How do you handle an 80 year old that just wants to vent and talk about other family members unkindly? - AgingCare.com

How do you handle an 80 year old that just wants to vent and talk about other family members unkindly?

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Momma is 80. We lost Dad three years ago and I am the prime care giver. It seems like I am the one that she likes to vent too about how brother and sister are living their lives - one does not even have a job and the other one cannot pay his bills even with a job - but then she gives them money. Being doing that for the past 30 years. Brother is 52 and sister is 57. If you heard her talk to them over the phone - it sounds like she is talking to a child. She does not talk to me that way. I then have to listen to her bad mouth everybody else in the family from her half sister, her husband, friends, friends husbands, brother in law and his family and everybody else. It is always the same stories over and over and over and over again. She keeps telling me that she didn't have a very good childhood while she was growing up. That they got rid of her. I got tired of hearing about it the other day and told her that was in the past and she needed to let it go. She was married for 56 years to a great husband that provided her with love, money, a nice house, clothes, trips to Europe and that she turned out fantastic. She got ruffled after I said that. I call her every Sunday and sometimes I dread it because I know that we will talk about the same stories all over again. During the past three years since we have lost Dad - she has said things to me that has hurt my feelings and then when I confront her about them - she says that she does not remember. I handle her finances for her because she cannot do them. I make sure she has everything she wants and lives in the same lifestyle that Dad provided for her, but I feel like that I am not one of the "favorites". Never was - never will be.

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This was my mother also....she would call me many times a day to complain about her older sister, then that sister would call me to complain about my mother..I simply would tell them I don't want to hear it and hang up...and if it wasn't about her sister, it was the 5.00 increase in her rent, the increase in her cable bill, how much electric costs in the summer, heat in the winter, the neighbors, the landlord and countless other things...there are certain people who need to be treated like that because they don't understand "nice talk" and they were 2 of those people and sorry I couldn't be a sounding board for 2 old Italian women who have been complaining about one thing or another for all their lives...keeping my sanity was too important to me
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Another thing I thought about, some people are just born to gossip, day in and day out.

And making it worse is now social media.... people rushing to Tweet this or That about someone else.... [sigh]
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akababy7 ~ so sorry ~ i'm in a topsy turvy situation: Mom has giddy charismatic phone calls with my sibs, yet i'm the thorn in her side, and she complains bitterly about me daily - hates me throws things, etc. Cries if i won't let her sit in the car at 82 deg, or 22 deg. She loved gardening but i love bonding time with her, but she wines and mocks tummy illness. She praises others galore - but i am the caregiver, the driver, the doer, the worker [in/out - pill dispenser, etc] - and she doesn't eat nor drink unless i deliver it to her. i'm 100% permanently disabled. But enough on that: how's about switching your Sunday routine a bit? Do you live close by - could you bring in a Sunday super [even if it's from a restaurant take out - get each what they'd like to order if they'd gone there, perhaps - or some grocery stores put things together, too. Bob Evans i understand has GREAT soup - $5 a quart. Show up with a handful of posies and dinner in a sack and spend some quality time -- a nice little visit. Mentally put a time limit on it, of perhaps 2 hours, and see if they need anything while you're there: oh how i wish someone would just plain vacuum! But no, niece doesn't like to get herself 'dirty'. She cut the flowers in the garden and left the weeds for me to pull up - good grief - more neck injections on the way.

How does that sound? That way they don't have a 'chance' to rehearse their script to recite to you on the phone. They may be in a bit of a mental rut - perhaps you can put on the radio or such as background music - get them away from the TV for your visit. Think about laughing ... or walking the yard to see what she/he'd like to show you - a new bird's nest? It's important that you know where important papers are too -- at a future visit, ok? Pray to put your heart's hurts on hold - put 'em in a brown paper bag and keep 'em in your car while you visit. You can pick up your hurts and vent about them in your own quiet fashion. Confrontation will only anger them - at least it does my Mom: innocent question though it may be, it;s always BIGGER in their mind, like they're being judged or blamed. ALL the best - prayers and hugs going your way. Please - what do yo think of this approach?
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Some people are born that way - meet my mother. It's called a personality disorder. Sandwich, I met some lovely older people at mother's most recent ALF. It was a treat to speak with them.

To mother, people are either great or dreadful, though she can switch her opinion of any individual for no apparent reason. She prefers to dwell on the bad stuff and it is very tiresome. How do you deal with it? Distraction - bring up another subject is one way. Reduce the calls one way or another ( frequency or length). At times, I have simply stated that I like the person and named some of their good qualities. That usually stems the criticism. Once I told her firmly that I didn't want to hear anymore about a certain person as it spoiled my visits with her. She only talked about that person once or twice more. You won't change your mother. You are looking for ways to make your relationship with her more bearable for you. If the weekly phone calls are not pleasant don't call as often, or cut the call short when she starts in about someone. You don't HAVE to listen to it. I am not my mother's favourite either and that's OK. I have made my peace with it. I actually don't want to be that close to someone with her problems, but I will do what needs to be done regarding her finances and care. I don't expect any thanks for it, in fact, I expect trouble from her or from my sister. Just the way it is. I don't like it, but it is my reality.
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Let me vote again for dementia. My mom went this way too, and has never let up in many, many, many years. Don't take ANY of what she says personally. This will take work and purpose after taking everything personally your whole life.

Take her to get a nero-psych eval, to see what's going on in her head. If it's a dementia or not, there is probably a lot to learn by doing that. At the least, she could come away with some anti-depressants.

It's not a normal aging "feature" to become chronically embittered and negative. There's lots of 90+ year olds where my mom is who are all happy, chipper, and quite lovely to be around. Even in the face of my mom's Olympic level negativity!
It's her super power.

It may be time to start thinking about mom's future based on what the doc says. Assisted living places can be like moving onto a cruise ship that stays put. There's activity, people, events, meals, book clubs, field trips, music, church services, music, discussions, and support groups. Staying home alone may not be a good option for her mental wellbeing. Maybe a daycare option would break up her week and be a fantastic distraction.
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Reading these posts reminded me of a supervisor I worked with years ago. Nothing fazed him - nothing. Maybe he learned to tune out the world dealing with his parents. He was a tax advisor in a huge corporation - if I had the choice between betting on him or the IRS, I would have put my money on him everytime!
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Kazza, glad you can laugh at that! That's the mark of a balanced person! Hugs!
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CM thats just Too funny!!!! i want that card! thats my mum would love to get this card! gosh they think of everything now dont they?
My brother sent me a picture of a cute little owl its says "youre a special kinda fcked up arnt you?" so funny! made me laugh!
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Baby, my mil was the same way and yes, it was the
beginning of dementia. Does she live alone? Is there a senior center she can go to? For mil, it gave her a whole new set of people to be mad at! I think at some point you have to perfect the hmmm on the phone while you mend clothes or do the crossword. And yes, antidepressants might help.
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if you learn to view dementia as being steamed in the head , then you can see why steam is escaping constantly .
im young for dementia but maybe a little baked in the head so what escapes me is hot vapor ..not a lot of difference i guess ..
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