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My dad passed Dec. 2010 and ever since then our (me and 3 brothers) lives have been a living nightmare with our mom. I could not possibly begin to tell the stories of all that has happened, I don't even remember a lot anymore as we pass from phase to phase, game to game, etc..

Immediately after his death it didn't seem right. She seemed more concerned about how SHE was going to get by rather than his passing. We spent the next couple years tip-toeing around her and not saying anything rather than confronting her (our fault). She acted like we needed to be entertaining her all the time. I could hang out with her 5 days in a row and if I wasn't on the 6th day she was complaining to people how I was too busy for her. It got to the point where myself, my husband, and boys couldn't take a vacation or go to a park (we live in Orlando) without her because if she found out there would be drama or massive guilt and it wasn't worth it, so we stayed home. She is super helpless and as soon as she gets around anyone she acts like she can't do a thing for herself and is asking for help. I am talking unbelievable so. I would spend 30min. on the phone with her trying to explain simple times, dates etc. and she repeatedly says the wrong time/date. Yet if she knows I'm coming over at 2:00 you can bet she is calling me on the dot asking where I am. She also can't/won't (?) follow a conversation so every single time you say something she responds with, "What do you mean?" and I have to repeat it. I hate those words with a passion. It's so deflating. Of course, she's been doing that one for years and years. We can look back now and see that a lot of these behaviors were there even before my dad passed. If I could go back I would have taken her out for the day more often to give him a break. He was a great man. Anyways, there is so much more but there's a little background :)

Nov. 2013-- We are all worn out.. She is back in FL (she has two homes, one in Fl and one in TX) and my brother sensing my foreseeable breakdown :) offers to bring her back to TX for the holidays. Oh joy! I think she sensed everyone getting tired of her and outside people started acting shocked that her husband died 3yrs ago when she was still acting like he died the day before. My brother was leaving town for 3 days and was calling me saying she better not pull some stunt. She did.
Dillard's (that was the first of many, many random people calling us) called an hour before he was to leave saying she was there and not doing well. Hyperventilating, dizzy, shakes (I'm not even going to get into that one), but all better when she was picked up.

She started obsessing on, "What's wrong with me?" She stayed in TX for 6 months going to numerous doctors who could find nothing wrong. Numerous testing because she seemed to fit dementia, but that was ruled out many times. One nuero told her that once her head was fixed then her feet would be fixed (whole different story, but so funny because her feet are such an issue and she uses a scooter...when it gets her attention:) They tried different meds which she freaks out on, but when she is taken off she is freaking out about. You can't get a clear answer because she acts like a child and can't explain her symptoms. It's a vicious cycle. Some of those meds also took her social filter completely off...not good.

She then spent 3 months in a treatment facility where we were all hoping it would help her out and give us some answers. Not so much, but in the weekly therapy calls it did give us the strength to set boundaries and be more honest with her. Turns out honesty goes right over her head, so it is basically for our well being.
Btw- She was also tested again for numerous things in this facility with nothing coming up.

The confusion, not finishing sentences is out of control. I have shut down her driving and the next try is IL...I started coming to this site a couple months ago and it helps so much. Even though she has not been diagnosed with ALH/DEM the stories are so similar it is comforting. You all go through so much, hugs to you.

Certain words that we have figured out about our mom and words flung out by the doctors and treatment facility---depression, anxiety, needy, self-pity, fear to do anything by herself, manipulative, factitious disorder, malingering, pseudodementia, dependent personality disorder.

Thanks for letting me vent and I hope there is an end to this. I really do love my mom, she can be a very sweet woman, I just don't like what she is doing.

Btw- she is 66 years young

Any words of wisdom?

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I'm confused.... You go to pick her up and she's not there. She doesn't drive, how did she go missing? What's the money situation? You said she has two homes. You guys need some distance from this mess. Can you sell one of the homes and use the money for a caregiver and get the h*ll away from her?
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So, mom went to Brookhaven (it has a lovely website...it says that it's an emotional finishing school, for real), and she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Are those being treated? With medication and talk therapy? Does she see a psychiatrist regularly?
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Andygal, my mother has never been diagnosed with dependent personality, but I know her. A problem that this can create is that she is dependent while seeing herself as an independent, in-charge person. This can lead to what looks like bullying to get me to do things. People often tell me what a sweet mother I have. She normally is sweet, but if they could see some of the things I go through they would be surprised. The saving grace is that I know her. I don't understand why she is the way she is, but I know what she'll do.

The thing I don't like is that I have to be something I'm not to keep some semblance of myself. I would prefer to be totally kind and caring, but I have to be tougher than I like. I envy people who have an intimate relationship with their mothers. I think it is the sweetest thing on earth to be able to care for someone without having to worry.
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Thank you all for your responses!

Pam, I struggle with thinking it could be dementia, but hearing what the docs say, seeing how this has played out over the years, knowing how my mom was before my dad died..makes my brothers and I lean the other way.

I think she likes messing with me about time because she knows it gets me upset. She is almost always 15-60 minutes late when she is supposed to meet me. The past few months she has been absent from her house when I go to pick her up for lunch, dinner, appts.. A couple Sundays ago I was picking her up to take her to my brother and SIL house to see their new baby. A couple was taking her to church and I told her to go straight home so we could go to his house that is an hour away. I told her I would be there at 1. Of course she was not there. A couple minutes later my cell phone rings, it's her, but I don't answer. I answer the next call and she acts like nothing is wrong and asks what I'm doing. I tell her, she acts confused, I pick her up. I did find out from the couple she told them she was feeling faint and needed to be fed. When I got home that night there was a message on my home phone from her that was left after she tried me cell phone. She acted innocent, then let it slip that I should be at her house, stopping mid-sentence and hanging up. Not exactly a jaw dropping story, but it's stuff like this that happens all the time. It seems like games.
Additionally, there is always something she can no longer do: turn on her microwave, oven, TV, open her door, turn her car on, turn on her windshield wipers, a/c, radio station, sign her name...I could go on and on. She will obsess about these things, make you help over and over and still not get. Then a week or two later you never hear about it again. There are constants though..her cell phone is one. She has had everyone try to help her, but she claims she can't get it. Of course, if she is alone she has no problem turning it on or making a call. I have had numerous calls from her asking how to make a call from her cell phone. She ignores me when I tell her she called me from her cell phone so she must know how :)
Can that be dementia? We really have no idea as we have never dealt with this before.

Babalou- She was in an all female treatment center dealing with substance abuse and disorders. Brookhaven in TN.
We look back and see that a lot of these behaviors were present long before my died dad...just majorly amped up now. I think her fear of doing anything, anxiety, need for attention, dependency, that was all there. I had an aunt point out to me that she manipulated my dad a lot. I don't remember 20yrs ago, but I can see that in the last decade he was alive. She would get sick and have him running all over the place to eastern docs, again obsessing on what was wrong with her.
Regarding the "flung out" words: they have been said by doctors and therapists. Ok, needy and self-pity come from me and my brothers :)

JessieBelle- yeah, my mom is no hermit! She will almost always say yes to going out.
The reason they didn't put dependent personality disorder as a diagnosis is because they couldn't prove that she ways like that as a child. I guess that's necessary for a diagnosis and no one knows if she was like that as a child.
As for friends, she used to have a lot, but she is driving them away now.
Wow! If your mom is like mine I have no idea how you do it! You are a better person than me!

Thanks for listening again
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AndyGal, if your mother was a hermit, I would think you were talking about my mother. My mother has a dependent personality going back to her early childhood. She was even sent home from first grade the first year because she couldn't be away from her mother. Through her life, her dependence went from her parents to her husband (my father) and then to me. I can't have normal adult conversations with her. We can talk about family or the weather. She has several real health problems, but fabricates many others. Even though she is a hermit, she likes receiving medical attention.

The description sounds a bit like a monster, but she's really a nice person most of the time. She does have dementia of some form, but that isn't saying your mother does. I live with my mother, so I do have to maintain some distance or she would drive me crazy with all of her fuzzy symptoms and needs. When someone is dependent and acting out, you really have to set firm boundaries. Decide what you can do and don't do things that are unreasonable.

I do have to mention that I never know what to do about the fuzzy symptoms. These are the ones that she can't explain well. She'll say something hurts and I ask her how it feels. She say it just hurts. Most of her symptoms are fuzzy like that and doctors never can find anything wrong. I ignore fuzzy symptoms now, because I think it is just part of her generalized anxiety disorder and need for attention.

It is very complicated, the way some people's minds work. I've learned there is really no fixing the thinking in the case of my mother. So I have to decide what I will do and let the rest roll off of me. I do not like how this makes me feel. I feel like a cold professional, instead of a daughter, most of the time. I just don't know how else I could do it and maintain some sense of myself.

I do need to add that you don't have to spend so much time with her. She can make her own friends. If she chooses not to do that, it isn't your fault. You do not have to donate all your time because she chooses not to make friends. She's only 66 -- three years older than me. She probably has a lot of life left to live. She needs to put one together for herself and stop borrowing life from you.
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What kind of treatment facility was she in? Has she been mentally ill ( dependent, dramatic, not self supporting) all her life or is this a recent change in her personality?

In your shoes, in addition to setting firm boundaries (one phone call a week, one visit, whatever you decide YOU can safely do), I would get her to a University Hospital with a REAL department of psychiatry. You want a teaching hospital.

About the words "flung out" - where these flung by doctors? Is her depression and anxiety being treated?

A lot of what you write reminds me of my mother in law, who did indeed have dementia, although family was good at denying it. Also melodramatic (would faint at the senior center but perk up as she was being loaded into the ambulance because the local politician was there). She finally ended up having heart surgery for which she would not do rehab.

IL sounds like a great idea. It will give her a new audience. For you...BOUNDARIES.
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Andygal, read between the lines on all those symptoms. Add them all together and it is dementia. She has dementia. Repeat that until it sinks in.
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