Mother wants to battle anytime we talk.

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It is so hard to live like this. Anytime I sit down with my mother she tries to start a battle. Mostly I don't argue with her. I just let her talk. But it is hard to sit there and listen to someone saying stuff that makes me feel bad and have to suck it up. This morning I had a customer write about some things she wanted to order. I made a mistake of mentioning it to my mother, who went into a conversation that the customer was always right. It wasn't relevant to anything to do with the transaction, but that didn't matter. She went into a spiel about how I just couldn't seem to get it in my head that the customer was always right and that is why I didn't get business. What? Who? Where did that come from? It was all inside my mother's head and she just had to say something to fight at me. I didn't say anything, but just said to myself not to even try to take up for myself.

Then I realized what a terrible position this is to listen to such things all day and not be able to defend oneself. It is like being a human punching bag for all the negative emotions of someone who holds the age and dementia cards. She always speaks with anger at me, like she is mad at me for never being good enough.

A particularly bad problem has shown up. I went out with a man 2-3 weeks ago. He was not my type. Last time I talked to him I told him I wasn't interested in a relationship -- that I only wanted to be friends -- but he keeps calling on my cell phone and my mother's phone. My mother thinks that he is only doing it because he really likes me, and that I should grab him up. I told her I didn't like him. She said that didn't matter, and she started laying out all his good traits. I barely know the man and she doesn't know him at all. She keeps on at me to go after this man that I don't like because he has some money. I want to ask her if she could for once be on my side about something.

My mother has moderate dementia, but I am also realizing more that she has a core of evil in her. My parents had what looked like a loveless marriage, and I often wondered if my mother married him as a meal ticket. (Actually, I know that she did, though she would never admit it.)

Respite is not a good answer. I spend a good bit of time away from her, but it is the same when I come home. She thinks I am lowly and not worth much. She has this idea she is paying my bills, though I tell her repeatedly that she is paying me nothing and that I pay my own bills. She thinks I should have my rabbits put to sleep so she and I can go places -- yeah, like I would do that.

I feel bad even writing this, but it is hard to find someone to talk to. How do you tell anyone that your mother acts like an evil person. Of course, they'll just say that she's old or that she has dementia, but the truth is that she has always acted that way. Only now she is worse. It can be like a battle where evil is trying to chip away at good, who is not allowed to defend herself.

I know there is no solution other than to leave. I just needed to vent some of these bad feelings.

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A sad thing about it is that I would really love to sit down with her and enjoy company while she is here. I try to do that sometimes. It goes along fine for a few minutes, but I really can't say anything, because it triggers anger in her when I talk. Sometimes she just thinks of something that makes her mad. I never know what is going to trigger her. I can say that I need to go to the grocery store tomorrow and she'll get angry thinking that I didn't buy something last time. It is like she has the hidden seed of anger in her just looking for some reason to sprout. The best way to keep it from happening is not to talk. I've read that anger and anxiety are flip sides to the same type stimuli. Maybe I just get on her nerves when I talk. My father never talked, so it may be what she was used to. They were married 65 years.
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I swear to God, I feel as if you are telling my story. My Mom is abusive, angry, hostile (and that's the good behavior). My Angel of a father passed away almost 2 years ago, and then she started showing signs. I guess that is normal-when the spouse passes away, it kicks the Alzheimer's into overdrive. I'm looking into placing my Mom into care. I can't take the anger, abuse and constant drama much longer. Sad. If she were somewhat pleasant, I wouldn't be forced to do it now. But she's never been the nicest person, and now it's 100x worse. .
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Jinx4740, you are soooo wise. Mirroring or reflecting back someone's statement is a great way to help them have insight. Sensing and sympathizing with the themes within the negativity rather than just hearing the negative statements is hard to do but can bring new understanding. Another strategy is to agree with them, they can't continue to argue with you if you agree. Sometimes saying "You know, you are right." ends the tirade (for the moment). If you disagree, the battle will continue. THIS IS NOT a strategy for EVERY battle but some battles aren't worth the fight. Jessebelle, the negativity is not about you, it is about their unhappiness and disappointment with life and was probably there to some degree earlier in life before their filters failed.
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Jessie,
My husband isn't really evil, but he is pretty unhappy and spills it out all over me. I know how it feels to sit there with my mouth shut and let the bile flow out of his mouth.

I have two thoughts, sort of related. When she says how useless you are, tell her you're sorry she got stuck with such a disappointing daughter. It gives you a chance to respond, and by mirroring her words to her, it's possible she might hear herself, or just want to contradict you, and say you're not THAT bad. Comments like that surprise my husband, and make him laugh.

The other possibility is to sympathize with her over how disappointing HER life is to her. Ignore the specifics she complains about, and respond to the dissatisfaction inside her. Theoretically, love and compassion should burst forth on both sides.

I think you are very wise and good. I hope you can find some ways to help yourself. It's a constant struggle. Hugs.
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If you could see a CT scan of a very old brain, you would notice how badly it withered and the neurologist could tell you from the picture what is not working, whether it is the vision area, reading/math, social control, etc. He could also tell you what drugs are likely to provide relief, and what won't work, and what to expect down the line. This a lot more helpful than the family MD who says "try some of these" and hands you a script for something.
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OMG, I have the same problem. I refuse to take her to anywhere other than the doctor because her behavior is so rude, nasty & she always instigates fights. So the caregiver takes her out on errands. It pisses my Mom off, but I need to remin sane!
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I think you are so right about without the filter the true personality comes out. I wish everyone had a caring, nurturing mother. Would make it so much better.
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To answer Skinonna, my mother technically has dementia AND she always was a classic verbally/emotionally abusive, narcissistic personality. She hallucinates, flips out, forgets things...the whole 9 yards. Her original diagnosis was a stroke, but I noticed her mental health has seriously declined too.

After the stroke, her "true" personality has come out. Before the stroke, she could manipulate (etc) like the best of the them AND hide her personality. Now, it has come out full force. My husband likes to say that the stroke "revealed" her true self to everyone.

I think that these "harder to deal with" folks have these issues BEFORE getting old/strokes/etc. They just hide them really well. For example: No one really knew my mother was a raving lunatic until after the stroke. It was almost like the flood gates opened up, letting everyone see the REAL her.

As per the battles with your mother? Every time I visit her she is wanting to fight about something. I had to actually put her in a nursing home (5 minutes away) just to keep some of my own sanity. That doesn't stop the calls from her or staff, nor does it stop the battles. But, now, I am not getting the full brunt of it every time I visit. My kids aren't allowed to visit with me anymore because of her attitude. She has also been known to throw things at me.
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It sounds like dementia-"severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss of or damage to neurons in the brain. "
But it's harder when they were that way before. I wonder how many of these hard to deal with folks actually sufferred from diagnosable mental conditions before the dementia. This definition helps explain the multiple personalities I've seen my MIL switch to. They literally fall apart I guess. Heartbreaking and soul sucking for those who try to take care. I think your Mom is deperately trying to be relevant.
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KiKi, you have had it rough. I have to admit that my situation doesn't sound nearly so bad. I was toodlin' around the yard tonight when I realized that it isn't really me, but just that my mother was complaining. Her life is becoming harder for her to live and she is looking for something or someone to blame. I am the only one around, so I am catching it at the moment. Tonight I asked her to stop when she was doing it, but she got mad and started to cry. I am actually thinking my mother needs respite from me. If I could find someone to take her on a trip, that would be wonderful. Kiki, I think you and I need to pack up our mothers and send them on a trip to sunny Florida. Maybe a single kind-hearted caregiver can handle the both of them.
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