How do we protect ourselves or learn to endure attacks from mom?

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We are going on one plus years post LBD diagnosis for mom. While the two of us that are with her the most have learned to avoid, or shrug off the verbal attacks, and develop thick skins, others in the family get quite wounded or frustrated. This certainly does not make them want to see her more often. It's so sad. The very persons she wants to see the most are the ones she drives away. It's like she waits to attack them. We were making and helping create opportunities for family events, but mom has done some real damage to the most compassionate family members, those that really do love and miss her. Some say they are done with this. Some have never been back. Is this how it ends up? One by one people get driven away? We have learned a few stategies, never leave her alone with one person, keep visits short, have a quick escape plan because it's usually the end of the visit that goes bad.

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There's little that can be done if your mom's actions drive people away. They're hurt. In theory it's the dementia talking unless you're at the other end of a verbal attack. It still hurts and when one is hurt it can be difficult to look at the situation clearly and understand that your mom's brain is sick. Many people don't understand dementia. I understand it completely but would still be upset if verbally attacked by someone with dementia. Words hurt regardless of where and who they come from.

If family members are done with her respect that. What else can you do? Force them to come and see your mom?

Never leaving her alone with a guest and keeping visits brief are good boundaries. Continue to do these things.

As for how this ends up? I don't know. Someone with dementia tends to become isolated in time for many reasons. They can't be taken out in public because of their behavior or they stop recognizing people so people stop visiting, or they descend into their own world where we can't go. It's a horrible disease.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Eyerishlass: "In theory it's the dementia talking unless you're at the other end of a verbal attack. It still hurts and when one is hurt it can be difficult to look at the situation clearly and understand that your mom's brain is sick. Many people don't understand dementia. I understand it completely but would still be upset if verbally attacked by someone with dementia. Words hurt regardless of where and who they come from."

SO TRUE! My mother has verbally attacked me (she doesn't have dx'd dementia, but I'm starting to wonder if she might have the beginnings of vascular dementia). Her insults and attacks have changed my relationship with her permanently. I have really cut my contact with her, and it's a shame for her, because she's a shut-in except for when I take her someplace. And I've really limited my availability.
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Reply to CTTN55
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This is the hardest thing. For all the times my mom tries to be pleasant, one of these attacks is still hard to get over and separates all her further.
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Reply to NightOwl
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Did you discuss these verbal attacks with the family member after they happened? Are family members willing to be educated about dementia?
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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I am experiencing this situation right now. I lived with my Mother for five years in order to take care of her. She is 95 years old. I take care of all her expenses and all her personal paperwork not to mention any household repairs she might need. During this time she constantly berated me, called me the "b" word and treated me like "Cinderella" around the house telling me what to do. One day she had me totally "spun up" and angry, I was literally beside myself ! I went into my room, went online and ended up buying a house in another state !! I just love where I live now, my blood pressure has been reduced substantially. However, before I left, I got her home health care from a local company, bought her a "safety pendent" to wear in case she falls or has a medical emergency. However, I still find myself having to come back from time to time to take care of some personal situations for her because no one else can do it. I have a brother but he is a useless drug user and homeless. I only live 6 hours from her so when I come back I do take the time to see friends and get to spend some "valuable moments" with them. But I usually can't wait to get back home. Because even when she doesn't see me for awhile the "verbal attacks" still come. I know it is the dementia but I am powerless to do anything about it so I try and "maintain" until I can leave again. I know if I were still trying to take care of her full time I will have died from a heart attack myself. Sometimes you have to consider your own mental and physical health. I do as much as I can for her a "safe distance" away.
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Reply to CrazyMom4498
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Have you brought this up with her doctor. Maybe a medication will help especially if this is not the norm for her. Its the Dementia talking but I can see where these people are coming from. My Mom did it rarely but when she had a melt down it was aimed at me. Yes it hurt and I had no idea how to handle it when it happened, so called my daughter in.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I would make sure to talk to family members before the visit to let them know that mom has some challenging behaviors because of her dementia. Try to get them to understand it's the illness and not mom talking and the minute she starts, you leave.

If there are family members who understand dementia, maybe have them also talk to the ones who have been hurt to help them understand it's not personal and it's the nature of the illness. Let them know you've learned how to handle visits so that they're not so stressful. I feel sad for all involved but glad you're still trying to be there for your mom.
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Reply to blannie
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My mom fell down the stairs and had traumatic injuries, which she died from. While she was in the hospital they did a brain scan and she had a huge empty spot in the middle of her brain, aging her brain more than 10 years than she actually was. It explains perhaps why she was so mean to me. I didn't know she had been so affected by dementia because from what I knew about dementia, it wasn't the typical signs that I thought was dementia. She had been awful to me and my daughter for many years, so I think it had taken hold years ago.

I was the only sibling around her, since the others moved away years ago, I was the one who had to watch out for her. It was extremely difficult and I feel she has stressed me out so much she has aged me and left me with a little PTSD. Seriously!

I try to remember it was the disease talking and she was a great Mom when I was little. It is hard though. These mean words came out of my mother's mouth. I couldn't abandon her. She fought for me when I was ill. I went to therapy and was told to limit my time with her, which I did.

Now that she is gone, I can spend more time with my dad who has dementia, but who is grateful for whatever people do for him. My siblings miss our mom, and I do too, but I have more of a sense that I don't have to battle her to care for her and my dad, which has made my life easier. It makes me feel bad that I am relieved that she is safe in her urn on my piano. And I hope that I don't do what she did to me to my kids. I hope I am grateful like my dad is, but one never knows how we will age.

My advice is to limit your time with her and treat yourself well. Remind yourself that this really isn't your mother speaking, but disease speaking. It is such a sad and difficult time in our lives. It is temporary. Best wishes to you.
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Reply to kallettla
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jeannegibbs May 17, 2018
Good advice, kallettla. And having mixed feelings of sadness and relief when a loved one dies after a long period of suffering is very common and normal.
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My mother has borderline personality disorder, so I have had these attacks all my life. I have had to distance myself physically and emotionally, but they still hurt. She asked me to be her POA medical and financial. I agreed, but could only do this at a distance. She has been well cared for in ALFs and now is in an NH. She is 106 and I am 80.

I do have PTSD from a lifetime of verbal and emotional abuse and have to limit my visits to her to a few times a year and from 1/2 hr to a couple of hours if there is an occasion. I have educated myself about her conditions, but I am human and the words and behaviours still hurt. You have to look after yourself to be able to do what is necessary. I have CFS/FM, and, as I age, looking after her business as well as my own becomes more and more onerous.
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Reply to golden23
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It is hard hard hard! Yes you tell yourself-over and over and over again that the brain is damaged, that the person attacking you, the person who walks out the door because you try to keep them from doing something harmful to themselves or others, (grabbing the dog's collar to keep me from "kidnapping" him and holding too tight, or burning holes in the patio cushions), this person is not, yet is, the one you married, "for better or worse". You begin wishing for a disease that presents with anything BUT the horrible and irrational symptoms of dementia.
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