Mother wants to battle anytime we talk.

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It is so hard to live like this. Anytime I sit down with my mother she tries to start a battle. Mostly I don't argue with her. I just let her talk. But it is hard to sit there and listen to someone saying stuff that makes me feel bad and have to suck it up. This morning I had a customer write about some things she wanted to order. I made a mistake of mentioning it to my mother, who went into a conversation that the customer was always right. It wasn't relevant to anything to do with the transaction, but that didn't matter. She went into a spiel about how I just couldn't seem to get it in my head that the customer was always right and that is why I didn't get business. What? Who? Where did that come from? It was all inside my mother's head and she just had to say something to fight at me. I didn't say anything, but just said to myself not to even try to take up for myself.

Then I realized what a terrible position this is to listen to such things all day and not be able to defend oneself. It is like being a human punching bag for all the negative emotions of someone who holds the age and dementia cards. She always speaks with anger at me, like she is mad at me for never being good enough.

A particularly bad problem has shown up. I went out with a man 2-3 weeks ago. He was not my type. Last time I talked to him I told him I wasn't interested in a relationship -- that I only wanted to be friends -- but he keeps calling on my cell phone and my mother's phone. My mother thinks that he is only doing it because he really likes me, and that I should grab him up. I told her I didn't like him. She said that didn't matter, and she started laying out all his good traits. I barely know the man and she doesn't know him at all. She keeps on at me to go after this man that I don't like because he has some money. I want to ask her if she could for once be on my side about something.

My mother has moderate dementia, but I am also realizing more that she has a core of evil in her. My parents had what looked like a loveless marriage, and I often wondered if my mother married him as a meal ticket. (Actually, I know that she did, though she would never admit it.)

Respite is not a good answer. I spend a good bit of time away from her, but it is the same when I come home. She thinks I am lowly and not worth much. She has this idea she is paying my bills, though I tell her repeatedly that she is paying me nothing and that I pay my own bills. She thinks I should have my rabbits put to sleep so she and I can go places -- yeah, like I would do that.

I feel bad even writing this, but it is hard to find someone to talk to. How do you tell anyone that your mother acts like an evil person. Of course, they'll just say that she's old or that she has dementia, but the truth is that she has always acted that way. Only now she is worse. It can be like a battle where evil is trying to chip away at good, who is not allowed to defend herself.

I know there is no solution other than to leave. I just needed to vent some of these bad feelings.

33 Comments

OOh we are all in the same boat, and notice the closer you get to sundown, the worse it gets. In mid-dementia, the complaints bloom, and that is when it is time for an anxiolytic medication for mom and couple that with walking away when the criticism starts. If you don't, the beatings will continue. As for the man who calls your mother, he sounds like a stalker and you should block his number and give him written notice to cease and desist. If he persists, report him. I doubt like hell that he has any money, but suspect he might be after hers.
I'm so sorry, Jessie, that you are going through this. I have no solution, just some compassion for you. You are a wonderful, caring, smart woman. You have done nothing to deserve this treatment.

Some people do have personality changes with dementia. Most people with dementia tend to become more self-centered. But basic personality traits can shine through. I am so grateful that my husband's basic kindness and good humour shone through right to the end. I am so very sorry that your mother's nastiness has been made even worse.

Hugs to you, dear lady.
HANG IN dear friend, I am so sorry for your pain.
What a shame your mother cannot respect you better. If this is a lifelong behavior of hers, I am not sure why you are having her live with you. I myself could never tolerate such disrespect from anyone especially from someone I am taking care of. You are a very strong person.
Oh I'm so sorry she's so mean to you. I would definitely mention this behavior to her doctor. Just walk away when she starts in on you.
JB, you said:

But it is hard to sit there and listen to someone saying stuff that makes me feel bad and have to suck it up.

Why do you suck it up? Why do you even listen? Get up and walk. Let her talk that smack to the walls. Is something forcing you to sit in that chair right there next to her? No? Then you're making the choice to listen. And you can choose otherwise.

You said:

Then I realized what a terrible position this is to listen to such things all day and not be able to defend oneself

Why not? Why can't you defend yourself? If your mom is coherent enough to batter you with a 'spiel' of words, she's coherent enough to understand when you say ENOUGH. Again, are you tied to that chair when she's going off with rope? Is she holding a gun to your head making you sit there and take it? No? Then don't take it.

As far as the man goes, next time she starts, write down his phone number in front of her, hand it to her, and tell her to give him a call and go out with him herself if she thinks he's so wonderful. You're not interested, and you don't want to hear anymore. If she starts, you walk. Over and over and over again. Why is that hard? And if this joker doesn't get the hint, ask him what part of 'Piss off' he doesn't understand.

Why isn't respite a good answer? Sounds like a plan to me.

You said:

How do you tell anyone that your mother acts like an evil person.

Like you just did right now. And tell it to HER, too, if that's how she makes you feel.

You said:

who is not allowed to defend herself.

Not allowed? Says who? Who told you that lie?

If your mom is well enough to dish the bullshit and know what she's doing and saying, and can carry on long lucid conversations, and knows what her words mean, she's well enough to understand that YOU'RE not going to ALLOW HER bad behavior in your world anymore, and that if she continues, she'll be without you as her caretaker because you'll be gone, and she'll be sitting in a facility somewhere.

If you don't empower yourself, nobody will. You choose to listen, or you choose not to. To me, it's simple.
Thank you, everyone. I've always felt my mother felt lowly about women other than herself. I don't know if it is because how she was raised or if she has jealousy. Maybe both.

Debralee, I do try to be strong, but all this weighs heavily on me. There is so much that I could write pages and only cover a little. I am just worn to the point that I am trying to figure out what I am going to do. It's not so simple, but I'm feeling battered. It is making my life very unhappy.
Yes, and the stress of it can kill you. Another sound reason to make some changes.
SA, all those things have been done, but it can be like shaking your fist against the wind. I spend so much time walking away and leaving that it doesn't really feel that I live here. Her personality type is that she is always right, so saying something is not right just means that something is wrong with me. For example, she told me that I should marry the man that I do not like, because he has money. The thought was totally wicked to me, but she said that we can learn to love someone, and that I just didn't realize how important money was. And yes, I walked away again.

I do get a good bit of respite, so that is not a big problem. My biggest problem is my own insanity, thinking each morning that I am going to wipe out any bad thoughts I've been having and try to be pleasant. When you live with someone you have to get along or you have to move. I am getting near the point of moving and really needed to vent some of these bad feelings. I think Debralee said it best when she used the word disrespect. In the case of my mother, it is impossible to gain respect. If I say I'm leaving, she will get nice for a while, but then it goes back to being hateful.

One thing that is very important to me is that I keep my goodness. In dealing with evil, I don't want to become evil myself. It is important to me to stay the person that I am. I like me, even if others may not.
JessieBelle, I know what you mean. When father had his stroke, the nurse told us that they usually come out of it 2 ways: better personality than before or Worse than before. We were soooo hoping it was better. Not!!! He is so full of advice, and he's always right and he criticizes everything. He believes I'm touching his money (which I am where it comes to HIS expenses). He doesn't understand spending within your monthly income. If he goes over his monthly retirement, he thinks I'm touching it or the bank is stealing it. I've reached the point that I can no longer keep quiet. I've been losing my temper and "answering back" to him. And of course, he accuses me of being disrespectful. When I can no longer handle his mouth, I make the TV or the radio's volume sooo loud to drown him. I pick and choose my own battles. Because this is something that he keeps bringing up over and over. So, we usually end up with a big yelling match when he has pushed me too far that I can no longer ignore him. I know it's not an ideal solution but for me, that's the best that I can do.

I cannot really give him ultimatums because I'm living in his house/land. My rent is caregiving him and we share half of the bills. Yes, I can pack up and leave. But, I don't want to do that - due to some family dynamics going on. So, I stay and put up with his treatment to a certain extent.

I understand about going out for respite and when you go back home, all the stresses just comes crashing back down on your head/shoulders. It may seem worse than before you left....but JessieBelle, ANY respite is better than none. If you stay 24/7 with your Very Negative mother, she will beat you down until when she tells you jump, instead of resisting, you will say, "How high?" or even worse, you just automatically jump. She has now beaten your spirit to a slave that she would disrespect even Worse than before. How do I know this? I compare myself with my oldest sis living with us. Father has beaten her spirit. She is more afraid of him than me. She would give him whatever herbal pills he wants and doesn't care if the bottle says once a day. If father says he wants to take it 3 x day, she gives it to him. When he tries that BS with me, I fight him. I take the damn bottle (which sis later gives back to him), and only limit One. She obeys him. I listen, decide if it's good or not and fight him if it's not. ..even if it means we're yelling at each other. Of the 2 of us, father treats sis like dirt. I mean he really treats her like dirt. When he tried that with me several times, I threw all his herbal into the trashcan or refuse whatever he Ordered Me to do. So, he treats me better than he does with sis. He's still abusive but not as bad as he is to sis. I hope you take advantage of the respite to regroup your spirit so that you can continue to fight against your mom's negativity. You really really don't want to be like my oldest sis...no backbone and jumps to Whatever Father Wants. {{{HUGS}}}

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