My mother has always been a "complainer" and wears her heart on her sleeve. Every ache, pain and disappointment has been articulated throughout her lifetime. Since she has truly become more frail and has a range of medical issues, the complaining is non-stop, 24/7. From morning to night I hear a litany of complaints that start with her neck, back, stomach - virtually every part of her body and bodily function. She is on dialysis and most certainly has some serious issues and I don't expect her to suffer silently. But the constant complaints have left me depressed, weary and, often quite angry with her. When we are with others, she behaves quite differently and, in fact, at a recent family gathering, I was told by several people how "well" she appeared to be doing! When it is the two of us, as it often is, the complaints do not stop, nor do the grunts, groans and moans. I have tried to speak to her about this but she tells me that she is old and sick and "entitled" to complain. I have seen people with terminal diagnoses with a more positive and pleasant attitude. I know she is not going to change at 85 years old but how can I cope with this continual barrage of misery? She sees a psychiatrist regularly and is on anti-depressants. She refuses to consider an outside caregiver or assisted living. I feel abused and defeated....and dread old age because of what I hear all day.
Before I agreed I wanted her to see my home. Nope - she lives too far away. Then I insisted on meeting her. She lives 100 km away, but it was en route to the cottage.
The lady was quick to point out that she was descended from nobility. Her son was abusing her by making her live in the basement (an in-law suite). She could not move without a walker, and could not use stairs. She never stopped complaining: ex husband, sons, etc. and she asked if she could take my bedroom, on the main floor, as the two other rooms are upstairs.
She obviously needed assisted living. When I told #! son, he confessed he was shocked, but then, he hardly knew her: she abandoned him at 2 years old.
So why am I surprised that she called me again? She changed her mind. Now she wanted to move in..BUT would I consider giving up my bedroom?
I wish you well.
Enjoyed your comments about removing yourself from your mom's sphere of influence when she starts in with someone stealing her pearls etc. Misplaced items are stolen items to her, my mom is in that phase too. You have found a way to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Have you tried redirection? You know that the complaining is directed at us, we are the closest target. I used to get worked up into a dither, now like yourself, I just disconnect and try ( try is the operative word here) not to take it personally. I feel like this site is our group therapy session. Take care of you.
It sounds like your mom is less negative now that you spoke to her psychiastrist. It seems that your mom has had a life long habit of complaining. When our parents age it seems that their basic personality becomes more pronounced. She is capable of better behavior when others are present therefore she can do better, it is a choice. She may want attention from you but doesn't realize she is alienating you. With my mom, some days I never know what her mood will be and it can change from minute to minute, hour to hour. When dementia sets in, not sure if your mom has a component of this, the part of the brain that normally inhibits doesn't work like it used to so they tend to not inhibit when they should. Hopefully, when we get old we are happily demented. Hope progress continues in a happy direction.
One night, early on, he started in. I put up my hand in the 'talk to the hand' position and just said ~ I don't want to hear it.
That was very helpful. Now when he talks about my son - it's still not positive (though he never does it when my son is around) . . but it's like he wants it to be he and I against my son. NO WAY will that ever happen. Just the ever-so-slight criticisms.
It's to the point that I don't even like to share the good things about my son with him. I don't know if it's his dementia - but he can only see his imperfections and nothing good. Last night, he started in with that my son seems' unhappy' and I cut him off with an 'I can't and won't criticize him for that". And that ended that conversation.
It really has driven a wedge between my father and I. Because I hate to tell his narcissistic self - if I have to chose - it will be my son EVERY TIME. And if he can find nothing good to say about my son - then we will have no conversations about him - at all.
They used to be so close - but living together - one self-absorbed teen-ager and one self-absorbed old guy (with creeping dementia). . . . was a recipe for disaster.
I don't have any suggestions as I am trying to figure out some ways to deal with this myself.... at least we both know we are not alone..... that has to count for something... if I come up with any MIRACLES I'll let you know.... hugs to you
Your mother may be "entitled" to complain, but you are not "obligated" to listen to it constantly.
I hope you can work something out soon.