3 times in the last 3 months I went over to go to the store for her. She screamed at me like a crazy person and told me to get the 'h**l out of her house and never come back, for absolutely no reason. She did say she was extra depressed when I walked in. She gets mad at my Sister & I constantly, when we are the only ones helping her. I am tired of being the one that does the calling, after she treats me like this. She has been a wonderful Mother to both of us, always, but I am so tired of her doing this to me. I just don't want to call her this time. I feel she owes me an apology and it should be up to her to call me. She has gotten mad and has hung up on us so many times on the phone, over the course of her life time and we never really know why. She is extremely sensitive and you just really never know when she is going to take the simplest thing wrong, that no one else would ever take wrong, and go crazy and blow up. These things are very hurtful to me. I guess I'm back to my original question..who should call who? I always do the calling after she treats me like this .. and she just does it again later, down the line. To me this is verbal abuse.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
I think people give too much credit to behavioral problems on UTIs. Yes, a UTI may make someone feel weak and we all are familiar with being cranky when we are sick but if an infection was the root cause of behavioral problems then people would get a dose of antibiotic instead of paxil.

I know OP said that their mom has been "wonderful" but read further and OP says that mom has acted badly all their lives. Anger is nothing new there with angry hang ups et al.

My mom is pretty much as you describe your mom. It peaked out a few years ago where she would go on multi day rants generously peppered with primal screams. It still happens but at a far lesser frequency, intensity and duration. Mom has never been a joy filled person but I attribute these outbursts to frustration. She's even says as much at times when she says she can't remember what to do. Like a toddler that will throw a tantrum simply because they don't know whether to turn to the left or right after passing through a doorway, the typical human response to frustration is anger. When we are children we can't control it. As we mature, many learn to control it. As we age, many lose that control.

I wouldn't expect an apology or any other signs of remorse. In fact, I think it's unreasonable to expect that. Do you expect an apology after a baby has been screaming at the top of their lungs for hours? So the question is whether you can deal with it or not. When mom acts this way, I just say OK and let it slide. My dad on the other hand, takes it personally. I would not expect there to be a miracle solution for your mom to change for the better any time soon. So can you handle it? Having said that, my mom has slowly gotten better. It's like she made it over a hump. A lot of that is that I've learned what the landmines are and I avoid them. If she has a fit, I let her be for 10 mins and come back. What she had a fit over 10 minutes earlier she most likely will take in stride now. Like getting her to take her pills or put on a diaper.

cherih, take your Mom to her primary doctor or even an urgent care and have them them test Mom for an Urinary Tract Infection. With the elderly, the symptoms of a UTI are outrageous behavior. This can be treated with antibiotics.

This woman who has been "a wonderful Mother" to you and to your sister is now verbally abusing you. You don't know why.

When did this abuse start? Was it going on while she was "wonderful"? Or is it only in her old age this is showing up? Is she being treated for depression? Has Mother ever been seen by a geriatric psych doc? Would she consider that?

I think how you react and who should call whom depends on her mental health. If she is "in her right mind," I guess I'd try tough love. She goes off on you, you leave immediately. "Mom, I can see you are upset right now. Please call me when you feel up to having my company. Good bye." Wait for her to call.

But if she has dementia or even a severe episode of depression tough love typically doesn't work. The kindest thing you can do is see that she gets medical help, and to treat her as a wonderful person who is now sick. You may still want to leave when she gets abusive, but perhaps not expect her to call you. If her brain is broken that isn't a realistic expectation.

How is your sister handling this?

Dear cherih,

I'm sorry to hear what happened. I know you and your sister do a lot for your mom. And it is troubling when a parent is verbally abusive. I wonder if your mom has an undiagnosed health issue causing her to act out more.

After my father's stroke he was more grumpy than usual. He had high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol. He was suffering and hated losing his independence. I tried to be patient but it was hard for me too to deal with his outbursts.

I know you are doing your best and its really hard to take sometimes. Do you think you could talk to a family doctor or a therapist and see what they can offer in improving your relationship with your mom?

I'm a terrible people pleaser and I normally back down and always apologize first. But I think this can lead to a lot of anger and resentment. Given your mom's age, I might back down one more time and check on her. I might say, mom I really love you and care about you, but your verbal outbursts are making it hard on me. Do you need to live in assisted living or a nursing home instead? I feel there has to be a reason for her behaviour. She might even have dementia or maybe she is not taking her medications properly. I hope you can find the right answer and things get better.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Start a Discussion
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter