I've discussed in previous posts my Mom's lifelong negative and controlling personality traits, ocd, paranoia etc. now we've added a little dementia to the already difficult situation.
The past couple of weeks with the help of others advice on this site I have tried to use the "detach with love" approach. It has been helpful in discouraging some of her verbal abuse and negativity. Still I feel guilty remaining somewhat aloof so I have tried to reinforce and compliment her for good behavior. On the rare occasion she says something positive I will say something like "that is such a sweet thing to say" or "it was so kind of you to express that". I will compliment her on something she does such as "the house smells so clean after you polished the table".
The heart breaker is that almost instantly after any compliment she goes from Hyde to Jeckyll mode and goes back to criticizing, negative, complaining, just outright mean spirited.
I've paid close attention to be sure I am not imagining this, even asking my husband "have you noticed anything odd when I compliment mom"? He immediately said "yes, it makes her meaner".
I gave up many years ago trying to get her approval. It is all but impossible and not worth the effort it takes to do anything to her standards, in fact she will immediately raise the bar if I get anywhere near.
I just want to be fair, and kind when there is a reason to do so without rewarding negativity. I look for opportunities to praise her, but it is like that praise is a reminder to her to spoil the mood. Sometimes the look in her eye is so evil it literally creeps me out.