I've had a rough last couple of days. It's like I'm two people -- one calm, and a very angry person under the surface. The last two days it hasn't taken much to set me off. I haven't done any damage, but it is hard on me to feel this way. I guess it's a bit like road rage, but I'm not in the car.

Yesterday I was out and this older woman that has frontal dementia was pushing at me. I told her to leave me alone, but she got closer and said she was going to talk to me. She wouldn't stop, so I had to leave. Wouldn't you know, she followed me and started in again. I lost it and snarled something so unlike me to say in public. I had to leave.

I knew a big part of the problem was that I got away from my house to get a break from my mother for a while. Then this woman with FTD ruined my safe place. What I really wanted to do was push her down.

I know I need to get a grip on the Incredible Hulk. Even as the anger was happening, I was split, with one side saying I could take the high road and the other wanting to push the person on her butt. I don't like feeling that way. Today when I got up, Mom said she needed some more lancet needles -- like couldn't she have told me that Monday-Friday when the drug store was open all day. Grrrrrr!

Let me up. I've had enough. Maybe I should get a t-shirt with a warning "Don't poke the tiger."

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That was me 6 months ago, always at a slow simmer... be careful, you are probably closer to burnout than you know. Is there any way you can get away for an extended holiday? I know you think the answer is no, but if you make yourself sick someone will step in pick up the pieces, don't let it come to that. (((hugs)))
Helpful Answer (22)

I know how you feel 'cause I felt that way too when my 94 yo mom (stage 6-7 Alz) was living with us. Some days I thought I'd really loose it when she'd scream at the top of her lungs. I started doing that too. I felt like I was going insane. Wonder what the neighbors thought?

It doesn't help that I've felt more anxious in the last 2 years with other family member stuff. I made a very poor decision to bring my mom home with us when her rent went too high. Her living here only lasted 3 months but it felt like 3 years. It really is too much for one person (even with hubby's good help and a night time c/G4 nights a week) to handle. It is a "going out of your mind" situation. We couldn't sleep-let alone together in the same bed. It started affecting our marriage (he couldn't stand to see me so stressed). He was the one who suggested she live with us in the first place!

We found another memory care facility that she can afford and we moved her there last Friday. It feels like a vacation, it's been quiet and no breaking our backs or going insane with her confusion.

The only way out (other than drugs for her and/or you) is to put her in a facility. We need to give ourselves permission to live our lives the way we have chosen. God knows, I'd NEVER want to do this to my son. Just put me away and check up on me occasionally.

I feel for you. Good luck.
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I so understand you, JessieBelle! You are so correct. I want to thank you for providing me with a situation for which I empathize (because I really thought my empathy was a thing of the past.)

(Begin rant:) It is a soul-deadening task taking care of bpd/narc elders who believe they are entitled to your help. My dad tells me all the time he “praises god for giving him a girl so he could be taken care of in his old age.” It’s my “duty to honor him like jesus obeying god to give his life for us all.” I completely hulked upon hearing that. (Thanks for turning god into a narcissist and making jesus a poster boy for child abuse, old man.) As soon as he’s eligible for asst lvg or NH, I will have no qualms about placing him. (End rant)

Small acts of kindness do wonders for one’s brain - releasing hormones to improve the mood, lowering blood pressure, generally making the world a better place.

I *know* I am being more than charitable to my father, and to purge myself from his vile attitudes, I go out of my way to help strangers, even if it’s as simple as holding the door open for them. Tiny kindnesses like this keeps me (almost) sane and (mostly) humane.
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Jessie, you aren't turning green like the Hulk are you? Muscles bursting through clothes? That's really bad. Makes your clothes budget go through the roof.

Seriously, I'm just trying to make a joke about this to offer some light banter and raise your spirits. And just as seriously, I think mood swings and quick responses when provoked and aggravated are part of caregiving. We're often pushed to the limit yet still expect to work like pack animals. Of course we're going to burn out.

If it's any consolation, I'd become annoyed when someone has provoked me, especially like the manipulative control freak who loves to complain about my father's front yard and ask why I don't clean it up, to HER specs.

And you have a high level of conscientiousness about your mother's welfare, so you're thinking of her and her needs probably most of your waking time. And from what you described, I think your mother knows this and knows how to "pull your chain."

Can you hibernate in your room and just chill out? Just getting away from your mother for a while will help. But I have a feeling she'll create some reason for you to come out and attend to her.
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Sadly, I do try to avoid her most of the time. I have my work to do and she can be so disagreeable. Plus she drives me crazy. She starts by showing me the poison ivy on the back of her hands that has been there since 2012. She says she needs to go to the doctor. I find the "poison ivy lotion" for her and she's happy. Then she talks about how her toe is sore and her legs are dripping water -- they're not. Then the floor needs work. I should call the foundation people. ACCCKKKK! About that time I slip out while I still have a bit of sanity. I peek in later to see she's sleeping in front of the TV. Good.

It isn't pleasant to live with someone who you absolutely dread and who watches the most dreadful TV. :-P
Helpful Answer (13)

Reading your post I can't help but remember how awful things were about 3 years or so - I'm still surprised mom and I survived

Last spring when the nurse from her LTC provider came to do the annual assessment she said something kinda interesting in that little outbursts are healthy better than keeping it bottled up -
If that's the case, then that might explain why mom at 94 hardly has any wrinkles
Of course I'm turning into more of a crone with each passing day

If at possible, send mom to adult day care, or get a caregiver a few hours a week and get yourself to lunch or a movie, the gym or anything
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I've already made the decision never to put anyone through this. I don't have children and won't expect anything from the rest of the family. I don't want to even put a stranger through it. I wish my mother was disabled enough to qualify for a NH. I wish she was well enough to live on her own. She's right there in the middle as she has been for years. Yesterday after I'd had that time with the FTD woman, I came home to my mother wanting to go out in the yard. No problem. I did have some problem putting down her rollator because she was blocking me on the steps, telling me to put it at the bottom. She didn't understand I couldn't walk through her. She went out to sit in the swing. Everything was fine for a while, but then I looked out to see she was gone. So I walked around to find her. She is very weak, so I knew she could need me to drive around to pick her up. She got mad that I checked on her and told me to just go away and leave her alone. I did walk away, but not so far I couldn't keep an eye on her.

I read something last night about frontal dementia. One of the characteristics of frontal lobe damage is the loss of empathy and knowing how to treat other people. I have a feeling I've been getting too big of doses of frontal lobe damage for one person to deal with. But then I look around at all the people who are waiting in line to help. Sigh. It is discouraging that the world is so cold.
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RainMom, I see another way of viewing the situation. You didn't take the book to read it; you took it to stop a tirade, to remove it so it wouldn't still be there the next time you came.

You found a way to circumvent the whole issue.

She didn't bent you to her will; you found a way not to allow that to happen, by removing one of the tools she could use. You disarmed her.

Is your soul really in a bottomless pit? Or did you circumvent that by removing the book?

I won't deny that I have difficulty and work on not letting myself become a victim, so I try to think of ways that I've maintained my independence and am able to see both sides of a challenging situation. I don't always succeed, but I try.

Congratulate yourself on defusing a situation w/o revealing to your mother what you really did with that book!
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JB, I know this may sound incredibly cruel to the uninitiated, but I hope your mom keels over with a fatal heart attack or stroke in the not too distant future. Given my mom's history of heart disease and stroke I would have never believed she could linger into her 99th year, as totally dependent as a newborn infant. I'll never understand how she keeps going.
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I feel your pain. The other day I said out loud that I wanted to run away. I knew if I didn’t get away I’d go nuts. I booked a cabin about 4 hour drive and went for 3 days. It helped to just be me, my books and to read and meditate.
I’m sorry you feel she isn’t able to go into AL...which is where she should be. When a person has dementia they are no longer capable of making rational decisions. As the POA, we have to make those decisions. Being a part time care giver is hard enough but I can’t imagine being a full time one!
JesseBelle, you never mention that you have a safe space to vent and unload. That is what a therapist is for. Do you see one? Yes you can unload here, and that is helpful because we "get it". But it would be good to have someone there who is objective listen to you. The other thing I’ve learned is not to bottle it up. We all know you can’t argue with someone who has dementia so we bottle it up and diffuse the situation. So that has to come out somewhere. Go someplace...even if you drive your car to a park and scream and get it out and say all the mean and hateful things you feel. Our brains are affected by this too and that is not good. So take care of yourself. Do you hire people to come and stay for you to get away? If need to. You are important and matter....really more than your 90yo mom. My dad is 96 and says he wants to "go" all the time and I say "take him"...he’s had a good life until the dementia. I am still young (65 -ha) and have the right to enjoy mine like he did. He thinks he was so good to his mom...ha! Popped in to see her in the NH on his way to work for 10 minutes. Whoopdie-do!!! He hasn’t a clue. And after his last mental fiesta...I say "come already Jesus...what is taking you so long?" There..I said it.
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