How do you keep from screaming back when you are screamed at by mom?

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Is it even possible? Hub says my mom spoils for fights and wants to argue w. everyone. He says she'd poke a bear for a response. I am not sure of all that but when she screams at me or lies about me or something that has happened it is difficult for me to handle. She is mean, bitter and hateful. I want to get through to her. There are still good days but when this is an every day thing it is really hard. I prefer to be calm and peaceful... I want to be positive, serene and like a duck... roll it alllll off my back. Mom is exact opposite. I try the "calm down" "settle down" approach in soothing, mantra style voice. It doesnt work as well as it used to. So... then I catch myself screaming back. Today she began yelling that I said she was stupid, an idiot, and had brain damage. I never once said this today or EVER. But she continues to say I did and it comes up often. So, after insulting me about the way hub and I do things and how we do nothing right and a few more times saying I said shes stupid/idiot/brain damaged... I finally yelled back. I am not proud of it and as soon as I did she caught me on it like "what are you doing right now?" (screaming!!!) if a stranger heard this they would think I am abusive to her which is so far from the truth. Who calls people stupid and idiots except for abusive people and I promise I have not said that about her. I think shes intelligent! Hub says he doesnt care what anyone thinks... as no one but us does anything (friends who may comment) no family here and I am her only child. Sometimes I like to pretend or daydream I had children who could go take care of her but that just leads me back to negativity or sadness as I don't have kids and why would I want to put them through this anyway? I guess I needed to vent as I know I should just keep my mouth shut around mom and just agree but that gives me headaches too. My hub retired from law enforcement so hes met all types and hes told me my mom is one of the meanest and difficult people hes ever met. I guess I don't want to accept that. I have to learn boundaries. Thank God for my hub who helps me but hes only 10 years younger than my mom and she treats both he and me like we are ten years old and he works his butt off for mom and me too! Anyway... all this said... tell me how you remain kind, positive, happy, sweet, gentle? I want those things. I don't want to turn out like my mother. And I don't want to stroke out from all the stress. I told her one time recently how stressed I was and she made fun of me for ages. "What do youuuu have to be stressed about?" I turned with tears in my eyes, did not respond that *she* was my biggest stress and then just listened for days to jokes about me not having any stress :( ... I do things for my mother because she's all I got other than hubby. I do it cos I do love her and its the right thing. I do it even as a "religious" type thing... yknow honor mom so you'll live long. Mom talks how bad a life she has tho. She doesn't! Ive been reading on this site longer than joining just the other day. Prolly reading nine months. Some nights hours at a time. It has been one thing that has helped as you can't vent to friends too many times before they give you just cliches and you can tell they are tired of it and have their own probs. Even when they ask "hows mom" I have trouble responding as I dont want to "out" her or talk about all that goes on each and every day. Im damed if I do and damned if I don't. Half the people say things like, "you'll be like that one day... we all get old" (uh I'm already old and I do NOT ever want to be like that...will try hard not to be!) and the other half, "why didn't you warn me...she's so mean...what's wrong with her?" etcetc so im glad I have this place. Thankful you all are here x hugs x

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My mom was a real sweetheart, always a please and thank you, never a mean word. Despite that the years of caregiving turned me into a screaming shrew. I got up in the morning determined to be calm and serene, but as the caregiving stretched into years my periods of serenity became shorter. When I reached a point where I found myself blowing up like Vesuvius daily, often within hours of getting out of bed, I knew that something had to change because this was not fair to either of us. Admitting defeat and placing mom in the nursing home was heartbreaking, but necessary.
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Ionehart, your profile doesn't say what your mother's disabilities are ... the reasons she needs a caregiver.

From your description it sounds like she has dementia. Definitely some mental health issue! What was she like while you were growing up?

Does it help to keep telling yourself, "This isn't my real mother. This is the mental illness."

Honoring you mother means (in my interpretation) seeing that she has life's necessities and the best care available to her. It may be that at this point in her mental illness she cannot receive the best care in her daughter's home. This is her limitation -- certainly not your failure. All of you might be happier and she might find some serenity if she were in a care center that could deal with her outbursts without getting emotional.

"Mom, I know you think we aren't doing our best for you. You are unhappy here, and that makes me very sad for you. I have found two very nice places where you could live and hopefully get the care you deserve. We can visit each and see which one you like."

And ionehart, please don't be too hard on yourself for losing your patience sometimes. You are in a very challenging situation.
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Like others, I try to stay calm and serene, but being verbally and emotionally abused by someone, regardless of what is going on in their brain, is VERY difficult to take and remain calm. Everyone says don't take it personally, but that is easy to say and hard to apply. Especially when that person is your parent. If there is any possible way to tune her out when she starts in, do it. I also agree with cwillie. My mom is in a facility and I cannot imagine where I would be if I weren't able to walk away when she is being really mean. If she were living with me, one of us would not be around very long.
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My mom has Alzheimer's...not sure what your mom's conditions are but I would still approach it the same. Watch videos and read information on validation or dealing with challenging behaviors by Teepa Snow and Naomi Feil. They specialize in demensia but I have used what I have learned when dealing with other difficult personalities.

Jeanne, once I had just taken so much of the negative verbal abuse from my mom. Yes I know it is the disease but it can still hurt your heart. I did similar to what you said, "Mom, I love you and I am doing my best but if you think I am doing such a bad job, I will take to to visit some nursing homes and you can pick one. No one else is willing or able to care for you. So you have me, or a nursing home." Interestingly she went quiet, and later told me she was sorry and loved me. I have always felt guilty for sinking to that level, but.... Well at least I did really see that she does, deep inside, appreciate me. I never did that again. Mom every now and then would have more "with it" moments and always would say sorry and that she lives me.

I also tell people that one of my grandsons (who was 18 months at the time) taught me how to deal with Mom. She was stage 5-6 Alzheimer's, in a wheel chair. He loved her so much and would come in, stand on her wheelchair foot rests, lovingly look up at her and say, "hi bramma marbo"... If she was in a grumpy mood, she might say, "get away from here"...he would lovingly smile, wave and say,"okay, bye" and go play for about 5 minutes. Then her would come back and again approach her with his same loving, happy way... Almost every time her attitude would shift and she would say, "I love you". They still have a very special little relationship.

After so many years of caregiving, mom was diagnosed in 2009, I have just found that if I am frustrated, I need to walk away. Go do laundry, mop the floor, take out the trash... Then reproach in a fresh positive attitude. It is difficult...I always say you couldn't pay me to do this job...only love for my mom would be good reason.
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Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's their personality disorder or a touch of dementia..or depression...or a combination of all these...it's still wears on your soul...all that negativity and rudeness. You don't want to lose your peace of mind..and sanity over this. I constantly tell myself don't react...don't react...she can't/won't change....I decided mom can't live with me...she's in a senior apt now...she loves it...she practices this craziness with residents there...seems older folks lose their filter?! They think...I'm old...I can say/do whatever I please. I also tell myself...I don't want to feel guilty when she passes..that I was unkind. It's self preservation in a way...I do it for me. I pray...a lot!! My heart goes out to you...as I too have yelled back! Lol...counseling is a must! Hugs!
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Hi cwillie. You did the right thing. We all have our limits. And who knows how long "care giving" is going to last. This is so off topic, but my dad unexpectedly died about 30 years ago. That was hard but this is harder for me. Especially when your parent with dementia lives with you. It's a constant stress. Some days much better than others. Hope you have a good day
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I have a similar situation with my loved one but with brain damage and dementia. She was mean, manipulative and paranoid. Our family doctor suggested a psychiatrist. The Psychaitrist put her on an antipsychotic and now she is a different person. She is calm and even loving . She still has her moments but it so much better. Maybe you don't have to change, maybe she does. I am not a big proponent of drugs but it was this or putting her in a nursing home. I am sending you hugs and prayers that you get this situation resolved. Also, your husband sounds like a saint for putting up with your mom's abuse. Good luck and may God bless you and your husband!
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Hi Ionehart. I'm relatively new here. It helps to read and see what others are going through. Inceredibly good suggestions on this site. I unfortunately don't have any for you because I would do the same things you are. But when I think I'm trapped, and getting depressed , I pull up this site And it really helps put things in perspective. We all can feel very alone and overcome with the burdens of caring for our loved ones. . Welcome and feel free to vent any time. I'm sure you will get constructive advice / suggestions from people who have mothers like yours. My mother pretty much sits all day and watches tv. But she does say thank you and seems to appreciate what my husband and I do for her
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I finally lost control and yelled "shut up!" to my mother just last week. She wants to argue with me about everything and she interrupts me every time I try to speak. She's also intelligent but very angry and bitter about her situation. I've been begging her for years to allow me to get her house cleaned up and purged of clutter, with no success. She just screams at me to leave her alone and stop trying to "control her life". She now has no choice. The house must be cleaned and decluttered or she will have to move out of her home. She's 86, very independent and stubborn. She doesn't understand why she has to remove the mountains of stuff from her house. It's everyone else's fault, especially mine. Well, it's all my fault that she has to have her house cleaned. The state Health and Senior Services caseworker called it a safety hazard and if it's not cleaned out, she'll have to move out. She takes things out of the trash as fast as I put things in. So, it all has to be done while she's in a different room or looking the other way. We're trying to help her but she sees it as interfering with her life. She says mean, abusive things to me every day. I've had three different counselors tell me to stay away from her and stop talking to her. I have done that to a certain extent over the past two months. What's happening now is a result of a crisis - she was injured in a car accident and spent a week in the hospital. My niece and I cleaned what we could while she was out of the house. When she got home, she was angry and outraged that her things had been touched. No appreciation for a clean and safe kitchen. Just nasty comments. A visiting nurse came to the house two days after my mother came home from the hospital. The next day, there was a visit from the state Senior Services caseworker because "someone" made a hotline call. It had to be the visiting nurse, but my brother and mother both accused me. I just told them that if I were to call the hotline I would have done so a year ago. I reminded them that I had predicted this would happen as soon as there was a problem - such as an accident and a visit from a visiting nurse, or a gas or electric company worker coming to the house due to a loss of service, etc. I had predicted that if a hotline call was made, she would have no choice but to allow people to clean the house. Of course, it's still my fault. I realize I'm venting my frustration and not offering any suggestions on how to handle a mean, angry person who screams at you. I am fortunate that I don't live with her and so I can leave when she starts being nasty to me. I've been leaving as soon as she begins the verbal abuse. Sigh. I can relate to everything you all are saying here.
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Not everyone is a caregiver. Of Moms four children she could always make me feel guilty. My Mom was easy to care for but she had paranoid times when I got blamed. I tried to argue she was wrong but that doesn't work. They get something in their mind and that's it. What made it hard to take was it has always been me. I was the one she relied on all the time. And I got the flack. You just have to walk way. And the person who said she told her mother it was change or a home...got to do what you have to. Our roles have changed. We are now the parent and they are the child. They want it their way, understandedly, but it's not that way anymore. Such a shame our parents are living past the time they can take care of themselves. By the time they are in their 80s and 90s, we are 60s and 70s. We r winding down physically so it's hard on us too.
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