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My 80 year old mom gets around the house pretty well. But once in public, she acts like taking a step is causing horrible pain. It's not. I know it is more attention mostly but I am having a hard time handling her drama. How can I become a better person and deal with this?


She also complains constantly. There is always something wrong.

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How often does your mom get out? Could she have crowd anxiety? I do know my own mom was an attention hog. She once had a very mild stroke that I’m not sure was even a stroke. When we went out in public, she would actually drag her foot and limp! If it hadn’t been so pathetic it would have been funny! And, she was s negative Nellie. I just ignored it. Didn’t argue, agree or sympathize. Just ignored it.
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AlvaDeer Nov 1, 2019
I would like to add, how often does BJeffrey get out? Because sometimes things wear on us most when we are constantly in the middle of it. It is sounding like a need for some alone time. And I so agree about just ignoring it. A good point made by NeedHelpWithMom above, as well. My balance is not what it once was. I am good most time, but if forced to walk slower or faster than normal gait I don't have such good balance; I fly around on the buses like a feather and weigh more than I ever did, so it isn't that. Other times I look steady as a rock. Hard to judge if any of that is the case with B.'s Mom. But worth a thought.
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My mother belongs on the stage, she missed her calling. If someone has a headache, so does she, back hurt? Hers does too, and it's worse.

She plays with our emotions, pretends to be sick, and god forbid if she does have something wrong with her, it is the end of the world, she is going to die.

So far this has not happened, she is 94 and still playing anyone she can.

You are the best person you can be, it is her, not you. Have you had a talk with her, letting her know that the jig is up? I would.

Good Luck, keep posting it will help.
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 5, 2019
Sounds like my younger sister...no one has anything that she hasnt had and her saying”you don’t understand “. Grrrr...😡
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--I just had to add this--When I told my mother I had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma--she looked at me and said "Well, Daddy will be happy to see you". (He passed 14 years ago!)

When I picked my jaw up off the floor I just got up and patted her on the back and said "I'll be sure to tell him hi from you".

I've spoken to her once since then (7 months) Chemo is over, but I'm still sick as sick can be.

I am still not 'over' her cruel and thoughtless comment. I think she was mad b/c I now was 'sicker' than she was.

Go figure.
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DollyMe Nov 5, 2019
So sorry, this is my mother. I haven't spoken to her for 8 years, and, I never will again.
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My soon to be 93 y/o mother's newest self-created 'issue' is that the floors in her apartment are 'slippery.' So is the shower floor, the soles of her shoes, the recliner she's had for the past 5 years, and so on. Everything is SOOOO SLIPPERY that she keeps falling. Not because she's getting up by herself and not asking for help since she's wheelchair bound. Nope. It's not HER fault! It's because of circumstances out of her control, ie: the SLIPPERY conditions that exist all OVER the entire building!!!!! No matter that others aren't falling due to these 'conditions'.

The quest for attention is real. It's chronic, it's ongoing, and it's incessant with Drama Queen women such as our mothers. It's exhausting and aggravating, too. And it's dangerous. They're like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, when you think about it. Because if/when something is REALLY wrong, we won't believe it due to the fact that they're compulsive LIARS.

We have people here on this forum who advise us that it's 'impossible' for the poor souls with dementia to LIE. Literally IMPOSSIBLE. I'd like to invite these doubters to meet My Mother and take over My Role for ONE WEEK. Then come back and let everyone else in the trenches know just what it's REALLY like to be burdened down with the care and management of a Drama Queen. And just how possible it IS to lie while suffering from dementia! The real suffering is felt by those of us who do the care giving/dealing with them!

You don't have to become a 'better person', my dear. You just have to figure out how to sort the Bull from the Chit so you can keep YOUR act together. I wish you good luck & Godspeed, too, cuz it sure ain't easy.
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Daisy9 Nov 5, 2019
lealonnie1, I fully agree with you! My MIL didn't forget how to lie! There was one after another. A frequent lie was "I got rid of my car b/c I don't know how to drive in (big city)". Bull! We took the car when we moved her into a senior apartment close to us. There were bangs and dents all around her car, probably where she had backed into who knows what. "My allergies are acting up" came out of her mouth every time there was something she did not want to do. "I'm allergic to those" after years of taking flowers from my garden to her with no complaint she suddenly became allergic. We knew her allergies and never took her anything she was allergic to, and she certainly had no allergy to flowers. Thankfully she did not act up in public except for grunting ALL THE TIME. In pain? No. She said she thought she was humming. No one could stand to be around her due to the ceaseless grunting. There were more lies, just not enough room and time to list them all.
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We thought my mom was suddenly always in the midst of a "pity party". Her doctor thought she was "fine".

We moved her to an Independent Livong Facility and the alert geriatrics doc sent her to a geriatric psychiatrist. She ordered a cognitive assessment.

My mother had significant cognitive decline, due to a stroke that was previously undetected. The addition of antianxiety and antidepressant meds changed everything for the better.

Get your mom to a geriatric psychiatrist.
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Has there been a sudden change in behavior? If so there could be real pain. My MIL was always a drama queen though, would practically yell if the car went over a small bump in the road. Now it has gotten worse. Complains constantly about herself and home maintenance, yet won't accept any advice. She will limp out of the room, but if you see her go down the hall when she thinks she is out of sight she could be 20 yrs. old. She is 89, no cane, no walker, has her own teeth. The problem here is that we don't know if she is really having trouble or being dramatic. That is why we try to observe her if she thinks we are not looking.
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BJeffrey Nov 5, 2019
That is my mom! She has arthritis. That's it. Yes it can hurt but everyone at her age has some arthritis. She goes to doctor at least twice a month for something and she comes home each time saying there is nothing to do for "the pain". I sound like a brat but she has been doing this for 15 years and my patience is running thin. At home she is pretty much ok but out or around others she becomes almost disabled. She can't get the mail but is going to mall tomorrow to shop. Just sad and frustrating
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My mom has a horrible time with just one step up. Yes, even just stepping over a threshold. She has Parkinson’s. I put a ramp by my doors. It’s real for her. Her mind will tell her to move but the body can’t follow. Neurological conditions are devastating. Plus the intense fear of falling is genuine as well.

My grandmother who didn’t even use a cane to walk in her 80’s. She still drove and she got around very well, no health issues and she had a sharp mind. She became terrified of escalators. She referred to them as ‘moving stairs.’ Isn’t that cute? 😊. Anyway, she would ask very politely while we were at the mall together, “Honey, could we please use the elevator instead of the moving stairs?” In the past, she hopped on the escalator like me. She truly became afraid. Of course, I told her that we would go to the second floor on the elevator.

I have to tell you that sometimes I feel like my equilibrium is off and I am leery of using the escalator too. I don’t know why this happens at times but it does so that is why I don’t feel your mom is doing this for attention. Of course, you know your mom better than others. But there could be an underlying medical issue like vertigo or something else.
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My MIL walks perfectly normal at the doctor but at home she’s a total invalid! Can’t pour coffee can’t microwave a small plate of food, but by God, she can get out the cookies, candy and scoop rock-hard ice cream into a bowl she got out of the over-counter cabinet herself! She “holds court” from her recliner if she has company. Can’t get the mail from her doorstep and demands attention. If her husband gets anything, she wants one. If he is getting attention during a conversation, she gets up and leaves! My husband refuses to have her see a geriatric psychiatrist because he doesn’t want her to think she’s crazy. I have explained cognitive impairments to him. He thinks she is just wanting his attention. I will suffer his resentment when she dies because I am a professional in geriatric care and conditions and he refuses my advice. When she dies, he will accuse me of not doing more. I’m just here to tell you when the son or daughter is fully pulled into their parent’s world, go with it or stay quiet. They will resent you after it’s over just for being honest.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 5, 2019
Sad, isn’t it?
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While there may be a hint of drama involved, I believe anxiety and depression are l00% valid. Put yourself in the position where you are OLD, perhaps physically disabled and can't do what you should be able to do, you know you are getting near the end time and perhaps dementia is setting in. Your life is not normal, you hate yourself and feel ashamed - it is normal and natural to have anxiety and depression. Only a complete fool would NOT be anxious and depressed. Do what you can to help with pain, etc. but also understand this is real. The fear factor and despair are entering the scene. If you cannot tolerate the demands and behavior and it is very negatively affecting you, then you must place the person in a facility. Otherwise, you will go down, down, down.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 5, 2019
I agree with this. Many older people would totally agree and they often say, “It’s hell to get old!”
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Don't want to hijack this post--but I need to add that I have spoken to mother twice since I was dxed with cancer. The 2nd was a mistake call, she had a niece dialing for her (she can't use her phone) and she didn't even mean to call me!

She lives with my brother and he has told many people that I am not sick at all and am lying about not being able to be around their filthy house with 6 cats, 4 dogs (not housebroken) and innumerable birds. Doc said the house was too toxic and so I cannot be in it.

All I told brother was that I couldn't be around the birds and he said that was BS--he's in the medical field (he's an EMT) and that I was making this up. My two kids who are DOCTORS offered to call him and chew him out over this, but frankly, it isn't worth it.

Gone grey rock with mother. She doesn't call, so it's been easy.
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Riverdale Nov 5, 2019
So many difficult relatives you endure sadly. I thought your brother didn't want you around her. At least you have formed your boundaries. I am glad your family is large enough that there can be positive relationships. My husband and I are both only children. We were lonely growing up. As I.hear such difficult stories amongst siblings I wonder what the relationships were whilst growing up. Hope you are recovering.
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