Manipulation or ????

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My 78 yr old mother behaves as if she's helpless whenever she is with my sister and I. Cant stay awake, slurs her words, can hardly walk, forgetful and complains constantly. Expects us to wait on her saying I don't know whats wrong with me and I can't help it. This went on the entire 4 days we were together on a camping trip. She then receives a phone call from her girlfriend and low and behold she no longer is slurring her words, she is happy, laughing, and planning her next music outing. Even tells her she is having a great time with her daughters. Yes my mother still drives, attends music events were she sings and plays guitar, and has a social life that is until she is with us. If we make a comment about her complaints and unwillingness to do anything for herself she becomes defensive and angry. This is a new situation for us and unsure how to respond to this behavior, She does have a treated mental illness. I am so upset with her acting this way that I'm having a hard time being around her but can't leave this all on my sister.....HELP

8 Comments

What is the "treated mental illness"? Is it possible she needs an adjustment of those meds?
What is "this all" that you don't want to leave on your sister? What are your mother's impairments? Does she have mobility problems? Poor vision? Hearing issues? Breathing Difficulty? She drives, and has a social life. So what, exactly is the "this all" that you and your sister are responsible for?

A girls' camping trip sounds like it could be fun. Not MY idea of fun, but many people's. How about your mother? Was she enthusiastic about camping? She's nearly 80 and it is possible some of the rigors of camping are beyond what she cared to do. If I graciously went along with my kids on a camping trip in spite of it not being my things, I have to admit I'd expect them to take my age into consideration and "wait on me" at least some.

Does this behavior occur whenever she is with you, or was the camping trip an extreme? What if you go to a music event with her? What is she like then?

And I think Babalou's wondering if her meds need adjusting is worth considering.
Just re-read this. Were these symptoms apparent only on the camping trip, slurring words and weakness? Could she have had a stroke at that time? Maybe I'm mis - reading this and you're saying that she acts like this frequently. But I would be cautious about attributing slurred words as manipulation.
Babalou, My Mother has had a long history of bi polar disorder. she has recently been put on a new medication that appeared to be working. I have spent several days with her over the last several weeks, doctor appts. running errands, lunches and rummage sales. She has been upbeat and able to care for herself and attends her weekly music events. She does not behave this way when her and I are together. This behavior only occurs when my sister and I are together with her, and she has told other family and friends that her daughters don't want to do anything for her. During these times she will say I don't know why I'm so tired and I can't help it. She obviously knows that we are upset with her behavior on our last 4 day camping trip that she is now saying to my sister that she has run out of her new medicine and has not been taking it because she can't afford it. I feel she is just trying to manipulate us on why she acted this way, because not once did she tell me that she ran out of this medication and I spend a lot of time with her. The only conversation we have had about this medication was that it was working, so why would she not want to take it ? I'm just so confused. This is not a new behavior she did the same thing at my sisters, daughters destination wedding. Then again on a long weekend at my sisters home, then again this past weekend. All events occurred within the last 2 months.
jeannegibbs, Yes a camping trip in a big fancy RV, with a full functioning bathroom. who has enjoyed camping her entire life. This is hardly what I would consider "the rigors of camping" My mother has very few impairments, other than her mental health and she does go to physical therapy for her shoulder, but other than that nothing significant. We have both been to several of her music nights and NO these behaviors are not present . They are not present when her and I are together ( which is often ) Only when we are all together.
Let's just say, for the sake of discussion, that this behavior is deliberate manipulation, that your mother can control it and knows what she is doing.

Now what?

If you could be certain this were the case, how would you handle this?
Good question jeannegibbs, I am obviously not handling it well as I've posted on here for insight and again would welcome ideas. At my nieces destination wedding she told me she liked all the attention of being "Grandma of the bride" and having her hair done and help with dressing and that she could get use to this. This helpless behavior has increased since this event 2 months ago. Again I am not sure if she is manipulating. My Mom functions quite well in other situations, but does require help with things like changing linens and some household chores but otherwise pretty independent that is until she is with both my sister and myself. During these times she practically stops doing anything for herself. I guess to answer your question, I do not know how to handle this.
MotherHubbard, in reading all this, my thought is that you are grieving a bit. You are grieving the passing of your younger vogue mom who loved camping. You still see glimpses of her, and you want her back!

That being said, given the weakness and slurring of speech, I would be making a neuro appointment for her or encouraging her to make one. Keep a log of your observations to take to the appointment with you.

and you know, it's easier to hide symptoms when you're in a crowd. You may simply be noticing this stuff when you're alone with her.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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