Mom is 80, she is battling depression more than anything else. Has a lot of arthritis pain which I think is being made worse by the depression. Found her a new and wonderful doctor who is running a battery of tests. She takes a blood thinner so it’s hard to take other medication along side that for any kind of pain so I know a lot of her grumpiness and rage and anger is the pain talking, but it is talking to me.

Long story longer, she and I had a codependent relationship for many years. I have mostly broken that cycle but let me tell you after her ‘tude today, I am low on contact and keeping calls/conversations to a minimum.

My husband and I have been 100% responsible for her care - household repairs, doctor appointments, yard relandscaping you name it. Siblings live on other side of the map so you know, little sister can take care of it all.

Well no more. I am bringing them into the fold and they are on notice.

But I digress.

How do I let the jabs and the zingers go by. She is by no means in a dementia state, her faculties are JUST FINE. She knows what she’s doing. She just doesn’t know its affect on her caregiving daughter. I’m so angry and frustrated and that is the last thing to be with a vulnerable (or somewhat vulnerable) senior.

Any insight? Thanks group.

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My grandmother was very similar... always complaining, arguing, crying, or saying mean things. She's been dead a few years now and it's sad to think she spent 90% of her time on Earth being angry and afraid, and it didn't have to be like that. Wish I knew what made her that way, but I never will.

A phrase that has stuck with me is: Normal people don't go around hurting other people. Hurt people are the ones who hurt people! In my grandmother's case, she never stopped hurting. It helps to see it that way... SHE is damaged and damaged things don't function correctly. Some are willing to change and heal, but most aren't. All I can do is be grateful I won't live my life that way.
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When my dad’s sadness at his life spills over into rudeness at me I either go for a walk if I’m there or quickly get off the phone if that’s how we’re communicating. I used to need to vent to my husband over every little mean thing dad had said but I’ve mostly stopped doing that, it wasn’t productive and wasted both our time. I think of “new dad” versus “old dad” My new dad is frustrated with life and sometimes says things that are rude. My old dad would never have acted this way. I’ve accepted new dad, come to see it has nothing to do with me or my care, and I quietly miss my old dad
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My father has vascular dementia which has destroyed his personality and made him a very verbally aggressive old man. I form the picture of the loving father he was in his 50s before the TIAs began and ask myself if that man would say these things - the answer is almost always no. So I choose to view all those things the pre-dementia Dad would not do/say as the dementia and/or fear talking and not really my Dad. A lot of it I even view as a cry for help or comfort. The change in perspective allows a lot of the nasty stuff to roll off my back like water off a duck.
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This is how I frame it with my Mom: 

She convinced I'm angry with her and she' s scared of being abandoned. 

She is actually angry at herself for being what she thinks is a burden to me.

She can't handle her self-anger and fear of abandonment so she disconnects from it.

When I'm near her giving care, she is reminded of the self-anger and fear emotions.

She acts like she's angry at me to scare me away and remove that ugly reminder.

This is how I respond:

Her anger act does scare me but it won't stop me from connecting with her honestly and I will tell her so in a loving way

I am not angry at her and she she is not a burden when she's connected with her emotions. It's the disconnection and acting out that is frightening to me and anger invoking and I will tell her so in a loving way.

Once my Mom becomes aware she is angry and realizes she is unfiarly directing anger toward me, she usually shifts to tears and accuses me of making her feel bad. She will say"Why do you have to do this to me, you are making me feel so bad" . The fact is I'm not making her feel bad, I 'm making her feel. The "bad" is independent of me and if she was fully connected she would see that I am not bothered at all by being her caregiver. Her idea that I am bothered with her and the self-anger she feels as a result is part of her fantasy of who she is and how I feel. Once that fantasy is broken, improvement will come about.

Eventually after the crying and guilt trip, my Mom will come around, emotionally balanced, with surprising improvement in memory, and full of gratitude. Of course the cycle starts all over again eventually as well.
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bettina Jan 2019
Wow Caregiver499, you have an amazing attitude and a lot of insight.
I think your description of your mom's thinking would apply to some
narcissistic people as well. Again, very insightful!
Every time I’m tempted to let anger trap me as a result of what feels like unfair treatment from my mom who I’m caring for, I fight it with reality and logic. Sounds pretty obvious and simple but just thinking about how we can easily get on a bad mood just because we have a headache, we can be short or even rude with people because the pain -headache- is annoying us. We don’t feel like doing much, we are not productive, we just want to be in silence and left alone and take a magic pill to get rid of the annoyance.

Now imagine having a generalized pain in your body that you cannot get rid of. Seriously, really picture that and how it affects everything! I KNOW it is very hard to force yourself to remember that and use it to justify her behavior, but it is really not just justifying it.

Now, I always say that one thing is to be able to explain something and another thing is to justify it. I agree there is no fair justification for out of place behavior, but there are many explanations.

Remember too that aside from her arthritis, she is facing all that comes with agingcare which is not an stroll in the park!
She lost independence, control.

I’m not trying to defend her, I am just sharing what has kept me going without having the advantage of a support system of some sort. Understanding the situation changes everything! Good luck! A hug
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