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I am starting to hear negative things from my Mom which are directed at me. She never did before! I am her primary caregiver and find it very frustrating. Here are a few examples:

Last night when she was getting ready for her shower, she told me, "I have about as much confidence in you as I do in a fart." It really hurt my feelings and I was pretty taken aback. I seem to be on the receiving end of a lot of these comments

My son and her were having a conversation about hot dogs, when he said that he didn't eat them as they were made from body parts he found undesirable. When Mom said that that was not true, he said, "ask Mom". Her response was, "your Mom doesn't know anything."

I know that I shouldn't allow these comments to get under my skin, but it hurts. I seem to be the target of a lot of these type of comments. Any suggestions??

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Roxi - the ego is a "curtain" if you will, that normally drops down over a person's inner dialogue, preventing them from saying, among many other things, comments that are ridiculous, I'm true or hurtful. It help a person keep some of his inner thoughts to himself, which allows more reasonable interaction of a person in a societal setting. IOW, even a person with a cranky or curmudgeony inner personality can, with an intact ego, appear to be sweet and charming, like butter wouldn't melt in their mouth, so to speak. With the onset of dementia, the ego curtain lifts and you begin to see more of what the person is inwardly thinking. "Reasonable and rational" have nothing to do with it anymore. It's more about their opinion, whether unfounded or not. You have to teach yourself not to take it personally. They cannot help it, no amount of behavioral training or confrontation will help it, it isn't coming from them, they aren't any longer who they used to be.

Judy - while you CAN legally get her signature on any paperwork, before any declaration of impairment, get her HPOA & DPOA in place (preferably an immediate DPOA, rather than one which allows action only dependent upon diagnosis of incompetency), as well as a Trust if necessary, a Will, and a nomination of conservator. Talk to a certified eldercare attorney (CELA or NAELA) in the county in which your mom resides. Don't make this "scary" for your mom by tying it to disability or end-of-life decisions. Keep it's about helping her, which is what you really want to do.
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Prayer is the key. I am currently going through this with my 70-yr old mom. She has not been diagnosed as having dementia, but I can see little telltale signs. I do also suspect that she is addicted to prescription pain medication. She had to come and live with me briefly recently, and when I brought this to her attention about the meds and some other issues, she got mad at me and moved in with my aunt, her sister, with whom she has feuded off and on with over the years. Any suggestions on how to deal with these issues?
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Reading the books that are recommended on this site, helped me. Like - The 36 Hour Day.
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My father recently told me I was the "bad seed". I feel your pain. I was told my his psych nurse that they hurt the one's they love the most. Good luck dear, to quote my friend Rick who is going through liver and pancreatic cancer... "just keep swimming" (and Dori from finding Nemo too) dang I'm tired. lol
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I think that the anxiety that your Mom is dealing with is very real because she feels helpless, but that behavior should not overwhelm you. Perhaps a family counseling session may be in order. Abuse should never be tolerated.
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Chicago1954. She is in the place of still trying to be independent and thinking everyone is trying to prove she's crazy. To take her phone away would isolate her even more. I am trying to take a back seat and let the doctors deal with it. She had not been diagnosed with anything yet. She has had issues with anxiety all her life but not like this. It has been really rough because she thinks I'm the problem and if I would leave her alone she will get better. So that's what I'm trying to do. My problem is letting go and I AM in denial but I get tougher and stronger every day.
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I feel your pain. The best way that I handle it is not to take it personally. Easier said than done when it is your own Mother saying nasty things. Seems to be another ugly part of dementia - becoming mean to the one who takes care of you!.. Interesting that it is usually family members and not the outside caregivers who get the brunt of it. As Ferris said you have to get a thicker skin. Her behaviors are not going to change - in reality they are most likely going to get worse - so as caregivers we must adjust how we respond. Best of thoughts to you on this journey. Know that you are not alone, there are many of us here going thru the same issues. This is a good place to vent and get some solutions.
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I like to think of it as a sliding scale. In the earlier days of someone's adult life, they are 100 percent themself and 0 percent anybody else (so it DOES help to know exactly WHO they are, with a truthful assessment). Toward the end of the disease of dementia or some kind of mental impairment, they are 0 percent themselves and 100 percent someone else. If the caregiver doesn't recognize this continuum, it will be the in between stages that are the most disconcerting, confusing and both physically and psychologically stressful. The sooner you can bring yourself out of the denial of their illness, the sooner you will be able to accept that they are not currently the same person that they were and that you can't expect their behavior to be anything like you might anticipate it to be based on your experience of their prior personality.
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Tina, I am being serious when I ask why your mother still has a telephone? The last day that my mother was in her own home, she called three households because she couldn't get out of bed. It was 5AM. Now, that she is better, she has her cell phone, but it made me understand why people either take the phone out or remove all of the phone numbers, when someone is out of control.
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Thank you so much for all of your kind words, words of wisdom, and advice. It's so nice to have a place to go where people truly understand.
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I am so greatful for all of your comments. My mom lived with me for a year and half. In September she decided she needed to go to nursing home. I resisted but she was determined. She's been there 3 months and her hallucinations and parinoia had gotten very bad. I am an only child and have always had a living relationship with her. Now I'm the one she says stuck her there and abandoned her. She calls me daily and says something mean then hangs up on me. Now she's starting on my 18 year old grandson. I am a fixer and have tried to be logical with her when she says something off the wall like someone came in and drilled a hole in her roommates shoulder. But there is no way to reason with her. I am new to this side if her and am having a difficult time not getting and showing my frustration with her. We argue all the time do u have cut back the visits and don't always answer the phone. Then I feel so guilty and the stress level is crazy. I have a full time job and attend full time online classes for my masters degree. Sometimes I just want to find a mountian and become a hermit.
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You are going to have to develop a thicker skin Roxanne. Having said that, I've heard from my husband, "I wish I had never married you!" and "I want a divorce!" A few days later I told him to go get himself another wife when he asked me to do something, and he had forgotten what he had said. And that my dear is the world of frontal lobe deterioration, and you cannot allow comments she says get you down. You might mention after she says something nasty, "Mom, I do not appreciate your comment", and see what she says. If you let it go on, it will get nastier and nastier...
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The only thing I can say is that I am so very glad to see that I am not the only one this is happening to. I found this site out of pure desperation. I desperately want to run far far away from my father and make him my non-existent sisters problem. The cruelty, maliciousness, ugly attitude, the accusations are tearing me up as a human being and people saying "don't take it personally" just doesn't cut it for me. All of it is personal, and I'm getting very resentful and I don't like it one bit. That's out of my character and I'm finding myself getting more and more depressed because of it. I pray endlessly and do whatever I can to "assist" him without making him feel helpless and needy only to be greeted with foul, nasty, negative comments. I don't know what the answer is but I'm just glad to see I'm not alone. So Roxanne, prayers go out to you and I DO understand and empathize, not that really helps you any but.......
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Her doctor says nothing is wrong physically? Based on what? Has a brain scan been done?

To me, the key word in your question is *becoming.* This type of behavioral change is typical of dementia. Do you have a diagnosis for her? If not, you might want to pursue this and it could help you understand that it's the disease talking and not your mother.

Based on experience with my own mother (95 with dementia), the best way to react to this type of abuse is to NOT react. Either I make a joke of it or at least keep the conversation (and I use that term loosely) on a light note. If all else fails and I feel myself reacting emotionally, I walk away or just keep quiet.

It doesn't get easier, so it's best to start now and lovingly detach your emotions. God bless and good luck.
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That should read without you all. Sorry!
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I was dealing with meaness, but medicine prescribed for him he is much easier to deal with. Try saying, "that's O.K., I love you anyway", or say a short prayer for her (outloud). I also like the "Ouch, that hurt!" comment. Play some calming music or whatever music she likes. (lifts moods). Take MANY walks! Take TIME for yourself! Feel free to USE this site for relief and venting! You ALL are in my prayers and I am so grateful to all of you for your support and information you continue to provide. Not sure how I'd be doing withyou you all!
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Just *king ignore her! "Ya whatever Mom" (under your breath of course) while rolling your eyes!!
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Snoozi that was a very good answer. My mom has gotten meaner with age and with the dementia. Same critical, hurtful and downright hateful outbursts. I don't even want my grown children and nieces around her for fear of her saying something hurtful aimed at them.

But you asked how we cope. Ain't easy. I have to be really calm and get in the right frame of mind to call or visit. I steel myself ahead of time for a good time or bad time, always expecting the bad and relishing the brief good times when they happen.

My coping mechanisms. I come here for understanding and support for all those who have journeyed this hot mess before.

Secondly, I've read several books, talked to aging and senior services, and educated myself to rationalize that this is just the disease. NOT to say I don't feel bad! or feel that little girl hurt from mom at the moment and a few stinging hours after...but I have a nice cup of tea! or a vodka tonic! Lol and allow myself to vent, be angry at mom and then get over it and start anew.

This happened to me last night, and I'm putting one foot forward today as I have to work and attend a dinner mtg tonight.

Hugs to you. I'm reading "36 hour day" and wow, what an eye opener and empowerment to know what we are going thru and outbursts are SO universal???I'm blown away as so many paragraphs could have been written about my mom or FIL. Read it. I got mine from the library.
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My mother had a tendency to be that way. She was attractive and talented, from a very young age. So, if you didn't measure up, she said something hurtful - but mostly only to my sisters. everyone else loved her.

After my sister died and Mother had to go to the nursing home, she got her self esteem back, because she is among her peers. She isn't just sitting and wasting away. She had lots of bowel problems that kept her house bound - but the NH is helping with that.

I am for hiring whatever help that YOU need, to deal with your mom. This is your life and you deserve to be treated well. If it means sending Mom to respite care, then, do it.
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My mom, who was my biggest cheerleader my whole life, became extremely critical, nasty and demanding in her final years. I can relate to how hurtful that is and surprising ... from someone who was kind to me, my whole life.

One day I sat down with my mom and related some examples (just 2). I asked her why she was feeling that way and what had changed. She was introspective and said she didn't know. I told her that I thought she was afraid and even though I understood that might be the reason she was nasty, it still hurt me none the less.

She acknowledged what she was doing and said she would try to be better, but she never really was. At one point, my brother, who only visited her once or twice a year (her "prince"), told her she was killing me with her unreasonable demands. She tried again to be nicer, but she wasn't.

In retrospect, I think she was afraid. Afraid of what was happening to her physically and scared. It still hurt my feelings all the time and I was always on edge.

Someone on this site told me to tell her I love her every day and hug her if I could. I tried and a few short years later, she passed away. I'm glad for the kindness I could show her... even though I was far from perfect.

The night before my mom passed away, I changed the nail polish color she hated and I made a lovely pasta dinner with her. I tucked her in bed with a warm blanket and gave her water and fruit by her bedside. She was worried about whether the sheets were well made... I remember how snippy she was that night, exasperated with me. I will be forever thankful that I was kind because I will never have the chance to be kind to her again. I was blessed that she was a good Mom for many years when I was little.

It's a very difficult time. Try to find a way to sit calmly and talk about it and then try to not let it hurt so much (I know that's impossible).

You will remember the kindnesses you shared for the rest of your life and that will be a blessing in the long run.
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Extremely good advise by Maryannebn, that is how they will be from now on, you will have to keep on convincing her you doing the best you can and try to make her understand that you are doing your best, being a daughter it will be hard on you but the reality is she's talking her mind you just have to accept it and keep on convincing her that you are trying and you are on her side.
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Hi Roxanne, it is very difficult. My father's mouth can be very very bad. For years, I used to cry so hard when he told me that I was a Bad Daughter. What's worse, he would tell people this - and they believed him. I have 7 siblings, I stayed home to help him with mom. Yet, relatives would tell ME that I should do more. What about my 7 siblings? Only this year, when he tells me that I'm a bad daughter, I repeat those words right back to him -and say that if he says I'm bad, okay, I will be bad. Then I walked out and left with the car. Another time, he accused me of this, so I did Exactly What he accused me of doing. But, that's the temper of me responding. Which I don't recommend, really.

I have found very helpful Teepa Snow. She has helped me to see how my father would see my actions as "treating him like a child." Maybe if you watch her mini YouTube videos, you WILL learn a lot. I learned how to deep breathe from her - without getting dizzy/lightheadedness. She also has several other kinds of videos. Just click it all and learn.

Google: Teepa Snow - Making Visits Valuable.
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It's a challenge! You are so right when you say you have to adjust your attitude since you can't change hers. It is so hard to see the loving part of your loved one go away. I remind myself that my mom isn't saying things to anger me; she can't help herself. So I make jokes and tease her and she laughs. I picture sending a big cloud of pink love from my heart to envelope her and warm her spirit. It helps! I also have friends I can vent to when needed, and I work out regularly as a stress reliever. I've also taught my brother the trick of saying "Ouch!" and smiling when she says something particularly hurtful. Sometimes she gets it and sometimes she doesn't, but saying ouch out loud helps relieve the tension. The bottom line is not to take it personally!
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We have seen her doctor. He's assured me that nothing is physically wrong. I've been assured by the director at the Adult Day Care that unfortunately, this is not unusual for an Alzheimer's patient. I'm just trying to figure out how to cope with this behavior and not take it personally when she makes a rude comment. I realize that the "filter" that she used to had is slowly fading and she now makes comments that she NEVER would have made in the past. I need to work on changing me and my attitude, as I can't change hers. How do you all cope with the changes that you see in your loved one?
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Anxiety is creeping up on her, frustration with not being able to see and hear and move as well she would like. She needs a complete check up with her MD and you should go with her. Tell him about the personality change, he may want her to see a neurologist specializing in aging. She may know something is wrong, but won't admit it. It could be as simple as sore feet or a bad bed or something more complex that needs bloodwork or CT scans. See the MD.
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