Well, Mom hates me.

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Friday before last, I called the ambulance and said "take her away". Actually, I said "my mother need to go to the hospital because something is not right". But Mom heard "Take her away" in her dementia addled mind. In the ER, I asked her if she knew why she was there, she angrily spat out "Because YOU put me here."


So, now she has progressed to a rehab facility very near my house. My message the whole time has been "get better so you can come home.". I have been trying. I really have. I bring her things to make her comfortable. I have kept her caregiver on payroll and have her sitting with Mom for four hours a day to keep her comfortable and run errands for her. I offer to bring her anything she wants, food, books, anything.


I am tired of being met with stony silence. I am tired of begging her to interact with me. I am tired of the angry glares when I ask her how therapy is going or if she has been eating. She doesn't eat, by the way, and I spend most of my visits trying to get her to eat and begging her to keep her strength up. You know what, though, it turns out I don't really care anymore. I had my moment this morning. I have decided, here or at rehab, I absolutely don't care anymore. I don't care if she eats. I am trying to decide whether or not I care if she takes her pills (a two hour ordeal twice a day).


I visit her daily but can't stay long with a woman who can't/won't carry on a conversation with me and so obviously hates me. Funny thing, everyone else says that she talks and miles and such so it is not that she is incapable.


She has mild to moderate dementia but she is not so far gone that she can't make decisions about whether or not to participate in therapy or eat her food. She is "with it" enough to manipulate me and everyone around her.


I told rehab that I don't want her back if she cannot walk or cannot toilet herself. I will cook for her, clean for her, help her in and out of bed when needed, I will be there when she falls, I will keep her comfortable.


But I will not cart her around my house in a wheelchair and transfer her to and from the commode. And I will not entertain her or try anymore ton carry on conversations and make her smile. I will turn on the "electronic babysitter" and let her sit in her chair and watch TV all evening.


Every evening, we call her to dinner and, even though we start an hour before the meal is served, she usually does not make it tot he table until the meal is almost finished. When she gets there, she just looks at her plate and when I bark at her to eat, she gets a startled look on her face as if she has forgotten that she was supposed to put food in her mouth. Then comes the ordeal of the evening pills.


If/when she comes home, I am strongly considering no longer having her at our family dinner table. I will probably bring a tray to her recliner and then take it away, uneaten, after a while.


I don't think that she has ever liked me but now I am convinced that she hates me. And here I have turned my life upside down for her and my husband and kids have sacrificed so much.

31 Comments

You have told rehab your conditions, but have you told your mom? If she is capable of manipulation then she should be able to kiss up to her "jailer" (that would be you, lol) and make both your lives more bearable.
What kind of physical therapy is your mom getting in rehab? Apparently, she did sustain an injury when you called the ambulance. It's good if she is improving, but, I would keep in mind that she may have pain associated with her injury.

You state that your mom has dementia. Has she been diagnosed by a doctor? Have you discussed this condition and its progression with her doctor? Based on your comments and assumptions about the behavior of people with dementia, I'd do a lot of reading about the condition. I would highly recommend watching the Teepa Show videos on You Tube about Dementia care. (I'll send you a link by PM.) They explain and illustrate how the brain that is experiencing damage, causes people to act and behave in unusual ways. They may look fine, but, they are not. That's why they may refuse to speak or they may say things that don't make sense.

Manipulation is really not something they can conjure up with their brain damage. Plus, it's not helpful to assign blame or consider that they are being angry for no reason. Punishing someone with dementia is really not helpful and I would consider it cruel. I beg you to reconsider doing that. We can't know what is going on in their brain, but, it is likely jumbled, confusing and outside their ability to control.

If she looks like she has forgotten to put food into her mouth, then she has. She needs care and possibly hand feeding or assistance. I might ask the Rehab to have her swallowing assessed, if she's having trouble eating, as the loss of the ability to swallow will come eventually, as does the ability to walk and toilet themselves.

Often family members make great sacrifices to care for their loved one and that is admirable, but a person with dementia cannot be expected to behave normally, show appreciation, demonstrate mature behavior. In many ways, they are like a child themselves. It's like caring or an infant eventually.

If I had had trouble, I'd ask the Rehab where she is to help you find a place where she can go after her release to live. They should be able to do an assessment to determine the level of care she needs, such as a regular Assisted Living, Memory Care or Nursing Home. And if you do take her back into your home, please explore getting outside help to come in and help you. This is a terrible disease and it can be very exhausting and stressful to care for a patient in the home, so, I would reach out for help.
Telling them you don't want her back unless... is a threat, probably doesn't go over well, does it? Try telling them that you are not able to provide the necessary care, instead. Be firm and diplomatic.
mom2mom, I wouldn't bring her back into your home. From what you described, her dementia is more advanced than mild to moderate. She has the idea fixed in her mind that things happened a certain way. It is like she confabulated something in her own mind and you are the bad guy. You can't live with that going on in your house. It would turn your lives into misery. Since she is in rehab, I think I would look into assisted living for her, instead of bringing her home. If she dislikes you so badly, she may prefer it that way, so you don't have to be the bad guy. This is not your fault.
m2m, you've done enough for your mother. Time for her to go elsewhere after rehab. I don't think she should be in your home, whatever abilities she may have.

"I will cook for her, clean for her, help her in and out of bed when needed, I will be there when she falls, I will keep her comfortable." NO. Don't even do these things. As gladimhere states, tell the rehab center you cannot provide the necessary care for her to come home.
I am joining in with the group who say it is time to find her somewhere else to live. The disease will progress - that is guaranteed. A really negative dynamic exists between the two of you which is not good for either of you. I gather that the relationship has never been very good which adds extra stress on you as the caregiver. It is often recommended that in these cases the child does not do hands on care giving, but manages the care at arm's length. I do this for my mother and it is still stressful but I could not possibly have her in my home. Your mum may well be happier with someone else doing the hand's on care and definitely you and your family would benefit from not having her with you. I agree with Pam - tell them you cannot have her back home, as you cannot provide proper care for her. Good luck!
I agree that her condition is not your fault, but, it's not mom's fault either. I found the online videos on Validation and Empathy of loved ones with dementia very helpful.
Mom was not hurt in her fall. She does have chronic pain from arthritis but the fall was due to weakness brought on by a UTI and her fall was more of a gentle slide to the floor. She did bump and bruise her elbow but not seriously.

I have told Mom my conditions one on one and in front of the rehab staff during our first care meeting. And, no, I am way more tactful. I did phrase it as I am not able to provide that level of care and need her to be able to walk (with a walker) and otherwise be somewhat independent with her toileting. I did not phrase it as a threat but as an answer to their question to me about what I need to see from rehab. I am willing to continue to assist her with the toilet (help her get on and off when she is feeling especially weak, clean up massive occasional BM explosions as I have done in the past). But I am not prepared for her to consistently soil her depends and be unable to do anything for herself.

I describe her dementia as mild to moderate. Her PCP sees no dementia at all, only some slight memory loss. I have explained to him that she is showtiming and she is worse in the early morning and evening and basically, whenever she is alone with me.

He keeps telling me that she does well when tested in h's office. Well, I think he had an eye opening when he went to visit her in the hospital on day one because one of his first comments to me was that he is increasing her Namenda.

I do think I need to get her an assessment by a specialist and get an official diagnosis because I may eventually need to seek guardianship for her. (I have financial POA but she never signed the Medical POA)

Sunnygirl, I am willing to re-evaluate my feelings and comments above but I don't see any of this as my punishing my mother. I am learning a new way to cope. I can be an efficient caregiver and continue to be kind to her without being "loving". I am not trying to punish her by saying that I won't sit and visit with someone who spends the whole time giving me the silent treatment and glaring at me. Deciding not to spend then time with her is not punishment but self preservation.

I do not think that her manipulative behavior is related to dementia except that maybe it has removed her filter. My mother has been manipulative her whole life... well, at least my whole life.

If this was new behavior related to the onset of dementia, then I would be a horrible person for blaming her. No, this is who she has always been. She has always pitted my siblings and I against each other in some crazy plan to control us. She will blurt out some embarrassing anecdote from my childhood to my husband or when she meets one of my friends. Now it is "she mistreats me" to everyone she meets.

If that last line was new, then so be it, it is the dementia talking. But, it is just the most recent variation of her attempts to make me look bad to others.



But, M2M, why do it?

Why put yourself through it? For whose benefit?

Your mother is being foul to you. She has, oh, more reasons than you can shake a stick at - not least, of course, that the dementia makes her less able to gauge the impact of what she's doing it, and anyway she's probably past caring about such niceties. She's mean to you because she can be, because you'll take it, and she feels like being mean because she's old and her brain doesn't work and she's stuck in smelly rehab.

So I'm not blaming her, but even so I really can't see - what's the upside of her being in your home, and for whom? Better care? No, they're taking good care of her. Better quality of life? Not if her main pastime at home is kicking you in the pants.

And, besides, eventually she won't be able to walk or transfer. Eventually she will need full-time full-on nursing. Won't it be better if that's coming from people she already has a relationship with?

If she were pining and crying or fearful or lost, it might be different. But she's compliant and content - until you show up, and get bitten. Isn't it time?
I am on the fence about bringing her home. In some ways it is easier to have her hear than constantly running out to see her. On the other hand, she doesn't much seem to appreciate my visits anyway.

I do know that if I bring her home, it will be cheaper than being in a NH, even if I have to bring in 24/7 help. She has a fully functional one bedroom apartment attached to my house so I could always just close off the adjoining door if she gets to be too much but then open it when we want family time. I already lock the door on Wednesdays because the Wednesday caregiver is a nosy gossipy sort and I don't want her to wander through my house.

I just got back from visiting Mom and she repeated that she wanted to go home. She acted a little less angry and mean tonight. She actually interacted with me instead of ignoring me. Her conversation didn't make total sense but her demeanor was better.

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