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My MIL gets angry and tries to make us feel guilty if we go on vacation. We are leaving this week and she has already started yelling. She does not live with us. We tried to take her early in the year but she now has a doctors note saying she can't travel. We talked to insurance company and she would not be covered. I would not want her to go anyway because she takes the fun out of everything. I do feel sorry for her but she makes going anywhere no fun. We can't even look forward to going on vacation. It is like talking to a brick wall she only cares about herself. She has dementia and is narcissistic. Help. There has got to be something we can do except not answer the phone.

thanks I agree I do not have to tell her everything and I don't. she wanted me to tell her every time I was gone for the day. Not likely. My husband is the one who says we need to tell her she freaks out sometimes when we are gone for a day. I can't believe yesterday she told me I repeat myself because everybody is too stupid to understand. she told my husband she was smarter than all of us combined. I would say she is average smarts at best. I do not agree but ignore. She does act like a 3 year old. I work with kids that age and she definitely reminds me of a little kid complete with tantrums. I guess dementia makes people go back to being a kid complete with tantrums and strong demands. She definitely is demanding I do not listen much to them but it is extremely annoying. She has told me that she happy to be annoying. She is the best at everything but she has not done much.
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wally003 Aug 20, 2018
I get that....she is BEST at everything but she hasn't done much.
sounds like my MIL.
always complaining. being bossy.
my husband drives long distance for a short visit, because he cant be around her too long. he takes her shopping, and she complains the car is dirty (its my car I use it the most) and its NOT dirty. and because I am busy! and don't have time to vacuum every crumb of dirt!! but she nit-piks everything. She is very demanding too.
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I agree with not even telling her that you're going. Just let the staff know, and maybe stay in touch once every couple of days, or if you prefer to leave your phones off and disconnect, just tell her you'll be busy this week with a lot to do, but will be up to see her as soon as you can.
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My grandmother was like this with my parents, who were her caregivers. Anytime they tried to take a little trip, she would throw a fit and ask "how they could possibly go away and leave everything they owned to the mercy of the world!"

As her health declined, she got to the point where she expected my mother to be there with her night and day and even had a fit if my mother tried to go to the store or any other type of social outing (and my grandmother only had very slight dementia, mostly was cognizant of the world and goings on).

Finally my parents took a 15-day trip and made arrangements for my grandmother to stay with a relative for those 2 weeks. The relative sent her back home after 10 days. A sitter was arranged to stay with her the remaining time. Around day #3, she had the sitter in tears, demanding the sitter call APS and report my parents for abandonment!

My grandmother was a "sweet little old lady" to everyone except my mom (her daughter). She was hyper-critical of everything my mom did.
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I agree with a previous post. 

DON'T tell her you are going on a trip. just let the assisted living know you will be gone.(says she in AL in your profile?)

if you don't visit and she notices.... and calls... just tell her you are sick and unable to visit.(if you choose to answer) YOU WILL visit as soon as you are not sick. AL doesn't allow you to visit when you are sick. etc.

don't talk about your trip when you return. instead tell her how miserable you have been sick in bed for a week.   :)
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If your mom is in a place where she is safe and well-cared for, her opinions shouldn’t make any difference to you. If, when she’s carrying on, you show her that you are upset, feeling guilty or annoyed, it’s fuel for the fire. When she calls with daily traumas, and the conversation on your end is all apologies and excuses, she’s getting just what she wants. She’s miserable and wants you to be as well.

I agree with sidelined. How did these mean and nasty seniors make it to old age being so mean and nasty? Is it something in the medications we’re treating them with? When we were growing up, did they all raise us to cave to their demands and grovel at their feet in supplication for their approval? What the heck! Why are we so afraid of them?

For Heaven’s Sake, go on your vacation. Even stay a few extra days! You don’t owe your mother any excuses or reasons unless she’s footing the entire bill including souvenirs. And even then....

Have a great time. Block her number while you’re gone. Enjoy!
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There is something you can do besides not answer the phone--go on your vacation. Like JoAnn said, it's not like talking to a brick wall, it's like talking to someone who has dementia.

And while you're on your vacation don't take MIL's every call. Take one call a day or every other day or whatever you think will pacify her and be reassured that she's safe and cared for while you're gone.
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Oh man - I feel for you!  But it seems to be from what you say, MIL may enjoy just being mean and miserable.  You deserve a vacation as much as anyone else, and should have it ruined by her pitching a fit...  Try  not to reward bad behavior by giving in to it.

For the life of me, I really do not understand why so many elderly people are so mean and disrespectful.  Is it something that just "invades" them, or are these latent life long tendencies?  Who knows, but I Pray not to be one of them should I live that long.  Their behavior is much like a baby / teenage girl, but our patience for this is just not there.  Don't act in a manner that they themselves would not have allowed from their children. 


Go, have a good time, and turn off the cell.  If she has life alert or any caregivers coming in while you are away, then worries.  Good luck!
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JoAnn29 Aug 20, 2018
I think without Dementia/Alz there is some mental decline. Think about it, you live till ur 90s. Most of ur friends and relatives are gone. So, all you have is ur kids and grands so u cling to them. And some were mean to begin with but were able to cover it up. As they aged they lose that filter and it all comes out. I am sure my MIL would have been a pain to care for. So glad we nsver had to make that decision.
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Do you have kids?

When they were little, did you do what THEY told you to? Did you go out for "adult time"?

Of course you did.

It's the same thing with your MIL
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Why even tell her you are going on vacation?
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sidelined Aug 20, 2018
Agreed!
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Dementia is the word here. Its not a brick wall, she can no longer rationalize. She is like a child. They do become selfcentered because their world is disappearing. They know something is happening just not what. The last day before my vacation as I was leaving the AL I would say "We will see you again in a few days". If she asked where was I going, I'd say that husband and I are getting away together for a few days. If she asked, why not me, say we need this time together. No trying to explain, you are entitled. Just say see you soon, kiss on the cheek, and walk away. Like u would do to a child. Maybe tell the staff what ur doing so one of the aides can help calm her.

Even if Mom was OK mentally, you don't have to take her everywhere you go. You are entitled to some time to yourselves. Even with her in an AL, you still have the stress of caregiving. Go and relax. She is safe, fed and cared for. Its not a vacation if u have to constantly care for someone. Make the AL aware of ur plans and how to contact you in case of an emergency only. I would not call every day. This is your time. ENJOY!
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