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My mother has been fussing non-stop for a week about my dad. Last week, there were several tornadoes in our area, very weak, but still tornadoes. My mother, who is terrified of them, took a tranquilizer and went sound asleep because she was so nervous. When the sirens went off, my 80-year-old dad went to wake her and she was so groggy that she kept telling him to leave her alone and to go away - very angrily. He tried several times to wake her, but she wouldn't wake up. She told him to go away, over and over. Did he do the wrong thing by going downstairs, after trying to get her up? Should he have stayed there? If there had been a tornado right there, what should he have done? (My mom is 81 and very depressed. She also has nerve problems that cause her to not be able to walk very well, so she stays in the bed most of the time.) No tornado hit their area, but we had several in the county - F-0's. Lots of tree damage, and some roof, etc. damage. Mom woke up when her phone's weather alarm went off. She then went downstairs with her two dogs - had trouble but made it. Daddy was already there, of course.
She now despises my dad - says he left her to die. I have heard both sides, of course. She has told me the same thing for a week. And, she is mad at me because I did not put Dad down like she says she would have, if it had been her mother. (I hear this a lot.) She has told a few people what happened and she said they couldn't believe what he had done. My mom is very dramatic, moreso now that she is older. I have always been closer to her, but, since she's been sick, she has pushed me away, as she has tried to pull me closer, if that makes sense. I am an only child, with 3 young children, have a full-time job, and a husband who is fairly selfish - not interested in my problems. Things have gotten so bad for me, that I have been seeing a counselor since the summer. My health is being affected too. I have depression and an ulcer. My mother fusses non-stop, cries all the time, tells me that I've changed, etc. And, now the tornado incident. My dad lives with this every day, and I think he is depressed, too. He has bad knees but does get around better than Mom. She also thinks that my dad has dementia, and we wonder is she has it. I am about crazy. But my main questin is about the tornado and my dad. Did he do something terribly wrong, or did he do what he had to do? I am just at my wit's end. Everytime I call her, she is short with me and starts crying, telling me about other people who treat her better. I just don't know what to do.

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Dad did the only thing he could do to prevent both your parents dying in a tornado. Mom is totally responsible for her own actions. I can understand going to the basement terrified, taking a tranquilizer and hiding there with her dogs till the storm was over. Mom did not act like a rational individual therefor should be evaluated. Dad on the other hand acted totally responsibly. He could not help your Mom if she was injured and he was dead. Keep out of this and concentrate on your own wellbeing and set some boundries with your husband. A marriage is a partnership and that includes each supporting the other..
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WHAT??? What?! Sorry, have I got this right? Your mother thinks that your father ought to have remained by her side while she slept peacefully through the opening scenes of the Wizard of Oz? What kind of grand romantic gesture is that supposed to be? He commits suicide and she doesn't even lift an eyelid to notice?

I'm not sure it's your father who's going a bit wonky.

No, he didn't do anything at all wrong, let alone terribly wrong. He did his best. Poor man, I wouldn't blame him if he hadn't bothered trying. I'm sorry to be hard on your mother, but really - !

Stand up for yourself and for your father as well as you can. I'm sure it's not easy: we've all met a few like her... xxx
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Well...first let me point at that, married or not, your mother should not be holding other people responsible for her own actions. Your dad did what any sane person would do...tried to help his loved ones, and when it was obvious there was nothing he could do, he took care of himself.

Life is not a movie where you are expected to die for someone because it's "honorable". If a tornado had struck, what purpose would have been served by him dying next to a person in a drug-induced haze?

As an outsider who only knows what this post tells me, it sounds like your mother either has dementia, or a lifetime of control issues which are getting more and more out of hand as she ages.

The best thing I can think to say right now is ignore your mother's "suggestions" about how you should be more like her, and use your own good judgement.
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So sorry for you and the fact that your own husband dosnt want to know about your problems? He needs to support you if you dont have his support I would be looking at my marriage?
My mum always accused others of being mad before she was diagnosed even tried to convince my family that I was nuts and they believed her THEN now they cant handle the guilt that i was right.
I would get mum evaluated taking a pill when you need to be alert is not normal behaviour but as you say she is depressed but her anger against you sounds to me that she may have dementia my mum was nasty and aggressive with me until I realised why if she did something silly or dangerous shed blame me or reason as to why she did it? I knew then something was up your mum could be scared and worried that maybe she is starting to lose it and the first thing they do is hit out at those close speak to her doc it could also be severe depression which can mimic dementia.
Your poor dad what could he have done? lifting someone at his age is hard enough but a person drugged would be a dead weight he just wouldnt have been able to without him or both falling.
Gosh thankgod I only have one parent to look after i really couldnt cope with two oh my god twice the stress.
Hope you get this sorted soon and look after yourself and your kids first!
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jeannegibbs - Great reply! You cut to the heart of the matter- "mom" could have gone to a safe place, then taken al the drugs she wanted. Such people live to create such situations.. from CEO's to 'helpless' elderly abusers.. call them on their choices which are designed to create the situations that they are ranting about... and put the focus on them and their choices/behaviors.

The sad truth is, that the difficult elders we see/read about- were the same difficult, mentally unstable/abusive personalities as younger adults & children. The sad truth is, that when they had the resources, health, time, support, etc to make healthy choices, they choose not to.. they used symptom relief, usually victimizing those with whom they interacted day-to-day.

And family, friends, employers, employees, customers etc put up with it.. no one handed out the tough love, as it is so much easier to pacify them, push them off on others, or milk them for what they are worth while they were tolerable ... so as elders they become unmanageable and hardened to not doing as they need to do to care for themselves or cooperate with those who do try to provide care. Sadly, many of the elders in nursing homes, over medicated, waiting to die with no one to 'care" for them. .chased off everyone years before and choose the situation in which they 'find" themselves.. .over medicated simply to make caring for them do-able... inviting abuse, resisting care & compassion.
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What I got from your story is that mom took a tranquilizer. Since she is depressed she def should not be taking tranquilizers. They will make her more depressed. You are over your head in deep problems. Their doctor and a social worker etc. should be evaluating them. Your first responsibility is to your kids and to yourself. I think your dad did the right thing at the moment. But the situation begs of a solution.
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Thanks so much for your answers. They make me feel better. I have been thinking the same thing about the tornado incident, but I thought that, maybe, I was wrong. I will keep trying to keep peace, but she may not drop this for a while.
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Wait a minute. Your mother is afraid of tornadoes so she takes a tranquilizer and goes to bed when conditions are right for them? And she thinks your father's behavior is bad? What does she think? He's going to magically be able to cut through her drug induced fog? That he can carry her? If there is any irresponsible behavior here it was your mother not thinking ahead.

I don't know if it was the "right" thing, but your dad did what I would have done.

It is really is hard to live with a drama queen, isn't it? Especially when they get on a "poor me" or self-righteous kick. I hope your dad gets some relief.

Other people treat her better than you do? "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mom. It sounds like you should spend more time with those other people." She's crying or throwing a hissy fit over the phone? "It sounds like you are too upset to talk now, Mom. I'll call tomorrow and see if you are doing better."

Of course she will push all the guilt buttons she installed and tell you that you are a terrible daughter. But, guilt buttons aside, you know that is not true. Stay with the truth, not what she is saying.

I agree with littletonway that they both should be evaluated. That would establish a baseline, if nothing else, for future reference.

I am so glad you are getting counselling. You deserve all the help and support you can get.
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Can you get them both together and mediate and explain that b/c they had no plans for this situation, it didn't work out and no one is to blame. But they have learned a lesson and need a drill and plan for the next time. If there are tornados in the area, it should be agreed that mother should have a place set up already downstairs and if she is going to take a tranquilizer, make it after she has reached her destination or better yet, find some other non drug way to calm her down. Like tell her her dogs need her to be awake to keep them calm. and if she insists on overdoing the tranquilizers, then dad should get a tape recorder to record his pleas to her and she will have no complaints next time after she listens to herself in her drugged state ignoring her husbands pleas. She actually put him in danger wasting time while he begged her to leave.
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Perhaps it is time for a RN case manager to complete an evaluation on both of them. If things reveal they need help, the nurse will make recommendations after reviewing the evaluation. If housekeeping would help and a few hours a day with a home aid that may keep them in their own home for a while. If not then perhaps a senior apartment complex that has some social activities and a social room for parties etc. If she had activities to distract your Mom from lashing out at your Dad. Sounds like she needs a female friend or two her age. Venting or just shopping works off steam or just a cup of coffee with friends. You need to think about what works for you too. My Mom is gone but she loved the Sr.Apts she was never a friend maker but she did make two. Best of Luck God Bless.
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The most important thing is that both parents are fine. That is what the focus should be not whether Dad was right in what he did. Sounds to me that he did the best he could under the circumstances. It isn't like he could just lift and carry your Mother downstairs. Stress to her that she is just fine, as is your Dad and that is all that really matters. All that shoulda, woulda, coulda will drive everyone crazy and not accomplish one darn thing.

An evaluation by your parent's doctor might be in order for both of them. Perhaps there is some kind of medicine that can help relax your Mom a bit and not put her to sleep. Maybe they could do with some in home assistance and the doctor can help with that evaluation by a home health care provider.

Your main responsibility is to yourself, your husband and your children. It may be time to place some boundaries on your Mother because it doesn't appear this situation will get any better. When she starts crying/complaining on the phone, just let her know you will call back later when she is feeling better. After a bit, she will get the message. There are other threads here about detaching and have lots of good info that may help you. Your husband and children deserve a healthy wife and mother.

Do your parents have outside interests, things that they do to get out of the house or other family/friends that visit to entertain them?

I wish you all the best! I am sure others here will give better advice.
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Your dad did all he could do under the circumstances. I am sure he was probably not able to pick her up and carry her downstairs.

This reminds me of what happened here on April 27 two years ago. We had this huge tornado to the west of us and didn't know exactly where it would go. It was only a few minutes away. I had made plans of what to do to try to protect my mother and father the best way I could. The best I could do was some chairs in an interior hallway. Well, right when things were looking bad, my father (deaf and autistic) went to get in bed. All I could do was say Oh, well, and hope for the best. Fortunately, the tornado went north of us. Of course, after seeing the devastation of that tornado, I realize getting in the middle of the house would have been pointless.

This brings up an important consideration. My thoughts on that day were to go some place safe, but my mother said if the tornadoes came, then they didn't care if they died. If a caregiver can't get them to leave, should the caregiver get to safety? That was a bad predicament to be in.
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My heart goes out to you. I truly understand what you are going through. I have been through so many similar incidents when I was taking care of my parents. No tornadoes, but do understand the mindset and depression from your parents that you are experiencing.

I think your father did what he had to do. He is elderly and could not physically make your mother move from one place to another. And with a tornado, time is of the essence. My mother was always dramatic as well, along with other mental problems which were diagnosed later in life which she probably always had. I truly feel for you as your mother is putting you in a very uncomfortable position re: your father and the tornado happenings. And am quite familiar with the being short with you, the crying and other people treating her better than you. For me, this form of behaviour continued forever. I'll write more soon - have to get off computer -
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