My husband revisits old problems incessantly. Some happened more than 40 years ago!

Imho, some individuals believe that by ruminating you'll gain better insight into your life or a past problem, which is an untruth. Please see that your husband is seen by a geriatric psychiatrist.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Yes, Mom did that too. It was always negative memories, never the good ones. Be prepared with a list of topics you can use to distract him when he gets on an old problems. I call it the 'squirrel' game.
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Reply to Frances73

Don't discuss them with him.
Maybe he has short term memory and can only remember stuff from long ago.
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Reply to bevthegreat

He gets stuck in what I like to call "thought loops." It is like a stuck record that keeps playing the same thing over and over and over.... Distraction seems to help. Try activities that use sound (like music), visuals (like movies), motion (like dancing or tinkering) and anything that involves focused thought (simple games, crafts...) to get his brain to switch gears from the obsessive thought to another neural pathway.
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Reply to Taarna

Agree Barb.

For Alzheimer's/Dementia thought loops - yes, try meds. Reason will NOT work.

Now seeing the wonders of a little pill with my Mother. Can't say it has cured her obsessions (far from) but taken the edge off. She seems calmer in herself.

I imagine a Geri-Psych may use psychology as well?

I found info a while back which really interested me..

*Erikson's stages of psychosocial development*

Erikson’s task at this stage is called integrity vs. despair. To summarise, people reflect and either feel satisfaction or a sense of failure. The later focus on what “would have,” “should have,” and “could have” been.

I've found some people actively seek validation eg Have I been a good Mum? Or come to it themselves eg I wasn't able to earn much but we always had bread on the table. I wasn't always there but I was an ok Dad I think.

Maybe a combo of meds & validation would work.
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Reply to Beatty

Is this a recent behavior or has he always done this? It is incredibly sad when a person lives their life with deep regrets. Sure, everyone has a few regrets but we definitely shouldn’t continually focus on incidents that we regret.

Is he sad? Bitter? What emotions do you see coming through the most? Speak with his doctor regarding his obsessive behavior. As Barb said, meds may help. Then both of you will be more content.

Best wishes to you and your husband.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

This is called "rumination". There are meds that can help. Get him evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
BlueEyedGirl94 Jul 9, 2021
BarbBrooklyn you are a wealth of knowledge. I always learn something when. I read your posts. We are on the edge of pushing FIL's primary for an evaluation but he is so excellent at showtiming and we see so many behaviors that could be just as much a product of his narcissism as they could dementia that we don't know if they will take us seriously. Not to mention the isolation could also have a significant impact in his cognitive behaviors as well so we just don't know if we will get anywhere with them. And there is NO way FIL will agree to any sort of evaluation unless his doctor just flat out insists it is required by someone very important.
I wish I could give you a solution but I can tell you that you aren't alone.
My FIL very often will talk about people who slighted him years before I came into the family (30 years ago) or before his children were born (his oldest is almost 60). Many of these people have passed on. But he gets angry about them as if they happened just yesterday.
You say "old problems". Is it only negative things? Is it only things that he never "solved" and he is still trying to find a solution? Is there any rhyme or reason to what he is obsessing about? With FIL we notice he is especially contemplative of all of the people who have done him wrong just after he goes through his ever dwindling contacts list in his phone to see who answers his calls. (He does this about once a month). He is unfortunately a true narcissist and he has alienated a lot of people in the past 10 years or so and when he can't get people to answer HIS calls he starts reminiscing about all of the people who used to be in his life but did him wrong. So we at least have been able to recognize and understand the pattern.
Is there any particular pattern or theme to the old problems? Something he used to be able to do that he can no longer do? Is there anything that distracts him when he goes down that rabbit hole?
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Reply to BlueEyedGirl94

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