Mentally ill mom with dementia doesn't understand why family avoids her. I need a good answer for when she asks "why?" - AgingCare.com

Mentally ill mom with dementia doesn't understand why family avoids her. I need a good answer for when she asks "why?"

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Mom has dementia with long-standing mental issues. Her dementia hasn't diminished her compulsion to manipulate family with FOG (fear, obligation, & guilt). She performs the sweet little old lady act when it suits her but is mentally cruel to those that love and do the most for her. She tries (to no avail) to pit one family member against the other. Dementia or not, she thrives on self-pity and always has. She lives in memory care but can't figure out why her children minimize contact or avoid her altogether, a situation that began years before the dementia diagnosis. Recently she confronted a granddaughter whom she hadn't seen in months with, "I know you have a busy life, but couldn't you make time for your poor old grandma?" or something to that effect. The granddaughter replied she was hurt because she (her grandma) said horrible things about "people she loved" and would not "make time" for grandma until she stopped.


I was proud of my daugher's kind but firm response. Mom's reaction to the granddaugher's honesty was what I would have expected. She got loud and defensive, took no responsibility, expressed no remorse or concern for her granddaughter's pain, claiming SHE was the wounded party. Typical, typical.


The entire family understands how the dementia makes Mom unaccountable for her actions; however, we're tired of the pain, drama, character assassination, etc. The more time you spend with her, the more abuse you get. Most of us have put firm boundaries in place for our own self protection.


My question is this: Even though I've sharply curtailed contact with Mom, when I do take her calls or have reasons to see her, she badgers me with "Why don't _____ and _____ come to see me or call me?" or why don't you take me to see _____? (when I know that family member has made it clear they don't want to see Mom). There's no good answer. Mom doesn't re-direct. She persists and persists like a broken record. I have have no illusions that Mom can be brought to any kind of understanding. She cannot recognize the consequences of her conduct. Her brain is broken. I just need a good answer!

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I am not sure there as a "good" answer that will get you the results you want, considering that your mum is not going to change. So it remains for you to handle it in the way that is most comfortable for you. As she won't be redirected, I would limit the conversation nicely. "I can't speak for them, mum, gotta go now," every time and that way keep giving her the feedback that you are not going to continue to listen to her broken record. Yes, boundaries!!!!
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"I'm not responsible for _____ and _____ . You'll have to ask them if you want to know about their behavior."

"I don't know about others, but I'm here now (on the phone now). Why don't you tell me about the most interesting thing that has happened this week?"

Firm boundaries are good!
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