Do we have to forgive and quietly endure everything they dish out simply because they're old? Who made that rule?

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My mother was a mean spirited, controlling, spiteful woman all her life. When she hit 70 (she's 82 now), she got it in her head that now that she was old, she could take off the gloves & behave anyway she liked. If someone didn't like it....she would just say she was an old woman. That is supposed to make everyone over look anything she does or says. It's her "get out of jail free" card. She should automatically be forgiven because she's old. God knows I've tried to forgive & overlook her behavior because I'm the only person on this earth who will care for her. She has perfected the art of putting on that "sweet innocent old woman" mask for her doctor, the nurses, her brother & sister...but once she gets in private...the mask comes off & she is once again nasty. No one believes me when I tell them what she's really like. She's getting careless lately about letting that mask slip. Still no one wants to help me. Most people now simply avoid her. Yet, they still want to criticize me, give me advice...but no help. She has no idea how close she is to be thrown into a nursing home. Why must I endure this? She sits all day & complains about her life. She names off the people that she feels has disappointed her or abused her (my name is always in the former category) & she wails about why God has punished her by allowing her to live this long & to be stuck in a family full of losers. No matter what I do for her, she tells her brother & sister on their daily phone calls how I never do anything for her. She will be eating her lunch when she calls them & I will hear her tell them how I haven't fed her in 2 days. She went to the doctor 3 weeks ago, yet I heard her tell her sister that she hasn't been to the doctor in over 2 years because I am too lazy & mean to take her. I have shipped her off to another state to spend the winter with my son & nephew. They called me last night from their car. She had them to the point of nervous breakdowns with her constant criticisms, negative comments, telling them they were losers & would never amount to anything & saying how their parents were too. They stayed in their car in subzero temperatures for nearly 5 hours until they saw her bedroom light go off because they were afraid of what they might say or do if they stayed in there with her. These two boys were the only people she ever appeared to like & now she's burned that bridge too. Looks like that experiment failed & I will have her back next week. This is pure hell. And before anyone says, "she might be sick", I have had her checked from head to toe. I have spoken privately with her doctor. His response? There is no magic pill on the market that can turn a mean person into a loving person. She is what she is....and I am stuck with her. Am I the only person with this problem?? I honestly feel as if I am. I see people my age with their parents in stores, at the doctor, out & about. They smile & share laughter. There appears to be such a loving relationship....then I come home to this....it's more than I can bear.

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Moving my mom into a continuum care campus was NOT a hard decision at all. We have never gotten along except for about 15 minutes once in the fall of 1990.

I was home on break and decided that for the next week, I'd just say "yes mamma" to everything. I saw no friends, didn't got out, didn't do anything or wear anything except for what mamma wanted. I realized that I could live that way no more than I could live the other way with non-stop yelling, squabbling, fight-picking, throwing, stomping, and more childishness than you'd see from an actual child.

As people age, their personality is exaggerated, and I have pretty much always known that our time together needs to be limited to not more than about an hour.

I got that confirmed when her apartment wasn't ready in time, and she had to live with me & my family for about a month. It was the longest, most tortuous "brief stay" I've ever been through. At least this time I had my husband and kids on my side. She pulled some real stunts though. Faking a fall, faking a stroke, and faking immobility because her PJs were still in the dryer.

Even after she moved into her own IL place, she was just as demanding and rude. Drive me here, take me there, etc. "I don't care if you are at work!" and so on. I had to erect some new boundaries to protect myself and stop being her pet sheep. I was an emotional basket case.

The kind (and firm) folks here helped me understand that I am not a doormat. I can make changes that help myself. It does not have to be 100% momma's way or the highway. I'm not a child, so I get to make adult decisions about my life and if she didn't like it, she could lump it. I don't need to feel in the wrong for meeting my life obligations, spending time with my family, or even sitting on my butt doing not a doggone thing for an afternoon.

I am in a very fortunate situation in that we found a spot in a good place for her, she has been able to maintain private pay for the first two years (some how) and only recently went on medical assistance. She has moved from IL to full time nursing care, into the dementia ward, and now in hospice. All under the same roof. Yes, it's expensive, but it's not my money. And it's worth every penny to me. I can't imagine what a hellish nightmare it would be to try to have this woman in my house. I won't make myself, my husband, or children live in her dementia world with her.

Mom is clean, fed, given her meds, and they try to include her in activities even though she either refuses or acts up when she gets there. She is visited throughout the day by different people for different reasons. Some staff, some hospice, some medical. There's a good team of people there and I always tell them how much their care means to me.
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My mother and I were very close and had a wonderful relationship until she recovered from her illness. My mother is 100% mentally competent. She is 77 and sometimes a bit forgetful but, so am I at 48. My mother has no clinical signs of dementia and is sharp as a tack. I know my mom loves me dearly and she was a great mom. The problem is she had my 43 year old brother living with her and she 100% supported him financially. She wants him to keep investing his money with company he has been working for over 25 years, retire a millionaire (he is 3/4 of the way there) and drive his $50,000 car. In order for him to have those luxuries she pays his living expenses for his new apartment. I have opened up my home for her as she is adamant that she will not spend her over a quarter of a million dollars on ALF. I am now feeling a severe financial crunch as my mom likes the finer things in life. I am not going to allow her to run my utility bill through the roof and milk my husband and I to the bone so she can pay everything for my brother. I am getting ready to put my daughter through a 4 year college, and we blew through all of our savings while I took a year and a half off to care for her. We are trying to rebuild our retirement account. My mom has a good home here and apx 950 sq ft of our home. She has home cooked meals, all the extras she desires, transportation to and from her appt's and I pick her up every Friday night at Bingo. I have been there for her through everything and will continue to do so because I love her. I have had to set boundaries as I will not allow her to control my home or make me fell guilt because it was no longer safe for her to live at home as my brother works swing shifts and I could no longer get up at 2 am, drive 15 miles each ways and be able to go back to work and be there at 8 am. I could no longer spend my Saturday's and Sunday's at her home so my brother could go to work or go out if he was off. My husband and my children never saw me and was so exhausted I was falling asleep at the wheel. I herniated a disc in my neck and my lower back lifting her while she was ill so I was in severe pain on top off it all. I had no life at all! I had to make the decision for her. Her house was going to hell and she didn't want to go to an ALF. I knew she would never forgive me so I made the most rational decision I could. Sold her house, moved my brother out and brought her to live with us. That was it I just couldn't physically handle it anymore! Now I deal with her resenting me for that. It is just something I have to deal with. I know I did the right thing. The doctors all told me she should not be alone and alone she will not be! I have a caregiver come in while I am at work as she is a fall risk! She has regained most of her physical abilities however; she does use a walker when leaving the home. I can not get her to use it in the house! This is how I took back some control of my life and the lives of my husband and my children.
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Here's my spin on it.
Look beyond the mean.
Sometimes this behavioral change can mean there has been cognitive decline.
It's the same reason teenagers are so ____ rude and say provocative things.
Their frontal lobe is not complete, and that is where your social filter, appropriate language & behavior, and "good sense" comes from. With elders in decline, it's degenerating.

So if you look at it as a medical neon blinking sign of mental change, it's easier to not take it personally. Diabetes and dementia can go together like chocolate & peanut butter. One does not help the other any.

Have her seen by a neurologist and a dementia specialist for evaluation.

I will also say at the same time that you are not a doormat or the whipping post.
I would have to tell my mother that she was being mean and offensive, and that if she was going to be rude and "ugly" I was leaving - this is your warning. When she continued, I left. I went to leaving my purse, coat, everything in the trunk of the car so I could make a hasty exit if I needed to. My car keys clipped to a belt loop on my pants.

This was a phase that passed. But at the same time, she does take an anti-psychosis pill and Prozac to keep the paranoia, anger, and combativeness down.

When things get to this point, you have to take steps to put literal physical space between you. You can't hold up in an abusive environment, regardless of the cause. It will get to you and it will grind you down to a nub.

If she's just in AL and doesn't require skilled nursing, maybe she needs the diversion of going to a day program. Maybe you need to cut back on number of visits to get your sea legs back. You have to protect yourself because nobody else is going to.
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I really cannot speak from experience. I'm one of those mother/daughter pairs who look happy out in public because they are happy in private. She is a sweetie. Sometimes her dementia flares up and she can be difficult for a brief period, but she definitely is a dearest mom, not a mommy dearest.

My mom was not one for lectures or explanations, but she could convey a lot in a short phrase. Whenever there was something in the paper or on tv about a wife beater she would shake her head and say, "I'd like to see the man who would hit me twice!" As an adult I know that those situations can be very complicated, but her message was not only to her sons, that beating your wife was totally unacceptable, but to her daughters that accepting abuse was not what she expected of us.

You really, really, don't have to continue to accept your mother's constant abuse. Really. If you'd had my swell mom giving you lessons in childhood, you'd know that!

No! You do NOT have to forgive and quietly take everything she dishes out. Old age does give her some passes. If she is slow in her movements or comprehension, be patient. If her hearing or vision decline, be patient and help her find medical solutions if any are available. If she loses interest in some things she used to like, don't nag her.

But old age as an excuse for mean behavior? No, no, no.
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Yiu do NOT have to endure that abuse from anyone. Even your mom!!! I recently moved my mother in with us as she is paying my brother's living expenses(he has more money then all of us) and she doesn't want to spend money on ALF. She told me it is a daughter's job to take care of her mother. So I am doing just that. It has been a major adjustment not just for her but, for myself and my family. I took of a year and a half to tske care of her in her home when she was very ill. She is now quite independent but, needs supervision fearing she may fall and needs someone here when she showers. So I have a caregiver come in while we are at work (she resents me for) but, with the extra expenses I could no longer stay home so my brother whom lived with her could keep his job. I have endured a lot of negative feelings and comment from her along with the guilt trips. I have bitten my tongue for almost 3 years now with some minor squabbles with her. I love my mom and I am trying so very hard to accommodate her but, I finally let her have it the other day. We live in Florida so in the summer she complains it is hot and turns my A/C down to 71 and now that we have had a cold snap she is always cold and turns the heat on 75 and it runs and runs. My electric bill was double what it was this time last year. Then there is the shower problem, she has to use our Master Bathroom Shower as it is difficult for her to climb in the tub shower in the quest bath. My husband watches TV in the bedroom now as we basically gave her the back end of the house where she has a pool bath, a bedroom and a den (which was our famiky room). She waits until my husband is watching TV or until I need the shower for work and then gets angry if she has to wait. She is home all day with the care giver. I told her to take her showers then and she replied "maybe I don't feel like it"... First thing that fueled me. On Saturday I was getting ready to go run some errands and she got angry that I was in MY bathroom and yelled "Would you please hurry up!!!!" I grabbed my clothes shut my mouth and headed for the guest bathroom. The came Monday morning, 8:00 a.m. I walk out of my room and she is standing there with all of her shower essentials and says in a sarcastic manner "now I guess you need to do your make-up? I have a doctors appt at 10:30!" That was my breaking point...I told her if she had of told me she needed the shower I would have gotten up an hour earlier. She replied "I am not taking a shower in this house anymore!" Okay....then I lost it...almost postal! I told her I was getting quite sick of her attitude, need for control and lack of consideration other people living in this house and blurted out "It's my house, my bathroom and I need to keep my job so you can enjoy all the extras I have to buy you every week!!!!" OMG I could hear myself but, after almost 3 years of a power struggle with her I couldn't stop! I asked her where she was going to shower in the future...,in the back yard with a hose? The Pool? On and on I went. She told me she was moving to an ALF! I said "if you are willing to spend $3,600 a month and pay your son's bills then by all means feel free to leave. It was a horrible day for me. I was so overwhelmed with emotions and so upset. I came home and tried to explain my outburst but, it ended up that somehow; I was still wrong. She refused to eat dinner and stayed in her room. I guess I was being punished that evening for my behavior that morning. However; she must have used that time in her room to re-think her narcissistic behavior as she has been nice as pie to me and being more helpful. My point in that very long story is .....you have to face up to your mom, set boudaries or else she will continue to take advantage of you but, ONLY IF YOU LET HER. I live my mother with all my heart but I realized I was creating a monster!
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I definitely feel your pain. My brother and I are in the same situation with our mother. But what can we do about it? We cannot force her to move to assisted living. We cannot force her to have a third party come in and stay with her when my brother is at work in the afternoon/evening. And how can my brother leave the situation now that he's living there?

It's all well and good to say "lay down the law" with this type parent, but that really doesn't actually accomplish anything at all with her sort.
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Yes GA. When I visited in the winter prior to selling my home and moving to care for her (later found out she was telling people I lost my job and she "saved" me) she'd leave the heat on over night "or the pipes might freeze". Once I lived there she turned the heat off at supper time and huddled under a blanket in the den with a little box heater. When I got up in the morning and turned the heat on my clothes almost stood up by themselves and with 9' ceilings the place took hours to warm up. I often went back to bed just to keep warm. She really couldn't afford to keep such a big house but it was a status symbol I guess.
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You sound like you have been through it a lot. Gaslighting is, IMO, one of the cruelest things parents can do to their kids.
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JessieBelle you said it beautifully. Perfectly. When a person grows up with a mother like this, they are always and forever convinced that everything is somehow all their fault. They either did something wrong or didn't do something they should have. You live your entire life second guessing every decision, thought and feelings that you have. You automatically think that if you thought it, said it, felt it or did it....then it must be wrong. I had a husband once who said, "your problem is you feel personally responsible for everything. You have spent your life apologizing and feeling guilty about things that are out of your control or have nothing to do with you. If you hear of starving children in Africa...somehow you feel that's your fault too." He said that to me shortly before we divorced. It does a huge number on our heads....and our mothers never ever even care about that. To them it's all about getting their own way and telling it their way. Thank you so much for your comment.
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delta, I know completely where you're coming from. My mother seems very sweet, but she is like dealing with shadows and mirrors. It can be hard to put a finger on exactly what is wrong, so it always feels like I am doing something wrong. Even when I know I am not to blame for things, I feel like I'm really to blame. She is a master of a technique called gaslighting. A good example of it was that we grew up with an autistic-spectrum father who wanted nothing to do with his children. If I mentioned it, she said nothing was wrong, that my father was a wonderful husband and father. It made me wish I'd said nothing at all and made me realize everything that was wrong was me. She was perfect. My father was perfect. Their marriage was perfect. I was the one who was bad.

Age and dementia play well into her gaslighting. Now she invents the facts and gets very angry when I don't go with her facts. We had an event last night where she told me I was lucky she took me in when I had nowhere else to go. I reminded her she had asked me for years to help them. She denied she ever did. And I honestly think she may not remember, because it would hurt her pride if she did. So she rewrote the story or me as the needy urchin child. So my reality again was denied and again things became my fault.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to deal with someone who came after me with rocks or knives than someone who uses passive-aggressive techniques such as gaslighting. Gaslighting works on your self esteem and sanity. If I didn't know what she was doing I would be a mess.

My mother has fairly advanced VaD, but doesn't need a nursing home yet. It is tempting to walk away, but it would create a huge mess if I did. I do have to admit that it is hard to stay and that I won't mind it when the end comes. I just hope I have a few good years left.

I do have to admit that I had a thought of what a title of the book of my life would be. Don't Do What I Did came to mind right away.
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