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she has a hard time remembering names and places....and it frustrates her....she is very kind and giving, then the next minute says she is tired of helping my sisters..........it is like a yo-yo. She was always so head strong and now seeks approval for everything or either is mean to everyone.

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Debralee...boy do I know how that feels. What makes caring for someone who raised you so difficult is they know the buttons to push to make you feel guilty, sad, angry, or happy.

I too had to disconnect to save as much of my sanity as was left. And for what it's worth, there is nothing cruel about refusing to be a slave to someone who is demanding and unappreciative.

And to myagingmom; I guess a relevant question would be- was she always like this? If so, it's a personality issue, if not, it's most likely some sort of dementia issue.

For my aunt, it was a life-long personality issue/mental health issue. I remember my aunt asking 15 people the same question, if that's what it took for someone to give her the answer she wanted to hear. Once someone approved of her terrible idea, she would go ahead with it, and when it blew up in her face, she blamed the person who "told her it was okay".
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@Eroden - I would say seek counselling from your pastor or someone they recommend. Nowhere in the Bible does it say you need to kill yourself in pursuit of some unattainable goal around your mother's old age care. Coming to grips with what is real, what is possible, and what is good enough is not easy.

"Honor thy father and thy mother" can be done while behaving like the responsible adult in the equation. It doesn't say "at any cost no matter what the results will be, even if it harms you," or "even when they are ask the impossible". You may have to step away for a while. You may have to disappoint unrealistic expectations from other people. You can honor her by doing what you can TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE. Until you become omnipotent, there are just going to be limitations on what is possible.

I got some really good help from an Employee Assistance Program counselor who helped me realize that I still had the "little girl" part of myself seeking emotional approval from disapproving mom. It's never going to happen. She's not capable of acknowledging other people as people and will never give me approval. So I did some mental strengthening exercises to soothe that little girl in me. It really helped a lot. It takes mom a whole lot longer to get in my head and make me feel bad now than it did before. She tries though. Boy, does she try.

You have to give yourself permission (grace) to have boundaries and not allow other people to trample them, even mom and siblings. There has to be forgiveness in the equation to allow yourself to make mistakes and not live with ongoing guilt. You have to love your self to protect yourself, which is not the same as selfishness or greed. It honors no one anywhere to let this destroy your peace of mind, self-esteem, livelihood, and your own relationships with other people. It says nowhere in the Bible that you aren't supposed to stand up for your own well-being when you're being taken advantage of and YOU are being disrespected.

I had to train myself to respect the boundaries around my mental/emotional health. My kids & husband need me too. My employer needs me. I need me to be in one peace all the way through this until the very last.

I would say the faith based advice I have is to pray for strength, protection from the negative, courage of conviction, peace in doing the right things even if mom hates it/you, and to find sources of love and validation somewhere outside that group of people.
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Debralee- I empathize with your situation. I too have had to detach emotionally and physically. Years of handling my mothers finances, and medical care she flips flops with my other two siblings with a practicing history of drug abuse and elder manipulation. They have completely taken over every aspect, but did not pay her bills, and now have negated the responsibility they wanted. They have broken into my car and stole her records that I refused to relinquish unless it was court ordered. Adult protective Services has been called. My job is in jeopardy, my sanity, and now health. She creates financial messes with the help of the siblings then wants me to fix it. I've been accused of stealing her money, I'm an accountant so complete documentation and proof of every penny was spent. She claims I abuse her every day, which I do not live with her. She gets angry and repeats the cycle. I have file with the state to have a guardian assigned if they feel this is in her best interest. I've now detached, physically and still working on emotional. I've attended seminars to help me deal with elderly mental illnesses, and to no avail, I am unable to continue. I struggle with my faith in doing the right thing, asking guidance from God. I do not lack forgiveness. I feel that I am doing the right thing, but fear I am not hearing correctly and only self serving. Does anyone have any faith based suggestions?
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I gave up and just don't bother trying anymore. I do what I have to do when I can. My mother will never be happy and my efforts over the years only caused me emotional pain. Any love has turned to resentment. The guilt I feel for these feelings is better than dealing with her emotionally. I do not react to her complaints nor show any emotional response. She is lonely and miserable at 82 and brought it all on herself by her choices in life. She can find somebody else to be her emotional and needy savior. I take her to her medical appointments, talk to her on the phone to check in on her and keep my boundaries in check. I work and have responsibilities in my own life. I do not have time for her entertainment needs. It is a very cruel way to regard one's mother like this, but it is how I have to be in order to cope with her and not end up abandoning her.
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both people inside of me are unamused . theres a little devil on one shoulder sayin " do it man " , and on the other shoulder is another little devil saying " damn straight " .
@ myagingmom,
a sure sign of dementia is the inability to recollect nouns. its probably easier to despise everthing than to sort it all out. works for me anyway.
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This sounds very similar to my mom. I feel like she is nicer when she is forgetting things, but mean when she remembers. She lives in a new place now and doesn't like how tiny it is. I get a lot of flack/attitude when she is able to handle/remember things and she seems quite mad that I'm even in the picture.

Wish I knew what to offer, but I sure do understand.
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I see that your mom has dementia. Yo-yo behavior is not uncommon in dementia. She is naturally frustrated and her declining abilities. Few of us are at our best when we are frustrated! Add to that the fact that dementia tends to reduce or eliminate the social filters we acquire over a lifetime, and thoughts she may have formerly held back in politeness come out without any restraint.

Give her lots and lots of approval. Let her know that she is still treasured and valued. Cut her slack when she is "mean." Try not to argue with her. Learn about the kind of dementia she has, so you can be better prepared to deal with her behavior.

Come here and vent when you need to. We get it! And if you can join a local support group, that may help a lot.
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It sounds like my mother. There is probably a war going on between the two people inside her -- one that wants to be kind and the other that sees the negative side of everything. One part of her personality will always be correcting the other. I know I do it myself -- say something bad about someone, then realize that it was just me being ugly... or say something kind and realize that they really didn't deserve such kindness. People are strange animals like that. As long as your mother's kindness outweighs the meanness, it is good. What drives me crazy about my mother is she can say something mean and I can agree, then she disagrees with me, leaving me holding the "mean bag."
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