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It’s difficult when you are trying to do your best for someone to be told you aren’t trying hard enough and made to feel guilty. Can she be evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist to find out what going on? There are medications she can take when she’s diagnosed. Was she always like this? My mother was paranoid and a drama queen and jealous as well and I’ve often said here that she was a “sniper”. She’d make a really snarky comment and then leave, leaving hurt feelings behind. When I visited her and she’d start in on me, I’d threaten to leave. Then she’d start crying. I’d feel like poo and come back. You may need to disengage a bit. If she’s in IL with 24/7 care, you could probably step back for some respite. If you aren’t available for her to snipe at, she’ll find something else to occupy her.
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I started to draw the line with a warning, "you do not need to talk to me like that" spoken as a statement. I usually try to start my next sentence with "we need to" and then whatever it was that was the issue.
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This is long, I apologize, but I think you might find some helpful info here. Your profile says your mother had a stroke.


“Stroke changes the way the brain works. It can cause neurological damage that leads to decreased function that makes it more likely that the survivor will lash out.”

“Whenever a caregiver feels the survivor’s behavior is designed to hurt, diminish or unnecessarily control them, they should consider that abuse.”

There’s no way to predict if or how a survivor will become abusive after stroke. “While people with left-brain strokes tend to be more depressed, people with right-brain strokes can be more impulsive,” Dr. Jacobs said. “Both depression and impulsivity can contribute to lashing out.”

Typically, stroke survivors lash out at caregivers for two reasons, according to Dr. Jacobs. First, because of a loss of impulse control, which often happens with frontal lobe damage, and makes survivors more likely to lash out when they’re frustrated. (Frontal lobe injury is also associated with loss of empathy.) And second, survivors who are frustrated at their losses and clinically depressed may take those feelings out on those closest to them.

Our experts’ advice about this type of behavior is not to tolerate it. “First and foremost, leave the room,” Dr. Jacobs said. “Caregivers have to be very clear that they will not tolerate being abused. The more a caregiver puts up with maltreatment, the more they encourage the survivor to behave that way.”

“One shorthand definition of anger is that it’s depression turned outward,” Dr. Jacobs said. Often it is used to control another’s behavior by causing them to feel guilty.

Dr. Jacobs emphasized that medical intervention is key
to improving the caregiver’s situation. There are psychiatric medications that help people gain control over their impulses as well as for depression. “The best thing a caregiver in this situation can do is get their loved one to a doctor because medication can help in most of these cases,” he said.

“Survivors who are able to grieve and thereby accept their losses are less likely to lash out,” Dr. Jacobs said.

“If a caregiver can see the survivor’s anger as a manifestation of the stroke,” Dr. Jacobs said, “then they don’t have to take the name calling and the anger personally, and it doesn’t hurt as much. That doesn’t mean they should excuse the behavior. They should require them to get help for their behavior. If a caregiver feels she is being mistreated, she should seek some sort of outside help immediately by reaching out to a physician or a local support group. And she should talk to other family members about getting some relief.”

I hope this helped put things in perspective. God bless.
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Hi Karen.
Sounds like you're taking excellent care of Mom. However, you need to care for your emotional and mental health as well.

What have you gotten from all the people you've reached out to so far? After two years in therapy have you developed any coping skills?

You just might benefit from simply accepting Mom as she is, for one. And for two, accept you have the right to protect yourself.

Don't expose yourself to her too often or for too long. Go in and out. You're doing everything humanly possible for Mother. No need for guilt of any kind. Self preservation is a must. Be good to yourself. You deserve it.

Big Cyber Huggz🤗
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I'm so happy to see the word "unthankful".

My 1st posting name was "thankless job" but somebody got their panties in a knot about it, so I changed it to SueC1957.

I don't deny care and comfort to my mother (especially now at the end--she's not mean to me anymore) but we adult children caregivers are human beings, programmed to respond certain ways to things that are said to us.
It's hard to be sweet and loving when your mother just told you you were a thief, liar and incestuous.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know....."it's the dementia".
But it's coming out of my mothers mouth.

And to Knotted Panties, it IS a thankless job but one that all of us are doing anyway.
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Thank-you for all of your helpful answers. My Mother has heart disease and did not have a stroke. The two were together as health issues.
I aim to see her twice a week, sometimes it is more, as she may need groceries of some sort. I typically stay w her for 30 min., or if we go to lunch, its 1 1/2 hours. An aide is always with us. She is 85, on hospice, and well beyond any therapy-too late for a diagnosis and help. She became more difficult about 30 years ago, possibly through menopause. My Dad was so good to her, but she has been unhappy for decades. I am formally setting up coping skills now with a therapist. I have such sorrow for her; i realize how unhappy she is. I see that all i can do is keep her physical needs met, keep her safe. It has been very difficult to accept who she is-i wish for a deeper, more loving relationship w her. Impossible at this point...Now i need to come to terms w where we are, who we are together, as she will not live past another year.
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Yes, I am the caregiver. She has 24/7 care that i set up and monitor. She lives in Independent living in a facility. There are undiagnosed mental health issues. She says things to make me feel guilty, for not taking her to lunch more frequently. She is passive-aggressive and very sarcastic. She is a jealous person.
I am in therapy and have been for 2 years. I have sought the opinions of my ministers, hospice social worker, support group leaders and members.
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I put serious limitations on mthr when she was abusive to me in the Memory Care. She did respond by being less combative to me, and fortunately that stage moved by quickly. She had always been abusive so I was not surprised by it, just incredibly disappointed that she was so unthankful. Leaving immediately was what was needed. I stopped taking her anywhere after she started this behavior as I could not just leave if I had to take her back to MC.
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It is hard to answer without knowing more details. Are you the caregiver? Does she live alone, with you, or in a facility? Does she have any mental health conditions? What type of things is she saying? What have you already done to intervene?
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lolol, "NO BOUNDARIES" as they get older, they get meaner, i was like when my mom got older and meaner, who is this lady??? But that's "mom" and you take the bitter with the sweet, ignore it and keep moving...We too might get there one day and our children might say the same "who is that lady"?? :)
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