Mum gets furious with my brother; is this just her nature and how she feels about him, or is it dementia? - AgingCare.com

Mum gets furious with my brother; is this just her nature and how she feels about him, or is it dementia?

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My brother who is now in his 60s himself lives in a different county to my mother. He has mental health issues and lives in supported housing. He phones my mum sometimes and this causes her to get very aggressive. She says he does nothing for her. I don't know if it's dementia or denial that he has mental health issues as she is of an age where stigma was attached to it. When I remind her of his condition (and the fact he struggles to care for himself) she says she didn't know, no one told her, even though she used to visit him in a mental health hospital after suicide attempts. I even remember sitting with her within the last 5 years talking about his condition on the rare occasion he visited (She doesn't like him to visit). I have a brother in Canada that can't do anything for her by nature of the distance. He was very successful in life. She has no problem with his lack of assistance. I have this conversation with her regularly about my ill brother regularly. Her saying she didnt know etc. The extent of her dislike for him is difficult to listen to. He moved away and she hasnt figured in his life massively for 20 odd years as she found if diffuclt to see him in sheltered housing and doesn't like him to visit. Is this just her nature and how she feels about him, or is it dementia?

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Carolina, life presents us all with the same but yet different situations with our aging parents. If you have children, I hope they're involved with this too so they will know what to expect later.

I agree with BarbBrookland about looking back as to how your brother was treated growing up.

Was he the middle child? Yes, there is Middle Child Syndrome.

As in my situation, I'm the middle child. I was the one that was given the part of Cinderella while my siblings were off with their friends. I can scrub a dirty yucky tiled shower until it looks like it had just been tiled. Floors are a specialty too as well as windows.

I was the one Mom called threatening suicide in the middle of the night after Dad left her (35-36 yrs of marriage). Helped to exact revenge, didn't want to but made her feel better.

NOW, thanks to sister, she tells me that I'm the reason for all of the inner family problems. Always have been, always will be.

Complained that none of us ever told her the truth about things happening in our married lives until we HAD to.

She called me about 7 yrs ago regarding a matter that she had just been told the previous night and did I know anything about it.

No I did not and was extremely shocked when she told me. I told her that things didn't add up as to what she was telling me. Told her I would research and call her back when I had the answers. When I did so, she started SCREAMING at me and accusing me of all the world's problems. I told her that she complained that she never got the truth from us, so now I had it and she doesn't want to hear it. Can't have both ways. Told her I had a very in-depth file about the situation plus other things I had found out about during my research. When she was ready to face the truth, I'd send her a complete copy of everything at which point she hung up and I did not hear from her for more than 2 months.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Talk with the administrator/therapist at the facility your brother lives. Talk with them and have your brother present to find out what this is costing him mentally.

Perhaps it would be best that he write to you as if he were speaking with your Mother, that way you can read the letter to her and give her the impression that he is moving on and can't or isn't allowed presently to call her.

If need be, record her tantrums to present to her doctor as evidence of her treatment of your brother. It may help to present to the facility therapist so as to help your brother cope too.

As my Mom always told us
There are 3 sides to a story. Yours, theirs and then the truth.

You're caught in the middle of all of this. My opinion, just like butts we all have them, is at this point and brother's history; his welfare and well being should come 1st. You have the ability to 'confront' Mom, whereas your brother only has the phone conversation he has to deal with on his own.
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Your profile says that your mothers has dementia. Since, she seemingly isn't processing or retaining information about your mentally ill brother, I'd try to discourage the incidents that cause it, IF it upsets her, because, you won't likely convince her that her beliefs are not true. Is your brother able to understand and appreciate your mother's dementia? Can you explain her behavior, so he is not offended?

Sometimes, people with dementia may change as they progress. Maybe, in the future, mom will be able to enjoy hearing from your brother.
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Yes, it maybe Dementia. Short term is the first to go. Ask her primary to have her evaluated.
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When my mom's dementia worsened, she had a chosen target for her hatred / accusations. Whatever is 'missing', so-and-so took it. And my mom actually accused that person, every time she sees them, of taking her pots or pans. My mom would demand that they returned it. Reasoning never works because she KNOWS that they took it. And if we keep insisting that they didn't take it, mom would turn against us for siding with them - therefore against her.

I agree about the Teepa Snow videos. I really like the mini-series because it's short and I'm not overloaded with too much information. Please don't be like me when I first found this site. So many people kept mentioning Teepa but I never checked it out, until a year later. And I had Several Aha! moments.

I think it's a very good thing that your brother rarely visits/calls home! He has his struggles, too. You take care.
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Carolina, what was mom's attitude towards mentally ill brother before she developed dementia?

Explaining things rationally to folks with dementia is useless. Don't do it. Use distraction and redirection. Watch Teepa Snow videos on YouTube for techniques.
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