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Has anyone experienced that their loved one's dementia personality is somehow triggering feelings from when you were a child? Feelings that you thought weren’t there and that you’d managed to grow out of.


I'm finding that my mum's new dementia personality is highlighting and putting together 1 + 1 for things that have occurred in the past.


It's a really uncomfortable feeling and one that makes me look at Mum in a different way. A way that I don’t wish to see her. I want to just be a responsible adult and be of support. But I’m finding that each day I’m also battling my own emotional roller coaster of feelings dating back to early childhood. I’m 39 years old and suddenly I’m having a craving to have a supportive mother. What is this all about. It’s like her behavior is validating my earlier feelings / doubts which I never knew existed. For instance Mum has always ran away from her problems and that is highlighted now in her current state. It automatically triggers painful events from the past like when Mum decided just like that to move overseas (leave my dad behind) where we then lived poor (I was looking for coins on the ground at one stage). Somehow her behavior now has highlighted to me how she never quite was responsible and always stubborn. I know no one is perfect and life throws curveballs at us,.. and we can all look back at instances and say “we could have dealt with that better” but I can’t help these feelings at the moment. How do I block it out and just concentrate on today and not go through this rollercoaster of my own feelings from the past ??


Also how do I convince my mum that she is not a billionaire that owns everything in this world? She gets upset watching even a football match thinking they are on her ground. She gets upset reading a magazine for same reasons. She gets upset if the grocery store doesn’t give discount see as she owns it. She has a major complexity with being rich for some reason. Then she gets angry at me and as you can imagine - my childhood was in no way rich and her making these statements is like she is invalidating our past. I know I know it’s the disease but I need a way to react because so far all my reactions are just causing arguments. She wants me to literally invent this vivid world that she has imagined and I obviously can’t. I can’t pull a Ferrari out of my pocket and call over our personal chef! I’ve tried different strategies like,.. turning the tv off when this happens but she won’t let go of the topic. I’ve tried going along with it partially and say,.. yes let’s sort it out once you find the papers”. But none of my reactions are helping. It’s like she believes that I am holding her prisoner in this “normal” life and that she has everything. I’ve even offered to “drive” her to one of these supposed properties that she owns”. This is causing daily friction and I really need a way to deal with this. Otherwise conversations are fine. It’s just this “rich” part that really is a struggle.

Forgot to say. Ask her doctor if there is a medication that may help with this.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Maybe back when your Mom thought how nice it would be to be rich and had a little fantasy world she made up in her head. A place she went when things were just going the way she wanted. Now that her mind dying, these fantasies are coming to the surface and her broken brain is perceiving it as a Memory. Which is what the brain does because it can no longer distinguish between TV, dreams and reality. It all becomes one and the same.

My MIL had a lying problem which the family looked at it as " it's just E". Did they really hurt anyone, not really. It was a sickness. But I can just imagine what life would be if she had Dementia. Those lies she did end up believing. So her mind now perceived them as truth.

At this point, you won't get any validation. I know, its frustrating but you will never get thru to her that "this is not how it was". Its not "her" its her mind. Her broken mind.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Yes, we will always be our parents' children and how frustrating with aging parents that they often don't defer to the 'loving and caring' people we remember them for.
I have failed dismally with reason and evidence... and anger seems to be water of a duck's back since the emotional reaction is rarely empathetic and this only perpetuates the cycle.
My approach is somewhere in the middle where I substitute sarcasm to address ludicrous comments - in your case, 'Yes, let's go and buy matching Ferraris'. Usually that's where the conversation ends; maybe for calling their bluff, or just giving affirmation to their point of view where there is no real intention to follow through in the first place.
It doesn't make hearing outlandish remarks any easier to digest, but fleetingly adopting the absurdity can shift the focus back to your reality and possibly even bring a wry smile occasionally.
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Reply to Kantankorus
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Yes. It did bring out old feelings and perspectives. I go up and down as you do with my life's past relationship with my mother. My choice of mom not living with me was for my sanity. She is in assisted care and the one thing that I tell myself and others when asked about mom's changes as her dementia worsens, "She is no longer my mom, I care for my mother, the woman who gave me life. The woman who raised me is not there anymore." It sounds harsh, but it is my coping with this event I didn't want or plan for. It is a struggle every day to step away and not react. You can't argue, but I find myself still stepping into that trap because of our past history. You are not alone, but it doesn't always feel that way..I know.
You take care of yourself.
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Reply to citymouse
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I hear you. I get you.

I feel like I am caring for a dead person. That’s the only way I know how to put it today.

This disease has brought out the very worst of my mother. Anger, unreasonableness. Argumentative. Asking and asking for things from me that I cannot give.

My mother wants and wants and can’t GIVE anything.

I read. I watch Teepa. I do. I understand what is going on.

But, I’m sooo tired of this. So, so tired.
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Reply to cxmoody
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