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Hey, after thinking my dad was sinking like a rock, he's come back up for now. But I need tips on how to brush off mean comments he makes in passing. Certainly not at the level that many of you are dealing with, but just so steeped in selfishness and an inability to recognize there's anyone else in the house, and it always catches me so off guard, that I get so angry internally I can barely breathe. Today: while cleaning out his bedside toilet of poop, I tried to make small talk about a big event in our household. Our 14-year-old has saved up enough and worked with the breeder for a couple of months to adopt a baby macaw. This silly macaw has kept everyone (six total in the house) going at times - this flying doggo (it's a huge bird) makes us remember that there IS another life outside of taking care of Sick Grandpa. So I said, hey (the bird's name) is finally, finally coming home this Tuesday - everyone is so excited! And he looks at me and says, "I don't give a s*** about that godd*** bird." I felt like I had been slapped, and my immediate reaction (inside) was absolute anger. As in, well, I don't give a S*** about YOUR s***, but do it any way and cheerfully. I don't give a S*** about 90 percent of the things I'm doing, but do it anyway. And then I have to take a step back, realize that he's probably having blood flow dementia, breathe, and just let it go. SOOOOO. How do I train myself to let it go. Because I suspect this is going to get worse, not better. I also realized today that as terrified as I was about dealing with the physical issues, the emotional issues (like this) is what causes me to burn out. Poop is bad, picking up his remote 436 times a day is irritating, but his brush-off of his granddaughter and other people, is what makes this - on some days - intolerable and depressing.

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tired, I totally agree. Poop, pee, answering the same question over and over, delusions, hallucinations, endless waiting in doctors' offices; I can take it all indefinitely, save one thing: cruel remarks.
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@tiredonlychild - I feel ya. I am not sure how to let it go either. Sometimes I think I am getting a bit better, but then Mom will say something or just give me attitude like....I describe it as a cross between a snotty teenager and a self-absorbed 4-year old. Except one you can't discipline because they're an adult and they're not going to learn from it anyway. I have said nasty things about my mother in my head because of some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth! (Of course, that makes me think if I were like her and had lost my filter, I'd sound even worse than she does!)

The one thing that's finally giving me a little bit of my sanity back is I'm carving out my own tiny little office/sitting room out of the storage room. So far, I mostly just come in here to be alone, but I have started putting my music gear in here, and I bought a new sketchbook the other day. I put up some little string lights and a painting one of my friends did. I keep a bottle of wine in here and have a glass in the evening now and then! I dunno if that's realistic for you, but I'm finding just carving out my own private space where she does not go (she still thinks of it as a storage room), where I can hopefully do the things I used to enjoy doing, is helping a lot.
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First, this is the dementia controlling Dad's behavior. Don't doubt it. As CM says, his filters are going or gone. What he thinks (which isn't necessarily the truth, by the way) pops out his mouth. With dementia the brain is broken. He can't control that. It may be a LITTLE easier to accept when you remind yourself of that. (My husband had Lewy Body Dementia. For a while my mantra was "This isn't Coy talking. It is Lewy.")

Dad has life-limiting health issues. He isn't going to get well. Other people in the household have happy things happening, things to look forward to. And he gets the indignity of watching his daughter cleaning his bedside commode. Sigh. Life is not fair and he may be feeling that keenly right now. If his brain weren't damaged he might be enjoying the happy events of others. He might be able to focus on the good that is left in his life. But it is damaged and he isn't able to do that. How does the saying go? More to be pitied than censured.

I hope I don't sound critical of your natural reaction of anger. In fact I admire greatly that you can use your own filters and refrain from making the situation even worse. You feel anger and don't have to lash out. (It helps that you can express it to Hubby, and come here and vent.) Poor Dad feels anger and not only can't filter that out, but lashes out on things that really don't have a connection to his anger.
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I wince for you.

It's the loss of inhibition: the filters - in the frontal lobe, I believe - that used to sift out those thoughts which might be better not expressed are broken. You are getting more and more truthful information about what is going through your father's mind than you necessarily want. And probably more than he would ever have wanted you to know before his brain broke. That painting you did for him when you were six? What he thought of your first boyfriend?

Truth is not always beauty.

I understand how hurtful it is. You say your instinctive reaction is anger, though. What are you angry about? His callous egocentricity? Or being robbed of the real him?
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@tiredonlychild - Even just getting it out is soooo important! Don't undervalue it. It's way better to tell your DH in the car than keep it stuffed down! I am not married but I talk or text almost daily with my BFF about some thing my mom's done to p*** me off. She is in a similar boat, sharing a house with her aging mother.

Also this place has helped a LOT since I found it. Everybody is kinda going through the same thing. It's kinda funny, 'cause my friend and I really thought we were nearly alone for the thoughts in our heads about our mothers, and what caregiving is really like! The books I've read are NOT helpful.

I was in the bookstore the other day getting some magazines for mom....and I saw this book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***. I haven't had a chance to start it yet, though! But it looks promising....
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Oh ha ha tiredonlychild! I tried a couple of meditation audio/video clips on YouTube....every time, I would JUST be starting to properly relax and the video would stop. Every time. I would "wake up" and....the cat would be sitting on the keyboard. Bwahahaha! Guess he didn't like the meditations. :-P
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I am painting again too. And I just got back from a girlfriend retreat - but I realized that I truly was burned out and I do NOT want to return to that state again. And yes, unlike a child, where you can say, hey knock that off, I'm not sure it's effective with my 77 year old dad. I read so much about boundaries, but I don't even know if boundaries apply here. I could have taken up the mantel and said, well, that's rude. But I'm so stretched, I just bit my tongue and moved on. But it still sits on my chest - and my only solution now is to go rail about it to my DH in the car, where no one can hear. LOL.
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I know it is very difficult to not get angry when your father says mean things. The same happens with my mother who lives with me. She has no filter and will say mean things that are hurtful. My coping mechanism has been to only say what needs to be said and leave after cleaning her room or bringing her meals. I let the aide deal with her. I hear "don't take it personally" or "she doesn't mean what she says," but it still hurts. Sometimes I engage and say something back, but that doesn't work very well because an argument just makes it worse. That is why I just say what needs to be said and limit my exposure to her as much as I can. I tried telling her once that what she just said was hurtful but that did not work very well. Perhaps try another approach and limit your contact or just keep your conversations to a minimum. Someone suggested to me to wear headphones when dealing with my mother so I don't hear the comments; I haven't done that yet but I might give that a try. Best of luck to you.
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*Bump*

Bumping this up because....yeah, I'm still dealing with this too! And I am so with tiredonlychild here, in that it's sooooooo hard to find the right, healthy coping mechanisms when someone hurts you with their words. I am still struggling. I am struggling today.

Like, I KNOW my mom doesn't remember the hurtful things she says. I know because she'll SAY so, and I believe her. But all the things I know intellectually....it's still hard to believe she doesn't mean those words at the time she says them. And even if I know she doesn't mean them, then for me, the next thing I think is that she's using words as weapons to hurt me. Why else would she lash out at me with words and body language and vocal tones that are hurtful?

What makes it hard for me is knowing that my mom's dementia personality can be so like her former alcoholic personality.  Some of these mean, nasty things - it's not the first time I've heard them. Or - it's not the first time she's used that "voice" she's using to say mean, nasty things. So in my heart, I really feel like this mean, nasty side of her is part of her personality, one that she loses control of when drinking, and the same one that she has lost control of with dementia.

Today she said she wished she'd never moved here, and that my brother (the one who never calls her, and that's really the least of issues there) could do a better job taking care of her than I am. And it's REALLY HARD not to take that personally! Because it WAS personal! And she forgot about it by the end of the day, but I had to live with it all day, and where do you put that? What do you do with those feelings that never get resolved?

I am really struggling tonight with how much I hate her for those words this morning.  I can't even be in the same room with her right now.
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Tiredonlychild, coming from another only child, I SO MUCH understand your predicament, that only about half hour ago I posted almost exactly the same question!! Lol

With no better way to describe it, my mom plainly mistreats me, yet, because at this point in both of our lives what matters is to be able to take care of her, I just swallow all the hurt, all the frustration and all the resentment..and that’s what I wish I didn’t feel, resentment, because that means I’m really not handling well the situation.

But, the only thing I can tell you that has helped me -while not bulletproof- is a deep knowledge and feeling that I’m above her inability to be a bigger/better person. In other words, I can see and understand what she simply cannot.
And that holds true with or without dementia, Alzheimer’s, narcissism, bipolar disorder, and any other mental illness any bitter and thoughtless elderly person may have, as their anger accentuated by age and their inability to be independent is an illness in itself that limits them mentally and emotionally, and places you in a superior level.

Hope that makes sense!

Since my mom has always had the same unfortunate personality traits (now worsened), I can feel the difference between now and when I was a younger. Before I felt subjugated, trapped with no way out. Now I know I’m above my mom’s behavior. Of course that theoretical truth doesn’t always save me, I wish I did!! But overall, it does help me.

God bless you, and know that, like someone told me once, you’re not just saying you love somebody, you are acting on your love, every time you clean up after him, or take him to doctors, or cook for him...or remain quiet when inside you’re hurting!
That love you’re showing is the real love, and very likely to be compensated in life!

Hugs!!
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