I'm tired of being my mother's "whipping post"! What can I do when her second personality comes out and nothing I do can make her happy?

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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.

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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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 ...
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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!
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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.
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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...
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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?
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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..
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