Help- Mom is becoming mean and hateful and unreasonable.

Started by

I have been caring for Mom for the past 7 years. The 1st year was spent flying between my home and my parents to help when Dad became terminally ill. I am an only child, Mom is 77. While Dad was in hospitals and hospice I took care of planing for the inevitable with my Dad, Mom would not accept he was not coming home. Dad had done everthing-the bills, caring for the house,shopping and cooking. Mom has never ever driven and has always been fearfulof...well everything. Just before Dad passed as we were planing what to be done, he told me"Mom is not like she used to be." I asked what he meant by that- he was vague and said she is not social-don't make her leave her house, take care of her. I realzed later she likely has alzheimers- her sister,father both suffered with this disease. she absolutely will not go to be tested. But all the signs are there.The next year was spent flying back and forth to take care of the house and her ect. She was isolated, no friends , no interests,and constantly afraid. some younger neighbors would take her to the grocery store2x a month( which was a bit weird but they had been friendly for years) and that was it unless I flew down. It became clear she was not doing well and I had to do something. I searched for months and found a cute 2 bedroom 1 level house 2 blocks from me.Perfect! We Mortgaged my house which was paid for to buy this house spent endless hours remodeling for her all the while flying her up for awhile then back to Florida. The time to list her house for sale came and i had to gently nudge her along, spent 2 weeks packing and moving her to her new home- it is so cute and perfect! She took a long while to get moved in I tried to let her be in control- but clearly she needed help to decide where to put things ect, she would just sit and worry. So we got it done. Her house in fla sold and we were able to pay everything off. 5 years later she seemed settled. she has a sum of money in the bank good income from pension and ss with little to no bills. I take her everywhere and make sure she gets out for walks and socializing-she does nothing w/out me. i have accepted that and the sacrifices. my husband works out of state in the winter - I am not able to be with him 100% as I have to be here for her- the travel back and forth again is expensive and tiresome-but gotta do it. she still worries so much about everything it is hard to take. sorry so long but that is the condensed version of the past 7 years. So now the newest problem- My house still has my mom and Dads name on it- we just never did anything about it. The house is waterfront and valuable but needed and still needs some repairs and upkeep as part of it is a rental unit. I take care of all expenses and repairs on my home -of course. mom is set her house paid for and all refinished. so 2 years ago I told mom weneeded to change the deed on my house that we needed to borrow to take care of things. We are responsible adults. Nope no way she would not agree -the house was free and clear she wanted it to stay that way. She does not at all understand how things workthese days and is fearful as I said of everything. SO- as I have power of attorney and it is my house - I took out an equity line- wemoved forward and took care of what we needed to do, with the idea of refinancing in 3 years-all good. Well by the slip of a phone call she realized we have an equity line on the house...mind you we have not been late on 1 payment and take care of everything.Mom has gone into hysterics and depression and will have nothing to do w/ me other than to take her to the grocery store- where she asks me to not come in with her. she is being very hateful and hurtful to me. the things she is saying are shocking to me- all I have ever done good has been erased. I am trying to be loving and care for her - but she is making it next to impossible. I cry most days-call her everyday to see she is ok and she gives me one word answers and hangs up when I go over she barely allows me in and then asks me to leave. she has agreed now that we will change the deed.but that is it-she says she will never get over this. I can not live like this it has been 1 month and my heart is broken.She will not go to a counselor or our priest to talk -I have asked- so we can get past this. I do not know what to do. I can not continue this way it is killing my health-hers also. But what do i do? she has a brother in another state- but to sell this house and move her again would likely be too much. please any advice-this is killing me I can not live like this for months much less years.

70 Comments

Karenia,

Don't wait for your mother to go see a therapist, you go see one for yourself because you are the one at a crisis point and need a lot of support.

IMHO your mother having always been fearful of everything and doing basically everything as you described above does sound like she's had problems for years that he sought to compensate for. Now it sounds like you are trying to compensate for those issues and it's about to kill you (excuse my bluntness) as it killed him. Her fearfulness ate him up and it is obviously destroying you.

Have you talked with her brother about this. Is he like her or is he healthier? Asking for his input and help does not have to mean moving her.

All in all, please go find a counselor to get some support and a neutral third party to equip you to help yourself and your mother.
Has your mom been diagnosed with depression/anxiety and/or dementia? She sounds like medication could be in order. Her thinking is out of whack, and she is just reacting, not really understanding what has taken place with your property situation. Keep trying to assist her, try not to take her cold responses to heart. I know that this is easier said than done. She does not even seem to realize that without your assistance, she basically has no one else who would care for her. That to me makes it sound like she has some deficits associated with dementia. Will she agree to go to the doctor? Is she due for a visit? I actually wrote a four page letter that I gave to my mother's doctor right before her latest appointment. I told him all about the incidents of her confusion, loss of memory, paranoia...he had the "head's up" before seeing her, and it helped a lot. It is difficult to deal with a parent's anger - but chances are she can't help it. She just doesn't get it. I think once you accept that she is going to be unpleasant and cold, you will be able to deal with her a little better. I also agree that you could benefit from seeing your own therapist. Don't let the turmoil destroy your psyche. Best of luck - and hugs to you, too.
Thank you all for the support. I just was at Moms house and she is cold as ever. She said again she is afraid of me now. Tears again for me. She refuses to go to the doctor- she is due for her yearly next month- but has refused to go. I have tried in past as now suggesting a visit for some anxiety meds but she absolutely will not. As for her brother I asked her yet again this morning to call and talk with him( he is in ok health and i think sound mind) she venomously refused and "forbade" me to call him. I amso afraid to contact him or her doctor for she will go completely ballistic. I do have an appt w/ an attorney soon I am going alone to talk openly with him and then after perhaps she will go. I hope to at least get some good solid information to share with her re: the properties- she does not realize that hername on the deed will make my house an asset of hers that should she need nursing home care or whatnot could be lost. I know i need helpbut I do not know where to turn
You are an adult, not her little girl anymore. Do, what you as an adult thinks is best for you and her. If at any time, you think that she is a threat to herself or someone else, like yourself, you must get her involuntarily committed to a hospital for a full psychological evaluation.

Your mother sounds like she's totally out of control. If I were you, I would call her brother, but not tell her you did. I wonder what makes calling him so fearful? Make the call to your uncle and to your mother's doctor from your own house, not hers. You are right to get her name off of your deed for it's your house. Is your name on her deed for the house that you got her?

Frankly, from the evidence you have shared your mother has some long term issues which you did not create; you cannot fix; and you cannot control. All you really can do is select a healthy path for yourself along with telling her what you are and are not wiling to do in order to help her, but that she's going to loose that if she breaks various boundaries which you are going to have to select, set, and have some consequences for. I feel very sorry for you and could only imagine what it must have been like growing up with her as a only child. Was your mother this controlling, fearful and dependent back then? Is your mother's brother older or younger than her.
Hi Karenia,
I hope I am not interfering in this discussion but there are a few legal steps you can and should take to keep your home. Contact an elderlaw attorney in your area to find out what can be done - most states have laws that will allow caretakers to retain possession of real estate in situations such as yours. It's probably too late to assume durable Power of Attorney for your mom, since she is apparently not well enough nor willing to assign that responsibility to you, but seeking guardianship may be an option, albeit expensive. You are correct to worry about having to give up your property in the event she needs nursing home care, so don't delay seeking legal advice. Once you apply for Medicaid, you no longer can take steps to protect your assets.
Now, I hope you don't mind if I comment on the emotional turmoil you must be going through. I went through exactly the same thing with my mother. She always had a few problems coping with her life, but nothing extreme, in my estimation, and she and I would always talk intimately about life. However, when she developed cancer (over 1 year ago) and needed full time care while undergoing chemotherapy, she came to live with me and within only a short time became very hateful and unreasonable to me, the only one of her 4 kids who bent over backwards to care for every single one of her extensive medical needs. She is now in an assisted living facility and it is apparent she is declining cognitively, and very rapidly, but I suspected her personality change a year and a half ago may have been due to very early Alzheimer's changes or another form of dementia. I still tend to all of her needs outside of direct care for her, but in spite of this, she has remained emotionally remote from me. There is little I can do to win her back - I've finally accepted this.
I have had no support from siblings at all, and let me tell you, this has been the most trying experience of my life. I am 55, and it is so easy yet to retreat into my role as "daughter" and fear Mom's disapproval, but in fact I need to assume the parental position now.
Your mom can't help the way she is behaving, nor is it your fault. Crowmagnum has given you some pretty sound suggestions when he said there may have been some long term issues that you did not create and cannot fix - these are the very "issues" that become magnified when a loved one begins a cognitive decline. The texts don't tell you this, perhaps because subtle personality change is a difficult thing to measure, but I have heard many family members of Alzheimer's patients report this as an early symptom.
At any rate, the mixed bag of feelings can be better sorted out by realizing that it is illness which is causing your mom to behave this way toward you, and even to fear intervention by her brother. Unfortunately her immediate needs must be dealt with before you can take the time to even grieve, and that is what is so hard. I hope I've helped you somewhat. Reading your story here has certainly put my own situation in perspective, so please accept my thanks. I does help to know when we have company.
Karenia,
When I first moved my Mom here, I did everything for her...I finally figured out that this was not in either of our best interests.
Others above have given you great advice about your Mom and her current state of mind. So, I want to offer you some advice that helped save my sanity:

1) your Mom does not have the capacity now to think rationally, so do not let her hurt your feelings when you are in her presence. Think of her as a neighbor or stranger that you are helping and be firm, calm, and consistent.
2) always make decisions based on what is best for BOTH of you. You cannot put your marriage or your finances in jeopardy.
3) do not move your Mom again. Give her as much time alone as is safe. Hire caregivers who can come to her home and help with errands, housecleaning, and personal care. It will give her a chance to interact with another person and you a breather.
4) at some point, and especially if she becomes a threat to herself, you may have to consider another placement for her either in assisted living centers (many specialize in Alz. care) or nursing home.
5) and last but most importantly: you are an exceptionally devoted daughter who went well above and beyond the call of duty for both your parents. Say that to yourself everyday.
Hi Karenia,
The hardest thing for me has been accepting the fact that I MUST make some decisions for my mom. If your mother will not see a doctor then she is endangering herself and needs evaluation. Get the help and support that you need (like the oxygen on an airlplane - you first - then the dependent) and TALK TO HER DOCTOR NOW. It seems to me that you are expecting way too much from her - its your time to step up and start helping her..even if that means 'disobeying' her. You must let the role reversal happen - it is in her best interest. Ask her doctor if he/she knows of any eldercare support groups. Start with the doctor as a resource of information.

My mother has been my dependent for 3 years now and the learning curve has been huge. Just two nights ago she vented some anger on me - not like her- and its hard to take. I try to remember that she is frightened because she is losing control of her life. BUT it has taken 3 years for me to have a healthy perspective on our relationship - its not easy AT ALL. You are not alone. Seek support - there is plenty of it out there (Many of my friends are dealing with the same issues.)
Good luck and God Bless both of you! Leslee
I too have elderly parents, dad 91 mom 87, everything fine until this past summer. For years my husband & I & prior to my husband's retirement was just I did my parents mowing & weeding! We took them to doctors 60 miles away, as they live in rural small town area. My dad tested positive for Hep. C & when new tests were done, My husband & I went for results on June 2, 2010 to specialist, when specialist read results to a second doctor to type report said "hep. A positive, hep. B neg. hep. C positive. When we returned I made calls in few days to siblings, & this has now turned into awful mess. My mom & dad are claiming my dad doesn't have hep. A & that the doctor didn't say he did have it & they now took my brother whom I don't get along with because he is after the family farm, & their local doctor is claiming the results are that he does not have it! So now I have been vilafied as making this all up for some reason & my husband heard us talk about the results on the way home on Jun. 2nd. My mother now has chosen to write our daughter from my first marriage & make awful lies up about me. She has also called my sister & made other awful accusations about me, then she will write me & send me cards saying you are loved. I think she has developed some awful mental illness, I am the one out of 5 children who has done everything for my parents, now I feel like I have been kicked out of the family! My brother & 1 sister have been egging her on because they are after money, I have told them to sell the farm & spend it all on themselves! What do you do when your parent changes overnight like that & turns mean & hateful to you? My husband says to ignore her & she will quit writing others & I have not responded hateful to her I try to respond only positively to her but she is getting worse! What do we do? I feel for you as I know how you feel, it hurts! You feel like your hands are tied & in my case I have 2 brothers & 2 sisters to deal with & only 1 sister will agree that there is something wrong! It is just sad! I don't even know what is wrong with my mom & my dad can only remember things from a long time ago I think he has alzheimers but they don't want anything to do with me now, unless I will appologize & say I lied about my dad having hep. A, but I didn't & I can't even contact the doctor he saw as a specialist now because of the privacy laws! How do you find out what your mother has when you know something is wrong but can't do anything about it. We think mom doesn't want to admit dad has Hep. A because it would mean they would have to spend a lot of money on fixing up their water supply & septic system on the farm! I am from Illinois
I am an only child who is divorced and raising three children on my own. My eldest (aged 12) is disabled - legally-blind and autistic. My mom has no life outside her home other than attending mass once a week, going shopping and tending to her yard. We live in the same neighborhood, so I am able to help her with what she needs help with and she watches my children on Friday nights, so I get a night off since my children's dad wants less and less to do with them. I love my mother even though we have never been close, and lately, she has begun to make my life a living HELL. Last night, while I was attending an all high school reunion, she got her self completely drunk, insulted my neighbors, demanded that my children get in their own home and stay there while I was gone, and then verbally abused me when I spoke up and told her that I am the parent...not her. She constantly reminds me of anything I have done that hasn't met her expectations. We are struggling financially, because I am unemployed, but instead of offering help, she continues to fill her house with meaningless material "crap" just to have it...a big screen TV she never watches, a high-tech cell phone she never uses, tons of new clothing she doesn't need and an endless array of toys for my children that they lose interest in and eventually throw in the heap with the rest. Last Mother's day I went out of my way to find a special card, her favorite shampoo and other little things I know she likes, and when she realized I had done this she went out a bought me the cheapest box of chocolates she could find and gave them to me stating how she refused to buy the good ones because they were too expensive. My mom's family is all overseas (she came to America to marry my dad) and when he died suddenly, I did everything for her...took care of all of the financial things that need to be done and got her every single benefit that I could from his being deceased. When we were going over my dad's investments and making a plan on how they should be handled, she told her account advisor that she had no need for long-term care insurance since I was going to care for her in her old age. So here I am. I bought a house in the same neighborhood for my mom's sake and now that we're close to facing foreclosure, she acts as if it is no concern to her. She insists that I will not find the economic conditions any better than where we currently live, so there is no use in trying to sell my house, If I let it go back to the bank, that will just ruin my credit, blah, blah, blah. Every time I get a night out to have adult interaction, she finds some way to throw a wrench into my plans so I end up coming home to care for my children. She has stopped just short of accusing me of stealing from her bank accounts, and has complained that I have my name on it as the sole surviving family member. She says that it should be illegal for me to have access to finances and she doesn't understand why I have to have my name on her accounts. Honestly, I've had as much as I can take of this behavior and wish I lived on the opposite side of the country from my mom. I feel like a nobody with no emotional support, yet here is where I stay, feeling an obligation as an only child to take care of my surviving parent.
I am going to add a little different perspective on this. One of the things I have noticed with the elderly is the pride of doing things themselves & taking care of business even if there are some lapses of memory. They highly resent being taken care of if there is a thread of sanity in them. They espeically hate to be taken advantage of or think they are being taken advantage of in a semivulnerable state. They also were great savers & believe that young people today are frivilous & wasteful. Remember they have been through some tough times and she has earned your respect. It sounds like you had built a trust that mom didn't want to to things without you. But then you say, you took matters into your own hands and that trust was broken & violated in her mind. She feels very angry, alone & vulnerable. Being a caregive is not easy. It is helping those we love make the transition into the next phase of their life. There are some bumps along the way & we can become too bossy, tired and impatient, not to mention scared. Your relationship is more important than this issue & I suggest you apologise whether she is feeble-minded or not. No one likes to have someone else push their will on them. That trust is an important issue to her right now & it is her security. Sounds like you are miserable too. This can be worked out with respect & honesty & maintaining proper boundaries. It is a gradual step moving from child to caregiver. My mom is a Navy vet and was diagnosed as bipolar after a breakdown in the military. However, she always managed her own affairs. My transition help to her was gradual & today at 89, she is more than happy to let me do it. I miss her discernment, wisdom and imput. But, I totally respect & honor the way she did business.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support

Related Questions