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For the last two Sundays I took her with me to church, and she behaved like a two year old before we left (mostly regarding what she was going to wear) but when we got there I doubt most of my church friends even noticed she had any kind of a problem! She was suddenly able to "put on" what I call the "bed and breakfast owner" personality and was all smiles, friendly, and talking with my church friends. Then, almost the minute we got home, the provocatively hostile behavior started all over again, with her acting like nothing could keep her from arguing about SOMETHING, no matter what! No matter what I said, she was able to turn it into an unending argument. It almost seemed like she knew she could drive ME crazy, but I saw that she also knew darn well when to "behave". Is that common? It makes it seem like they're more aware of what's really going on than you might think, and that a lot of their behavior may be more deliberate than simply a manifestation of the disease.

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I think this is very common, rosebud, I think it is called show timing(?) . From what I have learned here I believe the person with AD can , for awhile, keep up a good front but it is tiring and more than not an act. Does she really remember the people she is seeing on church or just pretending? Is she getting clues from other church members on how to act or is is it natural? I think she has probably learned how to fake it and then when she comes home she is tired and cranky from having to be so "on" and probably more than a little scared and sad. I am sure she feels comfortable with you so she let's her guard down and she let's her frustration out. It is not fair to you and you should not have to put up with abuse but , I think, it is also understandable when the elder knows of their affliction and tries so hard to be normal but knows they are not.
I also wonder if it is like tics. My daughter has tics. Right now she has the very trying tic of spitting. Before she had a tic where she would hit her knees. Anyway-when she is at school she can somehow control them--it is almost a subconscious control---but when she comes home the tics come put full force. This is common with tics and Tourette's. It is not really like she can control them because if she could she would stop at home but her brain sorta has more control in a more stricter environment. I wonder if it is a little like that with AD? Just a thought.
I would try to think of your Mom's show timing like my daughter's tics and not hold it against her. Just think of it like she has more subconscious control in a more restricted environment--just so you don't get upset with her or hurt by her actions. Just my thoughts. Good luck!!!
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It sounds like your mom is in another stage of Alz/Dementia. My mother-in-law could do the same thing, and at first, I was sure she was doing it on purpose (i.e. being sane when people were around, but a dingbat and driving me crazy when we were by ourselves). But now that she progressed further, I realized it was just one of the stages they go through. It sucks, for her and you. And is very hard to deal with, so know that you're not alone in dealing with this frustration. ((HUGS))
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My father is in moderate stage of dementia and still tries to be the businessman he once was, so I too know what you mean Rosebud58. He laughs and acts as though he understands but he doesn't or, if he does, cannot respond in a coherent way. I think it's good to remind them of those good times: I'm glad you had such a nice visit with friends from church. They enjoyed seeing you. Thanks for helping me put away groceries (even when the eggs went to the freezer and the ice cream into the fridge). I appreciate the help. I say this knowing full well how much energy and creative thinking it takes to do that on a daily basis! When Dad was in early stages, he could seem very "with it." Yet we wasn't, and those of us around him the most knew that, while others didn't. Some times I wonder whether early on, our stepping in for him, may have contributed to a certain helplessness and obvious irritation that, perhaps, generated more stubbornness with us.

Would "guiding" him more have helped? Probably not, because he wants to be in control, yet so much has been out of his control for so long. Sometimes I remind him that he can do things. Now Dad, I know you can . . . brush your teeth, put on your shirt, get out of your chair, etc. . .. Do dementia patients/elderly follow directions from caregivers who are not their children? It would seem so or they could never care for several patients at a time!

Hang in there and remind yourself that the behavior is not "against" you. I must do that 25 times per day because I tend to personalize my Dad's reactions. Daily I ask for strength and wisdom and patience. Daily I get frustrated and feel bad. Daily I breathe deeply and tell myself that I am giving my father a home, which he much prefers over a nursing home. Some times I sigh and let myself acknowledge my limitations and that dementia is an awful thing. Several times each week, I ask what it is I am to learn from this situation. And sometimes, together, we even have a laugh over something.
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I feel your pain. My dad does this whenever we go to the Dr. or hospital.. Makes me look like a fool. Thank-you everyone for your stories. Helps to know I'm not going crazy.
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Hi Rosebud - My husband displays the same behaviors when we are with others. It is a coping mechanism that we all use, competent or incompetent. At least you get to see another side of her when you are out and part of being a caregiver is we take crap from those in which we give care. Be strong and don't take anything personally. Don't we all act differently when we are in the company of our families? We then put on an "outside" persona for others. So, keep taking her to church so you can see the other side of her and enjoy!
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I can relate to the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behavior. My 94-year-old mother does her sweet old lady act when we are out or when someone visits us at home. Then the minute we're alone, back comes the monster.

In the age of smart-phones and other digital gadgets, it wouldn't be too hard to catch the nasty behavior on video if you need to demonstrate it to someone.

But in terms of your own relationship, what's the point? Is she going to change? The important thing is to protect your own wellbeing. The trick is to just let her be as she is, deception and all. And avoid being sucked into her phony dramas. If everything you say is twisted and turned against you, stop talking. It isn't easy, but you can detach in such a way that you are at peace with it.

Remember the "law of attraction" that causes us to become what we think about. That chilling prospect is what motivates me to focus away from The Momster. Blessings to us all as we experience these opportunities for growth.
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Showtiming I know so very well, my mother showtimed an excellent performance to the police! Also, she is also quite capable of manipulation, control and uses her cognitive decline to her advantage, I talked to Geriatrician and he said, yes she can have cognitive decline and be sneaky and crafty. There you have it
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my husband (82 ALZ) is a master of show timing around anyone else, on the phone, he is Mr Hyde, one on one with me 24/7 that is where Dr. Jekyll shows up. does anyone know how long this continues on? Just hang in there for now, you are not alone in this, there are many of us with you.
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Mom is a showtimer for sure. The frustrating part for me is that my siblings that spend very little time with her, or are in denial, act like I'm exaggerating (or whining). Thank God 1 sees what I see, and is always there for me.
I have been accused of "bullying" "controlling" and having " power plays" with Mom.To them she seems absolutley fine. On a clearer than normal day I discussed it with her and she even admitted to doing it. When I asked her why she "let's it all hang out" with me.....she said....."Because I trust you." That warmed my heart and made it all worth it.
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I think one way to know is to look at the history of the individual. My mother has always been all about herself. Everything is about her! She is the manipulation queen. And boy, can she turn it on! I think this is a trait of NPD and other than 'becoming more of herself' as she gets older, I don't see this behavior as anything other than just her being herself.
She is particularly vitriolic to me and recently she pulled something really heinous (not worth repeating all of it here) and my husband decided her viciousness had to be addressed rather than ignored, which is how we and most of my family has always dealt with her. He called my father, knowing if anyone could possibly get her to contain her behavior he is the only one (and he has little luck either). A few hours later she called for my husband and turned on the whiniest, tiniest, little old lady voice you have ever heard. If you didn't know what she was capable of, you could fall for it. She whined his name and the told him she wanted to 'apologize....BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A TERRIBLE DAUGHTER SHE IS!' (about me referencing her apology and 'why'). There was no real apology; she likes my husband and he has held his tongue for the 11 years he has known her so I really think she believes she had him fooled. She was CAUGHT and that was what she regretted! Her mean and vindictive behavior has lasted all of my 58 years. I see no change other than she is meaner! My dad believes in marriage for life and he has had to convince himself she is something other than she is or he would have had to get out! And the rest of my siblings just say 'well, that's just the way she is'. OK, she is older now (78), she has lived a lifetime of getting no exercise and not taking care of herself so she has some aches and pains that are worse as a result of those things. Yet she can throw a party for 50 people very adeptly. I 'got out' when I was young and have not lived nearby, as most of the rest of my family does to her, so when I have been around her I am shell shocked.
My husband had to tell them to 'lose our number'. Years ago in counseling I was told "you seem to let your dad off the hook and blame everything on your mother. Your dad is up to his eyeballs in this as well" (and he told me I had to be able to admit to myself that my mother just isn't able to love me. Period).
I think a lot of us want to see our parents in the positive light. I get it. I do too. But really it is what it is and evil and or manipulation can come in any package and at any age.
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