How do you deal with horribly bad behavior in public?

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And I'm back, lol. How do you deal with bad behavior in public?

I Have been trying to help my mom get her car fixed this last week as she's still driving. The week actually started out with me going to the insurance adjustor to see if they would cover part of a new paint job as her car is nearly 20 nyears old, in really good condition and she refuses a new one. We made it through the appointment with the adjustor, no problem but that day the car started to have a squeek she made me call my brother who recommended a great place.
We took the car down, they looked at it gave us a very reasonable estimate and she decided she wanted to sleep on it. No problem, all seemed well she's being pretty reasonable. We take the car back the following day, check it in and she's aware of the cost, the time it's going to take everything, she also is going to borrow my car for the duration so she's not put out at all. Then, when she gets in the car she throuws this baby fit temper tantrum with me cursing ans swearing because they cant fix the car that day, although she's been told that parts needed to be ordered and would be in the following day.
That was Tuesday. Car was ready this afternoon and as we drove to get the car she started in on me about how shes unhappy has been for years and its my responsibility to help her so she'll be happy. Yup, she said those words. When we get to the shop and she gets the bill which is much less than teh approved estimate, she flew off the handle and was just having a fit about everyone trying to screw her. it was like a switch was flipped and she was the rudest, nastiest person. The owner, trying to make conversation asked her what she had done for work before she retires and her response was kissed peoples A@@. I was shocked and totally embarrassed and it just got worse. The sarcasm and veiled accusations were pretty thick and I was just dying to get the heck out. She basically told the shop owner that she wouldnt be driving much longer, she was sure her kids would see to that cause we were so concerned about her, sarcasm so thick you could mortar a bridge with it. Then when he casually asked about the 4th of July she said she thought it would be quiet, maybe she could find a can a WD40 put a hole in it and see if it would blow up! I'm thinking what the heck! Mortification. I'm not sure if a batch of chocolate chip cookies will suffice for an apology and I'm not sure how to address it with her. She got in her car and left before I could say anything to her and that was the last I saw of her today.
Does anyone have any suggestions besides just cutting her off. Right now, thats what I'd really like to do but the "good daughter" guilt is just horrible.

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Top Answer
Wow!

First, hugs to you. What a dreadful experience. It is your mom who should feel mortified, but I know where you're coming from. I'd be embarrassed to be with a casual friend who behaved that way, and this is your mother!

Next, does she still seem stable enough to you to be driving at all? What if something sets her off, flips that switch, and turns on road rage?

I do not suggest cutting her off. The unearned guilt would be unbearable, and this probably isn't under her control. She is not merely nasty, she is sick. She needs your love and your care. But whether she will accept it is another matter altogether.

An abrupt change like this COULD be associated with a UTI, although it is generally other types of personality changes I've heard about. Wouldn't hurt to check.

Your profile says she has depression and has had other mental problems in the past. I hope she currently has a doctor who is treating this. Can you contact him or her and explain your concerns? Even if the doctor can't discuss your mother with you, he or she could listen or read your letter. How open would your mother be to seeing this doctor? Does she have regularly scheduled sessions and is one coming up soon?

It is easier (still very difficult) to accept a mental decline when it involves forgetting an appointment and forgetting when the mail is delivered and then forgetting what mail is. Behavior changes are shocking and we are knocked off-balance. You are used to dealing with a mother who has some mental health issues. I'm sure you'll rally and deal with this, too. But not alone, I hope. Get professional help!
You walk away and deprive her of an audience. If the shop owner calls the cops, you let them haul her away. Then she will get a full psychiatric evaluation which is precisely what she needs. Sooner or later you will get a call about road rage or an assault at Walmart. Don't bail her out, let the authorities deal with her so she can get appropriate care. There is an Al-Anon for families of alcoholics, that helps you unload the guilt and let them be the master of their destiny. Same here. So be it.
We stopped mom from driving around 81. She is the type who would agree that the accident was her fault. Talk with the family. UTI can be a bit of a bugger. Ask her when her last checkup was....
"I'm not sure if a batch of chocolate chip cookies will suffice for an apology" - eh? What have YOU got to apologise for?

Oh I see - do you mean cookies for the garage people? Well, it would be a nice gesture; but what I was going to say about that was: try to avoid accepting responsibility for other people's bad behaviour. I know it was toe-curlingly embarrassing, but it wasn't you doing it. That's the thing. Don't take the blame. Cookies by way of a mutual rueful shrug and "yikes!", if you like, nice idea; but not for YOU to say YOU'RE sorry - because you didn't do anything.

Now to the main feature. What is your mother normally like? Has she always been a "hold it in hold it in hold it in - WOAH!!! - massive nuclear explosion!" type of person? Or is this incident a bit of a first?
Ah. Note to self: read profile first.

"Does anyone have any suggestions besides just cutting her off. Right now, thats what I'd really like to do but the "good daughter" guilt is just horrible."

Sorry, no, I haven't really got a better idea. As long as you're around, you're enabling her, isn't that the technical term?

I actually do sympathise with your mother. It's not something I brag about, but as a depressive type I'm afraid that I have before now specialised in the sudden but protracted rattlesnake outburst of filthy temper complete with diatribe (not usually in public. Though there is a branch of Barclays bank I can't ever go back to). I do actually get what an emotional release this is for her. The difference is, that I recognised long ago that I had to avoid making a habit of it and find better ways of releasing tension.

You need to do some serious self-preservation (and marriage inoculation) work. Your mother does needs help, but it doesn't look as if she's going to take it from you. I don't know where you prefer, as a family, to seek advice but I'd get in touch with your mental health provider of choice and call up reinforcements. Don't hang around, either. Best of luck.
I would have told her in front of the repair shop owner that her behavior was not acceptable and to knock it off. If she kept ranting I would have said it was time to go and walked out.

No way should you bring cookies or apologize to the repair shop guy. It wasn't your fault and her bad behavior doesn't reflect on you.

The idea that your mother thinks it's your responsibility to make sure she's happy is just ridiculous. Why not wait for her to contact you and then tell her that if she pulls anything like that again when you're out with her, you'll leave immediately? If she's a narcissist, she loves having an audience, and depriving her of an audience when she's on a tear is the best consequence you can give her for being such a b#@&%.

Under no circumstances should you enable her by saying something like you were sorry she was having a bad day, and then suggesting doing something fun. If she does it again, you might pull out your phone and capture it on video. I threatened to do that to my MIL once when she was having a DEFCON-1-class tantrum and it stopped her in her tracks.
I doubt that anything is going to make your mother happy.

I am so sorry you had to suffer through this embarrassment. *HUGS*

From how you described your mom and her comments (especially about the DW-40) she sounds like she was behaving like an 8-year-old. Untreated mental illness can retard the person's emotional growth so when they're thrown into an adult situation or they're under stress they can revert to childish antics. Not everyone but some people.

You don't have to cut her off but maybe don't take her out in public unless it's absolutely necessary.
I don't know what to suggest, but is it possible that she has the onset of dementia? My dad had horrible outbursts when he was declining (fortunately, most of the time the diatribe was in French, not English, so not quite as mortifying as most people did not understand him). I would definitely let her doctor know, even though he can't talk to you, he can listen.
This is weighing on my mind so heavy,I needed to ask for advise.In Newport Arkansas, a Military Unit,was there to offer free Dental and Eye care to the public, any one could be seen and it was so rewarding for us who can not afford these medical services. But the waiting room was simply unbearable. There was a 65 year old white lady with some mental disability, in the room. She was quite sweet and you could tell enjoyed the ideal of others around her to talk to. Some one that lives in an apt for Seniors and likely dose not have a lot of company..So she was quite talkative. Although the Military Personal did not ask her in the waiting room if she had in medical problems they should beware of,she stopped one and advised them she had Diabetes, and a Heart Condition, and from just that little bit of information made public in the waiting room. It became unbearable for us all.(Now I want to describe the setting of this room, there were elderly, and very small kids down to infant all crowded in to this place. There was mainly people of color, of all age's. But 3 Black women were very aggressive toward the entire room. Very rude and Nasty talking, they had some of the very small children there. One of these three women started making fun of the Mentally Ill Lady, she mocked her voice, made her facial impression, repeated every sentience she spoke and called her names. The other two black women, screamed with laughter and yelled F*** B****. This went on from 9 am until I left at 4. As I was leaving I noticed the horrible black lady,was not going to be seen. Do to the fact that it was a first come first seen policy . That is clearly explained when you come in. One of the things she repeated over and over was, What are you driving B****, I'm going to go key your car, and slash your tires. Luckily the lady had walked from her apt. I feel so ashamed. That I did not defend the lady, I tried hard to keep her busy talking to me,So she would not be pushed to defend herself in such a hostel situation. Others sitting beside her helped me in making sure she got to the rest room with out anyone causing her harm. It was that bad. Not once did the lady ever say any thing to the black ladies to prompt any of their horrible behavior. And these small children all seen this and even joined their mothers in mocking this lady.What could have been done? The Military was swamped with work. I do not in any way feel they were fully aware. But I feel so bad that I could have done something more.
This is weighing on my mind so heavy,I needed to ask for advise.In Newport Arkansas, a Military Unit,was there to offer free Dental and Eye care to the public, any one could be seen and it was so rewarding for us who can not afford these medical services. But the waiting room was simply unbearable. There was a 65 year old white lady with some mental disability, in the room. She was quite sweet and you could tell enjoyed the ideal of others around her to talk to. Some one that lives in an apt for Seniors and likely dose not have a lot of company..So she was quite talkative. Although the Military Personal did not ask her in the waiting room if she had in medical problems they should beware of,she stopped one and advised them she had Diabetes, and a Heart Condition, and from just that little bit of information made public in the waiting room. It became unbearable for us all.(Now I want to describe the setting of this room, there were elderly, and very small kids down to infant all crowded in to this place. There was mainly people of color, of all age's. But 3 Black women were very aggressive toward the entire room. Very rude and Nasty talking, they had some of the very small children there. One of these three women started making fun of the Mentally Ill Lady, she mocked her voice, made her facial impression, repeated every sentience she spoke and called her names. The other two black women, screamed with laughter and yelled F*** B****. This went on from 9 am until I left at 4. As I was leaving I noticed the horrible black lady,was not going to be seen. Do to the fact that it was a first come first seen policy . That is clearly explained when you come in. One of the things she repeated over and over was, What are you driving B****, I'm going to go key your car, and slash your tires. Luckily the lady had walked from her apt. I feel so ashamed. That I did not defend the lady, I tried hard to keep her busy talking to me,So she would not be pushed to defend herself in such a hostel situation. Others sitting beside her helped me in making sure she got to the rest room with out anyone causing her harm. It was that bad. Not once did the lady ever say any thing to the black ladies to prompt any of their horrible behavior. And these small children all seen this and even joined their mothers in mocking this lady.What could have been done? The Military was swamped with work. I do not in any way feel they were fully aware. But I feel so bad that I could have done something more.

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