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Mom has always had an ugly, cruel side to her when she's angry or upset. She's a classic victim personality & I was her sounding board all my life. She's 91 yrs old & had been living with us until recently when she tried to flee the house and then physically attacked me twice in 3 days. The second time it happened, I dialed 911. She was transported to the ER, declared Section 12, & admitted to a geriatric psych ward. They're in the process of stabilizing her medications. In 5 days if all goes well she'll be transported to one of the best memory care facilities in the state where she'll be safe and secure in a proper environment. I knew that things would be rough at the start. I've been prepared for her anger as her medications brought her back into some semblance of lucidity. But today's visit with her at the psych ward was bad. Really bad. She was so happy before she spotted me in the recreation room - and I know that patients display different emotions for their loved ones than their healthcare team. But this shift was dark. Very dark. Name calling was the least of it. Mom was so cruel. The horrible things she said about me & about my husband. She called his family white trash. She told me I was a fat f*&k and it was only a matter of time before he cheated on me. She told me she hated me over & over and that she forbid me from attending her funeral. Her words escalated until I honestly couldn't take it anymore. 25 minutes into our visit I had to leave. I know she has dementia. I know she's sick. But her composure, the expression on her face, the way she glared & me, clenching her fists, the way she came up with the darkest most horrible things to tell me about what she thought of me as a daughter...it hit too close to home - too close to the things she's said to me in moments of anger throughout my life. I couldn't take it. So I stood up, told her I loved her and that I'd see her the day after tomorrow, and I walked out. I could hear her screaming for me as I walked down the hallway. Two nurses had to rush in to calm her. I can still hear her screeching my name in my head these hours later.


Honestly, this is all new to me. I've never had another relative with dementia and so I wonder, what do you do when you've reached your limit with the verbal abuse? How do you cope with this? Is there such a thing as boundaries when you're the caregiver of a dementia patient?

My mom had dementia but was not mean like you describe.

But I would leave the minute she became abusive; I wouldn't let her build up a head of steam. Leave the second she gets ugly.

No one deserves this kind of abuse. It's bad for you and for her. Get up, tell her you love her and leave. Let the staff take care. The meds need a chance to work, I'm hoping.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I'm with Barb on this. Thank goodness she's no longer living with you. She can be cared for by others and you have complete freedom to engage or not as you see fit. Leave the minute she starts getting ugly. She'll learn. Or she won't. But she won't be leaving you in a world of hurt.
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Reply to CarlaCB
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Also co sider that, if she is calm the rest of the time, that your presence might be triggering this behavior.

In that case, consider staying away, for HER own good.

((((Hugs))))). This is one of those impossibly hard situations where it's really tough to tell what the right thing to do is.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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“I dread going back something fierce.”

So would I. Why would you go back for more?! The definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over again while expecting a different result.

Why do you feel obligated to be part of her life still? She is mentally ill and never loved her own child and never will. You’ll have to let go of that hope that she will come around. People like her never should have had children. It’s not your fault. She is the one who missed out on life because she was so hateful. All the meds in the world won’t take away a heart full of meanness.

You’ve done all you can do. You’ve made sure she will be in a decent place and have basic needs met. It’s more than she deserves for sure. Stop visiting her.
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 9, 2019
Perfect answer!!! Why keep subjecting yourself to this abuse unless you dont know about FOG, fear, obligation and guilt.
(5)
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At least for now, it sounds like your presence is causing rage problems for your mother. Based on that fact, I'd stop visiting her or calling her for the next two weeks MINIMUM. Consider it a well earned vacation from her foul mouth, and breathe a sigh of relief. She's doing fine, as you witnessed upon your arrival....so there's nothing you need to do for her. Remove yourself from the toxic poison and don't look back.

If, after a couple of weeks of no contact, you'd like to give it another go, try going back for one more 10 minute visit. See how it goes. If she says ONE filthy thing to you, I'd turn on my heel and leave IMMEDIATELY and that would be it for me.

Just because this woman had sex one night and gave birth to you does NOT make her a mother. Mothers do not treat their beloved children like dirt, period. You deserve a lot better, dementia or no dementia.

Best of luck and please take care of yourself, ok?
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Wubba,

Dear, dear, sweet girl (I know you are middle-aged but that child within needed to hear this),

I am so sorry this is happening with your mother, but I am happy that she will be getting the care that she needs. It sounds as if your mother may have been mentally ill for some time, and now the dementia has worsened it.

I grew up with a mentally ill mother with Bipolar disorder. Back then it was called Manic-depression. While on medication, she was a loving, funny, nurturing mother, but at least 2 or 3 times a year she would go off her medicine and become a frightening, dangerous person. This happened with some regularity until as a family we took responsibility for her medication. While she also has dementia, she is not abusive or violent and her mental health has been very stable.

A child, or even a teenager, has nowhere to flee from the frightening behavior of a mentally ill parent......but you do. You asked what are my limits with verbal abuse? And yes, I don’t care if she has a broken brain from dementia or mental illness, it is still abuse to your spirit and your psyche especially when it comes from your mother. Yes, I have experienced that venom, and rage, and hate coming from my mother. As a child I had few options, but as an adult my limit is very short.

Years ago, during one of her psych hospitalizations, my mother said something to me that was so brutal and so hurtful that I got up and left. I did not return to visit again until she had been out of the hospital for some time and her medication was stabilized. I did not stay away to punish her but to give myself time to heal. We may cognitively know that someone is mentally ill, but words are powerful. It was the only time that my mother ever apologized to me.

My advice to you is to stay away until your mother is stabilized, especially if you are a trigger. Ignore the nurse or anyone who brushes off your attempts at self-protection. Give your mother some space. Call the nurse’s station before you visit to see how she is doing. Do not go unless the report is good. If, once there, she flies into a diatribe, or verbal attack against you, get up and leave. If you are a trigger, these scenes are harmful to you and her. Just know, you are not a trigger because of some fault within you, your mother is mentally ill and sounds as if she has been your entire life - the dementia has just exacerbated it. You can make sure your mother is well-cared for without putting yourself in the line of fire.
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Wubba1108 Nov 10, 2019
When we moved mom out to be closer to us, I took with us copies of her medical records. Her previous physician that she had gone to throughout my childhood and young adulthood suspected that at minimum mom was bipolar, but most likely had a personality disorder - possibly borderline. The physician on three occasions tried to refer my mom to a psychiatrist. Mom and my extended family have extreme bias about psychiatry and so mom refused. She wouldn't even take the antidepressants and anxiety meds the physician tried to prescribe over the years.

Even yesterday, before I left she threatened to harm me if I told anyone in the family that she was in a "looney bin." Dementia or not, she knew she was in a psych ward and didn't want anyone she knew to be made aware of that. She said to me that she wasn't crazy, I was just a evil bitch trying to kill her own mother. Then she told me that I deserved to be there - to be old and in pain. She didn't deserve it. She was a good person and deserved to have her life back. It was really messed up.
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Oh, I have no doubt that I trigger her behavior. My mother's relationship with me is very unhealthy. My mother is very, very jealous of me. In my mother's mind, the best of her life was (understandably) when she was a young married mother - with a baby and a young husband and her whole life ahead of her. As she's aged and those things have dwindled away - her youth, her health, her husband (my dad is deceased), her baby (I grew up and started my own life) - she's grown increasingly bitter. Mom is happy around me as long as we're on equal footing. Today, she started with a silent treatment. She wouldn't look at or speak to me. When the nurses' kept encouraging her to interact and enjoy our visit, mom then laid into me by insulting me, my husband, and our marriage. She eluded to my husband having complete control over me and to me being an imbecile without an independent thought in my head. She RAGED about how I was "out there in the world" and commented that she never thought I'd be so vindictive as to ruin her life by putting her in a facility hoping that she'd die. She commented about how much better she had been than me at my age - thinner, prettier, with a husband that wasn't trash. That was the conversation we had until I couldn't take it anymore and got up and left. The nurse at the check in desk was surprised we cut our visit so short and brushed off mom's comments as "she has dementia and they get confused and say crazy things sometimes." But this wasn't crazy. This was a very specific verbal attack meant to cut me down. Again, she was enraged by where I am in my life (mid 40's, young family, etc) versus her. I could practically see the toxicity of her words hanging in the air, and dementia or not, I had to leave. And I dread going back something fierce.
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 9, 2019
Do not go back!!! Why would you do this to yourself??? Shes safe and cared for. Girl you need to draw some boundaries, like full on no contact!! You know its only going to get worse. You did your best by her, let it go. You deserve to live a life free of this kind of stress!!! At this rate, you will die before she does. This post enraged me because i could feel your moms venom coming thru my phone and it broke my heart in two, that you would continually subject yourself to her. Please please learn that you do not have to do this any longer. Be her advocate but stay the heck away.....hope you get some peace in your heart over this...
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Wubba, I hope you stay away from her. And when you do go in to see her-limit your time. Say like 30 minutes. And when you leave. Leave all the mind bending stuff there.
I feel for you too and yes borderline personality is worse with dementia. But dam* those words cut.
At the very least you are, I don't want to say lucky, but for lack of a better word-you are lucky you can just leave her and walk away. Leave her to her miserable self and knowing she is being tended to by capable hands.
You are in my thoughts.
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Reply to RBuser1
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I'm so sorry that you have been dealing with this.....
If she's always been abusive, she's not going to stop! Abuse is unacceptable and she's got a facility that can care for her! As hard as it might be, you are probably better off either cutting ties or seriously limiting how often you see her and if she EVER gets abusive with you in the future, tell her that's unacceptable, then get up and leave! You're doing great! Please keep us updated, ok?
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Reply to purplebadger
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I don't think that meds can change her heart. She has obviously made you the enemy in her head. Nothing can change that for her, except her or a miracle.

No one deserves to be verbally abused, there is no excuse for abuse, EVER.

That nurse is clueless. Ignore the ignorance.

You say that mom has always used you as her sounding board, do you really mean scratching post? Because they are vastly different and always being used as a scratching post means that you have been trained to take it, so you have to retrain yourself through mindfulness that you do not have to take it. You matter and your family matters, don't let her steal one more day from you. Let the pros handle her and let her reach out to you if she wants to see you.

I am sorry that you didn't have a mother's love. I think it is more common than we realize and it is tremendously sad.

Hugs!
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