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What is it? its origin? Its effects? How it's defeated by some? Why it's victorious over others?
Many of the lives of caregivers that I have read are struggling with the power of an emotional blackmailer in their life. I think it is a big enough topic to warrant a discussion on it using the questions above.

The following is how I basically see this issue and my hope for all of us who struggle with it.

Emotional blackmailers are powerful for the F.O.G. is strong with them. F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) is the path to the darkside of manipulation. May you find freedom, be free, and stay fee from the power of the F.O.G.

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im going. I feel I do not belong here anymore. I was persuaded to come back after I said it last time but this time its not going to happen. I will sort out my issues by myself.
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Oh my mother doesn't like an thing about me my hair is too grey why don't I colour it Im too fat, my hair is too long, my hands are too cold, my glasses are the wrong colour, why don't I wear makeup ....anything to make you look a bit nicer (gee thanks for that boost!)

She doesn't like the perfume I wear, hates the colour of the car, hates the car, doesn't want visitors yet hates me for driving them away (which I might add I haven't) Doesn't like anything I cook but the tinned pea and ham soup was ok (at least it will be till she finds out I made it)

It's a personal thing and once they focus no it, it can seem relentless but hey its not them its the dementia (at least that's what I have to keep telling myself however difficult that is at times)
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Poster, seriously? - you are not to enter her presence until your hairstyle conforms to her idea of aesthetically pleasing?

Um. I appreciate that you've already explained that your mother's dementia is not that bad. But the thing about dementia symptoms is that quite often they're not exactly bad, they're just *bizarre.* And this particular bugbear of hers sounds pretty dam' bizarre to me!

Have you, could you, would you consider waltzing in there (with your hair how you personally happen to like it) and saying "look Mum! - had my hair done like you said! :D" - and just seeing if she says "that's MUCH better..!" I reckon it might be worth a shot, you know.

And even if that doesn't work, and she gives you the eye basilisk and says the equivalent of how very dare you, you can always look repentant and say you must have misunderstood - now let's have a nice cup of tea...
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poster, Unfortunately, you are not going to be able to please your mother. If you somehow were able to achieve a hairstyle that she liked, she then would move on to something else. I know that you want your mom to love you and approve of you, but sometimes, with some people, that's just not possible. I would suggest that you make no attempt to visit her for awhile, except in case of emergency. Just call her every couple of weeks and if she's not civil to you say something like, "I think we're about to get into an argument. I'll call back when we're both in a better mood." (I have had similar problems with my mom for decades.)
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What is it with hair? my mom has started in on me - I haven't changed my hairstyle in years - no time - a short bob and blonde highlights. Now every time I see her, she says she preferred my hair shorter and blonder like I wore it 3 years ago. Hello? it is the same. And she will harp and harp during my visit. I've told her I don't want to hear about hair - yet every call every visit - she brings it up "you would look so much better...." so I end the call or the visit. When it isn't hair - it is something else she is on my about. Poster - you are going to have to just say "I like it this way, we are not going to talk about this anymore" and leave if she continues. You are grown up - why worry about it? Sounds like your mom just needs something to b3tch about. Like mine. Don't take it. don't be rude, but be firm and don't take it. Why should you?
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Are you playing with us, poster? Why would you be concerned if your mother was pleased with your hair or not? You are a grown woman.
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ok well if you read through my earlier posts on this topic you will see what it is all about. I called my mother back and she said she wanted to speak to me to verify that there was no misunderstanding in what she said before and that was that she did not want me to visit her unless and untl I get my hair cut in a style she likes. I said I understand that fully and we left it at that. I did however ask her what she wanted in terms of my hair and she said looking better and shorter like she sees on other women on television. The problem is I could go to the hairdresser and have my hair 'styled' differently and like it and there is no guarantee that my mother would like it too and then I would go and visit her with a new style and she would once again look at me and say it is not acceptable and then we are back to square one. I have got a new hairdresser with a friend recommended to me which is much cheaper than where I have been going and this hairdresser said my hair was fine except that she could shap the layers a bit more but overall keep it the way it is now. Basically my mother has no idea what kind of style she would like to see me in so it would be up to me to decide and I have decided on my current style and nobody has said it looks awful except my mother so I am not going to change it to a style that she thinks is suitable just to please her and then not like it myself. I am the one wearing the hair so I have to be happy with it. The other things my mother said to me before which were terrible, I am not sure if she has forgotten about that but on the phone this morning she was quite pleasant and did not shout at me or call me names like before so it was not a horrible phone call with her telling me off and telling me I am an unattractive person. All it was, was to remind me of what she wants in case I misunderstood and came to see her again with no new hairstyle and embarrass her again. I know the score and do not need her to tell me again what the score is. She told me she did not like me as I was and I was not to see her again and I fully understood that and have not contacted her since. I do not know why she felt she had to ring me to double check that I understood wht she wanted.
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My mother is in a care home and has been in a home for a few years now
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Poster, try to have others care for her: home companion once a week: someone who visits and can do a few things. My Mom, age 94 has two people every week. I used to be under what you are: not now. I call her once a day, or less, just to ask her how she is, let her talk and then I tell her I have to go now. Local resources can help you help her from a safe distance!
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Hello I have an update. I had a call from my mother. I did not pick up the phone because it was not connected so I had no idea she tried to call me tonight. Obviously I will return the call tomorrow to see why she called but am aware of what happened before and am curious to know how she will be this time. Thanks to this forum I know that it will not stress me out anymore if she carries on as before. I have not had any contact from her for two and a half weeks and it has been a blessing not to endure the verbal abuse and the negativity she put in my head about myself. That negativity has gone and I no longer believe it and have had a glorious two and a half weeks with people who treat me with the respect I deserve. I do not want or need emotional blackmailers in my life no matter who they are.
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yes she has something in writing about her death. I have heard people say what is the point of resuscitation if your quality of life afterwards will be poor and the stress of revival etc. At an old age it simply is not worth putting someone through this stress. Yes Age Concern may be able to help. I did not contact them sooner because I just buried my head in the sand thinking my mother will go on forever but I have to be prepared and do not want to be caught out at the last minute. She is 92 and her health is not brilliant so although year after year she still carries on, that will not always be the case. I think I am in denial on this one. Thanks for that
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Does she having a living will that states in writing how she wants to die with no heroic measures taken to keep her alive. Without it, the doctors will try to keep her alive despite what you say that she said. It needs to be in writing.

Four hours away is a long ways away. I would contact the department on aging in her area to see if they can do anything.
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I do not need medical POA because my mother has stated to me and the home and her doctor that if she ever has anything life threatening, then she does not want to be treated. I am wondering about her funeral. I am actually dreading it because she lives four hours away from me. We have no family where she lives and my mother has no friends. I will have to go and sort out her affairs and find a place to stay and that will be pretty costly. It takes time to sort out the affairs and since I do not live anywhere near my mother it will be an absolute nightmare.
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Possibly contacting your county's social services for the elderly. Tell them your history with your mother plus her current condition and that the combination of both are just too much for you which it is. Maybe they can do something?

Is her dementia bad enough for her to be diagnosed as incompetent? First, a doctor would have to evaluate her and if so be willing to testify in court if you were to file for guardianship which would put you totally in charge. Has she ever given you durable or medical POA? If not, that's not good.
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IMOP, It would be a mistake to put your feelings in writing to be used against you someday.
You will be doing very well in the future if when she does contact you, (and she will), you don't get sucked back in.
Take awhile to consider if you are taking yourself too seriously or over-reacting, being too sensitive. Then, put it all in perspective, don't doubt yourself again, it can only make one crazy and vulnerable to future pain and distress. Imop.

P.S. In every relationship there are struggles and times away. After you decide, you will understand that this is not likely the case where your mother is concerned.
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one thing I was thinking of doing is writing my mother a thank you note because she told me about a hair product that would be good for my hair. At first I dismissed it because she is not a hairdresser and has slightly different hair type to me so I decided she was only basing it on her own experience with the product. I decide to google it and look on youtube to get womens comments and they were all happy so I bought it and tried it and it does work for me. My hair is no longer static and it has a shine and is smooth. However if I write the note, it may bring up my mother talking again about the other issues that made me stressed and made me fall out with her. As for my friends.. My mother does not know my friends and it would be impossible to visit her with a friend because I usually would stay two days and I could not do that with a friend.
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Poster, it's not like you're staying away from your mother to punish her. You're staying away to protect yourself. Say the dementia made her chase you round the room with a kitchen knife - it still wouldn't be her fault, but you wouldn't be in a rush to go back in there, either. You'd at least want to get your breath back, and put on body armour before you try again.

I don't know, but maybe a useful thing to think about would be what your mother really needs from you. In day to day life, it might not be much - you're happy she's well looked after, yes?

So that leaves, say, contributions to her social life, family life, emotional wellbeing, maybe. Then you can have a look at what you're happy to do about that, and whether or not any benefit she might get from what you can offer is worth the potential stress and hurt it could, on a bad day, cost you. And if it isn't, then don't do it.

Just a thought - is your mother one of those people who is often nicer to your friends than she is to you?! Could someone go with you, maybe a friend of yours that your mother knows too?
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Thanks for the reply. I get what you are saying but when someone has dementia, regardless of the effect it has on you, are they held accountable for their actions? So what do you do in that situation? go back for more and get more stressed out until you end up having a nervous breakdown?
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Sometimes, the only way to deal with emotional blackmailing people like your mom is to go into no contact to protect yourself and as a consequence for them for how they have been. Let her go and move on.

Also, friendship should be a two way street of communication, as it should be in a healthy marriage. Those friends who only talk about themselves are basically using you and in my opinion are not real friends. I can see where people might be self absorbed about a problem of their own for a time, but not all of the time.

Take care of yourself.
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hi
does nobody comment on this thread anymore? Anyway I think my mother and I are pretty much finished. I have not spoken to her for almost two weeks. I am scared to make contact because the last time we spoke it was pretty awful and I could not go through that again because it was mentally draining and I couldn't sleep and I was beginning to believe what my mother was telling me (that I was unattractive etc). Now that I am over all of that and it no longer affects me but I do not want it again so that is why I have not made contact. It is rather like a school bully. You keep away from a school bully because you do not wish to be bullied again. I know my mother has dementia but it was pretty awful and mentally exhausting and was starting to affect my day to day life.
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I was listening to Joel Osteen last weekend. He said something that rang so true with me. To get past these things of the past we have to put it down and let it go. I thought of how I often live in the past -- my jobs, my relationships, injustices that happened. I knew it was true that if I didn't close the door on these things I wouldn't be able to rebuild myself. Sometimes we end up going down a wrong road due to bad decisions or bad things done to us. If we keep being that person, then we can't become anything else. We have to put it down and let it go. If we were raised with all the bad things, we have to adjust our thinking to be the good things our parents and others should have been. If we don't, then we end up being the victim our entire lives, instead of the happy people we could have been. I think this is very important for caregivers, since we are being thrown back in the situation we faced when we were kids.
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Very true, JessieBelle, and very difficult work: "Sometimes we have to do the good things for ourselves if we miss out as kids."

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

I learned too many of the wrong things as a child. Then I got my act together but my inlaws could not accept me on new terms and dredged up the past. I rose above it by caring for them despite the fact that they crossed boundaries. Even my brother in law got in on it once but that was a long time ago. My MIL is a very good manipulator because she's subtle and patient. Because I relate to her as a woman rather than a child I have called her out on her manipulation, which probably has been to my detriment in this family I married into.
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That must have been hurtful, Poster, I'm sorry. How often are you in touch with that individual, though? - the thing is, I think we all do it to some extent - get preoccupied with our own concerns and then rabbit on about what's bothering us without stopping to think; and especially if it's been a little while since we talked to the other person, so that what's going on with her isn't fresh in our minds. It'd be a shame to spoil a friendship that's valuable to you because of her thoughtlessness today.

Why not call her up and say something like 'hey, I didn't get a chance to tell you about…' and see what happens?
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Forgot to add that if your friends see you as a listener they can have a hard time getting past that normal role you play. Just give them a chance and maybe ask for their advice.
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poster, you may be a natural listener and people cue in on that. I am a listener, too, so people tend to talk to me about their problems. This may be even if I am lying on the ground, bleeding. (Okay, being a bit dramatic here, but you probably know what I mean.) There's nothing wrong with being a listener. We need a lot of them in the world. If you are a listener, you may feel awkward talking about your problems. Maybe it is you feel you don't want to complain or "put upon" your friends. I know I am like that. If I WERE lying on the ground, bleeding, I would probably say I would be alright in a minute. :)
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hello again

When I was going through a tough time recently I confided in my friends. They have not asked me how I am or how the situation is. I am disappointed because I thought they cared. I was with one friend today and she did not ask me how I was in regards to my situation. She talked with me at great length about her problems. That to me is selfish don't you think? I try to offer my friends support and this friend today had the gall to tell me that a mutual friend of ours is selfish because she does not enquire about our needs and yet this friend has done exactly the same.. All she spoke about was herself. Not once did she ask about me.
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Here is the full text of what I read on Facebook. I think it is very good -- especially on how to help your children have good traits and a happy life. Sometimes we have to do the good things for ourselves if we miss out as kids.

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.


If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte
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poster, I was reading something today on Facebook about raising kids. One was that a child raised with criticism will grow up to be critical. A child that is ridiculed will grow up to be shy. These things are so true unless we find a way to turn them around. We can't let our parents' baggage ruin our lives. We have to start playing our own words in our ears.

I listen to some songs a few time. I love music and some music is very emotional and deserves to be heard more than once. I'm sure that other people do the same thing. That's not weird nor addictive. To me something is considered an addiction only if it interferes with your life or health. So unless you had to stay home to hear a song exactly 20 times each day and ended up missing work, then that would be an addiction... or more than that, it would be an obsession. The things you mentioned seem more to be human.

It's hard to get that mother voice out of our heads. However, when they filled us full of lies about ourselves, we have to get them out so we can be happy. I get the feeling your mother had some big-time baggage that she unloaded on you. Wish you could find a good way to shed that baggage.
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Hugs again. As they say, you have to look after yourself before you can be capable of taking care of anyone else.

Um. I understand that it's the doubts she's brought in that are troubling you, and not that you necessarily believe that what she says must be true. But all the same, you know. Just 'cos she or anyone else says something don't make it so. I'm sorry it was so hurtful and upsetting, wish you feeling better very soon.
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No I am still here because I posted two days ago. At the moment silence is the best option. I was calling a friend from my phone and accidentally almost clicked on my mother number by mistake and I panicked because of what she may say. To be honest, she has left me feeling a bit panicky and doubting myself and I never used to do that. I need space to recover myself so that I can get back to feeling good about myself. She told me that I was a certain type of person and that I was not attractive and to be honest if someone constantly says negative things to you, you will begin to believe them, whether they are true or not. I still do not feel I can have contact until I have been able to let go of the feelings of negativity about myself as a result of what my mother said to me. I have been told I am not attractive and have an addictive personality. Now I am beginning to think of all the things I do in my life and whether they are contributed to an addictive personality. For instance, if I go on the internet too much or eat too many cakes or listen to the same song too many times. I am now beginning to wonder whether my mother is correct and this trait I have indeed inherited from my father who was addicted to alcohol. So yes I am still here and trying to recover from these negative thoughts before I feel I can have contact with my mother again.
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