unkind for me. I think being round someone with dementia and no filter may "rub off", but you have great communication skills! You can think before you speak.
I am of the opinion that the older we get, the less patience we have for stupid. During my last year of employment, after 40 years, I found since I no longer had anything to prove or scared of losing my job, I said whatever was on my mind. I wasn't insulting. I just wasn't intimidated any more. Maybe if I was decades younger, it would matter.

I am presently the soul caregiver for my disabled brain injured brother and a mom with Alzheimer's. I am honest with my feelings and opinions even more. Again, I'm never rude. Often my filter disappears because someone says something I consider inappropriate. My thinking is, whatever anyone says to me is nothing compared to what I experience now. But, I don't have to put up with stupid.