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My 90 year old mother-in-law has mild dementia in a manipulative and controlling way. She was moved from her townhome to a lovely assisted living facility in April after several hospitalizations from a fall and misc. medical issues. Her townhome neighbors were becoming resentful and mentioned assisted living to us on numerous occasions She of course imagined they didn't mind helping her which is contrary to the vibes we got. She has always "called the shots" and wants to be in charge even though she couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag. I single handed found the assisted living facility, moved her in, packed up her townhome, pacelled out the contents, hired realtors, sold the home and manged all the business that comes with the transactions of this magnitude. I pay all her bills and take care of all her business and hold Power of Attorney. My husband and her only child has Parkinsons and I am of course with loyalty and love his primary care giver. (I quit a job I loved in June this year to manage all this business and care for my husband). Back to the MIL, she has fought me the whole way on everything.
1. " the help are not even nurses" (she is a retired RN)
2. Why can't I give my own drugs (she tried this and over and under medicated herself for years)
3. Begs for frying pans (nursing home told us she should not use a stove under any circumstances and recently turned the oven on 500 degrees to warm up her apartment) - we had stove/oven unplugged.
4. Lies contanstantly
5. Refuses her biweekly bath and will allow a hair wash maybe once a month.
6. Refuses to eat in the resident dining facility and has trays delivered at an added expense
7. Stays in her night gown all day in a darkened apartment
8. Refuses participation in any and all activities
9. Demands I take her to get her hair done to her old hair dresser 15 miles away (I refuse)
10. Complains about the pastor at the facility. (he does a wonderful job and is a delightful person)
11. Demands we take her to church and continuously badgers us about attending church ourselves
12. Won't get out of bed so they can change her sheets (apartment actually stinks)
13. Refuses to wear her hearing aids even though she is close to deaf - tells us to talk louder. When we do she accuses us of yelling at her.
14. Makes constant remarks that we never come and see her. (once every 7-10 days is all I can handle)
15. Hoardes her mail and fights with us every week to go through the heaps just to pull the bills out so i can pay them.
I could go on and on. Whatever you do it is never enough. The wierd thing is she comes across all sweet and Christian like when in fact she makes manipulative, mean statements under her breath.
I can't take it anymore. My husband is at a loss on how to handle her and is not physically or mentally able to do so. Obviously, it's all falling to me and I am becoming so resentfull I can't be around her.
Please help me before I lose it and really tell her off.

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I hope you think of your selves first because if you don't things get serious believe me right now I am slowly in the process of getting help for my Mom but her and my step dad are manipulative big time I am having chest pains and lots of anxiety not sleeping but I know soon has someone comes in and helps if they like it or not I will be back to normal but can someone please reassure me!
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OMG Sandy...venting or not, somehow someone needs to move heaven and earth to get you some kind of help or respite! If it is to the point where you see death as the only release from hell on earth, there has to be a less drastic solution. It would be better for YOU to abandon your mom than to die - either way its bad for mom as her best caregiver will be out of the picture. Think of that!! I know you likely would not ever want to abandon your mother, and then try to live with yourself, but that is the reality of that situation, and that has actually happened to any number of caregivers. Mom's dementia is not "mild" either - if she is agitated and has no care for you being in pain and at risk to be totally unable to help her in any event, she has lost her judgement and empathy. Some kinds of dementia those things are worse than memory or superficial social skills early on and it can be deceiving. If Mom has no assets to be used for her care, there should be Medicaid supported service of one kind or another. A possible resource would be wherever your hubby is getting treated for cancer, they will have a social worker with whom you can discuss you situation and the dire need for help and funding.

Praying, hoping, wishing I could send you strength and energy to help you decide you are worthy of help and to make that one contact or call that would get a ball rolling for some alternative to you just continuing to burn up to a crisp to where there is nothing left of you even if you do survive your Mom!!
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YES IM GLAD I HAVE A PLACE TO VENT BECAUSE after eleven years im so disgusted with myself for quitting my job to take care of my Mom when they told me three years ago she was going to pass away pludntalk about anger hatered wondering why why why Im here on earth i have no family or friends what so ever to help any help I have I have to pay money money money which Im running out of and no one will help me my mother is 100 perent bedridden guess milld dementia idk oarkinsons and trust me i cannot do enough for her alot of times she is so nice to others but not me she cant move supposdly but I have cameras set up and when she is aggiated she can just move herself AALL OVER THE BED AND TEAR IT UP AND DOES NOT TH9NK NOTHING OF ME IN PAIN MANAGEMENT WITH BACK ISSUESPULLING HER UP TURNING HER AND SO IN DONT EVEN HAVE 8HRS BEFORE I HAVE TO TEND TO HER AGAINIM SICK OF BEING A HAMSTER IN A CAGE ON A WHEEL GOING NOWHERE AND RECENTLY HUSBANDS DIAGNOSED WITH CAncer so trust me i know how it feels with things all pinned up in you and want to scream i ahve no answers of what to do only thing that willhelpme is death even if its me so worn ojut i will be ready thanks for reading
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mycaringhands1
I first believe she had a problem w ypu from the beginning. Now I think she feel like you are taking completely control over her and you are as pos but loosen up on her alittle. I would only take her to her hairdresser when it is convenient for you and maybe right now for alittle hirer someone she knows or outside of the facility to be w her. Mayb she can put trust in them, right now in her mind she can not trust family and you. I hear this all the time, elderly pp w trust outside the family first, because they think family want to take everything when they die. Or when you decide things for her let her have some say so let her feel she is involve w her decisions. This will cost but less stress off of you or you will continue to be run down. Right now your relationship w her is a problem so let some else help you call local agencies. Next she will start not trusting the ppl in the facility. Now to get her out the bed you have to start slow try just letting her agree to just stay in her room in a chair at her pace not yours. If you let her be in some control she will respect you more. But you do need to get her evaluated and maybe she has medication interaction. You need to be in control in big things and let her control the small ones, its hard for to pp to be on control. Spend time w your husband and let the agency give her someone to be with maybe 2-3 times aweek at least its free time for you. Mybe they can build a trusting relationship w her and she won't have time to focus on what you are doing. Good Luck I work w the elderly and families everyday. The other caregiver can help you put alot.
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Thank you everyone for your wise and experienced comments. This has helped me put some things in perspective and I will continue to do the best I can without losing myself in the process. For now I am going to keep my distance and turn her immediate care over the the AL facility. When I am feeling less resentful, I will see her on a limited basis. If my husband wants to visit out of a sense of duty, I can drop him off at the door and pick him up when he is ready. I am hopeful we can move on in 2014 and forget about the last 27 years of manipulation and guilting. She is safe and cared for at AL and I am grateful for this and the fact she can afford it. Hence my silver lining...
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I'm quoting vstefans comment above, because this is so important:

"NO ONE is a bad person for not responding positively to be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. At some point detaching is something you absolutely have to do to save yourself if you can't start to set limits and delegate care; expectations have to be lowered, lowered again, and lowered some more. Depressing, but hopefully you can realize that you are not causing the problem and not deserving of guilt and blame for trying your best to help and to understand."
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P.S. I can't remember if I said this earlier, but historically, my mom has been dysfunctional. She is a narcissist and emotionally abused and manipulated me growing up and it's now amplified by her Dementia. I stayed away for 30 years because of our bad relationship and her manipulative my way or the highway continuing to use guilt and other manipulative behavior to emotionally control me.
I could go on but I say this to say, her personality traits also play in to the Dementia.

I've heard stores from folks that say their mother was nice until developing Dementia. So one never knows how this strange and HORRIBLE disease works. There is so much that doctors and researchers don't know. As family caregivers, and family members that are directly impacted by this disease, we just have to do the best we can.
Detach with love. Don't feel guilty about not going to see your mom, do as much as you can tolerate. Your life has to go on. Take care of you. Taking care of you does not make you a bad person or a selfish person.
Hope this helps.
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vstefans comment rings home with me. When I stopped (I'm STILL working on this and have my days) expecting my mother who suffers from Dementia that is progressing--expecting my mom to be reasonable, t's a lot easier to handle. It's the disease of Dementia/Altz it's not you. Please remember that.

My mother is a narcissist (her entire life) and now that she has Dementia it's amplified. Knowing this helped me understand why she emotionally took advantage of me and manipulated me growing up and it also helps me understand how this plays into her Dementia.
My mom is still at home and I moved in her home to be her full time caregiver. She is not an invalid and still bathes and sometimes (when she's up to it) will cook. Her friends take her to bridge once a month and she goes to the salon with another friend every two weeks for her hair (she's very vain...care's more about her appearance than taking her medications...knowing she could have a heart attack or another TMA/TMI with her high blood pressure and kidney issues).
My brother and I notice when she takes her Dementia meds (Aricept and Lexpro in the AM and .25mg every other night) helps. And we put the meds out as when she said she could take them on her own and tried to let her (we could tell by her combative behavior) that she was not taking the medications. If she takes the meds we put out in the AM great, if she doesn't, depending on her mood we will say did you take your medication? And if she does, great, if she puts up a fuss, we let it go. We do the same with the PM meds. We have a paper on that says "Morning Medication" and another that says "Evening Medication" and they are on her dresser. We put the pills out every morning (I try to do it while she's still sleep in the morning because it's less stressful).
My brother has learned that taking her out for drives helps with her combativeness, however, he says she she sometimes brings up her driving when they are out and starts on her getting her license etc.
I'm saying all of this to say, your mom being in an AL apartment/facility (although it's not perfect) it's taking some stress off of you. I know it must be hard hearing all of the negative feed back from the facility, but at least you are not dealing with it 24/7 at her home or your home. And from what I've heard AL facilities/apartments are better that nursing homes.
Perhaps you can have a talk with her doctors and have her meds administered via a patch (this will not work with my mother because she will rip it off) or in a liquid form that can be put into juice.
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What I am trying to say and said badly, is that once I stopped expecting my mom to be reasonable, I found I could emotionally handle it a lot better. It was still hard.
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Marialake et al,
They feel horrible and make in a confused state or mind think it is someone's fault, and need to feel it is not their fault. It doesn't have to be ANYONE's fault, but that's too much logic to expect of them. And the usual someone is the caregiver who is closest to them and whose support they can more or less take for granted. They are venting their frustration, albeit it a very maladaptive way. NO ONE is a bad person for not responding positively to be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically. At some point detaching is something you absolutely have to do to save yourself if you can't start to set limits and delegate care; expectations have to be lowered, lowered again, and lowered some more. Depressing, but hopefully you can realize that you are not causing the problem and not deserving of guilt and blame for trying your best to help and to understand.
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If she's been depressed for years and won't take her meds, there's not much you can do, short of forcing her to be on meds, which is very hard to accomplish. Most places let patients refuse meds if they don't want to take them. They might try hard and report failures or you, but if she's adamant, they can't force her to take them.

As to church, if she wants to go and you don't, ask her pastor to get a parishioner to pick her up for services. Almost all churches will do that.

She sounds pretty toxic. Be sure to take care of yourself when dealing with her.
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I had a terrible time with my MIL yesterday too! I am aching with you!! Contrary is such a nice word for STUBBORN lol.
We are living in the twilight zone. I was reduced to tears last night also........she absolutely refused to let me change her wet depends before bed and glared at me with those mean eyes and reached her hand up to slap me on the face.........I ducked. Then I started to cry and she called me horrible names etc. All that... to say I completely understand your situation. What drives me crazy is how nice and compliant she acts with other people. They have no idea!! And she mutters hateful things under her breath to me alone. Why do they vent so bitterly on the caregiver? I'll never figure that one out. I have emotionally separated myself from her most of the time. It's sad but I have to do it to save my own sanity. Does anyone else do that? Does that make me horrible?
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A small practical question: Why don't you have all of her bills sent directly to you, as POA? You shouldn't have to fight with her over the mail.

But essentially the overall situation doesn't sound fixable. Vent away!
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Lindek, I hope venting on here and getting both good answers and answers like e about doing stuff you have already done has helped you feel in your heart, as well as just put your mind at ease, that you really have left no stone unturned, and your compassion fatigue has a very real basis!
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I know what you mean. Church just teaches a lot of people how to hide their horns in public.

(Disclaimer: this was in no way meant as a statement against churches or religion. :)
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Oh my gosh I so appreciate the opportunity to vent. JessieBelle I like what you say about taking "good enough care". I will keep that thought in mind knowing I can never do things just the way she wants. We had a terrible day yesterday and I vented and cried most of last evening and on and off today. I asked her to please cooperate when I picked her up for Christmas dinner and she immediately took an attitude. I admit I did raise my voice after she was being dramatic and told her I had a HELL YEAR and to please cooperate. I apologized as I drove her to our home and she stated, "well, I will accept your apology because I was taught to do that", always snarky! My best friends who are nurses and have checked on her when I am out of town can't stand her and both agree she is toxic in a sweet, sickening way. I really think I need counseling and may never get over her overbearing ways. The scales been tipped. This pent up anger has been years in the making. I feel bad for even saying all this. I just can't hold it in any longer.
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lindek, I hear you, gf. I don't think there is anything that you can do beyond what you've done. Except for the bathing, your MIL sounds so much like my mother that I just had to nod at everything you said. And I know you were probably thinking "that won't work" to suggestions as you read them. You were most likely right, because you know your MIL. If she is like my mother, she is determined to be contrary. It is so difficult to help a contrary person, because they go against anything that you suggest. Nothing you can do or say will be right.

My own mother is contrary to the point that she contradicts anything I say. It has gotten to be her conversation style. It gets exasperating and we have very little conversation because of it. She sits in her pajamas all day in a fairly dark room watching TV. She doesn't see very well, so I don't think the light makes much difference. She doesn't do well with things like hearing aids, so I don't push her to try them. I thought about the Lyric brand that she wouldn't have to fiddle with after they were in place, but she said no.

My mother also wants to attend church every Sunday, though she doesn't like the preacher and can't remember a word that was said. She is forever pushing me to get more involved with the church.

With me I decided what I can do is take "good enough" care of her. It won't be good enough in her mind, because she thinks I should be able to compensate for all the things she has lost. I have come to some peace about not doing more and not feeling guilty about the things she has lost. I cannot replace those things. When I first came here 4 years ago, I wanted to try to fix things. It wore me out emotionally. Now I know I can't fix most things, so I do what I can. I am learning more to let her deal with her own contrariness. If I didn't we would be battling back and forth all day. I don't owe her that.

Don't you love that we can come here to vent? Some things are not fixable, but it certainly feels better to talk to people about them.
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Hearing aids are in great working order. She told me they did not work and just a month ago I took her and the hearing aids to the audiologist. Bit of tweakin and they are working just great.
It is so hard to take her out since she moves at less than a snails pace and is unsteady on her feet. Has a walker but prefers her cane, when and only when she prefers it. Other times wants the walker, particularly if I have to manhandle it into the car and people will see her using it which could garner sympathy.
I must say she did lose her daughter to breast cancer 17 years ago which was very difficult for her particularly since they did not get along very well.
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She is on anti-depressants and has been this way for years. She has had many evaluations and denies she is depressed and does nothing to help herself. Prefers to wallow in self pity and spend her time fretting. I apologize if I sound harsh. She has sucked the life out of me.
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Yeah. You have done and are doing a yeoman's job here. And MIL is sadly lost in a lot of wishful thinking...she's fighting her sense of loss, which may be profound, and the inevitabilities of aging as much as she is fighting you. I bet hubby appreciates your efforts even if she never will.
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Another screwy idea here...maybe the hearing aids don't work right and that's why she won't wear them. (I've participated in a couple of threads on here just about that issue alone!) Or maybe they are fine and she just does not want to bother. Either way, there's your entre' for a medical visit that would also. Include the rest of a good comprehensive geriatric evaluation.
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Did I mention she did not want to sell her townhome since he her mind she is absolutely able to take care of herself and her business.
16. Constantly asks me what I did with her stuff, implying I took it. (all of her good furniture and precious items were moved to her apartment) - I cleaned out and lost a dumpster full + 14 large garbage bags and numerous donations to charities.
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She's depressed. The dark room and no enjoyment of anything, no initiative, is classic.

Take her to her hairdresser, and then for a medical eval. She could possibly benefit from antidepressant medication. You could possibly benefit from knowing how badly her thinking skills are affected, in terms of possibly needing guardianship, or just realizing that she is being antisocial and maladaptive because her judgment and memory have gone so far downhill.

The way things are is a vicious circle spiraling downhill, and her next stop if things do not change is a nursing home. Any chance her pastor or priest would come visit and pray with her a little?
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