Venting: People have always said how nice and good-natured I am. My mom thinks I'm a moody b****.

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Another morning, another argument. I always have to prod and cajole Mom into getting moving. Mom taking her sweet time getting her coat and shoes on to go to dialysis. One more cigarette. Watching TV. Insists we always leave at different times even though I have consistently gotten her out the door at 11:30 and on time to dialysis. I have to push a little to get her moving, I get frustrated. Then she says she never knows what mood I'm going to be in. Then it blows up and she is being a total a****** to me. Says I just make her feel bad and she didn't ask me to start staying here.


She was DYING before I started staying here. Her house was a mess, she wasn't eating or taking her meds properly, she was filthy and never changed out of dirty clothes, she was falling all the time and smacking her pretty little head, she wasn't doing home dialysis properly. I really thought she was going to die. I intervened. I got her appropriate medical care and home support. I cook, I clean, I do the laundry, I administer the meds. 75% of what I get pushy about is to keep her safe and healthy. Back in July, the renal team started talking to me about ending her dialysis and letting her die. She is way better now than she was, because I am here to care for her.


But I'm the evil one.


I know it's not her fault. I know she is not aware of even half the things she does or the way she behaves, or her mean mouth, or her snotty-teenager-meets-self-absorbed-4-year-old routine. Knowing barely helps at all. I have never been a patient person, as a way of going, and I am certainly not managing to find patience now.


Sometimes I think I should threaten to put her in a home and see if that calms her the **** down. At least if I'm going to be thought of as a b****, I should maybe start acting like one.

12 Comments

Your profile says that your mom has dementia. With that condition comes behavior is that is often annoying, rude, insulting, ungrateful, etc. Blaming the person who has dementia really isn't helpful, as they are not able to do different. We may give so much, but get no thanks. That's how it goes with caregiving a lot of the time.

I'd try to get some help with her care and see what other options for her care that may be available.  Maybe, you are overloaded and just need respite time or a break altogether. I've read that it's not a good idea to be the caregiver for someone that you are so upset with. I hope you can find some support and try not to downplay your role as her helper. I'm sure everyone knows that. It doesn't matter what she says. You know the truth.
Dorianne, I'm surprised to read this after becoming somewhat familiar with you through your insightful posts. But then your mother sees things differently, and not always logically.

I think there's one overwhelming issue that most of us deal with and it explains a lot of the blowback we get. It's that these elders are not comfortable with their situation, with their aging, becoming more fragile, less attentive or comprehensive....what they've accepted as life for decades is now becoming taken from them by old age.

I see this developing in myself, not just b/c of age but b/c of the acceleration of its effects through caregiving. I know that if/when I reach the stage of multiple health problems, I'm not going to drag out a life of pain and suffering and limited mobility. And that's my choice.

Our elders are scared, frightened, resentful, angry, and more. And they take it out on their family. Who else is as close as family is? Who can they verbally attack and get away with it? That's not justification, just what I think is why family members can be more uncooperative, aggressive, and challenging to each other than they can to strangers or acquaintances. Just my opinion....

I don't know that there is an answer to this. Perhaps someday someone will figure out a way to deal with this resentment and channeling it toward family members, or to help all of us adapt to our limited life span and recognize that we're here literally for a short time; we're not immortal, and sooner or later our lives some to an end.

It's not my intent to be maudlin, just realistic.

I wish I could offer something more helpful, but sometimes just knowing that this seems to be a common reaction can help a caregiver realize that it's not necessarily personal. I don't think that behavior toward family is necessarily rational.

On the other hand, you could just step away, after having a good heart to heart talk and asking her if she's ready to discontinue dialysis as was recommended sometime ago. I'm not suggesting that, perhaps just asking what she really wants.

One of my father's friends had been on dialysis for years, going through all sorts of trauma in addition to the regular dialysis. One day he said, "I've had enough." His qualify of life was low, he was tired on trips to a dialysis center, and just decided he was through with it all.

It was his decision to make, and he made it.
@Sunnygirl1 - I do know it's not her fault, as I said. Honestly, I was just venting. Mom forgot by the time she got home from dialysis....or pretended to - either way, it's over.

Mom also has end stage renal (kidney) disease. Her illness contributes to her rudeness and crankiness just as much as her mild dementia. So it's hard to know which one is at play any given day.
@GardenArtist - yeah, this was kind of an internal voice post of the stuff I keep to myself. It's like this often and I truly just needed to vent, I swear! Lol.

We are at this weird stage where I stepped in when things were terrible, and she really could have died. With some intervention and some medical tweaks, she finally started doing a little better within the last month. Even her mind is a little more clear. So....you may be right, in that she is aware of what's happening, and therefore more frightened that she was when she was super sick. And yes, I think she does take it out on me because I am the one trusted family member in her life.

Mom is definitely not ready to end dialysis. It will be a very short end for her when she is. But she is still a fighter, and she was quite shocked when it was suggested as an option.

Anyway, yeah, I know all this intellectually, but emotion got the better of me yesterday when I wrote this. It took me all day to get over it!
Vent away! We understand.

You say you are not a patient person. I used to have a plaque in my room that said, "Lord, give me patience RIGHT NOW!" I think that patience comes more naturally for some people than for others. I have discovered for myself, though, that patience can be improved, with practice.

I'm glad you realize that your Mom isn't fully in control of her behavior, and that she cannot learn to improve that. I think for a lot of us, that does make a huge difference in how we cope. I'm sorry that it barely helps you at all.

I know that you are venting and not necessarily asking for advice. But I think in your situation I would try a few sessions with a counselor. You certainly deserve all the support you can get!
@jeannegibbs - thanks for that. I am not sure I should have said knowing doesn't help. I shudder to think how nasty my internal voice would be if I DIDN'T know these things!!

Patience is the hardest thing! I don't know how others find it! I know my lack of patience is the main reason I didn't have kids - I didn't think it was fair to inflict myself on innocent children. It's also what I've always cited in job interviews when they ask what your biggest flaw is!  My struggle is to keep my impatience out of my voice when dealing with mom, because even though she doesn't understand a lot, I'm sure it's not hard to hear that emotion and react to it, even with dementia.

I have been thinking of getting some counseling, now that you mention it! Though this forum is also helping a LOT since I found it. :-)
Dorianne, a coworker was once complaining bitterly that her husband's family expected her and her husband to care for her FIL, "because you are the only ones without children." Not having children was a deliberate choice. They did not see themselves as nurturing and they did not want the responsibility for another person's welfare.

When you think about it, expecting the only ones without children to do the caregiving isn't very logical, is it? Another reason why you deserve the support of some counseling! Meanwhile, keep posting here. We care.
Oh, I see. It's hard sometimes. I try to just pick my battles. Lately, I've been making an exit strategy. I'm not kidding. lol
@jeannegibbs - I guess it would depend why you didn't have children. Some people just can't, not that they aren't nurturing. (I'm very nurturing to cats, tho', ha ha - it's easy 'cause they sleep 4/5 of the day and nobody calls CPS if you leave 'em alone for a few hours.) But from my perspective, I don't know why having children makes a difference. Having children is a life choice people make. That's one of those things that frustrates me from the childless perspective. Like always being asked to work the holidays because I "don't have a family." I DO have a family! Anyway, that was off-topic, lol.

@Sunnygirl1 - I think I am starting to learn about picking my battles....
Sometimes, I wonder why the world has never seen my parents the way I have. Even my siblings never got to see the way they were years ago with me or they don't remember it. They don't see their negative side now either. It's all smiles when they walk in the door.

If I told people, even long time friends, they simply would not believe me. And, I have no desire to tarnish their stellar reputation. It's just a rather odd thing to me. Almost like one of my parents has a split personality. She has always acted (on occasion) in a way with me and my dad that she doesn't act with anyone else in the world. And that's been since my childhood. I suppose that I will never figure it out. (Sigh) This is the main reason that I think there must be so many dysfunctional families.  

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