Our mother is mean and hateful. How can we deal with her verbal abusiveness?

Asked by

my mother lives alone capable of caring for herself. Since she's lived alone after reitrement, she's become vey hateful. Down right mean! Nothing anyone does for her is good enough. She down grades us 3 girls who helps her out constantly. Today she threw my sister out of her house and told her she didn't have a daugher and to never come back. She did the same thing a year ago. She is totally so negative that no one wants to be around her. I stand my ground and won't let her talk to me the way she does my other 2 sisters. She NEVER has anything good to say about anything or anyone. Her doctor is a quack and doesn't know what he's doing. It gets so old to hear day in and day out. She's always right and NEVER wrong. she has never apologized for anything as long as I can remember. It's like she wants us girls to be puppets on a string. She had a mild stroke in Nov. The nursing home wanted to do a mental test to see if the stroke affected her mind. She refused. She's gotten worse since her stroke so I'm trying to take that into consideration. But I cannot go throught the rest of her days like this!Does anyone know anyone who we can talk to about her verbal abusiveness??

Answers 1 to 10 of 20
If your mother has always been mean, then having a stroke certainly didn't help that did it. I guess if she were my mother, I would insist upon a mental evaluation to see if maybe she's starting to get dementia or some such other mental thing. If the NEW DOCTOR that you are going to get for her believes that she's fine mentally, (just mean and hateful), then I'd leave her the heck alone. Let her stew in her own juices so to speak. Goodness, "don't throw pearl before swine" remember?
Top Answer
There are so many reasons a parent becomes negative or verbally abusive: they were always this way and now age has worsened their behaviow, a stroke, medications, dementia, or they are ticked off that they are growing older and want everyone else to pay for it.
If your Mom is able to care for herself just try to limit your time with her. She has refused medical testing, which is her right, but you do not have to pay for it. Just make sure she is safe and has enough to eat, etc. Perhaps some distance from you all will help her see how precious time is. Try to think of her as a friend or neighbor you are helping out...takes the emotion out of it.
If she continues with the negativity, hire in-home help. Sometimes when help comes free it isn't appreciated.
Good for you for standing your ground. Those of us who are caregivers seem to live by the saying, "no good deed goes unpunished."
You may want to have a separate conference with your sisters and outline who does what to help your mother. Don't allow eveyone do everything--only certain dtuies are carried out by a certain sister. This way there is a clear map and she can't overwhelm all of you at once or play one against another.
Negativity has a way of being a hurricane and scoops everything up in its path --including people. Lilliput is right--put some distance between your mother and you. When you can clear a path in your mind, you can return and "be of service" as if you are a friend, again, as Lilliput advises. But if you don't put distance between you and this negative hurricane, it will deestroy yoru ability to be kind and helpful.
You can stay away but that is a selfish solution but if all else fails? Anti-depressants may help her. If she is already on them then they may need to increase the dose. They are like kids and need to know they cannot dump on her helping daughters. So let her know and don't be afraid to nicely but firmly put her in her place. This may not work for her but it could probably do your sisters a lot of good. You guys have to understand that she is frustrated and probably aware that she is slipping and not happy with herself. If you can find activities that she likes to do, it may get her more engaged and takes her mind off all her difficulties both mental and physical. That allows for less bitching. maybe you can find her personal whipping boy like the govt. You may be able to deflect her negativity to that instead of her daughters. If these personality traits have only happened lately, know that is a result of what's happening to her mentally and physically. Understanding is the best way to deal with it. My mom used to say, "Pray for understanding and help and if all else fails, offer it up." Prayer and Faith can give you strength and understanding. God bless you and your Mom.
Good Luck
Strokes have been known to alter behavior ( my experience). I suggest to seek counseling for yourselves and create a healthy distance from her. If her behavior is not medically merited,than she is choosing to be hurtful and mean. You must understand she will not change. It is very difficult to turn away from helping our aging parents,but you will bathe in resentment until you decide to talk with her if possible. It will help to let her know you will only go so far with her because of her behavior-true they are like children. At one point in helping my own Mother, I had to regroup my thoughts because I have a five year old-at times I used the same response on Mother as I did on my daughter. It's sad but true. Being respectful is still possible. Showing compassion doesn't mean you accept her abuse;you and your sisters have to take charge with dignity. Good luck to you-stay calm,pray, and listen. Take a hot bath too! -new41
Visit a neurologist for evaluation. Consider a psychiatrist for a psychiatric evaluation. I would then also look in to engaging a psychologist for her to talk to and help her through whatever "pain" she is experiencing that might make her mood this way. My mom has done all of the above. No neurological issues. She is on psychiatric meds. A big part of her anger is he idle time now that she is retired which allows her the opportunity to dwell on everything "bad" she did. As well as an extreme frustration that she has gotten so old so quickly.
My thoughts are with you- it really hurts- you are doing the best you can. It helped me here on this site just to know I wasn't alone in going thru this painful process.. My advice is to limit your time and try really hard not to let it destroy your own life.
Her meds may not be right for her. My father was acting very angry and then the Dr. got him on the right meds and things got much better. My father is in the fourth stage of alz and also has Parinsons which makes diagnosising problems very difficult. Instead of listening to exactly what he says we have to see past that and make sure what he needs. Now he's happy and loves everyone. The correct med at the correct dosage is huge.
PLEASE, PLEASE GET HER TO A DIFFERENT DOCTOR
THAT CAN EVALUTE HER TO SEE IF SHE IS GOING THRU
DEMENTIA. THE RIGHT MEDICATION CAN HELP.
THINKING BACK, MY MOM MUST HAVE BEEN GOING THRU THAT FOR 10 YEARS BEFORE I FOUND THE RIGHT DR.
AND THE MEDICATION THAT HELPED.
Any of you 3 have Power of Attorneys? Wow, it's a bad situation....she definitely needs to see a physican and that doctor needs to meet with one or all 3 of you BEFORE her seeing him...He needs to know what is happening and you won't be able to tell him in front of her! If she has always been mean, get ready for the day that one/all of you have to care for her! You need power of attorney, durable if possible....I agree with one of the other posts, try to, the 3 of you, agree on what will happen when she needs more care/who should be the POA.....etc.....Good luck, Bless you all.....must be very hurtful!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support