My Mom sees me as my Dad when I am with her. What do I do?

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He wants to fight and squabble and is sure I mean her ill. My old Country Italian Mom is now 85, in Assisted Lvg, and has moderate Dementia....I am 61, her eldest, and was always more like my Dad in so many ways. My Sister & Brother hung on to my mom and followed in her ways. Mom and Dad had a miserable marriage...they didn't like each other and now that Dad is gone, I think my Mom confuses me with Dad or something. She tends to resent anything I say or do. It's like the usual dementia symptoms plus the old hateful feelings for Dad, which she now has guilt over...all come out when I spend time with her and ends up in her crying to my siblings that I am so mean to her and want to make her do things she doesn't want to do. HOW the heck am I supposed to deal with this???? I thought we had a good visit the other day -- until I got a very nasty text from my brother that didn't make sense, saying I create havoc every time I see her.... But then, she spent our lives pitting us against each other -- the 2 of them against me...sad, isn't it.....and until I reason it out with them, they forget this fact.....What am I supposed to do? I care about my mom, I want to see her - It's only about once a month since she is quite far from where I live...and 1-2 calls a week....but you likely know phone calls are not too great.....She hugs me and whimpers that she loves me and all that stuff.....but she doesn't really like me....(never really did....transference started in my early years )...Any suggestions when I am with her?? I hate to see her live such a tortured existence, I have read up on symptoms and how to deal with them.....but this is a little different.....

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I echo the great suggestions here. You likely look quite a lot like your dad did when he was young so your mom gets confused. The complication comes because your parents had a miserable marriage so that makes you the bad guy.

Old pictures can be a big help, plus gentle reminders that you are her son. Distractions can help, too.

The main thing is to try not to take this personally. She can't help it. You may have to accept that you won't be viewed with the love a son deserves, but that is one of the horrible things about this disease. Since apparently your siblings also see her, you can give yourself some breaks without guilt. As Sooz55 said, "Just let it go, no one wins on points with dementia."

Please keep us updated. You'll continue to find many people on this site who can relate.

Take care of yourself!
Carol
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I would show up with flowers and candy, and only stay for a quick visit. Just walk in, give her a kiss, tell her you love her, then leave. You don't need to have long discussions that are confusing for both of you. I would let your brother know she is confusing you with your dad and you will limit your visits so you don't dredge up bad memories for her. You should ask your siblings if there are things you can do to help with her care from a distance, they are probably bitter. If I caused an older person more grief than pleasure I would just back off, as unfair as it is. It's not your fault, but you don't want your visits to agitate or upset her, that can cause major set-backs and I'm sure you don't want that either. You can write mom a simple love letter, decorate it, put it in a protective sleeve and leave it where she can read it everyday so she always remembers you love her, and she doesn't have to see your face and think of your dad.
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I know how you feel about this,. My mother blames me for all the bad things done by her and all family members throughout our lifetimes on earth. Why she does this, I don't know. She doesn't call my brothers and complain. Instead, she starts telling me what a bad person I am. My only defense is to walk away. It is the things I would suggest for you. If your mother does not like you and the visits are doomed, then there is really not much point in visiting. Maybe you could share visiting time with another family member so the focus wouldn't be so much on you and your mother. It would also show that you're not guilty of the things she says.

I wish we didn't have to protect ourselves from our parents, but sometimes we do. Dementia can make bad behaviors even worse.
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Hi Lalababy. My mother also has moderate dementia. Seven months ago when she still remembered who I was my husband and I moved her in with us because that is what she wanted. Now she no longer remembers who I am. I have tried telling her, "I'm your daughter, Lori," but then she just got mad and yelled, "No, you are not my daughter!" I even tried showing her pictures of us together in the past. The only time it worked was once when she recognized that I was the youngest daughter in a picture of all of her kids. However, now she just refers to that little girl in the picture as her daughter, Lori, but it isn't me. I am just "one of many Lori's" that comes and goes claiming that I am her daughter. Sometimes she thinks I am her sister whom she didn't like or get along with very well. Sometimes I am her sister's daughter. Sometimes I am her best friend, Ginny. Most of the time I am just another caregiver. It has taken me a while to accept that she doesn't remember who I am anymore and I have learned that in her case it is best that I don't argue with her as it just makes her upset and then she tries to leave. So as a result, after a recent hospitalization I decided that I just needed a break from her and all of the hurtful things she has said, like, "I don't love you anymore!" I know she doesn't mean it, that it is the dementia talking, but I simply need a break from her. She has always been a little critical with me, but now with the dementia it has really been hard to handle. I had a home health aide coming out approx. 2-3 days a week to provide respite care, but every time the aide came my mother would get upset. So I had the case manager at the hospital send her to a skilled nursing and rehab facility so I can take a break and go on vacation with my husband, whom she's also said some mean things to at times. She is in rehab right now, and I am relishing a little well-deserved time away from her. Of course, I go to visit her practically every day and sometimes twice a day. One day I was sitting with her in therapy and she began telling the therapist how special her boys are to her! I was thinking, "well, what am I? Chopped liver?" The other day she called blubbering like a baby saying that she was so lonesome and wanted to know if her "boys" could come and visit her. Well, I told her they were just here over Memorial Day Weekend when she was in the hospital. I told her that they all live almost 2 hours away or more and that they were probably working. But I told her that I would be over to visit her and would bring her the phone numbers of all her precious "boys." Then when I went to visit I offered to call them so she could talk to them. One of my brothers actually came to visit her in the nursing home yesterday, so I decided to take a break from visiting her yesterday since he was here. In my experience it is the caregiver, the one that is there all of the time, that gets the brunt of the nasty comments and behavior. While the ones who live farther away and aren't able to be there all of the time are placed on a pedestal. Again, this is something that I am learning to accept. I try not to let it get me angry, but when I do get angry I try to walk away and just allow myself some time to get over it. If your mom is upsetting you, I suggest that you just walk away from it. You have some great suggestions here already. Keep your visits short. Do what you can to make your visits with her as pleasant as possible, but don't take it personally if she thinks you are your dad whom she has ill feelings towards. If you try to remind her who you are with pictures and gentle reminders and it doesn't go over well, then don't argue with her. You could try going to visit her when other family members can go with you and see if that helps. Explain the situation though to your siblings in advance so that they understand. Then if that doesn't work, try simply calling her. Sometimes my mom doesn't remember what my sister looks like but recognizes her voice.

Most of all, I empathize with you. Allow yourself some time and space to grieve over the loss of your mother-son relationship, because it is truly a loss. If she has moments of clarity when she is more lucid and remembers who you are, then cherish those moments realizing that those moments will slowly become fewer and far between until she no longer remembers who anyone is and can no longer speak or walk. Try to make the most of the time that she has left on this earth, if not for her then for your sake. Hang onto whatever good memories you have left of her and let the bad ones go.
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Keep reminding your mom who you are. I found doing this with my mom was very helpful. Bring some pictures of family gatherings and tell her the story behind the pictures. Ask her about her childhood, her siblings. I found that when I controlled the conversation it would keep my mom at ease. Would it be possible to bring your family with you to some if these visits? Could you take her for a walk or ride (wheelchair) around her facility? Take her to get her nails done? Anything that would be helpful/pleasurable to her rather then just sitting and talking? Good luck
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First, realize your mom has dementia. She also lacks things to talk about. Looks like you're "it". Her perfect foil for garnering sympathy from others (He's sooo mean to me!)...AND the perfect subject matter to get other family members completely engaged with her and hanging on her every word. In some ways, I bet she's happy as a little clam.

Don't react to angry texts. Read and delete. Pick up the PHONE and have a bride conversation on the subject thru voice -- not texts. Horrible habit. "Oh, man...I swear we had a great visit. Lordy." Picture long sigh here on your part. Don't get angry. Be sad at the relationship you've lost.

If it gets too bad decrease your visits remarkably and make them short. If she can have candy, bring her some. Bring her flowers in a little mason jar vase. An assortment of Avon talcs. Come bearing gifts! She'll have LOTS more to talk about. And you can relate your little inexpensive gifts to the rest of the family when they accuse you of being mean.
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The last 18 mos I had my dad home, he thought I was his girlfriend or at times my mom (I was her age at the time she died when all of this was happening). It was somewhat traumatic at times when he would want to kiss me. I would just gently remind him "no, not that head tilt kind of kiss dad" and then I'd go to the neighbor's to get myself together because it was unsettling. You know they can't help it but they are still your parent and my dad would be mortified if he knew that he'd just made advances on me. The first time I had to spend the night in the house, and the first time I realized he was having that much confusion, we'd gone to bed (he in his room, and me downstairs). All of a sudden the lights come on and he's asking me "are you staying here because you're interested in having a relationship with me?" And because this was a first, I didn't get it right away. I just said ' well, dad, I'll always have a relationship with you. And then it clicked, that he was confused and then I just got sick. And relieved at the same time my dad in that part of his life was a gentleman: (a) didn't come down undressed; and (b) he was concerned "she" had her feelings hurt because he went to his own bed. I tried very hard to just keep a sense of humor when I could -- the times he thought I was my mom, I just silently prayed - please don''t say anything gross.
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I am at the start of this same problem. I am 60, she is 83. We both are going through trying to find a new facility for my father (late stage dementia). My mother almost always ends up mad at me when I see her by myself. She does not remember the accusing or yelling, and ends up crying inconsolably. The last time I spoke to her alone she called me by my dad's name 11 times, my own name once. She has a lot of anger for my dad.
I now make it a point to take my wife or son with me to all visits, or even repeatedly let her know one of them is there during phone calls. I do not know if this helps with the main problem, but it sure makes the visits more civil when there is another person there. When she remembers these visits it is not with crying or anger. She would not fight with my father in front of others in the past, I guess she won't publicly fight with the substitute either.
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Thank You !!! I have tried some of these suggestions, some I haven't, so -- there's always room to learn and grow.....Sheesh !!! Are there "classes" for living thru the different levels of h*ll like this??? There should be.....:)
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Can one of your siblings go with you so they see and confirm what is going on?
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