Husband has major temper tantrums over small things and is a bully. Any suggestions how to handle?

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My husband is 63. He has mild parkinson and dementia. We see the neuroligist the end of the month and hopefuly he can prescribe something. I'm worried about getting through Christmas with our son and pregnant wife visiting without a major incedent. He used to be a loving, kind man.
I try to keep things calm and scheduled but he goes into a rage and looses control if something doesn't go his way. I give in for peace. Sometimes I can anticipate this and at other times I think I'm doing what he wants and am blindsided by his tantrum. Any suggestions would be helpful. He was in a bad car accident 3 years ago and had to retire on disability. He has no hobbies. He goes to church and masons but that's all.

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At times I have yelled even louder than my dad just to show him I can give it too. Very hard since this was never part of our dynamic. -Honor thy father and your mother-., you know. I don't like it and the first time my heart was racing. But, I had to show him I wasn't intimidated and wasn't backing down. Notice I said at times. Other times I ignore, pretend I don't realize how mad he is, laugh or walk away.
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He needs to see the neurologist. Write to the doctor before the meeting to let him know about the behavior you are concerned about. As your husband tells you often, there is nothing wrong with his behavior in his opinion. It's all because you do everything wrong. He also needs medication.

In the meantime....

My father was kind of like this, probably due to alcohol and some PTSD from WWII. There are different approaches to try. Some will make him angrier and some will calm him down. You won't know without trying.

My mother would counter Daddy's tantrums by throwing one herself. She had to fake it, and she felt acting like that was "beneath her," but as she yelled, he would calm down.

What about bursting into tears and telling him that you are afraid? Or standing and watching him with a total poker face? Or leaving the room? Or offering to get him a cup of coffee and leaving the room? Or joining in his tantrum, agreeing with him that that other driver was an A-H, or that the broken dish was that no good modern crap they make today. Or standing by his side, petting his shoulder? Or asking him to explain exactly what it was that got him so angry? What if you prepare him for things by telling them about it far in advance? What if you never tell him about things in advance, so he doesn't have time to fret? Can you say absurd things that will make him laugh?

You are his wife, and know which of these absolutely will not work. If you're like my mother, the one that would actually work will be a little unnatural to you.

Disagreeing with him or trying to reason with him won't work at the time. Does he have calmer times? Have you ever discussed his behavior with him then? DO NOT criticize his behavior, because, as you know, he never does anything wrong. Tell him you wish he wouldn't get so upset, and see if he has any ideas for how to deal with it. My brother would respond by saying, "Well, if you would just always do exactly what I tell you to do,...." but he usually smiles when he says it.

In a calm mood, use the pregnant wife as an excuse for why you want him to calm down. Is he excited about the grandchild? Remind him how delicate pregnant women are, and to try not to upset her. Would he agree to a "code word" to let him know that he should cool it? Would he remember to code word?

If he had always been this way, you could shoot him or at least leave him. But the man you fell in love with is still there. It's really really hard.
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You didn't mention it, but I suspect alcohol/pain medication is in the picture too. When he gets to the point where you are fearful, you MUST get away, walk out, drive out, whatever it takes. Find an Al-Anon group you can go to. Save yourself by networking with others who can support you when you need it.
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deedar is there any chance that you can bring the neurologist apt forward? If you can't do this at least call the office and talk to the nurse and ask if any of his current medications can be modified before Christmas. Is there any chance that he may become violent? Did he sustain head injuries in his accident or did this behavior precede that. Talk frankly with your son and his wife before their visit so they are prepared and can get out of the way and not get upset with this change. Whatever the cause of this bullying, unpleasant behavior you are doing the best you can but stop pandering to his outbreaks whatever the cause. disengage don't capitulate. He is still a kind gentle man on the inside so it is not really any help to let him get away. be proactive and try to divert him rather than confronting where there are no winners. You have a long rocky road ahead of you and everyone here will be rooting for you.
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Deedar, I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I think these behaviors are coming from the dementia end of the spectrum of his condition. I assume that this is either Parksinson's Disease Dementia (PDD) or Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Together these two diseases are called Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).

I suspect that your husband still is a loving, kind man. He can't control what is going on in his brain right now. One of the really painful aspects of LBD is that most people with it are aware of their declining functionality. They have periods of being perfectly lucid, when they understand that something beyond their control is happening to them. Wouldn't that be frightening? A more positive aspect of LBD is that it involves less brain cell death and often responds to treatments better than some other kinds of dementia. I certainly hope that your neurologist appointment is very productive. Like other progressive dementias, LBD can't be cured, but quality of life can be significantly improved with appropriate treatment.

Explain to your son the current situation. Encourage him to treat Dad gently and not to take the bullying personally. He and his wife don't have to stick around for it ... it is OK to leave the room and come back when things calm down ... but they should understand it stems from a disease.

My husband who had LBD 10 years before his death had paranoia and some belligerence early on, but did not have temper tantrums or bullying behavior. But a friend whose dementia came on earlier in his life (50s) did indeed have these behaviors. His wife tells of one incident where he got exceedingly angry about the way she was opening a CD package! This man seems to have settled into a much more calm life, getting treatment. I hope that is what you experience with your husband. If he is a kind and loving person he no doubt wants to get back to his true personality, too.

One other thought ... Behavior can be impacted by a urinary tract infection, in older people and in anyone with dementia. How long has this behavior been going on? Testing for a uti might be worthwhile before the neurologist's appointment.
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a male or female bully isnt a damn bit funny. get bug eyed with that cat. i dont put it out and i dont take it. its a mutual respect thing..
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