Follow
Share

My mother is almost 98 yrs old, and has been in a nursing home for 4 years. She has 2 personalities: the" church lady", and the" lady you can't make happy" no matter what you do. I recently moved mother to another nicer, newer Home and thought - now, this is the best one in town, NO MORE COMPLAINTS! wrong....the second personality is back...and to everyone else she is the "church lady"...all smiles and appreciative. When I call her to say hello (I used to call daily, now I've cut back on my phone calls to every other day, and and only visit 2 times a week because I know she is getting the best care available )When I call her, she says things like "welll, I really do have a daughter", or "where have you BEEN?" Our visits consist of how terrible she has it at the Home, and how they mistreat her, how her meals are intolerable, etc I call the Home to inquire about the problems and the nurses can't believe she is complaining, and they see no sign of her discomfort. I honestly think this Home is at no fault, and yes, the other Home did have problems, but I feel very confident in the staff and care she is now receiving. Apparently, she is trying to make me feel guilty that she is a 98 year old woman, living in a nursing home. I am tired of being her "whipping post", and would like some advice on what stategy I can use so I can turn loose and what I can say to her: "sorry you are having a bad day ~I love you and I've tried everything humanly possible to make you happy?" and hang up the phone? I know she has to understand I won't listen to the complaining - should I say, "I'm calling the head nurse right this minute, and hang up"? My brother lives in another state, and comes to visit her once a year, he calls her a couple of times a week, but he is not the designated "whipping post". I appreciate any and all suggestions.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I agree with all that HomeHelpers has just posted and tried my hand at establishing better boundaries with my mom, however even after strong medications...such as seroquil and seven years of my caregiving, she is still in the same mindset...only a lot weaker...I had to accept who she is and learn how to pick my battles.

Making her respect me...which was the point I think, just was not going to work for me. I had to respect myself by choosing a way that left me able to help her and yet not allow her to abuse me verbally or by taking more of my time and energy than I was able or willing to give.

Taking a stance of teaching a lesson to ones parents just goes against my grain, call me old fashioned, but it seems to me that is not my job...to judge and administer punishment, whether it is my adult child, my parent of a business partner.

If after total honesty and open discussion with people, they persist on their abusive stance...I know who they are...and I can't reach them.

If I have an abusive parent...obviously they are not to be trusted. If I have an abusive child, obviously they are not to be trusted. When I have tried all my best "talks" and direct approaches of honesty and they don't work...the only option left is to either avoid them or find a way to deal. I chose to withdraw emotionally and distance myself by long distance care giving. Our relationship ended a long time ago, now it is a care I give because I am the only one left to do it...a job...to somone who I wish could have loved me but never did. It is similar to having an autistic child that can't be reached, or a husband who has some sort of addiction...both of which I can relate to.

No one can change another person.. only the way we respond to them. Emotional blackmail just sets off bad Karma...at least that is how I see it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I realized something, Mom's agression towards me and not others, was a new way of saying "I Love you!" and "you Love Me" . Think about it if she was two years old and your child and acted up for attention, you would react but never neglect. If a possative reaction or negative was your response it is attention either way. You are the one your Mother has the most confidence in and knows deep inside no matter what you're love for her will surpass any abuse she can dish out. I have noticed this myself thru observation of other caregiver children/
elder parent relationships. It is often that the life time favorite child who steps up to the plate and takes on care duty is the "bad guy" ... or abused one. It makes sense if you think about it. If you ran away and said forget you she would need to be nice for attention. If you take the abuse and you remain the nice one she will continue. I am not saying you cannot be yourself but she knows exactly how to manipulate you, she is your Mother and knows you better than anyone. It's all a test for your love!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You've done more than anyone could reasonably be expected. I see a different problem than what is being discussed. I completely understand the genuine need of acceptance and approval from a Mother. My guess is that she’s behaved in other areas of your life in the same manner as she is with the nursing home. I know it must be a constant struggle always trying to please her. If she had any intention or capability of giving you acceptance and approval I think it would have happened by now. You deserve it and I’m deeply sorry you have not received it.
When your Mother complains, there is no reason for it go any further based on what you said. "well, I really do have a daughter", or "where have you BEEN?" Our visits consist of how terrible she has it at the Home, and how they mistreat her, how her meals are intolerable, etc I call the Home to inquire about the problems and the nurses can't believe she is complaining, and they see no sign of her discomfort. I honestly think this Home is at no fault, and yes, the other Home did have problems, but I feel very confident in the staff and care she is now receiving.” UNLESS you hear of or see signs of abuse, the complaining stops. When comments are made like "well, I really do have a daughter" either completely ignore her or decide to change the rules of the game. She is clear headed based on her remarks, and just because she’s old doesn’t mean she can abuse you.
You tell her if she continues to complain, you are leaving and going down the hall to talk with someone who will appreciate your visit. She won’t like it, and will say mean things, but eventually she will know you mean it if you follow through with what you say. It may seem harsh after taking it all these years, but if you expect to be respected, you must show you expect it. Good luck dear.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Have been involved, in one way or another, with the aging issue for most of my adult life and have come to the conclusion that NO ONE LIKES BEING OLD.

The culture has taught us that it is almost like a plague to be old, so when we get old...it must be a natural event to complain and punish anyone and everyone who tries to "make it ok" It is not OK and it will never be "ok". The one thing the elderly need is to be included, and to be respected, and not to be ignored.

The most disrespectful thing we have done, as a culture, is to isolate and separate and pity....yes pity, the elderly. Pity is the most disrespectful thing one can do to another. It isolates one in their situation and creates ill feeling. It is no wonder that they complain and bitch and moan over what seems to be unimportant...Because the important issue..the fact that they feel useless and irrelevant and of no use any longer...other than take up space...and our time...and are an inconvenience.....And they know it...on some level...even the most "out of it"....truly are suffering from what was once called "Social dissonance" similar to the complaints of teens...feeling powerless and frustrated....complain all the time about everything because the one thing...their age and situation...can not be changed. I believe they are sad and frustrated and lost in a world of "care" and ignorance.

When we were a smarter culture, they were included. Since WW II it has all changed. Baby boom blasted the old traditions out the window.

"Primitive" cultures know better. They treat the elder with value and go to them for advice and input. We only go to them for inheritance value.

Now that we have damaged the value of age...How can we fix it? What can we do now?

The only thing I have been able to do with my mom, who is 93 and complained as mentioned above...endlessly ever since she turned 50....the only thing I have been able to do is include her in her own planning. Ask her what she wants and give her choices. I have asked what she thinks of her menu and what changes she wants in her environment. Even though she complains initially after five minutes or so...she lets go of the anger and leaves the process to me...the anger is so overpowering that it controls her every mood and moment when she is with me. She is so tired of "acting" nice with the church people, for she knows they will judge her as a bitch...with me she feels safe to be angry and complain and shows the true nature of her predicament. I often repeat as a mantra...what Mother Theresa said..."I see my Lord in all I meet, and greet Him and all his distressing disguises...." It comforts me to know that this complainer in front of me is not angry at me but I am witnessing her anger at the world. And I let go of taking it personally. I hope my ranting helped in some way. I am grateful for this platform, for no one listens and values me and what this situation is doing to my ability to feel joy in life.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Ppj, I am so happy to know some of my experience has helped you... that makes so many of my obstacles feel a lot more valuable...and writing them down is a great idea... will use that one for myself... hugs to you ...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ladeeda ... that is so helpful "I didn't make him miserable & it wasn't my job to make him happy." I have added that to my list of quotes from this site that I review on a daily basis to help me with my mom. Others that I've written down ... "I am compassionately indifferent." ..... "She no longer lives in my world, so I go to hers." Just keeping a list of these common sense remarks is beyond helpful to me. I read my list daily and I can't even tell you all how helpful this list has been to me. I am so grateful to be able to read responses from such smart folks. :-) You all help me daily! THANKS!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yeah, you're not alone. One of the aids asked me if my Mother was always such a sweet woman and I thought she had me confused with someone else.

Sometime I say, "Well, you're just going to have to be unhappy" or "You're just going to have to be mad at me" and she responds with "I'm not unhappy" or "I'm not mad at you". I think it makes her realize what she's doing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Being sassy as ever... I may have slipped over the edge at some point and no one has told me, but I like it better here in my own little world.... makes more sense than the day to day "drag me to hell" days we all have.... hope you feel better for a DAY soon... hugs to you...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ladeeda - Like mom, who I say has her bad days and then has her worse days, I have my good moments, and my bad days (note the difference, I do not have whole good days anymore). We are coping. You?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Some where on this sight, don't remember who or when, said she used to put up her "invisible caregiver shield" when she had to tend to her charge.. she said the stuff that didn't matter just bounced right off the shield... it's amazing the things we have to come up with to cope..
DT, how are you doing, feeling a little better??? Like the crabby boss theory!!!
hugs to everyone..
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I use the old detatchment theory - on another topic I said that I sometime have to treat my mom as I have done a couple of jobs in my life, a job that has poor pay, lousey benefits, long hours, and a crabby boss who knows you run the office but treats you like an oaf. You can't just walk away, so you have to be a carpet occasionally. Believe me, been there. Too often.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am sorry for your loss LilliansBonnie, Even tho we don't know everyone on this sight we do feel for you as so many of us have lost loved ones the past few months.... hugs to you....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It sounds like you are doing th best you can. Ask the nursing home if they have a support group for people in your position. You might not feel like you are so alone. I don't believe your Mom is trying to hurt you. She is 98 and she cannot learn to behave like a child would. My Mom was 86 and she had what I called bad days. Nothing I did was going to make her happy. I valued the good days and now those are the ones I remember. My Mom passed away 6 weeks ago. Cherish the good days. Good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Once you realize that nothing will make them happy, you are half way home. I found the most lovely place for my Mom that looks like any other beautiful townhome complex. The staff is great...they dote on her. Food is wonderful. But the day before I left, she said the most awful things to me...even shocked the hub. It hurt, but I knew in my heart that I was doing the best thing for her. She is getting great care by medical professionals and gets her hair done weekly. Everything is at her fingertips...all the things I used to have to track down for her then beg people to come to her home. The system just does not support family taking care of loved ones at home..you are on your own. I knew her health would suffer if I didn't find a better alternative.
My Mom does the same thing...funny and charming to the staff - weepy with me. So my new tactic is to jump in on the conversation with things I know she likes to talk about. Then I get her on a positive track and she forgets the complaints.
I still do whatever I can do for her...it takes up a good part of my day. But I can breathe easier knowing that I do not have to shoulder everything.
Remind yourself that you have always done what is best for your Mom. When she starts to complain say, "Mom, someone is at the door...I've got to go." Do this consistently, and it may curb the behavior. If not, you have stopped the negativity from entering your ears.
Really, you could work yourself to death and it would never be enough. So stop and redirect your energies to things you like to do. (frankly, I've kinda forgotton what I used to like doing...but that's gonna' change!!)
Take care...Lilli
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

My mother-in-law complains to me all the time about the people, food, service etc. the list goes on and on at the asst living where she lives. BUT she never complains to them in person. Part of that is the because of the era she was raised in, to be polite no matter what, and part of it is just because she'd rather be at home. I could put her up at the Ritz and she'd complain cause it's not home. period. I don't take it personally. There are times though that I get really tired of hearing it so I start whining along with her to the point that I sound like a bratty, wailing, spoiled kid to make my point. Now my m-i-l is a good sport about it and she will laugh when it's brought to her attention, but there have been times in the past she didn't think it was funny. Ask me if I care.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

nyelegacy11, your mother sounds like she has a personality disorder where she splits some people into all white like your brother and all black like you the wipping post. Yes, you are right, she is trying to make you feel guilty which is one of the three main tools of emotional blackmail. I suggest that you get the book Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward. Know that you didn't make your mother this way. You can't fix how she is. And you cannot control how she is. All you can really do is chose a healthier path for yourself which is going to involve some boundaries and detaching with love and may even need some therapy which I recommend as well as having the resolve that you are choosing this healthier path regardless of what your mother does or does not do.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sounds like you have some pretty good ideas already... Not putting yourself in the position to have to hear it helps... Your mom sounds just like my dad. Nothing on God's green earth could make him happy... He also was 98 when he died... I finally accepted it was just who he was, I never remember him being happy, so this was not new to me.. But I did what you do, cut the conversation short, would only stay a few minutes if he was grumbling about his care(which was excellent) . I finally realized he was going to have to work out his unhappiness on the "other side". I didn't make him miserable and I wasn't my job to make him happy.. I always thought a lot of his was fear, fear of dieing and leaving so much unsaid and undone... but I have no regrets and like I said sounds like you already know what to do.. Her unhappiness in NOT your fault...so you can't fix what you didn't break.... good luck with putting some distance there and saving your sanity.. hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter