How do I handle an angry, depressed parent?

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My mom is 80 yrs old, English is her second language, she does not speak it well. So I have to take care of everything for her. When my dad was alive, he took care of most things so she didn't have to. I am one of six children, but the only one who checks on her daily. When she gets angry with one, she is angry with all. I feel like her punching bag on a daily basis, but I have to talk to her daily so that I know she is ok. Today she was argueing with one of my brothers, in the argument she had to state how none of us care about her and we are all horrible children. I try to make her realize that by saying all, she is hurting my feelings, but she doesn't care. I need some sort of coping mechanisms to help me deal with her. I also have 6 year old twins at home. One of them needs extra help with everything so I feel myself being pulled in too many directions. Her bad mood transfers to me and my children are feeling it too. How sad is it when I come back from my mom's and my children see my face and say what did grandma do this time? I'm tired. Don't know if any of this makes any sense.

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Your Mom sounds just like mine. I am the one that lives with her and cares for her 24/7 but I am the one who suffers the most abuse and the only one willing to care for her. My mother has moderate dementia and they say all kinds of hurtful things and they do not care who they hurt.

I can tell you that this disease does hurt everyone that is around. My Mom has yelled at us that none of us care for her, that all we want is her money, that she will be glad when she is dead, that WE will be glad when she is dead, that all we do is watch her every move...like we are spying on her, and it just goes on and on.

My mother's dementia really deveoloped after my Dad died. It became very apparent, very fast and she had basically locked herself away when he died, so she did not help herself any.

My 21 year old daughter was an Honors Student when she entered college and 3 years later she was failing half her classes due to the stress cause by Mom in the home. My daughter one day said, "She is killing us all." It shocked me but she was right.

Right now she has gall stones and is having a gall bladder attack at 84. I have gone and purchased all of the foods she can eat and yet there is a constant argument that she wants the "other food" which makes her sick as a dog, but her memory lasts about 10 minutes so she doesn't remember how sick she is getting from it. It is enough to drive you crazy!!!

I have enlisted the help of a therapist FOR ME!!! I see a therapist once a week to basically vent and go over what is happening, it keeps me sane!

If your Mom does not have dementia, you need to limit your visits and focus on your twins. Because your father is gone, your Mom is feeling alone and yes you want to be there for her, but you need to tell her when she starts putting you down that you have to leave and if you ever have the opportunity to speak calmly to her, you need to tell her that what she says, hurts you deeply and you do love her but you will not stand by and allow her to verbally abuse you, you have young children to care for, so if she wants to see you, then she is going to have to change the way she treats you. I can be hard especially if you have never said anything like this before, but sometimes it wakes the parent up that they cannot treat their children so shabbily. If she has dementia, nothing you say will really make a difference because they no longer have a filter and you have to learn to ignore it.

God Bless You....This is Hard!!!!
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Everyone has given you good advice. I just have one thing to add. It can help you if you change your attitude toward your mother.

Whatever the cause, aging or disease, your mother is no longer the strong, wise woman she was years ago. She is old, afraid, and confused. I hope that when you were young, you could turn to her with your problems and rely on her strength and love. Now you are the strong one.

Have your kids ever said, "I hate you!" to you? Some people think that's a terrible sin, but I think it's kind of normal, because as a parent, you have to say "no" to them all the time. If your child, in the middle of a tantrum, said that, would you think they didn't love you? I wouldn't. I would know that they love me, but they are very very angry, and that's just how they feel right now.

You need to take a step back when your mother says that no one takes care of her. She is not stating a fact; she is talking about her feelings. She feels abandoned and helpless because she knows she can't do things herself any more. Can you respond with sympathy instead of taking it personally?

"Oh,Mom, I'm sorry you feel that way. You do have to be alone a lot. You must miss Dad so much." Or put your arms around her and say, "It's true. Nobody loves you. Nobody comes to visit. Nobody brings you food. Poor Mom."

She may be angry because she is so sad. Don't let her abuse you, but maybe a soft word can turn aside anger, and make you both happier. You know whether this is a good idea with your mom. I hope you find something that helps.
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I did something about a month ago that really helped my relationship with my mom -- and cleared away some of the resentment I'd been feeling. I made plans one morning to have dinner with a friend that evening. I called mom and told her I'd be sure to bring her dinner beforehand. She was not pleased, as we often eat dinner together. The next night she really unloaded on me as to how I should have taken her with me to dinner! I was shocked to say the least. I could hardly sleep that night. I am one of three siblings that helps mom on a daily basis, by the way. The next morning, I was determined to speak my peace to Mom and not just bury my feelings, again. I went to her house, sat down, and calmly sad how hurt I'd been by her rebuke. I told her I loved her and would never abandon her. However, I do have a life that needs to be lived as well, and that requires my freedom to do so. As soon as that afternoon, she had changed her attitude by 180 degrees. Since then, she has been like a different person, more appreciative and respectful. I am so happy with the change and glad that I took what for me is a huge risk! I hope this story will help you with your mom. :)
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I did something about a month ago that really helped my relationship with my mom -- and cleared away some of the resentment I'd been feeling. I made plans one morning to have dinner with a friend that evening. I called mom and told her I'd be sure to bring her dinner beforehand. She was not pleased, as we often eat dinner together. The next night she really unloaded on me as to how I should have taken her with me to dinner! I was shocked to say the least. I could hardly sleep that night. I am one of three siblings that helps mom on a daily basis, by the way. The next morning, I was determined to speak my peace to Mom and not just bury my feelings, again. I went to her house, sat down, and calmly sad how hurt I'd been by her rebuke. I told her I loved her and would never abandon her. However, I do have a life that needs to be lived as well, and that requires my freedom to do so. As soon as that afternoon, she had changed her attitude by 180 degrees. Since then, she has been like a different person, more appreciative and respectful. I am so happy with the change and glad that I took what for me is a huge risk! I hope this story will help you with your mom. :)
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Get her to a neurologist ASAP for a complete examination. Do not go over every day, go once a week and assign each sibling one day a week to check on her. That is the only way to save your sanity.
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Get her diagnosed and on some meds that will help her moods. Just have some patience. Most times they are confused and scared and this is the reaction. Meaness.
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I have a dear Mother who is 86 and has dementia... some days are better than others. She can get angry and upset about stuff, at times she is NOT very reasonable... Patience it all takes LOTS of patience... My Mom had a heart attack not even two weeks after my Dad died. She insisted she had a broken heart, we both did... It took me along time to get her medication somewhat sorted out! She did not do well with all the medication she was like a limp dish clothe. I think anger is a way that elders show frustration! My Dad bless his heart always said "old people don't like being told what do do" I am sure that is VERY true...
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I agree with all of the above suggestions about getting your mom checked for dementia. Do you have to visit your mom each day? I talk to my mom on the phone twice daily (8 AM and 6 PM) and take her food and fix her medicines several times a week. I do everything for her (laundry, meds, take out the garbage, take her food, etc) and those 2-3 visits a week are enough for me to make sure she's OK. If you phoned instead of visiting, then when she starts in with her negatives, you can just end the call.

If she needs daily help, then maybe you need to consider either getting her outside help or moving her somewhere so that her needs can be taken care of.

One other suggestion I'd have is to see if there's a way to get her around other people who share her first language. If she could communicate more easily with others, that might be nice for her.
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Ebizaleth is totally right on this. Knowing that your mom's anger comes from her becoming progressively unreasonable due to brain problems can help quite a bit, but it is still really hard not to feel bad when it is your own mom saying and maybe even thinking mean thoughts about you, whiule you are actually doing your best to assure she is OK. One thing I can suggest is don't feel bad about feeling bad - this situation really is a downer; to whatever extent you can let it roll off your back you are doing great, but still it will tend to sap your spirits and your energy. If there are any ways to have a pleasant time with her, either via outings to favorite places or bringing little gifts, like videos or music, flowers or favorite foods, go for it, but if she is just too angry and depressed and refuses to let anything lift her spirits you may be stuck there too. (My mom liked pizza and sugar free chocolate...she also liked new clothes and wigs or purses but was just so incredibly picky I'd usually just have to return everything...)

The psychology of visiting less often or shortening visits that are not going well can work in that you are no longer totally taken for granted, the person may sense that they can't just dump everything they are feeling all over you and expect you to to just keep coming back for as long as they want or need no matter what.

The other consideration is that at times, a person truly believes or comes to believe the mean things they are saying, and may act on them, so that if dementia is the reality, it is important to get things in shape from a legal perspective as well as the medical one.
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1. I wanted to chime in on the maybe-your-mom-has-dementia bandwagon. My mother has fronto-temporal-lobe dementia (very different from Alzheimer's). When she first started to show signs (personality changes, anger at me) I had no idea what was going on and it hurt me immensely. Had I known that these were symptoms it would have made it easier for me.

2. Can you get her to take antidepressants? That also made a huge difference for my mother.

3. Re the sibling issue. I have two brothers (who are good people BTW) yet, in caring for my mother, I might as well be an only child. Sometimes that's just the way it is. So try talking to your sibs - maybe a family meeting/brainstorming session about what you and they can realistically do. Then see what happens. If you're still the only one showing up then figure out what YOU can manage and what you can't manage. I like the idea (above) of, when when she becomes abusive, simply and calmly telling her you'll come back when she's calm and then leaving.

BTW, I was angry with my brothers for a while, I have finally come to peace with them not helping. I realized that I'm doing what I need to do to live with myself now and in the future. But it took me quite a while to get here. Good luck to you!!!
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