The Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon.
Please share your experiences with what I call the Jeckyll/Hyde phenomenon. Maybe you've seen this as well.
Mom has dementia, and when we are together, she is mostly very quiet, with a stone face. If I ask her to smile, she will, but there is not much spontaneity. If I give her a hug, her arms hang at her sides. When I arrive in her room, she never says hello unless prompted to, and when I give her something or take her somewhere, she never says thank you. If I say, "I love you, Mom.", she doesn't say anything back to me.
However, when she interacts with staff and residents at the AL where she lives, she is all smiles. They all say that she is "so sweet." She walks around the dining room, chatting with people, and has a spring in her step.
She often says that I am her "secretary", and that's exactly how I feel. I don't feel like she's my mother. She's just a nice old lady that I look after as best I can. I've stopped expecting warmth from her, but it hurts when I see her hugging others and thanking them profusely for minor favors that they do for her.
Am I expecting too much from her ? I feel like I've lost my mother already.
When I read comments by others who feel so close to their loved one, I can't relate. Each time I go visit her, I hope that this will be the time that I will rediscover the closeness that we had for so many years. Maybe it's better if I just treat her like an elderly friend or acquaintance, and stop expecting her to care about me the way she used to.
If there is a way to cope with this behavior, I'd welcome suggestions.