Mother has dementia and is miserable, sad and angry with me...but just fine with everyone else.

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My mother (in ALF) calls me constantly to complain and cry. When I visit (which is very often) she cries, begs to go home, and has every medical ailment known to mankind. When other people come around, she becomes perfectly fine. No tears, no complaining, nothing. She was giving me a particularly hard time yesterday, so my husband finally answered the phone and she was great with him. This is really starting to wear on me. I can't seem to do enough for her. Does anyone else experience this?


I do. this has been a life long thing of my mother's, but accentuated since she's had dementia/Alzheimer's. It's even worse, because she is living here and I cannot escape it. I do understand, completely. when home health comes in, she is so charming, whenever the rare visitor comes into the house, she is so sweet and I look at her, and wonder how she manages to fool everyone else. She's always been a bit cruel to her own family. When I have told her in the past, her answer is always the same, "I didn't know that", and she cries. She never changes though, and now I feel it's too late for any of that. I am sorry you are experiencing that. At least you can turn off your phone. Keep her there at assisted living. NEVER, I repeat, NEVER let her move in with you. I feel I have no options. She can't afford AL, and she'd have to pay her own way in a nursing home for a few months and hopefully Medicaid would kick in. We can't really afford to have in home care, either, except for a very sparse amount. I am not sure why some parents do this to the people they profess to love the most. At least I've learned to keep an eye on myself so I don't do this to anyone I love! Good luck. Like I said, though, at least she's not in your home. That's a real plus!!!
I honestly don't think I could handle her in my home. She must be in charge at all times. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this 24/7...I can't even imagine. It seems that I've spent my whole life trying to gain Mom's approval and even know, I often feel like a little kid who just wants the mother to acknowledge that I've done good. I know that is never going to happen, but it is so discouraging when I always seem to bring out the worst in her and I'm the one who spends the most time with her.
Hugs to you Abby - I use to go through the same thing with my mother when she was living at home and in the nursing home. She would bully me and my father and be kind and charming to get what she wanted. She told lies about me at the nursing home.

I learned to shrug it off.....not easy thing to do....but absolutely necessary. I think she would treat my father and me the worst because she knew we would never abandon her no matter how she treated us; even though other family members did. I would keep the visits short when she became abusive I distanced myself as that was the only way to deal with it.

I had to develop a thicker skin and not care what the workers at the nursing home thought due to her lies. "I knew what I knew" - I knew the truth - mental illness takes all shapes and forms. Often, if I stayed away for a time; she was better for it. I would never confront her as that would never work. Walking away did work - I would not stay and enable her if she was confrontational. At least there were some nurses who knew what I went through and that helped, the rest did not matter.

Know in your heart, you are a wonderful daughter and you have done much good for her. She knows it, but will never give you the know what you know..... and that is all that matters. Hugs and take care.
Thanks for understanding. Sometimes I feel guilty for putting my feelings into words. I just visited Mom. She was okay until I started to leave, then started with "I hope you enjoy your day" and crying. She never means that she wants me to enjoy my day...but that she hopes I feel guilty about the time I spend away from her. Like you, I know what I know. I do the very best I can. I cannot change her into a person who creates her own misery. I can only make certain that she is safe and cared for. I often think about the people at the ALF who would love for someone to visit them and my Mom doesn't appreciate all the visits that she gets. When you would spend some time away from your mom, did you answer the phone when she called? My mom calls non-stop when she gets in a certain mood.
Abby, to be perfectly honest, no I did not always answer the phone. I would let it go to answering machine and listen to the message from her. Judging by her tone, I would decide whether or not to return the call sooner or later. If she was in one of her moods; it would serve no purpose to have a conversation that would not go well.

We had problems with my MIL as well before she moved in with us. We had to take her car away for safety reasons and she would call and call. I just let her vent on the machine as these conversations are no good for anyone. I would return the call later and if the conversation started going in the wrong direction; I would end it. Not good for them and not good for us.

Try to not feel guilty for putting your feelings into words. It is a form of venting and on this forum, so many of us can relate and someone can benefit from your post. Take care.

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