Elderly mother verbally attacks children helping her.

Started by

Our mother is 84. Has macular degeneration and has very poor eye sight. She lives alone, per her request. Will not accept any suggestions to live elsewhere. She is very angry and afraid of losing control. She attempts to control every situation. Is very argumentative and at times makes up things she thinks are said. If we offer to help she jumps all over us and if we do not help her she tells us how everyone at the Bingo hall offers to help her and are nice to her. My brother, my husband and I can never do anything that is rights and it is always our fault. In public she puts on a whole new persona. Everyone thinks she is so nice. She was recently in the hospital and the staff said how nice she is and then they heard how she treats us and told us they heard how she talked to us. If we try to be very calm and explain to her she gets very angry shouting, "stop treating me like a child. . .stop using psycho babble on me" Believe us she has a very sharp tongue. She can treat us terrible and ten minutes later act like nothing happened. Her doctor can not get her to take any mood stabilizer medications,. She will take her magnifying glass, read all the side affects then claim she is having them, so the doctor d/c the meds. It is getting harder and harder to be with her.


Boy, do I know what you mean! My husband does the same thing. Puts on a good show for the doctor and anyone else we meet out. With me, he can be very nasty, He often won't take his meds because he insists he just took them 20 mins ago. You can't reason with him because that part of his thinking process is gone. I have tried many of the suggestions I've seen on this blog, listened to what the doctors have said, but I don't think they believe me when I say that he gets nasty. I believe this is our loved ones way of controlling us and their situation because they can't really control anything. Knowing this doesn't change the fact that we have to live with it and are supposed to find a way to cope with it. There are thousands going through it, some more than others, but that is little comfort when you are feeling like a kicked dog. I guess we have to do as the Bible tells us: turn the other cheek. Very, very hard to do day in and day out when all you are trying to do is help. Maybe someone has a magic cure for this, but I haven't found it.
I have discovered the only way is to limit my time with them. However, I live in my own house and don't have to submit myself to the abuse. My Dad is blind due to cataracts and glaucoma and he has also lost his control. He orders my mother around like a slave, but he has always treated her like that. She will call me one day crying about his treatment of her, but the next day it is coming up roses. He will surely put Mom in her grave, and when that happens, he goes straight into the nursing home. I will not put up with his abuse, demands, and yelling to get his way. One person can only take so much. I have directed my children to put me in a nursing facility (in old age) if I ever treat them in this manner. You teach people how to treat you, and that goes for your parents too! If you go out of your way to help and it is not wanted, then stop helping....period. They will get the message really fast. Let your Dad hire someone to help him. My bet is that they will not be around for long.
Nonnarsm: Oops, I said your Dad, but I meant your mother. BTW, my Dad is also 84 and he is mean as a snake.
read up on narcissism , learn to look after yourself which is really hard but hugely worth doing, and good luck.....
I think your Mom and mine are sisters, except for the macular degeneration and living alone. She lives me and acts the very same way ALL of the time until someone outside the family comes in and she is out of the house. Interesting phenomena. A distrubing one, as well.
My mom gets verbally abusive at times and many times we let it go; however, if it's continual, she is not that much out of her mind that she cannot understand and be told to STOP IT THIS INSTANT. Fifteen minutes later she forgets the whole thing anyway. But we are human and have limits on abuse too. Sometimes this is why caregivers die first - because they want to.
Obviously isnt being herself..perhaps its her medicines and she is in pain..and scared. Have her Medicines checked&Stabilized so she can be calm.
There is a good thread on this site called ShowTimers. You are not alone, this happens to many elderly and unfortunately the caregivers get the brunt of the abuse. Thank heavens I can come here and see that I am not alone.
I think all our parents are somehow related.... My also can be nasty at times. This is a woman that like nonnarsom's mom, used to be the sweetest thing going. She now is nice when she thinks she has to "fool" people about her condition. Of course, as I said in another group, mom thinks she's just fine, and that there's nothing wrong with her. I'm the crazy one, she doesn't need the CG, who by mom's account "doesn't do a d**n thing all day except make me mad, and the doctor is trying to kill her with all these "illegal" drugs. OKaayyy.... She tells us that she takes her meds at night like she's supposed to, and gets evil when we ask her why they're still in the pill box. She says the someone puts them in there, but she knows that she took them because she can take care of herself.
Today I had her to her gastor doc for her hyatial hernia, which is getting worse, because she doesn't comply with the docs diet instructions or meds, and she sat there and flat out lied to him, telling him that she never eats anything she's not supposed to, and always takes her meds. The CG fixes her breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. She gives her meds after she eats, but most of what she takes is before bed. Mind you, in spite of the CG giving her the right diet, mom has gained nearly 20 lbs in just about 3 months. But hey, she never eats anything she's not supposed to. The CG has arrived in the morning to find that she has eaten a half loaf of bread, or an entire box of crackers. Short to locking up all food, there's not much we can do. She fakes her way through visit with my idiot brother, or during phone conversations with him or other family members. She's getting less able to do that with each passing month. Even the idiot brother notices that she's having difficulty having a conversation, talks in short disjointed sentences and that her memory is getting worse than ever.
It's all part of the disease process. Mom's neurologist even explained to me that some ALZ patients can't remember when or what they ate, and that the appetite center of the brain completely switches off. In other's, like my mom, she can't remember when or what she ate, claims she's hungry all the time, and in her case the switch is stuck in the "on" position. At some point, this will change and she'll stop eating.
Don't let the yelling, name calling and accusations get to you....remember that it's not really your mom being mean, it's the disease that causes her to behave that way. I know from my own experience that it still hurts, but we've got to let it go, or it'll consume us.
Hang in there.
One thing we all have to remember is that when our loved ones are mean to us, it really isn't them, it's the disease. Doesn't necessarily make it any easier to bear, though. My Dad was mean when he got angry, and I always tried to steer clear of him when he was that way. When my husband starts to yell at me, it just brings back those old feelings of fear and helplessness. My Dad was never physically abusive, but his words hurt more than any belt might have! I loved my Dad, but it was very hard to deal with his outbursts. I hope I can learn to turn a deaf ear and remember that the man who is ranting and raving isn't my husband but a disease that has taken him away.

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