My husband has vascular dementia. He is verbally abusive. What do I do?

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I try to stay calm and in my mind realize this the dementia speaking. I have a Masters degree but he calls me stupid. He threatens to have me leave though we have been married 15 years. I realize this is the disease but I am having a hard time coping. Any suggestions?

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Penny, my heart goes out to you. It is absolutely devastating to have a spouse with dementia, no matter what his behavior. And if the behavior is abusive, it is all the more painful.

Yes, our mantra has to be "This is the disease talking." And it can get very tiresome and disturbing to have to live with that disease.

How long has this behavior been going on? How long ago was he diagnosed? Is it totally uncharacteristic of your relationship, or has he always been somewhat critical? My husband went through a period of paranoia and some belligerence. It only lasted a few months and your husband's sounds more personal.

Is he being seen by an expert in vascular dementia? Even if you have to travel some distance, I highly recommend it. As you know, there is no cure for dementia, but there are drug treatments that MIGHT help him be less agitated and unkind.

And I really hate to say this, but getting some distance from him -- some respite -- may be very useful. My husband went to an adult day care program a few days a week. I traveled the dementia journey with him ten years and was able to keep him at home for all of it. But I honestly don't know if I could have done it if all ten years had been like those few months of belligerence and accusations. You perhaps should start investigating possible care situations for him in case the behavior doesn't improve or even gets worse.

If you are not getting some counselling yourself, I highly recommend it. You deserve all the help and support you can get. Do you belong to a support group?

Hugs to you. Keep in touch here. I'd love to hear what you try and how you are coping.
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Penny, good that you know that it is the disease talking, but after awhile I bet it can become frustrating for you. I know I wouldn't be able to cope :(

Other writers have asked similar questions about verbal abuse. Go to the upper right corner of this page and you will see a SEARCH SITE box, type in "verbally abusive" and enter.... up will pop numerous similar questions. This can get you started until others here can help out with their answers.
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