Mom called to apologize for treating me badly.

Started by

She just called to say it is her, not me. I said, it is okay. Then, again, I said the wrong thing and she said, you are doing it again and she hung up angry again.

I am stumped and I am not going to call her. Im tired of this.


Oh, and she called me to ask her to get something for her. I am feeing used.
I know, but I feel like something is wrong with this. I never felt used in my life. Always got her things without even having to be asked. But, its like she doesn't say thank you for anything and I wonder "is it dementia" or what?
Im on a roller-coaster ride here and she is aways right! Always.
I can so relate to what your mother is doing to you. My situation was similar. In my mother's case; she had an undiagnosed mental disorder and classic narcissistic behavior. She did call me one time as well to apologize; but it didn't last long either. She was always hanging up on me - criticizing, etc. And always calling for me to get her something or yelling at me if I had not called her. And often she didn't even need what she was calling me to get.

It was suggested to me by a therapist to simply not call her if she hangs up on me. This had been happening so much; and like your mother - she was always right. She had alienated most of the family and her friends. I was always caught in the middle; but the only one who stuck by her and took care of her needs. I do think it is a combination of dementia and mental health issues. Staying away for periods of time was the only thing that worked; otherwise I was enabling her abusive behavior.

My mother eventually was on anti anxiety/psychotic medications which truly helped improve her life. She should have been on medication for so many years; but always refused.

Sending hugs across the miles and take care.
ag8080, your profile doesn't identify what your mother's impairments are and I can't remember specifically if you have talked about her having dementia. Could you clarify that for us?

If your mother has dementia you can expect lots of emotions that you have never experienced in your life. It is VERY challenging to deal with someone whose brain is not functioning as it has in the past. Is she has lost/is losing her ability to reason then the approach you've used in the past -- talking things out with her in a reasonable way -- isn't going to work. This is indeed maddening!

If dementia is in the picture, your first line of defense is to learn as much as you can about the disease. It helps to know what to expect and not to take the symptoms personally.

I remember being very hurt when my husband stopped saying thank you and even started accusing me of stealing his money! It did help to understand that this is common and not about him or me.
You know, I just don't know anymore. I know she never had mental health issues or personality disorder. She was always very sweet. Now she has put her food down and is bossy. I just wrote a rant somewhere on here ... a long one at the end of several thousand posts and got it all out of my system. The whole family is dysfunctional and probably me, too.
Well, she has congestive heart failure at a pretty advanced stage and just recently they "think" she may have mild dementia.
If this is new behavior, and not a continuation of life-long patterns, and if "they" (her doctors?) have suggested dementia, that is the premise I'd go forward with. Hate the disease. Hate what it is doing to your mother. Love your mother and do your best to deal with her. You don't have to put yourself in the line of abusive fire, but hold fast to the belief that this isn't really your mother's true self you are dealing with.
If it is dementia you need to realize that the Mom you know from your younger years is no longer.. You need to educate your yourself about dementia. She needs your help now more than ever..

Patience is the key...

Look up a women Teepa Snow on YouTube. Her videos are great and give you examples to help with care giving of dementia patients..
This is a huge loss.
How I wish there were an edit function. I write and hit submit and then I think of something. She definitely has short term memory problems. There is no denying it. She definitely is depressed, which is understandable considering the CHF being so bad and 7 years of it. BUT, she said to me, your brothers don't want me to die. And so I asked do you think I do? And she said I don't know. Why is she just angry at me and not at everyone if it is dementia? That is why I go back to thinking I am doing or saying the wrong things. It is okay for her to talk about just anything, but I have to watch my every sentence and tone of voice (which she rightfully heard as sad today and told me I depressed her).
I am so confused and I know you are all in pain. So am I. If only we could go like Cary Grant did, on the dance floor, he had a pain in his chest ... and said to his partner, I'm not feeling well. He died that day. What is the point of living to a ripe old age if you have to go through this?
"What is the point of living to a ripe old age if you have to go through this?"

I certainly don't know. My husband was angry when he learned he had dementia. Why couldn't he die of a heart attack like his father, all of his brothers, and even two of his sisters? Why did he have to be the one to live long enough to develop dementia?

I did not have any answers for him. It was what it was and my goal became to ensure the best quality of life he could have and we could have together. He lived ten years. We never did figure out why he had dementia, but we did the best we could and he did have a decent quality of life under the circumstances.

I think it is a perfectly understandable reaction to wonder what the point of living so long is. Maybe your faith will give you an answer or maybe, like me, you'll just learn to live with the mystery. We don't always know why.

Why does she single you out to complain about/to? Because you are there. Because she trusts you to love her no matter what. Because HER BRAIN ISN'T WORKING.

And you are VERY insightful to recognize this disease as a huge loss -- not just to the person who has it, but to all those who love that person. Therapist Pauline Boss talks about the "ambiguous loss" we suffer by having a loved one who is both there and not there. It is a very different kind of mourning. I found her book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" to be very helpful about these kinds of issues.

Keep coming back here. We may not always have answers, but we do understand the questions!

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