My Mother in Law was always a rather self centered person, but she could be empathic and was always generous with money to a fault (I would have rather seen her generosity manifest itself in kindness and understanding, rather than handing over cash). At any rate, she is becoming increasingly more easy to fly off the handle. She generally is pleasant to me, but she never seems to tire of biting her son's (my husband's head off) for just about anything. He tries to do whatever she wants, and I think for a guy, he is REMARKABLY helpful and responsive. He has little patience with her more frivolous demands, but he does what he can. I support him and I have also bent over backwards to keep her happy. We were very lucky for years to not have her as our responsibility. She likes to think of herself as an independent person, but I think her husband, now deceased, did a LOT. And he did what she wanted ASAP. When he died, she went to live near her sister. I think she depended very heavily on her and her sister's husband. She bit their heads off quite a bit, too. So....sister dies, MIL becomes very frail and she goes off the rails that her son doesn't care about her. I spent months away from my home, helping her out which was mainly driving her to one dr appt after another and to the emergency room at least every two weeks for something or other - generally was a false alarm. OK...we offer to have her move out near us since she feels so abandoned by her immediate family. She very willingly moved into an independent living retirement community and we are very thankful for that, but she seems to have fallen back into being ill all the time with one ailment or another. She has had every test in the book, 5 or 6 times, and a multitude of doctors NEVER find cancer, which I feel would explain a lot of her complaints. She absolutley REFUSES any suggestion from the doctors that she may be depressed and has thrown away prescriptions to antidepressants and gone on and on for days about how SHE is NOT depressed. Ha! And, she seems to expect us to cater to her every desire.
The anger and abandonment issues make me think she is starting to lose her grip on reality. Maybe a lot of the anger is her reaction to anything that smacks of reminding her that maybe her mind isn't what it used to be. But...she is quite capable of balancing her check book, making dr appts and remembering them, taking her medications faithfully and she certainly remembers every slight that has ever happened to her....:-) So, my husband and I just think this is the real her. We just didn't really know her for the last 30 years. My husband doesn't like his mother. He said he always felt he was a disappointment to her. I didn't used to agree with him, but maybe he's right. She is repeating herself more. She doesnt seem to remember that she has told us the same things a few times already, but, heck, I do that myself. She is also incredibly self centered. She NEVER asks anything about us. She couldn't care less. I feel its a sign that she feels neglected by us so she is just going to act like she has no interest in our lives. She is also still incredibly vain and won't go to lunch or dinner where she lives if she thinks she cannot pull herself together that day to look like a million bucks for everyone. We are always amazed at just who does she think she is impressing??!! But,for an 80 year old, she can really look great, even if she is 30 pounds underweight.
Sorry for the long rant, but could this be the beginning of dementia or is this her true self at her worst because she is not feeling good and cannot do and go everywhere and be admired like she used to?
I've read a lot of great posts that sound very much like my MIL and dementia or not, we are just not going to argue with her anymore. She goes bananas if anyone so much as hints at treating her like she might be getting senile.