My 86-year-old mom is not smart, but yet is so cunning and manipulating. I'm painting her house, yet all of sudden I'm taking too long. She is always saying I need to do more. I do as much as I can. I have a younger brother who does nothing and is very secretive; she believes every thing he tells her. If I defend myself I am being argumentive. And she says be quiet. She doesn't want neighbors to know how abused she is by me. My brother just avoids her and then he is the good guy and I'm always the trouble maker. He won't talk to me because I asked him to help out, he won't, so I become who she goes to, then she tells me he never back talks her like I do. It is so twisted.
I think that the orignial poster for this thread had in her profile that her mother had dementia. It's important to not ignore that fact as they are not capable of intentional and manipulative behavior that they may have engaged in before the dementia. If we fail to recognize that, it's not really fair to the patient nor productive.
why do they not 'get it' that they should be grateful that we are taking our precious time to help them.
my mom is hateful and mean and nothing is ever good enough...so im going to just quit doin it and then maybe she will appreciate it.
HATEMOOCH007, was your mother manipulative all your life? Did she always favor your brother? Did she always think you couldn't do anything fast enough, correct enough, or good enough? Did you grow up in a fairly dysfunctional family? Do you think that your mother was mentally ill before she developed dementia?
All of these are important considerations for the present situation.
Maturity is about being fully grown, reaching a stage of mental or emotional development that is consistent with adulthood, and being capable of thinking and planning carefully and thoroughly. That last one my mother emphasized when I was growing up: thinking and planning carefully and thoroughly. It was a lesson that made me believe in what was right for me. My mother let me beat to a different drummer.
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Conclusion, 1854
If caregiving is right for you, then I believe it's possible to establish healthy boundaries and "pull outside the abuse". However, if you hate caregiving and are forcing yourself to do it then I think you owe it to yourself to pursue the life you want. After all, it's your life and this ain't no dress rehearsal!
Too many caregivers die prematurely from the stress of caregiving. There are social workers at the county and state levels and at area hospitals. Nursing homes exist for a reason as do psychiatric hospitals. I imagine there is relief to be had knowing that the person is getting the care they need. They may not want the care (inertia and denial are so much easier) but if it's what they need then it's the right thing to do.
Is it maturity, though, to "pull outside the abuse"? Would it be immaturity if someone couldn't do that?
"Gaslighting", new term for me today...VERY interesting..,,,,
I think that as long as the dementia patient is viewed as the person who hurt me or manipulated me, there is a risk to both parties. It would concern me. Working this hurt out with a professional would be helpful, imo. Seeking penance from the dementia patient will likely prove illusive.
Those traits seem exacerbated by the dementia. Throw in a lifetime of growing up, thinking that what your parents were like ( throwing tantrums, breaking plates, falling down drunks, not dealing with sexual abuse within the family, to name a few examples) was "normal" makes dealing with a now even more broken brain extra hard.
A lifetime of dysfunction family life has left many with maladaptive coping mechanisms.
I sometimes see the attitude of "Their brain is broken! It's not their fault!" as a reason to put up with abuse from the elder. (Oh, there's usually a "Take care of yourself!" piece of advice, that is nearly impossible with some of the described situations, so it doesn't really mean much.)
I like the respondents who say to not put up with abuse, no matter what.
If more people had the "don't put up with abuse" attitude, then maybe 30-40% of caregivers wouldn't die before the ones they are caregiving for...
Something happened here today that reminded me of the old gaslighting. The numbers and other marks on the toaster oven have melted and come off. I told my mother we should get a new one -- she burns her toast every morning and I just guess at what time I'm putting on. She told me that we didn't need another, that she could see the numbers just fine and there was nothing wrong with them. Of course, I could see the numbers were gone. It was very similar to gaslighting, but I know this was because she doesn't see well, so probably doesn't know that numbers (white enamel paint) have melted.
This one didn't really matter and I know it was an age thing. But it really was the knee-jerk response from someone who spent their life gaslighting -- There is no problem, something is wrong with you. A person doesn't stop being who they were because they have dementia. They become the same person with dementia added onto it.
Your profile indicates that your mother suffers from dementia and/or alzheimers. I'd try to read as much as possible about what is going on with her brain and then make some decisions as to how caretaking for someone with this condition is often frustrating, challenging, stressful and the kind of thing that you really have to develop a tough skin about.
Due to the damage that a person sustains to the brain, they may never see things in a reasonable manner, award the good deeds from the caretaker, show appreciation, etc. It's often a resistant patient who is difficult to manage and nearly impossible to make happy. It's no reflection on the caretaker, but, a result of brain damage. It's so cruel, but, predictable.
I hope you can garner some relief from the knowledge that you are not at fault and that you have to sometimes give yourself credit, pat yourself on the back and understand that a person with brain damage just isn't able to assist you with navigating through this horrible condition.
"Gaslighting is so harmful because it promotes anxiety, depression, and with enough frequency in our lives, can sometimes trigger nervous breakdowns. So the question now it: are you being gaslighted? How can you know whether you’re experiencing this subtle form of manipulation in your life? Review the following tell-tale signs:
Something is “off” about your friend, partner, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, colleagues, boss, or other person in your life … but you can’t quite explain or pinpoint what.
You frequently second-guess your ability to remember the details of past events leaving you psychologically powerless.
You feel confused and disorientated.
You feel threatened and on-edge around this person, but you don’t know why.
You feel the need to apologize all the time for what you do or who you are.
You never quite feel “good enough” and try to live up to the expectations and demands of others, even if they are unreasonable or harm you in some way.
You feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, e.g. you’re neurotic or are “losing it.”
You feel like you’re constantly overreacting or are “too sensitive.”
You feel isolated, hopeless, misunderstood and depressed.
You find it hard to trust your own judgment, and given a choice, you choose to believe the judgment of the abuser.
You feel scared and as though “something is terribly wrong,” but you don’t know what or why.
You find it hard to make decisions because you distrust yourself.
You feel as though you’re a much weaker version of yourself, and you were much more strong and confident in the past.
You feel guilty for not feeling happy like you used to.
You’ve become afraid of “speaking up” or expressing your emotions, so you stay silent instead."
That last one - staying silent - has been my strategy with people for a long time. Luckily I usually trust my gut and steer clear of people who "rub me the wrong way" and this has been a problem in my husband's family because many members of his family believe that family must be loved, accepted, and socialized with always. And they don't like that I do my own thing most of the time. My husband's family is now falling apart. My family, on the other hand, is much more a "live and let live" bunch of people. There is a huge cultural divide between my family and my husband's family. But that doesn't explain the level of gaslighting and avoidance that seem to be acceptable in his family.
I would have been gone a long time ago...at least I think I would? Kind of the same situation with my dad and I...he wasn't there for me much growing up, praising others...ugh. I was kinda lovin it that he and I reconnected some this past year but now I'm over it...I'm seeing that he needs my help now cuz his health is failing & he's broke!
p.s. By the way, I have learned tons from you here! You have a heart of gold!!
Now that my mother has dementia, I don't know how much is the dementia and how much is just her being herself. Her reality has always been how she needs things to be. She treats my brothers like they are golden. She treats me okay now, but so much damage has been done that I feel more like an impersonal caregiver most of the time. Sometimes she attempts to praise me -- like today she said I was a useful person to have around when I rewired two lamps. It irritated me. No thank you or anything normal, just that I was useful.
I just go about my day doing the things that need to be done.
Are you the around the clock caregiver, as I see that your Mom still lives in her own home? The issue that happens when a grown child returns home to care for the parent, that the child/adult situation starts all over again. You are once again the child with your parent telling you how to do this or that. That is quite common.
Can your mother budget for having caregivers come in to take care of her? Thus if you are living with Mom, then you can go back out on your own.