I just don't understand how dementia patients can say such hurtful things.

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My mother says nothing but wonderful things about my brother who is hardly ever here to help with her. But she goes back to telling me I have been a difficult child since I was born and how she had to promise my father to stop smacking me or she would never stop. I am the one living with her and providing her care yet she says so many nasty things to me. I feel she is being truthful with her comments since she has always treated me like crap.


I have the same situation with my father. He never says a bad word about a brother who does not take care of him, and calls once a week. I have read that they take out their frustrations on the family they live with, but I do think it goes deeper than that. My dad's neurologist said that either they will  be a totally different person or that the disease will just intensify the person they were before. Sounds like that is what we are dealing with. The disease is just intensifying their feelings for us.
Well. The disease certainly can remove inhibitions - things that would never have been said out loud before, because they were hurtful or *incredibly* rude, your lovely, polite, nicely-brought up parent is suddenly blurting out in public. It's a frontal lobe function, I gather, this kind of social self-regulation.

When you think about it, we all think things about all sorts of people that it would be completely unacceptable to say. Imagine if you couldn't tell the difference any more and just said whatever popped into your head?
I'm so sorry Pet
As country mouse says the filters drop away - my mom loves to point out the fattest person she sees and then says look!

Through the difficult stages of her dementia we would go at it especially when I took her car keys away, but I never doubted her love for me so that must be especially hard for you
Petsilove, you must be an animal person. Have you noticed that people who really, really love animals were often not treated so well when they were young? I've noticed that is often the case, though not always. Maybe people find in animals what they couldn't find in people. That you are there helping with your mother says that you are a good soul. I guess the best thing we can do is say it doesn't really matter as much if they like a sibling better than us. 

Caregiving can open wounds that we thought had healed long ago. What helps close the wound is realize our parent is just a person and not let their words be overly important to us. Chances are that they don't really know us at all.
It sounds like the main issues are centered around that fact that you are caring for your parent who is living at home. The lines get crossed really quickly in that situation and as parents regress a bit, you can easily be exposed to absorbing that same regression. One moment has to do with today and then the next hour has to do with something that occurred decades ago. You try to find rational thought in the source of issue so perhaps you can make things better but you have to address today. Keep it separated. Focus on today and tomorrow, for yourself, but respect the fact your parent is just thinking about a lot of those things than span their lifetime. You cannot solve the past, but you can make things better tomorrow with new approach. Find solace in what new approach, common ground will lessen any insults you might have to endure and realize you are just stepping up, doing the best you can. Be optimistic, but refrain from letting any demeaning comments take you off your game of just trying to be there or help. Good luck! Things can get better.
Petsilove - sounded like I wrote that. Yes. I do believe dementia brings out their real deep seeded personality and feelings that they were harboring for years. I, too, live with and am the caregiver to my 93 year old mother. I have 2 siblings that come "when they can" but they are "wonderful". I am the one who gets the brunt of the real personality and it's not pretty.
I've been told that my mother says the F word a lot. Granted she's always here on the couch watching Foxx News. But when I was away last weekend and her Neice and brother stayed here , her niece told me how much she swore. The hair dresser told me too. She used to swear but not that much. She doesn't swear around me , my daughter or husband. We don't swear much at all. Unless of course if the Steelers or Penguins are doing poorly ( and that's just my husband). Any way I guess that's her way of expressing herself. I think she thinks she is funny. Not sure.
Here is an excellent article on the above subject matter.

PetsIlove, there are some excellent comments on this thread. I'm not sure how advanced your mother's dementia is, but, I'd try to take comfort in the fact that your mom's words may be completely inappropriate and untruthful, only she doesn't know it.

I have observed false information come from my LO after she got dementia. I know it was false, because the things she said were things that I witnessed throughout my life, so, I know she was not right in her comments. I learned to take what she said with a grain of salt. Of course, I would check her out, if she was sick or injured. (You have to check out anything regarding their health or welfare, but, for most things, I knew they came from a person with a damaged brain who could not inform intent to misinform or hurt others.)

So, I'd be hesitant to take what she says at face value. I'd try to develop a thick skin and already have in your mind that her words may be hurtful, unkind and also untrue. If you are prepared, it might sting a little less. My cousin could tell me that monkeys were playing the piano in her room, but, I know it's not true. So, I take it and move on. This phase usually last for a period of time and fades. Some people have loved ones who accuse them of stealing, harming them, or even being other people. It doesn't mean it's true. My LO would claim that I left grease on her kitchen counter...not true, but, I would placate her and go wipe it up. That way it made her happy. I had to view it as part of her illness.

You say that your mom treated you poorly growing up. I'd consider if that is something you can work around. It's generally difficult to provide direct and long term care for someone in that situation. If it's too painful, I'd explore other options.
Thank you all so much for your helpful comments!

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