My mother is 92 and living with us. She is openly resentful and jealous of my marriage which is great, and doesn't like my husband. She complains about him to me and to my friends. Not a day can go by without her saying something negative about him. He waits on her, gives her breakfast in bed and tolerates her bad attitude. I don't know why other than the fact that she had two bad marriages and I truly thinks she hates men. She has done this to me before my marriage (with boyfriends etc) has played the same game with my brother and his relationships. I take it as long as I can and eventually get mad and we have words. Then she adopts the "poor Mum" attitude. It's always about her. I'm wrong because I blew up! She's never responsible for her actions and comments. At my most recent yearly physical my Dr. noticed I was being "beaten up" and he tried to tell me that she has to be accountable for her actions. How do you change a 92 year old who has been playing the poor me game all her life and using it to manipulate all those around her. She has alienated most of her friends because of being so outspoken. I try to just let the things she does and the things she says about my husband not get to me but it happens daily. She is in fairly good health and doesn't have dementia. Just normal aging forgetfulness. A nursing home is not an option, I just couldn't do that to her. Assisted living is way to expensive $6,000 a month in our area). I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do. She is literally robbing me of my last few years with my own Mum! Her mother was a nasty, selfish outspoken person and I guess that's all she knows. She could be so happy here with us, but she just won't let herself. Not to mention the fact that our lives are in complete chaos. Any thoughts from other caregivers would be greatly appreciated. I just don't know where to turn. I'm I too old to run away from home?? Sometimes I'm tempted. Thankfully, I have found so much comfort from this site already. We are all kindred spirits!
Thanks again all!

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I sometimes find with my father who is 90 and lives with me, when I get to my wits end I give it back to him. Be a bit outspoken to her.. show her how it feels, then TRY to explain that to be treated with respect you need to show it.... Your husband sounds like a sweetheart! maybe he should find it in himself to get just a little outspoken with her, then and only then will she remember what that feeling is like... just a thought. good luck to you

So sorry for how your mother behaves!

Advice to keep you from blowing up at her: Don't let ANYTHING go unnoticed. "That was unkind, Mother. I can't let you talk to Joe like that." Every time. Calmly. And leave the room, as JessieBelle says. When she asks for something, "Will you be nice if I bring it to you?" When she yells, say "I guess you don't really want it." You don't have to be verbally abusive to her, although she deserves it. Just don't do anything unnecessary and nice for her when she's being nasty.

Why shouldn't she go to a NH? Many people are happier there seeing lots of different people every day. At the least, you can threaten her with it. "If you don't like the people in this house, maybe you would be happier in the NH."

Discuss this with her doctor, behind her back. An antidepressant, antipsychotic, or pain medication often makes nasty people nicer. Even people who have been nasty all their lives.

When she is being nice, reward her with extra affection and service, and tell her you love her. When she is not being nice, tell her you love her, but you don't have to put up with her cruel words. And leave the room.

Can you tell I'd like to get my hands on her and straighten her right out? Like that would work. Good luck.

I'll meet you at the pub, pinkfelines, and we can run away together. :)

Really, it sounds like you have the most wonderful husband. I don't think I would trade him for anything. It's sad that he is having to put up with your mum's abuse when he is trying so hard to help her. I'm sure he has already earned his angel wings.

Your mother sounds abusive. I have an abusive mother, so know what you are going through. Abusive people are not happy unless they are making other people feel small. And they are never responsible for the way they make others feel. Anything you say to them will only come back as being your own fault. I don't know if there is anyway to change an abusive person, only to try to minimize the damage they do. My favorite thing to do when the abuse is thick is to just leave. There's no reason anyone should put up with someone belittling them.

I don't know what causes some older people to be abusive. Many have probably been that way their entire lives. I think you may have hit upon a key in your first line -- jealous. I feel that some abusive people are jealous of the lives and accomplishments of others, even their own children. They can't stand it when others are happier than them or have more money or intelligence than they do. What they are most jealous of is probably what they belittle the most.

We often here how elders are mad about getting old and losing independence. A lot of that is true, but I think there are other issues that go into the bitterness that we often see. I believe jealousy and resentment could be big factors for many of our parents. I don't know what to do about them other than to recognize them for what they are and try not to let them wound us. If others are like me, I've not been able to change things, only to live with them. I wish we didn't have to do this.

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