How do you honor a cruel-hearted, meanspirited, anger-minded and vicious Mom?


Honor thy father and thy mother so long as ye shall live. My elderly mother who is suffering from a stroke has turned from an angel
to a cruel hearted, meanspirited and anger minded, hateful vicious mother. Pitting one sibling against the other. Keeping up strife in the family. Continuing to favor some siblings over the other siblings. Will she ever change? . she is 85 year old.

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lillyvalley123, did she really used to be an angel? Was she a good mother to you growing up? Has she been reasonably nurturing and loving and fair?

If this is truly a total change in her personality as a result of her stroke (and presumably the dementia following it) then I would pity this poor person who cannot control her behavior and is afflicted with severe mental disorder. I would honor her by acknowledging that I could not personally take care of her, but trying to see that she got good care.

And if she has always been cruel, mean-spirited, angry, and vicious, then I would be extremely grateful that I managed not to turn out the same way. I would remove myself as much as possible from the situation. I probably would get some therapy to help heal the deep wounds having such a parent would cause.

Unless there is a medical reason for this behavior and it can be corrected, then, no, I think she will not change.
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I have a mom who is this way from a lifetime of untreated mental illness plus strokes, and now Alzheimer's dementia.

Honoring a parent can take many forms. We were only taught one way in Sunday School - just do what your parent say and don't question it or you might get stoned to death like the sassy children of the Bronze Age did. We're adults now and no longer fear stoning from back-sass. The relationship with parents has changed dramatically, even if it's not in blinking neon before your eyes. The Bible didn't say "honor your parents at all costs, regardless of the consequences".

I honor my mother by making sure she is safe from herself and the world she can no longer navigate. I honor myself and my family by having boundaries with her that are concrete with rebar. I manage her money and bills, and am the contact for the place she now lives. As her care level has gone up, oddly, my involvement has gone down. Other people tend to her daily cares, medical, psychological, and therapy needs. We visit her about once a month, which is plenty.

Stroke and dementia can each cause major personality changes, and part of the agony is mourning the person who is gone, and having to learn how to deal with the Angry Bird who took their place.

This site is a great place to come blow off steam, vent, complain, and find others also in the same boat right there with you!
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I was watching a hoarding programme late last night (insomnia, and it comforts me to think some people are even more overwhelmed by possessions than I am) and one of the subjects was a lady who was unshakeable in her belief that if she hadn't had her three children her life would have been fine, and unabashed in saying so to those three children, now grown adults who seemed to be very decent human beings. One suspected that these people had survived a) because they had each other and b) because their maternal grandmother had done her best to provide an alternative source of nurture. Unfortunately, the grandmother had also bequeathed her own happy home, which the children remembered as a haven, to the mother. Hence it was this house, now filthy, decaying and trash-filled, that the family was trying to rescue. Unsuccessfully, as it turned out.

So the question is, why were those children still trying to care? The daughter was pretty stone-faced about everything, the two sons - poor lads - were in pieces.

That woman was furiously angry. God knows what about, in fact I dread to think what about, but she was in a permanent rage. What I'm trying to get at is that she wasn't wrong, either. She didn't want help. She didn't want to be meddled with. When she said she wanted to be left alone, she was speaking the plain truth. It wasn't the children's fault that she was angry, but it was also something they could never, ever hope to soothe. What are we hoping for? That some deep hurt, nothing to do with us, beyond our knowledge, can be cured by our love? We must be barking! We want love from our parents, but we assume that they have it in the first place. And what if they haven't? Why can we not admit that small possibility?

BrightBod, the thing is that there are women who bore children, and perhaps loved them in their own private way, who were never emotionally equipped to do the job. Children love their mothers because they need to, and that early-formed habit usually stays with us. But the relationship is not equal and opposite. I think it can even be cruel to encourage people to try to elicit love from someone who is incapable of providing it. Unrequited love is an incredibly hard thing to accept, especially for a child, but if that's what you're dealing with then you'd do better to face it.
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Welll, if she was really an angel before then you might think of getting more of a good geropsych/medical eval to see if depression or anxiety is playing a role and can be helped...yes, change could be possible!

On the other hand, if she played favorites before (not sure if that's what you mean by "continuing") then she was not quite an angel, and that won't change

But really, the Bible does say honor your parent "even if his mind fails him..." It doesn't say you have to pretend that it isn't so, and that's what may have happened to your mom. She's not herself, she's not thinking with clarity and empathy, and you would honor her best by pulling the siblings together and making sure everyone knew that she was complaining about each to the other and that it all should be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe get one of the therapists, probably the speech and language therapist to explain to all together how the stroke has affected her language, emotions, and reasoning.

"Honoring" doesn't mean taking every word and judgement at its face value when you really can't, and certainly wouldn't mean taking it to heart, but may mean trying to make her life a little better in any way you actually can.

This stuff is not at all easy when it is your parent, and I hope there is help for all of you in handling what sounds like a pretty major curve ball that's come your way.
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Love the mother she once was. Send the psychotic patient to a Nursing Home.
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Old photos of my mother (not discovered til recently) show her as a vivacious, caring young mother. I remember so much good from then. Also remember her tantrums and threats to burn the house down -- in the same few seconds. Mom taught me to interpret her tantrums as "my fault" because she sacrificed so very much for us. Yes, Mom was an "Angel." Remembering as a five-year-old, holding her as "Angel" yet motionless as she locked herself in her room for five days because of something "we" the under-five crowd did. Mom's sacrifice was angelic. Always Mom, always Mom. Always Mom -- five years after her death, always Mom. I have decided I will honor her as Pam says, for the good she did. Last week of her life she said the same as she sent the most hateful letters to her grandsons and I gasped at the content. She said, "What good will it do not to send them?" I said aghast, "Mom!?" She said, "I don't care, someone has to tell them." Are you kidding, those grandhildren each have gone to hatred and drugs and hate their own mother for tolerating her own mother like that. So how ever you honor her or the best of her, make sure you are honoring everyone else at the same time. She paid blood for you, and your kids. But when does that formula get finished and going on begin?
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50's I would have said "Ok, I'll take them to the post office" and then I would have burned them. Reduce the hatred to ashes as much as you can. Hold on to that picture.
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BrightBod, I do not believe you have ever been the target of ongoing murderous rage. Sacrifice and devotion cannot "make" anyone love us nor provide the grace of knowing we ever soothed our mothers. Would you demonstrate high Christian ideals to a rabid dog who is viciously attacking you? Let’s say you raised that dog and were sweetly bonded. Now the dog has gone over to another expression -- and you are the sane one left badly eviscerated, bleeding, with rabies, stripped forever of any former relation. Worse, you bear the guilt of helplessness. How about LillyValley (love that moniker it is a beautiful one LV you’ve earned) – trying hard to express her highest human compassion to honor the good, while she is standing in the wreckage of h*ll. Do you think demonstrative, loving acceptance would have turned around Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook? BB, forgive me. I am jealous of your innocent and I’m sure very sincere beliefs my dear lady. I want to protect you from the likes of we, the murderer’s targets. CM, your words awesomely helpful and resonate.
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I grew up knowing that I had ruined my mom's life. She said so. She referred to me as "it". I was never trouble. I was quiet like a mouse, stayed inside to read books and play in my imaginary world. If I started to make a friend, mom put an end to that. When I got a date to the prom, she put on the full crazy show in front of my date. She ruined every vacation with her antics. She tried to run off my now-husband. This woman was completely overcome with untreated mental illness.

Love does not overcome mental illness any more than a teacup of water could put out the Hindenburg. Everybody in the family loved her, but not one of them could help her. That helplessness turned into apathy over time. She wasn't interested in getting help, so everybody got tired and went away.

What I'm tryign to say here is that this burden is NOT of the child's making. Child being the little ones staying quiet in the closet to avoid mom's hellfire, and the 40+ year old ones who go into vapor lock when somebody at work exhibits the same outrageous confrontational behaviors.

So many people have said to me that I must be some kind of saint to have come back to get mom, place her, and tend to her affairs. Nobody would have blamed me for walking away and never talking to her again. Believe me, the thought crossed my mind many times.

I braved the full ugly dragon of her mental illness and decrepitation strictly out of mercy. I can't say it was love. Just mercy. She didn't ask to be mentally ill. Something in life made her that way, and thank the good Lord above I got out of it alive. Most children of Cluster A & B personality disorders end up with all the same problems themselves.

The whole time I was packing up her hoarded mess, fighting her off so we could actually tape up boxes, listening to her insane yelling and insults and put downs as we worked, I wondered "Why in hades am I doing this? I must be crazy."

When I got her up here and settled into my house I wondered "What have I done to my family!" It was pure living hell.

I did it out of love and respect for my father, who has been gone almost 20 years soon. He treated mom like a princess and she never wanted for anything while they were married. There was not a better more loyal, longsuffering man on this earth. She kicked him while he was down, making his life living nonstop h*ll after his stroke and the chestpain from having to listen to this shrieking harpy day & night gave him his 4th & final heart attack. He never woke up.

I do it for him. He would want to make sure she was taken care of, and she is. I do it for her, because she is a human being under there somewhere, who has problems that were never treated for her entire life. We all paid the price for that.
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Would have loved to have had you for a fair witness friend Pam! Do you know that back then at age 55 the thought never crossed my mind to take those letters to the post office because I was so used to being stung by Mom I was numb and paralyzed. And Mom was a such a clever, conniving thing that she would have never let me handle them. Ah yes, suffer the little children behind closed doors ... I appreciate your saying "reduce the hatred to ashes" -- I actually did burn and destroy quite a bit. Cried doing it. But felt power for the first time. I have to keep the old pictures of young Mom deep in a box, just like her hand-crocheted laces. Everytime I open them I collapse for a few days. Isn't that called "desensitization." Learnin' just slow!
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